If you doubted the repeated claims of DJ Durel during Migos‘ Coachella show last night (April 15) that it was the “hottest group in the world” he was spinning for, all you had to do as look at the crowd reaction a half-hour into the group’s set to know that it wasn’t much of an exaggeration.
The circumstances were hardly ideal for the trio. Despite being scheduled for 10:30 pm, it wasn’t until 10:50 pm that anything happened on stage — and then, it was just Durel playing recent hits to get the crowd appropriately hyped before the Migos’ emergence. It didn’t work so well, since for the first couple songs, the sound was so low you could barely hear the DJ or his music — and then afterwards, the volume was cranked to a degree that was painfully abrasive, while Durel’s ravings were garbled by his faulty microphone. The crowd had every reason to turn on the group, and indeed, you could hear a swell of boos popping up throughout Durel’s mini-set.
But within a couple minutes Quavo, Offset and Takeoff finally gracing the Sahara stage — a couple minutes after 11:00 pm — all appeared forgiven. The group began with Culture II opener “Higher We Go,” and by the time they intro’d “Slippery” (from the original Culture) as their second song, the crowd was in a near-frenzy, which lasted through the trio’s dip into a throwback mini-set for their “Day Ones” (“Hannah Montana” and “Fight Night”) and the Joe Budden-baiting “Ice Tray.” The group didn’t really dip into most of their biggest (or at least most recent) hits until the show’s final stretch, but deep cuts like “Open It Up” were still greeted like smashes. (Search Twitter for “Migos” and “Beyonce” to see just how the Bey Hive feels about the disparity in liveliness between the two Coachella sets.)
What really made the crowd’s energy so conspicuous was that it was far from matched by the trio on stage, who didn’t banter much and rarely raised their physicality above a saunter. (There was also a relative dearth of special guests with fellow ATLien Lil Baby being the only surprise cameo — the group paid Cardi B the respect of playing her entire “Motorsport” verse, but her physical presence was still sorely missed.) The trio had a number of live instrumentalists with them, but it was rare that you could hear them over the group’s pre-recorded backing track, or their own cacophony of ad libs.
But the group didn’t really need to add much to the enthusiasm already pervasive in the crowd, and there was a charm to their low-key swagger anyway, making for fun minor moments like Quavo stretching out the crooning of his opening “Mama….” before launching into “T-Shirt,” or Offset breaking out some of his dance moves from the “Walk It Talk It” video during that song’s performance. And really, the songs mostly spoke for themselves: Like Post Malone the night before, it was somewhat staggering to count the number of songs performed that had become major hits within just the last two years — including three already off Culture II (“Walk It Talk It,” “Motorsport” and “Stir Fry”) the run of which triumphantly closed the show for the trio.
“We thank God for making us the greatest group in the world,” Quavo offered as a closing statement, with singular humble arrogance (and/or arrogant humility). Their performance itself might not have exactly reflected that status, but the songs make for a compelling argument — and from the response they received last night, it didn’t seem like the Coachella faithful needed much convincing anyway.