Throughout its lifespan of more than 15 years, Coachella‘s Do LaB stage has gained status as the festival’s hidden gem in its consistently top-notch art design, buzzworthy atmosphere, and best of all—programming curation. In particular, 2018 saw Do LaB ring in their most massive surprise guest billings yet, with ZHU taking the stage for his Coachella debut. Best of all, this was no ordinary ZHU performance, but a Blacklizt set.
Having already captured the fixation of dance music listeners with tracks like “Faded” and “Hometown Girl,” ZHU was already steadily becoming a household name and one of the scene’s most coveted acts. Colliding his distinctive sound with heavyweights like Skrillex, NERO, A-Trak, and Kaskade, the enigmatic producer had outputted three massive EPs and a chart-topping debut LP Generationwhy at the time of his Coachella appearance. Just one week later, the Mind of a Genius artist would go on to release the first installment of his sophomore studio album, Ringos Desert.
Replete with dark and moody tech-house selections, ZHU’s Coachella Blacklizt set imbues his sonic case for sensuality into underground stylings. Sporting a healthy balance of signature ZHU tracks including remixes and acapella renderings of “Working For It,” “Cocaine Model,” and “My Life” alongside selections from genre staples like Dennis Cruz, Cirez D, and Stan Kolev, the performance crossbreeds smokey intoxication with the unfaltering intensity of techno and house beats. For ZHU—a figure shrouded in mystery, but cemented in the mainstream spotlight—his decisive play to bring the exclusive Blacklizt to one of the world’s centerpiece festivals is a parallel that epitomizes the exact reason for his beloved appraisal.
Photo Credit: Ben Cvoro