Coachella may be known, in part, as a platform for reunions, returns, and all manner of musical throwbacks, but it’s not the only music festival in the GoldenVoice family with a propensity toward sonic nostalgia. Nowadays, Just Like Heaven could give its three-day predecessor a run for its money in that regard.

This year, the single-day event celebrating indie and alternative music from the 2000s and 2010s returned to Brookside at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena with an exciting slate of bands who have (or had) been rarities on the touring circuit since their respective heydays.

That vibe made Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service a fitting one-two punch atop the ticket for Just Like Heaven. Since last year, lead singer Ben Gibbard has been busy criss-crossing the country to commemorate 20 years of Death Cab’s Transatlanticism and Postal’s Give Up.

And though he and his bandmates—including former Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis—had already serenaded local audiences with their familiar setlists during three nights at the Hollywood Bowl last October, their latest swing through Southern California was just as well received as any other.

If anything, the 2023 tour, which has continued into 2024, only seemed to sharpen both acts. From fan favorites like “The New Year”, “Title and Registration”, and “A Lack of Color” as Death Cab, to unmistakable classics like “Such Great Heights”, “Clark Gable”, and “Natural Anthem”—not to mention an all-in cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence”—Ben’s performances oozed with passion as he danced across the stage in white and black outfits, respectively.

Unlike those previous Los Angeles shows, though, Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service were far from the only blasts from the past on the bill.

This year’s edition of Just Like Heaven also featured the return of Gossip, the indie rock band that first broke through in 2006 with the hit single “Standing In The Way of Control”. Eighteen years later, singer Beth Ditto and her crew were back in action to excite the Pasadena crowd with their old hits, along with fresh cuts from their latest release, 2024’s Real Power—their first new album in a dozen years.

Several sets after Gossip’s, Passion Pit made a nostalgic play on the Orion Stage. Nearly a year after their triumphant return to the stage at WeHo Pride by OUTLOUD Music Festival, the Massachusetts-based band, led by charismatic lead singer Michael Angelakos, burst back onto the scene with a hit-filled, 45-minute set that included “The Reeling”, “Take a Walk”, “Constant Conversations”, and “Sleepyhead”.

Not long thereafter, Miike Snow popped up on the Stardust Stage, much to the delight of Just Like Heaven attendees. Fresh off penning the smash hits “I’m Just Ken” and “Dance The Night” for the Barbie movie—and five years removed from winning an Academy Award for writing the song “Shallow” in A Star Is BornAndrew Wyatt reprised his role as the frontman of the Swedish indie band with aplomb. They all wore matching office-worthy outfits as they crooned to “Black & Blue”, “Genghis Khan”, “Silvia”, and “Animal” during their first show together in five years.

To be sure, reunions weren’t the only order of the day at Just Like Heaven.

Tegan and Sara tag-teamed their way through songs old and new, including “Walking With a Ghost”. Washed Out lived up to his billing as the “father of chillwave” with his relaxing afternoon set, which featured “Feel It All Around”, perhaps best known as the basis for the Portlandia theme.

Phantogram and Two Door Cinema Club helped the crowd rock out at the Orion Stage with their back-to-back sets. The former squeezed “Black Out Days”, “When I’m Small”, and “Fall in Love” into an eight-song set that also included a brand-new track, titled “All A Mystery”. The latter upped the ante with debut-album favorites like “I Can Talk”, “Something Good Can Work”, “Undercover Martyn”, and “What You Know”, and teased a return to L.A. to play YouTube Theater later this year.

Perhaps no band on the lineup rocked harder than Metric, thanks to bangers like “Gold Gun Girls”, “Help I’m Alive”, and “Black Sheep”.

As expected, though, the guitar performance of the day belonged to Adam Granduciel. The frontman for The War on Drugs wailed away on his Gibson Firebird through band standards like “Pain”, “Red Eyes”, and “Under The Pressure”, with a shortened “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” to close out their set.

Though Just Like Heaven was the last of GoldenVoice’s one-day fests near the Rose Bowl, following the previous weekend’s Cruel World, it won’t be the last such gathering for the famed promotion and production company this year. Come June 8th, they will summon an impressive slew of punk bands—among them, Social Distortion, Iggy Pop, Bad Religion, Turnstile, Sublime, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, and the original Misfits—to the Pomona Fairplex for No Values.