Posted: April 12, 2015
It was no surprise that Irish singer/songwriter Hozier played his Grammy-nominated single “Take Me to Church” during his phenomenal set at Coachella on Saturday.
But he did have one big surprise up his sleeve. After he got the massive crowd in front of the festival’s main stage to sing “Happy Birthday” to bassist Alex Ryan, Hozier then called out Haim bassist Este Haim to join him for a spirited rendition of “Jungle Love” from the Time.
Haim – the woman, not her sisterly band – not only pitched in on vocals, but she also gamely executed the signature dance Time frontman Morris Day made famous in the movie Purple Rain.
But Hozier’s evening was also filled with gems from his own catalog. Yes, there was a rousing rendition of the aforementioned “Take Me to Church” that had nearly everybody in the audience singing along, but he also showed his R&B, soul and rock roots with an eclectic mix of songs.
Backed by a five-piece band and two backup singers, Hozier treated fans to a little R&B early on, kicking off his show with “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” and “Jackie and Wilson.”
Hozier adopted a bluegrass vibe with “Like Real People Do,” pulling out a resonator and performing the first part of the song solo before he was joined by his fellow musicians.
He even got the sun-baked audience to noodle in the grassy grounds of the Empire Polo Club with an extra-danceable version of “Someone New,” giving the hit a refreshing breath of life in a live environment.
When it was time for “Take Me to Church,” tons of fans had their smartphones primed to film what is always a spiritual moment. The song reached the heavens during the chorus, which had the help of not only Hozier’s backup vocalists, but also the thousands of people adding to the beautiful song.
It was truly a moment to appreciate.
Posted: April 11, 2015
It was as if Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page challenged the men of Royal Blood to wield the hammer of the gods when he presented them with the BRIT Award for Best British Group earlier this year, because the duo was absolutely thunderous during their Coachella performance on Saturday.
Bassist/singer Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher were relentless at the festival’s Outdoor Theatre, beginning with an electric “Come on Over” and ending with the machine-gun firepower of “You Can Be So Cruel.”
In between, it was detonation after detonation, with Kerr reeling off killer riffs on his bass and Thatcher attacking his drum kit like it owed him money.
For “Come on Over,” the first notes called all fans within earshot to sprint towards the sound, making no apologies to bystanders they may have brushed with over-aggressive air-drumming.
It only got better from there. A few songs later, Kerr shouted out, “Come on Coachella!” midway through “Figure it Out” as Thatcher stood up menacingly, banging a cymbal like a general, just to make sure everyone knew who was boss.
The Royal Blood rocket continued to blast forward with stoner-rock anthems “Little Monster” and “Loose Change,” the latter of which saw Thatcher take it to the next level by actually standing atop his bass drum as Kerr vamped towards each corner of the stage.
That was when chants of the band’s name rose up and when the mosh pit started. It only took the first staccato snaps on Thatcher’s snare to switch on the blender of humanity in the middle of the field during “You Can Be So Cruel.” Hands shot up and bodies began to circle. And those who weren’t amid the whirlpool banged their heads in approval.
Coachella has posted this video of Royal Blood performing “Figure It Out” below.
Posted: April 11, 2015
True to form, Interpol’s Friday night set at Coachella was both brooding and captivating all at the same time. As red and blue lights flashed around the New York City band, frontman Paul Bank’s moody vocals punctuated the pointed riffs of guitarist Daniel Kessler and sharp beats of drummer Sam Fogarino. The group offered a selection of hits off 2014’s critically acclaimed album El Pintor, with “Everything is Wrong” and “All the Rage Back Home” proving to be real highlights.
In addition, Interpol tapped into their back catalog with the fan favorites “Slow Hands” and “Evil” from 2004’s Antics. In all, it was impossible to take your eyes off Interpol, marking a triumphant return to Coachella.
Posted: April 11, 2015
Reverend Horton Heat brought a rockabilly revival to the Mojave Tent on Friday afternoon during Coachella.
The Jim Heath-led trio banged through several of their signature tunes to the delight of a packed house that included fans of all ages. Heath, looking resplendent in a red sport coat with blue flames, seemed to relish every moment of it, feverishly working the fretboard of his signature Gretsch guitar (with his name emblazoned on the black pickguard, no less).
In fact, the energy was so high that a circle pit broke out in the middle of the tent when a few young fans got riled up for “Psychobilly Freakout.” All in all, it was a great way to kick off the festival’s first day.
Posted: April 10, 2015
Riding the high of critically acclaimed 2014 album Here and Nowhere Else, Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings packed their 45-minute set on the first day of Coachella with a full dose of electrifying rock.
The set, which kicked off at 1:55 p.m. in the Gobi Tent, drew a large crowd for that mid-afternoon time slot, and rightfully so. Their brand of breakneck punk-tinged grunge pop had the masses moving, as drummer Jayson Gerycz, singer/guitarist Dylan Baldi and bassist TJ Duke attacked their instruments with reckless abandon.
Duke set the tone to tracks like the slow-building “Swallow” and “No Future / No Past,” laying down a rumbling bassline as the rest of the band joined in. It was the perfect way to lead up to Baldi plaintively screaming the titles of the respective songs at the end.
One of Cloud Nothings’ latest singles, “I’m Not Part of Me,” was a big hit at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, Calif., sparking a lot of movement in the crowd that continued through the second half of the band’s set.
That motion came to a boiling point with “Wasted Days,” a nine-minute offering from their 2012′s Attack on Memory. The song is easily the longest in their canon, and it runs like a three-act revue, with the voltage running higher and higher as it rolls along.
Like a waterfall, Gerycz’s drums cascade over and over alongside Baldi’s screeching voice yelling “I thought! I would! Be more! Than this!” repeatedly. Eventually, “Wasted Days” breaks down as Duke’s thumping bass restoring order to the torrid waves of noise.
During the show, Gerycz wore a white T-shirt that said “Music is a ‘Natural High’” on it, and that could be a good motto to have this early in the first weekend of Coachella. If nothing else, Cloud Nothings did their part to jolt the crowd alive.
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