Saturday, May 10, 2014

Coachella 2014 Day 3 Photos

The final day of Coachella brought both regret that the festival was coming to an end, and excitement that the night would close with perhaps my favourite live group.

1) Arcade Fire 9/10
Arcade Fire in Blackpool was my highlight of last year; a large festival experience couldn't live up to that, and the audience were far less energised than in that small venue. Yet, the musical performance was faultless, the sound was fine, and there was no repeat of the disappointing Radiohead experience here two years before when a disengaged audience ruined the set for me. A clever joke at the beginning involved a fake Daft Punk guest appearance, and later the pope put in an appearance, whilst Regine danced on a platform next to the soundboard.  This couldn't quite live up to the wonder of their appearance in 2011, my first ever festival, when they performed The Suburbs album in full, but it confirmed their place as one of the most talented and consistent contemporary live acts.

2) Bombino 8.5/10
I was at the front of the small crowd for the desert rockers, for a wonderful set, most notable for Bombino's virtuoso blues guitar playing.

3) Blood Orange 8/10
This was a slick set,  Devonte Hynes capitalising on the success of the soul influenced R&B album Cupid Deluxe. This is music very much of the moment, but its relevance and attention seems wholly justified on this showing.

4) Neutral Milk Hotel 8/10
I will soon be seeing this reunited classic band in a local venue; at Coachella the addition of a band recreated the sound of an old friend. It was a magical experience, far more compelling than Jeff Magnum's earlier solo performance here.

5) Daughter 7/10
I'm a huge fan of Elena Tonra's heartfelt music, but here she suffered badly from sound bleed from adjacent tents, in the same way that fellow Brit Laura Marling did in 2012. The magic of her introverted yet passionate songs was broken. Yet, the relocation of the noisy Yuma to the Terrace this year meant Daughter was the only act I saw impacted in such a way.

6) Preservation Hall Jazz Band 7/10
A fun opener to my day in the Mohave tent, playing after Trombone Shortly & Orleans Avenue on the main stage, I hope this is a sign of a broadening acceptance of musical genres at Coachella.

7) Lana Del Rey 6.5/10
I caught only the beginning of Lana's set, due to a clash with Daughter. It was one of the best attended acts of the festival, and it was clear that she's grown in confidence after some notoriously shaky earlier performances. This was the start of her post Born to Die era; I doubt this new material will change minds about this polarising artist.

Finally some night photos of an undeniably beautiful festival:

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