The innovative Pacific Northwest rockers known as Menomena had Velvet Jones packed by around 11 p.m. on Friday night, performing a set that sounded not that far off from their studio recordings. Taking a break from their current tour with Bloc Party, the three-piece proved they have the ability to fill a club – a difficult feat for any band playing SoCal on the opening night of the annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Fest – and please a crowd all on their own.
Menomena’s whimsical brand of dreamy indie rock tends to draw quite the student following (each of their tour dates has them playing near a college or university); something that no doubt helped fill their Santa Barbara stop from wall to wall. The night started off slow with openers The Coral Sea, who simply didn’t grasp the audience’s collective attention. Still, ticket holders were definitely thrilled when the headliners climbed onto the Velvet stage and behind their instruments.
All in all, the threesome played superbly, sounding tight, rehearsed (but not over-rehearsed), and professional. They even got a fair share of audience members – seemingly dedicated fans – to sing along. The band also never seemed to tire as they worked their way through a decent portion of their lengthy catalog. The show provided, yet again, a solid testament to the power of the Velvet-Club Mercy collaboration team, and with a turnout so great, hopefully music loving residents of S.B. will see even more indie rock shows sprouting up very soon.