Every year, thousands of people gather in the California desert to experience the world-renowned music festival, Coachella. This year was the second year post-COVID, meaning larger crowds and a return to normalcy. Coachella 2023 has not been a disappointment so far, with plenty of excellent performances throughout the weekend. From headliners like Blackpink, to lower billed artists like Doechii, Coachella featured something for everyone. Despite not attending the festival in person, I had the opportunity to watch nearly every set throughout the weekend via livestream. Here’s my top five favorite performances from weekend 1.
Number One- Rosalía
Set Time- Saturday at 7pm PST Coachella Stage
When it comes to live performance, few do it like Rosalía. Taking the stage before Blackpink, she commanded the stage both physically and virtually. On her Motomami World Tour and a run of festivals, Rosalía uses videography in addition to the live performance. The stage show uses camera crew and mobile phones to create a totally unique experience on screen. So, a song performed on stage would look much different on the screens than on stage. While visual shows aren’t new, Rosalía is performing beyond anyone else right now. Her Coachella set was no exception, which included a surprise guest *her fiancé*, Rauw Alejandro as well as gorgeous vocals. Don’t skip the Weekend 2 Saturday livestream with Rosalía.
Number Two- Blackpink
Set Time- Saturday at 9pm PST Coachella Stage
Did I write a scathing review of the new Jisoo solo project two weeks ago? Yes. Did I absolutely love Blackpink’s Coachella headlining set? Yes. Blackpink performed beyond expectations, both as a group and in their solo acts. The Coachella set is completely different from their Born Pink tour set. This show presented all new choreography, outfits, and setlist for the group. Some highlights of the set include Lisa’s solo, the pre-show drone experience, and the intimate moments with the group. Blackpink had a lot to prove, especially as the first KPOP act to headline the festival. Despite this, they gave a once in a lifetime performance, one that makes me wish I was there.
Number Three- Kaytranada
Set Time- Friday at 7:30 Outdoor Stage
While EDM is a hard genre to judge from home, it’s clear that Kaytranada is one of the best live DJ’s there are. Taking a break from opening The Weeknd’s After Hours Till Dawn Tour, this set is a completely different show from that one. The stage featured a statue replication of Kaytranada’s head, as well as various lighting structures and more. He not only brought out Kali Uchis, but also remixed current hits like “Cuff It”. While his pre-recorded tracks are amazing, his live sets bring them to a whole other level. Definitely check him out before Bad Bunny and Gorillaz next weekend.
Number Four- Labrinth
Set Time- Saturday at 10:35pm PST Mojave Stage
Labrinth is a singer, rapper, songwriter, and producer. Is there anything he can’t do? Thanks to his performance last Saturday at the Mojave stage, he can now add live performer to his resume. Not only did he translate his songs live, but added a choir, and live band to the mix. Add in simplistic but gorgeous visuals, and a Billie Eilish guest appearance and you have the making of a history making Coachella set. Do not miss his show during Weekend 2.
Number Five- Doechii
Set Time- Friday at 3:30 PST Coachella Stage
If there’s one word to describe Doechii, it’s eccentric. The Tampa, FL rapper made her Coachella debut on the main stage last Friday. Coming off of the release of her controversial new single, Doechii cemented her status as a force to be reckoned with. Highlights from the set include “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake” and “Persuasive” containing a live mix with the song “HEATED” by Beyoncé. If you’re looking an entertaining performance from an upcoming rap superstar, look no further than Doechii.
Overall, Coachella 2023 has been an interesting one to say the least. From a surprisingly disappointing Frank Ocean performance, to a noticeable lack of star-powered headliners, many might write off this years Coachella’s as one of the worst. However, in between the bad press is a multitude of fantastic artists. These five artists showcased their entire talent portfolio within the limited festival time. If you’re at the festival next weekend, or just sitting on the couch, use the guide to help.
Here at Mic Drop Music, we want to know… what sets were your favorite at Coachella?