Coachella Weekend 1 Wrap: Bjork, Chromeo, Dinner Party Deliver Standout Sets

Coachella Weekend 1 Wrap: Bjork, Chromeo, Dinner Party Deliver Standout Sets

There’s no question that the most-talked-about performance of Coachella weekend one was Frank Ocean’s festival-closing, wildly uneven set. But that’s unfortunate seeing as the desert gathering, often seen as a state-of-pop-music coming out party, had an enormous amount of interesting and often great stories and sets over the course of three days.

The biggest takeaway, trend-wise, is that international music has clearly cemented its place in the pop stratosphere; Friday night’s headliner Bad Bunny performed nearly his entire Friday headline set, including the intros and interstitials, in Spanish, while K-Pop superstars Blackpink blew away haters with a tightly choreographed, jaw-dropping Saturday night performance.

Coachella has been undeservingly slammed by its early indie-rock devotees for focusing on track-rappers and pop lip-synchers, but walking the field this weekend showed there was a heavy-duty emphasis on “real” musicianship — be that the lovely harmonies of supergroup boygenius, the inventive art-jazz of Hiatus Kaiyote, multi-instrumentalist FKJ looping instruments to build into fully-realized tracks while audience members picked up their jaws from the floor, or even producer Porter Robinson playing his beat-heavy bangers with a full-on live band.

And for those who hit the desert hoping to catch a major surprise, so long as they were in the right place at the right time, they got their wish: not only did the original Blink-182 lineup reform for a surprise set, but last year’s headliner Billie Eilish performed “Never Felt So Alone” with her collaborator Labrinth; Odd Future’s Tyler the Creator appeared with “Telepatia” singer Kali Uchis; and Ciara joined in for a mini-set with K-pop star Jackson Wang.

Below, a few more of the fest’s most impressive musical highlights.

Sunday, Coachella Stage
Iceland’s most famous export, Bjork is no stranger to Coachella: she headlined the festival twice in its ’00s-era incarnations. And her appearance at this year’s festival carried with it the gravity of a performer whose reputation for weirdness may not translate as well to a fest more focused recently on top-of-the-charts stardom than hyper(ballad) creativity. Any doubts were put to rest immediately in a stunningly beautiful set, which consisted of the elaborately-dressed chanteuse singing completely reworked versions of favorites like “Hunter” and “Isobel,” backed solely by the Hollywood String Ensemble, masterfully conducted by Bjarni Frimann.

It wasn’t just the starkness of what was happening onstage that was so powerful (audience members were treated to two wide-shot videos, with the left side of the stage dedicated to the orchestra and the right to Bjork herself). Above was a choreographed, nearly set-long drone show with kinesthetic 3D light movements that made it appear as if the sky was being painted in fractals for much of the set. It was an experience you would never be able to get in a concert hall, where the musical part of the show clearly belongs, and was one of those powerful, only-at-Coachella moments that make going back to the desert a yearly pilgrimage for fans. Breathtaking.

Friday, Gobi Tent

Gabriels is ostensibly a three-piece band, but the core component of the emerging group is Jacob Lusk, the charismatic, fabulous-in-every-way singer who charmingly channels Solomon Burke and the heart of Motown soul in every side-step stage movement. Backed by a killer band and wearing a schmancy-ass (and probably very desert-heat uncomfortable) tuxedo and an over-the-top jacket thrown off halfway through the show a la James Brown, Lusk — an “American Idol” finalist in 2011 — channeled old-school cool in a way that didn’t feel forced or performative, but rather honest and pure.

Marc Rebelliet
Saturday, Coachella Stage

Internet sensation Marc Rebelliet is known for playing improvisational funk jams in his underwear in his living room. For his daytime set at Coachella, he opted for a robe, and soon after disrobed to a pair of underoos. Playing an all-improvised set that had WWE Wrestler energy, with the singer — a far more impressive musician than his over-the-top-persona suggests — sampling himself screaming “yo I feel a little pissed; are you feeling pissed?” and then building a whole song around it using audience feedback on keyboard parts. He may have gotten a little out of control — at one point, he punched his way through a stage wall, then showed the audience what appeared to be a broken pinkie as a result — but it’s refreshing to see an artist give their absolute all in an early sun-drenched set.

Saturday, Gobi Tent

If one artist personifies the Coachella spirit overall it may be funklords Chromeo. The band has appeared at what seems like every stage on the festival grounds at some point in the past 20 years — to the point where they’re practically grandfathered in. That experience, though, helped their set, which filled the Gobi tent with the type of can’t-stand-still-dancing exuberance that’s become Chromeo’s stock-in-trade. To keep it from feeling stale, though, they invited an unexpected guest onstage: electro-pop chanteuse La Roux, with whom they first debuted a new song before playing a slamming remixed verse and chorus of her ubiquitous “Bulletproof.” That moment alone led to the loudest singalong of the entire weekend, barring Blink-182.

Dinner Party
Saturday, Gobi Tent

Watching this all-star nu-jazz project slay the Gobi tent was a lesson in musicianship over all else: the supergroup includes saxophonist Kamasi Washington, multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin, DJ/producer 9th Wonder, and keyboard phenom Robert Glasper (hilariously wearing a “Who the Fuck Is Robert Glasper?” T-shirt, referencing Chris Brown’s reaction to losing the best R&B album Grammy to Glasper in February). All of these skilled artists have the power to play more notes in a minute than most play in an hour, but they also know that restraint is as important as release, and the buildup proved just as powerful. The return of jazz as a young art form is a welcome one; this supergroup is clearly both composed of members leading the charge and a collection of personalities that’s more than the sum of its parts.

Read More About:

Source: Read Full Article