Coachella 2017: 10 things we learned during the festival’s first weekend


Lady Gaga predominated headliners with EDM energy; festival still hasnt overcome technical difficulties, hip-hop and grime could be top genres in the future

1) Lady Gaga won the combat of the headliners

Radiohead were unfortunate with their technical woes and Kendrick Lamar played with the borders of what headline acts can get away with, but Lady Gagas hit-packed high-energy decide was the one everyone was talking about. She depicted the biggest mob and got a huge response from the audience, who she managed to keep interested through some of her less well-known new material. There was a clear emphasis on the overblown EDM thats been so popular on the main stage in recent years, and she managed to mixture that with her pop theatrics and choreographed set pieces. The structure operated best as well, with the decide building towards the bigger hittings, such as Telephone and Bad Romance. Taking chances with a headline set is freshening, but there is a tried-and-tested formula that throws big hits and entertaining staging front and centre.

2) Technical difficulties blighted some of the celebrations biggest moments

Radiohead at Coachella 2017. Photograph: David Jensen/ PA

Radioheads interrupted Friday night headline slot was an embarrassing minute for a celebration that prides itself on its slick professionalism. One stoppage so as to resolve whatever problem was inducing the power and sound lost something from the main PA system would have been forgivable, if annoying. But three stoppages, which interrupted any flow in a decide many people had paid full entryway price to understand, was inexcusable. Technological issues are a given at live events on this scale and with groups parachuting in before leaving just as quickly, but for headliners the same rules dont apply. Away from Radioheads issues, The Avalanchess frontman Spank Rock could not be heard for a decent component of his set after mic problems. A few acts struggling with sound isnt surprising, but at an event that promotes its ability to create instants, these werent ones anyone wanted.

3) This year was astonishingly apolitical

Given the current political climate and the smaller reality that we were all a tad worried about the possibility of the third world war going into the weekend, there was a surprising deficiency of politics on stage this year. While anti-Trump sentiment has become a standard, and arguably necessary, part of many awards indicates and celebrity interviews since the election, the majority of acts chose to leave his epithet out of any debates and other instead, outspoken democrats like Lady Gaga decided to focus on a warmer, more general message of solidarity. The closest we got to an attack was Ezra Furmans set where he found time to call out Philip Anschutz, the billionaire behind the company who put on the celebration, and his alleged ties to anti-LGBT groups.

4) But immigration issues affected yet another festival

Before SXSW in March, a clause in its artist contract that suggested the event organizers would work with immigration enforcement agents to deport acts moved viral and saw acts draw out and send an open letter to organizers. Then seven groups, including British jazz act United Vibrations, were not allowed to travel to Austin, putting government decisions down to racist and xenophobic motives after Trumps zero-tolerance stance on immigration from citizens or people with a link with certain majority Muslim countries. Coachella became another celebration interrupted by immigration issues. At Coachella, the Parisian rap group PNL were forced to cancel their decide after one of the duo Tarik AKA Ademo was denied a visa. It will be unfortunately impossible[ for] this first weekend, read a Facebook statement. After several months of administrative stairs, one of the two of us still hasnt been allowed to return to the United States for reasons that you can imagine. The other is already on the scene and trying to get things done hoping to have some good news from here the next weekend. Its not clear whether they will be able to perform at the celebrations second weekend, but interruption at celebrations due to the White Houses harder posture on immigration seems to be a permanent feature of US-based events.

5) The celebrations eclectic curation means it no longer has a sound

Lorde performing at Coachella 2017. Photograph: Valerie Macon/ AFP/ Getty Images

A varied lineup is something that Coachella has always prioritized, with its initial listing of headliners including Rage Against the Machine, Morrissey and The Chemical Friend. But since its inception, while diversity continued to differentiate the celebration, its adopted a stronger EDM slant and after 2014 when Calvin Harris scored the second-biggest mob the grounds had ever seen, its seems to dominate the valley ever since. Yet this years intimidatingly long listing of performing acts( more on that afterward) seemed based around the something for everyone style of scheduling with equal attention paid to EDM, boulder, indie and hip-hop, leaving its identity a little disorient. It seems as if the crowd were a little confused as well, unsure of where to head to and how to party. But there was one genre which seemed to be a popular addition …

6) Hip-hop and grime could be the celebrations new genres of choice

EDM and indie boulder have long been the dominant voices at Coachella. And this year the emphasis was clearly on younger acts from different genres, although claims of stones demise at the celebration might be somewhat overstated. The genre that benefited the most was hip-hop. Kendrick Lamars headline slot throws him on a level ascertained by only the likes of Jay Z and Kanye West, as a rap starring who truly transcends the genre. Hes also far from one of the genres populist, presenting a take over the genre that owes just as much to the jazz of Cecil Taylor as it does to gangsta rap from his native Compton. A cursory look around the top of the bills watched rap stars like Gucci Mane, DJ Khaled, Denzel Curry, Mac Miller, DJ Snake and Schoolboy Q, while Futures guest-star-packed turn on the main stage was one of the most “was talkin about a” situateds of the weekend. Grimes ascendancy in the states continued with Stormzy and Skepta, who managed to draw decent mob despite early times on the running ordering. Unlike at Glastonbury, where any appearance of a rap act higher up the bill is still met with the criticism that it doesnt truly belong at the celebration, Coachellas shift towards the genre constructed appreciation at an event that doesnt have some of the same prescriptive parameters around what does and doesnt deserve a place on its stages.

7) The pre-headliners failed to live up to expectation

Romy Madley Croft of the xx performing at Coachella 2017. Photo: Kevin Winter/ Getty Images for Coachella

Its a hard ask to be the lead-out group for a headliner, and its not a position that fits everybody. Groups like Primal Scream, who have a mix of crowd-pleasing ways and an ability to entertain people who might not be there specifically for them, manage it better than most. This year at Coachella some of the second-from-top groups didnt fare so well. The xxs set failed to land on Friday before Radiohead arrived on, with the subtlety of their music and stripped down performance mood lost in the evening exhilaration. Bon Iver fared better on Saturday, and theres an statement the low-key nature of the decide provided a palate cleanser before the theatrics of Lady Gaga. Lorde took another approach, with a decide that was more straightforward and could have easily been a headline performance. But getting the remaining balance of mass appeal that complements whats about to come was elusive in 2017.

8) Sometimes theres too much choice

This year watched festival athletes enforce a significant expansion, with 20 acres added to the site and capacity boosted from 99,000 to 125,000. The decision arguably led to their insisting that at least one of the nights was headlined by a mainstream artist proven to attract big crowds( enter Gaga) and likewise resulted in a host of new additions to the grounds, including a new punk rock tent. The lineup was also increased and the downside of so many artists playing simultaneously was that some situateds were scarcely attended, including Roisin Murphy, Ezra Furman and Show Me the Body. Devoted that its the first year of the expansion, these are likely teething issues and next year( when Beyonc will surely attracted an all the more important mob if the authorities permit ), should run more smoothly.

9) The Yuma tent is still the celebrations best-kept secret

When the Yuma Tent first seemed up on the terrace in 2014, it presented a novel proposition at Coachella. Small, dark, totally enclosed, and with the sentiments of a discotheque in a dusty old library, the Yuma catered unflinchingly to underground house and techno in the face of the imperial growth of EDM over at the Sahara Tent. Now it has grown to virtually four times the sizing, but has maintained the sentiments of a secret hideaway. Many dedicated job clubber-types scarcely leave the place all weekend, and it has reset Coachellas credibility as a dance music Mecca. This year, situateds from Detroit techno progenitors The Belleville Three, Berghain resident Marcel Dettmann, and scene icons Dixon and Solomun maintained the stages impeccable criteria. The best part is, most Coachella-goers still dont know it exists, so it is a haven for dance purists as much as it is a reprieve from the stifling desert heat.

10) Guest stars were a necessary, if distract, accessory

Over the past few years including with regard to, the surprise guest appearance arms race has reached epic proportions. The Weeknd brought out Kanye West, Solange brought out sister Beyonc, and every headlining pop starring is expected to please the baying mob with a cavalcade of amusements and familiar faces. This year, though, it may have gone too far. Case in phase: Futures Saturday night set on the main stage was punctuated by guest appearances from Ty Dolla Sign, Migos, and a blockbuster takeover from Drake, who effectively shut Futures set with three of his own songs. Gucci Mane brought out a casting of thousands for his headlining set on Saturday with P Diddy, Rae Sremmurd, Migos and Lil Yatchy all fighting for stage space.

On the other hand, DJ Snake uncovered Lauryn Hill to perform reworked dance versions of her classic tunes, Thundercat brought out Michael McDonald for two sungs, including a crowd-pleasing rendition of What A Clown Believes and composer Hans Zimmer called on Pharrell Williams to sing Liberty from the cinema Hidden Figures. In those instances, the surprise actually added to the imagination of its implementation and constructed the situateds better. At a certain phase, artists like Future will have to ask themselves: is it most significant to break the Internet or to make your mark on your own terms?

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