Live updates from Coachella 2022: Anitta, Arcade Fire, Harry Styles lead day one

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, America’s preeminent music festival, is finally back this weekend after two years of COVID-19 pandemic delays, safety policy changes and months of headliner tumult.

The festival runs April 15 to 17 and again April 22 to 24 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif.

Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and a pairing of EDM stars Swedish House Mafia and the Weeknd are headlining the three nights. Swedish House Mafia and the Weeknd replace Kanye West, who pulled out just weeks before the show.

Other notable performers include Doja Cat, Phoebe Bridgers, Grupo Firme, Megan Thee Stallion and Anitta.

The Times’ Mikael Wood and Suzy Exposito will be reporting live from the polo grounds, providing instant reactions to all the must-see performances. Check back here throughout the weekend for the latest from the 21st edition of Coachella.

11:35: The most fun thing I stumbled upon tonight: an exhilarating set by South Korean hip-hop group Epik High, who in 2016 became the first Korean act to perform at Coachella. “I see my band mates have decided to speak English tonight,” said Tablo. “By the end of the night we’ll have you speaking Korean.” I don’t know what Koreans call their analogue for Spanglish — Koreanglish? — but Epik High executed it with panache, bringing the fire from Seoul to the States. —SE

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11:01 p.m.: Harry Styles wasn’t the only former teen-pop star at Coachella on Friday night: About an hour before Styles’ took the stage, Justin Bieber made a cameo during Daniel Caesar’s set to sing their hit “Peaches.” The Biebs seemed excited to be here — so excited that he went without a shirt to go with his jeans and red Phillies ball cap. And compared to the sleepy-smooth rendition of “Peaches” the singers did on the Grammys a couple of weeks ago, this take had a bulked-up power-soul vibe. — MW

10:05: There’s a secret sushi bar at Coachella. … First you find the hidden entrance. Then you emerge into a blissfully air-conditioned room where the sushi chefs behind the counter from Sushi by Scratch Bar restaurants are going to make your dinner right there for you. The night starts with a hot towel because you’re going to eat with your hands. There’s otoro torched with pineapple and brown sugar, Canadian spot prawns with a prawn-head butter, lots of sake overflowing in the cups. It was 16 course of sushi plus dessert. … And now back to the madness. — Jenn Harris


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9:55: Emerging in a bedazzled skeleton dress, Phoebe Bridgers teased her set with a clip from Disturbed’s nü-metal anthem “Down With the Sickness” — and then swanned onto the stage to perform her own fiddle-laden “Motion Sickness.” The festival goths can have a little malaise, as a treat. —SE

9:11 p.m.: Hard to say who had the better look during Lil Baby’s main-stage set: Gunna, dressed more or less as Randy Quaid in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” or Lil Baby himself, ‘80s-jock resplendent in a sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off. — MW

8:06 p.m. If you’ve done any driving through Los Angeles County lately, you may have noticed the “Soy el tóxico/Soy la tóxica” bumper stickers on various trucks — “I’m the toxic one,” they declare — and I suspect many of those drivers were throwing down at the Grupo Firme set Friday night, shouting along to the lyric “Voy a ser tu ex, el tóxico, el innombrable!” (“I’ll be your toxic, unmentionable ex!”) from “El Tóxico.” It was a fitting follow to the Mexican ensemble’s thunderous brass band cover of 2020 breakup ballad “Tusa” — originally sung by Sunday Coachella performer Karol G. — SE

Grupo Firme performs on Day One of Coachella 2022.
Grupo Firme performs on Day One of Coachella 2022.(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)


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7:56 p.m. Spotted among the thousands crammed into Arcade Fire’s surprise gig Friday evening: 24-year-old Finneas and 88-year-old Lou Adler. (How’s that for a broad-based following?) At Coachella ostensibly to drum up some buzz for its upcoming album, “We,” the Canadian indie-rock band opened with the LP’s slow-building lead single, “The Lightning I, II.” But then it was one oldie after another: “Rebellion (Lies),” “Ready to Start,” “My Body Is a Cage.” They even played “Everything Now,” from the reviled (if low-key excellent) 2017 album of the same name. At one point, frontman Win Butler, very Bono-esque in a black leather vest, gleefully reminded the crowd that Coachella was born out of a 1993 gig Pearl Jam staged at the Empire Polo Club as part of its anti-Ticketmaster campaign; at another point he stage-dove just like in the good old days. — MW

Arcade Fire performs on the Mojave stage on the first day of the Coachella Music Festival on April 15, 2022 .
Arcade Fire’s Win Butler on the Mojave stage on the first day of the Coachella 2022.(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)


7:16 p.m. Having to choose between Anitta and City Girls’ sets felt like an affront to baddies everywhere, which is why I teleported between the two. Anitta, the biggest Brazilian act in the world right now, brought a taste of Rio to the Coachella Stage. Backed by a baile funk-rock band and an intricate set made to look like a favela, she breezed through her hits — in three languages, no less! — including “Envolver,” her first No. 1 on the Billboard Global Songs chart.

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Meanwhile, at the Sahara Stage, hip-hop duo City Girls’ heat rivaled that of the desert. The Misses 305 took a few turns around the stripper pole during a spirited callback to Floridian rappers Splack Pack in “Scrub the Ground,” and they powered through an extended mix of their 2021 smash “Twerkulator” — stoking a feverish twerk-off between revelers of all genders. — SE

A member of the City Girls performs on the Sahara stage on Day 1 of the Coachella Music Festival on April 15, 2022
City Girls, above, performed on the Sahara stage at the same time that Anitta was on the Coachella main stage during the first day of the Coachella 2022.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)


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6:23 p.m. One way to understand Carly Rae Jepsen’s relationship with her audience: They love her precisely because she never achieved the pop stardom she once seemed destined for. When the singer took a tumble in the Mojave tent during her song “Boy Problems,” the place erupted not in gasps but in cheers. — MW

Carly Rae Jepsen on the Mojave stage on the first day of the Coachella Music Festival on April 15, 2022 in Indio
Carly Rae Jepsen on the Mojave stage during the first day of Coachella 2022.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)


5:47 p.m. Best thing I’ve seen so far: Ari Lennox, fronting a killer live band filled with women, mashing up her and Jazmine Sullivan’s “On It” with D’Angelo’s deathless beefcake-soul jam “Untitled (How Does It Feel).” A slow jam for all ages and persuasions. — MW

From left, Dani Flateau, Brittiany Bernard and Erinn Fontno dance as Ari Lennox performs during Day 1 of Coachella 2022
Coachella goers, from left, Dani Flateau, Brittiany Bernard and Erinn Fontno dance as Ari Lennox performs during the first day of Coachella 2022.(Christina Hous e/ Los Angeles Times)


Omar Apollo at the Outdoor Theatre, sporting a hot fuschia suit: “Where my homosexuals at?” He looks and sounds resplendent. After a marathon of funky guitar cuts, Apollo sings his original ranchera song “En El Olvido,” off his new album, “Ivory.” His sadboy groove is beginning to sync up nicely with neighboring performer Lennox, who is leading a guided neo-soul meditation at the Coachella Stage. — SE

A singer in a pink suit onstage
Omar Apollo at Coachella 2022.(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)


5:14 p.m. Fashion scene report: It must be Harry Styles Day, because psychedelia is back, baby! I’m seeing loads of orange sherbet and canary yellow flower-power garb. The mood board is giving Twiggy, Lady Miss Kier and Tavi Gevinson in her “Style Rookie” era. And while there’s no mask mandate here, festival-goers may be wishing they packed some for the dust. — SE

Fun fact revealed by Mika as he played the main stage: His song “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)” was inspired by a night out at Costa Mesa’s Butterfly Lounge, which bills itself as a size-acceptance nightclub. — MW

3:53 p.m. Big month for Arooj Aftab: Less than two weeks ago, the Brooklyn-based Pakistani singer and songwriter was at the Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, where she was nominated for best new artist (and lost, inevitably, to Olivia Rodrigo). Today she brought her meditative, slowly unspooling melodies to Coachella, where she was backed by a four-piece band that included a harpist. In the cooling shade of the Gobi tent, the music felt like a balm for the noise and hubbub of the weekend to come. — MW

Festival-goers at day one of Coachella 2022.
Festival-goers at day one of Coachella 2022.(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)


2:02 p.m. Greetings from Coachella, where it’s sunny and 84 degrees out, the masks are few and far between and the friendly bartenders ask if you’d like Absolut Grapefruit in your Absolut-and-grapefruit. (Seems like too much grapefruit, but it’s early.) Excited to be back for the first Coachella in three years; By my math, this’ll be my 10th time at what we in the media like to call the world’s most important music festival. Harry Styles’ debut here figures to be today’s big story, but I’m psyched to see plenty of other stuff, including Phoebe Bridgers, Lil Baby, City Girls and Omar Apollo, who’s got an A+ billboard on the 10 Freeway advising folks that heterosexuality can be cured by taking in his set. — Mikael Wood

…And this will be my third Coachella! The artistic range this year is worth noting: I’m raring to see hometown heroines the Regrettes with a side of Code Orange, followed by our friend Omar Apollo; after that, I’m sprinting to catch Anitta and Grupo Firme on the main stage, then bounding back to the Mojave stage for Idles (see Randall’s write-up below). Judging by the physical demand of previous Coachellas, I made sure to pregame this time by stopping by the chiropractor’s office and getting my back cracked like a glow stick — something I’m told is not allowed on the premises. Shoutout to Dr. Colleen in La Quinta! — Suzy Exposito

12:53 p.m. Arguing with your friends over which artists to see today? Let The Times’ music experts help. Here, a few of our writers’ picks for Friday’s standout sets:

Idles (8:10 p.m., Mojave)
A searing post-punk band from Bristol, England, who sound like some ferocious mix of the Fall, the Birthday Party and Gang of Four, Idles has likely bloodied more moshers across its 13-year career than any other act at Coachella. At the center is the roughneck bark of Welsh-born singer Joe Talbot, whose skill at harnessing his testosterone to indict toxic masculinity in “Never Fight a Man With a Perm” is propelled by a snake-eating-its-tail riff progression generated by his four bandmates. The band arrives at the polo grounds in support of its fourth album, “Crawler,” a moody, atmospheric record that’s bound to pound the festival into submission. — Randall Roberts

Snoh Aalegra (10:35 p.m., Mojave)
This Swedish R&B singer with a timeless voice could have played it safe and geared her music toward Grammy-voting nostalgists. But she took a welcome left turn on last year’s “Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies,” working with misty and psychedelic productions (one song is literally called “Tangerine Dream”) from Tyler, the Creator, jazz-rap polymath Terrace Martin and the Neptunes. Her songs never sit still long, but you could follow her voice anywhere — including the main stages at hip-hop festivals such as last fall’s Day N Vegas, where her live set charms were made manifest. — August Brown

Harry Styles (11:35 p.m., Coachella Stage)
It’s been years since Coachella booked a boomer icon like Paul McCartney or Roger Waters, but with Friday’s headliner, the festival might be getting something better: a classic-rock-obsessed 28-year-old beloved by millennials and Gen Z. Styles’ first two solo albums channeled David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac and led to a public friendship with Stevie Nicks; his upcoming “Harry’s House,” due next month, appears to move his frame of reference forward a decade or so: “As It Was,” the album’s lead single, borrows the tick-tocking synth-pop groove the Weeknd previously borrowed from A-ha’s mid-’80s “Take on Me.” Gen Z approves: According to Spotify, “As It Was” set a new record for the most streams (8.3 million) ever recorded in the U.S. in one day. — Mikael Wood

12:26 p.m. If Harry Styles wasn’t enough pop heartthrob for one Coachella night, TMZ is reporting that Justin Bieber will join Daniel Caesar onstage later this evening to perform their hit “Peaches.” Yesterday, in other Canadian-related Coachella news, Arcade Fire announced that they would be making a pop-up appearance at the Mojave Tent tonight at 6:45 p.m.


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