Let me speak on behalf of everyone by saying, "Whoa, the 2014 Coachella lineup came out early." The news is still pretty fresh -- Coachella sent out the lineup e-mail a little after 9 Wednesday night, causing the Internet to blow up as usual. It's tough to see beyond the headliners -- though you should be pretty damn excited that Neutral Milk Hotel and The Replacements are playing.
Three full days of music can be a little daunting, so we took the liberty of analyzing the lineup for you on a day-by-day basis.Friday
Outkast is headlining, which is fucking awesome. This reunion show was confirmed ahead of time, but after last year's Rolling Stones rumors, nothing seemed certain. The average Coachella-goer was too young to see Outkast during theSpeakerboxxx
heyday anyway, so this is fantastic news.
The second line is full of all sorts of amazing -- you can dance your ass off to The Knife, Girl Talk, and Chromeo, which we hope to God won't overlap. The Replacements were incredible at Riot Fest; if you're even just a casual fan, I'd recommend checking them out.
Some Friday bands were expected, based on 2013 album releases -- HAIM, Neko Case, Kate Nash, Waxahatchee, etc. Others put out albums last year but don't seem like typical Coachella bands. Not that I'm complaining, but what is Title Fight doing at Coachella? AFI and Anti-Flag are even weirder. But hey, Descendents and Buzzcocks have been fun in previous years, so if anything, folks like me can enjoy a smaller crowd.
One of the best things about Friday's lineup are the bands that appeared to come out of left field. Were you expecting to see The Afghan Whigs or Bonobo anytime soon? I didn't think so.
Saturday should be designated as the dance your ass off day. Love 'em or hate 'em, Muse puts on a fantastic live show, and I've heard the same about Queens of the Stone Age. It's strange to think that a few years ago, Skrillex had a hyped-up afternoon set in the Sahara Tent, and now he's the third billed act on Saturday. We won't judge if you feel inclined to check out his set.
Saturday is full of great female-fronted bands -- though I'm a little surprised to see Lorde billed so high. I hope she performs somewhere like the Mojave tent for an intimate show. Warpaint and Solange are also fantastic, and while Sleigh Bells and The Naked and Famous may be acquired tastes, they should be entertaining.
Saturday is also a good day for hip-hop, with Pharrell Williams taking the lead spot and Nas, Kid Cudi, and Tiga appearing shortly thereafter. if you prefer to see your dance acts in the form of bands, MGMT and Empire of the Sun should not disappoint.
Sunday Let's talk about the elephant in the room right away: The Arcade Fire. They were fantastic in 2011, touring on the heels of The Suburbs and creating one of my all-time favorite concert moments (when the giant glowing orbs fell on the audience during "Wake Up"). That show was damn near perfect, and I can't imagine it getting any better with the Reflektor tour. I was disappointed by the album, but hey, you'll get an Arcade Fire dance party, so I suppose there's some fun in that.
The huge Sunday news is Neutral Milk Hotel. Not just Jeff Mangum, the entire band -- this has every likelihood of being amazing.
Buzzworthy acts like Disclosure, Lana Del Rey, and the 1975 are ranked highly, among surprising acts like Motorhead, The Toy Dolls, and Fishbone. Are Coachella and Punk Rock Bowling slowly overlapping each other? Will we see a hologram of GG Allin someday?
I don't know how I feel about that, but Lemmy is still a badass and I've never had an opportunity to see The Toy Dolls -- so while people are popping Molly during Calvin Harris, I'll gladly "dig that groove, baby."
On the note of lesser-known bands that the average Coachella-goer probably couldn't care less about . . . Frank Turner and Superchunk are playing Sunday, among names like Chance the Rapper and Daughter.
Sunday also treads the territory of indie/EDM crossovers with bands like Little Dragon, Flostradamus, and Classixx.
Noticeable absences: Daft Punk is rumored almost every year, but given the release of Random Access Memories, it wasn't farfetched for them to be the Friday night EDM headliner this year. Maybe they'll make an unexpected appearance with someone like Arcade Fire.
Outkast was a safe bet for a rap headliner, but Kanye West, Drake, and Danny Brown would have also fit well into the festival. Yeezy was pretty great in 2011, but perhaps he's a little too big for the festival now. Plus, an Outkast reunion is significantly more interesting.
I'm surprised that St. Vincent isn't playing Coachella, but the band's Arizona show is almost a month before the festival. Other bands with big 2013 album releases would have fit into the lineup well, but likely aren't performing thanks to recent Coachella appearances -- such as Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, and Janelle Monae.
The biggest omission, in my opinion, is My Bloody Valentine. The band was absolutely phenomenal at FYF Fest, and like The Replacements, would make a great comeback at Coachella.
It was also plausible for Bruce Springsteen, The Pixies, or Nine Inch Nails to be included in the lineup, but all three acts are fairly accessible, so maybe next year.
So, is it worth it? This year's lineup is a bit more solid than last year's, so I would recommend buying a ticket. Be advised that weekend one tickets are restricted to shuttle passes only, so plan carefully.
If you don't go... Phoenix gets plenty of Coachella runoff shows. Bombay Bicycle Club, Future Islands, Grouplove, Chromeo, and CHVRCHES are among the first batch of bands to announce local shows in the two weeks surrounding Coachella. Neko Case is confirmed to perform in Tucson and Flagstaff as well, and bigger names should be announced within the coming months.
Having Queens of the Stone Age or Outkast play a runoff show in Phoenix would be pretty amazing.
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