After a fairly by-the-book day one of the second weekend at Coachella this year, Saturday (April 22) offered up a slew of surprises, many different than those that emerged last week.
In fact, if you went as a hip hop fan looking for repeat guests, you probably left disappointed: Drake was a no-show during Future‘s set, The Weeknd didn’t repeat with his protege Nav, and DJ Snake didn’t have Lauryn Hill (although Dillon Francis did take the stage with him for “Get Low”).
But there was plenty different on the field from week one, starting early in the day with Thundercat‘s set. The jazzy bassist — best known for his collaborations with Kendrick Lamar — duetted with Michael McDonald in week one; Saturday, he welcomed comedian-musician Reggie Watts for a duo of songs, initially disappointing as sound problems were figured out, and eventually becoming celebratory as Watts skatted his way through improvisational vocal riffs.
Tycho — the instrumental electro-groove band that’s graduated to sunset set status, their soundscapes the perfect soundtrack for red-hued desert dryness — debuted a singer for the first-time ever, with Thomas Mullarny III from the band Beacon singing tenor tones over “See,” a performance which, Tycho frontman Scott Hansen told Billboard backstage after the set, only came together in the last couple of days.
The biggest surprise of the day, though, came during an unexpected set: Bon Iver, the moody, broad songwriter, put together two pseudo-supergroups, which delivered moving, emotive performances to close out the band’s main stage turn. The first came following an art-vs-commerce intro speech from a robotic, all-encompassing voice and found frontman Justin Vernon and his band collaborating with former Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis and classic rock pianist Bruce Hornsby playing on “The End of the Innocence,” the Don Henley classic that features Hornsby.
That was followed by a rare performance of “Friends,” with Francis Starlite from Frances and the Lights, Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath, and singer Nao singing soulfully amid Bon Iver’s big band, with the coda finding Starlite, Vernon, and others dancing joyfully to a carefully choreographed routine that apes’ the song’s Kanye West-featuring video.
Elsewhere on the field, Gucci Mane brought out 50 Cent, A$AP Rocky, and Chief Keef for guest spots in his tent-busting late slot, while Banks & Steelz doubled up on their collaboration with Bishop Briggs for Weekend 2. Lady Gaga stepped up to her fill-in spot for Beyonce with the same gusto (and, essentially, the same setlist) as she did in week 1, and small tent bands — including instrumental jammers Floating Points, ’90s throwbacks Common Joy, and the ultra-good-looking co-ed power popper sibling band the Atomics — garnering new fans from Coachellans looking to beat the 100-degree-plus-heat.