@ZackTeibloom The Coachella line-up dropped in the middle of the night Tuesday. Thankfully, I had just nodded off, or I would have been up all night obsessing and driving you crazy with a million tweets about it. I spent most of this morning pouring over it, letting it’s pure awesomeness come over me in waves. I can still barely process it. They managed to get 6/10 artists from my best albums of 2009. All 3 of my top shows of ACL.
My first reaction was: “COACHELLA LINE-UP: Jay-z, Muse, Gorillaz, Pavement, Thom Yorke, Vampire Weekend, Them Crooked Vultures, LCD Soundsystem, Phoenix, MGMT<-wow.” In my initial 10 I managed to leave off Jack White and The Dead Weather, Sly and the Family Stone, Spoon, Passion Pit, Miike Snow, Yo La Tengo, Kevin Devine, Ra Ra Riot, She and Him and the Dirty Projectos. I would travel to California just for the second set of performers I listed. It’s so deep that there are two festivals worth of acts. There’s something special going on here. Is this the best festival line-up we’ve ever seen? Let’s break it down.
This line-up looks better every time you look at it, but I’m not completely sold on the headliners yet. The days will be full of the best touring bands, but can the same be said of the headliners? It has a bit of the Lolla ’09 syndrome in that the headliners might not live up to the afternoon bands, and there’s no big classic rock band to blow you away. Jay-Z is an inspired choice for first headliner. I’m dying to see that show. Muse put out an incredible album in Resistance this year and they killed during their headlining slot in the rain at Lollapalooza a few years ago. Not my favorite band personally, but they’re stand-in-the-rain headliner material. Gorillaz is a bit of a wildcard. You’ll see them closing down the fest, but you won’t actually see them. Damon Albarn of Blur is the frontman and they project holograms. I need to study up on them, but after a little research I can tell you, Gorillaz are going to put on an insane show.
I think Muse and Gorillaz will overachieve and even without them, it’s the best mix of bands on tour. Last month I posted my 10 favorite albums of ’09. Six of those acts are at Coachella. I ranked my favorite shows at ACL. #1, #2, and #3 are all at Coachella. There are 10 shows I want to see. And that’s just Friday.
Friday has a bit of everything leading up to the Jay-Z headlining slot. We long for the dance parties of LCD Soundsystem so badly in Austin that we see their cover bands “All My Friends” on a biweekly basis. Them Crooked Vultures were my #2 overall show at ACL and I have them ranked #3 just for Friday. That has to mean something. I’m thrilled to see Vampire Weekend back on the festival circuit.
I caught three Passion Pit shows on their last tour and all were impressive except the ACL show that was hampered by an unappreciative crowd who seemed to be holding their energy for The Dead Weather and Girl Talk who were on later that afternoon. Grizzly Bear and Ra Ra Riot are on must-see status for me after the amount of spins their latest albums get in my car. I dig what I’ve heard from She and Him, but mostly I just want to see Zooey in person. Yeasayer and Hockey put on strong shows last time through town (FFF and opening for Phoenix) and I’m ready for more.
- Jay-Z: (Assume 9,5-10 range)
- LCD Soundsystem 9.6
- Them Crooked Vultures 9.2
- Vampire Weekend 9.2
- Passion Pit: 9.0-9.3
- Grizzly Bear (assume 9.0-9.3)
- Ra Ra Riot (assume 8.6-9.2)
- She and Him (8.7)
- Sleigh Bells (8.6)
- Yeasayer (8.8)
- Hockey (8.6)
Saturday- It’s a tiny bit of a let down from the splendor that is Friday, but wait a second. Did I just say a day with Jack White is a let down? Good lord. Someone pinch me. OK, it still has the Dirty Projectors and Dead Weather who played right before each other at ACL to perfection. I think Muse will outdo themselves and it’s going to be dance party with Major Lazer and Bassnectar. MGMT has always been a bit disappointing live in my experience, but I think they just needed a few more repetitions*. Hot Chip and The xx are more of a “everyone tells me I should like them” factor and I’ll have to start giving them more listens before the next show. I’m sorry, I’m completely over Les Claypool. This is ultimate last chance to win me over.
- The Dead Weather 9,4
- Dirty Projectors 9.2
- Muse 9.0
- MGMT 8.8
- Hot Chip
- Frightened Rabbit
- The xx
- The Temper Trap
- Major Lazer
- Les Claypool
Sunday We’re right back in the thick of it. Phoenix may be the best band on tour right now**. We have Thom Yorke (Of Radiohead***) with question marks next to his name on the official line-up. Not sure why. Sly and the Family Stone is so underrated. I can only hope they sound half as they do on record. I’ll let you know how Spoon is currrently after their in-store at Waterloo Monday. Miike Snow was a force at Lolla, coming out with masks and tearing up an afternoon set. (Note there’s no one named Miike Snow.) I paid way too much to see Infected Mushroom at a club in Argentina until 7 am, but it was worth it. Otherworldly. Even Andy loves the indie-rock stylings of Matt and Kim, Yo La Tengo’s I’m Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass is a favorite of mine even though I haven’t gotten into their latest yet and I’m still getting into The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, love one song by Florence and the Machine and Kevin Devine is a charmer as he showed at an indoor Stubbs show last year.
- Phoenix 9.7
- Thom Yorke (????) With Radiohead 9.8
- Sly and the Family Stone (I have to assume 9.4-10)
- Gorillaz (estimate 9.0-9.5)
- Spoon 9.1 (always a damn good show)
- Miike Snow 9.1
- Yo La Tengo (expect 8.7-9.2)
- Local Natives (9.0)
- Pavement (No idea what to expect. Never listened to them, sadly)
- Infected Mushroom (100,000****)
- Matt and Kim (assume (8.7-9.2)
- Julian Casablancas
- Florence and the Machine
- The Soft Pack
- Mayer Hawthorne
- Kevin Devine (8.4)
I planned on this whole article being a comparison of this line-up to other great festivals we’ve been to, but it’s now 12:17 a.m, I’m still at work not getting paid to write this and this is way too long as it is. Part two tomorrow. Where does this line-up rank in the two years we’ve been covering festivals. Hope you have sweet festival dreams. I know I will.
*The Simmons theory of repetitions that you need more attempts to really get great at something. He even said Miley Cyrus is so together because of repetition theory.
**At least the best band to let me on stage with them.
***Pretty unnecessary to say he’s from Radiohead if you’ve made it this far into my analysis, right?
****Review skewed wildly by it being my first “trip” to Argentina.