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Day 3: Infected Mushroom Brings Head-Banging Trance To Coachella

Confession: Trance (spikey-haired douches bouncing to 135 beats-per-minute music) is not our thing. Burning Man (sweaty, 40-year-old shaved-head guys perving on 18-year-old, pigtailed girls with lollipops) -- also not our thing. Put the two together, and we'll go running for the hills. But we tried to keep an open mind Sunday about trance band Infected Mushroom, whose tie-dyed and rasta-haired followers seem to have come straight from Black Rock.

You know what? This Israeli-bred, L.A.'-based quartet really rocks. What on disc can seem a bit contrived -- rockist guitar licks echoing over relentlessly bouncing bass-lines -- comes to life on-stage. Vocalist Amit Duvdevani commands the platform like a metal god (shaking his black microphone at the crowd like a wand) and guitarist Tommy Cunningham Erez Eisen belts out Tenacious D-like chords, hiding under a tuft of hair that had him looking a little like Slash. (Added: Erez Eisen was on the keyboard).

Framed by two oversized mushroom props, the band whipped the Saraha tent into submission; it seemed nearly impossible not to be subsumed by a show that was a mash-up of hard-rock testosterone and techno discipline. The groove, however, was a sideline as Duvdevani and Eisen stole the show.

Dance music shows have come a long way, from the shoe-gazing reclusiveness of DJs such as John Digweed to the punkish antics of Justice. But where acts past have mostly pressed buttons and twisted knobs, Infected has reopened the window to rock 'n' roll. The band's sincere enthusiasm and energy won us over. While we won't be rolling in the dirt at Burning Man anytime soon, we'd go to an Infected club show any day.


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