This week, as most of my carefully curated online feed is all a buzz with runDisney races and news, I still have a few hold overs breaking down the Coachella 2016 lineup. I am always more excited about Coachella than a race. I am always more excited about Coachella than Hawaii. No one ever asks me if I’m excited about Coachella. So I’ll just tell you without being asked.
I’ve now been going to Coachella longer than some of the people excited to go. Yeah, I’m old and perhaps that is why this year’s lineup, much like the last couple years, underwhelms me. I’ll still have fun. And I am still excited.
This year’s lineup rant: I like pop music, but I don’t like this new breed of indie pop crossover. It sounds like One Direction, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, boy band, whatever, with different marketing, and it makes me giggle a little that all these super hipsters are listening to what amounts to Taylor Swift. I like old school hip hop, but this Shabazz Palaces style of rap/hip hop/ “it’s not really rap” says Artboy style just doesn’t settle with me. I will dance all night to Sasha and Digweed (and did many times 15/20 years ago) but still think Calvin Harris is awful. Underworld I loved so long ago (so long ago), but will probably skip. Overall, it’s very house heavy moving away from EDM heavy and there was a time that would have thrilled me but I just don’t enjoy Sahara for long periods. And LCD Soundsystem, well, yeah I don’t like them/him/it. And this revival of easy listening kills me. It was all Phil Collins, but now it’s edging towards Robert Palmer with a little Paul Simon thrown in. I didn’t like them the first time around. And there is so much breathy oh oh ohh ohh ohhhs this year. It’s like the new hand clap.
What about Guns n Roses? Well, they’re a fine band and I’ll see them if nothing conflicts. What they should do is play Appetite for Destruction in its entirety and encore with Patience, November Rain, and Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. But they won’t, so I don’t really care. My nostalgia is not strong.
And Ice Cube. Well I love Ice Cube, cause that is my generation, even if he was in that mini van movie. But I so rarely like rap live. It’s usually just a bunch of people, who are not the person I care about, on stage making noise. I saw Rakim play two sets in NYC many moons ago; it was transcendental. De La Soul sounded like 15 of my friends doing karaoke. I only caught the tail end of Wu-Tang because I was busy watching OMD and headed to Dead Can Dance, but that was basically a ruckus. The Tupac hologram wasn’t enough to keep me interested, but 2 Chainz was freaking hilarious as I rode by in my golf cart in the middle of the day. Okay to be fair, I can’t even prove it was 2 Chainz doing Dump Truck, but who else would it have been. Dump Truck. Dump Truck.
I know, I know, it can’t all be Bjork, Stone Roses, Kasabian, and Ride. There are a couple bands I’m looking forward to, but really, Coachella is about my friends, drinking, and eating at this point.
There was a time that I would devour anything on 4AD. I had hopes after their London gig sold out in seconds, but they seem to be regulated to some crappy spot. Look how tiny they are on the lineup post. Tiny writing Lush after Silversun Pickups (yawn). Lush is a conflict winner for me. And the one band I really want to see.
I like the Kills. I have seen them play a lot. I have seen them play Coachella. I’ll probably see them again.
I once went to some festival early and had to wait for Artboy at a designated location later in the day. That designated location happened to be near the Heavy. They were fun and seemed to generally enjoy themselves on stage. A dynamic stage presence goes a long way in my book.
I used to really like M83. Then at Coachella 2005, when it was like 200 degrees, they played very early in the day in the Mojave tent. Back then it was a tiny little tent with flaps holding the hot air in. It was hell. I almost died. Their super mellow set would have been wonderful at sunset; however, in the stifling heat, it felt, well stifling. I left. I had margaritas. I can’t remember if I saw them in 2012. I saw Refused and Pulp, everything else kind of blurs into a polo field haze. I think I skipped them because of 2005. Maybe this year. Maybe. Probably not, unless I can lay down backstage and hear them.
I went to a Lord Huron show with a friend who was visiting from Hawaii. He complained about paying a cover to some bar like he was in college again. I always think it’s Bruce Springsteen or Eddie and the Cruisers (I know) or something when Lord Huron comes on the radio, which is actually quite a bit, considering how little I drive. I don’t even know if I like him, but I’ll check out the set depending on set and time, because Rebel. Rocker. Lover.
They’re are others on my list too: Sufjan Stevens, Major Lazer (gret in 2010, mediocre in 2013 although I missed most of it), the Vandals, the Damned, Bat for Lashes, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Unknown Mortal Orchestra. I’m sure I will discover a few others.
I may be underwhelmed, but Coachella is a giant corporate festival and basically just repeats the same performers year after year. I don’t actually want to see bands work their way up from tiny writing, which amounts to same bands every year; see I don’t have high expectations to ruin. I used to go because I was sure there would always be a stage with something good on; now I go to drink with friends and, this year, see Lush.