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Coachella 2010: Steal this water, and Yeasayer's ambitions are bigger than a tent

April 16, 2010 |  5:45 pm


Now in its 11th year, the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival continues to grow. Last year's attendance was estimated to be around 60,000 per day, and that number has swelled to 75,000 in 2010. And this year's edition reported a sell-out days in advance of the fest.

Before the clock even hit 5 p.m., crowds were causing roadblocks. An open-backed truck carrying cases of water was slowed to halt -- and then promptly ransacked by nearby festival-goers. But before the fest lost too many of its $2 water bottles, the truck was able to slowly inch forward and find some open grass.

Yaysayer There was a hole on the schedule, with  the Cribs unable to make it to the U.S. due to volcanic ash from Iceland grounding flights, but it resulted in a missed opportunity. Stationed to perform in a tent were Brooklyn art-rockers Yeasayer, who are appearing at Coachella in support of their winning second album, "Odd Blood."

The band brought the album's collage of textures to life at Coachella, inspiring circles of dancers well beyond the tent's boundaries. Yet with the Cribs out, organizers could have moved Yeasayer to the outdoor stage, as the band proved its music is ready for the bigger backdrop.

The band's "Ambling Alp" carried a rhythm that could have doubled as a rain dance -- or perhaps that was just this writer's wishful thinking for a change of weather -- and it built to a triumphant, singalong chorus. Carrying fashionable New Wave trappings, the band's new single was already a singalong at Coachella.

The band's earlier material is full of more detours than its current songs, but even a more experimental cut such as "Sunshine" shows that the band has always had ambitions beyond Brooklyn clubs. Opening with a rhythmic clack, the song was a clap-along before the first guitar note had even been struck.

-- Todd Martens

Top photo: Music fans with tickets for camping line up to be checked by security before entering the Empire Polo Field grounds, in Indio, one day before the start of the 2010 Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival, April 15, 2010. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times

Second photo: Musicians Chris Keating (C) and Jason Trammell of Yeasayer perform during day one of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2010 held at the Empire Polo Club on April 16, 2010 in Indio, California. Credit: Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images