Coldplay unveiled five songs from its hotly anticipated third album, “X&Y,” Saturday night at Los Angeles’ Universal Amphitheatre as part of a benefit for radio station KCRW. The night before, the U.K. group debuted the new songs during a surprise show at the city’s intimate Troubadour club.
On first listen, Coldplay seems to be utilizing its 2002 smash hit “Clocks” as a launching pad for the new songs, several of which echo that track either in structure or feel.
The Chris Martin-led act opened the KCRW benefit with the new song “Square One,” which the singer previously described as “designed to be played live.” The energetic tune was marked by the lyric “You wonder if your chance will ever come / or if you’re stuck at square one.”
Like “Clocks,” the chorus in “White Shadows” did not immediately arrive. But the payoff was large in the single “Speed of Sound,” the most overtly Coldplay-ish of the new songs. The piano ballad “What If,” the verses of which each begin with the title phrase, closed the main set.
Sprinkled in between the new tracks were such past favorites as “In My Place,” “The Scientist,” an audience-hushing “Sparks,” the aforementioned “Clocks,” “Politik” and the closer “Yellow,” for which the house lights were turned on.
Coldplay will not return to the United States until an April 29 club gig in Las Vegas, the night before the band headlines the first day of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif.
Backstage, KCRW music director Nic Harcourt saluted Coldplay for making a special trip across the Atlantic for the event. “I feel really blessed for a band of that stature to come back and play for us,” he told Billboard.com. “It helps us continue to brand ourselves as a station that breaks great music.”
Earlier in the evening, the crowd was treated to a surprise set from singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur, who opened the Troubadour gig on Friday. The event also featured performances from up-and-coming female rock trio the Like, U.K. rock act Aqualung, Latin rock act Cafe Tacuba, singer/songwriter Nellie McKay and the Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan, whose set included a cover of the Frank Sinatra-popularized “Strangers in the Night.”