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Coachella Day Three: Beck and Arcade Fire Close Out An Amazing Weekend cobrien |
04/15/2014 | Filed In: Coachella | Coachella 2014 | The 1975 | Beck | Arcade Fire | Blood Orange | AlunaGeorge | Calvin Harris | Corey O'Brien | California

Coachella Day Three: Beck and Arcade Fire Close Out An Amazing Weekend

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Day 3 was about a perfect a day one can have at a music festival.  The desert was not angry. Rather than dust, a nice, cool breeze kept things from getting too hot and it was a day of amazing performances.  A nice clip poolside in the morning at the compound and the group was off to catch The 1975.  The thing The 1975 they could fit in many contexts.  You could put them in matching suits with some choreography and they'd be a boy band.  Acoustically, a coffee shop quartet.  I don't mean this in a negative way.  Their songs are truly catchy. Lead singer, Matthew Healy, is a cross between Aldous Snow and Christopher Martin of Coldplay. His voice is great live and he has the swagger it takes to sell it.  I could tell because every hot lady around me was belting out the lyrics like gospel. Mr. Healy is tattooed and leather clad, playing up the rockstar persona, which may have been lacking otherwise at this year's fest (aside from Queens of the Stone Age, which I only caught a glimpse of). Leather pants in 90 degrees, no problem. Accompanied with a brunch of pizza and beer The 1975 was a great way to start the day on the Outdoor Stage (clever name, I know). 

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I stuck it out in the beer garden (the last day, you've gotta go big) for the artist I who was at the top of my list, Blood Orange. I've had their album playing non-stop since I discovered it in February.  Blood Orange is the brainchild of Dev Hynes, who was also in the short-lived, but grandiose Test-Icicles then went under Lightspeed Champion for a spell.  Very different sounding projects from one another, but all great in their own right.  The best breakdown to describe Blood Orange is Prince meets Frank Ocean. This is baby-makin' music. 

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Before planting our flag at the main stage the group was lured to the adjacent Gobi Tent by the a familiar groove.  A familiar sound, know to us from junior high parties.  The sound of Montell Jordan, but it wasn't Montell Jordan.  It was AlunaGeorge singing Jordan's "This Is How We Do It."  Dancing, we hung out and watched the sexy AlunaGeorge while admired the final sunset we would witness over Empire Polo Field.

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Calvin Harris took the main stage and did the opposite of what Fatboy Slim did the day before: he played the hits.  Opening with, "Feel So Close" to "We Found Love" to Icona Pop's "I Love It." He demanded the audience show their hands and not miss a beat.  He kept the hits coming and no once seemed to mind.

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Finally, another must-see, Beck this the stage opening with "Devil's Haircut" and, like Calvin Harris, the hits kept coming.  A highlight for me was the surprise selection, "Debra" from "Midnight Vultures" - a song touting the benefits of picking up women at JC Penny and driving a Hyundai.  Beck was on a role, telling stories about playing the first Coachella between songs and reminding the audience why he is so revered by those who really love music and live performance.  Therefore, it was quite disappointing when Goldenvoice cut him off during "High 5" for going over his allotted time.  I know these things need to run like trains and not airplanes, but come on!  It's a headliner and one with Coachella tenure. Beck shrugged it off, danced a bit and then was disappeared by his band as they surrounded him and shuffled him off stage, forcing smirks and chuckles from the crowd.

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It was now meat and potatoes time. We bumped and hustled as close as all 11 in my group could get to the mainstage to see what Arcade Fire would finish the weekend off with. They did not disappoint. A thing, covered from head to toe in mirrors announced himself as Fred, then announced the band who promptly opened with the title track from their latest, "Reflektor." I can say this song paces better live. All the songs they performed from "Reflektor" paced better live including my favorite, "It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)."  

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Many would say, including myself, the highlight of the show was Debbie Harry, looking amazing, joining the band on stage for her own "Heart of Glass" and the epic "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains). The set was passionate, defiant (Win Butler calling the VIP section "bullshit" to the pleasure of the crowd. Well, those not in VIP, anyway) and at times heart-breaking. The set and the show ended with warnings the sound may be cut off again, just as it was with Beck. 

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Luckily, they made it through the closer, "Wake Up" with a few folks around me actually tearing up. As the rise of whatever was left of the 90,000 plus in attendance singing, "Whooooaaa ohhhhh, ohhh, ohhhhh, ohhh, oh, ohhhhhhwhooaaa..." the sound was eventually cut, the band pulled together some acoustic instruments and, accompanied by a small brass section, leapt into the crowd, marching band style. The crowd chanting for as long as everyone realized the weekend was over. We would all be leaving Coachella on this bittersweet note and back to real life until next April.

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