By Zack Swickey
The schedule for this weekend’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has at last been revealed, and in typical music-fest fashion, it is forcing fans to make heart-wrenching decisions. Anyone that has ventured to a major music festival, especially one of Coachella’s magnitude, knows that they will inevitably have to choose between, not one or two, but up to four or five of the newest wave of indie bands and veteran acts playing simultaneously.
Friday is going to be hardest day for the music elitists sweating in the California sun. If you want to check out the latest rap crew the music world is buzzing about, Odd Future, you will have to sacrifice seeing foul-mouthed Cee Lo and art-rock outfit Warpaint. And what would make a wicked indie-rock bill on its own is instead a touch dilemma: Noise-rock duo Sleigh Bells perform at the same time as vets Interpol and Cold War Kids. Fans of the Killers have the choice to see Brandon Flowers solo, or they can check out the finest of blues rock: the Black Keys. If you want to forgo main-stage favorites Kings of Leon, you can treat yourself to frenetic, electronic rock duo Crystal Castles. Beer guzzlers will most likely watch Flogging Molly close Friday night, while the more, shall we say, “experimental” fans will flock to see legendary electronic outfit the Chemical Brothers.
Thankfully, Saturday and Sunday are much lighter on conflicts. On Saturday, depending on how much you like your ears ringing, you are tasked with the following option: the folk charm of Mumford and Sons or the seldom-seen dirty, synth-rock of One Day as a Lion, which features Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha and ex-Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore. Animal Collective battle it out with the Swell Season. Unless you’re a big fan of the DJ scene or a disco-loving Scissor Sisters die-hard, you will check Arcade Fire closing things down on Saturday.
Sunday has a lot of solid acts lined up, but the set times are better laid out (at least for my own musical palate). Rap’s latest superstar, Wiz Khalifa, and folk outfit City & Colour may not seem like two acts that will divide fans, but the choice would be tough for me. Iconic new-wave band Duran Duran face-off with recent MTV Woodies nominees the National at a surprisingly early time. The Strokes, Chromeo and Ratatat probably have a whole lot of fans in common who will be scurrying between stages, but they’ll likely all come together at last when none other than Kanye West closes out the festival. If you were lucky enough to grab a ticket to the sold-out festival, good luck planning this all out. And come back this weekend for reports on which shows MTV News chose to check out at Coachella.