To put it mildly, there are few months in the year that I look forward to more than January. Mostly it’s because as a music festival fanatic and general music snob, I love seeing what the many festivals around the world come up with. Nearly every year it starts with the Coachella lineup, and while they weren’t the first to unveil this year, no festival lineup released thus far holds a candle to what they cooked up this year. Let’s get started shall we?!
Ok so for now months we’ve known that LCD Soundsystem and Guns N Roses were reuniting. It was easily one of the worst kept secrets in the music industry, and low and behold, they both are headlining a day, but we’ll get to my opinion on GNR shortly. From top to botton Friday is pretty solid. I mean you can’t really go wrong with LCD being back in the world, and frankly, I’m really freaking excited about potentially seeing them somewhere in the coming months. Coming after that though, they have some rather surprising entries, which really shouldn’t be a shock since Goldenvoice is able to lure some big names who wouldn't normally do fests. Sufjan Stevens is one of them, and while I like him a decent amount, picturing him performing at sunset at that immaculate location is making me jealous of everyone who will actually witness it.
Also, fucking Underworld??? Hello! This is awesome. The fact that they finally got those dudes back in Indio is wonderful, and add The Last Shadow Puppets to that and you have an already solid mix of everything the fest is known for. Other notable acts worth mentioning Friday include Of Monsters & Men, Savages, Mavis Staples!, HEALTH, and Miami Horror.
Next we have the killer day of the festival, if you don’t count the headliner, which is Saturday (the day, not the headliner). I’m frankly just unimpressed with the other two headliners(GNR and the utterly terrible Calvin Harris), but I’m not really surprised about Harris’ inclusion. He does fit the mold of what the festival has become. Roses, on the other hand, seems like a heavy handed bet that will likely not pan out. I mean, first off, Axl doesn’t really sound amazing these days, and while I’m sure the stage show and musicianship will be great, can you count on this man to not act an ass? It remains to be seen. Either way though, they nailed it with Day two.
From the top though, Saturday includes simply amazing acts(in the form CHVRCHES, Grimes, Courtney Barnett, Run the Jewels(which is surprising), and Bat for Lashes, who I wasn't even aware was recording) that are definitely worth seeing. But they also have some solid rare acts and reunions. I mean, Ice Cube is gonna kill it, while the looooong overdue Lush reunion is finally happening at the polo fields. It’s not just a good day, but a great day!
And finally Sunday, the final day of the festival hits, and while there’s plenty of good stuff happening, it pales in comparison, at least for me, to Saturday. Harris headliners, Sia will draw a huge crowd I’m sure, and apparently the 1975 are much bigger than I thought. Beach House, Flume, and Rancid are all worth being stoked for though, and at the very least you can’t say it’s not diverse.
The thing is though, while this lineup is good, it’s not the best the festival has ever produced. You spend god knows how much on Guns and LCD, and while the EDM junkies will hopefully kill themselves to see Calvin Harris on the main stage, but even beyond that the lineup is good but not nearly as deep far down as you’d expect. For the first time ever, at least half the names are names I’ve never heard of, so either i’m losing my edge, or GV is going cheap and underground to accommodate the huge costs of the top lines. Either way though, they don;t care- the festival will sell out for both weekends, and tons of people will have a wonderful time. Even if the bands playing the fest were terrible, the perfect outdoor atmosphere is enough to make for a great weekend. Thanks for reading!
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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