The first day of each year of Coachella is imbued with anticipatory energy – so, when it takes a bit to get into something resembling full-on party mode, it can feel somewhat disappointing. So it was on the first Friday of this year’s fest, which seemed to take until sundown to find any sort of rhythm.
That certainly wasn’t due to the audience, as young and hip and vibey as ever, or the weather, which was both windy and totally comfortable. But scheduling found many sound-alike acts taking the stage in the mid afternoon, including Goldroom, who summed their sound up thusly: “we play electronic music with instruments.” So do Miami Horror, Years and Years, Robert DeLong, and Bob Moses, all of whom were playing at just about the same time.The day strengthened with two rock bands, Foals and The Kills, each of whom anchored their respective stages with brawling riffs and banshee wails; Foals were also resilient as their sound was cut off, with the band soldiering on, even without a PA. But the breakout set definitely belonged to young R&B singer Gallant, whose maniacal stage performance was topped only by his impossible falsetto – and surprise guest Seal, who sang his own ’90s-era hit “Crazy ” as a duet with Gallant before the duo played their current collab ‘Weight in Gold,” giving this edition of Coachella its first magic moment.
French jazztronica band St. Germain also fared well in their first appearance on the Polo field since 2001. Their breezy, jammy songs – including the smokey dorm classic “Rose Rouge” – played with Senegalese musician Cheikh Lo seemingly live-soundtracking the swaying palm trees behind the stage.