Monday, January 21, 2008

Initial Reactions to the Coachella Lineup

So, by now you've probably heard the official lineup for the 2008 Coachella Music & Arts Festival was announced. There are plenty of surprises (Jack Johnson deserves top billing on Friday?) and disappointments (no My Bloody Valentine makes my heart sad), but from top to bottom Goldenvoice did a stellar job putting everything together.

While the top of the bill could use a little help, past history indicates that this isn't the final incarnation of the lineup. With the exception of last year, there are always new additions to the headliners and sub-headliners made after the initial announcement of the lineup. So, I am going to withhold harsh judgement until at least two months have passed. With that said, I do have some thoughts about the headliners.

First off, Roger Waters performing Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety is going to be freaking awesome. It  may not sound that impressive on paper (what? Paul Tollet's pockets weren't deep enough to get David Gilmore and Rick Wright on board?), but you really need to picture this in the context of the massive visual spectacle that accompanies the music. Secondly, Roger Waters had more to do with the brilliance of Pink Floyd's career than anyone else, so if he wants to put his own band together (many of the players have played with him and Pink Floyd for years) to present his vision of the album, then we should all embrace it with open arms. Many people may be unhappy that Radiohead wasn't on the bill, but give Goldenvoice some credit for giving the Coachella audience a dose of nostalgia that most of us weren't old enough to see the first time around. Many of us can finally gain a glimpse of why the Pink Floyd live experience took on a life of mythical proportions.

I am also doing dances in my head after seeing Kraftwerk and Portishead sitting at the top of the bill. Kraftwerk was one of the more memorable acts of the 2006 festival and now that I know what to expect I will make it a priority to be their for their entire set. As for Portishead, the fans have been calling for this reunion for several years and we are happy that the festival organizers finally rewarded us with their first US performance in over 10 years. If their All Tomorrow's Parties set last month is any indication, they haven't missed a beat.

As for the rest of it, there is plenty to get excited about. Remember, the headliners get you in the door, but it is often the bands playing on the smaller stages that give you the best memories. I won't get into talking about all of them, but some of the highlights should be Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Hot Chip, M.I.A., Stephen Malkmus, Cafe Tacuba, The National, Vampire Weekend, Carbon/Silicon, and Holy Fuck. There are many more I left out, so checkout the whole lineup to see for yourself.

You can also bet that I will be talking a ton about Coachella in the coming weeks and months. Keep checking back to learn more about some of the lesser known acts and more developments as they happen.

*Photo courtesy of flickr user aaaronm

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