Dance music and DJ culture have been key components of Coachella since its inception, but the scene's lengthy slump combined with a heightened presence of hip-hop to dampen enthusiasm over dance music coming in to the 2005 edition.
Sunday's dance music lineup, however, delivered strongly.
Loyalists packed the large Sahara Tent early in the day and had already worked up a sweat when Everything but the Girl's Ben Watt arrived in late afternoon. Respected for helping to bring dance music into the mainstream with EBTG, Watt, in his Coachella debut, offered a mix of largely disco-oriented grooves.
He did suffer one train wreck (a skip in the record) during "Missing," EBTG's chart-topping single, but Watt rebounded, finishing with a flourish that included a nice segue from an R&B vocal track into a percussive selection. He left the stage to the hero's ovation Coachella dance fans have given the pioneers of the genre every year.
It's become a tradition in the Sahara Tent that one of the day's less-heralded acts rises to a new level. This year it was Watt's label mate, Miss Kittin, whose showmanship, excellent use of two giant video screens flanking the stage (and genre-busting mix, combining live vocals and heavy beats with a German industrial sound, electrified the tent.