Now that the dust has settled and there has been some time to digest this year's Coachella lineup we can dive into the aspects that make this year's lineup stand out among the competition. While one of the main topics that people are discussing is the lack of a rock headliner we’ve seen practically every band on that level that is touring currently in previous years. This year Coachella decided to give us something different, something new and exciting that would get people talking. The picks for the upper lines of the lineup this year lean heavier towards genres that haven’t been as well represented in previous years.
My first takeaway from first looking at this lineup is the number of acts that are on the funkier side of the musical spectrum.
This British group has been blending elements of funk and jazz since the 90s and have become an incredibly popular act overseas. Last year they released their eighth album Automation and began to tour again. After they weren’t on last year's lineup I was convinced that the group wouldn’t make it to the States ever again as they were doing just fine in other parts of the world. This late night set will certainly bring the vibes as Jay Kay dons some strange headwear and commands attention to the stage.
The Talking Heads have been a white whale of Coachella’s for years but at this point it doesn’t look like that reunion is ever going to happen. For this year they got the next best thing, the bands eccentric lead singer will perform his own solo set. We’re not quite sure what to expect from this set as he doesn’t perform very often. The performance could be full of new solo material, he could dive into some of the Talking Heads greatest hits, he could possibly even bring out St Vincent to perform some cuts off of their collaborative album. Whatever happens during this set it will be a unique experience.
Nile Rodgers & CHIC
We couldn’t discuss the funk on this lineup without mentioning this iconic act. The name Nile Rodgers popped back onto everyone’s radar back when he was featured on Daft Punk’s single Get Lucky. His groovy guitar licks will accompany CHIC as they take us on a journey back in time to when this style of music was at the forefront. Classic songs such as Le Freak and Good Times will be sure to have everyone in attendance moving.
Some other acts that will definitely bring some funky vibes to the polo fields are Chromeo, Jungle, and Motor City Drum Ensemble.
Coachella always has some incredible electronic acts to offset some of the big EDM djs and this year is no different. While they could’ve thrown money at Deadmau5 to perform a sunset main stage set they went in a little different direction and brought some interesting acts to the lineup.
In 2016 the Dewaele brothers destroyed the Sahara tent as 2manydjs as well as spinning vinyl all weekend alongside LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy in the Despacio tent. This year they are back playing a live set as Soulwax. The legendary group has remixed songs by Daft Punk, Justice, Gorillaz, LCD, Tame Impala and many more. This group doesn’t perform very often and when they do go on tour they rarely make it to the US. If you want to dance along to some guys twisting knobs on their analog synthesizers this is the set to see.
This year Jean-Michel Jarre will take us on a journey through his vast electronic soundscapes. He has been a pioneer for ambient electronic music since the 70s and this performance will showcase music from throughout his career. Every year Coachella has a couple of extremely rare sets and this will be one not to miss.
John Talabot and Axel Boman have joined forces with a new project named Talaboman. Last year they released an album “The Nights Land” which was a really different direction from the music that either had come out with on their own. Instead of dance floor house jams we got slowly evolving compositions that pushed the boundaries of what they are capable of as producers. Their performance at last years FYF Fest blew us away and we are ready to see where they take us this time around.
Some other electronic acts you should check out would be Maceo Plex, Avalon Emerson, Bedouin, The Black Madonna, and Barclay Crenshaw.
There are so many good artists deeper into this lineup that don’t fit into the above categories that would be worth checking out as they might just put on some of the best shows of the weekend.
BROCKHAMPTON – Wonky beats and flow like butter make this the best rap group around
Alvvays & Japanese Breakfast – The two bands at the forefront of the dream pop scene at the moment
King Krule - English alt rocker who is paving a very distinct grungy path in indie rock
Snail Mail – Seventeen year old who is writing impressively good lo fi indie rock
Yaeji – Elements of hip hop and house music blended with Korean and English vocals make this one of the most intriguing acts on the lineup
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