As the nation is glued to the coverage of the recent bombing in Boston and the explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant, music lovers filing into the Polo Grounds are ready to enjoy three packed days of nonstop music — but they are walking with a bit more American pride.
At an ID check near the mainstage — that’s where festivalgoers get wristbands to buy alcohol — a worker was clad in a Boston Red Sox jersey. “I flew out here to work the festival and that … happened in between the weekends. I’m ready to get back,” he said as he doled out the paper wristbands and exchanged conversation with those he checked.
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But the Boston pride didn’t stop there. As I meandered across the fields through a sea of Coachella t-shirts and apparel from acts on the bill including Passion Pit, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Wu-Tang Clan, I spotted a Boston themed t-shirt on one guy who was grinning from ear to ear. And then another. And another. A well-worn Boston Red Sox hat on one fella and an even dirtier one on another.
If it wasn’t shirts representing for Boston, it was clothing with the American flag plastered all over it.
Two girls running toward the Outdoor Stage to catch Aesop Rock’s set that had just started both wore American flag t-shirts. Given the scorching heat it was understandable that one girl wore a cropped version that exposed an awful lot of flesh (this is, after all, Coachella).
The American apparel (no pun intended) was all over, even as I settled into the back of the Gobi tent to catch the electro-dipped R&B; of Minneapolis indie rock outfit Polica.
As lead singer Channy Leneagh unpacked a slow-dripping, nimble take on Keith Sweat’s late ‘90s R&B; gem “Nobody,” a guy in tie-dyed American flag shorts swayed gently, mouthing the words near a girl clad in a very small bit of fabric that was still red, white and blue.
At the close of Polica’s set, a man with an American flag bandanna offered a wide, warm smile. With all the news coming out of Boston and Texas the past few days, a smile — and lots of music — couldn’t be more welcome.