Coachella 2023 Weekend 1: Bjork, Chromeo, Highlights Dinner Party

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There is no doubt that Coachella’s first weekend performance was the most talked about performance. Frank Ocean’s festival closing, wildly untidy set. But that’s unfortunate, as the desert reunion, often seen as the latest pop music party, had tremendous attention and often great stories and sets over three days.

The biggest takeaway for the trend is that international music has clearly cemented its place in the pop stratosphere; K-Pop superstars dominate Friday night’s lead set, Bad Bunny, while doing almost the entire set of Friday’s headlines in Spanish, including intros and interstitials. blackpink blew up the haters with an astonishing Saturday night performance with a tight choreography.

Coachella was unfairly criticized by early indie-rock fans for focusing on track rappers and pop lip-syncers, but walking the court this weekend showed a heavy emphasis on “real” musicianship – beautiful harmonies though. super band boygenius, creative art jazz by Hiatus Kaiyote, multi-instrumentalist FKJ, while the audience kept their jaws off the floor, even producer Porter Robinson looped instruments to build into fully realized pieces, even producer Porter Robinson slammed their tempo bangers in full volume while playing. – in the live band.

And those who went out into the desert in the hope of catching a big surprise granted their wish, as long as they were in the right place at the right time: Original Blink-182 series reform for a surprise set, but last year’s lead actress Billie Eilish sang “Never Felt So Alone” with her collaborator Labrinth; Odd Future’s Tyler the Creator appeared with “Telepathy” singer Kali Uchis; and Ciara joined K-pop star Jackson Wang for a mini-set.

Below are a few more of the festival’s most impressive musical highlights.

björk
Sunday, Coachella Stage
Iceland’s most famous export, Bjork is no stranger to Coachella: It has starred in the festival twice in its 2000s-era incarnations. And her appearance at this year’s festival has brought with it the seriousness of an actress who is notorious for her quirky and may not have devolved into a festival more recently focused on chart-topping stardom than hyper (ballad) creativity. All doubts were instantly cleared in a stunningly beautiful set of meticulously crafted chanters singing completely overhauled versions of favorites like “Hunter” and “Isobel,” sponsored only by the Hollywood String Ensemble and masterfully directed by Bjarni Frimann.

It wasn’t just the rigidity of what was going on on stage that was so powerful (audiences were treated to two wide-shot videos, with the left side of the stage devoted to the orchestra and the right side to Björk himself). Upstairs was an almost set-length drone show, choreographed with kinesthetic 3D light movements that seemed to have the sky painted with fractals for most of the set. It was an experience you could never have had in a concert hall to which the musical portion of the show clearly belongs, and it was one of those powerful, only Coachella moments that make the return to the desert an annual pilgrimage. fans. Breathtaking.

gabriels
Friday, Gobi Tent

The Gabriels are ostensibly a three-man band, but the core component of the emerging band is the charismatic, all-around great singer Jacob Lusk, who mesmerizingly channels Solomon Burke and the heart of the Motown spirit in every sidestep stage act. . . Backed by a great band, wearing a sassy (and possibly uncomfortable with the desert heat) tuxedo and an over-the-top jacket straight out of the show halfway through like James Brown, Lusk – a 2011 “American Idol” finalist – is more honest with no old-school vibe that doesn’t feel forced or performative. and channeled it purely.

Jacob Lusk
Getty Images for Coachella

marc rebellion
Saturday, Coachella Stage

Internet phenomenon Marc Rebelliet is known for playing impromptu funk jams in his living room underwear. She chose a dressing gown for her daytime set at Coachella and soon pulled out a pair of underwear. Playing a completely impromptu set with the WWE Wrestler energy, the singer – a much more expressive musician than the top person suggested – “no, I’m feeling a little angry; are you feeling angry and then using audience feedback on the keyboard parts to create an entire song around him. A little out of control.” It could be—at one point, he punched a stage wall, then showed the audience what looked like a broken little finger as a result—but it’s refreshing to see an artist giving his absolute all on an early sun-drenched set.

chrome
Saturday, Gobi Tent

If an artist personifies the spirit of Coachella in general, it could be the funklords Chromeo. The band has appeared at every stage of the festival grounds at some point in the past 20 years – almost to the point where they became grandparents. Still, the experience helped fill the Gobi tent with the unstoppable dancing enthusiasm that has become Chrome’s trade stock. To keep it from feeling stale, though, they invited an unexpected guest onto the stage: La Roux, with whom they debuted a new song before electro-pop singer La Roux played a stunning remixed verse and chorus of the ubiquitous “Bulletproof.” That moment alone led to the loudest singing of the entire weekend that took the Blink-182 by storm.

chrome
Getty Images for Coachella

dinner party
Saturday, Gobi Tent

Watching this all-star nu-jazz project slay the Gobi tent was first and foremost a musicianship lesson: saxophonist Kamasi Washington in the supergroup, multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin, DJ/producer 9th Wonder and keyboard phenom Robert Glasper (comingly Chris Brown’s Feb. “Who the Fuck Is Robert Glasper?” t-shirt, a reference to his reaction to losing the Grammy for best R&B album in May to Glasper). All of these talented artists have the power to play more notes in a minute than most notes do in an hour, but they also know that restraint is just as important as releasing, and the accumulation is just as powerful. The return of jazz as a young art form is pleasing; This supergroup is clearly made up of both members who manage responsibility and a collection of personalities that are more than the sum of their parts.

terrace martini
Getty Images for Coachella

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