The final day of Coachella Weekend One arrived all too soon, and everyone appeared to arrive at the same time as the day saw the longest delays getting on the festival grounds. Once inside the festival, being back on the grounds for a third day almost makes it feel like home, until you get lost again trying to find the Sonora stage.
The day was still warm but slightly overcast, but no amount of weather changes could stop festival-goers from rocking their scantily clad outfits one last time. Some opted to stay out of the heat and catch Latin-infused indie band Buscabulla at the Sonora stage. The crowd grooved along to the funky and dreamy sounds, as Buscabulla transported them to a desert oasis.
The vibe couldn’t be more different when local punk band FIDLAR took the Mojave stage. They performed high energy, fast paced punk songs to a medium-sized crowd, and moshing was highly encouraged by the band. The band wore anything between scrubs and button downs, more than likely a statement on them not getting, or believing in “real jobs.” Songs like “Stoked and Broke” and “40 oz on Repeat” had everyone jumping up and down and singing along, especially during the “aahhs” in the song, “West Coast,” which they prefaced by sharing, “we’ve traveled all over the world and have to say the West Coast is the best.” They pitted the audience against each other during a trashing song, and the crowd headbanged along to their jams. One enthusiastic crowd member managed to get on stage and dance as the band performed.
Back in the air-conditioned Sonora stage, Los Angeles-based rising young star Cuco performed to a fairly large audience. The band dove into their dreamy synth-laden indie-pop, performing songs like “We Had to End It,” with founding member Omar Banos on vocals and trumpet. The crowd swooned over “Amor de Siempre,” a song sung entirely in Spanish. Banos took a moment to share gratitude for his booking agent Doris Munoz, sharing that she had gotten his band to perform at Coachella, even though they’re not signed to a label. In fact, this time last year they were performing in backyards, so they’ve come a long way. For the finale, Cuco performed the hit “CR-V,” an ode to Banos’ Honda CR-V, and brought up special guest and rapper Gallant to perform the song with them.
Cardi B delivered a short but packed set to a massive audience at the Coachella Stage, complete with special guests and unique visuals. Her special guests included YG on “She Bad,” “Best Life” with Chance the Rapper, “Ring” with Kehlani, and 21 Savage on “Bartier Cardi.” The crowd really got dancing for her closing song, the acclaimed “Bodak Yellow.” “I’m living my best life, how about you?” she prefaced “Best Life” by addressing the crowd. And with a baby on the way and new album, things seem to be going really well for Cardi B.
Back at the indoor Sonora Stage, John Maus was getting ready to perform a set of dark yet danceable electronic music inspired by ’80s artists like Joy Division and David Bowie. The intimate audience waited patiently, as they were running about 15 minutes behind. But once the band got started, the dancing began. He performed catchy, dreamy and dark songs like “Walls of Silence” and “The Combine.” Maus rocked his entire body back and forth as he sang and at times hit himself in the head as well.
Meanwhile at the Coachella Stage, Portugal. The Man played to another massive audience. Their recent hit “Feel It Still” gained them a lot of new fans, who danced and sang along to the newer songs. They performed mostly songs from Woodstock and Evil Friends, with some covers thrown in as well. Their visuals included colorful drawings and eerie face masks, along with notes for the audience like “People in the back, smile and nod if you can’t hear us I swear we’re killing it” and “now that you’re here, check us out on SoundCloud.” There was even a note directed toward music critics: “Fuck rock critics, you can kiss my whole asshole,” no doubt speaking directly toward harsh critics and YouTubers who claimed them to be “selling out” with their new pop-forward direction. The covers included hits from Pink Floyd, and even “Hey Jude” medleyed into their closing set. It seemed a bit like they were trying to please everyone with the covers that everybody knows, the hype man, the marketing messages and their easily digestible rock music.
Ibeyi, a duo of Parisian twin sisters played to a packed audience at the Gobi tent. The feminism, equal rights theme present at Coachella came through very much during their set with songs like “No Man is Big Enough For My Arms,” which contains pro-feminism messages. “This is a song that changed everything for us, they shared before going into the soulful duet, “Mama Says.” And towards the end of their set, special guest Kamasi Washington, who had just performed at the Outdoor Stage, joined Ibeyi for “Deathless,” adding more instrumental textures to their set.
U.K. based and nationally admired artist King Krule took the Mojave Stage to a medium-sized audience. They performed a mixture of old and new songs off their latest alum The Ooz, including the popular “Dum Surfer.” The set ranged from fast and jazzy to slow and soulful. Songs like “Out Getting Ribs” and “Lonely Blue” allowed singer Archy Marshall to use the full range of his voice, from soft and subtle to loud and growling. The crowd watched transfixed, singing along to popular songs like “Easy Easy” and got into the newer, more straightforward “Emergency Blimp.” “This next one is about reptiles,” Marshall shared before diving into the jazzy “Lizard State.” Their musicianship really shined, from the sax, guitars and keys to the drummer. It was a set not to be missed.
Many fans headed to the Outdoor stage to catch metal-infused alt-rock group A Perfect Circle. Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan started A Perfect Circle along with Billy Howerdel, their former guitar tech, and the band received much popularity. Their set opened with ambient noises and their brightly lit logo as the stage backdrop. Keenan preferred to have the spotlight off of him, opting for a short riser in the back next to the drummer, and often singing in the dark, allowing the guitarist free range to move about the stage, which he took great liberties with. The band members wore all black suits as well.
They performed favorites like “Disillusioned,” “The Doomed” and “The Outsider,” which had a few members singing along. “We have a new album coming out this week. We’re playing a lot of songs from it for the second time,” Keenan shared about their anticipated album, Eat the Elephant. While the single “Talk Talk” is available and was performed, new songs including “The Contrarian,” “Hourglass” and “So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish” were performed, and the crowd got into them, rocking their bodies back and forth. As Eminem began twenty minutes into their set, many of the crowd left to catch that, but the fans who remained seemed to be ready for more than an hour-long set from A Perfect Circle.
The crowd was fully packed again for Eminem’s performance, which was bursting with special guests including frequent collaborator Skylar Gray, Bebe Rehxa, 50 Cent and Dr. Dre himself. The set included street and building scenes, which would later appear to catch on fire and burn to a smolder. The rapper performed songs from an array of his albums, primarily The Eminem Show and The Marshall Mathers LP. The crowd cheered each time a guest artist came to the stage, and DJ Alchemist and Mr. Porter held the beat and the hyping of the crowd. Audience members sang along to “Love the Way You Lie” and later “Not Afraid.” 50 Cent performed “In Da Club” and “Crack A Bottle,” with Eminem before Dr. Dre took the stage for “Still D.R.E.,” “Ain’t Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang,” “Forgot About Dre” and “California Love.” Eminem ended his set with a surprise encore of “Lose Yourself,” which had the crowds turning back to watch.
And with that, Weekend One of Coachella 2018 has officially wrapped up. Themes for the weekend included a celebration of diversity, as a large number of racially and musically diverse acts were booked, feminism, body positivity and just being unapologetically yourself — themes we look forward to celebrating all over again next weekend.
Photo Credit: Marv Watson