Sunday was the scorcher of the Coachella stretch, so it seemed a good idea to sleep in and catch some pool hours before braving the 100+ degrees afternoon.

Fittingly, the Balearic pop of UK darlings Friendly Fires made them the hot ticket of the first shift.  Their stirring, somewhat deranged punk/dance anthems like “Jump In the Pool” were just what fans needed, and kept the Gobi Tent ignited throughout their set.  Singer Ed McFarlane worked the stage like a spasmodic pop tart and the band’s single, “Paris”, came on like decadent pancakes for the early Sunday concert-goer looking for the fastest, sweetest wake up call.


Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ show was stellar, meshing new material with old crowd favorites.  The golden, shimmering Karen O was a front woman to be reckoned with, swinging her mic overhead during “Honeybear” one minute, and comically shrugging off a missed cue during the intro to “Golden Lion” the next.

My Bloody Valentine, armed with perhaps the loudest set of the weekend, took over the stage with some mind-numbing tunes devoid of any fluff such as riffs or hooks.  Instead, they brought us pure metal, electric Valentine power, forcing some fans to literally cover their ears in pain.  The only ones who seemed able to enjoy the set fully were those smart enough to get the “Coachella earplugs” that the Goldenvoice promoters were generously handing out.

What can one say that hasn’t been said about the always welcome, comforting tunes of The Cure?  Robert Smith hasn’t bothered to update his look since he stole so many rebellious, tween hearts during his band’s 80′s heyday.  He’s still got the same face, (just plumper), with a mess of black eyeliner and red lipstick.

Likewise, The Cure’s songs are, as always, awash in blissful guitars, rife with heartfelt basslines and lamenting emotions, with the pìece de résistance being Smith’s trademark voice, which wavers that thin line between happy and sad.  It was hard not to get emotional during hits like “Lullaby”, “Pictures of You”, “Lovesong” and the darker “Disintegration” during their main set.  No wonder so many dubbed the festival  as “Curechella” this year.


The Cure decided to ignore their stage time curfew during “Boys Don’t Cry”, and play a lights out, unplugged set for forty more minutes.  It was like their post-punk battle cry, giving fans something to tell their goth grandkids about. Smith idolizers rushed the stage as The Cure soldiered on, playing one of the longest sets of the festival weekend, ending with “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” and “Grinding Halt”.–Aishah Roberts, with Madeline Virbasius-Walsh/The Cure collage by Tim Nestor