Decision 2008: To Coachella or Not to Coachella?

That, my friends, is the question. Seeing as the lineup is fresh out of the oven, I thought I’d take a few moments to go over some of the bands with you, and discuss some talking points as to why you (and I) ought to seriously consider going to the desert this year.

I’ve never been to a proper festival before (HFStivals from the 90s don’t count, as they were a) one day, b) at RFK Stadium, and c) not usually all that good). The idea of spending time in a dusty, desert-ish polo field in some small town really hadn’t appealed to me before, at least not enough to make me consider going with any amount of certainty. Throw in a few dozen good bands and some booze, however, and I’m bound to be on various internet travel sites researching flights faster than you can say “Verve Reunion.” But let’s talk about who’s going to be there, day by day, and why you should care.


Not being a fan of his, I’m going to ignore the fact that Day 1 is being headlined by Jack Johnson. The rest of the day is choc-full of hot to trot music, of which the Verve is of the most import. It’s been an unfathomable ten years since they broke up, and I swoon at the idea of seeing Richard Ashcroft and Nick McCabe playing nice (onstage, at least) again. If you’ve never seen them live, you needn’t even finish reading this post, but should instead be buying your ticket to LA. Day 1 also features bigger names in the Raconteurs, Madness, and the National. Hipster favorites Animal Collective, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Stars, Minus the Bear, Rogue Wave, and Jens Lekman are also scheduled. And buzzed bands Vampire Weekend and the Black Lips will also be in attendance. All told, Day 1 has the potential to be pretty exciting.


Not to be outdone by Day 1, Day 2 has some tricks up its sleeve. Headlining duties fall with Portishead, whose miserable beauty I have wanted to see live for years. Also pulling rank on Day 2 are Kraftwerk and Death Cab for Cutie, who are both sure to get the great scenester hordes worked up to a lather. Other causes for enthusiasm include Rilo Kiley, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, M.I.A., Hot Chip, DeVotchKa, Mark Ronson, Islands, VHS or Beta, Bonde do Role, St. Vincent, Akron/Family, the Bird & the Bee, and New Young Pony Club. Some bands I’ve seen before and would love to see again (M.I.A., Hot Chip, Islands), and the others I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing for the first time. Plus, Mark Ronson is not only talented but also nice to look at, so bonus points for Day 2 for his appearance on the schedule.


The festival wraps up with another day full of good bands. Headlined by Roger Waters Dark Side of the Moon, the day features some pretty impressive talent. Love and Rockets and My Morning Jacket are a couple of the biggies, but for me the Biggest Deal of the day is Spiritualized. Perennial spacecake Jason Pierce was really ill a few years ago, and it’s nice to see him well enough to perform again (though there have been Spiritualized shows before this one). I’ve seen Jason and his revolving door of other band members several times now, and for the most part I haven’t been disappointed. Come for Spiritualized, but stick around for Justice, the Streets, Metric, Simian Mobile Disco, Dimitri from Paris, Autolux, Les Savy Fav, Sons & Daughters, Holy Fuck, Sia, Black Mountain, Man Man, and my favorite Swedes, the Shout Out Louds.

While it’s not quite a dynamite lineup across the board, the folks at Coachella have done a good job putting together a pretty diverse group of artists that should make the 2008 festival pretty enjoyable. Some bands are kind of predictable, but getting some Big Brits like the Verve, Portishead, and Spiritualized might get a bunch of folks (including me) thinking about getting out the suncreen and flying to the warm climes of Southern California. Head over to the Coachella site for the full lineup, and helpful hints about all things Coachella.


  1. Don't forget that Goldenvoice also just announced that their "Coachella East" festival, All Points West, for an August weekend up in the Garden State.

    Radiohead is the rumoured headliner, and if they can also find a way to also include The Verve, you should trade your plane ticket for one on Amtrak.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts