After two afternoons that felt like the organizers for Coachella had completely fallen into an electro-pop pool, day three of the annual festival began in a way that seemed to embrace the event’s roots, with strong rock showings across the pool – all clearly as much of a hit with the flower-crown set as the sampler-set had been all weekend.
Relative newcomer Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats brought soul with the sunshine early on the main stage, blasting energetically through their bar room hit “S.O.B”. “I’d like to see some dudes with their tops off too,” Rateliff joked, giving equal opportunity to the hordes of bikini-and-less women on the field.
Kamasi Washington — most famous for playing the heart-melting saxophone rips on Kendrick Lamar’s last two records — won over a growing crowd at the outdoor theater without compromising any sort of jazz roots, nailing afro-funk stops, be bop melodies, and high-flying solos from bassists, turntablists, and dueling drummers in a lesson in musicality.
And Rancid and Cold War Kids were the sort of reliable legacy acts that richly still deserve their audience: the former inspired actual circle pits during “Ruby Soho,” while the latter played a career spanning set from “Hospital Beds” to “First.”
Of course, some non-rockers brought the big guns too: DJ TOKiMONSTA veered between baas beats and old school hip hop in the Sahara tent, dressing fans in trademark rabbit masks and bringing out Anderson Paak for a cameo — a reminder that while one genre can feel like it’s taking over the field, there’s always an alternate plan that will find you in another aural zone entirely.