By DONNA BALANCIA
Powered by Dreamcar, Roisin Murphy and Lady Gaga, “Drama Rock” made its debut at Coachella this year.
The Davey Havok-fronted band Dreamcar, and the Irish-born Murphy took the blending of music and art to a new level at the annual festival season-opener in the desert.
The dapper Havok of the new group Dreamcar, sported a slick suit despite the triple-digit heat and he crooned to the audience like a torch singer from the 1940s. The act is very physical as Havok runs the length of the stage, jumps into the audience, high-fives the people and sings with tremendous, in-your-face force. There seems to be a side of Havok that hasn’t left the hardcore punk behind, despite his tidy outward appearance. Havok has matured in his approach to music and he gives Tony Kanal and the No Doubt core a frontman that can carry the group forward.
Havok is clearly an audience favorite as fans scream for him and adore him — particularly the California contingent — as he’s from Ukiah, Calif. The band played cuts off the new, self-titled album due May 12.
Roisin Murphy takes costume changes to a new level, as she must have changed either shirt, skirt or facial attachments at least 16 times during her set. This amazing artist is like a combination of Gloria Gaynor and David Bowie. It’s avant-garde music but set to the disco beat, which got all the festival attendees in the Gobi Tent up and dancing with each other.
Strictly from her appearance it would seem she is the Irish Bjork, as Murphy’s accessories are very bizarre. Fuzzy flowers with faces, masks, and offbeat but feminine clothing is the name of the game here. The music, though, carries through the shenanigans and resonates with deep impact despite the visual whirlwind on stage.
Murphy’s a producer and has cut her teeth in the theatre and it’s easy to identify that background. She was a special treat at Coachella and the festival would be well suited to bring on more performers like Murphy. Her latest album is Take Her Up to Monto.
Blossoms didn’t have theatrics to incorporate into their show, but the drama that surrounded the U.K band was noted as their appearance caused a splash with the media. There was a lot about Blossoms that drew the media and the fans around the Outdoor Theatre stage at the early part of the day. The music is upbeat and catchy. U.K. band is comprised of Tom Ogden, Charlie Salt, Josh Dewhurst, Joe Donovan and Myles Kellock.
Ogden made a sure bet that Blossoms is the only band at Coachella in which the band mates were all born in the same hospital. The hospital is back in Stockport, Manchester.
Also making a splash on the hot weekend 2 were Car Seat Headrest, War Paint, Toots and the Maytalls, The Allah Las, Grace Mitchell and Sunday headliner Kendrick Lamar whose Damn is a major hit.
Banks and Steelz had a great afternoon set and they brought Bishop Briggs up to the stage to join in on the song, “Wild Season,” and she held her own. Florence Welch is the featured singer on the song on the Banks and Steelz debut album, Anything But Words.
Then there’s the drama that goes with the artist who didn’t want his photo taken. We’re not sure what the purpose is for any musician to not want to be photographed by anyone when they are performing to the people who (sometimes) buy the music.
Lady Gaga, whose tireless theatrics make people tired just observing, did not fail to impress on weekend 2. This time, she brought her parents, but still veered little from the week before. She played the classics as well as her new song, “The Cure.” She said she wanted to find out how many people had been listening to it since the song debuted the week before. And as if not to be outdone by any of the other acts during weekend two, Gaga punctuated her final Coachella set with a dramatic fireworks display.