Just before they took the stage for a typically shreddy, dream-state set on Friday (April 17) on the second weekend of Coachella 2015, the members of The War On Drugs stood stageside, hugging each other.
“Let’s have some fun,” said one of the members to the rest of them, and then they bounded on stage, busting through a well-received grouping of songs both airy and airtight.
And though he was referring specifically to their set, the sentiment could have been a mantra for the entire day, which, for obvious reasons, lacked the spontaneity of the first weekend’s Friday, but seemed like overall a more easygoing representation of what many of the bands were capable of.
Clearly the day’s standout was the Alabama Shakes, which again played mostly-unrecognized songs from the band’s forthcoming album, Sound & Color, due out April 21. Singer Brittany Howard is a force of nature, her howl ranging from a controlled yelp to a full on-wail. Her prowess as a guitarist shouldn’t be underrated, either. The group’s new material melds ’70s soul with southern rock in a purely singular way.
As far as rock acts, headliner AC/DC once again had a strong showing, with their butt-rock standing the test of time even if the stage-show — complete with fireworks that seemed to fire long after they were supposed to — was a retread directly of last week’s, and early in the day 66-year-old throwback soulman Charles Bradley stunned his mid-sized audience with dance moves that would have been impressive even if he were 30 years younger.
The night’s surprises were mostly relegated to the dance tent: pop singer Ciara spent some time onstage with producer R3Hab for two songs, while rapper DMX and AlunaGeorge, among others, popped up with “Turn Down For What”-guy DJ Snake.
Rumors abound, though, that Drake will trade in Madonna‘s awkward make-out for a series of other guest stars on Sunday, which could turn his lackluster set into something memorable — if it materializes.