The People's Key
Author: Blake Mehigan
9/26/07 | California State University Orion | www.theorion.com | Live Show Preview
Arcade Fire came out with loads of energy to headline Saturday night on the main stage of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.The stage itself was set up to look like your local movie theater with a marquee reading, "Arcade Fire: Coming Soon." The song "Month of May," off their most recent album, "The Suburbs," contributed to a roaring start, followed by a seamless transition into "Rebellion" with lead singer Win Butler playing the riff while the other band members did their signature instrument switch.They played a healthy variety of songs from every album, including "Keep the Car Running" and "Ready to Start," and then closed with their most commercially successful song, "Wake Up," before the encore. The Canadian-based band had everyone moving the whole time. The audience went crazy when giant illuminated balls were dropped from the stage and tossed throughout the crowd. Arcade Fire's live performances are a must-see for anyone familiar with the band's music.Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst stepped onto the main stage the next day and did not disappoint. Despite the shaky success of their new album, "The People's Key," which has gotten mixed reviews, Bright Eyes showcased the new songs along with many old ones.Oberst entertained the crowd with more than music, tossing around witty quips and one-liners between songs. He opened with "Jejune Stars" from "The People's Key," then followed it up with "Take it Easy (Love Nothing)" off "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn."The music, coupled with the transition from afternoon to early evening, was more than relaxing and fit the 100-degree temperature outside. A little improvisation was welcomed too. Alterations to the lyrics of the scathing "Road to Joy" made for an enjoyable end to a well-rounded set. Bright Eyes, though probably better suited for a smaller, more intimate setting, held down the main stage well and had great stage presence despite a more muted energy.Mumford & Sons brought a nice change of pace to the stage with their sweet-sounding folk. The denser crowd seemed even more excited to see them than the headliner, Arcade Fire. People were amped for the London band, which chose to adorn the stage with only instruments and musicians illuminated by simple, white lighting.Their 50-minute set was a great follow-up to Bright Eyes, and helped usher in the evening shows. They put on a high-energy show that got 40,000 plus people upand going.Interpol performed before the highly anticipated band The Black Keys. The crowd swayed to the melodramatic sounds of several songs off Interpol's debut album, "Turn On the Bright Lights."San Diego-based Delta Spirit put on a hell of a show in the scalding heat at the Outdoor Theatre. The group exceeded low expectations. The four young musicians were electrifying and refreshing for a band billed as early as they were in the day. They played each song with vigor and kept the crowd energized. They weren't afraid to break down and jam at the end of their songs, which got people even more pumped.The members switched instruments for their most spirited song, "Trashcan," during which guitarist Matthew Vasquez jumped on the keyboard to play the song's token Charlie Brown-esque piano section. Their trashcan-lid percussion furthered their vintage rock vibe, as well.Outside of Animal Collective's less than coherent set, Cee Lo Green performance was by far the most disappointing part of Coachella. The set times at the festival are rigidly defined and the rules are unforgiving to latecomers.Cee Lo found this out the hard way after showing up 30 minutes late for his 50-minute set. Disgruntled fans were treated to some Gnarls Barkley, the band for which Cee Lo sang, playing their 2006 hit "Crazy." Cee Lo's audio feed was cut shortly after his entirely female band played him on to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man." He tried singing for a few more minutes, hoping that audience members up close may be able to hear him, but he eventually gave up and left in a frustrated hurry.I'd heard good things about his live performances, but this was not one of them.