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Coachella 2012: Blue skies, early crowds, baggy eyes, Destroyer's soft rock

April 14, 2012 |  6:15 pm

Dan Bejar

Though it technically was 2:30 in the afternoon, on the Outdoor Theatre stage at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival it still felt a little like morning. Singer Dan Bejar, who records under the moniker Destroyer, was gigging his curious gothic pop, a quiet storm of acoustic guitar and alto saxophone that, on Saturday with palm trees as the backdrop, felt a little like a Pablo Cruise yacht-rock excursion.

Maybe it was the alto saxophone, an instrument whose presence at Coachella this year hopefully isn't a portent. On Friday, the Rapture busted out an alto sax -- an instrument associated with some of the cheesiest sax solos of the '80s -- and turned an otherwise banging dance rock number into something ... flaccid. Like the flute, it's not the most muscular instrument for a rock song, but maybe that's the point.

The fans lounging in the grass didn't seem to mind as Bejar and his five-piece band poured forth "Chinatown" from Destroyer's recent album "Kaputt." The clouds are gone, it's sunny and 75 degrees, and last night was action packed, so a little softness is a perfect prescription -- even if it comes via an alto.

Still to come today: Buzzcocks for some old school scream-along action, the Head and the Heart to see what all the hubbub is about, Kaiser Chiefs, Jeff Mangum, Flying Lotus, Feist, SBTRKT, Radiohead and Sub Focus. Here comes Saturday night.


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Photo: Dan Bejar of Destroyer performs at the Outdoor Theatre stage the second day of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times