When we last caught up with Prayers, San Diego’s cholo-goth duo and the city’s only Coachella representatives, they were busy preparing for their first time on stage in Indio. And shortly after 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Prayers’ Leafar Seyer (Rafa Reyes) and Dave Parley became part of the long and storied list of performers to play the world’s most successful music festival.
Part of those aforementioned pre-show errands included getting a custom microphone stand, which ended up being about the only thing that didn’t work perfectly for the pair during their time in the Mojave Tent.
After a spirited entrance that included Seyer’s shouts of “619 in this m----------r!,” the dynamic bandleader got through about two minutes of the duo’s first song before the mic cord detached.
“There were technical difficulties,” Seyer said a few hours later in Coachella’s media area. “There were some glitches. But other than that, the energy of the audience was great. They received us well. I could feel it. That’s our family. They love us, and we love them.”
The tattooed frontman wasn’t lying. But the early-day crowd’s adulation had less to do with pre-formed opinions about the band and more to do with Seyer’s charismatic and completely unorthodox stage presence.
For those who have never seen the band, Seyer is a wild juxtaposition of emotions and themes. At one moment he’s wielding a real knife pantomiming kill moves, and at others he’s preaching about unconditional love and higher consciousness.
The Penn to Parley’s Teller, Seyer constantly communicates with the audience, preaching on a variety of disparate subjects from gang life to gender roles.
At a cursory glance, all of it may seem disingenuous or scripted. But spend a few minutes with Seyer one-on-one and it’s immediately apparent that he’s both sincere and going for broke.
“This is who I am,” he said. “I don’t try. But the outside world will never judge you as much as a friend. If you tell your friends your deepest, darkest secrets, when there’s a falling out, they’ll use it against you. I’m vulnerable. I’m open. I have nothing to hide. The more the world knows about my pain, the less they can use it against me.”
His candor is alarming and sometimes contradicting, but never anything less than engaging. He knows his complexities are part of the band’s allure. He isn’t afraid of a misstep or two if that means continuing to react instead of contrive. And he remains resolute in his idea that he is here to do something far more important than play songs.
“David and I are not musicians,” he said. “We’re magicians. We came here to create and manifest. Musicians came here to entertain and make money. We came here to empower. We came here to break stereotypes. We came here to do something completely different. This isn’t music. This is a movement we’re creating. This is revolution.”