Ellie Goulding isn’t the most obvious fit for a indie music-leaning festival like Coachella. Since cracking America with all-conquering calling card “Lights” in 2011, the blond bombshell has become a top 40 staple with irresistible electro-pop anthems and high-profile features. The thing is — she has never strayed from her signature brand of fragile electronica, which imbues her music with an innate credibility that transcends the usual pop prejudice.
Wearing an eye-popping outfit comprised of black leather shorts and bra, the Brit kicked off her rousing set with recent single “Figure 8″ and a handful of other relatively unknown album tracks as the sun plunged behind the surrounding mountains. Ellie’s breathy vocal and icy beats were the perfect soundtrack for sunset and she slowly built momentum (and got the massive crowd revved up) with 2010 single “Starry Eyed” and gorgeous Alt-J cover “Tessellate”.
And then she pulled the trigger. Halcyon lead single “Anything Could Happen” had the diva whipping her hair wildly, while Calvin Harris-produced club anthem “I Need Your Love” confirmed that Ellie was ready to give the adoring crowd exactly what they had been waiting for — her signature hits. The 27-year-old was so overwhelmed by the reception to “Lights” that she was literally left speechless but “Burn” triggered an even crazier response. For 50 minutes Coachella was transformed into a dance party and the festival was all the better for it.
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