The 2010 festival season is officially underway, as the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (which will be held in the usual place in Indio, California on April 16, 17 and 18) now has an official lineup. Jay-Z, Muse, Pavement, Gorillaz, Faith No More and Vampire Weekend lead the way at the top of the pile, but there are also plenty of up-and-comers who will be worth spending time with in the desert heat (you should already schedule time to see Beach House play their new songs on Saturday).
Since no lineup is perfect, let’s take a look at the five bands we’re most looking forward to, along with the five bands that make us go “Huh?”
Them Crooked Vultures: They’re perhaps the best live band working right now, and Josh Homme songs always sound better when you’re a little bit dehydrated.
Public Image Limited: We sort of forgot Johnny Rotten got his other band back together, but we’re glad that they’ll be back to play classic tunes like “Swan Lake.”
Passion Pit: One of the best breakout bands of last year always puts on jaw-dropping live sets. Consider their set on Friday night the real, true start of the festival.
De La Soul: The witty hip-hoppers have always been one of the best live acts around, and hopefully they’ll bust out tracks from Are You In?, their mix album for Nike that dropped last year.
Sly and the Family Stone: They’ll probably play “Underdog,” which means the weekend will be worth it.
Echo and the Bunnymen: Ocean Rain remains an incredible album, but it seems like Echo stands in for the always-coveted, never-signed reunion of the Smiths.
Gorillaz: The new album by Damon Albarn’s cartoon band should be great, but they’re the top-billed band on the closing night, which seems like a strange choice that will almost certainly be anti-climatic by the time the set rolls around.
Les Claypool: If this was a Primus set, it would be totally fine, because Sailing the Seas of Cheese still rules. But left to his own devices (and his copious side projects), Claypool will just be telling jokes with his slap bass for an hour, and that can be extra oppressive in the desert heat.
Tiësto: Dance music has always been a key part of the Coachella lineup, and this year’s is really heavy on dance acts (like LCD Soundsystem, Orbital, Talvin Singh and 2ManyDJs). But billing Tiësto as high as he is strikes us as a little bit odd. Didn’t he peak years ago? (Then again, the same could certainly be said for most of the nostalgia acts on the bill.)
Julian Casablancas: It isn’t so much that he’s not good (his solo shows have in fact been exceptional), but the Strokes are getting back together for a festival in the U.K. later in the summer. They couldn’t do a warm-up in the desert?
What do you think? Who are your favorite acts at Coachella, and who should have been left behind? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us @mtvnews.