The gates open at 11:00am tomorrow in Indio, California for the twelfth incarnation of the Coachella Festival, and for the lucky few (hundred thousand) with wristbands (and the jealous/curious rest of us), the festival has posted set times for this weekend’s jam-packed lineup. There’s at least one performer worth seeing at any given time (especially for fans of British rock, pop, and dance), so if you’re going, definitely try to check out at least one band you haven’t heard before. (For relatively early risers, may we recommend The Joy Formidable at 12:55PM on Saturday at the Gobi Stage?)
The real challenge, then, is when two or more great artists play at the same time on different stages. The schedule is pretty well-scheduled, but we’ve identified five particularly tough choices:
FRIDAY: Kings of Leon vs. Robyn: Kings of Leon’s hometown Storytellers taping was heartfelt but powerful, and the riffs on Come Around Sundown are just as catchy as (if slightly less ubiquitous than) the band’s Only by the Night singles. Robyn, meanwhile, is a bonafide superstar in Europe who with this year’s critically-acclaimed Body Talk has for the second time nearly achieved the American pop breakthrough she had once, in 1997. The Swedish electro-pop songwriter puts not just her heart but her whole body into her emotive vocal performances.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Erykah Badu vs. Two Door Cinema Club: We do love the boys in Two Door Cinema Club. They’re You Oughta Know artists whose single “What You Know” is sitting in the top half of the Top 20 Countdown—plus they’ll be in Europe all summer, which decreases the opportunity of seeing them elsewhere. At the same time, the soulful (not to mention hilarious and outspoken) Ms. Badu has a long track record as a phenomenal live performer, and is likely to play less often, and in larger venues, in the future. Plus, who knows if she has something special planned for the festival?
SATURDAY EVENING: Mumford & Sons vs The Kills Mumford & Sons just came back to America for the first time since the Grammys (taping an appearance on VH1 Unplugged just yesterday) and will be playing the Coachella mainstage between Bright Eyes and Animal Collective—but judging from their past live performances, the You Oughta Know band will definitely hold their own. At the same time, art-rock duo The Kills are probably itching to play songs off their new record Blood Pressures now that Alison Mosshart is no longer on the road with Jack White as a member of Dead Weather (who played last year’s Coachella) and will certainly be tearing it up, too.
SATURDAY NIGHT: Arcade Fire vs. Scissor Sisters vs. Suede This one’s a tough choice, yes, but a simple distinction—Grammy Album of the Year-winning Montreal indie rockers Arcade Fire, firebrand dance-pop show-stealers (and Kylie Minogue co-songwriters) Scissor Sisters, or reunited ur-Britpop legends Suede (making their first American appearance in fourteen years)?
SUNDAY: Duran Duran vs. The National: Duran Duran just released All You Need Is Now, the best Duran Duran record in almost two decades, and even if they hadn’t, they’re still Duran Duran. Meanwhile, slow-burning indie rock up-and-comers The National are renowned for their killer live performances, and their fans include Mumford & Sons, who covered the band for their aforementioned upcoming Unplugged set.
Which bands would you choose to see? Are there any other tough choices you see in the schedule? Let us know in the comments!