Coachella 2011: Prayers for the party kids with Scala & Kolacny Brothers


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In the days leading up to Friday’s kickoff of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Pop & Hiss offers a preview of some of this year’s less established or underappreciated artists.

Who: Scala & Kolacny Brothers

When: Friday

From: Belgium

The dirty secret about Coachella is that at some point in the three-day blitzkrieg even the most voracious listener will get tired of guitar, drums, synthesizers and other racket-making instruments, no matter how divinely combined.


It’s true that Scala and Kolacny Brothers, the all-female Belgian choir led by pianist-composer Steven Kolacny and his conductor-brother Stijn, are playing early in the festival, but hopefully, their soft vocal harmonies will sustain you into the late night when the Sahara tent resembles a violent alien spacecraft about to lift off.

The Scala choir, going strong since 1996, first got its name in the States with its cover of “Creep,” used in the trailer for “The Social Network” and somehow more haunting than the Radiohead angst classic. On its Rhino debut, the 200-member ensemble specializes in covering rock songs that wouldn’t be pegged for ethereal treatment. Who knew, for instance, that “Champagne Supernova” from Oasis could sound like the last transmission from a collective of angels falling through space, instead of the pained nasal wail from one-half of bickering British brothers?

The rest of Coachella can be summed up as a party in the desert, but for Scala & Kolacny Brothers, it’ll be more like church in the desert, the altar devoted to sweet rock and roll.


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-- Margaret Wappler