Stromae performed at Coachella for the first time last Sunday, April 12. Coachella live-streamed the show, and for a little more than 24 hours the video was still available on their YouTube channel. Unfortunately, it has now been made private. Although Stromae admitted he was nervous about the festival, it didn’t show in his performance. He and his musicians were at top form. He’d pared down the show–quick transitions between songs, a bare minimum of onstage banter. He let the music speak for itself, and speak it did. As the five musicians took their final bows at the end of the set, they smiled at the crowd–the largest they’ve played for up to now in the US–and seemed to know they’d knocked it out of the park.
The American press agrees. Here’s a collection of some of our favorite press following Stromae’s first performance at Coachella. Click on each headline in red to read the full original article. We’ll continue to update this article with news from Coachella over the next few weeks, so check back again soon.
From the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:
With a musical set completely in French in the Mojave tent, Stromae captivated the crowd from the start, proving that music is a universal language. “I don’t know what he’s saying but I love it!” yelled one festivalgoer.
Paul Van Haver, Stromae’s real name, describes himself as a composer, singer and songwriter. He is one of the premier pop artists in Europe, but admitted during Coachella that he was nervous.
Van Haver said he hopes the audience knows that he is telling a story through his music.
“It’s a story of our lives,” he said. “That’s the feeling I want then to have. Life is not just about the bad things or the happy, it’s everything at the same time. I hope people will understand I am a human, like we are, like everyone is.”
Click through the Daily Bulletin’s portfolio of photos from the performance.
Rolling Stone awarded Stromae “best pop theatricality” and put him at the top of their article “40 Best Things We Saw at Coachella.” “Songs unfolded at epic scale or elegantly stripped down, with Stromae in jacket and tie or glamorously disheveled, as if at the end of a long, wild party. He closed one piece by coughing helplessly into the mic and collapsing to the floor; a band member carried him away.”
The author clearly didn’t understand French and hadn’t researched the stories behind Stromae’s songs, and that’s exactly what makes their review so wonderful: as Stromae always hopes, his music–and his performance–communicated powerfully even when his words couldn’t.
This Reddit thread from these brand-new Stromae fans just might be the best “press” we’ve seen. Read comments like these from blown-away concert attendees: “he was definitely my #1, this guy knows how to put on a show!” and “I was excited to see him, but did not expect a show like that. AMAZING.”
Finally, take a look at this mini-video, taken from backstage during “Alors on Danse.” And in this one, you can faintly hear someone say in French as they watch the audience, “C’est incroyable.” (“This is incredible.”) We’d say that feeling goes both ways.
Added April 18. Stromae discusses his first year at Coachella, the importance of his live musicians and onstage screen, and teaches us how to pronounce “Mosaert.”
Coachella Weekend 2
Billboard doesn’t know Stromae’s Belgian, not French, but otherwise, their article “Drake Disappoints, Stromae Impresses on Final Day of Coachella” perfectly summarizes Stromae’s accomplishments. After their notes on the other performers of the day, Billboard concludes:
“All that said, though, the day clearly belonged to French (sic) performer Stromae, whose buzz from last week’s set built among industry insiders to a roar by his evening set on Sunday. Backed by a heavy-hitting band that recreated electronic booms and squeals, the young electro-rocker’s presentation was everything that Drake’s was not: honest and emotive, effective and funny, confident and ambitious. He’s a fully-fledged superstar in an up-and-comer’s body; don’t be surprised if by next year he’s a stadium act.”
Kanye West joined Stromae onstage last night during “Alors on Danse.” The usually unsmiling Mr. West had a big grin on his face. He didn’t take the microphone. Good thing too, because he may have had trouble convincing most members of the audience that he really was “way better than the best of all,” as he insisted in his “Alors on Danse Remix.”
uh @Stromae has the dopest live show I’ve ever seen.
— YSBH 4/28 (@kehlanimusic) April 20, 2015
After Kanye left the stage, Stromae stopped his musicians and asked the crowd to “Make some noise for Kanye West!”
Here’s the backstory on Kanye’s appearance with Stromae.
Coachella’s official recording of the first four songs of Stromae’s live set (apparently from weekend 1) is marred by a few minor technical glitches, mainly static, but is still absolutely stunning. Includes “Ta Fête”, “Tous les Mêmes”, “Ave Cesaria”, and “Quand C’est”.
More great Coachella photos from Getty Images here. Here’s great mashup of Stromae’s weekend 2 performance. It gives a fantastic impression of what it was like inside the audience. Reactions to Kanye West’s appearance onstage: “What? What? That’s Kanye! What?” and, apparently as Kanye leaves the stage, “What the f*ck was that?”
“April seems to be Stromae’s breakout month.“ Mashable’s glowing review is worth reading to check out the great tweets from Coachella attendees: “You don’t need to look any further than tweets from Coachella folks to know Stromae is dominating this year, with no signs of slowing down.”
Auguri Productions, based in Paris, is the producer of the Racine Carrée tour. They’ve released this video recapping Stromae’s performance at Coachella. It includes shots of the festival grounds and crowds, performance clips, and audience reaction interviews. The soundtrack is a nice little remix of “Carmen.”
Cover photo credit: Lionel Capouillez