The annual installment of the famed desert music fest, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is quickly approaching. This April 15 – April 17, 2011 over 150 bands and DJs along with about 65,000 people will descend on the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, CA for one of the best weekends of the year. Indeed, this year marks a turning point for Coachella — as tickets sold out in under a week. This will be my fifth Coachella and I can’t say that I have ever seen it sell out so quick. Let’s discuss the good stuff day-by-day and you can determine for yourself if this year’s Coachella is “worth the hype.”
Friday April 15, 2011
- The Aquabats – These guys are fantastic! In fact, I remember watching them when I was a senior in high school. They played that year at Disneyland for my Grad Night. Woah…memories…
- Omar Rodriquez-Lopez – An incredibly gifted guitarist and famous for his work with At the Drive In and Mars Volta. This should fun!
- Ozomatli – They are fun, funky, groovy, a little bit of rap and a nice throwback to the mid 1990s
- Flogging Molly – While I was living in Phoenix, AZ it wasn’t a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration if Flogging Molly wasn’t in town (and they were in town each St. Patrick’s Day). Really, a must see.
- Ms. Lauryn Hill – Yah, she’s best know for her work with the Fugees, but she is pretty talented by herself…if you can get past her attitude. No matter, I’ll be there watching!
- Robyn – A 90s pop-star. But, don’t let that keep you from watching her 2011 set. Trust me when I say it will be good (have you heard all of her new collaborative stuff? If not, google her).
- The Chemical Brothers – Okay, if you have been to Coachella before, you know that they have played a number of time. Most recently, their last Coachella appearance was a DJ-set (and, in my opinion, it fell pretty flat). However, their live set is incredible! I had the pleasure of seeing them in Oakland, CA just a few months ago and they really blew my mind. I have a feeling this will be a highlight of Coachella 2011.
- Kings of Leon – Take a look at the Coachella Message Board and you will see that Kings of Leon are creating a divide between regular Coachella-goers….are they “good enough” for the Friday headlining spot? Is Coachella becoming too commercial because of their high inclusion on the flier? I tend to agree with some of these sentiments, but at the same time, I do enjoy their music. Would I have preferred someone like, oh say David Bowie, on Friday night? Sure! But, at the same time, I guess I don’t have to worry about the Chemical Brothers-Kings of Leon conflict.
Saturday April 16, 2011
- First, there are a ton of smaller-acts on Saturday that are Fantastic! Quite frankly, there are too many to list here. So…go check out the lineup yourself and get an impression.
- Scissor Sisters – I remember them from Coachella 2006 and they were fun. I also got a chance to see them in the Bay Area just a few months ago. Their new stuff is fun and will absolutely get the crowd dancing (even if you don’t feel like it).
- Gogol Bordello – If you like gypsy-dance meets new age ska-punk, you should check out these guys. If you have no idea what I am saying…you should still check out these guys!
- Shpongle – Okay, I have to admit something pretty sad. I have been listening to good live dance music (Underworld, Orbital, etc) for almost two decades. However, why is it I have never heard of this group? How did I miss getting Shpongled? WOW. This group is incredible. Check out their live set from the Roundhouse in London. Only sad part is that this will be a DJ set (called the Shpongle-tron experience)…not as incredible as their full set, but still looks like a LOT of fun in the Sahara Tent.
- Paul Van Dyk – Yah, I know what you are thinking…why would I include a washed-up trance DJ on this list? Well, if things work out like they have in the past, he’ll be performing on the main stage at the end of the night after the main act…just think about all those people dancing to For an Angel or We are alive.
- Erykah Badu – People keep telling me that she is going to put on a good show. I have heard a lot of her music before, but never seen a live set. Should be interesting.
- Empire of the Sun – I really don’t know much about this group, except that it seems as if they will be in the Sahara tent at the end of the night. They seem to be a pretty interesting electro-rock group from down under…I wonder if they will be on the same flight as The Presets?
- Mumford and Sons – I really hope they are on the main stage at sunset.
- Arcade Fire – Their newest album, The Suburbs, released in August of 2010. Like their other albums (Funeral and Neon Bible), it was well received in the media and among music-folks. I like their new album and I love their live set (2007 Coachella was incredible!). They deserve this headlining spot more than any other headliner currently on the bill.
Sunday April 17, 2011
- CSS – These Brazilians are really fun to watch. Their sound has been labeled by many as “New-Rave.” They are high-energy and will surely put on a good show.
- Foster the People – Yah, they are another indie rock band, but I think they are up-and-coming and a band to keep an eye on.
- Green Velvet – Wow…talk about a throwback DJ. I can’t wait to hear him play La La Land…
- Jack’s Mannequin – This isn’t Orange County Native Andrew McMahon’s first time at Coachella as either Something Corporate or as Jack’s Mannequin.
- The Presets – This Australian Duo put on a fantastic show in 2009 at Coachella. I was hoping they would be back at Coachie…and I am glad they are!
- Leftfield – Okay, so seeing them on the lineup really did come out of left field…yah, that was bad. But, Paul and Neil from London were a mainstay during the 1990s progressive dance music explosion. Their famous song Open Up was featured on the Hackers CD (talk about a movie soundtrack that defined a generation!). I have always wanted to see these guys live and it looks like 2011 will be the year I get to do that (only 16 years since their 1995 hit album, Leftism).
- Duran Duran – Here is a group that has had such major success in at least 3 decades now. Their newest album, All you need is now is much more electronic than their previous stuff. I have seen Duran Duran a number of times (including their headlining set at the now defunct, Bang Music Festival in Miami). I know that they will not disappoint. Only one question remains — will Andy Taylor join the band for their set?
- PJ Harvey – Sure, she has talent…but, more importantly, she is a welcome addition for all those smacked-out kids out there.
- Kanye West – Meh…I really have nothing nice to say about Kanye’s appearance on the flier.
- The Strokes – Looking forward to (finally) seeing them. Do I think they are headliner material? Not necessarily…but, they are at least a better headliner than Kanye West!
- ????? – I have a sneaking suspicion that (even though the festival is sold out), we haven’t seen the end of the Sunday evening lineup. Guess we will all have to wait and see what sort of magic Paul Tollet of Coachella pulls out of his hat this year.
Well, that’s all we have for now. As things come along and updates are made to the flier, we will make sure to update them here. Feel free to comment on our takes for this year and be sure to check out our Coachella 2010 photo gallery…