There’s a lot of bands we are excited to see, but we came up with a select assortment spanning the spectrum of genres (and decades). While you will notice Thom Yorke and Muse are missing from our list, that doesn’t mean we don’t endorse them. Au contraire, we do and we know everyone wants the bragging rights to make Facebook updates like “Thom Yorke killed it,” so we just skipped to other folks.
The Avett Brothers (3:20 Outdoor Theatre)
Something magical happened on I and Love and You and it has to do with honesty and the earnest delivery on this 2009 album. Scott Avett wields a banjo and his brother, Seth, the guitar to make damn great folk/rock songs that only a band from the South (North Carolina is home) could deliver. With a majority of their success due to their grassroots trailblazing, their set will have incredible raw energy. - Areti Sakellaris
YEASAYER (4:20 Mojave Tent)
With the daily deluge of new indie rock cascading down the internet pipeline every day, it’s hard to sort the heroes from the hype. Yeasayer are definitely the latter, with a sound that never veers to kitchy in a scene where artifice often obscures the art of a good song played with some fresh ideas. - Joshua Glazer
The Specials (6:20 Coachella Stage)
You can tell your folks you did something educational while you were in the desert—and you can have a rip-roarin’ good time doing it! This will be a big show just as the band celebrated their 30th anniversary and ska bands tend to bring out the wild ones. Whether you know all their songs, a few hits (“A Message to Rudy” and “Too Young”) or never heard of ‘em before, their infectious songs will have you singing along. - AS
Gil Scott-Heron (6:55 Gobi Tent)
This living, breathing, proto-rap legend brought jazz, blues and soul music together in the 1970s, providing inspiration for hip-hop artists who drooled over his melismatic techniques. Count up how many rap songs reference the B-side from his first record, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Heron’s work for black activism includes getting Martin Luther King, Jr. a holiday, which he helped achieve with Stevie Wonder in 1980! - Daiana Feuer
Imogen Heap (9:20 Mojave Tent)
Imogen Heap may be an award winning multi-instrumentalist, but she can kick a goosebump-inducing jam using just her voice and a few echoes. But she won’t stop there. Imogen Heap will play the cup and other surprise inanimate objects, as well as several contact mics cleverly located on her body. She’s got a witchy vibe and big hair, but you’ll be swept up on her broomstick when she cues up her custom perspex piano. - DF
Jay-Z (10:50 Coachella Stage)
He’s a legend for a reason and only a fool would miss the opportunity to see him in action. The man tried to teach Oprah how to get her flow on, but really, we’d all prefer his freestyles, but he is at his most accessible. While you never know if some Roc Nation upstarts will surprise us, we can count on Hov to lay down the classics. - AS
Fever Ray (11:10 Mojave Tent)
When The Knife’s Karin Dreijer-Andersson introduced her side-project, Fever Ray, last year, people sunk their spooky dreams right into this music’s dark, scintillating pillow. Andersson’s stage show is designed by Andreas Nilsson, the same fellow who created The Knife’s dynamic performance. Expect a masked, costumed blonde with a full band, lights playing tricks, laser and fog spookiness, and the sacrifice of a young virgin. That last part’s up to the audience. - DF
Public Image Limited (11:20 Outdoor Theatre)
With last week’s passing of Sex Pistols Svengali Malcome McLaren, former Pistol John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) no doubt got a little boost in awareness, which, while possibly cynical, is still well earned. Lydon’s post-Pistols project is more influential than infamous, but as a performer, he’s second to none. - JG
Wale (2:35 Coachella Stage)
Hip-hop and Coachella have always had a bit of an awkward courtship. While early fests boasted the cream of the thriving local scene, the subsequent faltering of underground hip-hop limited the subsequent selection to the worthy, if typical, cavalcade of Midwest emo-rappers and the occasional Kanye West or Black Star event. Wale avoids any of these easy categories with a style that avoids any category—street, indie, throwback, skittle rap. Sometimes good music doesn’t need a name. - JG
Day aka DJ Day – VQ
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