Coachella 2010 kicked off on Friday April 16th with more than 75,000 music fans/drug test tubes roaming the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, CA in search of memories to last a lifetime, or at least until their Smart Phone memory cards filled up. The festival was by most accounts over-sold and ticket-taking snafus and wristband shortages led to many being admitted with fake xeroxed ticket confirmations. Most tents saw fans spilling out from all sides making for a more challenging concert experience than in years past.
An early highlight was Brooklyn "dancepop" duo Sleigh Bells. Led by energetic singer Alexis Krauss, (seen below holding court to a capacity crowd inside the Gobi Tent in the mid-afternoon heat) the album-less neophytes performed a short 35 minute set of material from the upcoming "Treats" slated for release on May 11th. The duo mix big beat sequencers with a super-charged, heavy surf guitar squall. Krauss provides the sass and counterpart, songwriter, guitarist, and producer Derek Miller (not pictured), provides the sauce. Miller is one of many being tapped to produce tracks for M.I.A's upcoming album.
With seemingly everyone swarming to the Outdoor Stage to see Boston Mass's Passion Pit, Memphis based Lucero played a rousing set of impassioned country-tinged guitar stomp to a half-full Mojave Tent. The band was unfettered by the size of the crowd delivering song after song of gritty and earnest road-weary fables (that probably aren't fables). Frontman Ben Nichols possesses the type of voice that can only be achieved by chewing on cigarettes and gargling whiskey. They slayed those that were lucky enough to escape the sea of hipsters ebbing from the Outdoor Stage.
Another stand out performance was Beach House's eagerly anticipated Coachella debut. The dreampop trio showcased their trancey lullabies to another beyond capacity Mojave crowd. Riding on their music blog endorsed "it thing" status and with the phenomenal "Teen Dream" album to support, Beach House mesmerized an audience that included Friday headliner Jay Z and wife Beyonce.