Slowthai at Coachella 2022: Fiery, furious fun – and a ‘Barbie Girl’ dance party – from the UK rapper

·2-min read
Slowthai is among performers kicking Coachella off on Friday (15 April)   (AFP via Getty Images)
Slowthai is among performers kicking Coachella off on Friday (15 April) (AFP via Getty Images)

Coachella right, this is the first f****** day, right,” insists Northampton rapper Slowthai, to the sweaty, bouncing Californian crowd. “Is that the lit-est you can be?” Turns out it most definitely isn’t, especially when Slowthai – real name Tyron Frampton – leads them in a jaunty, extremely NSFW call and response chant. With a huge smirk on his face, he’s as endearing as he is enjoyably sweary.

The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival is currently underway, as the two-weekend free-spirited music extravaganza kicked off on Friday (15 April) with Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd headlining the event at Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.

While ASAP Rocky might not join him for a thumping take on his 2021 single “Mazza”, but Slowthai gives us more than enough energy alone – until Florida’s king of hardcore hip-hop Denzel Curry bounds onstage for a heavy, heady “Psycho”, that is.

While some artists use Coachella as an opportunity to showcase new material, Slowthai seems to be using the festival as a chance to introduce the world to a new hair ‘do – a full head of curls instead of his usual close cropped shave. But there’s a new song, too. The perfectly perky “I Feel So Good” comes on like it might be Slowthai’s most singalong and chart-friendly song to date, with a looped and punked up Britpop-adjacent chorus from a mystery vocalist.

Speaking of Britpop, Slowthai’s gruff holler sits neatly alongside Damon Albarn’s disembodied vocals on his solo take on Gorillaz’s “Momentary Bliss”. After all that excitement, it’s fitting that he winds down with the slow, sweet groove of “Feel Away” before bowing out with an impeccable final blast of pure fire in the rowdy “Doorman”.

Well, it looks like it’s the end, but before he leaves the stage, beaming and shirtless, the DJ drops Aqua’s 1997 single “Barbie Girl” and Slowthai grins the biggest grin he’s grinned all night, singing along and leading the crowd in a hectic, if not somewhat bizarre, dance party.

Enormous fun.

A previously unannounced set from the band Arcade Fire also features on the bill, with the group playing at 6.45pm (PT) on the night of Friday 15 April.

Other highlights on the line up include Phoebe Bridgers, Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Run the Jewels, Jamie xx, Carly Rae Jepsen, Vince Staples, Caribou and more.

You can follow live updates on this year’s edition of Coachella here.