“Coachella’s become known for special guests,” a member of dance group Flosstradamus said at the end of its extraordinarily well-attended set on day two (April 18) of the second weekend of Coachella 2015. “Well, the only special guest we brought is you guys.”
They were speaking only for themselves, of course: the biggest surprise Saturday, and of the second weekend so far, was a drop-in performance from Kanye West during the closing main stage set from neo-R&B star Abel Tesfaye, who performs as The Weeknd.
The controversial rapper had been long-rumored to make an appearance during Drake’s set on Sunday (April 19), but The Weeknd apparently got him first, for an audience-pleasing multi-song mini-set that started with a snippet of “Heartless” before continuing into “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” “Black Skinhead,” “Don’t Like (Remix)” and “All Day.”
That followed a scorcher of a headlining set from guitar god Jack White, who has announced he’s taking a break from performing following a short acoustic tour later this year.
“This is my last electric show I’m going to play in a long while,” he confirmed towards the end of his set, which included a spiraling, hyperkinetic take on The Raconteurs “Steady As She Goes,” and a raucous rip-through The White Stripes’ breakthrough “Fell In Love With A Girl.”
White ran a comb through his hair as he looked into the tube of a long-defunct TV just before ripping through “My Doorbell” late in the set and tutored the crowd in the difference between electric and acoustic piano, choosing the latter for “Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground,” giving the rawness of the original behind in favor of a near honky-tonk feel.
Run the Jewels also continued their run of special guests: the rap duo welcomed Travis Barker on drums, as they did the first weekend; they also included rapper Gangsta Boo and guitarist/producer Flood during their extremely high-energy afternoon set.
Songwriter Father John Misty filled the void that arguably should have been occupied by a surprisingly absent My Morning Jacket with psychedelic folk rock that reached for the desert stars so hard that frontman/namesake J Tillman split his pants — literally.
“I just had my first wardrobe malfunction,” the hirsute Tillman declared, before shrugging it off and strapping on his acoustic guitar for another round.
Elsewhere on the field, current radio favorite Milky Chance’s range proved non-fat, with the German band’s same-y songs boring quickly, despite a massive turnout for their hit “Stolen Dance.”
Jungle conjured up memories of everyone from Kool & the Gang to the Bee Gees with dance-happy, tent-busting disco-pop that suggests big things ahead, and Ratatat proved that the normally oontz-y Sahara tent could make room for instruments, too, with the jammy, visual-heavy band busting out guitar-shredding, harmonium-blowing, and even a little marimba-bashing to compliment their percussive grooves.