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Coachella 2013, Concert Reviews, Music

Concert Review: Coachella 2013 – Weekend 1 – Friday – Yeah Yeah Yeahs, How To Destroy Angels, Passion Pit, Nick Cave + More

By: Scott Penner –

Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Coachella 2013. (Photo: Chris Alvarez for DowntownLobby.com)

Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Coachella 2013. (Photo: Chris Alvarez for DowntownLobby.com)

This year saw not only the addition of a new EDM stage ‘Yuma’ but also an impressive expansion to the current EDM stage ‘Sahara’.  We were also given a bigger ‘Gobi’ stage, which puts it more inline with the size of the ‘Mojave Tent’ to allow more optimal viewing from the sides.

The Do Lab has brought shade, water and dub step to Coachella long before it was cool. This year The Do Lab presented the biggest and most ambitious exhibit yet, which consisted of six amazing cones of color pointing outward from the new center stage, which gave precious shade from the sun.

The Sahara Tent was already filled once C2C took the stage at 1:30pm. While it’s possible that the incessant rumours of the return of Daft Punk to Coachella this year helped drive the hype of this French quartet, it was their talent and showmanship that made them easily stand alone. With an LED screen in front of each DJ’s turntable, it synced itself up with the music, it was visually possible to tell who was playing what at a given point in the song. These visual cues, however, allowed the audience see how they constructed each track.

Minnesota R&B indie rockers Poliça’s electric R&B in the Gobi Tent featured Channy Leaneagh’s powerful vocals, who could be mistaken for Aimee Mann fronting Radiohead. Their setup consisted of a bassist, and two drummers, which provided their rhythm section with intense freedom in its melody, which occasionally sounded aimless, but you won’t hear what Polica brings to the table anywhere else. They performed a slew of tracks from their 2012 debut album Give You The Ghost, including “Amongster,” “Wandering Star” and “Happy Be Fine,” which proves that they are a fresh treat for those who are looking for something different in the often crowded indie rock scene.

Of Monsters and Men drew an early and extremely large crowd for the Outdoor Theater.  While the Icelandic sextet is best known for their debut single “Little Talks,” the crowd screamed much of the vocals for the band’s other songs including “Lion Heart” and “From Finner” from their 2011 debut album My Head Is An Animal.

Passion Pit on the main stage was entertaining to the point where it was very easy to lose track of time and their 50 minute set seemed just far too short. Performing a mixed bag of songs from both their 2009 debut album Manners and their 2012’s ‪Gossamer , including “Carried Away,” “Sleepyhead” and “Little Secrets,” the Massachusetts quintet, fronted by Michael Angelakos, who donned a untucked powder blue dress shirt and tie, performed a hyperactive set and while Angelakos fell flat fashion-wise, his performance was strong and assertive, yet also light and fun.

Dog Blood’s set at the Sahara tent, which is the new project consisting of EDM mega stars Skrillex and Boys Noize and Coachella being one of their first performances together, brought one of the biggest and intense crowds of the entire weekend.  The swirling LED lights and pounding bass made for an intensely satisfying experience. Performing a dubstep remix of the Skrillex and A$AP Rocky collaboration, “Wild for the Night” and a remix of Die Antwoord’s “Fatty Boom Boom,” the kings of EDM, or at least the princes, provided all the bass and none of the bullshit.

On the main stage, New York garage rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs opened with the accompaniment of the Hollywood Gospel choir on “Sacrilege,” the lead single from their new album Mosquito, was a pleasant surprise. The trio then stormed through their garage rock-tinged catalogue including “Zero,” “Gold Lion,” “Maps” and “Heads Will Roll,” with Karen O donning many outfits designed by Christian Joy including a purple sequined suit and a leather jacket worn during “Zero.”

Israeli electronic duo Infected Mushroom presented a new incarnation of themselves at the Mohave tent with the duet performing from a white pod and with the overlay of 3D projection mapping, they gave an intensely versatile visual display which enamored the sun-soaked crowd. The duo performed tracks that spanned their decades-long career with “Cities of the Future” from 2004’s IM the Supervisor, “Becoming Insane” from 2007’s Vicious Delicious, along with “UR So Fucked” and a cover of Foo Fighters’ “The Pretender” from last year’s Army of Mushrooms.

Nick Cave was next at the Mohave stage and despite the sparse crowd, Cave’s intense vocals and stage presence dominated, much to the enjoyment of the fans.  Slinking into the melancholy “Jubliee Street,” from his new album Push The Sky Away, Cave set the tone of the set, sullen, slow-moving and electric.

How To Destroy Angels performed their second ever show as they headlined the Mojhave Tent and they put on a show unlike anything else. Trent Reznor described the show to be closer to an art installation than a rock show and he was right. Front woman Mariqueen Maandig’s posture was rigid and nervous, however she gave a fantastic performance. The band’s use of 3D mapped projectors, along with transparent sheet that displayed cubic patterns and other geometric shapes was stunning. Despite having a line-up that includes Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Renznor and English composer Atticus Ross (The Social Network), acted much as a cohesive group and no one member outshone the other.

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