Vampire Weekend at Coachella 2010

Coachella 2010, LCD Soundsystem, Vampire Weekend, Them Crooked Vultures, Gil Scott-Heron

Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem kick off Coachella Festival 2010,

Apr 17, 2010 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Web Exclusive
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The 2010 Coachella Festival kicked off yesterday (April 16) in a chaotic fashion, with massive crowds making it difficult to get onto and off of the grounds and challenging to catch close-up glimpses of most of the bands. An erupting Icelandic volcano also threw a wrench into the works, making it impossible for artists including The Cribs and Bad Lieutenant to fly from England to California to perform. That said, stellar sets by Vampire Weekend, Them Crooked Vultures and La Roux, among others, made fighting through the crowds and braving the heat worthwhile.

Vampire Weekend proved why they're quickly becoming one of the biggest indie bands around, delivering an energetic, hit-filled set to a massive crowd. The band were visibly relishing their new-found stardom, and singer Ezra Koenig encouraged the audience to ask someone they'd been eyeing to dance during "A-Punk." On a stage adorned with chandeliers resembling the one pictured on the cover of their self-titled debut album, the quartet played several Afro-pop-influenced tunes from their latest album Contra as well as their debut.

LCD Soundsystem's performance earlier in the evening also got the crowd dancing, with frontman James Murphy leading the charge. The band, which in years past played to much smaller crowds in the Coachella tents, performed for a huge audience on the main stage this year, delivering crowd-pleasers including "Us v Them," "Losing My Edge," "All My Friends" and "Yeah."

Just beforehand, Them Crooked Vultures frontman Josh Homme praised Murphy and dedicated one of their songs to him, declaring that LCD Soundsystem is one of his favorite bands. The supergroup, which features Dave Grohl on drums and Led Zeppelin guitarist John Paul Jones on guitar, ripped through several tracks from their recent debut album with reckless abandon, winning over the hipsters as well as the rockers. Homme, who comes from the Coachella Valley, welcomed the crowd. "You know this is my fucking hometown. Welcome," he said before the band launched into an explosive rendition of "Scumbag Blues."

Ska veterans The Specials lit up the main stage as the sun went down with their festive tunes that have influenced countless younger bands. The newly reformed British group played their second U.S. show in more than 20 years, and got the crowd dancing and pogoing to classic tunes including "A Message to You, Rudy" and "Do the Dog."

Another of the day's highlights was an explosive set by English synth-pop songstress La Roux, who drew a huge crowd that overflowed the Gobi tent and made it difficult to catch a glimpse of her immaculately coifed red quiff. La Roux's retro-1980s pop stylings won over the packed house, which enthusiastically danced and sang along to several tunes from her self-titled debut including "Bulletproof."

Gil Scott-Heron, whose poetic, street-smart lyrics have influenced countless young rappers, delivered an intimate set in the late afternoon for a throng of fans in the Gobi tent. The 61-year-old singer got political, telling the crowd, "We don't hate soldiers but we hate the things that happen in war," and calling the crowd to action with the lyrics "If you believe in peace, go to work."




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