Line Out Music & the City at Night

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Coachella Saturday: Postal Service Delivers, R. Kelly to Phoenix

Posted by on Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Did you know? R. Kelly is French for hologram.
  • Did you know? "R. Kelly" is French for "hologram".

TRENDPIECE: Blame Afghan Whigs. Ever since their duo with Usher at SXSW, surprise R&B guest appearances are the must-have accessory for the touring rock band. Although everyone was secretly hoping that the string of consistent denials about Daft Punk docking their pyramid starship to Phoenix's headlining set were just a convincingly elaborate ruse (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo were allegedly spotted out-of-costume in the VIP holding pen while their teaser trailer opened for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Instead of French robots, the encore featured the truly surprising appearance of R. Kelly, who bounded on stage to perform an amazing live remix of "1901" with his own "Ignition." Kids in our immediate vicinity proclaimed it to be "the most random thing they'll see in their whole life."

Twitter reinforced my suspicion that watching them instead of cruelly simultaneously-scheduled New Order condemns me to music hell, but the heart wants what the heart wants. The rest of the exceptional set provided the blend of perfectly-performed high energy, danceable, electro-rock that we've come to know and love from America's sudden French sweethearts. We thought about splitting our time between the two stages, but the combination of the crushing crowds, their ultra-compelling stage presence, and the aforementioned R. Kelly encore that concluded with lead singer Thomas Mars sweetly serenading a dozen or so iPhones before summiting the sound booth (while still tethered to the stage by a glowing microphone cord) and crowd-surfing/swimming back across several dozen yards of fans kept us transfixed until closing time. We can only hope that the webstreams will be archived.

The Postal Service
  • The Postal Service

RETRO INDIE HITS: Saturday's mainstage programming was a celebration of indie-electro. Sub Pop all-stars and self-described "imaginary band", the Postal Service brought back almost all of Give Up and then some. With some help from Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) and Laura Burhenn (the Mynabirds), Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello satisfied a decade's worth of fan longings. It felt like they'd opened a time capsule from 2003; everything sounded just as good as when they sealed it away in carbonite and collective memory.

I'm terrible at estimating crowd sizes, but the densely-packed audience stretched almost the entire depth of the polo grounds appeared to be bigger than the sum of everyone who managed to catch the band playing during their initial club tour. Cex, however, was nowhere to be found.

CELEBWATCH: We arrived a little too late to catch all of the essential public canoodling and/or pre-staged appearances at frozen fruit smoothie stations, but off in the distance, Kristen Stewart was spotted, sprinting across the grounds to the relative safety of the backstage area in order to avoid ravenous paparazzi. This is why it's always a good idea to wear sensible kicks to a music festival, folks.

Earlier/elsewhere/after-the-jump: Hot Chip set the mood with an unrelenting sunset dance party, Yeasayer kept it just a little weird on the Outdoor Stage, Spiritualized spaced out for a small but devoted following in the Gobi Tent, Descendants savaged the Outdoor theater, Franz Ferdinand provided an energetic diversion from the always lovely (but not quite the right speed for my own personal evening mindspace) the xx, and Violent Femmes are still a band that plays shows. At 6:30 pm. On the Coachella Mainstage. To vast numbers of fans. In 2013. It's been six years, after all.

CROWDWATCH

Sound Guy Super Style
  • Sound Guy Super Style

We cant believe Descendants are playing Coachella either
  • "We can't believe Descendants are playing Coachella either"

repurposed ballon art = coachella love
  • repurposed ballon art = coachella love

SOME BANDS, ROCKING OUT

Hot Chip: ready for the floor, safari style.
  • Hot Chip: ready for the floor, safari style.

Hot Chip: Desert Chic
  • Hot Chip: Desert Chic

Yeasayer
  • Yeasayer

Yeasayer
  • Yeasayer

Spiritualized
  • Spiritualized

Spiritualized: ladies and gentlemen we are floating in the desert
  • Spiritualized: ladies and gentlemen we are floating in the desert

The Postal Service
  • The Postal Service

The Postal Service: Jenny Lewis / Laura Burhenn
  • The Postal Service: Jenny Lewis / Laura Burhenn

the Postal Service: initiate cute dance sequence
  • the Postal Service: initiate cute dance sequence

Descendants
  • Descendants

Descendants
  • Descendants

Franz Ferdinand: right action (to skip most of the xx for indie dance hits?)
  • Franz Ferdinand: right action (to skip most of the xx for indie dance hits?)

Phoenix: Hello Coachella, we are from Paris France!
  • Phoenix: Hello Coachella, we are from Paris France!

Phoenix
  • Phoenix: Christian Mazzalai

Phoenix: Laurent Brancowitz
  • Phoenix: Laurent Brancowitz

R. Kelly
  • R. Kelly

Phoenixs Thomas Mars, preparing to dive into the mainstage crowd.
  • Phoenix's Thomas Mars, preparing to swim across the mainstage crowd.

 

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