Coachella 2018, Day 3 Highlights: Cardi B, AURORA & Miguel
After the dizzying heights of Beyonce’s already-iconic performance on Saturday night (April 14), it was always going to be hard for festival-goers to bounce back for Day 3. And for the first half of the day, the atmosphere felt a little deflated — like someone had let the air out of a balloon. Happily, it didn’t take long for the manic energy to return thanks to Cardi B’s outrageous, twerk-heavy set and more sedate, yet equally magical moments from acts like AURORA and Vance Joy. We recap the highlights below.
1. Cardi B is pure entertainment
Given that she’s heavily pregnant, fans wondered if Cardi B might take it easy for her Coachella debut. As it turns out, they couldn’t have been more wrong. The rapper twerked up a storm, revving the party up with a string of hits (“Bodak Yellow,” “Bartier Cardi” and “Drip”). She also brought out G-Eazy for “No Limit,” Kehlani for “Ring” and Chance The Rapper for “Best Life” — among other cameo performances. If there were any lingering doubts that Cardi is a legitimate contender for the female rap throne, they were erased by the end of her set.
2. AURORA casts a spell
Norwegian pop pixie AURORA impressed everyone with her amazingly-titled debut LP, All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend, and developed a reputation as a consummate live performer with a string of North American shows over the last two years. The 21-year-old got to showcase both in the Gobi Tent, transfixing the crowd with ethereal gems like “Warrior,” “I Went Too Far” and “Running With The Wolves.” She even previewed a new single called “Queendom,” which is an anthem in the truest sense of the word.
3. Sex and drugs with Miguel
When it comes to sheer performance ability, Miguel is at the very top of the Coachella tree. The R&B crooner delivered soul, both old-school and futuristic, when he sauntered on to the Outdoor Theatre. Two main topic dominated the setlist — sex (“Adorn”) and drugs (“Do You” and “Sky Walker”). Which is about as festival-friendly as it gets. Miguel put on a brilliant show from beginning to end, but bringing out Kali Uchis to sing her unreleased verse on “Caramelo Duro” was truly unforgettable.
4. Japanese Breakfast needs to be on your radar
Lo-fi, shoe-gazing pop seems to be making a comeback with artists like Now, Now and Hatchie. At the forefront of that movement is Japanese Breakfast. Michelle Zauner (her real name) unpacked gem after gem from Psychopomp and Soft Sounds From Another Plant, cementing her status as One To Watch. While it’s hard to pick highlights from a generally flawless, refreshingly sincere set there were a couple of standouts — notably “Boyish” and “Everybody Wants To Love You” as well as her lovely cover of “Dreams” by The Cranberries.
5. Chilling out with Vance Joy
After the mayhem of Beychella on Saturday night, relaxing in the late afternoon sun to Vance Joy’s stripped-back tunes was a tonic for weary festival-goers. There wasn’t a lot of fuss to the Australian singer/songwriter’s set on the Coachella Stage (no special guests or flashy projections), but he did deliver 10 finely-crafted songs including old favorites like “Riptide,” “Georgia” and “Mess Is Mine” as well as highlights from his new album, Nation Of Two. “Saturday Sun” was notably well-received.
6. ODESZA turns Coachella into a giant rave
ODESZA is one of the most-sought after festival acts in music for good reason. They never disappoint. The electronic duo turned Coachella Stage into a giant rave with their dreamy, widescreen anthems and mind-bending beats. As with most artist/producers, they brought out a couple of guests including Naomi Wild for recent single “Higher Ground” and Leon Bridges for “Across The Room.” The days of EDM acts being relegated to Coachella tents is now long gone, thanks in part to party-starters like ODESZA.
7. LP finally has her moment
Vance Joy wasn’t the only guitar-strumming singer/songwriter tugging at heart-strings at Coachella. After several setbacks and detours, the stars finally aligned for LP when “Lost On You” caught fire internationally — cracking the top 10 in countries like France, Italy and Spain. The curly-haired pop/rocker has been doing a victory lap ever since and she kindly blessed the Mojave Tent with a breathtaking showcase. With momentum on her side and one of the best voices in music, her next move is going to be very interesting.
8. Make way for Kamaiyah
Nicki Minaj has had a monopoly on female rap for most of the last decade, but the arrival of Cardi B proves that there’s room for more than one queen. There could soon be a holy trinity if Kamaiyah’s staggeringly good Coachella debut in the Gobi Tent is any indication. The Oakland, California native served up one of the most energetic sets of the weekend — exuding confidence, charisma and a killer flow. She also brought out YG and paid respect to one of the original kingpins of rap by sharing the stage with Too Short. Kamaiyah is definitely One To Watch.
9. Pop makes an appearance thanks to Hayley Kiyoko
When is comes to Coachella, pop is one of the most underrepresented genres. There are rock bands, rappers and DJs aplenty, but there isn’t much for fans of radio-friendly bops. That makes Hayley Kiyoko something of an exception. Admittedly, she definitely has an alt-edge, but you can still sing along to the vast majority of her Expectations — her impressive debut LP. She belted out songs from the album and literally flew the flag for LGBTQ rights. As in, the “Curious” diva was draped in a rainbow flag for much of the show.
10. Eminem served up nostalgia
Listen. It was always going to hard for Eminem to generate as much hype for his headlining performance as Beyonce did the night before. At this point in time, he just isn’t as plugged into youth culture. And he’s not particularly bothered about it. The rapper has already cemented his place in history and proudly showcased it with a hit-filled set from his 9 mega-selling albums. He was joined by Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, while Bebe Rexha took over for Rihanna — singing “The Monster,” a song that she originally penned. It was a fitting conclusion to another memorable festival.