“Maybe this time you can hear me,” Radiohead singer Thom Yorke said — clearly — halfway through his band’s exuberant headlining set on the first day (April 21) of the second weekend of this year’s Coachella festival, a sly nod to the sound issues that plagued the band’s set on the fest’s first weekend.
Unsurprisingly, the set this weekend was far more smooth — and the same can be said for the fest overall, which, per usual, felt slightly older, slightly more organized, and slightly more music-forward as the second weekend got underway.
The temperature was teasing three figures at the beginning of the day, which explains the meandering vibe on the field early on, though highlights still shone through. Preservation Hall Jazz Band whipped up an impressive-for-their-slot afternoon crowd with hot horns and New Orleans grooves. Singer Banks — dressed in a gothy bustier and getting down to sparse electro-angst-pop beats — smartly used backup dancers to support her during her set, occasionally joining in on shoulder-jostle jams. And Mac DeMarco was charming as he rocked a (presumably wet) towel under a hat to keep cool while playing clean-toned indie anthems like “For the First Time,” inviting a “special guest” onstage who ended up just being a friend who wanted to stage-dive.
In fact, proper guests were in short supply Friday: Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon sat in with Frances and the Lights, and Spank Rock reemerged during a joyous set from the Avalanches, but some of the first days’ guest spots from week one — including Todd Rundgren’s turn with The Lemon Twigs and Tears For Fears’ Curt Smith playing “Mad World” with Zipper Club — weren’t repeated this week.
No matter for fans watching the members of The xx slow-dance during “I Can’t Go,” witnessing classic indie-rocker Robert Pollard mic-kick during Guided By Voices‘ spirited take on “I Am A Tree,” throwing their hands in the air during Travis Scott’s auto-tuned hip-hop meanderings, or seeing Yorke noodle-twist his way through the coda to “Everything In Its Right Place” during a set that carried its way through Radiohead’s epic catalog — but didn’t land on “Creep” as last week’s did.
Most of these fans weren’t wearing last week’s lace-and-undies fashion and taking multiple selfies, they were enjoying the day for what it was, without worrying about whether the moment they were witnessing had happened — or not — before.