April 21st, 2012, 11:46 pm · · posted by GUEST
On a day when blues, Americana and classic rock-styled artists such as honeyhoney, Dawes and Gary Clark Jr. threatened to turn Coachella into a mini-Hootenanny, night brought a dramatic shift to Coachella on Friday.
Such was definitely the case with Mazzy Star’s 50-minute set on the Outdoor Theatre stage. The alternative band’s set lacked the power and focus of earlier turns from Other Lives, James and aforementioned Dawes, but did provide a cool alternative for those looking to kick back and chill as the temperatures thankfully started to drop from the oppressive 100 degree heat that occupied the festival for most of the day.
Over the course of its nine song set Mazzy Star offered up a mix of its material, from the hard-charging “Ghost Highway” early on to the recently-released alt-country styled “Lay Myself Down” later on.
After the band performed its haunting, best-known song “Fade Into You” midway through its set, about a third of the crowd that had gathered near the Outdoor Theatre stage suddenly split, likely to nab a seat near the main stage to catch the Black Keys.
But those who left early actually missed out on some of the band’s best moments as they played several blues-tinged songs fully utilizing textures provided by slide guitar and even pedal steel.
Singer Hope Sandoval’s lush Margo Timmins-styled vocals and the band’s own Cowboy Junkies/Doors hybrid of dream pop, psychedelic rock and country blues-tinged sonics is as effective now as when the band emerged more than two decades ago. But Sandoval’s approach to envelop the stage in almost total darkness (she kept instructing the crew to keep the lights down) is at odds with the inclusive spirit of Coachella and made little sense. It might be her stage show of choice, but it truly left the band’s fans in the dark.
By Robert Kinsler for The Orange County Register
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