Coachella Weekend II

Music festival includes broad genres, draws thousands

Day 1 started with a visit to the “Outdoor Theater” to see Skip Marley. Ironic how the organization that used police canines to strip attendees of their weed also decided to start 4/20 off with a performer named Marley. When he asked his fans to ‘smoke up,’ most of them could not celebrate on 4/20 with the new-age artist. The crowd was really in the mood during his cover of “Jammin’” and his performance of “Lion,” which will forever be known as the Pepsi commercial song.

Kali Uchis came on stage after Marley’s show where she performed in a pink leather outfit and brought the fire to her fans. After a strong anti-Trump message she jumped into singing “Your Teeth on My Neck” from her “Isolation” album. The hypest moment however was when Tyler, the Creator joined her on stage for “After the Storm” and the crowd collectively roared in cheer.

St. Vincent put on a settler rock show. Dressed in a red-leather BDSM outfit, she played some tasty jams like “Los Angeles” from her “MASSEDUCTION” album. Her performance was matched with expert live editing that could be seen on the two screens to either side of the stage. She gave a shout-out to her friend, who was high on acid, and told her not to worry everything’s a dream, then proceeded to give the most energetic guitar solo of the night.

REZ ended the night at the “Sahara” stage with the sickest EDM set. The crowd jammed and raved as the vibration of the bass passed through them. The crowded went nuts when “Killing in The Name” by Rage Against the Machine was heard in the mix. Strangers wrapped their arms around each other as they jumped up and down with their hands in the air like they did not care. As she got to her last two songs in her set, Rez gave a shout out to her mother who was in the audience.

Day 2 was the one that you could not miss. The best artists and the best shows were on. If you slept on this then you’re a sucker.

Flatbush Zombies took the “Mojave” stage at 5 p.m. to a packed crowd. Flatbush teased their fans at Coachella by saying they had to make more noise than Weekend One. Erick Arc Elliott brought the mic to a female “fan” who did not know the lyrics of their songs. He quickly move the mic to a guy next to her, but he did not know the words, either. The group joked about this incident close to the end of their set. Before they left, Meechy Darko, asked the crowd to give him to the mosh pits. The fans delivered.

Brockhampton, the 14-man boyband followed Flatbush at the “Mojave.” They had a helicopter on stage and an orchestra of violins on their side. Each member wore a bulletproof vest with slogans like ‘Fiend,’ ‘Faggot,’ ‘Nigger,’ ‘Diplomat’ and ‘Nothing’ written on them to represent that these words hold no power over them. A true bulletproof vest. If you have never heard of Brockhampton you will be surprised by how they start with a soft One Direction-style song (“Summer”) then go straight into hardcore rap while dropping 60 n-bombs a minute (“Boogie”) to some J-Pop inspired act (“Bleach”). While every member performed throughout the concert, Bearface, who had opened the show, sat inside the helicopter doing nothing, replicating the word that was written on his vest. He got up towards end of the show to open for their song “Bleach.” The boyband ended the show by moving like zombie ragdolls and exited to a roar of satisfaction.

Before Jorja Smith even took a step on the “Gobi” stage her fans from around the world were talking about how cool and amazing she was. The vibe she started felt like being back home at a friend’s backyard party as fans partnered up to dance to songs like “Teenage Fantasy.” At the same time Smith was able to rock the crowd with upbeat songs like “Where Did I Go” a cover of TLC’s “Scrubs.” She was elegant and confident throughout her performance even to the point where she sat down for over two minutes and watched her band jam out.

Shortly after Smith’s performance started alt-J took the stage at the “Outdoor Theater.” Although the power of their music could not be felt in the back of the crowd, the light show and accompanying videos on the sides of the stage were “far out.” If somebody on LSD had happened to watch the show, they would have been hypnotized by the visuals.

“Queen Bee” Beyonce ended the night with fireworks. As she stepped onto the main “Coachella Stage” you could see a lake of about 200,000 people turning their phones on. Then bang, the first set of fireworks go off as Beyonce starts the show with “Check On It” from her 2006 “B’day” Album. The cheering sent a soundwave that people from outside of the state could probably hear. Throughout her show, Beyonce, with help from her “Bugaboos,” or backup performers, performed skits such as the one minutes of saying “suck on my balls.” The Bugaboos were used to buy time for the “Queen Bee” to go through costume changes as she had four different outfits to wear by the end of the show.

Beyonce spoke words of encouragement to women and girls in her audience. She complemented each message with a song. Whether it was “Run the World” or “Single Ladies,” the women in the crowd were inspired and each time Beyonce spoke to them she raised their energy. When her husband Jay-Z came to sing with her the crowd went wild. Clearly girl power won out because the fan cheers reached supersonic when Destiny’s Child reunited on stage like “Say My Name.”

Day 3 started and ended out with Aurora. The Norwegian singer came on and with a soft and cute voice spoke to the crowd, which was noticeably small due to Cardi B performing at the same time as her and because she is not well known in the U.S. Between her songs she stopped to say “I love you” to the people who were dancing. Aurora joked like an adorable little child about how happy she was that her set was played in the shade instead of the sun or she would have burned out because of her very pale skin. She thanked her band and they all bowed to their fans as the exited the stage.

Coachella 2018 was fun and if you can afford to make it to at least one event before you die than go for it. Just come prepared with food and water. Bring a spare $100-$200 would not hurt either since everything is overpriced but it’s not like you can get the items anywhere close either.

Hayk Rostomyan can be reached at [email protected].