Coachella 2018 review

Kezia Caruana headed to the one and only Coachella to see what the valley had to offer.

Amelia Ward

Last updated: 16th May 2018.
Originally published: 26th Apr 2018

Image: Coachella (source)

Set amongst picturesque mountains in Coachella Valley in Indio, Southern California, a usually sleepy town comes alive at this time of the year when around 100,000 music hungry party goers descend on the pristine Empire Polo Club for two weekends of celebrity induced hysteria. Unlike weekend 1 which is full of celebrities and their entourage with all the performances streamed directly to Live TV via YouTube, weekend 2 is a lot more laid back with festival goers attending more for their love of music than which famous people they may spot walking around. The performers have already endured their nerve-racking practice run so they can relax a little more which arguably often means a better performance.

One thing that must be said about this festival is that it’s a complete fashion statement. People from all over the USA (and a few from further afield) take it upon themselves to dress in the most enchantingly pretty BoHo inspired outfits. Perfect make-up, beautiful hair and a ‘unique’ outfit to finish the look is an absolute necessity as everyone at the festival looked absolutely stunning. For a lot of British festival goers, it's about listening to music, having the time of your life and not caring how you look as long as you're enjoying it. But, hey this is America, in fact this is Coachella… and we can’t blame all the gorgeous people for looking their best and making a fashion statement. 

The first act on the main stage early on Friday was the moving voice of Benjamin Clementine. He is a singer, poet, composer and musician. His strong vocals paired with rhythmic, sometimes opera inspired melodies were an amazing way to get familiarized with the festival. Walking into the field in front of the main stage, the volume of his voice blared out across the dusty grass, creating a hypnotic atmosphere. Critics cannot place his music into any genre as he flawlessly mixes and crosses genres to create music never before composed at least in the mainstream music scene. 

The highlight of Friday though had to be a hugely uplifting set from DJ and producer Kygo who gave the crowd the best introduction and welcoming as he played to his thousands of fans. Playing keyboard and piano and bringing out an array of special guests for his performances, he provided track after track of the happiest and most melodic music around at this time. Playing famous tracks such as ‘It ain’t me’, ‘Sexual Healing’ and ‘Stole the Show’ as well as many others, his set definitely had the perfect atmosphere for the festival.

He also paid a moving tribute to the late Avicii, explaining how much his much his music inspired him and when you listen to the two DJs' productions it’s apparent that Kygo was definitely inspired by Avicii’s brand of EDM. Guest performances included Miguel and Arianna Grande who took the opportunity to present her new single ‘No Tears Left To Cry’.

The Weekend headlined Friday, and following some mis-haps the week before, this week he was completely on form - his vocals were absolutely spot on. He has such an amazing talent and range with his voice and it was clear to see why the 19 year old was chosen to close the show on Friday.

Dance duo Snakehips played a lively set at the Sahara stage which has been completely altered and remastered this year. The Sahara stage has always been the dance and electronic music stage but it has considerably grown along with the growth of electronic dance music.

Jorja Smith has recently been catapulted to fame. Just a year ago she was a 19 year old girl working in Starbucks and now, after supporting Drake on his world tour, she is performing at the biggest music festival in the US and collaborating with rapper Kendrick Lamar on the soundtrack to the huge Blockbuster film Black Panther. What a difference a year makes, and she deserves every bit of recognition as her beautifully unique voice is one to be heard by the masses.

Eminem played an astounding set and had surprise guest appearances from Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. The atmosphere was incredible as he rapped his way through 31 tracks, he played 4 tracks from his newly released album ‘Revival’ which were ‘Walk on Water’ ‘Cholaraseptic’ ‘Nowhere Fast’ and ‘River’. Skyler Grey was also a guest vocalist who sung the choruses on a few of his songs which was a nice touch to have a live female artist singing in the set. As controversial as ever, Eminem hit bag at some haters from Twitter who speculated that “Eminem was not the right artist to close Coachella”.

He read the tweets out in a sketch featuring a personalized video from the Jimmy Kimmel show and then went on to play hits ‘My Name Is’ and ‘The Real Slim Shady’, cutting it to half of the song to introduce the one and only Dr. Dre who performed ‘Nuthin’ But a G Thang’ ‘Forgot about Dre’ and ‘California Love’, before finally ending with ‘Lose Yourself’. After announcing the 10th anniversary of sobriety and abstinence from alcohol and drugs, the last performance of the show was phenomenal and Eminem made it look effortless to spit every single bar word for word perfect. We couldn’t think of a better way to end an incredible weekend.