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Coachella 2014 Review: Beck Reignites The Weirdo Fun

Mr. Beck Hansen left the sad songs at home for a spectacularly danceable Coachella set.

Jessica Bohyby Jessica Bohy

If you’ve been a Beck fan since the beginning, you know he exploded on the music scene as a weirdo "Loser" slacker in a small frame. The years that followed had fans on a roller coaster of oddity through unparalleled creativity, and his quirky-fun nature was a welcome staple at festivals. Then, something changed. Some say it was heartbreak. Others say it was a back problem, while some point to Scientology. But whatever the case, our comical music Picasso took a mid-career shift into slower, heartbroken waters. He learned to alchemize the downtempo new formula on his latest record, but standing at the main stage on Sunday night waited in anticipation to know which Beck was coming out to play.

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As the intro for “Devil’s Haircut” began, a wave of relief washed through the crowd. When he followed it up with “Loser,” it was clear that Beck was here to give his Coachella party people what they came for. Whether you were a Beck fan when Mellow Gold came out in 1994 or you were born in 1994 and are still working through his catalogue, you were likely among the thousands dancing like maniacs through his entire set.

Beck covered the span of his twenty-year career with thirteen songs including tracks like “Black Tambourine,” the stomping a capella of “One Foot in The Grave” and newer fan-favorite “Blue Moon”. He followed up with “Golden Age,” a song he dedicated to the end of the weekend.

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A veteran of Coachella performances, Beck's formula for milking the last ounce of energy from his crowd is flawless. Starting with a couple tracks the crowd can sing and dance along with not only woke up a drained audience at the end of a long weekend, but also drew in any of the aforementioned passerby in their hipster “made in the 90s” t-shirt who were happy to close the ignorance loop on wondering who sings that “Where It’s At” jam that owned the radio a few years back. 

After years of downtempo heartache design, it's good to have him back.