With so many acts on so many stages, Coachella — a festival where Saturday’s headliner, Beyoncé, is expected to bring approximately 100 dancers with her — can feel inhospitable to the idea of a solo performer doing her thing up there all by herself.
But that’s what Sudan Archives did Saturday afternoon in the Gobi tent.
Dressed in queenly red-and-gold garb, the L.A.-based artist sang and played violin accompanied by clattering yet hypnotic percussion grooves, which she triggered on a small electronic box that served as her only bandmate.
The first thing the Weeknd did when he came onstage Friday at Coachella — having emerged through a crack in an enormous mask that made the stage look like some otherworldly ruin — was grin.
And why not?
Headlining the festival's first night, the Canadian R&B singer was peering out at a vast audience numbering in the tens of thousands, many of whom had watched him ascend Coachella's ranks over the past six years — from shaky newcomer in 2012 to aspiring pop star in 2015 to the established A-lister who just topped the Billboard chart with an EP he released mere hours after announcing its existence.
The countdown to the moment Beyoncé takes the main stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is officially on. How should you occupy yourself while you wait?
Maybe two scoops of Van Leeuwen ice cream in a waffle cone. Or a mutli-course dinner from chef Curtis Stone's Gwen pop-up restaurant. Tacos from Guerrilla Tacos.
Feel like a burger? Christian Page is cooking up cheeseburgers at the Cassell's booth. And chef Shirley Chung (who is opening her restaurant Ms Chi in downtown L.A. soon) is making dumplings lashed with chile oil.
That much is certain, from the headliners on down. But it wasn’t that long ago that the festival had tilted hard to EDM, putting DJ-driven spectacles as grand finales and loading up the dance-focused Sahara Tent with as much LED firepower as it could muster.
A two-hour stretch after the Coachella dinner shift showed that the festival’s electronic music future is going to get weirder and better but also hokier and decidedly more lowbrow.
Vince Staples had a lot of people talking Friday night after the 24-year-old emcee dropped two bombshells during his set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Staples performed on the festival’s main stage, calling it the “white people stage” and saying, “I know y’all don’t know who I am cause none of y’all look like me, but I don’t give a … .”
For his final song, he brought out surprise guest Kendrick Lamar for a performance of “Yeah Right,” a song featured on his 2017 album “Big Fish Theory.” The crowd, which many characterized as “dry” on Twitter, went wild once Lamar appeared onstage.
The Sahara Tent provided the clearest definition of what the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has become when 11-year-old Mason Ramsey took the stage Friday afternoon alongside electronic dance artist Whethan.
Two weeks ago the preteen from Golconda, Ill., was unknown, and then a video of him yodeling in a Walmart went viral and he became an overnight sensation — with his own hashtags: #WalmartYodelBoy and #WalmartYodelingKid.
With few events as trendy as Coachella — just check your Instagram and Twitter feeds — it was no surprise Mason’s arrival was met with rapturous applause and not with the nod of irony one might expect.
Jack Antonoff remade Bruce Springsteen’s boomer-friendly arena rock for a millennial audience as he led his band Bleachers inside Coachella’s packed Mojave tent Friday afternoon.
Wearing high-waisted dad jeans and a black sleeveless T-shirt, the singer and guitarist from Springsteen’s home state of New Jersey told the crowd that he’d written his sad songs all alone in his room — then added that they didn’t sound so sad now that thousands were singing along.
Antonoff, who’s also an in-demand producer for the likes of Lorde and Taylor Swift, brought out Carly Rae Jepsen to sing a pair of tunes: “Hate That You Know Me” and “Alfie’s Song (Not So Typical Love Song),” from the soundtrack of “Love, Simon.”
Kali Uchis’ new album is called “Isolation,” but she was anything but alone at her set at Coachella’s Outdoor Theater on Friday.
The Colombian American singer is one of the quintessential new pop voices right now, running Amy Winehouse’s melancholy soul through a contemporary sheen of dub reggae, Latin pop and hip-hop brashness, all with a very East L.A. sense of history and longing (even though she was raised in Virginia).
She’s become an adopted favorite of L.A. — her Coachella warmup set in downtown and her gig at the recent Tropicalia fest were all slammed with eager fans who knew every word in English and Spanish.