Danny Elfman is by some margin the oldest artist performing at this year’s youth-focused Coachella. However, on the basis of his eclectic show at the festival’s Outdoor Theatre stage late on Saturday night (16 April), his age is the least unusual thing about him.
For a start, there can be few 68-year-old composers around who would choose to perform topless so as best to show off a heavily tattooed torso. More pertinently, there are few composers of any age who could make a full orchestra sound like a garage punk band, as Elfman often does throughout his hour-long set. But Elfman – a master of the macabre, whose dark, eerie scores are practically synonymous with Tim Burton’s films – has never been your typical Hollywood songwriter
“Hello Coachella,” he says, not long after playing deranged 2021 single “Insects” and then a section of his bombastic orchestral score from 2002’s Spider-Man. “My name’s Danny Elfman, and I’ve got a strange little show for you.” He’s not kidding.