Did anyone else have this reaction to the Coachella lineup reveal?
I sat, a bit dumbfounded for a moment, staring at this wacky list of names. I get the Guns n Roses thing. I really do. I don’t agree with it, but I understand it. People love seeing the bands that they saw when they were young. It’s the only explanation for the career of KISS beyond the early 80’s. And for Slash and Duff I mean, would YOU turn down the biggest paycheck you could possibly receive. Axl will be a dick and they’ll break up again after festival season, but hey you got to see a bunch of 50-something dudes rekindle their faded glory for a couple hours.
LCD Soundsystem I’m a little less sure of. It makes sense that they would headline a festival upon reuniting, but I never thought it would be this soon. Pretty pleased to see the backlash against them, but that will fade and then they’ll do a bunch of sold out shows after Coachella and the fans will excitedly buy a new album that isn’t nearly as good as the previous ones, but whatever. That part I still kind of comprehend.
My problem comes just under LCD’ headlining slot. The second name appearing on the Friday evening is Ellie Goulding. Ellie Goulding? Ellie Goulding, the British singer??? Right. So how much money is James Murphy getting? I mean, I’m not privy to the accounting of the festival organizers, but I’m sure there had to be some shoulder shrugs when they said “Well who else can we get for Friday after blowing X on these guys?” An intern pouring coffee probably just nervously muttered “Ellie Goulding is pretty good…” and then they called her manager.
As baffling as that is, the name after Ellie Goulding is Sufjan Stevens. Now, personally not a fan but that’s not really my issue. You’re in the desert in April. It’s hot. People on ecstasy keep rubbing your back. Is Carrie & Lowell the kind of music you want to stand there and listen to? At least with Jack Ü and M83 you might be able to dance a bit.
The pre-Guns lineup makes a lot more sense. Disclosure, Chvrches, Ice Cube, A$AP Rocky…stuff that’ll keep the crowd going. Then there’s James Bay, who is fine, but he seems way too high on the list. Above acts like Run The Jewels, Grimes, and Courtney Barnett. Same goes for Halsey, who seems to have put a spell on some younger listeners despite being terrible as far as I can tell.
Calvin Harris headlines Sunday, playing the Killers at Lollapalooza role (old steady Calvin Harris, we know he’ll deliver). Perhaps the Goulding booking was in part a way to get Harris for a smaller price-they’ve worked together so perhaps C3 thought he’d be happy to be there with her (sorry, still trying to justify this thing). If you’re into that kind of music, Calvin Harris is pretty good. The day seems to be built more around the headliner with Flume, Major Lazer, and Miike Snow on the undercard.
This lineup doesn’t bode well for the rest of festival season. If these are the bands headlining it might be time to check out for a year. Is it worth paying $300 or more to see these bands? $300 plus getting there, plus eating and other expenses? Maybe. If you’re a big Ellie Goulding fan.