Oh Coachella, how you make me salivate. What is Coachella you ask? Quite simple actually: the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (or just Coachella, if you’re nasty), is a glorious triumvirate of musical & artistic days and nights, organized by Goldenvoice, taking place across the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, California.

Here you will find many walks of music, arranged on 5 stages: Coachella Stage, Outdoor Theater, Gobi Tent, Mojave Tent, and Sahara Tent. All of these have live music playing at all times. In the past decade, Coachella has fallen on the last weekend in April, and this year is no different. Patrons can enjoy their favorite artists on the various stages around the fields, and gawk at the art sculptures scattered about the grounds. Speaking of the sights, it gets quite hot (I’m talking 100 plus degrees ya’ll), so you’ll be happy to know that just about everyone will be in bikinis and board shorts, if staring at interactive sculptures isn’t your thing.

Here's the poster of the lineup:

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Here is the lineup for the 3 days, broken down, with a link to preview of each artist:

Friday, April 17th

Saturday, April 18th

Sunday, April 19th

What you need to know before you go:

First off, it’s going to be a stupid level of hot out there in Indio. It is a desert after all, and we recommend bringing a cooler filled with just water bottles for the weekend, as the venue booths will rape you sideways with water bottle prices for those foolish enough to go without beverages. We're not saying you can’t have a cooler filled with drank/syrup/what have you, but we just want to stress how pissed you’ll be when water bottles cost ten bucks and up. Sun screen is also a very good idea, along with hats. You’ve been warned.

With that being said, on to clothing. Hot weather and hot women go together. Meaning you will see girls in bikinis and shorts, not unlike that hot hippie brunette Michelle Lombardo, from David Duchovny’s Californication. Ok, well maybe you won’t get that lucky with eye candy, but still, you guys should be ready. Don’t bother with jeans or any of that pish posh. Also, you have plenty of time from now 'till then to get right for the summer time. Oh and ladies, you’ll have your fair share of chest-shaved men to gawk at while you’re baking in the sun together. Bring some cheap sunglasses to block the sun, and if they get stolen, you won’t want to kill someone over your Rite Aid shades.

As for accommodations, sooner rather than later would be a good idea to try and find a cheap hotel for the festival. But real G’s just camp out in their cars, or bring tents to pitch right there in the fields. The fields are a dedicated campsite for this event, and here are the rules. Bring blankets, some warn jammies, and protection, for all you hippie, free-love types out there. Again, you’ve been warned.

coachella_

Once you get there, how to make the most of your trip:

When you get there, we suggest you get your bearings, and learn where everything is in the surrounding area; food, bathrooms, and things of this nature, just to save time in the long run. It would blow to miss half the set of the band you came to see because you couldn’t find the pisser.

Check out the artwork there during the day while waiting for your band to play. Last year they have had some pretty cool shit there. Make sure to bring a camera to get a record of your desert skylarking, and tomfoolery. Also, memories of your eye candy to put on your MySpace/Facebook/meat market of choice will be a plus.

....the hell?

Who Flak thinks you should take a gander at over the weekend:

Let’s be really real for a moment if we can. Coachella is expensive. $99 a day if you pay individually, and $269 plus tax for a 3 day pass. So if you absolutely have to go, but don’t want to go deeper into debt, here is who I think is worth seeing on each of the days, so you can better decide how to burn through your scrilla/guap/bread.

Friday, April 17th

Franz Ferdinand: Well, considering I reviewed them already, I won’t explain further.

Peanut Butter Wolf: I’ve never heard them actually, but they opened for the Mars Volta, so why not?

The Crystal Method: I’ve been a long time fan of this amazing duo and their remixes

Saturday, April 18th

Atmosphere: This dude is a badass MC, and his 2008 album, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold, was amazing.

The Killers: Another album I reviewed already, I need not say more.

Thievery Corporation: I’ve been listening to their latest album Radio Retaliation almost nonstop recently, and I want to see how they play out.

Jenny Lewis: Lead singer of Rilo Kiley and one of the brainchildren of the one song I really want a stripper to dance to for me, Moneymaker, on their album Under the Blacklight. Plus, she’s a hip and sexy redhead, which is totally in for me right now.

TV On the Radio: I’ve been a fan of theirs from the beginning, and I missed my first chance to see them live at The Roxy. I shant screw this up again.

TRV$DJ-AM: The dudes survived a plane crash. Nuff said.

Sunday, April 19th

Clipse: Wamp wamp, what it do, what it do? Rapping about crack never sounded so good.

Lupe Fiasco: Long time fan of the Chi Town based rapper. I keep hearing how amazing his live shows are. His political hip lyrics make one think.

Peter Bjorn and John: If they play Young Folks then I’ll be content.

Public Enemy: You’re a true fool if you pass up the chance to see Chuck D and Flava Flav together again. Yeeeeeaaahhh boooooooyyyyyyy!

Shepard Fairey: The mastermind behind the Obey propaganda is someone who deserves my hundred bucks for his overnight revolution. He is one of the most important modern graffiti (and otherwise) artists of our time.

The Cure: The third artist in this feature that I’ve reviewed already. Not to be missed! They’d better play Fascination Street.

Next up is my humble adjutant, Gunfart, to give you his two cents:

Rather than being a venue for the up-and-coming (aka New and Exciting, or at least Relevant), this years Coachella Festival line-up feels more like a rest home squatting on the heads of the Music Industry’s most resourced and invested; nicknamed The New Craperella. Whereas in the past they felt like potent cocktails, diverse, inventive and fierce, this years groupings seem more like wheat-grass protein shakes being forced down our throats by sweaty PR cronies. You have the Old (to draw in the crowds who can afford the ticket prices) and then the heavily leveraged New Acts that are supposed to WOW us with their inventive reuse of past musical styling. This is supposed to persuade us into purchasing new music?!  So typical Industry thinking.  But all is not lost….check these acts out!

So out of the 100+ bands scheduled, who’s worth seeing?

Friday, April 17th

Paul McCartney: While I have not personally seen him my brother-in-law (who has seen more shows than anyone I know) personally vouches that he was one of the best performers he has ever seen.

Leonard Cohen:  The Voice….the man could say anything and I would nod my head in agreement.  A true original even today.

Morrissey:  Carrying the torch of The Smiths beautifully alone.  How about a reunion…please?!

The Black Keys:  I saw them at The Troubadour a few years back and they are a fantastic blues band from Detroit. A two piece that lights the stage on fire every bit as well as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

Molotov: I actually first heard these guys in a video game for the original XBox, Total Overdose, and I was so impressed that I went to Amoeba Records in Hollyweird and bought every record they had.

Saturday, April 18th

Booker T: Even without the M.G.’s a Stax recording genius.  “Green Onions” anyone?!

Calexico: One of the best bands to represent Coachella, as they lack a definition.  But regardless of their varied musically styles, they play from the heart.

Michael Franti & Spearhead:  Former lead singer of The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy; if he plays California Uber Alles, that’s enough for me.

TV On The Radio: This would be the band I would most want to see.  This band anchors Day 2 by itself.

Superchunk:  They are funny, they are loud and they rock, without taking themselves too seriously.

Sunday, April 19th

Paul Weller: Lead singer of The Jam and still producing great songs.

Public Enemy: Despite the theatrics of Flavor Flav derailing his meal ticket, you cannot deny their relevance or impact.  I saw them at the Santa Monica Civic in 1988 and I can attest to their power and presence.

The Cure:  You haven’t seen them yet?  Get thee to a concert hall!

The Kills:  I admit I have a bit of a crush on Alison Mosshart, however this is lo-fi music for broken people…like me!

X:  The best band of the entire festival.  I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge each band member:

  • John Doe:  One of the most passionate and sincere front men to ever grace a stage.
  • Exene:  Desperate and passionate, she’s a perfect patriot for rock-fueled truth mongering.
  • D.J. Bonebrake:  Often times he’s overlooked until you see him play.  He drives the energy.
  • Billy Zoom:  He plays like a marble statue, solid and true.  His stance, smile and talent will want you to pick up a guitar and later realize how much better a musician he is than you.

Gunfart's closing thoughts:

Here’s the deal...If you can pull out a friggin HUGE name like Sir Paul McCartney, why not take that money and give us some us something really exciting.  Like a peppering of world music, things we have not heard before or sounds that have not been imitated and recycled to death.  I think that including bands like Mexican Institute of Sound is a great start, but more could be done to attract a more diverse global presence.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this preposterously long feature on Coachella, but all this jargon might just save your trip from failure. Tickets can be bought online, and while there are 50,000 tickets for each day, they have sold out before. Hope to see you there kids!

~Flak and Gunfart

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AuthorBTH Staff
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