Australian-Belgium Gotye is not only a super star with one of the most listened to, loved, and downloaded songs in the world right now, but a super talent. His eclectic, experimental songwriting skills are on par with some of the modern greatest.
And his jazzy, avant-garde playing style, while not necessarily popular with some of the audience members at Coachella, is theatrical and visionary. Gotye is a master of rhythm keeping and melody; the singer-songwriter engaged in tribal drum duels, lushly live-layered percussive instruments, and plunked on a plank of xylophone all with the impassioned air of a mad musical genius.
The star played songs like “Smoke and Mirrors,” “State of the Art” which fuses technological blips with a dance hall vibe, “Thanks For Your Time” which has a similar looped tenor shriek as m83’s “Midnight City,” “Eyes Wide Open,” and, of course, his hit song “Somebody That I Used To Know.”
“There’s a young lady who hails from new Zealand called Kimbra,” said Gotye teasingly as the audience cheered, “who can’t be here tonight.”
“But you guys have been doing such a good job,” continued Gotye with his sigh grin. “I don’t think we need her tonight. It’s just a little bit in the middle of the song, but it’s kind of important,”
Gotye played his part, singing low while the whole audience sang along to his song and then completely cutting out for Kimbra’s part. The audience sang along in unison, belting out the lyrics emotionally.
Sadly, the audience began to clear out after they heard Gotye’s hit and the missed out on one of his best songs, an old song with a ’70s soul-ballad vibe called “Learnalilgivinalovin.” Gotye broke out into a drum solo which was answered by a horn solo in true experimental jazz fashion and at the end of the song the whole band bowed as Australian flag beach balls bounced happily around the smiling musicians finally over with their first Coachella experience.
–Nadia Noir, CBS Radio Los Angeles