Coachella 2018, Day 1 Highlights: Yodel Boy, The Weeknd & Kygo’s Guests
Music fans from around the word descended upon the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California yesterday (April 13) for the first installment of Coachella 2018. As usual, the three-day festival offers a smorgasbord of acts that cater to every musical taste. Rock bands shared the main stage with hip-hop heavyweights and superstar DJs, who inevitably brought along their own special guests. It’s impossible to catch everything when magical moments are happening at all of the (now) seven stages, but here are some the most talked-about moments.
1. Whethan brings out Yodel Boy
18-year-old electronic music producer Whethan scored the coup of the Day 1 by bringing out Mason Ramsey — better known as Walmart’s Yodel Boy. The “Love Gang” hitmaker had joked about being mistaken for the viral sensation on Twitter during the week (there is a passing resemblance!), which made the cameo even more fun. Whethan also invited BROODS’ vocalist Georgia Nott on stage to perform their new single, “Be Like You.”
2. Jean-Michel’s mind-bending set
One of day’s most enthralling sets belonged 69-year-old Jean-Michel Jarre, who cast a spell over the Outdoor Theatre with a breathtaking multi-media show. In it, the veteran producer wove intricate beats loaded with all manner of tones and textures from yesteryear and the present. The Frenchman even included a shoutout from Edward Snowden. Yes, that Edward Snowden. His industrial beats, although not always dance-able, were utter captivating.
3. The Weeknd gets emotional
Abel’s new EP is called My Dear Melancholy, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that the superstar delivered the most emo set of Day 1. (He was the only person to openly weep on stage). The Weeknd emerged from a crack in a giant statute that took up most of the main stage to belt out hits — “Starboy,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Party Monster” and “I Feel It Coming” — and mope around to new material like “Call Out My Name” and “Hurt You.” Both were equally well-received.
4. Greta Van Fleet is our new favorite rock band
Love the rock ‘n’ roll classics? Detroit’s Greta Van Fleet shook the Mojave tent with a searing performance of their EP From The Fires. Joshua Kiszka’s astounding vocals (the 21-year-old has the pipes of a young rock god) and the young group’s thundering guitar licks were a welcome departure from this year’s near-constant EDM acts. Their debut album can’t drop quick enough.
5. Carly Rae Jepsen blesses the festival with her presence
Jack Antonoff has worked with most of pop’s leading ladies at this point (Lorde, Taylor Swift and St. Vincent), but he only brought out one during Bleachers high-energy set in the Mojave tent — the legendary Carly Rae Jepsen. She soothed sweaty festival-goers with “Hate That You Know Me” and “Alfie’s Song.” In addition to that magical moment, Jack belted out all the hits including “Rollercoaster,” “Don’t Take The Money” and “I Wanna Get Better.”
6. Kygo brings out everybody
Nobody brought out as many special guests as Kygo on Day 1. The Norwegian DJ shared the stage with Parson James (“Stole The Show”), Julia Michaels (“Carry Me”), Jamie Foxx (a cover of “Sexual Feeling”), Justin Jesso (“Stargazing”), Ryan Tedder (“Apologize” and “Stranger Things”), Rita Ora (she took over for Selena Gomez on “It Ain’t Me”) and Conrad Sewell, who closed the set with “Firestone.”
7. SZA is unstoppable
Long before SZA performed at Coachella, her star was on the rise but this set solidified her status as an unstoppable force in the R&B world and beyond. Her soulful range was a welcome reprieve from the weekend’s pop and alt-centric lineup. During her set, she brought out Kendrick Lamar for a couple of songs — they treated fans to a performance of “Doves in the Wind” as well as their Black Panther collaboration “All the Stars” — and delivered a solo take on Rihanna’s “Consideration.”
8. Kali Uchis lives up to the hype
Colombian-American newcomer Kali Uchis has all the buzz right now, but that doesn’t always guarantee an electric live presence. In this case, the hype is well and truly warranted. The Isolation auteur brought her unique blend of neo-soul, latin sounds and pop to the Outdoor Theatre and delighted with an eclectic set that featured recent singles “Nuestro Planeta,” “Tyrant” and “After The Storm.” She brought out Tyler, The Creator for the latter.
9. The War On Drugs was a mellow delight
Festival-goers looking for a dreamy interlude gravitated towards Philadelphia’s The War On Drugs, who rocked the Outdoor Theatre soon after the sun went down. Although it was not one of the festival’s most high-energy performances (in a good way), fans could easily get lost in Adam Granduciel’s reliably poignant grovel and his soaring solos. And sometimes you just need some incredible hooks and introspection in the desert.
10. Skip Marley brings reggae to the desert
One of the few underrated represented genres at Coachella 2018 is reggae, particularly given how hot it is at radio. Skip Marley, grandson of the legendary Bob Marley, flew the flag for island rhythms. The Jamaican and his band made the Outdoor Theatre stage their own with heartening renditions of new music and reggae classics, including “Redemption Song.”