Grouplove brings joy and Kendrick Lamar proves his mettle as Coachella comes to a close


As day gave way to night during the final hours of Coachella 2017, a collective heave seemed to permeate the acreage in and around the polo grounds. The hard heat had subsided and the festival went into its final lap.

The relief seemed to blow in with the wind gusts, felt h by the estimated 125,000 attendees as well as the festival’s L.A-based promoter, Goldenvoice.

Across six nights over two long weekends, the company once again opened the concert season with a nearly seamless production — Radiohead’s first weekend’s sound issues being the main exception.


Despite the dusty breeze, Sunday concluded with a host of memorable musical moments, which were acknowledged in the late afternoon by the Los Angeles-based pop rock band Grouplove.

On the open-air Coachella stage, shaggy-haired vocalist Christian Zucconi sang lines that resonated among the masses: “I left my body in a sea of people/ And that’s just how I’ll leave it,” he sang, pleading later in the chorus, “Bring me down, break it down in the hot, hot desert/ This is where I wanna be.” Dreams do come true.

A few hours later at the same stage, as EDM producers Porter Robinson and Madeon concluded their heavy thumpy beat music, they thanked their devoted followers and got emotional.

“This dude waved bye to me before the last song, trying to make me cry,” said Robinson of his collaborator Madeon. Adding that the main stage performance had exceeded their wildest expectations, Robinson said, “Seriously, we were children together.”

The second weekend also illustrated the power of word of mouth in the age of social media. As Robinson and Madeon left, a massive pilgrimage to the Outdoor Stage ensued, drawn by film composer Hans Zimmer. His first weekend set earned rave reviews.

For a flock of millennials raised on pop culture, Zimmer’s work was formative.

Fans who moments before were sweating to uptempo beat music stood rapt as Zimmer and his orchestra presented excerpts from his scores for “The Lion King,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Dark Knight” and others.

One unlikely piece saw fans swaying to an instrumental featuring a penny whistle solo, a wild electric cello workout with banjo accompaniment and an orchestra blasting a frantic string and brass arrangement. It rocked.

A few football fields away, the mesmerizing Canadian dance producer Kaytranada delivered a set of soulful house music in the high-tech Sahara tent.

Later in the night that space was home to one of the most ridiculous performances, by the rising EDM DJ and producer who goes by Marshmello and performs with a white bucket on his head. As a 360-degree light show flashed images of said bucket, which has eyes painted on it in black, his young fans bounced and roared in unison.

At the Mojave tent, English post-punk veterans New Order offered sounds that served as the foundations for synthesizer-driven pop music.

The band’s singer, Bernard Sumner, offered one particular line during “Your Silent Face” that could serve as Coachella’s mantra for remaining relevant in a competitive festival market: “A thought that never changes becomes a stupid lie.”

For many attendees on Sunday, the roster was all leading up to headliner Kendrick Lamar. The L.A. rapper is responsible for the bestselling debut of the year so far with “Damn.”

As with last weekend’s set, Lamar surveyed previous work while showcasing the new material — “Lust, “XXX” and “Humble,” among them — that’s on everybody’s lips.

Those expecting an understated humble affair were mistaken: Lamar’s production was well-choreographed and precisely paced. The rapper swapped outfits a few times and worked in unison with a seductive dancer.

One move during the new track “Pride” saw Lamar rap while vertical and grasping a pole, seeming to hold his body stiff against the gravity.

“In a perfect world I’ll choose faith over riches … I’ll make schools out of prison/ I’ll take all the religions and put them all in one service,” Lamar rapped.

Judging by the thousands rapping along, he’s already gathering disciples to make this perfect world a reality.

For tips, records, snapshots and stories on Los Angeles music culture, follow Randall Roberts on Twitter and Instagram: @liledit. Email: