Yesterday (Apr. 15), thousands of music fans with a fancy for genres reaching from rap to EDM poured into Indio, California’s Empire Polo Club to experience the annual return of Coachella.
While the festival lineup boasted of star-studded names like, headliners LCD Soundsystem, A$AP Rocky, DJ Mustard, Ellie Goulding, G-Eazy and more, kickoff day was championed by relatively new acts, many of which also made their Coachella debut and had a lot to prove to the masses.
In the mix of the musical hustle and bustle, VIBE made sure to peep all acts, both small and large, keeping readers abreast of the next big stars to watch out for.
Rising alt-R&B singer-songwriter Gallant made major waves in the Mojave tent with his perfectly pitched falsetto. Rocking his signature golden sad face t-shirt, his presence was anything but. The NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study graduate commanded the stage like a pro with not one festival-goer unmoved, ultimately taking the crowd to church with his heavenly vocals on several tracks from his newly-released debut LP Ology.
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And as if he didn’t solidify himself as an artist serious about reviving R&B, the 24-year-old crooner closed out his set with a legendary surprise guest. British soul and R&B singer and songwriter Seal waltzed on stage for a duet of his iconic 1991 hit song “Crazy.” But before they began the powerful performance, the veteran gave props to Gallant, dubbing him the “future.” And in that moment, the crowd went crazy as they witnessed Seal pass the torch.
Around noon, social media was buzzing with the news that London Grime MC Skepta’s highly-anticipated set was cancelled after he was denied an entrance visa into the United States. However, the international vibes were still plenty as Australian radio host, DJ and music producer Nina Las Vegas turned the melancholy moment into a dance frenzy. Her lit EDM dance floor vibes pleasantly flourished as there was not one still soul in the Sahara tent. While she held down the turntables with quip technical skills, UNIIQU3, the self-proclaimed Jersey Club Kween DJ kept the explosive set turned up by controlling the mic in a DJ Khaled-like fashion — lots of call and response and adlibs. We’re not sure if these ladies will continue to tag team shows like this, but the girl power on the stage was too good not to pursue something in the near future.
Brooklyn was most definitely in the house when Flatbush rapper Joey Bada$$ turned Coachella’s main stage into “Prochella.” With his trusted DJ Statik Selektah holding down the turntables, the independent hip hop star also brought a 4-piece band along to make sure his debut performance was one to remember. With confidence, charisma, and retro boom bap beats, the laid-back lyricist kept the crowd rocking and screaming his lyrics word-for-word. He also delivered two new songs, both of which are in the same vein of his signature sound that’s nostalgic of Nas’ greatness.