Words + Photo by Ken Grand-Pierre
Once again ‘that’ line-up has been announced. Coachella’s line-up always sets the Internet ablaze after it’s finally released – music fans run around like frantic schoolkids who’ve seen Indiana Jones for the first time, while banks wonder why the majority of their clients now have severe overdraft fees. Throughout the years, Coachella has proven time and time again that it knows how to deliver a fantastic festival-going experience.
The meat of that experience doesn’t solely lie with the headliners, but rather the lower-tier acts, where true gems can always be found. We go to festivals not to wait on beer lines and witness arena level acts in a crowded field; we go to festivals to find our new favorite bands (that we’ll proceed to bother our friends/co-workers/family members about for months).
See our top picks for the acts you shouldn’t miss at Coachella 2015, and check out the video playlist below…
Honorable mention: The Cribs
Smacked right at the bottom of the line-up is one of the best live acts in the world. Tall order? Possibly, but a short browse on YouTube will swiftly confirm this opinion as fact. The Cribs are one of the hardest working bands in the scene, and when you see them live that all shows in such a massive way. But their greatest strength is that they don’t allow that to weigh them down, they don’t let expectations to define them. They go on stage and have the time of their lives in a purely genuine way. Their set at Coachella will be a loud, strong, and passionate affair. Mosh pits and frantic jumping will definitely be making an appearance at Coachella this year.
10. Gorgon City
If you’ve been to a nightclub in the last two years, then you’ve heard a track by Gorgon City, and probably didn’t even realize it. The London based duo released one of the best electronic albums of the year with their debut, Sirens, and with it they’ve championed the melding of beautiful vocals and foot-stomping dance tracks onto the world stage like their peers Disclosure and Rudimental. If you found yourself frowning over the lack of Disclosure on the Coachella line-up, then look no further; Gorgon City will swiftly fill that void for you.
Yep, that Kele. After releasing a stellar album with Bloc Party, frontman Kele Okereke decided to continue his experiments with electronic music by crafting a new album titled, Trick. The album showcases why we love Kele, while also surprising us in every turn. It’s an album made for dancing, driving late at night, lying on your bedroom floor with headphones, and quite frankly: anywhere you can listen to music. The live show that’s accompanied the album has featured Kele delving into new territory, by having no band to back him at all. Some might fear for how that’ll work, but Kele has proven time and time again that he’s a pro at keeping your attention.
8. Ryn Weaver
Let’s face it: pop is no longer a dirty word. Pop music is normally hit-or-miss at music festivals, but when it hits it does so in a spectacular way. Ryn Weaver is a newcomer who doesn’t hold back how ambitious she is. Luckily for Ryn Weaver, she has the talent and the hooks on her tracks to turn some heads. Feel good pop music with some heartfelt tracks? Definitely one of the gems Coachella has to offer.
7. Saint Motel
Yes, this band is still going strong. They’ve held my interest since my college days (Class of 2010 baby) and have constantly worked hard towards amassing a dedicated fanbase, especially in California. This is the band you’ll definitely see if you’re staying with a local during Coachella, but luckily you won’t end up being annoyed by that. Saint Motel are a band that delves into a wide array of indie pop, soothing melodies, and Two Door-esque guitars. Go on, I dare you to go listen to them and not get hooked: it’s just not possible.
6. Glass Animals
Last year was a pure whirlwind for Oxford natives, Glass Animals. Their debut album, Zaba, wowed critics and fans alike, and with that the band has traversed the world with their ever evolving live show. They’re a group of perfectionists that still get lost in the hypnotic tones of their music. When you listen to Zaba it’s impossible not imagine those tracks soothing a festival crowd. Coachella will be a challenge for Glass Animals, but it’s a challenge they were born to fulfill.
Melodic folk music isn’t the usual genre you strive to experience at Coachella, but PHOX are here to change that. They’ve released one of the finest debut albums of 2014 and their live shows have proven to be a beautiful extension of that. Touring with acts like The Head and The Heart and Paolo Nutini have taught PHOX how to handle big rooms, and it’ll be fantastic to see how they handle festival crowds. Something tells me that they’ll be an act to remember for many festival goers.
4. St. Lucia
Dancing is an absolute must at a music festival, and no band incites more dancing than St. Lucia. They’re a hard working band that isn’t afraid to be different with their sonic output. The best part about them is how they’ve grown and excelled as a live band. When you’re at a St. Lucia show you can count on having a great time, and that quality of their live performances will easily translate well at Coachella. Don’t miss them.
3. Yellow Claw
They’re many who scoff at EDM shows, but the beauty in that is when it inspires an EDM act to do better. Dutch artists Yellow Claw are such an act. When it comes to their live shows, you can expect to experience something different and immensely fun. They’re talented DJ’s but they also know how to hype a crowd up, similar to how shows were back in the 80’s. You can feel their musical influences dripping off of them, with sounds like European house, soul, hip-hop, and much more. Rest assured; they’ll be making that tent in Coachella a grand place to be.
A beautiful thing to witness is an artist that refuses to compromise. In the world of art, that should be a given, but once in a while an artist will emerge (or in this instance: re-emerge) and remind us of how beautiful art can be. French musician Yelle has achieved this over and over, and her latest album Completement Fou has further pushed the envelope on Yelle’s musical style, and showcases how she’s evolved as an artist. Her new live show has won over crowds around the world, and all indicators leave us to believe that her set at Coachella will be truly remarkable.
Glastonbury headliners of 2014 and countless number 1 albums/singles throughout Europe. For many, those are the first things that come to mind when it comes to Kasabian. Yet, here in the states they’ve remained to be underdogs with a bit of a cult-like following. When it comes to the Coachella line-up, it’d be hard to pinpoint an act that has more to prove than Kasabian. Their live shows have been noted for being legendary affairs, and hopefully 2015 will be the year where the U.S. catches up with the rest of the world. If that happens, it’ll all be thanks to their performance at Coachella.
Coachella returns to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California this April…
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