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Coachella 2017 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

on April 17, 2017, 5:00pm

Schoolboy Q

schoolboy q 12 Coachella 2017 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

With Kendrick Lamar locked in to headline the festival’s final night hot on the heels of his recently released DAMN. album, all eyes were on the TDE stable, including ScHoolboy Q. The crowd from Future stormed towards the Outdoor stage as soon as Drake’s appearance ended in hopes of getting a decent view of the local star, but the area was already packed to the back with hardcore fans who bypassed Future altogether. Emerging onstage with a Los Angeles city skyline as his backdrop to the strains of “Gangsta”, the rapper delivered a tight set of his greatest hits, including “Hands on the Wheel”, “Collard Greens”, and “Studio”. He even got into the Coachella spirit with a pair of surprise guests, welcoming ASAP Rocky and another local native, Tyler, The Creator, to the stage for an updated version of ASAP Mob track “Telephone Calls”. –Scott T. Sterling
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Ezra Furman

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Ezra Furman opened the Outdoor stage on the last day of Coachella 2017 to a small smattering of fans who braved the best and weren’t too hungover from the weekend to make the 2:35 p.m. set time. The gender-fluid Furman hopped onstage in a slim, black dress, a strand of pearls and bright orange lipstick as he led his band through an invigorating set of straight-ahead rock with Americana and rockabilly undertones, ideal to slap haggard attendees awake after two days of desert partying. It was during “Tell Em All To Go to Hell” that Furman really got loose, going off on a well-researched rant calling out AEG (Coachella’s parent company) owner Philip Anschutz and his alleged financial ties to anti-LGBTQ organizations and evasive oil explorations. The crowd seemed stunned at first, but quickly rallied behind his sentiments. From there, Furman and his band roared through the rest of the show with renewed vigor and a much larger audience, having left a decided mark on the early afternoon hours. –Scott T. Sterling
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Skepta

As soon as British rapper Skepta hit the Sahara Tent stage Sunday afternoon, he wasted no time letting the audience know he was seeking some redemption.

“I was supposed to be here last year … but I lost my passport,” he said after giving the Coachellans a proper grime greeting with the title track off 2016 album Konnichiwa. “I went back to the embassy to get my visa, and they dug up my shit and denied it. I’ve got two years’s worth of energy – where is my energy crew? Let’s test it!”

By all counts, the test was massively successful – it seemed like virtually every Brit at Coachella had crowded into the enormous hangar-shaped tent to rap along with the MC’s impressive, double-time deliveries on London street life anthems like “That Not Me”, “It Ain’t Safe” (with ASAP Mob’s Young L.O.R.D.), “Detox” (featuring fellow Boy Better Know crew members Shorty and Frisco), and “Security”. By set’s end, even the kids who’d begun the show looking clueless were moshing and at least chanting along with the easy-to-follow hooks, leaving no doubt why Skepta is the premiere presence in British grime and sure to continue his ascension among US hip-hop heads. –David Brendan Hall
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Justice

justice 2 Coachella 2017 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

While Kendrick Lamar was the top dog overall among Sunday’s bill (and king of the weekend, in our opinion), French duo Justice reigned supreme among the day’s electro acts by pulling off a production that was both inventive and invigorating. With focus on tracks off latest album, Woman — among them: kinetic set opener “Safe and Sound”, multiple reprises of “Love S.O.S.”, and galvanizing closer “Chorus” – the group hosted the weekend’s most spirited dance party at the Outdoor Theatre. Getting an actual glimpse of Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé was next to impossible among the constantly flashing white strobes and deep shadows, but no matter – seeing their hunched figures wasn’t the point. The idea was to immerse oneself in the impressive production – the usual absurd number of Marshall amp stacks surrounded by geometric square and rectangular light panels attached to tethers that could change color/rise/fall/morph in endless variation – and rock-based, robotic party beats, the sort that might supplant Daft Punk’s world-champs live status if that famed robot pair never takes the stage again. –David Brendan Hall
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Whitney

Whitney might hail from Chicago, but their Sunday afternoon Coachella set was about the chill vibes of the ‘70s Southern California sound personified by the likes of Fleetwood Mac and particularly the Eagles, thanks to Whitney featuring a singing drummer (Julien Ehrlich) with a beautiful falsetto like a young Don Henley (this is all complimentary, trust me). Easy, breezy tunes like “No Matter Where We Go”, “Polly”, and “Golden Days” felt like we’d been transported back to the original California Jam in 1974. They threw a couple of covers into the mix (Lion’s 1975 nugget, “You’ve Got a Woman” and NRBQ’s “Magnet) and introduced a new acoustic mountain jam tentatively titled “Rolling Blackouts” before culminating with a beautiful version of “No Woman”. They’ve been quoted as wanting to play the Stagecoach someday, and that fest would be lucky to have them. –Scott T. Sterling

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