I have seen the future (and the past) of Britpop and its name is Jagwar Ma.
Never mind that the band isn't even British. These three young Australians look like they were barely alive when Oasis hit it big, but they managed to channel Primal Scream, Beta Band and (yes!) the Stone Roses on the Gobi stage at Coachella on Friday.
Lead singer Gabriel Winterfield even wore a Kangol-style hat (but no baggy trousers), and gangly bassist Jack Freeman did a bit of a Bez of Happy Mondays dance routine when he wasn't playing. I could feel the reverb from the soles of my feet to my heart (did it change its rhythm?) as the synth started out solo with a jungle sounds jam that had a 1990 vibe.
Then the band opened with "What Love," a psychedelic dance track that launches one of the best series of album-opening songs in recent memory. I've had the band's debut album, "Jagwar Ma," on repeat in recent weeks, and it's that utter rarity: not a dud on the disc.
You know those songs you skip over? I don't do that with this album. And I like it better with each listen. Songs begin one way, end another, and it's wonderful. Songs blend into each other like a DJ is on the case. Songs become almost trancey dance grooves.
Early in the set the band played my favorite song (for the moment): "Man You Need," with its "Creep"-with-edge chorus: "You're not the man I need/That's what you said to me. ... But let me show you, babe/all the man I can be." Unlike some of the lead singers of the Britpop era (calling Ian Brown and Liam Gallagher), Winterfield is a pretty good mover, even doing a Michael Jackson moondance at one point. And when he and Freeman did a goofy pas de deux -- swoon.
The crowd -- decent sized for an afternoon show on the weekend's opening day -- seemed to be swooning a bit too. The Second Coming?
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