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Coachella: The Five Best Guitar Moments From the First Weekend

St vincent andrew youssef coachella wkend1.jpg
Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
By Adam Lovinus

See also:

*Our complete Coachella coverage

*Coachella Preview 2012: Everything You Need to Know About the Performers

*Coachella: Five Signs You're An Aging Hipster

This year's Coachella lineup mostly favored artists not necessarily known for guitar prowess, but it did feature some fantastic fretwork. (And we're not even counting Cole Alexander playing his axe with his wang.) Texas blues appears to be on its way back in vogue if Gary Clarke Jr.'s Coachella reception means anything, but the proggy art rockers and indie heroes also did what they do best. Here are five standout moments that happened on six-strings this past weekend.

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Timothy Norris/LA Weekly
Gary Clarke, Jr., "Third Stone from the Sun" into "Bright Lights"

Comparing a guitarist to Jimi Hendrix is pretty annoying, but hey, that's what happens whenever a young, black man stands out playing blues-based rock & roll. Clark, Jr. made good on this comparison with this tribute to the god of the electric guitar, winning a huge reception at Coachella.

Manchester Orchestra, "Shake It Out"

The fierce double-guitar attack of guitarists Andy Hull and Robert McDowell rattled the collective solar plexus of the Mojave Stage this weekend. The climax came in the intense ascending outro of this 2009 hit during which the festival audience worked itself into a frenzied, sustained applause--definitely a high-energy point of the weekend.

St vincent andrew youssef coachella wkend1.jpg
Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
St. Vincent, "Black Rainbow"
Annie Clark may have been pissed off this weekend. The first sign was her near-destruction of a theramin during the set opener on Saturday night. Another indicator was this brutal jam from her 2009 Actor album, which she completely annihilated during the discordant final throes of the closing chord progession.

 

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Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead
Radiohead, "15 Step"
It's tough to select one moment from this set. During the second song from Saturday's headliner, Radiohead lead guitar player Jonny Greenwood kicked on his POG (Polyphonic Octave Generator, duh) for a quick solo. Coupled with the eerie light-blue digital wash of the onstage visuals, the solo took on an awesome icy ambiance. That shit was glacial, man.

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Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
Wild Flag, "Carrie"
Sometimes

it takes witnessing live performance to "get it." Having never seen Sleater-Kinney live, then, this meant that watching Wild Flag shed light on the greatness that is Carrie Brownstein's approach to the guitar. Classically speaking, her technique is rudimentary at best; but what comes out is pure steeze: visceral and unique to the player--unafraid

and unabashed to play what she wants when she wants to.   

See also:

*Our complete Coachella coverage

*Coachella Preview 2012: Everything You Need to Know About the Performers

*Coachella: Five Signs You're An Aging Hipster

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