In keeping with this blog’s tradition, I’m sharing Coachella’s lineup for 2015 in this post. And once again, they nailed the lineup in my humble opinion. Actually, I haven’t been this excited about a Coachella lineup since 2012! The folks at Goldenvoice basically got their best-case scenario and snagged some solid headliners and just as solid undercard. Jump below the image for my thoughts on some selected bands, plus some of my can’t-miss sets for this year’s Coachella!
Words can’t describe how excited I am to see AC/DC live. There are many instances when I wished I could go back in time to see some amazing bands in their heyday, and this performance is the best it’ll get! With the recent sad retirement of guitarist Malcolm Young, and the rest of the band members in their 60s, we’re getting a rare treat. I’m not exaggerating when I say this will be one of my “die happy” sets. No doubt the band will be supporting their new album, but I for one can’t wait for classics such as “Back in Black,” “Shook Me All Night Long,” “Thunderstruck,” and “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You).”
The big-font undercards offer a wide variety of rock & a couple EDM acts. Modern psychedelic band Tame Impala will likely give an incredible live show. I had the chance to see post-punk revival rock band Interpol during last year’s FYF Fest, and they didn’t disappoint. It’ll possibly be a tough three-way set conflict with blues band Alabama Shakes (lead female singer who sounds eerily like Robert Plant of Led Zep), 90s shoegaze group Ride (one of the most critically-acclaimed albums of the movement), and Nero (big house dub/brostep, amazing live sets). But I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed for minimal conflicts. A quick mention of the legendary Steely Dan as well, which I haven’t listened to much but will be in the coming months!
Day 1’s undercard bands are just as solid. I’d love to see Flying Lotus, who recently dropped an incredible jazz-inspired electronica record. Raekwon and Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang Clan fame will be a killer combo. I missed Porter Robinson‘s Worlds tour show when he was in town, and I’ve heard nothing but great things about his recent sets, so I’m really hoping I can redeem myself at his Coachella set. And can’t forget Caribou, Ryan Hemsworth, and Jon Hopkins, three of my favorite alternative electronica artists of 2014.
Day 1’s surprise must-see act: Funk/soul/R&B singer Charles Bradley. I saw his set during 2013’s FYF Fest, and I have never seen someone in his mid-60s fire up a crowd with splits and James Brown dance moves. Seriously, this man’s energy and emotion are incredible, and I’m certain his Coachella set will not disappoint!
If AC/DC was my 80s rock “die happy” band to see live, Jack White would be the modern-day equivalent. I’ve listened to Jack since middle school, back when he was in the White Stripes. And through the years, from his stints on the Raconteurs, the Dead Weather, and his more recent solo stuff, he has never failed to disappoint. He was the musician who opened a new world of blues and classic rock ‘n roll to my adolescent ears and helped me get into blues rock from the legends.
Day 2’s big-font undercard bands have three acts that stand out to me, plus a fourth I’m sure will be a huge hit. The Weeknd is an act I’m planning to listen to more in the coming months and would love to see, especially with the rise of PBR&B (yes, that’s a real term) and some great groups in that sub-genre in recent years. Alt-J was a fun band to see live at last year’s Treasure Island Music Festival. I don’t think they’re quite the “next Radiohead,” but if no conflicts come up I’ll likely stop by for a bit. The buzz has been about electronic rock duo Ratatat, who haven’t had a show in 4 years. Could there be a new album in the works? And I suspect Hozier‘s set will be similar to 2012’s Gotye set, with huge crowds spilling out from a smaller tent stage, especially with his surging popularity in recent months.
The rest of the undercards look promising. The legendary LA punk band Bad Religion (lots of love on KROQ) are sure to rile the crowds up with classics such as “Infected.” Post-dub producer SBTRKT is a personal favorite. I missed his 2013 set, so hopefully this time I can make it and also catch some of his big-name collaborators (Sampha, A$AP Ferg, & Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend). Both Tyler the Creator and Run the Jewels will prove that there is hip hop beyond commercialized radio hits. Indie band The War on Drugs will likely have an amazing live set as well.
Day 2’s surprise must-see act: To be fair, the sheer awesomeness of Tycho‘s set will hardly be a surprise – that’s already been well established. However, looking at his position on the undercard, there’s a possibility that his time slot will be just around sunset (4:30-5ish, fingers crossed?). Now that would be a sublime experience.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a hardcore fan of Drake. Personally I would’ve preferred Kendrick Lamar and was surprised he wasn’t included in the lineup, especially with an upcoming new album and the now to-be-expected big-name rap artist headliner. To be fair, I haven’t had the chance to listen to a lot of Drake’s songs, other than his popular singles. And with a new album slated to come out just around Coachella, Drake’s set will likely be a memorable one. In the meantime, I’ll be sure to give Nothing Was the Same some spins in the coming months.
The big-font undercard bands for Day 3 will be EDM-tastic. Although the previous two days have a couple EDM producers per day in similar time slots, Sunday’s will be the most well-known and established big-room EDM acts in recent years – Kaskade and David Guetta. Love it or hate it, the Sahara tent and/or Main Stage will explode with a medley of music, lights, graphics, and pyrotechnics – something worth experiencing for sure. Special mention of two very special female vocalists – Florence from Florence + the Machine (such an angelic voice) and St. Vincent (a truly unique live instrumentalist and singer).
And now on to the rest of Day 3 undercards. Other than the super-talented Madeon, my top 3 for alternative electronica include Jamie xx, Panda Bear, and Skream from the J.E.S.+S. collective (an intentional typo by Coachella?). I’d also love to check out legendary indie band Built to Spill, chill jangle pop artist Mac DeMarco, and maybe even Radiohead drummer Philip Selway, who’s released a couple of solo albums recently.
Day 3’s surprise must-see act: Country singer Sturgill Simpson isn’t your typical country musician. Sure, he has a wonderful baritone voice reminiscent of the late Waylon Jennings, but Sturgill is just as well known for singlehandedly creating a new country sub-genre – psychedelic country. It’s not so much the instrumentation as it is the subject matter, and his latest album Metamodern Sounds of Country Music is an incredible dive into themes of life, death, love, space, and time. A breath of fresh air for country music and a sure crowd-pleasing set.
If you enjoyed reading my thoughts on 2015’s Coachella lineup, be sure to check out my previous posts about this music festival from my archives. There’s tons of great info on what to expect, plus some detailed recaps of my past three Coachellas!
Lineups from the Past Five Coachellas
- Coachella 2014 Lineup
- Coachella 2013 Lineup
- Coachella 2012 Lineup
- Coachella 2011 Lineup
- Coachella 2010 Lineup