Fever Ray

Coachella 2010, Fever Ray, Grizzly Bear, Passion Pit, Yeasayer

Coachella 2010 Day 1 Recap: Sleigh Bells, Yeasayer, Passion Pit, Grizzly Bear, and Fever Ray, April 16th, 2010

Apr 17, 2010 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern
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Confession: despite my various musical exploits, this is my first year at Coachella. And in spite of various friends' threats to paint a "V" on my forehead and subject me to an unspeakable hazing process (that's standard...right?), I spent the week leading up to the festivities feeling not unlike an over-sugared toddler on Christmas Eve.

Day one begun with the realization that Coachella is huge. This realization was coupled with a frantic sprint across the field to the Gobi tent to catch Sleigh Bells. (Lesson 1: Parking takes longer than you'd think!) Despite being almost the exact opposite of the usually musical fare I usually gravitate towards; their agro-pop leanings were worth the run. Alexis Krauss' war cries may have been a bit too shrill for comfort, but her Betty Page persona, mixed with band-mate Derek Miller's impeachable beats, seem to have come pre-made for bigger venues.

Sleigh Bells turned out to be the perfect appetizer for Yeasayer's dancey set. It was there things begun to take on a surreal haze. Was it dual vocalists Chris Keating and Anand Wilder's oh-so-glam deliveries? The fantastic fans in front of us who only busted a move high-energy singles "O.N.E." and "Ambling Alps?" Or was it something my mom said...like "make sure you drink plenty of water?" All of the above. (Lesson 2: your mom is always right). I quickly located concessions and drank to her health before dancing on in search of other adventures.

By evening the need to sprint from set to set wore off. Water bottle in hand, I snagged dinner and wandered to the far side of the field for Passion Pit. While their upbeat electro pop usually rings inexplicably bittersweet for me, here-framed against a breathtaking sunset-they seemed to have found the perfect context. I was quickly soothed into a quiet contemplation. However, my unexpected bout of nostalgia was brief, and after three songs itand my pizzawas gone. I wandered off to find other fare.

Finally dark, I joined my friends back in the Mojave tent for Grizzly Bear whose (actual) bittersweet harmonies never fail to make me smile. There we heard what could possibly be the strangest comment for the day. ("When they come on man, everyone's going to start head banging! It's gonna be wild!") While the crowd did go wild for single "Two Weeks"which Grizzly Bear fearlessly played in the middle of their set rather than near the endthere was little head banging to be had. Crowded (everyone loves a good harmony!) I watched the first part of the set though other people's cameras which lent a surprisingly agreeable voyeuristic air. The sound? Amazing. Charmed, I left the tent in the grips of musical infatuation.

Of course, all this was simply an opening act for the highlight of the day, Fever Ray. If Coachella is Christmas, her set was like finally getting that damn pony. Indisputable queen of the late night set, Fever Ray (aka Karin Dreijer) puts the spectacle back in rock, complete with tribal/gothic costumes (which many audience members paid tribute to with their own masks), lasers, smoke, and some of the creepiest ambience this side of Hitchcock. Any concerns her over-the-top stage presence and claustrophobia-inducing stage show wouldn't translate to the festival setting were quickly put to rest as she led her 4-piece band though a packed hour-long set. In addition to playing the majority of her self-titled debut, Dreijer and co. preformed several non-album cuts, mysteriously folded into the set without comment. Normally a reclusive character, preferring to play obscured by lasers and fog, Dreijer briefly stepped to the front of the stage during "When I Grow Up," breaking the fourth wall to encourage the audience's cheers. Wordlessly, she and her band mates then quietly proceeded off the stage, lasers closing behind them. It was a suitably epic ending to day one.

Take care. I'll see you on the field for day two. And for the love of all that is good...hydrate! (www.coachella.com)




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