Coachella 2014: Fresh faces join veteran acts

Written by Lynn Lieu, The Desert Sun Jan. 18, 2014 7:50 PM

Goldenvoice released its lineup for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in record time this year. Announcing headliners Arcade Fire, Muse and OutKast, the Los Angeles-based promoters then proceeded to put tickets back on sale. And once again tickets for both weekends, April 11- 13 and 18-20, sold out within hours.

The festival, which began in 1999 as a two-day event, built a huge following that allowed it to expand to three days and then two weekends. Over the years the event has showcased up-and-coming bands, cult favorites and major reunions at the Empire Polo Club in Indio.

The 2014 lineup earned a “B” grade from LA Weekly, which stated, “Even if it lacks imagination in parts, this is most certainly not a (expletive) lineup, and fans of just about any pop music genre will find something to enjoy.”

The Los Angeles Times described the lineup “a save” compared to last year, stating, “Now, with OutKast on deck, Coachella seems back on track — even if the other headliners, Muse and Arcade Fire, leave a bit to be desired.”

Fans have expressed a wide range of sentiments across social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and it seems it all boils down to this: If you haven’t seen these artists, it’s totally worth the trip (and ticket price); if you’re a hardcore fan of the festival, it seems a bit lackluster (too many repeats).

Here’s our breakdown of the lineup:

Headliners

While André Benjamin has stated numerous times that OutKast never officially broke up, they’ve been on hiatus since 2007. The Atlanta hip-hop duo’s Coachella performance will kick off a tour of more than 40 festivals this spring/summer, so as it stands that Benjamin and partner Antwan “Big Boi” Patton are the must-see headliners this year.

Co-headliners Arcade Fire and Muse have both performed at Coachella previously.

Arcade Fire was the obvious pick with their well-received album “Reflektor” released last year. But the Canadian alt-rockers’ top billing is curious since they just headlined in 2011 — bringing to mind The Black Keys’ back-to-back festival appearances on the same stage in 2011 and 2012.

Muse was also a headliner in 2010, and continues what some have described as Goldenvoice’s obsession with British bands. Last year’s headliner The Stone Roses proved a poor fit for the main stage — that’s not to say Muse will do the same, but it would be nice if things were switched up a bit.

And alas, no Smiths, Talking Heads or David Bowie this year.

Been there, done that

Aside from the two previously mentioned headliners, a slew of festival veterans will once again make the trek to Indio. Notable mentions include Beck, who was one of Coachella’s original headliners in 1999, Girl Talk, Queens of the Stone Age, Fatboy Slim, MGMT and members of both The Knife and Broken Bells.

Karin Dreijer Andersson, half of sibling duo The Knife, performed in 2010 as Fever Ray. Last year The Knife released a new record, their first since 2006.

Broken Bell’s James Mercer performed with his band, The Shins, as recent as 2012, and partner Brian Burton performed in 2004 as Danger Mouse, and in 2006 with Gnarls Barkley. Burton has produced albums for The Black Keys (“El Camino,” 2011), Norah Jones (“Little Broken Hearts,” 2012) and Portugal. The Man (“Evil Friends,” 2013).

Fresh faces

It’s been a big year for the ladies of Haim, who released their critically praised debut last fall. Other top female artists on the bill include 17-year-old Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor — better known by her stage name, Lorde.

The New Zealand native is on the cover of the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Meanwhile, brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, better known as Disclosure, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Album for their debut, “Settle.”

Reunions

Coachella has built a reputation for putting together epic reunions, from Pavement to Rage Against the Machine, and while all the headlines are about OutKast, The Replacements are also on the bill.

While the alt-rock pioneers technically reunited in 2012, it was only for a few shows and none were as big as Coachella.