It can be downright nerve-racking for an up-and-coming band to take the stage at one of the world’s largest music festivals.
But for Lawrence at Coachella, fun conquered fear.
Lawrence is a brother-and-sister duo from New York. Clyde and Gracie Lawrence create a sound combining funk, pop and soul. With a discography filled with happy, dancy songs, the band was ready for an early set on Friday in the Mojave tent.
“I think our music is definitely a little bit outside of what a lot of people perceive Coachella as,” Clyde said during a press-tent interview following Lawrence’s weekend two performance. “We were not intimidated by that at all. We’re always really excited to come in, play our show and bring the kind of energy that we’re really proud to bring. We put everyone else in the task of trying to match up to that.”
Added Gracie: “I think I was maybe more nervous the first weekend, but sometimes, it’s good channeling into that energy, so it doesn’t always come across onstage as nervousness; it comes across as energy. Hopefully no one thought we were super-nervous. I think generally, once we get out there, we’re really comfortable, because we’ve been on tour for so long, and it’s such a part of what we do.”
The band seemed comfortable and happy from the moment they walked out onstage and pressed a large red button—at which point the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” theme song began to play. The band wore matching baseball jerseys that read “Lawrence,” and the stage was decorated with TVs, a couch and lamps.
“We try to just ask ourselves what we’re all about, and try to get those things onstage,” Gracie explained during our interview. “Our album before Hotel TV was called Living Room, and our album before that was called Breakfast, so the themes of home and family are such a through line in our music and who we are. We’re finding a way to incorporate that onstage in set pieces, like having hand-painted TVs so they don’t feel so modern, or having things that feel really childlike and nostalgic in the forefront of who we are.”
The band blasted through some of their funky pop tunes as the tent filled up. It was all smiles from both the band and the crowd.
“This is our first Coachella, so let’s party!” exclaimed Gracie.
During the interview, Clyde said he and Gracie are close to the rest of their band—and that comes through during their performances.
“We’ve been friends for so much of our lives that we’re always goofing around during the show, have little inside jokes, and always try to do things to keep it fresh,” Clyde said. “It’s a well-rehearsed show, but we try to also have it feel really loose and casual, so we’re always working to find that balance.”
The fun only grew as the set went on, and more fans kept dancing in. In the middle of their set, Lawrence threw a cover mixing the Hey Arnold! and Seinfeld theme songs into a medley with one of their original songs—making the themes sound just like their original material.
“I’d like to think that was the first Hey Arnold! and Seinfeld theme song in the history of Coachella,” Clyde joked to the crowd.
Clyde explained that portion of their show during our interview.
“We’ve been playing the Hey Arnold! theme song since college, so we’ve always loved that one,” said Clyde. “I actually remember seeing PJ Morton, one of our favorite artists, playing an incredible version of the Cheers theme song, and I thought, ‘Damn, I wish we had thought of that. We’ve got to do more TV songs.’ … When it came time for the Hotel TV tour, we just thought it was the perfect time to do more. We only had a couple in our Coachella set compared to our live show during the headline tour.”
Added Gracie: “I think we also try to put our own spin on them so they naturally feel like: If we wrote this theme song, this is how it would sound? When we go into a song of ours right after it, it feels a part of us.”
After a funky cover of Sean Paul’s “Get Busy,” Lawrence busted out their hits “Do You Wanna Do Nothing With Me?” and “Don’t Lose Sight” for the happy and festive crowd. It almost felt like we were all one big family as the band said goodbye and walked off to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
“Home is such a through line, but we’re always trying to talk about home in slightly different ways,” Clyde said. “With Breakfast being about those moments that you eat around the family, Living Room felt like an album that was about the idea of growing up and trying to write music in a family environment. … Hotel TV is decidedly something that would be not in your home, but a hotel is almost like the closest thing you have to a home while you’re on the road, so Hotel TV is almost an album about what happens when you try to cling on to the idea of home past the time you’re able to spend at home. Even some of the new stuff we’re working on thematically continues to play with the idea of home and family values.”