YOASOBI Brought Tokyo Nightlife to Coachella

The beloved J-pop duo provided an exclusive look at their electric performance last weekend.

Music 
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Journeying over 5,500 miles from the bustling streets of Tokyo to the barren desert of Indio, superstar J-pop group YOASOBI — Vocaloid producer Ayase and singer-songwriter Ikura — captivated the Coachella crowd last weekend with their tantalizing tempos.

The unlikely partners first crossed paths via Instagram in 2019, forming YOASOBI (a Japanese word that translates to “nightlife”). “[We] try to immerse ourselves in the world of a story. This way, we can express a novel in the form of music,” they noted.

YOASOBI quickly rose to local prominence thanks to their debut single “Yoru ni Kakeru” (“Racing into the Night”) going viral in 2020, topping the Billboard Japan Hot 100 for six weeks. However, they’ve since garnered a dedicated following worldwide thanks to their hit anime theme songs such as “Idol,” the recreation of their tracks in English and — of course — their infectious melodies.

“We are delighted to have this precious opportunity,” YOASOBI shared in anticipation of their performance at Coachella last weekend. “Performing at a musical festival is a one-of-a-kind experience since we will be able to deliver our music to a new audience.”

Once last Friday rolled around, it was time for YOASOBI to take over the Mojave stage. With the beaming sun tucked away for the day, the stage was swathed in darkness before lights suddenly began flashing — sending the countless iPhones being held up to record the scene into a frenzy.

A soft beat escalated as the duo’s accompanying band took their places on the stage. Then, the spotlight struck the duo as Ikura exclaimed, “We are YOASOBI, from Japan,” just before diving into “Yoru ni Kakeru.” Between belting out one note after another in Japanese, Ikura swiftly transitioned to English to cheer on the crowd as they embraced the music.

Amidst the racing tempos that electrified the crowd, the stage design featured a myriad of screens displaying flashing graphics — a sight reminiscent of the vibrant streets of Tokyo at night — while colorful lights shot across the audience.

Ikura, outfitted in an oversized jersey-esque Arte Antwerp knit shirt layered over a fishnet top, raced across the stage throughout the 45-minute performance, occasionally taking a moment to visit her steam inhaler to ease her hard-at-work vocal chords. As for Ayase, who remained glued to his production equipment from start to finish, he sported a football-inspired WOODENDOLL polo while also matching Ikura by rocking a pair of baggy, distressed denim and brightly-colored runners.

Transitioning from one hit to another, it became clear that the festivalgoers were quickly captivated by the duo’s contagious charm and dazzling delivery. After concluding their set with “Idol,” the lively crowd quickly sobered up, realizing they had been transported from the magical moment back to the desert. With triumphant bows from the artists and an outpouring of gratitude from Ikura, it was time to say farewell.

Moving forward, YOASOBI is eager to share their music across the world. “We know that we still need to put in more effort so that many people will listen to our music, but at the same time, we are very thankful for all the messages we receive through social media from fans worldwide,” remarked the group when discussing their journey thus far.

“This year marks the fifth anniversary since we formed YOASOBI, and we plan to perform in the US again soon. We hope to continue being energetic and healthy in order to deliver our music to the world.”

YOASOBI is set to take the Mojave stage again this Friday, April 19 at 8:20pm PDT. Festival passes remain available for purchase, and the set will be livestreamed via the official Coachella YouTube channel.

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