In just 18 years, Coachella has established itself as the pacesetter among America’s festivals. An expanded 2017 edition went some way towards embodying the ambition of the festival and its organisers. This year’s Coachella may even go down in Coachella history as a turning point for the festival: while the festival had been criticised in the past for lacking any distinct character and taking on virtually any acts that was currently considered “cool”, this year’s line-up suggests a move from legacy rock bands and big-hitting names towards nurturing a distinct personality for the festival rooted in high-energy EDM and hip-hop.
What else will this year’s Coachella be remembered for? Perhaps technical mishaps, with Friday’s headliners Radiohead being cut out no less than three times. While newspaper headlines were drawn towards Lady Gaga’s fast-paced, high-energy EDM set., this year’s edition will surely be looked back on as the year of expansion, with its eclectic line-up growing increasingly longer and more difficult to navigate for its 126,000 festival-goers.
With an already elongated line-up list growing even longer thanks to an endless number of guest appearances, Coggles picks out five of the best performances to revisit from Coachella 2017.
While rock and EDM have long been the mainstay genres at Coachella, this year heralded a notable shift towards hip-hop and grime. Since electrifying SXSW in 2016, Stormzy and Skepta have almost singlehandedly transported UK grime across the Atlantic to a welcoming American audience. Despite taking to stage at just after 3.30pm under a blazing Californian sun, Stormzy delivered an infectious, energetic set to a grateful crowd that bounced along with the smiling MC for the duration of his set.
Regarded as one of the most influential names in contemporary techno, Berghain resident Marcel Dettman lit up Coachella’s Yuma Tent with a set full of blinding lights and big EDM sounds. Shaded from the sun in a small, darkened tent that imitates the underground venues reminiscent of Berlin’s own dance scene, Dettmann set the bar for what would go on to be a dreamy night of techno for dance music enthusiasts that also included standout sets from Dixon and Solomun.
It was quite a weekend for Mr Kendrick Lamar. After beginning the Easter weekend by releasing his latest studio album, DAMN., to much fanfare and critical acclaim, Lamar completed a successful weekend with a complex, challenging and brilliant set to wrap up Coachella’s opening weekend. His set featured a new production design featuring a video screen with a moveable ceiling that had images projected down from it.
The Lemon Twigs
Fronted by multi-instrumentalist brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario, The Lemon Twigs released their debut album, Do Hollywood, in late 2016. Since receiving praise from iconic musical names including Elton John, Boy George and Laura Marling, the band has since won the hearts of fans around the world for their modernistic take on glam-rock. At Coachella, The Lemon Twigs gave a high-energy, often frenetic set that also included the appearance of Todd Rundgren for a rendition of “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” from his landmark album Something/Anything?
Dubbed ‘the most compelling live act you can see right now’ by Michael Hann in the Guardian last year, Ezra Furman won many hearts with his third studio album, Perpetual Motion People, in 2015. Famous for performing in a dress and vigorously applied make-up, Furman’s music and live performances have become events to savour, fused with a flamboyant, hectic energy that was welcomed with open arms by an animated crowd at Coachella. That said, the performance will probably best remember for Furman’s decision to call out AEG owner Philip Anschutz for his anti-LGBTQ funding.