Emerging artists on the Coachella bill generally have two choices: present their club show as-is, with the hope that it translates on a massive scale, or up the ante with production elements that only work if the band can also deliver musically. Saint Motel, a newcomer pop-indie band from Los Angeles that played Coachella’s main stage at 1:20 p.m. today, boldly chose the latter, adding a four-piece horn section and Vegas-style showgirls. The gamble paid off: the crowd grew throughout their set. The over-the-top performance culminated with the band’s current single, “My Type,” which follows in the dancy footsteps of Franz Ferdinand and Capital Cities – and could mean big things for the band going forward.
Speaking of Capital Cities, the “Safe and Sound” band’s trumpet player, Spencer Ludwig, spent the afternoon on stage with RAC for most of their crowd-bulging set, which also included a collaboration with Penguin Prison on their song “Hollywood.” Psych-folk dude Mac DeMarco also brought out a special guest, comedian Eric Andre, who demonstrated his considerable theramin skills with a considerable rubber phallus.
Three different punk bands also made an early-in-the-day impact: the young SoCal band Joyce Manor woke up bleary-eyed rockers at the same time genre forefather Keith Morris’ current band, Off!, double-timed its way through the afternoon. A few hours later, Desaparacidos, the Conor Oberst-fronted political punks, continued their comeback run with scream-sung blasts that were unfortunately played to a mostly-empty tent – surprising, given their pedigree. Maybe they should add dancing girls next weekend?