Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pilgrim to the Coachella Valley, those pre-festival jitters are definitely distracting you from everything school-related right now. You’ve scoured the epic lineup, stalked the online forum, and purchased your ticket to SoCal’s most anticipated music fest of the year. Now all that’s left is planning a course of action for your three-day ramble through the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. We’ve highlighted some of this year’s most noteworthy acts and provided times and locations for each so you can navigate through the masses with ease. Now go forth, CMCers, and rep our college hard with your impeccable music taste at what should be one of the most exhilarating events of the year.
The Avett Brothers: Outdoor Theatre, 3:20-4:05 PM
This “grungegrass” group consistently produces a delectably blended tunes: take 1 part old-time country, 2 parts folksy blues, a bit of energetic punk a la the Ramones, and a dash of jangling pop…and you have the Avett Brothers. Cellist Joe Kwon and bass player Bob Crawford round out Seth’s banjo and Scott’s guitar for a gorgeous sound that’s hard to hate on.
If you like ’em, also check out: Old Crow Medicine Show
Yeasayer: Mojave, 4:20-5:10 PM
The Brooklyn-based trio released their sophomore attempt Odd Blood to critical acclaim and general bewilderment in February. The band was first formed in Baltimore alongside fellow prep school classmates from psych-pop kings Animal Collective. Judging from material on recent albums, the groups’ members have frequented the same LSD-infused keg for a number of years now. Be sure not to miss this one: the performance is (a) at 4:20 and (b) will supposedly feature “custom-built light columns and giant illuminated balloons.”
If you like ’em, also check out: Girls, Local Natives
Them Crooked Vultures: Coachella Stage, 7:50-8:40 PM
“Supergroups” seem to be uber-hip these days. From Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace to Conor Oberst’s Monsters of Folk, the rock music scene has become one strange and surprising mix-tape. Them Crooked Vultures is the 3-headed child of Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), and Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters). To see three alpha-males driving hard towards adrenaline-pumping melodies, check out the second-best band Jones has ever been in.
If you like ’em, also check out: The Dead Weather, White Rabbits
Grizzly Bear: Mojave, 8:05-8:55 PM
It’s funny enough that a band named Grizzly Bear has produced three consecutive albums over the last 10 years that each sound like they have been produced by Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs until you find out that Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé attended their show in Brooklyn last year and told Pitchfork that Grizzly Bear “is an incredible band.” This set is short by any standard for the band, but look forward to hearing great riffs and harmonies from their latest album, Veckatimest.
If you like ’em, also check out: Deerhunter, Hot Chip, Deer Tick
Jay-Z: Coachella Stage, 10:50 PM
“What More Can I Say?” The opening-night appearance from Jay-Z is Coachella’s mainstream blockbuster. He has sold over 40 million albums worldwide and continues to startle us with new club-bangers and street anthems every couple of years. Unfortunately, Jigga’s set will overlap with Deadmau5’s but consider staying at the Coachella Stage if you hope to see Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys, or Lupe Fiasco or even Dr. Dre (*just in) perform with Hov.
If you like ’em, also check out: Wale, B.o.B.
Deadmau5: Sahara, 11:35 PM-12:50 AM
If you haven’t heard Deadmau5 blasting out of the windows of North Quad suites for the past six months then you have either been living underneath a rock or in Stark Hall. He is Grammy-nominated and widely considered to be one of the Top 10 DJs in the world (did I mention two others from the list will also be performing at the festival?). Deadmau5 is the premier House Music DJ and will put on a show in the Sahara tent. The decision remains TBD on how much time to allot to Deadmau5, as he and Jay-Z have overlapping sets.
If you like ’em, also check out: David Guetta, Benny Benassi, Kaskade
Flying Lotus: Gobi, 10:45-11:45 AM
This artist’s dope compilations and abstract, jazz-infused style bring to mind fellow beat-makers Madlib, RJD2, and Gaslamp Killer. Flying Lotus’s highly addictive (we warned you), eclectic new album Cosmogramma has been dubbed a “space opera” and showcases vocals by the likes of Thom Yorke, Erykah Badu, and Lil’ Wayne. Prepare to embark on an incredibly lush hip-hop odyssey Saturday morning.
If you like ’em, also check out: Thom Yorke, Orbital
Portugal. The Man: Gobi, 2:15-3:00
Alaska-born indie rock group with swooning, harmony-laden tunes. Lead vocalist John Baldwin Gourley’s glassy falsetto lends Portugal’s tracks a haunting but heartfelt quality that seems to have just blown in from the group’s icy home state. Expect the unexpected: Portugal. The Man’s frequent fluidity of musicians and instruments should make this act’s set a memorable experience.
If you like ’em, alsocheck out: MGMT, Beach House
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros: Outdoor Theatre, 5:10-6:00 PM
This is a must-see performance for the mindful indie-world. After finishing a 12-step program for addiction, Alex Ebert, lead vocalist of the 12-15 member group, started writing an album about a messianic figure that “was sent down to Earth to kinda heal and save mankind… but he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love” (Paste Magazine). If the idea of a concept album does not tickle your fancy, operate under the assumption that Edward Sharpe may be accompanied by fourteen instrument-playing, harmonizing apostles that have toured throughout the US in a large white school bus.
If you like ’em, also check out: Camera Obscura, She & Him
The xx: Outdoor Theatre, 6:25-7:10 PM
This British trio burst onto the scene after a couple of tracks (likely recorded in a basement) leaked onto Hype Machine over the summer of 2009. Since then, the band’s tracks have been featured in television series and advertisements, most notably the AT&T commercial featuring Apollo Anton Ohno during the Vancouver Olympics. The band has covered Aaliyah and Ginuwine, and channeled The Smiths and The Cure in their self-titled debut album.
If you like ’em, also check out: Florence + The Machine, The Cribs, Temper Trap
David Guetta: Mojave, 9:00-10:15 PM
This French producer and DJ could be the most popular artist in the world right now. It’s not easy for Americans to concede that the Euro-phenomenon “Sexy Bitch” (featuring Akon) actually sounded pretty hot, but when the rest of the album was released in singles featuring Kelly Rowland and Kid Cudi…Guetta’s talent became clear. This is going to be a party.
If you like ’em, also check out: Deadmau5, Benny Benassi, Kaskade
De La Soul: Coachella Stage, 3:50-4:40 PM
They’ve been spitting surreal lyrics since ’87 and have laid a foundation alongside alternative hip-hop faves like Digable Planets and A Tribe Called Quest. Cited as the originators of the jazz-hop genre, De La Soul has influenced decades of innovative rap and hip-hop groups. This significant trio is still producing quirky sampling, laid-back raps, and inventive rhythms, and even collaborated with fellow headliner Gorillaz on the crowd-pleasing track “Feel Good, Inc.” Don’t miss the “hippies of hip-hop” when they make their Coachella appearance.
If you like ’em, also check out: P.O.S., Gorillaz, Flying Lotus
Florence + the Machine: Gobi, 4:30-5:15 PM
British sensation Florence + the Machine, i.e. Florence Welch and her backing vocalists, channel the classic voice of fellow Brit Kate Bush in their debut album, Lungs. The album has already won the “Mastercard Album of the Year” at the 2010 BRIT Awards and continues to build the group’s presence stateside. Florence’s vocals during the epic “Cosmic Love” and at past award show performances are sure to make her a crowd favorite this weekend.
If you like ’em, also check out: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Little Boots, Sleigh Bells, La Roux
Miike Snow: Mojave, 6:45-7:30 PM
Danceable electro-pop trio well-worth checking out. You’ve probably hummed tracks like “Animal” for hours on end without even knowing the name of this Swedish group, let alone their other equally catchy and dynamic tunes. It’s about time you got acquainted with Miike Snow.
If you like ’em, also check out: Matt & Kim, Vampire Weekend
Sly Stone: Gobi, 7:00-7:45 PM
There are countless reasons for why you should head out to the Gobi tent to see Sly perform 45 minutes of classics that you might not be able to get a glimpse of again if he happens to die of an overdose. Unfortunately, the best day of the festival is plagued with the worst organization as Sly, Miike Snow and Phoenix have set times that almost completely overlap. It may be impossible to catch all three performances but the sprightly folk may be able to run between the venues in time to see two of them.
If you like ’em, also check out: … Just go see Sly.
Phoenix: Outdoor Theatre, 7:10-8:00 PM
If you’re dying to see immensely popular anthems “Lisztomania” and “1901” performed live, park yourself at the Outdoor Theatre for what will undoubtedly be an energetic set from Phoenix. This French alt-rock group’s 2009 Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix exploded onto the scene with its upbeat, glittery vibes and has invaded the soundtrack to many a CMCer’s year. If you aren’t enthused by Sly or Snow, Phoenix will satisfy without a doubt.
If you like ’em, also check out: Steel Train, Dirty Projectors
Pavement: Coachella Stage, 7:45-8:55 PM
Pavement is widely considered to one of the formative bands of the mid ’90s. Twangy songs alive with bright riffs and sporadic percussion have influenced indie groups for the last 20 years. Pavement broke up in 1999 and did not perform at a live event together again until they launched their worldwide tour on March 1 of this year. You may have to do some digging to uncover Pavement’s classics, but the exhumation will be worth your trouble.
If you like ’em, also check out: Yo La Tengo
Gorillaz: Coachella Stage, 10:30 PM
The question you must be asking yourself is, “how does a group composed of bizarre animated characters play live?” So glad you asked. From what we have heard and seen, the band (whose lead vocalist is Damon Albarn from ’90s British post-punk band Blur), has used shadow-play and excellent projection effects to provide the crowd with a wild 3D experience. Don’t miss this.
If you like ’em, also check out: Flying Lotus, Thom Yorke