Last year I spent three magical days in Indio, California. During those three days, I saw an absurd amount of live music from indie to hip-hop to EDM. There are a lot of reasons to love the Coachella Music Festival: the beautiful mountains and desert scenery, the motley crew of music lovers who come from all corners of the earth, the celebrity-watching, and the ability to feel overdressed when wearing little more than a few scraps of cotton. But let’s not forget the music! Despite a few dropouts, including headliner Lou Reed, the lineup is pretty remarkable. I will, unfortunately, not be there this year, and if you’re with me then here are the sure-to-be highlights of the weekend that will make you green with envy:
One of my most recent favorites, this English singer/songwriter has a soft soul to his voice and an amazing songbook to take it to the next level. His lyrics are touching and unexpected and they stick with you in the best way. I haven’t seen him live, but judging by videos like this one, he won’t disappoint:
I think that if I didn’t include a plug for the Dropkick Murphys I might not be allowed to re-enter the city of Boston for school next fall. But apart from being well-loved in Boston, I’m sure this rowdy band is sure to impress in Indio with their unique brand of Celtic-American punk rock. Although I haven’t seen a show, I hear it’s the best kind of mayhem that leaves the best kind of authentic rock and roll bruises.
Benny Benassi is just plain fun. In terms of EDM, he’s a serious veteran, his first techno hit, “Satisfaction” dating back to 2002. This is dance music that will blow your mind but won’t permanently damage it, as I sometimes feel with more dub-heavy DJs. I saw a Benassi set in 2011 with an “Excuse Me While I Kiss The Sky” bit that was simply awesome. This Italian DJ is a can’t miss.
Since rocketing to radio fame with “Bulletproof” in 2009 and hitting big in the house music scene with remixes of “In For The Kill” the same year, we haven’t heard much from this duo of electro pop artists. However they broke their hiatus earlier this year and set off on tour. At Coachella you can expect to hear hot new music off their next album, set to release very soon!
Red Hot Chili Peppers
This huge name is an obvious hit for this weekend’s festival. The band has anthem after anthem at their fingertips and couldn’t possibly be anything but a great time. If you’re into rock and roll, this is your fix and the most authentic rock band Coachella 2013 is putting on the stage.
Sigur Rós’ music is the type that I imagine would be religious to hear played live. Their ethereal sound transcends the language barrier between Icelandic and whatever language you might speak and is perfect to just close your eyes, tilt your head back and enjoy. Their 2012 album Valtari is another round of their consistently gorgeous and otherworldly music, so you can expect a great set.
Tegan and Sara
These twin sisters are seriously badass. All I want is to jump around and scream the lyrics when I’m listening to Tegan and Sara, and that’s exactly what you should do if you’re lucky enough to see them live at Coachella. Although they’re tiny in stature, they’ve got an in your face sound that commands attention. They put out their latest album, “Heartthrob,” at the end of last year and it’s got some stuff that makes you want to dance in addition to yelling the lyrics. Pretty rad.
Their recent top-charter “Hey Ho” is a good reason to go watch the Lumineers play their set this weekend, but it’s definitely not the only reason. This folk band has a great sound, thanks in large part to lead singer Wesley Schultz’s unique and outstanding and lead vocals. His low notes are resonant and his high notes seem impossibly effortless, all with enough twang to make you smile and tap your foot. It’s just good music. Don’t miss it! I wouldn’t if I were in Indio.