Last week the buzz was all about Coachella’s lineup.
Much to the dismay of many followers of the Internet rumor mill and Tron fans, Daft Punk was not on the list. That’s fine with me. The world’s favorite costumed knob-twiddler duo headlined Lollapalooza a few years ago. Oh, wait. So did the rest of these bands.
That’s the problem with music festivals. Once you’ve been to one, you’ve basically been to them all. There are only so many popular bands and musicians these days that headliners are bound to repeat themselves from festival to festival.
Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Coachella usually offer different artists and headliners from year to year. But if you’re fortunate enough to consistently attend more than one festival, or even the same festival from year to year, you’re likely to see the same artists.
Admittedly, there are some questionable calls on the lineup. Nas is one of the best rappers of all time and Damien Marley is unquestionably the most talented Marley offspring, but did anyone know they were still touring together after releasing one mediocre joint album last year? Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu? One extremely talented but incredibly insane ’90s R&B diva is enough. And who knows how the still-trying but no longer relevant ’80s band Duran Duran squeaked its way onto the bill.
Despite the less compelling performers, the festival is still packed with talent. Even if you have to sit through Duran Duran’s set while waiting for The Strokes or Kanye West, there is not much to complain about.
The music festival experience is unlike any other concert or entertainment event, and it’s only a couple of hours away from campus. Make the trip to Indio, Calif. You won’t regret it.
If you do decide to make the journey to the desert, don’t forget to bring sunscreen and look out for these up-and-coming bands likely to put on great sets.
Titus Andronicus: In my opinion, Titus Andronicus’ sophomore release The Monitor was the best album of 2010. The band of Springsteen lovin’ punk/indie rockers, led by impressively bearded front man Patrick Stickles, is one of the most exciting young bands in music, playing passionate punk rock with captivating lyrics and a healthy dose of Americana. DJ Pauly D didn’t make the bill, but these Jersey boys will have you fist pumpin’ along.
The Aquabats: It seems as if the world’s favorite band of skankin’ superheroes haven’t yet discovered their kryptonite. Despite numerous lineup changes, hiatus scares and drastic genre switches, this incredibly ridiculous but always entertaining band, which formed in 1994, is still around. Three months after the release of their fifth studio album, they’re set to play the first day of Coachella.
Bright Eyes: After 2008, it seemed as if Bright Eyes was dead. Until recently, gloomy front man Conor Oberst has been performing as Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band and as a member of the supergroup Monsters of Folk. With a new album due out in April, the return of Bright Eyes to the stage will be one of Saturday’s hot acts.
OFF!: If you’ve ever liked punk music, then you owe a debt to former Black Flag and Circle Jerks singer Keith Morris. Off! is his new band, filled with other members of prominent punk acts. They’ve only released one 17-minute album, but their loud, frenetic show should be a great way to kick off Sunday morning.
Wiz Khalifa: Big things are happening in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are in the Superbowl again and this Pennsylvania native is finally gaining the success he’s worked so hard to achieve. His first single, “Say Yeah,” dominated airwaves and stayed high on the Billboard charts in 2008. It also sampled Alice Deejay’s “Better Off Alone” years before rappers were fusing their music with techno. Khalifa exploded last year after the success of the infectious “Black and Yellow.” Whether or not his popularity will carry to the big festival stage remains to be seen.
Will Hagle is a sophomore majoring in narrative studies. His column, “Feedback,” runs Wednesdays.