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Arts and Entertainment

Coachella: Day Three 04/18/10

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The 2010 Coachella Music and Arts Festival capped off to a rather anticlimactic ending on Sunday night, with the standout performance of Atoms For Peace ending well before the rest of the festival did.

Thom Yorke’s new band, Atoms For Peace, played his solo album The Eraser in its entirety as well as a few other songs. They opened with title track, “The Eraser,” and played other songs in new arrangements. Yorke and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, Flea, joined in a whacked-out dance battle, and the crowd cheered as they let their contorted dance rituals take control of their bodies. They served as examples to the audience of how this music should be responded to, and the massive crowd followed suit. “You’ve had a long weekend. You need to freak out. Freak ooouut,” the Radiohead singer said as he opened his eyes wide for effect.

During the encore, Yorke returned to the stage alone for a sing-along acoustic version of “Airbag,” and a new tune “Give up the Ghost,” in which he records his own vocals into a loop, adding layers of harmonies until he has a Thom Yorke choir singing along with him. A piano performance of “Everything in its Right Place” brought more cheers, and the rest of the band returned to close off the set with a few more crazed electro dance numbers, ending with “Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses.” Ending on such an ‘up’ note, it seemed near impossible for any band to follow Atoms For Peace without Yorke’s shadow constantly looming behind; in many ways this was the highlight of Coachella.

That is not to say he was the only good act during the day; Julian Casablancas played to an overpacked mass on the Mojave stage, and Deerhunter took the Outdoor Stage in the afternoon. As the sun began to set, French band Phoenix took the second stage and romanced the audience with indie-pop hits “1901” and “Lisztomania.”

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Pavement continued the trend of Coachella reunions (others being Faith No More, Devo), and played on the main stage during the mid-evening. Providing an admirable catalogue of their greatest hits, including “Silence Kit,” “Range Life,” and “Cut Your Hair,” the iconic slacker band played with a good energy and was a crowd favorite.

Gorillaz attracted one of the largest crowds of the festival, due to the fact by that time they were the only ones still playing, save the unintelligible, ranting Sly Stone. The sailor suit clad group had some memorable moments, first starting off with a recorded collaboration with Snoop Dogg, and then eventually live performances with Bobby Womack, De La Soul, and Clash members Mick Jones and Paul Simonon. They returned for their encore with “Feel Good Inc.,” in which the tens of thousands of fans danced along to with gusto.

Despite this, Gorillaz were unable to capture the magic Thom Yorke had; They proceeded to close their set (and Coachella) on a slower, melancholy number, “Cloud of Unknowing,” that left me thinking, “That was it?” Their set was without a doubt laudable, but maybe next time they should open for Thom Yorke, and not the other way around.

Words by James Thomer for LAist
Photos by Simon Cardoza for LAist