Coachella 2023: Who Stole the Show?
The 2023 Coachella Music Festival is done and dusted, so if you missed it, we’ve got the recap for you. Coachella 2023 will go down as one of the more eclectic, diverse live music festivals in recent years. Let’s look at the ten acts that stood out the most in the 2023 Coachella lineup.
Beneath a massive pink backdrop shaped like xieshan-style gables, South Korea’s Blackpink blew things up with an energetic, tightly-choreographed show, featuring a dozen dancers and infectious hits like “Pink Venom,” “Pretty Savage,” and their 2018 smash, “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du.” After making their Coachella festival debut in 2019 on the Sahara stage, the K-pop stars returned to headline Saturday, becoming the first Asian closers in the festival’s 24-year history. They had the crowd in the palm of their hand, which suggests this won’t be the last visit to the festival.
2. Metro Boomin
Rap and trap superproducer Metro Boomin took the stage at the Sahara tent on Friday night for a set featuring collabs with The Weeknd (“Heartless”), Future (“Superhero (Heroes and Villains)”), Don Toliver (“I Can’t Save You”), and 21 Savage along with appearances by Diddy—on “Creepin'” alongside The Weeknd—and John Legend. It’s not often you get to see so much talent in one place.
3. Bad Bunny
Reggaeton legend Bad Bunny brought his unique blend of rap and Caribbean rhythms to the main stage Friday night. In another first for this year’s festival, the Puerto Rican native became the first Spanish-speaking artist to headline. During a raucous performance of his hit “Safaera,” the semi-circular screen and stage set of palm trees set amidst urban decay burst into a flaming inferno. With Bunny and his crew of dancers and rappers (including reggaeton duo Jowell & Randy) bouncing in rhythm as bursts of fire licked the sky all around, the scene seemed to sum up a whole 2023 vibe. Tech issues when Post Malone showed up for a guest spot marred an otherwise flawless set, though even that highlighted the joy of the raw spontaneity of live performances in a world more and more dominated by digital ones.
4. Wet Leg
The Isle of Wight indie rock duo Wet Leg made their debut as Coachella artists in 2023 on the heels of last year’s self-titled debut album, which quickly established them as the latest Brit-rock darlings. Lead singer/rhythm guitarist Rhian Teasdale and lead guitarist/backup singer Hester Chambers put a wry, laconic spin on top of their electric melodies on songs like “Chaise Lounge” and “Ur Mom” (with a special appearance by head Foo Fighter Dave Grohl, lending his vocals to the mid-song extended scream).
The one-time Sugarcubes frontwoman and 90s alternative icon put on a show as only she could, with her soaring, searching vocals exposing both vulnerability and strength while her extravagant costumes added humor and theatricality. Backed by a string orchestra for songs like the aching “Jóga” and “Hyperballad,” her emotional performance was capped by a drone light show in the sky above the stage.
Catalonia-born sensation Rosalía brought her one-of-a-kind blend of flamenco and hip-hop to the main stage on Saturday night and lit up the night with songs like “Beso” and “Vampiros,” both of which were duets performed with fiancé Rauw Alejandro. The chemistry between the two was palpable as they strutted across the stage before ending in a kiss and embrace.
7. Lava La Rue
The West London-based psychedelic rapper and songstress has quickly become one to watch since the 2022 EP release, Hi-Fidelity, and La Rue’s performance under the Sonora tent on Friday night only emphasized the point. On songs like “Renegade” and the dub-inflected “Magpie,” LaRue showed confidence and swagger that commanded the stage. When Nine8 Collective collaborator Biig Piig joined in the fun for the first live performance of the fresh composition “Hi Fidelity,” the party went up yet another level.
8. Sofi Tukker
On a stage that combined playground monkey bars with Greek pillars and Amazonian jungle motifs, Florida’s EDM duo Sofi Tukker gave the Saturday crowd at the Outdoor Theater just what they wanted: tight verbal flows, soaring melodies, and irresistible beats. On songs like “Swing,” their remix of HBO’s “The White Lotus” theme song, and the Portuguese-flavored “Drinkee,” singers Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern showed why the future of EDM is in their hands. Their brightly-colored costumes complemented their positive vibes, and when a sing-along started to a sample of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner,” with the band kicking in the beat, all seemed right with the world.
9. Chemical Brothers
English electronic music pioneers The Chemical Brothers took over the Outdoor Theater with their signature high-energy beats and visuals. As the rising beats and funky groove of “No Reason” echoed through the hall, massive screens showed glow-in-the-dark marching band dancers moving in rhythm. And as sound and image seemed to merge into one experience, the magic of the Brothers was clear.
With roots stretching back to New York’s 1970s punk scene, it’s safe to say Blondie knows a thing or two about putting on a show. Of course, it helps to have a catalog of bangers like “One Way or Another,” “Heart of Glass,” and “Call Me” to draw on. Debbie Harry seemed to really be enjoying herself under the Mojave tent, with her black rectangular sunglasses adding a sci-fi vibe, while legendary original members Chris Stein on guitar and Clem Burke on the sticks sounded as tight as ever. Nile Rodgers guested on guitar for “Rapture,” the 1981 single that became the first song to feature rapping to hit #1 on the charts.
Limiting a list to a mere ten great performances is almost impossible, especially for a festival with as much talent as Coachella. Be sure to check out how Latin artists finally got their due at this year’s festival. Then check out our list of the best Coachella performances of all time, including Jimi Hendrix, Beyoncé, and other all-time greats.
To read on the same subject:
- The Top 10 Greatest Coachella Performances of All Time
- Latin Music Takes Over Coachella 2023 with Bad Bunny Leading the Pack
- Festival Fever: The Ultimate 2023 Bucket List for Music Festival Lovers
- The Heat is On! The Hottest Festivals to Attend in the USA in 2023
- The 17 Best Festival Performances of All Time: Jimi Hendrix, Beyoncé & More
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- Beyond the Headliners: Explore the Lesser-Known Acts at Glastonbury 2023