by William Newhart ’19
The 2016 Coachella lineup was released on Jan. 6 to an overall positive response. The festival, as usual, has a lineup filled with impressive names big and small, so it is best to compare it to lineups of recent years.
This year’s headliners are slightly disappointing compared to last year’s headliners: Australian hard-rock band AC/DC, garage-rock revivalist Jack White and rapper/singer Drake.
This year’s headliners are another hard-rock band, Guns ‘N Roses, newly reunited dance-punk group LCD Soundsystem and the festival’s first DJ headliner Calvin Harris. Firstly, while I am not a fan of Harris’ work, having a DJ or EDM act headline is a step in the right direction for the festival, as pop acts will pack in a bigger audience. LCD Soundsystem has headlined before, but their name likely doesn’t mean much to the 20-somethings which make up most of the festival’s attendees. As for Guns ‘N Roses, they likely won’t show as much energy as AC/DC showed on the main stage last year.
The second-line acts are crowd-pleasing, as they are comprised of many popular EDM acts such as Jack Ü and Flume, with rappers Ice Cube and A$AP Rocky on the bill as well. The group is rounded out by quieter acts like the folky Sufjan Stevens and alt. radio regular James Bay.
The festival was originally conceived with an emphasis on indie rock. This lineup stays true to this as well. Garage-rockers The Kills, the rambling Courtney Barnett and blues-rock act Gary Clark Jr. prove wonderful additions to the lineup.
As for the quirkier, more out-of-the norm acts, this year has plenty of them. The unpredictable experimental hip hop trio Death Grips, who are notorious for being no-shows at gigs, will prove a great, if not exactly quiet addition to this year’s festival. Electronic artist Grimes will also play. Her unique style combines elements of anything from K-pop to medieval music. To Pimp A Butterfly (the 2015 Kendrick Lamar album) saxophonist Kamasi Washington will also make an appearance, a jazz musician who will have to find a way to appeal to festival-goers.
Additionally, synthpop bands CHVRCHES, Purity Ring and AlunaGeorge are bands I would recommend seeing. Rap fans should also check out alternative hip hop duo Run the Jewels, Long-Beach native Vince Staples and southern hip hop duo Rae Sremmurd. Noteworthy producers making appearances include TNGHT member Hudson Mohawke, “Harlem Shake” creator Bauuer and the seemingly inescapable on mainstream hip hop radio DJ Mustard.
Coachella 2016, as usual, will have many different genres and styles. This year specifically furthers the festival’s venture into pop territory and, as a result, should have an even bigger turnout.