Home Music Music Lists

Coachella 2018: The 18 Best Things We Saw at Weekend One

From Queen Bey to Cardi B and beyond

Coachella Best Worst 2018 read beyonce watch

We run down the best of Coachella 2018, weekend one, from Beyoncé to Cardi B and the Yodel Kid himself.

This weekend, Coachella returned to Indio, and the small Southern California town once again became the center of the music world. Beyoncé reigned supreme, but rising stars like Cardi B, Brockhampton and, ahem, Yodel Kid all made strong showings. Here’s the best of what we saw.

Coachella Best Worst 2018 read watch

Rich Fury

King Krule

The mercurial Londoner guided his Coachella audience through a wonderfully disorientating set of hazy jazz, twisted funk, noise-rock and swampy punk – sometimes all within one song. The singer acted as a wonderfully freaky focal point, growling his distinct vocal tones into the microphone one moment, then thrashing and flailing his gangly limbs around the stage the next.

Coachella Best Worst 2018 read watch

Koury Angelo for Rolling Stone

St. Vincent

Sporting beige vinyl and bright-red opera gloves, Annie Clark was in top form Friday night, emitting a cyborg-esque chill as shredded on her guitar. Her Coachella appearance doubled as a debut for her full live band, which elevated the most painstaking details of her avant-garde Masseduction songs. Clark and her enigmatic crew signed, sealed and delivered an icy yet absorbing spectacle that was part rock show, part performance art.

Coachella Best Worst 2018 read watch

Koury Angelo for Rolling Stone

Vince Staples

During Vince Staples’ early-evening set on Friday, the only thing sharper than his flows were his barbs. “This is the white-people stage, so I appreciate you having my black ass up here,” he quipped, apparently forgetting that SZA and Weeknd were on immediately after him on the Coachella stage. If he felt awkward about being an interloper, the Long Beach rapper didn’t show it. Backed by a giant collage of screens (showing a dizzying mix of everything from Kurt Cobain interviews to Black Panther demonstrations and classic Sprite commercials), Staples confidentially delivered the best cuts from Summertime ’06 and the last year’s superb Big Fish Theory. Kendrick Lamar’s guest appearance on “Yeah Right” may have jolted an otherwise nonplussed crowd to life, but Staples’ commanding performance proved that the MC was exactly where he deserved to be. 

Coachella Best Worst 2018 read watch

Koury Angelo for Rolling Stone

Brockhampton

Before Brockhampton even played a note on Saturday evening, the Mojave tent was jammed full of fans chanting their name. Despite delays and microphone issues (which main member Kevin Abstract later profusely apologized for), the L.A. hip-hop collective still pulled off one of the weekend’s most exciting sets. Donning bulletproof vests, backed by a string section and rolling with their special guest DJ A-Trak, Brockhampton delivered the finest cuts from their trilogy of Saturation albums, with a smattering of boy-band choreography to boot. The performance mixed the energy of early Beastie Boys, the dynamic interplay of peak Wu-Tang Clan and the creative mischievousness of Odd Future. The energy around Brockhampton and their fiercely loyal followers already feels less like breakout-band buzz, and more like a developing cultural movement.

Coachella Best Worst 2018 read watch

Koury Angelo for Rolling Stone

Bleachers

“We’re Bleachers from New Jersey!” shouted frontman Jack Antonoff. At Coachella on Friday, the singer-guitarist stepped out looking less the precocious pop artist of fun. than working class Jersey boy in sleeveless T-shirt and black cap. The band’s 11-song set was relentlessly upbeat, even when exploring romantic challenges through pop songs of deep feeling and hard questions. He unfurled a swirling guitar solo on “Wild Heart,” and brought out Carly Rae Jepsen for “Hate That You Know Me” and a partly acoustic “Alfie’s Song (Not So Typical Love Song).” By the time Antonoff demanded that fans climb on each other’s shoulders to “make it a real fucking festival,” the crowd was bouncing along.

Coachella Best Worst 2018 read watch

Koury Angelo for Rolling Stone

X Japan

While Beyoncé delivered the epic performance of her career across the field, X Japan landed in the Mojave Tent to deliver on the flash and melodrama that has made them hugely popular across the globe. They played to a modest but excited crowd, the front rows packed with true believers singing and weeping along. There were hard rock explosions and teary ballads, and cameos by Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit and Richard Fortus of Guns N’ Roses. “Jade” began with a speed metal riff and geysers of pyro, then shifted into an emotional glam melody and lyrics sung in English. The star behind the drums and piano was band mastermind Yoshiki, shirtless and wearing a leather neck brace. He ended the night with the band’s traditional show of unity, shouting “We are! We Are!” and their followers responding with a rousing “X! X!”

Coachella Best Worst 2018 read watch

Koury Angelo for Rolling Stone

Priests

The pitifully sparse crowd inside the Sonora tent during Priests’ set on Saturday afternoon made it feel like the D.C. four-piece had been stood up. Just before the band played “Nicki” (a taut homage to Nicki Minaj), singer Katie Alice Greer explained they’d even invited the Queens MC along to see the show. “I think she’s really busy,” she mused. But Minaj – and the majority of the festival crowd – missed out on a set of visceral post-punk, punctuated by Greer’s howl. As the global political climate appeared to darken during Coachella’s first weekend, Priests’ primal screams of alienation landed with a greater impact than usual.

Coachella Best Worst 2018 read watch

Koury Angelo for Rolling Stone

The Regrettes

This young punk quartet from Los Angeles makes garage-y pop-rock with bite and wild attitude. In the festival’s Sonora Tent, the Regrettes got the moshpit boiling with their take on 1973’s “The Ballroom Blitz” by the Sweet, remaking a classic bit of glam. Far away from the big stages in Indio, the band burned bright with a quick playful set.

Show Comments