I will soon embark on my 8th Coachella Music and Arts Festival in California, the world-famous event that will no doubt cast its shadow over the music blogosphere in the next weeks – if it hasn’t already! I plan on writing an extensive account about my experiences after I return, but before I leave my house I want to write up my plan and, perhaps, talk about why I want to see certain acts and why I must miss others.


Having already seen the wonderful Other Lives open for Radiohead, my first essential act, Kendrick Lamar, takes the Coachella Stage from 2:40-3:25. Most of the hip hop acts I’ve seen I could take or leave (I dislike when hip hop acts lack live bands), but Kendrick’s set was an easy set to choose, because his latest album, Section.80, is easily among the best hip hop albums that I have ever heard – especially recently.

Afterwards, I shall see James (3:50-4:40), which has been among my top priorities since the line-up’s drop. Grouplove (5:05-5:50) is an act that I just barely discovered, and in fact I only just purchased their album after the set times released, knowing that I will see them. I imagine that they’ll be very fun. Then, on my way to Arctic Monkeys (6:30-7:20), I may catch a bit of the lunatic noise that Death Grips (5:45-6:30) makes – they were #6 on my blog entry for 2011’s best albums, after all.

The trick comes here, on whether I can run over to see Madness (7:00-8:00) without sacrificing a good place to view Pulp (7:50-8:50), who are my #1 priority of the entire weekend. Indeed, Pulp is one of my most favorite acts. Towards the end of Pulp’s set, I’ll edge my way toward to the side of the masses, so that I may sprint over to the Outdoor Theatre and catch Mazzy Star (8:50-9:40). Luckily, I caught The Rapture (8:55-9:45) when they came to El Paso just last year.

I’ve seen The Black Keys (9:45-11:00) twice already, including their set at Coachella only last year, and have not seen M83 (10:15-11:05). None-the-less, I shall see The Black Keys for a third time and miss all the cheers for “Midnight City.” I can probably write more on my reasoning for this next week by telling of a magnificent performance that, while containing the same players as previous sets from The Black Keys, will be unlike any other. Finally, I’ll share a late night with The Horrors (12:00-END), a band that I’ve been chasing down for years now.


What a madhouse this night is! Oh, the day is peaceful enough, and I can tell it with a simple stroke: The Vaccines (1:40-2:25), Destroyer (2:30-3:15), fIREHOSE (4:00-4:50), and Kaiser Chiefs (5:10-6:00). All of that set up very neatly. I had been hoping, for a while, that The Vaccines would fit into my schedule. Their album, What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?, should have sit somewhere high on my 2011 albums list, except that it took me until 2012 to listen to them. As for Destroyer: I am a fan of The New Pornographers, so naturally, I shall be there. fIREHOSE never really struck too far on my priority list, but I’m glad I’ll be able to see them, because I know they are an important act, and one that might turn me into a big fan after their performance. And as for Kaiser Chiefs, well, they’ve been sitting near the top of my priority list, so I’m terribly excited for them!

I shall see Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (6:30-7:20) – that should be excellent, because I love Oasis and I love Noel Gallagher’s album – and then I will run to the Outdoor Theatre and catch the mythological Jeff Magnum (7:20-8:10). Magnum is the highest act on my priority list, and I’m sure many others can say the same – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is one of my favorite albums. But that is where the bloodshed is. I will miss Squeeze (7:15-8:05) and St. Vincent (7:45-8:35)…

It doesn’t end there. I will abandon The Shins (8:10-9:00) and Feist (8:40-9:30) for an act that I saw once, long ago in 2005: Kasabian (8:35-9:25). Why Kasabian over The Shins and Feist (though I could probably catch the beginning of The Shins)? Because my family loves Kasabian and they are also guaranteed to play a spectacular set. Even though I have already seen them, it was when they only had one album, and now they have three more to play songs from.

Afterwards, I’ll catch much of Bon Iver’s set (9:30-10:20), leaving early so that I can see SBTRKT (10:15-11:05), who were also very high on my 2011 list of albums. I was afraid that I might not see them, because some people suspected that they might conflict, completely, with Radiohead. If not that, I feared they might conflict with plenty others on Saturday; however, they only conflict with Godspeed You! Black Emperor (10:00-11:00), which wouldn’t be a minor thing had I not seen GY!BE’s holy performance on St. Patrick’s Day, last year, inside of an old church.

Obviously, Radiohead’s next (11:05-END)!


Sunday comes with its share of conflicts, which I did not worry about as much as I probably should have… But, after all is done, I’ve made a schedule that I am extremely excited about. And that schedule begins with Metronomy (2:00-2:40), a band that I have only recently discovered and have fallen in love with. After that, I will sadly miss Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (3:10-3:55) for Wild Beasts (3:25-4:10), because I’ve become a big fan of Wild Beasts ever since a dear friend introduced me to their latest album, Smother. Afterwards, I will hop over to the Gobi Tent, where I will remain for a while.

Real Estate (4:10-4:55) shares top priority on Sunday with a later act, and so I will happily be there without suffering from any conflict too heavy. But then I’ve made the decision to miss Wild Flag (5:30-6:15), a band that I came to really enjoy after the line-up first released, for Thundercat (5:20-5:55), an act that I’ve only recently discovered, but an act that I really like – also, I have many friends that rave about Thundercat’s performance. I suspect the transition into The Gaslamp Killer (6:00-6:45) will be too nice to miss. Perhaps it will make up for missing the beginning of Flying Lotus (Sat: 9:00-9:50).

Then comes my other top priority act: The Weeknd (6:55-7:45). I am very glad that this act will take place on the Outdoor Theatre, out in the open, where everybody’s voice may travel across the polo field. I’ve been telling everybody to get his mix tape trilogy. GET IT! IT’S FREE! I’ve been listening to them on repeat for quite a while now. House of Balloons is especially magnificent. Anyway, after that, I will catch Justice (7:45-8:45), even though I disliked their new album. The thing is, I am a huge fan of Cross, and have never seen them before, despite that they are sort of Coachella regulars.

Why not Gotye (7:10-8:00)? Well, aside from his conflict with The Weeknd, who I would not miss for anything on Sunday, I would just rather finally see what Justice is all about (for that small moment of conflict, too). I know that Gotye has been becoming more and more popular – why just yesterday, I heard those kids from Glee singing “Somebody That I Used to Know” – but, to be honest, I just don’t care for that song. I do like quite a few of his other songs, though, but this is what conflicts do…

Anyhow, it would be rude of me to miss my fellow El Pasoans, At the Drive-In (9:10-10:00), especially in all their current glory, so count me in! I’m not as excited as many other people that I know, but even I must admit that Relationship of Command is a killer album, and I want to hear as much of it as I can. I will not miss them, even though Beirut overlaps a little bit (I have seen Beirut before). And then, what better way to end my 8th Coachella than with Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg (10:35-END) and all the surprises they have in store?

Hey, I better get going!


One thought on “Coachella 2012: Pre-Game

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