Victoria Legrand of Beach House at Coachella

Coachella 2010 Day 2 Recap: Beach House, Camera Obscura, Muse, and More

Rock, Roll, and Lulls

Apr 18, 2010 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern
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Day two started out much like day one, in fulltilt. Despite a bevy of physical ailments left over from yesterday's marathon, making it to Camera Obscura's set on time was worth another painful sprint across the field. However day two was light on the heavy hitters, and after the initial close call, I didn't have to hustle to see sets from Beach House, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Hot Chip, MGMT, and Muse.

The run to the Mojave tent was undoubtedly the best decision of my day. For the uninitiated, Camera Obscura leader Tracyanne Campbell might appear meek, but looks are deceiving. Head of a sweetly antagonistic pop party even your parents would approve of, the band worked though an hour long set comprised heavily of songs from the crowd favorite album Let's Get Out of This Country. Campbell dedicated the title track to those musicians who missed the festival due to the volcano eruption, which was met with a round of sympathetic applause. Band and audience equally enjoying each other, she reacted with delight in realizing they had more time allowing for a few extra songs. "We've come all this way, we may as well," said Campbell wryly, revealing a bit of the humor that made their most recent album My Maudlin Career such a delight.

After Camera Obscura, Beach House appeared, sparkly stage dressings in tow. "We're gonna try to cool you down," said guitarist Alex Scally. "Mellow you out," added keyboardist/vocalist Victoria Legrand. They proceeded to do just that. Legrand flipped her hair as she played. The two worked though a ten-song set that included a brief piece they prefaced as "a song we're working on." Inquiring minds need to know, and when I tracked the band down after their set they revealed the "new song" was actually a cover of "Lemonade" by Gucci. Jokes aside, not even Scally announcing "I'm now 100% sweaty" could defuse the emotional wallop of their set, which was heavily comprised of tracks from Teen Dream. The one-two punch of Camera Obscura and Beach House left me incredibly moved. As one overzealous fan screamed as Beach House launched into show-stopper "Zebra" "This is what it's all about!"

Leaving the tent and gasping for air (I was 100% sweaty as well); I went for a walk, ending up at Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. The Los Angeles collective transformed the outdoor stage into Woodstock with their songs of love, love, and love. Given the hoards of dancing concertgoers and masses of toga-cad performers (including a small child!), the scene could have easily been mistaken for the summer of love...if it weren't for all the iPhones. Then again I've always counted the lack of Apple products as one of the era's major draw backs. After a few songs I pressed on to look for another band who isn't based out of my town. It turned out to be one of the day's greatest mistakes.

It is here, during the day's biggest lull, we stop for a PSA: Coachella organizers spread the wealth! No one should have to see a band simply to fill a gap in their schedule!

While several gaps did leave me time to admire the grounds (think: indie rock Disney on mild hallucinogens and you're pretty close) it left me with little to get excited about until Hot Chip launched themselves onto the outdoor stage. Flaunting some of the worst pants, puns, and outright displays geekdom of the evening, it was clear that I had finally met my musical soul-mates. How many dance parties involve spelling? The band wrapped up the set with "Ready for the Floor." Packed in too tight to dance, I waved my notebook in appreciation.

I came into MGMT's set eager to see how the heavily hyped band's material translated to the stage. Not well it turns out. Unimpressed with cuts from their recent album Congratulations and uninspired by their paint-by-numbers musicality, I left after a few songs in search of real rock stars.

Now, it should be noted that I am not a huge fan of Muse. And after last night I'm not convinced that will change. I did however love love love love their set. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that eye-liner wearing-lead singer Matthew Bellamy is everything I want in a rock star and Muse are a phenomenal band live, even if their endless riffs and crashing rhythms soon started to blend together. The bigger question: how many bands can dip into glam rock tropes like lasers and fireworks, dropping to their knees, and evoking the keytar without having critics tear them to pieces? Heck, Bellamy has a sparkly guitaryour tolerance to which probably indicates the enjoyment you'll get out of their music. Muse have got the musical chops to back up the bombastparticularly evidenced by Bellamy's turn at the piano. As far as I'm concerned, they can indulge in all the sparkly accruements they'd like.

Despite our best intentions to stick around for Devo, after Muse we had no energy left to whip it (good or otherwise) and headed home to rest up for day three's sprints, sets, and surprises. (www.coachella.com)



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Stan Alarm
August 4th 2011
5:16am

The Beach House is a fantastic band and they play very well live but they could do with better stage lighting on their sets. A great performance at the Coachload 2010 nonetheless!