R Kelly surprise guest at Coachella

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Coachella is the US answer to Glastonbury only with fewer hippie pensioners, much better weather and more sponsorship. Held in the small town of Indio, California, it usually attracts plenty of the young and famous. This year Katy Perry, Rita Ora, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were among the faces spotted strolling around the stages.

Musically, it was a mixed bag, with the biggest talking point being a surprise guest appearance by lascivious R n B star R Kelly. Kelly showed up to join French pop-rock headliners Phoenix on the second night for a spot of cross-cultural pollination, churning out a version of 'Ignition' that was, well, different.

Coachella has an eclectic approach to selecting its line-ups, which doesn’t always work. The final night was a case in point. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds offered an ominous and disturbing set of grim ballads and dark folk myths, only to be followed by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ bland brand of tired funk-rock. The idea of "something for everybody" can be taken too far.

The British contingent had a mixed reaction. Biffy Clyro gave an energetic performance, another step in their steady progress towards world domination. Hot Chip, whose middle-class dance pop appeals to dinner-party hipsters in the UK, found a broader appeal in California.

Blur, who seem to be busier than ever now that they are calling an end to the band, went down well with a US crowd that associates them with 'Song 2', the anthem that is played constantly at American sports events. The Stone Roses, supposedly headlining the opening night, suffered the ignominy of a tiny crowd unimpressed that they were an iconic 80s band who had deigned to reform.

Elsewhere on the bill, earnest indie kids jigged listlessly to the electropop melancholy of The Postal Service, back by popular demand to mark the tenth anniversary of their classic (and only) album Give Up. Frontman Ben Gibbard’s songs of failed love affairs have taken on additional poignancy since his split from Zooey Deschanel, although the downside is that he is beginning to look alarmingly like Elton John.

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