The crowd was noticeably thinner (and the bathroom lines therefore shorter) on Coachella’s third and final day. Attendees weary from Prince’s marathon set Saturday night wandered in to the strains of Stars‘ boy/girl vocal combo of Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan emanating from the Main Stage. The group performed an energetic rendition of “Set Yourself on Fire” from the critically acclaimed 2005 album of the same name, with Campbell in a yellow jacket despite the baking afternoon sun, the stage strewn with flowers. “I can’t believe I’m standing where Prince stood,” Campbell announced. “He said this is the coolest place on Earth, and if Prince says something you believe it.” Millan dedicated the charming, bouncy “Midnight Coward” to all the swingers in the crowd, and as the song raved back up after a momentary slow-down listeners grinned and bopped their heads to the band’s beautifully lush work.
Over at the Outdoor Theatre, L.A. fuzz-rock band Autolux tested out some darker, less melodic material from their forthcoming Transit Transit and droned their way through favorites from their first LP, 2004’s Future Perfect, including the head-nodding “Sub Zero Fun” and “Turnstile Blues,” a mellow but urgent groove that ably shows off the skills of drummer Carla Azar.
The real afternoon party was taking place at the Gobi tent, where SXSW vets Does It Offend You, Yeah? were throwing down their dance-rock tunes with furious energy. “This song goes out to Elliot Spitzer,” they announced before launching into “Let’s Make Out.” Fans spilled out the sides of the tent and jumped as a solid unit, and singer-guitarist-keyboardist Morgan Quaintance offered a bottle of water to whoever danced the best to the B-52’s-esque “Attack of the 60 Ft Lesbian Octopus.” “We’ve all lost about thirteen pounds,” a sweaty Quaintance added before the band invited pals like Har Mar Superstar onstage to flail around to closer “We Are Rockstars,” with bassist-singer James Rushent handling Vocoder duties an Quaintance thrashing his guitar around.
Does It Offend You, Yeah? admitted they were worried about attendance at their set due to the fact that Gogol Bordello was scheduled to play on the Main Stage at the same time (neither band had to worry about packing in big numbers, though). On the open-air stage, mustachioed singer-guitarist Eugene Hutz was a shirtless, animated circus leader, surrounded by an older bearded gentleman in a beret playing fiddle and an accordion player. A large number of fans leaped around to their unique gypsy-punk sound, which recalls a blend of European and Yiddish melodies tied down to a rock core.
Back at the Outdoor Stage, Metric reminded the sizable crowd mouthing along to all their lyrics of the memorable set Broken Social Scene played on that very stage several years ago (“I love Coachella,” frontwoman Emily Haines sighed as the sun began to set and a few of her BSS bandmates from Stars wandered over). The quartet opened with “Dead Disco,” during which Haines — outfitted in a Jetsons-esque shiny silver onesie and pink high-top Converse — high-kicked and flicked her legs at her keyboards and guitarist Jimmy Shaw delivered a manically twitchy solo. The band debuted new track “Saturday Night,” a stoner rocker (per Haines), and toured their 2003 and 2005 LPs, including “Hustle Rose,” “Combat Baby” and “Empty,” ending on “Monster Hospital,” which got the crowd jumping and shouting along to the refrain, “I fought the war … but the war won’t stop for the love of God … I fought the war, and the war won.”