Nuevo Culture

RECAP | The Top 10 Sets We Saw At Coachella Weekend 2

I infamously told my friends I would never go to Coachella. I fell prey to the false narrative that Coachella is overrun by influencers and “not about the music.” But with just a little over a week before Weekend 2 of this year’s Coachella festival, the FOMO started hitting hard, and I ended up sending it last minute. And I’m so glad I did – nothing could have prepared me for how epic it was.

The first thing that struck me was how well organized this festival was. From picking up my wristband at will call, to the signage throughout the grounds, to the stage design and sound systems, everything was truly seamless. When the thermometers hit 100 degrees, they added water misters to the stages to keep everyone cool. There’s a reason this is the biggest festival in the country year after year.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how friendly everyone in the crowd was. Rather than the snobby, famous-adjacent vibe killers I was expecting, everyone was extremely nice. It was easy to dance with random strangers, becoming friends without even needing to exchange words. I was thrilled to see the PLUR spirit alive and well, with plenty of people sporting clip-on sprouts and exchanging trinkets. And while there were definitely still people there for the content, it had the unexpectedly positive consequence of creating a judgment-free zone.

Although my total set count clocked in at 22 sets over the course of the 3 days, 10 sets stood out from the rest (though it was hard to narrow it down to even that).

Justice: This easily rose to one of the top 3 sets I’ve ever seen. It’s honestly hard for me to describe what made this set so special. Maybe it was the exciting feeling of anticipation permeating through the crowd, which quickly elevated to rapturous euphoria once the French duo hit the stage. Maybe it was the way they re-vamped all of their music, creating unholy, extra-heavy live versions. The interspersion of their new song with Tame Impala and their hit “D.A.N.C.E” had everyone losing their minds. Or maybe it was their stage design full of moving rows of colorful strobe lights and staticky TV screens which fit the retro, dark 80s vibe of their music. Regardless, it was all anyone could talk about throughout the weekend.

Photo Credit / Brandon Densey

Gessafelstein: I get why they call him The Dark Prince now. His set opened with heavy-hitting, intense bass. My entire group looked at each other and simultaneously made the Bass Stank Face – he wasn’t there to play. The rest of his set was just as relentless as he gradually upped the BPM until he was basically playing gabber. It felt like we were at a rave in 3024. His stage design was also badass – wearing his signature mask with glowing eyes, the lights beamed down to form a cone around him. It looked like he was being abducted by aliens, and it certainly felt like he snatched the souls right out of our bodies.

Photo Credit / Karel Chladek

Barry Can’t Swim: Maybe the best crowd of the whole festival. I had caught one of his shows in Brooklyn earlier this year, and while his selections there were amazing, I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t incorporate any live elements at that show in February, given how instrumental his album was. It seems like he was saving it up for Coachella, because he had a full live band – drums, keys, synths, vocals, and more. Between the VIP versions and unreleased IDs he played, there was not a single moment the crowd wasn’t going crazy. It was absolutely electric.

Photo Credit / Rachael Polack

Everything Always: I’ve seen both John Summit and Dom Dolla separately many times, but never together. I had high expectations, but they surpassed them with new remixes of their hit songs like “Shiver” and plenty of new music, like Dom’s new song with Tove Lo. They really live up to their joint name – every genre was on the table, from afro beats, to dubstep, to DnB. I also loved seeing how gassed they were to be playing together. Their energy was contagious, and the crowd fed off it. John Summit’s closing set on Sunday was also a highlight and the perfect way to close the festival.

Photo Credit / Brandon Densey

Yung Singh: My favorite set I saw at the Do Lab stage. The special stage this independent production team put together was a mini festival in-itself, with its colorful, fluttery mushroom structures and stacked line up. I’ve been dying to see Yung Singh since his iconic Boiler Room set, and he did not disappoint. His unique blend of UKG, Punjabi beats, and house made for an incredible set list, and I was wowed by his technical ability on the decks. I fully expect him to be one of the next big names in the electronic scene.  

RAYE: Man, she can really sang. Even with her set scheduled at 4PM during one of the hottest parts of the hottest day, she had the Mojave Tent over-flowing. Her voice was incredible, and the full backing orchestra accompanying her rounded out her spectacular performance.

Photo Credit / Kirby Gladstein

Sabrina Carpenter: I wasn’t familiar with her music before seeing her, but I was blown away by her star power. Her stage presence was next-level. She kept the crowd enthralled with her cheeky lyrics, retro set design and production, and mesmerizing choreography. Plus, she brought out Norah Jones for a goosebump-inducing duet of Jones’ iconic hit “Don’t Know Why.” She really solidified her status as the next big thing in pop music.

No Doubt: Gwen Stefani was one of my childhood idols, so seeing her and the full No Doubt band was a surreal experience. Even at 54 years-old, her rock star energy was off the charts, and she dominated the crowd like no other as she engaged in an epic call-and-response during “Just a Girl.” 

Photo Credit / Alden Bonecutter

Kid Cudi: The special guest exclusive to Weekend 2 drew one of the biggest crowds of the festival, and the atmosphere radiated nostalgia and excitement. Even Cudi falling off the stage and breaking his foot couldn’t prevent us from dancing our asses off as “Pursuit of Happiness” had us re-living our high school memories.

Tyler the Creator: I admit I was skeptical when he was announced as a headliner, but he proved everyone wrong. He pranced and danced across the stage and you couldn’t help but fall in love with him as he playfully bantered with the crowd. I think every single person in the audience was jumping for his explosive performance of “Who Dat Boy,” which was my personal favorite moment of the set. Although we weren’t treated to the same amount of guests that he brought out Weekend 1, he did bring out Earl Sweatshirt, one of his co-founders of Odd Future, performing their collab “AssMilk” for the first time in 10 years.

Photo Credit / Shaun Llewellyn

  • Author