Radiohead, Bon Iver & Jeff Mangum live at Coachella
- By Hazel Sheffield -
- Apr 16, 2012
This is part two of our daily Coachella round up. Read Coachella part one with The Black Keys, Pulp and Arctic Monkeys.
The sun brought out the best in Saturday's acts at Coachella. After scarpering from the glowstick-clad ravers getting down to Jacques le Cont's early DJ set in the Sahara tent, we found tUnE-yArDs in fine form on the Outdoor Stage (Coachella's equivalent to Glastonbury's Other Stage). Though Merrill Garbus has been playing her last album 'w h o k i l l' for over a year now, she mixed up last year's festival set - 'Do You Wanna Live', 'Bizness', 'Fiya' - with some subtle new arrangements.
"Close your eyes and imagine you're in a beautiful place with mountains and sunshine," she said to the crowd. "Now open your eyes - and you're here!"
At the nearby Gobi tent, Laura Marling was shy and suffered a few false starts. She threw her head back during 'Ghosts', 'Alas I Cannot Swim' and newer fare like 'Salinas', in contrast to her recent North America tour, when the young British folk singer was plucky and bold. A large crowd pulled closer to hear her nonetheless.
Noel Gallagher surprised those gathered at the main stage to hear his new band The High Flying Birds when the Oasis singer broke into 'Don't Look Back In Anger'. The whiny refrain echoed through the waiting audience at the Outside stage before Jeff Mangum's set.
And what a set it was. After a couple of announcements that photography was prohibited, the cult Neutral Milk Hotel frontman crept onstage with his guitar and played a hymnal forty minutes of songs mirrored back to him on the lips of the spectators. 'Engine' and 'King Of Carrot Flowers' were favourites. The sudden brass ensemble that appeared to play on 'In An Aeroplane Over The Sea' was the highlight. After so long in the shadows, it was humbling to see Jeff Mangum perform like he'd never been away.
The day ended with a trio of A-list indie bands on the main stage. The Shins proved that they're more than the band from the 'Garden State' soundtrack, though 'New Slang' did feature towards the end of a set peppered with tracks for their new album 'Port Of Morrow'.
Bon Iver cranked the emotion up a notch, beard-less and gangly in a denim shirt and cream slacks. 'Skinny Love' was perhaps the least saccharine in a set played out like a long, eyes-closed crescendo. 'Calgary' finished them off.
"Tight little band from the UK coming up next," said Justin Vernon, by way of apology for his short set (really he started ten minutes late).
Radiohead put their big Coachella budget to good use with a dozen suspended video screens that moved around the air above the band, showing close-ups of their faces and hands. At the back of the stage, a giant lit screen rippled blue in 'Weird Fishes/Arpeggi', flashed red for the cosmic 'Lotus Flower', and turned into a mind-boggling matrix of green lines for 'Myxamatosis'. Thom Yorke didn't begrudge the masses their usual lairy sing-a-long after 'Karma Police' and introduced 'The Daily Mail' by saying, "This is a new song. We play new songs to prove that we alive."
Two encores finished off the hour and forty-five minute set. The band looked delighted to be so well received and were thoroughly enjoying the big budget production and excellent sound quality (despite desert gusts). Finale 'Paranoid Android' rotated through five moods of marvellousness - grinding riffs, whining sing-a-long choruses, choppy time changes, head-butting and lighters swaying. "Oh my god," groaned a face-painted American boy behind. "Is this real life?"
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