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Coachella Weekend 2: What to Watch For

Variety Staff

It ain’t over till it’s over — and Coachella isn’t over until there’s been a rerun, with a second weekend that mirrors the first. The schedule is exactly the same (with one notable exception),   but that replication on paper still leaves lots of room for surprises out on the fields and in the tents, when it comes to different guest stars, setlist changes or spontaneous rants.

There’s nothing duplicative, though, about the Kanye West-produced Sunday Service, which will only happen on weekend 2. The Easter Sunday setting works, but fans who were only able to come to weekend 1 and missed out on whatever kind of churchiness West is cooking up may be lamenting: Why no love for Palm Sunday, Ye?

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For the first time ever, YouTube will be streaming from the second weekend as well as the first, although they’re describing this as “ Coachella Curated 2019,” a unique stream that will cover more of the tertiary stages and acts and not necessarily repeat every big name that was webcast during weekend 1. At least three of the indisputably major acts will be streamed — Ariana Grande , Blackpink and Tame Impala have been confirmed — with Perfume, Charlotte De Witte, Kolsch and Chris Lake also on the list of scheduled webcasts .

If you’ll be in the desert this weekend, or looking to see what makes it through YouTube’s selective stream, here are some best bets:

FRIDAY

Los Tuscanes De Tijuana; Mon Laferte (Main stage, at 3:20 and 4:35, respectively). Coachella had made something of a tradition of kicking off the main stage with one or more Spanish-language acts. It’s not sheerly in the spirit of inclusiveness; if you know these particular acts, it’s the kick in the ass you could use to thrust you forward into your long weekend. And as we learned on weekend 1, this may be the one time during the entire three days you can easily work your way right to the front of the stage to jam out while everyone else is still in traffic. Chilean singer Mon Laferte has the star power to make even a mostly empty field feel like it’s come to life.

Kacey Musgraves (Main stage, 5:50). The recent Grammy queen and Variety cover subject is the first big-name act to perform, and “Oh What a Wonderful World”/way to ease into what’s about to get a lot more intense, with Musgraves’ self-described Zen country. Will her celebrity guest from the first weekend, ninetysomething Instagram personality Biddiewinkle, return for a cameo on the closing “High Horse”? Has Biddiewinkle been partying in the desert all week long?

Blackpink (Sahara tent, 8). On weekend 1, the enormous tent where Blackpink made their public U.S debut was full of fans… like, literal folding fans that attendees were holding up and waving. Come experience this and other things K-pop so you can go home and tell your friends you have seen rock ‘n’ roll future and its name is Blackpink (or, fine, that you still don’t get it).

Janelle Monae (Main stage, 9:50). To paraphrase her obvious hero: Her name is Janelle, and she is funky. The choreography in weekend 1 was a blast… and where else at Coachella are you going to see pants that can’t be described in a family newspaper?

DJ Snake (Outdoor Theatre, 10:35). He’s a guy with a serious guest list: On weekend 1, Cardi B, Selena Gomez and the Puerto Rican singer Ozuna all came out. What are the odds he can maintain that diva magnetism the second time around? You may want to play them.

Childish Gambino (Main stage, 11:25). This is one of the sets at Coachella that has the most potential to be different on weekend 2, because Gambino/Donald Glover at least created the fine illusion — and maybe even reality — of everything being spontaneous, at least in his stream-of-consciousness stage (and offstage, in the audience!) patter. If it turns out to be a duplication of everything he said and did, we’ll know he’s a great actor. Well, we already know that. But we’re pretty sure he’s a great off-the-cuff and thoroughly in-the-moment showman and free spirit, too.

SATURDAY

CHON (Mojave tent, 12:40 p.m.). Coachella fans do love it when an intergenerational star shows up as a guest — think Michael McDonald with Thundercat — even if the days when they booked classic rock acts as headliners are gone. Last Saturday, Kenny G showed up for a surprise sax solo during CHON’s EDM set, and it was over long before the curious had a chance to hear about it and rush over. This weekend, you can guess there’ll be some pop-sax thrillseekers, there for the irony or any other reason, camping out for it from the start, though there’s no guarantee he and his reed will be back.

Aphex Twin (Mojave tent, 9:05). Remember the old saying “F— art, let’s dance”? Apex Twin wants to have it both ways. Undoubtedly he’ll find ways to unsettle you even as he’s servicing crowd-pleasing proto-EDM.

J Balvin (Main stage, 7:10). If you’re a typical American pop fan who’s not naturally inclined to check out Latin music, but you know you need to take a chance on one of its breakout stars, behold: The moment of your awakening is at hand. J Balvin provided one of weekend 1’s most absorbing and mind-blowing sets; check out our review here . He worked with the arts collective FriendsWIthYou on the unique production design, and bringing out Sean Paul and Rosalia was just the icing on an eye-popping cake.

Billie Eilish (Outdoor Theatre, 9:35). This was the don’t-miss of weekend 1, and she may only feel emboldened by the rapturous reaction. This time, guest Vince Staples’ mic may even be on — crazier things have happened at Coachella. Even though the second-stage area is harder to squeeze into, you will want to say you were there for this; you can reclaim your personal space later.

SUNDAY

Sunday Service (9 a.m.). Not much is promised for this weekend-2-only church service on a hill in the camping area — not even necessarily that Kanye West will take the stage, such as it is, rather than leave everything to a choir, as he tends to when the services take place back home in L.A. But chances are he won’t turn down the chance to seize the moment with some personal testifying, after he gave up the chance to be a Coachella headliner earlier because of staging concerns and disagreements. Will the Holy Spirit show up, or Yeezus? Early risers can probably settle for either one.

Pusha T (Main stage, 4:15). There is inevitable speculation that Kanye won’t just show up for church, but that his Coachella presence will extend to one or more of the friends he works with. It’s possible he’d show up for Kid Cudi’s midnight set the night before, but maybe unlikely, if he wants to be at his freshest in his Sunday finest in the morning. Once he’s got that out of the way, maybe he’d feel more free to come join Pusha T on Sunday afternoon. But if not, the rapper’s appearance still has things to recommend it — like the giant cocaine rock that sits like Mount Everest in the middle of the set design, surrounded by Yetis. He is, if nothing else, the chutzpah king of Coachella 2019.

Lizzo (Mojave, 5:45). Besides Eilish, this is the other 2020 Best New Artist Grammy nominee you will kick yourself for missing if you choose to be anywhere else. Perhaps she will be as ebullient about the sound working in full this time as she was angry about it not on weekend 1. But you want Lizzo in any mood. She is the poster gal for empowerment in 2019, and knows how a soul revue should be run, all issues of representation and body positivity aside.

Perfume (Gobi tent, 8:25). In which J-pop gives K-pop a run for its money. Is it too soon to start speculating about “the next Blackpink”? That might not be how Perfume would like to be known, but maybe this town — meaning Indio, or the U.S. — is big enough for the both of them.

Ariana Grande (Main stage, 10:30). Will Justin Timberlake look at the coverage the other four-fifths of ‘N Sync got for letting Grande be their new fifth member during a mid-set appearance last weekend, decide he shouldn’t be so easily usurped, and show up for weekend 2 after all? We’re giving that about a 2% chance — but he did tweet his support for the other lads after their appearance last Sunday, and who’d want to miss it just in case? There are more even odds on whether Nicki Minaj will show up to reprise her appearance, which got botched — whether because of sound problems or her lack of preparedness or both was up for debate. But there’s a shot at some vindication here if she does return.

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