Sunday, July 15 , 2018, 1:15 pm | Fair 75º


Paul Mann: Coachella Drops the Ball

While the bands were energetic, there was a certain been there, done that feel to Day Two of the desert music festival

It was hard to imagine how the second day of this year’s Coachella Music & Arts Festival could compete with the historic first-day performances, including the marathon set by Paul McCartney. Simply stated, It didn’t come close.

If Day One was officially sold out, then Day Two must have been extra sold out. Lines for the basics (food and drinks, beer and bathrooms), formed early, after being nearly nonexistent the day before. The temperature jumped to a sweltering 100 degrees, after being moderate for the Indio desert, the day before. The stages, for the most part, also became much harder to approach.

To be sure, there were some exciting performances throughout the day. George Harrison’s son, Dhani, carried on a bit of the Beatles magic, with his own brand of English pop, with the band thenewno2. Anybody who is old enough to remember the 1960s television show, The Prisoner, would understand the significance of the name. Jenny Lewis, a Southern California favorite, brought strong vocals and a great band to the hot afternoon desert, with a country flair. Tinariwen, brought one of the only traditional Third World sounds to the festival, the second day. This band of West African nomads is the real deal. The Drive-By Truckers played two smoking jam band sets, one with the legendary keyboard player Booker T. The Fleet Foxes, fresh off a performance at UCSB, also turned in a crowd pleasing set. This all took place on the Empire Polo Club’s many support stages.

But the real let down of the day took place on the main stage. There were some great performances by bands like TV ON THE RADIO, who gathered one of the largest crowds and played one of the most intriguing sets of the day. Also playing were Thievery Corporation, Michael Franti and M.I.A., the latter being a visual delight.

But anyone who has been to any of the major music festivals across the country in the last five years has already seen these bands play at least once, and probably multiple times. This list includes last Saturday’s headliner, The Killers. Personally, I have always found this band to sound like a glorified Las Vegas lounge act, but I am sure their 50,000-plus fans in attendance would disagree. In any event, all the performers on the main stage Saturday were music festival staples. Coachella is famous for bringing acts that rarely play the United States, or have been reunited especially for the festival. None of that happened on this day, resulting in, perhaps the weakest single day line up in Coachella’s 10-year history.

There were some saving moments in the Sahara dance tent throughout the day. The Crookers and The Chemical Brothers brought an evening dance frenzy, and some real passion into the air. Finally, the out of place metal band Mastodon, turned in one of the most intense sets of the night, to a sparsely filled Mojave tent, while most people were watching The Killers, or going home to rest up for Day Three.

Click here for a slideshow of Day Two.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributor.

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