Now that the dust has settled a bit, and the shock value won’t be as much of an influence, it is time to dissect the Coachella 2016 lineup. The lineup is not weak, by any means, but it does seem to lack Coachella’s conventional mainstream appeal. However, quirks are a special quality to have in today’s saturated festival market, so I reluctantly applaud AEG Live in this regard. Well, there’s no need to beat around the bush, let us delve right into the list.
1. Where is the top tier?
Not to throw shade on the likes of Sufjan Stevens, Foals, Sia, A$AP Rocky, and Miike Snow, but what are they doing on the line directly under the headliner? Yes, they are all talented artists, but one wouldn’t think to see them on the second line of a massive festival such as Coachella. Take a look back at 2015. Friday’s second line contained Tame Impala, Interpol, Steely Dan, Alesso, Alabama Shakes, Ride, and Nero. Saturday’s was comprised of The Weeknd, Axwell & Ingrosso, alt-J, Belle & Sebastian, Ratatat, and Hozier. And the second line on Sunday included Florence + The Machine, Kaskade, Ryan Adams, David Guetta, and St. Vincent. Maybe the top-tier/not ready to be headliner pool was thinner this year. Again, the previously mentioned 2016 artists are still impressive gets, and while their names may not be as big as what Coachella presented in 2015 they are more intriguing.
2. Rap is done justice
This is an instance in which Coachella truly stepped up their game from last year. Festival goers this April will have the chance to see Run The Jewels, Ice Cube, A$AP Rocky, Vince Staples, BADBADNOTGOOD, Rae Sremmurd, Joey Bada$$, and G-Eazy represent their respective genre. On an rather interesting note, this is the second year in a row Coachella has booked Run The Jewels.
Yes, Guns N’ Roses will be performing with their original lineup. And of course, there is the end of LCD Soundsystem’s five year hiatus. But it feels as though no one is talking about Lush. Ever since drummer Chris Acland’s suicide in 1996 the group has not performed live together. If you are unfamiliar with the Brit pop band, make sure you do your homework before Saturday, April 16.
4. The Last Shadow Puppets
They are just the side project of Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) and Miles Kane, but TLSP seem to be billed quite low (Friday third line) given the amount of hype and anticipation surrounding their upcoming second album. Also, are they going to be on the festival circuit this summer? Both Turner and Kane are currently residing in Los Angeles, so Coachella logically makes sense. As well as Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds, given both artists British roots. If The Last Shadow Puppets do become more apparent across festival bills it will be fascinating to see where they are placed.
5. EDM is rising to the top, all the way to the top
There’s the Snails, DJ Mustard, and Tchamis sprinkled throughout the middle-to-low tiers, but take a glance at Coachella’s impressive dance music acts a tad higher up. M83, two forms of Diplo (Jack Ü and Major Lazer), 2manydjs, Disclosure, Zedd, RL Grime, ZHU, Flume, and The Chainsmokers. And of course, there is the Sunday night headliner, Calvin Harris. It was honestly very surprising to not see him co-headlining, and with all of the concern regarding whether or not he is worthy of this slot Harris better bring something completely different than his usual festival set. Maybe he’ll disprove critics and put on a Daft Punk circa 2006-level set. That is an unreasonable request, but I believe it is safe to assume that there will be a great deal of special guests throughout the performance.
Right below the Sunday lineup you may have noticed Coachella added, “DESPACIO All Weekend Long”. Despacio is an 11-foot disco soundsystem created by LCD Soundsystem frontman, James Murphy, and the Dewaele brothers (2manydjs and Soulwax) that operates exclusively with vinyl. The intention of the Despacio is to put all of the emphasis on the partygoer’s experience, rather than the actual DJ. You can watch Murphy and 2manydjs discuss Despacio in detail here. I’m compelled to see how Coachella utilizes this technology, and whether or not it will follow LCD Soundsystem throughout the rest of their planned festival appearances.
7. The bottom-tier is strong
Most noteworthy, Young Fathers, recipients of the 2014 Mercury Prize for their debut album Dead. The Scottish hip hop group is billed on the second to last line on Sunday. So, perhaps their popularity hasn’t transitioned whatsoever into the states. Be prepared to read all about how Young Fathers stole Coachella come April 18. On the same day as Young Fathers is Meg Myers, the Tennessee based singer-songwriter whose debut album, Sorry, was released just this past year. Expect a soulful early day set from this rookie. Other significant bottom-tier acts include Girlpool, Miami Horror, DMA’s, AC Slater, and The Heavy.
Relive Coachella 2015 with the festival’s recap video below: