"This is going to go down as one of the best shows I've ever played," Stormzy told the audience during his set at Coachella on Friday. "Before coming here, I didn't know if it would be two people or 200 -- and there's thousands."
There's maybe no worse time to hit a Coachella stage -- particularly one of the outdoor main stages -- than early afternoon on opening day. With the bustle to get inside sometimes sluggish on Day One, crowds can be anemic, not to mention the hot temperatures that send people to seek relief under shaded tents or wherever a cool breeze can be caught.
But the British grime rapper's debut at the fest was packed, with the audience willing to break a sweat. And Stormzy, whose buzz has been growing stateside, took notice repeatedly during a frenetic set that left him drenched a few songs in.
As if one new Kendrick Lamar album weren't enough, on Friday morning Twitter erupted with speculation that the Compton rapper would be issuing a companion to “Damn” on Easter Sunday called “Nation.” The theory arose on Reddit, where sleuths started connecting dots.
Whether it’s true or not, gathering tidbits of evidence certainly makes for a good parlor game. Below, five convincing clues.
1. “Damn” was released on Good Friday and opens and closes with Lamar getting shot, which detectives suggest mirrors Jesus’ death. Might the would-be companion piece, “Nation,” resurrect the fallen Lamar on Easter Sunday?
The first thing you notice when you walk onto the Coachella grounds in 2017? Everything is bigger. And it's more striking a change than the fest has seen in years.
An extra 25,000 fans, naturally, are going to need the space. But for anyone with muscle memory about exactly how long it takes to stroll from the main stage to the Sahara Tent will find the compass a little wobbly.
The Gobi and Mojave are tucked deep in what used to be the backstage area. The new Sonora Tent and the return of the Yuma Tent now make the upper terrace feel like its own mini-festival. The pastel Seussian sculpture garden (the Chiaozza Garden, to be exact) in the main stage is a world unto itself.
Yet one style of music has long been underrepresented on the grounds of the posh Empire Polo Club in Indio: Latin music. That changes this year.
Coachella’s 2017 roster includes the highest volume of Latino and Spanish-language bands in its 18-year history. Given Southern California’s demographics, some might say it's been a long time coming, especially when one takes into account that the actual city of Coachella is more than 96% Latino or Hispanic.
Though the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has become a spring tradition, there are still many questions for those preparing to attend the desert festival for the first time. The festival’s website has its list of tips as well as some do’s and don’ts, but here are a few of ours.
There’s a new stage
Everyone welcome the Sonora Stage to the family. Like the Despacio and Yuma tents of recent years, this one will have a genre focus — punk and garage rock — where super-fans can post up for the day or pass through when they need a bracing blast of guitar noise. It’s by the entrance, and worth a look for sets by Guided by Voices, Downtown Boys and T.S.O.L.
The Do LaB — the outsider dance music stage at the edge of the Coachella grounds — has announced its lineup for the 2017 festival, and it looks prepared to compete with the rest of the forward-thinking club music bills at the fest.
Mr. Carmack, L.A. beat-scene favorite Gaslamp Killer, Justin Martin and Dirtybird Records boss Barclay Crenshaw are among the headliners at the fan-favorite niche stage, which has its own ecosystem of Burner-style vibes (indebted to the same folks behind the Lightning in a Bottle festival, who curate it).
It’s been a 13-year fixture at Coachella, and its rowdy-hippy aesthetic has a life of its own there.
As the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival approaches, devoted music fans have been in the midst of another rite of spring: speculating on what’s going to happen when the music starts.
In years past, after all, we’ve paid witness to Roger Waters’ flying pig and Arcade Fire’s glowing orbs. Tupac Shakur came back from the dead — in the form of a hologram-like concoction.
Chance the Rapper’s 2014 first-weekend debut saw Justin Bieber pop by for a cameo. In 2007, an unknown Amy Winehouse established a stateside presence during a sunset performance in the Gobi tent. Portishead followed by Prince in 2008? Epic.