Rock Candy correspondents Joel Henriksen and Keith Finn are in Indio this weekend for Coachella.
Every day, they’ll tell you about the best sets from the godfather of indie rock festivals.
The following were the top sets from Saturday.
* * *
The Head and The Heart
I have seen The Head and The Heart perform many times. They have always been able to captivate an audience in small clubs and theaters but I have always been skeptical how they could handle a crowd of thousands. To say the least, they handled it well, and ended up putting on my favorite performance of festival so far. Listening to more than 10,000 people sing along with favorites like “Shake,” “Lost in my Mind” and “Rivers and Roads” really helped me define this as the best set of the festival and truly left me with goose bumps throughout. There is a reason they headline Red Rocks and join the lineup of Maha Music Festival this summer. This band is going somewhere.
Queens of the Stone Age
Saturday’s set was a homecoming for Queens of the Stone Age leader Josh Homme. He was born in the area and wasn’t going to give his hometown crowd a boring performance. The clock struck 9:30 p.m. and Queens of the Stone Age took the stage and proceeded to snarl through 12 songs including many off of their fantastic 2013 album, “Like Clockwork.” We had the opportunity to see them at The Metro in Chicago last summer, but on Saturday, QOTSA proved that they are truly one of America’s best rock bands and can harness a tired crowd into a festival set that is truly hard to compete with. The ball is in your court, Foo Fighters.
The hit-master, Pharrell Williams, utilized his celebrity status for his evening set. A slew of celebrites came out to perform with Pharrell, including Jay Z, T.I., Busta Rhymes, Pusha T and Usher. Pharrell also sang the hit Daft Punk songs “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself to Dance.” Believe it or not, Pharrell also played some of his solo songs. “Happy” and “Come Get It Bae” were included on the star-studded setlist. Pharrell’s performance was a bit random, but entertaining. The crowd could not help but enjoy themselves.
The hot midday was worth waiting in the sun to grab a spot at the set of electronic band Chvrches. Though their performance started late due to technical difficulties, band members powered through with drum machines and synthesizers at their sides. “Recover,” “The Mother We Share” and “We Sink” were a few notable tracks performed by the group. Chvrches is another Coachella band I hope makes it to the Omaha area very, very soon.
Nas put on a very special performance for those at the Outdoor stage. On the exact 20th anniversary of his debut album “Illmatic” (released April 19, 1994), he performed the album in its entirety. Up against Muse and Skrillex, Nasty Nas had no problem packing a large field for his headlining set. Nas had the crowd in his palm by performing songs like “One Love” and “New York State of Mind.” The album performance was great by itself, but at the end of his set he had one more trick up his sleeve. He introduced Ms. Lauryn Hill and together they performed “If I Ruled the World.” The unique aspects of Nas’ set was the perfect way to end Saturday at Coachella.