Thursday, January 27, 2011

Coachella 2011 - The Setup

Originally published by PopMatters on January 19, 2011

Weeks of wondering, of lollygagging around the dark recesses and official enclaves of the music-lovin’ world wild web ended in a heartbeat late Tuesday night with the official for real honest to gosh Coachella 2011 lineup announcement. In a flash, all the anticipation and faith in whatever rumors best suited one’s own particular hopes and dreams began the overwhelming task of trying to immediately process actual information.

As it has been pretty much with each of the past several chapters in the Coachella annals, the immediate response generally fell into one of three areas…

- Whatever. I was going no matter what.
- Worst. Coachella. Ever.

The headliners, from Friday to Sunday: Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Kanye West. The Strokes are also on Sunday’s top line, so maybe they’re co-headlining. Or maybe they’ll team with Kanye in some unholy mash-up like that cruddy Converse ad Julian Casablancas got roped into a few years ago. Or maybe…

The “maybes” are few and far between now, though they certainly exist, especially with memories of Prince’s 2008 set that wasn’t even announced until weeks after the first draft of the lineup dropped. This year’s pleasegoldenvoiceletusreceivemoremoreMORE acts will probably come in the form of everyone from Daft Punk to the Rolling Stones, but truth be told, there’s a lot to be stoked about with what we’ve already got.

Yes, Kings of Leon appear to be something of a controversial choice among the discerning Coachella faithful, but there’s certainly no denying they’ve steered their careers successfully into the festival headlining domain. Arcade Fire has also followed a similar trajectory, though they’ve done so with fewer accusations of having “sold out.” As for Kanye West, like him or not (and I emphatically like him quite a lot), at the very least it’ll be worth sticking around to see if he flouts the community’s midnight noise ordinance.

The undercard is also pretty rock solid, which is also how the “Worst. Coachella. Ever.” crowd eventually finds themselves making peace with going to the festival anyway.

Some of the highlights to keep an eye on…

- Ms. Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu each released two of the finest solo debuts of the past 20 years: Who will out-enigmatic the other?

- Will Ana Matronic stick around after her set with Scissor Sisters on Saturday to perform her sweet vocals from “Safe (In the Heat of the Moment)” with Duran Duran on Sunday?

- Will Death From Above 1979 remember why they broke up in the first place and kick each other’s asses mid-set?

- Will Elbow take their relatively small font size on the poster as a challenge and leave everyone within earshot absolutely breathless?

- Will Cee Lo Green remember the words to “Fuck You”?

The waiting is over. Well, the waiting for the lineup. Now, the nearly three months of waiting for Coachella to actually happen can truly begin.