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Coachella 2011: Cold War Kids command the magic hour

April 16, 2011 |  1:22 am

The best part of the day at Coachella comes at sundown, when the heat dwindles to a low simmer and everybody is bathed in creamy yellow light. And that's exactly when the Cold War Kids took to the Outdoor stage on Friday evening.

It was an auspicious set time for the scrappy quartet from Long Beach, which recently released its third album, "Mine Is Yours." And on a stage not long ago occupied by another local band made good, the Silversun Pickups, who played after Leonard Cohen a few years back.

"Sorry for those of you who had to not see Lauryn Hill," said lead singer Nathan Willett, displaying the humble sense of appreciation that would define the set. "But it's a compliment."

Images from the 2011 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival

Behind him the horizon blushed silky pink by degrees until it faded to the palest blue. Soon a bright white moon materialized above the stage and a forgiving breeze swept across the field.

"This is such a beautiful thing right now, with the sun just going down at the beginning of the festival for you," said Willett. "It's a great memory, and a very special thing for us."

The giant monitors on either side of the stage displayed the view of the audience from the band's perspective, and it was easy to imagine the sense of awe that Willett felt staring at the sea of faces.


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-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Cold War Kids perform at Coachella Friday. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times