Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival April 14-16, 2017 | Empire Polo Club | Indio, CA
Coachella, the biggest music festival in the world, has always been known for including a diverse set of acts on their lineups and this year was not that much different. However, if you've seen the lineup poster, you'll notice that this year is different from the rest. So much hip-hop! Not only did Kendrick Lamar close out the weekend, but many undercard rappers had some of the biggest sets of the weekend. I still went out of my way to see DJs or other bands/solo acts, but there was no escaping the likes of Migos, A$AP Rocky, or even Drake.
The first day of the festival was a great way to kick off the weekend with all-around fun. Francis of Francis and the lights gave us a high-energy set and even ran around us in the crowd during one of his songs. I've been waiting to see BROODS for a while and to finally hear "Bridges" live was definitely one of the highlights of that day. I heard BANKS from a distance and her sound was on point even if I was way in the back. Same with Father John Misty, who overlapped with BANKS. Phantogram kind of surprised me because, even though I'm a fan (especially of Big Grams), they really rocked it out. I had to check out the legendary DJ Shadow at the Mojave tent and the crowd there was pumped up. Travis Scott is always outrageous and over-the-top, but his set reminded me too much of his set that he did at ComplexCon back in November '16. That's not so much of a bad thing. Radiohead would have been the highlight of my day, but I didn't stick around long enough due to a late start and sound issues. My heart still aches, though, that they performed "Creep" when I wasn't there. I closed out my night with Dillon Francis and the Sahara tent was stupid packed, but he was closing that tent for a reason. After not seeing him live for three years, he truly blew me away and reminded me as to why I'm such a fan. My favorite set from Friday has definitely got to be The xx. Something about them is just so relaxed yet exciting at the same time. I chilled out in the back on the grass for the entirety of their set, closed my eyes, and somehow felt like I was the only one watching them despite being surrounded my thousands of other people.
Highlights: The xx / Dillon Francis
Missed: Stormzy / Kungs / Raury / Big Gigantic / Glass Animals / Denzel Curry / Capital Cities / D.R.A.M.
Day two was incredibly entertaining with so much hip-hop and EDM. I got to the Polo Fields pretty late so I didn't get to catch, but was able to catch Two Door Cinema Club on the way to Tory Lanez. I wasn't thrilled to see Tory Lanez, but I actually had fun at his set and I didn't realize how much of his stuff I actually knew. I had to miss Mura Masa's set, unfortunately, but I'll get my second chance in September. I also had to skip DREAMCAR in order to catch Future, but this one I don't regret. I was skeptical at first because I saw Future at last year's Summer Sixteen Tour with Drake, but I wasn't that impressed. However, when you give him his own set on the biggest stage at the festival, something magical happened. He was actually really good! It also helped that Drake did come out for a bit to do "Jumpman" and "Fake Love" as well as Migos for "Bad & Boujee". Then there was ScHoolboy Q who I finally got to see for the first time and had a little help from A$AP Rocky. I heard Bon Iver from a distance while I waited for food/a spot for DJ Snake. Snake was also someone I've been wanting to see for a while ever since he cancelled his set at Bumbershoot in Seattle last September. His set was literally on fire and he brought out the legendary Ms. Lauryn Hill and everyone freaked out. Definitely a highlight of Saturday and I wasn't even mad that I missed Nav's set and he brought out The Weeknd. I closed the night out with not-Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and I'm glad Goldenvoice got her to replace Queen Bey. It was vital that the headliner be a female, but not black, because that title definitely belongs to Beyoncé (sorry, RiRi). Gaga debuted her new song "The Cure", which is strong enough to be a song of the summer. Too bad she didn't bring out Metallica, though.
Highlights: Lady Gaga / Future / DJ Snake
Missed: Swet Shop Boys / Local Natives / Kaleo / Brodinski / Car Seat Headrest / Thundercat / Bastille / Mura Masa / DREAMCAR / Majid Jordan / Martin Garrix / Gucci Mane / S U R V I V E
There's something about the last day of Coachella that's mysterious. It's as if anything can happen and everyone's sets are that much more fun to be a part of. I arrived in the late afternoon just in time to catch Lil Uzi Vert's set, which was also a surprise for me that I even went. The little guy feeds off the crowd and did pretty well. Right after him was Kaytranada, who's always someone you should see if his name ever pops up on a lineup. Porter Robinsons & Madeon were blessed to have their set right at sunset on the main stage and it was something magical. I really hate myself for leaving their set early to see DJ Khaled (who was the worst of the weekend). I only went in case Beyoncé and Jay-Z came out for "Shining", but of course they didn't. Instead, we got Migos for the fourth time that weekend for "Bad & Boujee". This is why they make Coachella two weekends now; so you can have 100% no regrets. Someone I was most excited for out of all three days combined was Hans Zimmer. When's the last time you saw him or any composer on a music festival bill? Never. That's when. Seeing "The Circle of Life" live in a festival setting was indescribable. It was also cool that he invited Pharrell to come out and do "Freedom". I only saw Lorde for 15 minutes, but it was a magical 15 minutes. I got a hint of her at last year's Coachella when she came out during Disclosure's set to do "Magnets" and I wanted more. Her set this year was incredible with that plexi-glassed shipping container full of dancers. I made my way to the Mojave tent to see another big name for me, Kehlani. She can always work the crowd, not only with her voice, but with her dance moves and her sick DJ, Noodles. It was awesome to see Justice again after four years, but they just warmed me up for the biggest act of all: Kendrick Lamar. Keep in mind that DAMN. had literally just come out three days before, so it was fresh in all our minds, including K. Dot's. He killed it. Murdered it even. I've seen him a few times before, but nothing compares to his Coachella set. It reminded me so much of Kanye's 2011 Coachella headlining. It was epic with a story line, perfect production, guest spots from Travis Scott, Future, ScHoolboy Q, and...a glass coffin he used to transport into the crowd? It was a spectacle. Hands down the best set of the entire weekend. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
Highlights: Kendrick Lamar / Kehlani / Hans Zimmer / Lorde
Missed: Skepta / GoldLink / NAO / Kiiara / Marshmello
★★★★★ Legendary | ★★★★ Great | ★★★ Good | ★★ Fair | ★ Poor