Coachella 2009 Day 3: Next generation time with the Knux, Friendly Fires and Sebastien Tellier
Even after two days of dedicated field-marching to dozens of acts, the citizens of Coachella Nation 2009 hit Sunday with a vengeance.
New Orleans hip-hoppers the Knux took the main stage after a warm-up set from L.A.'s own DJ Skeet Skeet, who hyped the crowd with Michael Jackson remixes and Kid Cudi's ubiquitous "Day 'n' Night." When the Knux emerged, they woke up the growing audience with rapid-fire rhythms, rock guitars and a casual rapport with people in the front (and endless bottles of water they threw to thankful recipients).
But it was UK indie sensations Friendly Fires that put on the hottest show of the first shift. Their stirring, post-punk anthems ignited a completely packed Gobi tent. Singer Ed Macfarlane worked the stage with manic energy and a shockingly strong voice. Combining the best bits of early U2 with a deep knowledge of the dance underground, they aim for transcendence with every song. Their single "Paris" hit the mark, as did set-closing "October."
Bearded French lover-man Sebastien Tellier's persona oozes the same soft-core porn aesthetic as American Apparel ads, which is probably why they helped launch his last album, appropriately titled "Sexuality." With a lookalike assistant (down to the beard, sun hat and white pants) leading him to the stage, he crooned vocodered lust songs to the pretty, barely dressed party people over swirling synthesizers and digital disco beats.
There was an odd moment early in his set, though. When he announced a song as being about his, "well, um, bisexuality," the tightly packed tent opened up just a little. But enough to be noticeable. Perhaps this year's Coachella Nation isn't as progressive as they want to be --yet.
-- Scott T. Sterling
Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images