Anchored on Saturday by Lady Gaga, who stepped in for expectant superstar Beyoncé, this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival featured headliner Radiohead on Friday and, to close the weekend, Kendrick Lamar as Sunday's headliner. Lorde, DJ Khaled, Hans Zimmer also performed. Wait ... Hans Zimmer? Here are all the weekend one updates from the desert.
After his sundown set, it's finally time to admit that Father John Misty isn't joking anymore — he's maybe the finest rock act L.A. has going for it right now.
Misty, of course, is the wiseacre former folkie Josh Tillman, whose first two LP's as Misty tweaked L.A. life while trying to find some real romance underneath. It was a character, but one we needed to hang out in the corner of the party shooting spitballs at the scene.
His third, however, "Pure Comedy," is more harrowing. It's bummed about the present, terrified about the future and funny in the way that the inevitability of death is a cosmic joke.
At the sundown set on the Main Stage, Misty proved that the act is up, and he has found his voice. It's a gorgeous one.
Backed by a small orchestra and a trim-suited live band, Misty looked looked like he had just got out of the shower after surviving a three-day bender in a luxury hotel. Snakeskin moccasins, sunglasses at night, windswept long hair — every detail was spot-on.
But let's be clear — he's not kidding anymore. He never was, really, but now he's devoted all his wit and psychedelic musings into writing the best songs of his life, and playing them beautifully.
"Ballad of the Dying Man" and "When the God of Love Returns There'll Be Hell To Pay" were immaculate ballads, sung with soul and precision, and managed to sneak some relatable existential dread onto the main stage. They're tales with no punchlines, setups with no redemption — Misty knows we're all gonna die, and maybe soon. Best thing to do is sing about it, maybe.
He closed with the title track from "I Love You, Honeybear," his album of drunk-sincere devotion to his wife. If you had a partner in the crowd, you held them for a few minutes while the sun went down. It'll go down for all of us eventually, but for tonight, at least we had some good company.