Bronson’s Day 3: A Perfect Circle, Ibeyi, Portugal. The Man, Cuco, FIDLAR, Snail Mail, MAGIC GIANT, LP, the Delirians
It’s easy to give in to self-indulgence at Coachella — ingest a little of this and that, hear a little of him or her, ride the communal waves wherever they take you.
Then there are moments like what happened in the 8 o’clock hour in the Gobi Tent, where Ibeyi seemed to make time (and the festival) stop. Ibeyi are French-Cuban twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz, who sing in four languages and work with just their voices, a keyboard, an electronic pad and cajón and batá drums. Wearing colorful jumpsuits, they held a half-full tent so rapt that barely anybody noticed when Miguel’s set started blaring from the sonically adjacent Outdoor Theater at 8:30.
The set included the sweet “I Wanna Be Like You” — a song Lisa wrote about Naomi — and the jaw-dropping “Deathless,” during which they were joined by Kamasi Washington, fresh off his 7 p.m. set at the Outdoor Theatre. The show-stopper, though, was “No Man Is Big Enough for My Arms,” the title of which is taken from Jennifer Clement’s biography “Widow Basquiat: A Memoir.” The song samples a speech given by Michelle Obama (“The measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls,” etc.) after then-candidate Donald Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” remarks came to light. Here, it became interlocked with the sisters’ beautiful chorus.
Since this is Coachella, after all, you can have a heady experience like that, and 15 minutes later succumb to festival stupor and just marvel over Odesza’s drone show in the skies over the main stage.
How Sunday went for one adventurer:
1:05 p.m. — It’s a little humid outside, but in the Sonora Tent it’s stickier, as East L.A. nine-piece the Delirians dispense their smooth reggae/ska/rocksteady sounds. They pile on with trumpet, sax and trombone solos, feel-good begetting feel-better. And if there is a more appropriate way to start a Day 3 Coachella slog, we can’t think of it right now.
1:40 p.m. — LP deserved better than an early-afternoon time slot, but the singer-songwriter (born Laura Pergolizzi) is up to the task and so are her fans, who fill about half the Mojave Tent, not bad for this time of day. She has a full band including two backup singers and she starts off with the banger “Muddy Waters,” performed in front of projected videos of fires, floods and other natural disasters. She has everyone’s attention. Her voice is strong and elastic, she punctuates certain phrases with a playful sneer, and she’s a helluva whistler too. She performs a new song titled “Girls Go Wild,” saves her big 2015 single “Lost on You” for the end and tells the faithful: “Thanks for coming out this early, I know it’s tough. … I wouldn’t have.”
2:35 p.m. — Venice neo-hippies MAGIC GIANT, still one of the most aggressively happy bands on the scene, tip off the crowd that after Coachella they will be announcing a couple big local dates. As they did last summer at Arroyo Seco Weekend, Austin Bisnow and crew work everybody into a lather. It’s a good sweat.
3:15 p.m. — Baltimore indie-rockers Snail Mail segue from beautifully mopey to devastatingly on point in the Sonora Tent. Last week, 18-year-old Lindsey Jordan allowed as how she didn’t want to be categorized by gender, even if that’s what’s going on these days. People who count these things have noted that Coachella’s lineup is less a “boys club” than ever — about one-third of the acts on this year’s festival are fronted by a woman or feature a prominent female member. And it’s hard not to notice that some of the best rock sets of the weekend were delivered by the likes of Cherry Glazerr, Priests, Japanese Breakfast, Angel Olsen, the Regrettes and Fazerdaze. And Snail Mail, whose album “Lush” is out next month on Matador.
4:15 p.m. — The sounds of Britta Unders rumble from the Do LaB stage and an already-tired person finds a sandwich and a seat in the shade. Is it safe to go closer? Does anybody get swallowed up by the crowd there and never return? One of these years we’ll find out.
5:00 p.m. — People are skipping into the Mojave Tent for FIDLAR, whose bratty pop-punk is suddenly in short supply on the Coachella landscape. They play relatable songs about being stoned, drunk and broke. And speaking of gender equity, at one point Zac Carper organizes a girls-only mosh pit.
5:30 p.m. — Nineteen-year-old Omar Banos, aka Cuco, showers an adoring Sonora Tent crowd with his keyboard-drenched paeans to love and crushes and being darned near paralyzed over them. There’s the sweet trumpet on “Lo Que Siento,” and there is the mid-set detour where he does a new song, a rap song, and all hell breaks loose and everybody is onstage with him. Fun times.
5:52 p.m. — Jessie Ware is starting late and people are already tip-toeing toward the back so they dart toward the main stage for Cardi B.
6:10 p.m. — So you really think Cardi B is all that, huh? Oh, she twerked.
6:25 p.m. — Somebody’s hungry again. #BLAMECARDIB.
7:05 p.m. — Is that Metallica coming from the main stage? Wait. Oh, it’s Portugal. The Man, Sunday’s token main stage rock band. They probably wouldn’t be here without last year’s big pop hit “Feel It Still,” but they’re here and they’re flying the flag. They start their set with “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and over the course of the next hour, fans hear snippets of the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, T. Rex and, finally, the Beatles, as the pride of Wasilla, Alaska, end their set with their 2011 single “Sleep Forever,” which fades into “Hey Jude.” Our favorite part, though: The intermittent message on the video screen: “If you’re here for Odesza you’re early.”
8:05 p.m. — “We are going to need your bodies, we are going to need your souls, and we are going to need your hands,” Ibeyi says, asking for hand claps. Done.
10 p.m. — “We have a new album coming out,” Maynard James Keenan tells the crowd at the Outdoor Theatre, and A Perfect Circle are going to play a lot of songs from it. “So thank you for your patience.” No one seems disappointed. A Perfect Circle are the kings of OG here — back in 1999 they played the afternoon’s first set on the main stage at Coachella 1. With their new album “Eat the Elephant” out Friday, they rage hard in front of a modest crowd (some seated and swaying), ending with the heavy (and heavy-handed) new song “The Doomed.”
11:05 p.m. — Is it us or are a lot of people leaving early?