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Coachella: Weekend One, The Best Performers in the World

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Coachella 2023 served some of the best performances of the year, and audiences ate it right up. The star-studded line-up consisted of iconic artists as well as rising artists: Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK, Rosalìa, Frank Ocean, Jackson Wang, boygenius, Becky G, Metro Boomin and many more fan favorites. Usual festival-goers and habitual music listeners alike appreciated the performers’ anticipated appearances and entertaining efforts. Check out the live-streams  on Coachella’s youtube!

Among the performers, Dominic Fike, was an alternative/indie musician who started getting more buzz from his recent role in “Euphoria” tunefully spoke to a wide range of audiences. He delivered sensational live vocals and powerful artistic energy. He fulfilled his fans’ musical desires by performing their favorite tracks like “Westcoast Collective,” “Babydoll” and “3 Nights.” Fike also gave them a taste of his new songs, like “Antpile.” Dominic Fike emanated a fun-loving energy mixed with heightened confidence; he didn’t disappoint at all. 

Although he only performed one track, Calvin Harris rocked the stage with his electric performance and got the crowd endlessly bouncing up and down. He performed the legendary fan favorite “Slide,” paying tribute to Migos’ member, Takeoff, who recently passed away. Fans were more than touched by this act of sympathy for the hip-hop group. The fact that the crowd instantly went crazy after hearing the first few notes perfectly reflected how universal music is, as well as Calvin Harris’ influence on the music industry.

Another stunning performer was Labrinth, who brought a metallic, flashy flair to the stage. The electric hip-hop artist recently got more recognition for his genius music making after composing the soundtrack for the HBO Max drama, “Euphoria,” blessing us with his iconic hits like “All For Us,” “Still Don’t Know My Name,” “I’m Tired” and more. 

Labrinth did a great job dramatizing the euphoric scenes from the show by giving the fans of the show and of his music the experience of their lives through his stage presence, setup and smoky aura of flashing lights. Because a lot of his well-known songs are associated with sensational life-altering scenes in the show, hearing those songs with those specific scenes playing in their heads in real time had fans feeling the need to sit back and take a deep breath to process such a significant moment of bringing their favorite show into real life. 

Many anxiously anticipated Bad Bunny’s performance as Friday’s headliner, considering his status as a world-renowned reggaeton artist. He opened the music festival on the main stage with an entirely Spanish show, setting himself apart from openers of past years like Childish Gambino, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. He brought the crowd to their feet when he surprisingly brought out Post Malone to play the guitar on “La Canción.”

Doechii was another rising hip-hop star who blessed the audience with refreshing and bouncy tracks like “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake.” She encouraged them to raise their glasses before blowing them away with her expertise in production, as heard in “Persuasive.” 

Kaytranada, a Montreal-based producer, rapper and DJ, also made an iconic appearance with an overwhelmingly mesmerizing circus-like stage prop of a massive head behind his DJ stand. He dropped big beats and big artists, bringing Kali Uchis for “10%” and Aminé for “4EVA.”

Saturday brought out Charlie XCX, who backed up her setlist with absolutely legendary bangers, including “I Love It,” “Lightning,” and “Boys.” She also pulled out the beloved pop icon, Troye Sivan, from her back pocket, having him perform a bubblier rendition of “1999” before another feature performance with The 1975 drummer, George Daniel. 

boygenius also delivered a much-needed break from all the leftover exhilaration, providing tranquil, lovely and soothing harmonies. And right after that came an uproar of delightful excitement for BLACKPINK. The four young performers exuded nothing but confidence and electricity with intricately catchy choreography and phenomenal vocals, especially in “Pink Venom” and “Ddu-du Ddu-du.” 

On the last day of Coachella: Weekend One, Kali Uchis took the stage and owned it with her top hits, “Telepatía,” “Melting” and “See You Again.” She brought out some of her best collaborators, Tyler, the Creator, Omar Apollo and Don Toliver, which inevitably got the crowd hyped. The mood of the festival suddenly shifted to a gracefully eccentric vibe when Björk showed up and served a luxurious, grand performance. She gave an elegant touch to the festival by bringing out a full orchestra to accompany her for “Cornucopia” and other classic hits. 

And for the last performance of the weekend, the most highly anticipated artist was saved for last: the one and only Frank Ocean. After six years of being M.I.A. in the media and music industry, Ocean made an exceptionally special appearance, performing some of his most treasured tracks, including “Bad Religion,” “Self-Control,” “White Ferrari” and a beautifully unique cover of the R&B queen, Aaliyah’s “At Your Best (You Are Love).” 

After the first weekend, festival-goers and loyal fans attending Coachella: Weekend Two are in for a musically insane roller coaster from their favorite artists. 

Cameryn Nguyen is an Arts & Entertainment Intern for the spring 2023 quarter. She can be reached at camerynn@uci.edu.