One of the greatest things about music mega fests like Coachella is the potential for breakout moments -- that instant when a band next-levels strictly on the strength of their live show, hype-be-damned.
Sunday afternoon at Coachella, that designation clearly belonged to Rudimental, a hydra-headed dance collective that built and built its audience in an eventually-bulging Mojave tent. The performance was bolstered by MCs and singers that each gave the proceedings the air of a mix-tape, though -- when they were done with the mic -- each would retreat back to their instrument in essentially a backbeat round robin. It's a conceit that's very of the moment, and Rudimental owns it, begging for fist pumps and hand claps while nailing complex tempo changes -- a double time gets-back to an electro wub-wub in a single song, for instance -- giving the versatility of a great DJ while maintaining the feel of a live band.
Also exciting, though in a far more traditional sense, was punk rock troubadour Frank Turner. In a Coachella culture veering increasingly towards EDM and dance-pop, Turner's rock songs about rock songs were a welcome change of pace, and the UK songwriter delivered each with a fevered passion clearly learned from idols ranging Springsteen to Shane McGowan.
Operating at the other side of the classic spectrum was the buzzy outfit Blood Orange, who matched funk grooviness to a let's-go-to-bed mentality, all while smoothly setting down a retro seductiveness. If that sounds like a description of some amalgam of Hall And Oates and Prince, you wouldn't be far off, especially when frontman/guitarist Devonte Hynes tossed on a guitar, conjures up purple, and lets rip. It's derivative and effective all at once.