Grading the Coachella 2014 lineup

Categories: Festivals
Photo by Timothy Norris
Neko Case
Coachella announced its 2014 lineup the other day. Word. Some people think it's amazing, but those folks tend to think  it's amazing every year, when what they really think is amazing is doing drugs with their friends in the desert. Others think it's terrible, but they would probably think it was terrible unless they personally curated it themselves, and even then they would still think it was terrible. 

So, the question is: How good is it, really? To determine exactly that, we brought in a panel of goddamn experts.

Headliners: B
A reunited Outkast is the best Coachella "get" in years. Let's not act like it's not a big deal, or pretend their appeal is limited. They're the most-revered rap duo in history, perhaps the most revered hip-hop act, period, and they were presumed dead. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is the best-selling rap album ever. As for the others: The selection of Muse again displays Paul Tollett's obsession with graying British bands, and his presumption that we over here care much. (But he's still presumably pestering Morrissey via telegram on a fortnightly basis about resurrecting The Smiths, so we forgive him.) As for Arcade Fire, that selection is so predictable and so playing to the base that wishing it weren't so is like running outside in the rain naked and wishing you wouldn't get wet. -Ben Westhoff

Photo by Erik Hess

Indie: B-

The majority of Coachella acts this year, as every year, could be roughly classified indie. But the problem is that so many are playing other festivals these days. MGMT and Empire of the Sun are starting to feel old hat, while one expects Foxygen will just keep getting put on festival bills until they actually show up. But even though newcomers like Haim and Chvrches were expected, we're still looking forward to them. Other redeeming acts include Temples, Blood Orange, Jagwar Ma, Dum Dum Girls, Daughter, and Anthony Green. Overall: Meh. -Artemis Thomas-Hansard


Coachella's EDM offerings this year are so dance-fest mainstream (Calvin Harris, Skrillex, Chromeo, Alesso, Zedd, Zedd, Krewella) that 2014 is more Brochella than ever. Long gone are those days of discovery, when Air played a main stage at sunset, Daft Punk introduced a new generation to dance music, or all three of Detroit's techno forebears (Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May) sermonized through vinyl. That said, the fine print includes many deeper, dance floor pleasers well-worth the cost of admission: Hot Since 82, Maceo Plex, Duke Dumont, Damian Lazarus, DJ Falcon, Guy Gerber, Classixx, Art Department, Lee Burridge. Some old guys - Fatboy Slim, Armand Van Helden of Duck Sauce - will surely represent too. -Dennis Romero

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