Anchored on Saturday by Lady Gaga, who stepped in for expectant superstar Beyoncé, this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival featured headliner Radiohead on Friday and, to close the weekend, Kendrick Lamar as Sunday's headliner. Lorde, DJ Khaled, Hans Zimmer also performed. Wait ... Hans Zimmer? Here are all the weekend one updates from the desert.
Swiveling searchlights lit up the night sky a few miles away from where Coachella festivalgoers were jamming along to Lady Gaga's Saturday night performance.
Down an unpaved street just off the desert highway, designer Jeremy Scott hosted his annual Coachella party, a brightly lit desert oasis that seemed as unreal as a mirage.
The Candy Crush-themed bash (in honor of Scott's upcoming capsule collection inspired by the mobile app) featured performances by rappers Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert that were livestreamed by entertainment platform Tidal. At the end of the night, Katy Perry and Scott started a dance party onstage along to DJ Mia Moretti's set.
Among the stars in attendance were Kylie Jenner, Kristen Stewart, rapper Travis Scott, model Emily Ratajkowski and singers Kehlani and Rita Ora.
Before Scott's party, Levi's hosted a brunch at Sparrows Lodge with Solange Knowles, Ratajkowski, model Poppy Delevingne and actress Jamie Chung, among others.
Virgil Abloh, creative designer of the fashion label Off-White, provided the music at the brunch, where guests were able to purchase and customize Levi's denim jackets and jeans with onsite airbrushing and embroidery stations, plus pins and patches.
Media brand Popsugar also hosted a brunch Saturday afternoon, immediately followed by a Cabana Club pool party at the Colony Palms Hotel.
Actresses Victoria Justice, Yara Shahidi, Aja Naomi King, Chung and "Teen Wolf" star Tyler Posey attended the party, with guests treated to beauty swag from Nordstrom and Ulta. Grammy winner Daya performed at the event where hair styling and beauty DIY stations were also available.
On Sunday morning, Perry hosted her own Easter Sunday brunch, complete with an oxygen bar, facial and massage station, and Easter decorations including a tree covered in brightly painted eggs. There was even a cameo by a stumbling drunk Easter bunny carrying a half-full bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey.
The "recovery" brunch was held in promotion of Perry's footwear line and guests were treated to vitamin elixirs, an Easter egg hunt, kombucha on tap and a DJ set by Moretti.
At what point does an EDM prank spiral out of control? And does that mean we really have to listen to it at every major festival now?
When the DJ/producer known as Marshmello debuted the project two years ago, he positioned it as a wink-nudge race to the bottom of American EDM gimmickry. He saw your 3-D-mapped mouse head, Deadmau5, and raised you a giant piece of grimacing fluffy candy in its stead.
The music was aggressively dumb -- corn-syrup synth lines atop same mid-tempo, almost-trap-music lurch the Chainsmokers took to the top of the charts, minus even a perfunctory stab at songwriting.
Something else had to be going on here. The first time he took off his mask at EDC, the Dutch superstar producer Tiesto was underneath it, and crowds knew they were being trolled hard. (The likeliest actual Marshmello culprit is a young DJ previously known as Dotcom)
As pokes in the eye to a decadent scene go, it might have been a good one-off. But then Marshmello got popular. Really popular. Closing out a full Sahara Tent even while Kendrick Lamar played his biggest hometown show yet. That kind of popular.
So what should have been a one-and-done in-joke about Vegas mega-rave vapidity turned into, well, the gold standard for profiting off that kind of nonsense.
Granted, while Marshmello's music is entirely bereft of wit or even silly EDM populist pleasures, he had enough self-awareness to play in front of a graphic of his own head being roasted into a s'more.
But if you're headlining the Sahara Tent and bringing out Travis Barker on a drum solo, at some point it's not a prank. It's your livelihood and creative outlet, one that we all now have to endure each festival season.
EDM has already been largely vanquished at Coachella by hip-hop (Gucci Mane, DJ Khaled, Lil Uzi Vert, Skepta, Tory Lanez and Mac Miller all played the formerly dance-oriented stage), and even the scene's fans know that the genre needs a root canal.
So if you're Marshmello (or one of his fans), it's probably worth examining why your sweet tooth has to be our problem now.
“When I’m done tonight, they are gonna have me headline,” DJ Khaled declared at the top of his Coachella set Saturday night.
That's a rather cocky assertion when you’re playing among 150 acts, but the producer/DJ promised the tightly packed crowd in the Sahara (bodies spilled out of the sides with no visible end in sight) that he had the entire music industry waiting in the wings.
And did he deliver? No.
As has become Coachella custom, his set was jammed with special guests. But the problem with that is when you overpromise and overhype your guests.
That’s not to say Khaled didn’t come armed with surprises.
Rick Ross popped out for a mini-set, as did 2 Chainz. French Montana delivered his verse from the summer anthem “All the Way Up” (which was confounding because Khaled had played the song, like, 40 minutes earlier) before debuting a track with Swae Lee. There was Wale, ASAP Ferg and Migos — who reprised “Bad and Boujee” for what felt like the millionth time that weekend.
Granted these were great surprises, but when you promise your audience you were bringing the entire industry and you drone on about how you’re about to kill the evening, expectations are high..
The crowd got gassed with excitement when Khaled paid tribute to Jay Z with a flurry of songs, thinking it was building to a cameo. It didn’t. Same when Drake’s “For Free” rang out, as everyone there had seen him with Future (he too was a no-show).
As Khaled stood around his guests or hyped the crowd, it was hard to ignore the fact that he wasn't contributing much at all to his own set. So if you're not actually DJing during your DJ set, then what exactly are you doing?
"Is there anyone out there?" Kendrick Lamar kept asking as he closed the first weekend of this year's Coachella festival, and the answer was definitely yes.
But if he drew an enormous crowd on par with Lady Gaga's the night before, the acclaimed Compton rapper did without most of Gaga's pop spectacle.
Rapping largely by himself on a bare stage, Lamar performed a stripped-down set that combined staples such as "Money Trees" and "..., Don't Kill My Vibe" with tunes from his brand-new album, "Damn," which came out Friday.
The MC did bring out several surprise guests in Future, Schoolboy Q and Travis Scott, with whom he did their duet, "Goosebumps."
And several dancers joined Lamar at various points in the show. But for a rapper who's been hailed for his big ideas and intricate wordplay, this felt like a demonstration of skills over flash.
Lorde opened her set on Coachella's main stage Sunday night with an expert troll, blasting a recording of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" -- a winking reference, it seemed, to recent reports -- since refuted -- that the festival's founder had refused to book Bush (a clear Lorde influence) because people wouldn't understand her act.
Almost as soon as Lorde's set got going, though, the young New Zealander cleaved to established Coachella tradition, promising she had some surprises in store.
Judging by the crowd's enthusiastic reaction, many fans assumed that meant a guest star or two -- maybe her pal Taylor Swift?
In fact, the surprise turned out to be a performance of a new song from her upcoming album, "Melodrama," which she said is about "the ups and downs of being a twentysomething."
The track is called "Homemade Dynamite," she added, and it appeared to tell the tale of an explosive night out.
PHOTOS: Lorde and other Day 3 Coachella performers
A packed, totally enthralled crowd flooding the Outdoor Stage. Thundering drums, ethereal vocals, a surprise Pharrell Williams cameo.
A triumphant turn from an EDM superstar? Nope. Just film composer Hans Zimmer absolutely devastating a Coachella crowd that had no idea what it was in for.
When the Coachella lineup was announced this year, Zimmer's presence was the one chin-scratcher. His scores have, for three decades, set the tone for some of the biggest blockbuster films of our time. "The Dark Knight," "Inception," "The Lion King," for starters. The resume speaks for itself.
But how would it play at Coachella? Would a millennial crowd more used to DJ Khaled's Snapchat missives take to an orchestra playing instrumentals from movies they may not have seen?
Oh, lord, did they ever.
Maybe Zimmer had a hunch that Coachella rewards bigness of all stripes. That's why he toted out a dozens-strong orchestra to bring his compositions to total, exacting fruition.
Nothing like it has ever happened at Coachella before, from the virtuosity of the players to the ambient, instrumental nature of the material. After a weekend in which a surprise Migos cameo was as expected as sunburns and flower crowns, Zimmer had the good fortune to be doing something both totally recognizable and completely new at Coachella.
It was a stroke of mad genius to put him out here at primetime, and the literal squeals of delight coming from teenage ravers when they recognized his film themes rivaled any reaction to anything else all weekend.
Even Williams' cameo on "Freedom," which would have been a highlight of any other set, felt more like alms-paying than spotlight-stealing. The two have worked together at length, but here, even a pop star like Williams couldn't compete with the 59-year-old German composer willing this ridiculous leviathan of a set into existence.
Nao was faced with a tough task for her debut showing at Coachella on Sunday afternoon.
She had to command a crowd that already had two days of the festival under its belt -- though it may be more accurate to say under its feet.
Audience weariness aside, playing anytime before 5 p.m. can be a toss-up, especially on the festival's final day.
With the usually thinner crowd on Sunday afternoon -- people were likely waiting for nightfall, as the day proved to be the hottest of the weekend -- Nao wasted little time, kicking things off with her jubilant anthem "Happy."
The bright and funky R&B that dominated her effervescent debut, "For All We Know," was the core of her set.
Barefoot and ready to dance, she twisted and slithered, moving her body into a sweat that was matched by some serious dance moves from her audience.
Her shimmering single "Girlfriend" was the day's most captivating sing-along, as the Gobi tent nearly vibrated as the audience attempted to match her high notes.
"I didn't expect to see so many people, this is unreal," she said gratefully before leading the crowd through a chant of her breakout sleeper hit, "Bad Blood."
"Don’t be scared — I’ve done this before,” Lady Gaga told the massive crowd gathered for her Saturday night headlining set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. And, sure, this was hardly the Super Bowl halftime veteran’s first experience before a live audience numbering in the tens of thousands.
But the performance did mark Lady Gaga’s debut at America’s highest-profile music festival, held every spring for nearly two decades on the sprawling grounds of the Empire Polo Club in Indio. It also opened a new chapter for Coachella, which has long hesitated to book a current pop superstar for its gigantic main stage.
Once known for presenting edgy alternative rock and dance music, the annual desert blowout has moved gradually toward the mainstream as its size, prestige and reputation as an upscale celebrity magnet have grown. Madonna famously performed in one of the festival’s tents in 2006, and last year Rihanna dropped in for a surprise appearance with the EDM star Calvin Harris.
Yet for this year’s edition — which ran Friday to Sunday and will repeat this coming weekend — Coachella’s deep-pocketed promoter, the AEG-owned Goldenvoice, dramatically expanded the scale of its flagship event, adding 20 acres to the festival site and getting the OK from city officials to boost capacity from 99,000 to 125,000 people. (Tickets, which sold for a minimum of $399 each, sold out well in advance.)
As a result, perhaps organizers felt they needed an especially splashy name to meet the demands of those dimensions. Indeed, Saturday’s original headliner was to be the world’s most beloved pop star: Beyoncé, who after announcing she was pregnant pulled out of the show in February on the advice of her doctor.
So how did this supersize Coachella go down? There were some growing pains.
For starters, Radiohead encountered a serious technical difficulty — a rarity at this carefully executed production — when the sound system cut out repeatedly during the British art-rock band’s headlining set Friday night. (The festival’s third headliner, the acclaimed Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar, was scheduled to perform late Sunday, past deadline for this article.)
After exiting the stage in frustration, frontman Thom Yorke returned and addressed the mishap with his signature deadpan humor.
“Can you actually hear me now?” he asked. “I’d love to tell you a joke, lighten the mood, something like that. But this is Radiohead.” Then he added an unprintable phrase reminding us that lightening the mood isn’t in the nature of a group whose music is haunted by thoughts of technology turning against its makers.
Though the sound system held out from then on, Radiohead never quite recovered from the distraction. The band’s performance, filled with oldies like “Creep” and “Paranoid Android,” felt deflated, as though Yorke and his mates had lost their nerve.
Lady Gaga had trouble too.
After starting very powerfully with a series of tunes — “John Wayne,” “Born This Way,” “Sexxx Dreams” — that vividly expressed her cartoon-rebel intensity, the singer’s concert slowed to a crawl when she sat down behind a keyboard and transformed her ecstatic “The Edge of Glory” into a dreary piano ballad.
Elsewhere, she took advantage of Coachella’s attention-getting platform by playing a new single, “The Cure,” for the first time in public. But if the song was intriguing — it leaves behind the rootsy vibe of last year’s “Joanne” album for a proudly synthetic ’80s-era sound — Lady Gaga cheapened the moment with her show-closing announcement that the track was available to buy on iTunes.
While Coachella isn’t allergic to marketing (see its branded beauty bar, among other accouterments), nobody should have to pay $399 to feel advertised to.
Coachella’s growth could be felt in more positive ways over the weekend. Never an easy event to summarize given the number of acts it hosts, it resisted even more the application of a single idea about Where Music Is Right Now.
Read the full story >
At least one Coachella stage will be darker longer than usual after French rap duo PNL were forced to pull its gig in the 11th hour due to a visa issue.
The duo, comprising brothers Tarik and Nabil Andrieu, grew up in the French projects to immigrant parents.
Taking to social media, the group informed fans that Tarik had yet to be granted a visa in order to make Sunday's performance, which would have marked the duo's U.S. debut.
Below is a statement from the act. It's translated from French and posted in full, and was sent over the act's press representative:
“Hey family, we were supposed to be present at Coachella Sunday the 16 and 23 of April. Unfortunately that won’t be possible for the first weekend. After months of administrative procedures, one of the two of us still wasn’t authorized to come back to the United States for the reasons you are probably imagining. The other is already in place and we are trying to push things forward in hopes of having good news by next week. We will keep you posted. Thanks to all of you who came to California to bring us strength. We’re thinking of you!”
A rep for the group said there's a chance Tarik could be granted a visa in time for weekend two of the festival but that "everything is still up in the air."
At one show, a cheek-to-jowl crowd shuddering under peak-hour sub-bass so strong it could stop your pulse. At another, a daytime crowd of techno lifers trying to figure out the magic tricks of a supergroup making a rare appearance.
These were the scenes at DJ Snake and Belleville Three, each defining the twin poles of dance music at Coachella right now.
DJ Snake is the standard bearer for what EDM culture has become now -- an arms race of aggressive trap and dubstep, with occasional punctuation of high-velocity rave.
If you were anywhere near the Outdoor Stage on Saturday night, the Frenchman was impossible to miss. His sound is still best summed up by his collaboration with Lil Jon -- "Turn Down for What" isn't just a single; it's a guiding philosophy that more-is-more-and-even-more-is-better. Was it tasteful? No, but that's not the point.
Along with the lean-slurred wails of Future, it's one of the defining sounds of Coachella now, and a challenge to other acts. How does anyone keep up with someone armed with so much heavy sonic machinery?
He can make hits -- see "Lean On" with Major Lazer. Other renowned acts respect his craft (he brought out Lauryn Hill and Migos, the latter of whom must have practically sprinted from Future's set). But his real hit is his singular devotion to chaos. It's rare to find an act so uncompromising on that goal, let alone one so popular here.
Meanwhile, the trio of Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May commanded something DJ Snake never aspired to -- the hearts and minds of techno purists on Sunday afternoon. Each is a formative figure in dance music in his own right. Together, they named their group after their Detroit childhood neighborhood that laid the groundwork for a culture to come.
Their Yuma Tent set wasn't quite a victory lap, as their sounds are too moody and mechanical to win over huge crowds here, even if their work laid the scaffolding for American EDM. But their peerless selections were even more compelling for the fact that it was all clearly done by human hands. Going b2b2b on a thrice-synced Pioneer rig means that, sometimes, things are going to clash.
But the few moments of discord only made the occasion seem more rare and interesting -- artists who invented a genre actively choosing not to avail themselves of glossy production or mixing tricks. Just true musicians turning tracks inside out to show the roots of a scene that came to dominate the world.
Coachella has never lacked for mind-altering things to look at, but a new digital art installation is meant to completely overwhelm you.
The Antarctic is a planetarium-style dome near the main entrance. Outside, it looks like a normal white tent, but the interior is rigged like a ravey James Turrell installation.
If you look up from one of the 500 or so bean-bag-like chairs during during each 15-minute session, your entire field of vision is consumed with cosmic images and drippy animations. If you already thought Coachella was loopy, you're in for quite a ride here.
The film whips you around the cosmos, into DNA strands and through a cubist fantasia of light, color and heavy bass drones. A lot of it looked like '90s EDM fliers; some of it tried to match Joshua Tree's eerie emptiness.
All throughout the movie, fans shrieked with shock and glee at each twist.
It looks to be a hit for the San Francisco creative studio Obscura Digital, to judge from the gee-whiz moods of the fans exiting.
"That was crazy! I didn't expect that at all," said 26-year-old Sammy Chung from Seattle.
This is her first Coachella, and though she knew a bit of what to expect from the annual flood of Coachella pictures, the totality of it all left her head spinning (in a good way).
"We thought [the Antarctic] would just be a visual experience, but it was everywhere. It was amazing."
Lady Gaga, to quote one of her many hits, was on the edge of glory.
Headlining Coachella on Saturday night in front of the weekend’s biggest crowd so far, the pop superstar gave as thrilling and complex a performance as any I’ve ever seen at the annual desert festival. It was wild but controlled, funny but scary, deeply tender yet filled with aggression.
Or at least that’s how it felt for about 45 minutes.
That’s when Lady Gaga, so close to greatness that even we in the audience could taste it, sadly stalled out, her momentum undone by poor song choices and a coarse promotional plug that made the whole show feel like a mere inducement to buy something.
But, oh, those first 45 minutes!
Taking the stage in a floor-length leather coat out of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Lady Gaga opened with a song whose title in German loosely translates as “Crap,” a relatively deep cut from her 2011 album “Born This Way.” It was a crazy selection, one nobody could have predicted, but the song’s pounding stadium-rave beat set the tone for the high-energy throwdown to come.
She remade “Just Dance” as a slamming hard-rock tune. She dropped a bit of Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” into “LoveGame.” She dedicated “John Wayne” to all the “dangerous men” who come to music festivals, then growled through the song in a manner that made it clear they were the ones with something to fear.
Before the title track from “Born This Way,” the empowerment anthem that’s made her a hero to many LGBTQ people, Lady Gaga said she’ll never forget when she put the song out because it “caused so much trouble.”
“And I love causing trouble,” she said, adding an unprintable word for emphasis.
Read the full review >
Lady Gaga is pulling double duty at this year’s Coachella.
The headliner, who replaced Beyoncé on the festival bill, will also use her time in Indio to film scenes for her starring role in Warner Bros’ remake of “A Star Is Born” — and she’s inviting fans to participate.
On Sunday morning following the pop star’s headlining set, users of Coachella’s mobile app were notified of the opportunity to appear in a scene being filmed on the festival’s grounds with the singer and director/co-star Bradley Cooper.
Shooting Tuesday and Wednesday, fans are asked to dress in denim and boots as the scene will portray a country western music concert.
“Leave those pink Joanne hats at home,” the announcement read, referring to the vibrant cowboy hat the singer donned on her latest album cover.
To be an extra, it’ll cost fans $10 a ticket, with all proceeds going to the singer’s Born This Way Foundation.
Despite the unrelenting desert heat, black was a popular hue at this year's Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival, along with coordinated separates, rompers and florals.
Bandanas, of course, did double duty as both protection from the dust and eye-catching accessories, while 1970s-inspired sunglasses and face jewels proved their timeless factor.
Check out some of the best looks we've spotted on the polo grounds.
Butterflies are free
Angel Lotus stands out from the crowd with butterfly wings, a sequined duster and an itty-bitty backpack. Blue lips and a face full of glitter completed the maximalist look.
Black is always the new black
Kaylee Bustamante, 19, of Saratoga went for not-so-basic black and adorned her already defined brow look with a swipe of shimmery blue liner underneath. Three small face stickers allow the daring brow look to take center stage.
Maddy Carlentine, 20, of Santa Barbara, tempered an all-black outfit with a deep cut romper, a Western-inspired belt and temporary body tattoos. A black bandana and black Aviator shades complete the look.
Sophia Arbess, 18, of New York, drew inspiration from everywhere with an old western-style belt buckle, huge '70s-inspired shades, a glamorous chandelier necklace and fire-printed shorts that call to mind the race track.
The flower bunch
"My friends laughed at me for wearing florals," said Andrew Gill, 34, of New York City. "But now I can say it was photographed by the Los Angeles Times."
Brittani Kooper, 32, and Haeven Prendergast, 32, both from Chicago, are friendship goals in coordinated printed separates and mismatching desert protection. Kooper protected her face from the sun with a floppy hat while Prendergast shielded her nose and mouth from the dust with a printed bandana.
Kylie Warren, 21, of Tucson, proves the off-the-shoulder trend is still thriving in a floral maxi dress and jewel-bedecked eyebrows.
Stripes and fringe
Chantel Mayo, 31, from Boston and Tawana Morris, 32, went for coordinating pink-accented outfits with a striped jumpsuit and a lace fringed poncho.
MORE PHOTOS OF COACHELLA FASHION >>
With the start of Coachella, the summer festival season has begun. But if you're not in Indio, don't sweat it. Well, you definitely won't sweat due to the heat, but there's also plenty of the festival available for live-streaming.
YouTube is live streaming the first weekend of the festival, including performances from Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Radiohead, Lorde, Bon Iver, the xx, Future, ScHoolboy Q, Two Door Cinema Club, New Order and Gucci Mane.
The site’s Coachella feed features three always-on channels and will offer a live, 360 mode for select performances. An on-demand hub allows viewers to watch highlights and footage at their leisure. Check them out below.
Look for appearances on Friday from Radiohead, the xx, Father John Misty and more. On Saturday, Lady Gaga, Schoolboy Q and Bon Iver are among the artists streaming. On Sunday, Channel 1 will host Kendrick Lamar, Lorde and Future Islands, among others.
Expect Sampha, Banks, Oh Wonder and Travis Scott on Friday, while the likes of Gucci Mane, Warpaint and Moderat will be shown on Saturday. On Sunday, New Order, Kehlani and Hans Zimmer will round out Channel 2.
Dillon Francis, Empire of the Sun and Steve Angello are among the artists who will grace Channel 3 on Friday. On Saturday, expect Classixx, Martin Garrix, Röyksopp and more. Finally, on Sunday, close out the fest with Justice, Marshmello and DJ Khaled.
It was the tip that felt entirely too good to be true: Lauryn Hill was planning on making a surprise appearance at Coachella late Saturday.
Anyone who has followed the rapper-singer in the nearly two decades since she released her classic debut, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," knows her propensity for perfection often leads to a frustrating, exhaustive experience when it comes to catching her live.
Her lateness has become legendary at this point, so when reps for DJ Snake teased an appearance by Ms. Hill to the news media ahead of his Saturday night set on the outdoor stage we initially brushed it off.
After a guest appearance from Migos, who popped up all over the place Saturday night, the French DJ brought out Hill in what has been the most left-center onstage pairing aside from Michael McDonald and Thundercat.
Sounding absolutely flawless, Hill tore through the key tracks from her days with the Fugees — "Ready Or Not" and "Killing Me Softly" — before delivering "Miseducation" standout "Lost Ones."
It was a flash of brilliance that could be felt clear across the field.
Times music writer Gerrick Kennedy was in the pit Saturday night as Lady Gaga took the stage at Coachella. Here's his real-time report of what he saw and heard:
On Saturday night, less than 24 hours after Radiohead encountered a rare technical difficulty with the high-level sound system at Coachella, Bon Iver gave a knockout of a main-stage performance that showed how powerful that system can be when it's working.
Frontman Justin Vernon's processed vocals, thunderous bass tones, the massed textures of a five-person saxophone section — each hit your ears as though you were wearing headphones.
But it wasn't just Bon Iver's good luck that made its performance more satisfying than Radiohead's. Playing songs from last year's "22, A Million" album, Vernon and his bandmates seemed engaged — stimulated is the word — in a way the British group didn't.
They earned their perfect sound.
The only question going into Future's main stage set was this — just how deep would he dip into his Rolodex for guests?
The answer: very deep.
Ty Dolla Sign, Migos and Drake all came to pay alms during his king-making set, which had one of the biggest and rowdiest crowds of the weekend.
Future's whacked-out strip club jams are the perfect fit for the Coachella of the moment. Mind-warping vocal effects, sing-speak rapping, stark and heavy productions — that's the way to churn crowds today. The kids want to party, not brood, and Future knew exactly how to handle the job.
To boot: He also had the best backing visuals of the day, digitally diced up erotica artfully pixelated just enough for the crowd out there. If you could film the inside of someone's brain on a vat of GHB, it would look like this.
Even when Future surrenders the stage, he still commands it. It's hard to overestimate just how nuts the crowd went for "Bad and Boujee" and "Jumpman." Those songs define the sound of being young right now. Even though his surprise guests were obvious choices (hey, at least this time Drake finally looked like he was having fun on a Coachella main stage) they cemented the fact that at Coachella, Future is the sound of right now.
Across the field, L.A.'s Schoolboy Q had his own heaving, rapt crowd to stir. He's not the highest-profile TDE artist playing this weekend (that would be label mate Kendrick Lamar), but he relishes his role as the party-riling foil to Lamar's sage. On the Outdoor Stage, it worked — every path in and out was full of grinding fans.
With Gucci Mane still to come in the Sahara Tent, it's clear that this is the year Coachella got hip-hop right on its biggest stages, and while other art-rock and pop acts are at the top of the bill, this is the sound that young fans want and need here.
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