Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd were not the headliners requested or considered by festival-goers for the return of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The collision of hip-hop and electronic dance music brought the first weekend of the festival to a fitting conclusion.
The performers were over 30 minutes late, but still had a strong turnout – early on. It is not known why they were delayed.
A giant ring appeared tilted across the stage with monochrome abstract imagery as Swedish House Mafia kicked off the set with “Can You Feel It”. The supergroup hosted the festival by re-introducing themselves and the EDM sound that was showcased at the festival in the 2010s with Gentle Freak’s “Hypnotic”.
The Swedish House Mafia is made up of DJs Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso. The trio performed a farewell tour in 2012 which included an appearance at Coachella on the main stage. Angello later says Rolling Stone“We just decided that we had reached a point where we didn’t know what the next step would be.”
The group has been embraced by critics and electronic music fans alike, but apart from the compilation albums “Until One” in 2010 and “Until Now” in 2012, the DJs have never released a full album before releasing “Paradise Again” last Friday.
During Sunday’s set, the visuals became more colorful as the collaborators switched to “Leave the World Behind”, distracting viewers from the fact that five songs from The Weeknd were nowhere to be found.
The Swedish House Mafia continued to relive the glory days of EDM as the stage turned red hot and chaotic during “Frankenstein,” the supergroup’s recent collaboration with A$AP Rocky.
“Thank you for welcoming us back like this, you are amazing,” said one of the members.
This seemingly random (replacement) headliner pairing is likely the result of their successful collaboration on the song “Moth to a Flame,” which was released last October and peaked at #27 on Billboard’s “Hot 100.” and the second of “Hot Dance”. /Table of Electronic Songs”.
As Swedish House Mafia’s set progressed, the visuals on the video screen, the lighting and the presence of the giant ring became more impressive, but festival-goers started coming out at the half hour mark so as the trio performed “Don’t You Worry Child.”
The Weeknd only appeared after 40 minutes. He opened with a pumped-up performance of “Sacrifice” and received a welcome ovation.
The Weeknd was a solid replacement after releasing his album “Dawn FM” last January. This is his fourth performance at the festival after headlining in 2018. He first performed at Coachella in 2012 on the outdoor stage.
On Sunday, The Weeknd’s performance of songs like “Can’t Feel My Face” and “Blinding Lights,” backed by the Swedish House Mafia with colorful visuals, changed the entire mood of the performance.
“It’s taken a while, but we’re finally here tonight,” The Weeknd said.
Changing the headliner a few days before a music festival is a challenge, but delays and equal timeslot sharing aside, Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd uplift each other.