The Hits and Misses at Coachella

A recap of the three-day desert festival we didn't go to either

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That three-day Indio, California festival for well-heeled, sun-scorched music fans has come to an end. And for everyone who wasn't at Coachella, take comfort, neither were we. But as the deluge of festival reviews arrives, we're keeping tabs on who got the best press out of these trend-setting few days.

Here's a rundown on the most-talked about performances of the festival:

Universally Acclaimed:

  • Kanye West - By now, everyone's tired of hearing this, but Kanye has seriously resurrected his brand since Swift-gate so long ago. Hyperbole-prone MTV declared his Sunday night set "one of the most memorable performances in Coachella history," while the Los Angeles Times deemed his act "captivating, a festival performance unlike any other," and LA Weekly gave the most critical assessment: "It's pointless, pompous, kind of perfect."

Most People Liked Them:

  • Arcade Fire - In what Rolling Stone describes as a "stunning, otherworldly sight" the indie-band released 2,000 balloons to the audience's delight--and their show was "soaring, theatrical and emotional" too. Still, the New York Times reviewer couldn't help but take a jab, saying "I've never been sold on this band: something about the singing, the rhythm, the glockenspiel."
  • Mumford & Sons - Relayed Spin magazine, who dubbed the band the "best breakthrough": "the London quartet were as humble and earnest as ever--they frequently reminded the crowd how much they appreciated their support and refrained from any rock star hot-dogging." The Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone concurred, with the Times noting of their rise to stardom, "unexpected, but totally natural in the end"

Only Acceptable, But Still Noteworthy:

  • Animal Collective - It's "just pretty music that's repetitive and without highs and lows," conceded LA Weekly, who wanted to like the set. The New York Times made a similar point that we aren't sure is praise or criticism: their music is "droney, impulsive, jagged, well-practiced: a low-budget, high-energy, full of texture, echo, implied ritual, and jump-cuts that startled you from behind and then running off in another direction."
  • Robyn - "As much as we respect Robyn for her self-aware, slightly edgy Swedish Pop, we would have loved her a little more if she turned down her backing tracks," wrote LA WeeklySpin, however, came to her defense: "She danced and strutted, dry-humped her keyboard, threw karate chops and kicks, and at all times radiated the charisma of someone who was in heaven in front of a crowd. She may sing about fembots, but Robyn was full of life.

Mostly Panned:

  • Cee-Lo - He reportedly arrived late, blamed the concert organizers for it, gave a perfunctory review of his hits, launched into a cover of "Don't Stop Believin'"--and was yanked midway through for going over his set time. The worst part? "Fuck you" was turned into an "expletive-filled chorus" aimed at the performer, noted Spin.
  • Kings of Leon - Maybe we labeled Leon too low on this list, but after reading the Los Angeles Times take down of their set, we just couldn't: "[Lead singer] Followill's voice is far from ugly,  but when he lapses into his tomcat caterwauling or his strangely lascivious frog croak, it's a misuse of a fine instrument."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.