Coachella 2014 Line-Up

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Well, it finally dropped; the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival line-up for 2014 was made available Wednesday night, and like every year, for some people it was a hit, and for some it was a miss. Personally, for me the line-up falls in the middle of the two. There’s some stuff on there that I’m really excited to see (umm, Neutral Milk Hotel!! The Knife!!) and some that leave me confused more than anything (Trombone Shorty?! AFI?!) Of course, like any line-up, it all starts with the headliners.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my money was on the headliners being Nine Inch Nails, Daft Punk, and Arcade Fire. I came to this decision, because all three had released albums last year, and I had heard some info, beforehand, about them performing. Also, to me, it made more sense to have these three headline than to have Muse (who last put out an album two years ago) and Outkast (whose last album was released nine years ago) headline. That isn’t to say that I don’t understand the booking of Outkast, because I do. It’s a reunion, and Coachella is all about getting those big reunions (i.e. Pavement in 2010, Dre and Snoop in 2012, At The Drive-In in 2012, Stone Roses in 2013, etc) So I get that. But, Muse, I don’t get. I thought they were great in 2010 when I saw them, but would I have rather seen them on the line-up again, or NIN or Daft Punk? NIN or Daft Punk, for sure. Of course, the Daft Punk rumors do not stop even after their name isn’t on the official line-up. The new rumor circulating is that, the only reason Pharrell Williams is on the line-up at such a high level is because Daft Punk are going to be a late “surprise” add, and that’s why he is there. I, after them not appearing on the line-up for two consecutive years after assurances from people in the know, don’t believe any of it any more.

That said, this years undercard, like that of last year, is a good one. Out of the 20 bands that I mentioned in the aforementioned previous post, I came out 50/50. Ten of them were on the line-up; AlunaGeorge, Chvrches, HAIM, Holy Ghost!, Jagwar Ma, The Knife, Lorde, Naked and Famous, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Washed Out. And the others, well, were not. Of course, I’m not entirely bummed about that, because there’s some stuff of note on there: The Replacements reunion, Nas, Motorhead (should be interesting), Little Dragon, Fatboy Slim, ZZ Ward, Mogwai, DARKSIDE, Disclosure (whom I missed last year), and James Vincent McMorrow, to name a few. All in all, it looks like it will be another jam packed weekend.

Of course there are some names on there that I just don’t get, and will more than likely pass on. AFI–I like those guys, I really do. I saw them at a KROQ Weenie Roast in 2001, or 2002, and they were fun. But, at Coachella? I don’t know. It seems like an odd choice. Than there’s Trombone Shorty, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Both Jazz artists. Don’t get me wrong, I like Jazz. I do. Coltrane’s Giant Steps is one of my favorite records of all time. I just don’t picture Jazz when I think of Coachella. Yes, Coachella was known for being a very eclectic festival in its origins. But let’s be real. The Coachella of yore, to the Coachella of the present is an entirely different animal. Its line-up, and its genres of choice, are more pronounced now than they were before. You know what you’re getting nowadays: some rock, some electronica, a few hip-hop artists, a couple of world music artists, and you’re done.

All that said, this year will mark my sixth, consecutive, attendance of Coachella. This detail might, and more than likely will seem insignificant to many a Coachella veteran out there, especially the ones who have weathered the fest since its inception—a hat tip to you dedicated few!—but to me, it’s a feat. It is. This sense of accomplishment can largely be surmised with the following: I hate the heat; as in anything above 75 degrees kind of heat. So the fact that I’ve been making the trip out to Indio—a desert, mind you—in the middle of April is a big deal. At least to yours truly it is. Now I’m sure that the previous couple of sentences have, more than likely, led to a bit of confusion in you my fair reader. Believe me, I can see how that would happen; why would someone that hates the heat go to a festival in the middle of a desert? Honestly, the answer is simple: the music.

Coachella, to me, is so much more than a music festival in the desert. It’s a gathering of like minded music-fans looking for that moment where nothing else matters, but what’s going on in front of you. That instance when that smile appears out of nowhere because your favorite song was just played. Or the feeling you get when you’ve just walked away from a performance that ended and left you wanting more. That sense of being at home in the folds of a throng of people as you all watch that band play right as the sun sets. All these are moments that I’ve experienced, and continue to experience year in and year out at Coachella. And to be honest, awesome line-up, or sub-par line-up, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because in the end, it’s all about the music, and (like the raver kid in me says) PLUR.

April can’t come soon enough.