Thursday, January 12, 2012

Down & Dirty in the Desert: Musings on the 2012 Coachella Lineup

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Its time to see which musical acts will entertain throngs of sweaty hippies in the California desert this spring.

That's right annual rite of passage took place this week via the Goldenvoice concert promotions group: The announcement of the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival Lineup.

A good thing about this festival is that it gives you a pretty strong idea of the bands that'll be playing on the circuit throughout the year, so even it you can't make it to Cali, you'll probably catch some of these acts at a closer, more accessible fest near you.

Looks like they're mixing things up this year by spreading Coachella over two consecutive weekends: April 13th to 15th, and 20th to 22nd.

Goldenvoice's head honcho, Paul Tollett, shares the reason for the back-to-back weekend approach:

(from Boston Globe):
"The thought of this selling out super quick, and the only people who get to go are the people who bought the first minute or bought tickets for more than they sold for, that didn’t seem great to us.  We didn’t want to go with more people and ruin the experience. We can’t add a midnight show, and we didn’t want to add another city or raise the ticket price. So we decided to add another weekend."

Here's the lineup:

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As far as headliners are concerned, I'm definitely down with Radiohead's inclusion. They've been working hard perfecting songs from their latest release The King of Limbs, and this festival appearance fits nicely with the other North America dates they announced last November.

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg should totally rock their set, performing at a landmark festival in their home state. I've never seen Dre perform, but I saw Snoop a few years back at Osheaga and he definitely has a charismatic stage presence.

I love the Black Keys, but man, enough already with the festival appearances!  Just seems like every year since '07, they've played the majors:  Lolla, Bonnaroo, Osheaga, etc.  I just get tired of seeing them listed all the time.  But if they can prove their worth and rock the place, then more power to them.

Happy to see the At The Drive In reunion as well.  Almost annually there seems to be a band that reunites and plays the festival circuit.  Last year it was Death From Above, so this year ATDI will take a stab at it after an 11 year breakup.

Pulp are back at it too.  Looks like this will be one of a few shows they'll be doing in 2012 as they return from an extended hiatus.

Can some please tell me what or who Swedish House Mafia is????

As for the "mid-tier" acts on this lineup, undoubtedly the Frank Ocean and The Weeknd sets will be extremely hyped.  Both artists had breakthrough years in 2011, so fans anxiously await if both artists can take things to the next level with highly anticipated albums and bigger live performances.

I haven't heard much of her music, but Azealia Banks is positioned as an "artist to watch" this year, so her inclusion in the lineup will give her a chance to strut her stuff.

2011 was definitely the Year of the Mixtape, and many underground hip hop artists that spearheaded that scene will represent at Coachella, including Death Grips, Kendrick Lamar, and A$AP Rocky.

The Dubstep scene also flourished last year, becoming a dance music genre of choice for many, so the return of dj/producer SBTRKT is a no-brainer, and his set will be a big, big draw.

And don't be surprised if Thom Yorke joins Flying Lotus on stage during at least one of his Saturday performances.  FlyLo has enjoyed a close relationship with Yorke in recent years, and his musical influence can be heard all over Radiohead's latest record.

So desert people, get ready!  This year's Coachella lineup is once again set to deliver, and will kick off what should be another stellar summer festival season.



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