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Coachella’s 2015 Lineup: One Day Later

on January 07, 2015, 4:15pm
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Over the past several years, we’ve discussed Coachella’s move toward pop music, their emphasis on main stage EDM and catering to the rave scene, and their lack of female artists featured at the fest. 2015’s lineup almost looks like none of these controversies were ever a thing.

Sure, there is Hozier, Florence and the Machine, Kiesza, The Weeknd, and Drake — all of which have mainstream appeal. But none of these are as overtly pop as Pharrell Williams or Ellie Goulding. Yes, big name EDM acts like David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia alums Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso are on the bill, and could conceivably play a late-night main stage set, but none are likely to land the kind of placement that Calvin Harris or Justice have in years past (plus, artists like Jon Hopkins, John Talbot, Flying Lotus, and Gesaffelstein offer alternatives from the typical Sahara fare).

coachella poster updated

And then there are the ladies. We have Florence and the Machine, St. Vincent, Azealia Banks, Sarah Martin from Belle and Sebastian, Alabama Shakes, Lykke Li, and more occupying prime real estate on the Coachella poster. Yes, there could and should be more women playing, but Coachella continues not to neglect tapping women for their festival. These are only a few of the interesting angles to approach the Coachella lineup. Can we mention emo/pop punk day on Sunday, when Desaparecidos, Brand New, Touche Amore, and Joyce Manor will all play? How about Swans and Charles Bradley, generally considered two of the strongest live acts in the game? We rounded up our biggest hits and misses of the Coachella lineup after a night to sleep on it. Of course, going to the fest (or Couch-ellaing from home) will be the only way to determine whether Paul Tollett came through this year or whether he blew it. See you in April.

–Philip Cosores
Contributing Editor

Highlights

Jack White

Photo by Philip Cosores

Photo by Philip Cosores

Although White has been rumored to headline Coachella for quite some time, he is and always will be a festival highlight. For the past three years, he’s been scorching the stages of ‘Roo, Governor’s Ball, and Lolla, so it’s about time the West Coast got some love. The tenacious tourer (and one of our Top Live Acts of 2014) has been plowing through his ever-growing Lazaretto circuit, breaking records and spraining ankles along the way. White’s fans can expect the usual (an energetic and lengthy set) as well as the unusual: gems from the darkest corners of his catalog and freshly minted covers from any and all genres. —Danielle Janota

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Photo by Ben Kaye

Ryan Adams has never played Coachella, and 2015 is likely the best time the fest could have hoped to grab him. He’s riding a wave of consistently good albums, capped by last year’s self-titled affair, and he’s playing a more rock ‘n’ roll-geared, crowd-pleasing set. The guy simply doesn’t play a whole lot of festivals, and when he does, it is usually on the folky or bluegrass side of the table. It will be nice to see him take his rightful place among music’s marquee names. —Philip Cosores

Drake

Photo by Philip Cosores

Photo by Philip Cosores

Drake is cool, and if you think he’s not, you’re a damn idiot. Upon further review from his mother, we know that any emotional activity by His Degrassi-ness is very much genuine, and to experience it IRL is a blessing gifted to the ticket-buying masses by the gods of Coachella. With a new album likely dropping this spring, Drake will most assuredly have new material to perform, in addition to “6 God” and his well-received ASIA cover, “Heat of the Moment”, making his headlining set more than worth catching. Be sure to pick up a Toronto Raptors Lint Roller™ at the merch tent. —Pat Levy

Ride

ride Coachella’s 2015 Lineup: One Day Later
Oxford quartet Ride are another act in the very welcome trend of esteemed ‘90s shoegazers reuniting. After an official tour announcement in November, the band responsible for classics like Nowhere and Going Blank Again will hit the festival circuit. Chances are these initial shows will be just as noisy and cathartic as Slowdive’s reunion leg, filling up the nostalgia reserves and introducing a new generation of fans to their music. With albums that still stand the test of time 20 years on, here’s hoping the flower band-donning crowd will be as receptive to these melodic powerhouses as they deserve. What’s next, a Chapterhouse or Swirlies reunion in 2016? —Josh Terry

Tame Impala

Photo by Evie Cheung

Photo by Evie Cheung

WIth a new album just confirmed for 2015, these Australian psych rockers have the perfect opportunity to debut new material to an already-receptive audience. Over the past few years, Tame Impala has long-proven its festival bona fides, letting bangers like “Elephant”, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”, and “Solitude Is Bliss” speak for themselves. All signs point to this LP being another release full of excellent and digestible psych pop, and it’s easy to imagine Coachella’s audiences loving it. —Josh Terry

Best of 2014

CoS_YearEnd albums

Of the top eight albums on Consequence of Sound’s Best of 2014, seven are on the Coachella lineup:

1. The War on Drugs – Lost In the Dream
2. Run the Jewels – RTJ2
3. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness
4. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
5. Caribou – Our Love
7. FKA Twigs – LP1
8. St. Vincent – St. Vincent

Plus Todd Terje and Lykke Li from inside the top 20, and Swans, Perfume Genius, Flying Lotus, MØ, SBTRKT, and Ryan Adams from later on our list. Add to that Parquet Courts, Mac DeMarco, Azealia Banks, Sylvan Esso, alt-J, Chet Faker, Benjamin Booker, Sturgill Simpson, Joyce Manor, Jack White, and Jenny Lewis, and you have a pretty long list of what critics consider the best new music around.

Now, from a writer’s point of view, when we make our year-end lists, we are hoping these groups get heard, find their audiences, and wind up on festival bills like Coachella’s. If the goal of Coachella is to represent the very best in music at a given point in time, it’s hard to say that they didn’t answer that call with authority. –Philip Cosores

Surprises

AC/DC

AC/DC
Out of all the still-going classic rock bands, AC/DC fit the bill of being a bona fide festival act without being a regular on the festival circuit. Their three-chord party anthems are primed for three-day music and booze binges, able to appeal to both the beer-guzzling youngsters and the older faction that’s constantly pining to see Angus Young don his schoolboy uniform and Brian Johnson wear his funny hat. There’s going to be a lot of sleazy power chords, tried-and-true rockers, and good times to be had all around. Once festivalgoers hear the first notes of “Back in Black”, “Highway to Hell”, or even deeper cuts like “Rock and Roll Singer”, the atmosphere will undoubtedly become euphoric — a palate cleanser for the bad news plaguing the band, be it Malcolm Young’s ailing health or drummer Phil Rudd’s troubles with the law. —Josh Terry

Steely Dan

Steely Dan
Steely Dan is playing Coachella” isn’t a sentence many would have ever imagined uttering. Sure, maybe “Steely Dan is playing Bonnaroo,” but anyone who pegged the ’70s jazz/yacht rock outfit as a potential participant at the Empire Polo Grounds must be a freaking Nostradamus. The band isn’t as shy about the road as they were in their infamously studio-focused heyday, so having them at a festival isn’t the longest of shots. Seeing them listed between New York rockers Interpol and Swedish DJ Alesso, however, is just plain strange. With their soft vibes and a lack of instantly recognizable hits, it’s hard to imagine them drawing much of a crowd. But surely some classic rock enthusiasts will be stoked at this odd chance to see the band. —Ben Kaye

Drive Like Jehu

drive like jehu1 Coachella’s 2015 Lineup: One Day Later
Post-hardcore legends Drive Like Jehu quietly reunited last year, playing a 40-minute set in San Diego backed by civic organist Dr. Carol Williams. Fortunately, that wasn’t a one-off performance; the group will play Coachella and presumably hit the festival circuit. Though most of their fans aren’t the type to camp out for a two-weekend festival, their slot gives the rejuvenated rockers a chance to appeal to a younger demographic curious about the ‘90s hardcore scene. Plus, it’ll give diehards a chance to finally hear all of the amazing cuts off 1994’s masterwork Yank Crime. —Josh Terry

Raekwon and Ghostface Killah

ghostraekwon Coachella’s 2015 Lineup: One Day Later
It’s no surprise to see Wu-Tang members appear on any given festival lineup. They’ve been staples of the festival scene in various incarnations with and without the rest of the band for years. What is a welcome surprise is seeing this particular combination booked for a joint set; after all, they’re arguably the best one-two punch Wu has to offer today. Despite a long collaborative history, the two haven’t played shows together with any regularity in recent years. And save for a one-off in Florida this week, there doesn’t appear to be a tour in the making either, which makes this an excellent undercard booking for Coachella. —Carson O’Shoney

Lykke Li

Lykke Li

Photo by Heather Kaplan

On Monday, Lykke Li canceled a bunch of European festival tour dates and left a message on her Tumblr about needing a break to heal after seven years of touring. Then on Tuesday, there was her name on the Coachella poster. What can we make of this? Will it simply be removed slyly in the night, or is she indeed making an exception for the polo fields? One thing we do know: She just posted a photo on Tumblr of tennis courts with palm trees in the background. Our guess is that she will be resting in her second home of LA and that the desert journey won’t be too taxing on her healing body.  —Philip Cosores

Omissions

D’Angelo

D'Angelo
After slowly emerging from exile over the last few years with select European dates and a surprise appearance at Bonnaroo, D’Angelo made his return official in late 2014 by finally releasing his long awaited follow-up to 2000’s Voodoo. With no US dates on the books since Black Messiah’s release in December — and a European tour that wraps up in March — many pegged Coachella to be his big US return. Maybe he’s not ready to play shows in the US quite yet, or maybe his schedule just didn’t line up, but whatever the reason, D’Angelo is perhaps the most glaring omission on this lineup. —Carson O’Shoney

Coldplay

Photo by Robert Altman

Photo by Robert Altman

Ghost Stories might not have landed on many year-end lists, but Coldplay is hardly a band that needs the backing of critics to sell out venues. For years now, Chris Martin’s onstage charisma and the group’s ever-growing discography have been easy ticket bait for old and young demographics (hello, “A Sky Full of Stars” features Avicii of all people), die-hard fans, and casual lite FM listeners alike. In terms of money, Coldplay seems like a no-brainer and a safe bet — the Brits are more than just a buzzworthy product built from hype and one major Billboard hit single. They’ve got legit experience and over 15 Grammy nominations to their name. What’s more, Ghost Stories’ reach went far beyond just the album experience — last fall, Coldplay supported the LP with a primetime NBC special and a concert film. —Michelle Geslani

Sleater-Kinney

Sleater Kinney
You know what’s crazy? Sleater-Kinney were on our Coachella omissions list last year, too. Back then it was pure speculation; in 2015, the band is legitimately back together, with a new album and tour all mapped out. For all the gripes people might have with the modern ‘Chella, it’s still got a positive reputation for attracting major and/or surprise reunions. That just makes Goldenvoice missing out on one of the most anticipated returns of the year even more of a major letdown. —Ben Kaye

The Decemberists

Photo by Tom Hardy

Photo by Tom Hardy

The Decemberists are a perfect mid-afternoon festival band, even as they continue to earn more prominent prime time slots. Sure, they’ve made the rounds before, hitting just about every major festival out there. But they’ve been inactive for the last few years, so they will be a welcome addition to (assumedly) many festival lineups this year. Coachella was their first opportunity to hit a major festival in support of their forthcoming album — and they’re avoiding the Los Angeles area on their upcoming tour, usually a clear tell. But the last three dates of that tour fall on the three days of weekend one, leaving them as one of this year’s biggest omissions. —Carson O’Shoney

Röyksopp & Robyn

Photo by Philip Cosores

Photo by Philip Cosores

Röyksopp & Robyn are fresh out of the “best tour [Robyn’s] ever done,” so it’s a mystery why they didn’t decide to “Do It Again” at Coachella. Given that they graced several European festivals last summer and Robyn is long overdue in Indio, an appearance would have seemed likely. Unless they’re recording, or holding out for a later fest, I’m not sure why they’d leave us dancing on our own. —Danielle Janota

Frank Ocean

Photo by Philip Cosores

You’re killing us, Frank. But in all honesty, there wasn’t an overwhelming reason to believe our beloved crooner would appear at Coachella. Since Channel Orange, Ocean has mercilessly teased with a song snippet, a few A-list features, and the fact that “like 10, 11” songs were done back in 2013. Apparently, thinking he might show his face in April was just too wishful. Like his cryptic Tumblr posts, Ocean’s reemergence will most likely be unexpected and mind-blowing. —Danielle Janota

Least Interesting

Hozier

Hozier-04655

Photo by Clarissa Villondo

We get it: This 24-year-old Irish soul rocker has a great sound. “Take Me to Church” is huge. It’s the theme song to a Terrence Howard-starring TV series, and the video is brutally powerful. But A) That track came out in September 2013, and B) Dude, second line? Seriously? You’re going to list him above acts with major fan bases like Tyler, The Creator, Father John Misty, The War on Drugs, Run the Jewels, and hell, even Kasabian? That’s just pandering to the moment. People are gonna half-listen through most of the set until he plays “that one song,” and then scatter. Money on that. —Ben Kaye

Fitz and the Tantrums

Photo by Philip Cosores

Photo by Philip Cosores

Fitz and the Tantrums have seemingly been on every bill for the last several years, and if you’ve seen them once, hell, if you’ve even seen them for 10 minutes, you get the act. I know some people get genuine enjoyment from watching this band, and they get points for being local to the Coachella demographic, but Fitz’s set presents the opportune time to get lunch, check out the Gobi tent, ride the ferris wheel, or really do anything but watch a band that plays half a dozen SoCal dates a year. —Philip Cosores

Andrew McMahon

amm wilderness bg2 Coachella’s 2015 Lineup: One Day Later
While most people put either a Something Corporate song or a Jack’s Mannequin song on an embarrassing middle or high school mixtape (I admit, a few of my former crushes heard “The Mixed Tape”), the appeal of Andrew McMahon is still there, either for nostalgia or for his new legion of pubescent fans. He just released a self-titled album as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, an inoffensive if overproduced collection of saccharine piano-based pop. If you do see his set, hopefully the smattering of career-spanning hits will outweigh the new stuff. —Josh Terry

Mainstream EDM

iE7O2aM
Taking pot shots at mainstream EDM is one of the things we do best in the critic community. That said, it is getting old, don’t you think? The candy, the glove-in-face light shows, the PLUR — you’d think the days until kids switch drugs and find something new (but likely equally shitty) were numbered. Much to our dismay, it seems Coachella (and the rest of the world) disagrees. To their credit, Coachella relegates bean heads to the Sahara stage, so it’s more of a smudge than a full-on skid mark bestowed upon the festival’s proverbial underpants. Further vindication comes from reticent equilibrium of good and evil within the EDM scene. For each Flosstradamus, Porter Robinson, and Kaskade, I’ll raise you Todd Terje, John Talabot, and John Hopkins. It’s one of the rare cases where there truly is balance in the force. —Kevin McMahon

Interpol

Photo by Philip Cosores

Photo by Philip Cosores

While Interpol’s studio work and live show remain enjoyable, they’ve become a worn-in catcher’s mitt for festivalgoers. Since they’ve played Coachella every four years like clockwork (2003, 2007, 2011, and now 2015), the smart money is that they’ll play a nearly identical set to what they did at Lollapalooza last year. The gods of vanilla post-punk should at least allow them to avoid snow storms this time around. – Dan Bogosian

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