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Sun07122020

Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

After Beyonce headlined Coachella last year, it was hard to imagine how Goldenvoice could top that this year.

And … uh, they haven’t.

That said, there are a lot of great acts on the bill at Coachella. Here’s a list of the performers I, personally, won’t miss.

Friday, April 12 and 19

U.S. Girls

This is the experimental pop project of producer and musician Meghan Remy. She has released seven albums, and after I heard her most recent album, last year’s In a Poem Unlimited, I hoped U.S. Girls would be on the Coachella lineup for 2019. Just about every music publication that reviewed the album gave it a high score. Remy’s brand of experimental pop goes into some interesting territory. It’s easy on the ears; it’s catchy; and it’s mesmerizing. Remy’s live performances have received strong praise, and it will be interesting to see what she does for Coachella.

Let’s Eat Grandma

While funny, this is not the funniest name on the lineup. (Look closely.) If you’re a fan of Tegan and Sara, you’ll love Let’s Eat Grandma. Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth have many interesting things going for themselves; they are able to belt out some beautiful harmonies, and they get down and dirty in some pretty chaotic samples and beats. I highly recommend checking out their album I’m All Ears before checking them out at Coachella.

The Frights

What do you get when you take a punk band that also incorporates surf rock and doo-wop into the mix? The Frights! The Frights go from goofy and off the wall to all of a sudden sounding like Minor Threat. It’s a beautiful mixture of chaos and playfulness—and it’s a whole lot of fun. In a lineup that is less focused on rock bands, The Frights definitely stand out.

Kacey Musgraves

Last year at Stagecoach, Kacey Musgraves played on the Mane Stage during a strong wind storm right before headliner Keith Urban. Despite the challenges—and appearing frustrated at times—Musgraves put on a memorable set for the large country audience. I have to wonder: How will her performance play out at Coachella? It’ll be an interesting sight to see; every year that a Stagecoach performer is included in a future Coachella lineup, the result always seems to be memorable—in a good way.


Saturday, April 13 and 20

Steady Holiday

Dre Babinski has had an interesting career. She’s a model and actress who has worked primarily in commercials—yet she also has quite a knack for songwriting. Her music videos are haunting, and her music is dark and yet beautiful. You can hear bands such as Portishead and Goldfrapp in her music, along with her stated influences of Leonard Cohen and Burt Bacharach. It can make you feel joy—and make you cry. She was well-received at Coachella in 2016 and will no doubt dazzle attendees in 2019.

Idris Elba

We’re used to seeing Idris Elba—aka the next James Bond?—onscreen in films such as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and the Avengers series. I had never heard his music until recently, and I was pretty amazed by his vocal talents. His voice has a lot of soul, and after watching some footage of his DJ sets, I’m even more fascinated. It’s hard to say what he’s going to do at Coachella, but whatever he does, it should be fantastic.

Ty Segall and White Fence

Ty Segall is one of the best things to happen to the current era of rock ’n’ roll in this current era. While many know who he is, more need to know who he is. He evolves with every record he puts out, every band he puts together, and every collaboration in which he finds himself. White Fence, his collaboration with Tim Presley, is nothing short of earth shattering and will blow your fucking mind. Forget what is going on elsewhere at Coachella and get your ass to this performance.

Mac DeMarco

It’s got to be interesting when someone defines what he does as “jizz jazz.” DeMarco has a sound that is a melding of ’80s smooth rock and psychedelic pop. A lot of what he does also feels like early David Bowie. His music video for the song “Nobody” (the song will be on his upcoming album in May) features DeMarco in lizard makeup wearing a cowboy hat and smoking a cigar, which speaks to his sense of humor and bizarre persona. Considering he sells out venues around the world, you should circle this one on your Coachella schedule.


Sunday, April 14 and 21

Mansionair

If you are a fan of ODESZA, you might remember the appearance Mansionair made on ODESZA’s 2017 album A Moment Apart. With the release of Mansionair’s first full-length album, Shadowboxer, earlier this year, we’re finally getting a proper glimpse of this Australian indie-electronic trio. The album took three years to make; part of the album’s creative process was a retreat to a cabin in the mountains. Shadowboxer is receiving a lot of praise from fans and critics alike, and this Coachella performance is one I’m really anticipating.

Alice Merton

There are thankfully a lot of women on the Coachella lineup this year—and Alice Merton may just take the world by storm one day. Her sound is similar to that of Florence and the Machine, and her debut album Mint was clearly made on her own terms. Her vocals sound flawless throughout, and you can clearly feel the soul and beauty reflected in her songwriting.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

If you’re seeking more of Saturday headliner Tame Impala on Sunday, the closest thing you’ll find is Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The band’s psychedelic sound is a throwback to the ’70s; you’ll also get a dose of kick-ass garage rock. The band is currently touring behind last year’s album release, Sex and Food. After packing Pappy and Harriet’s last year, this group will amaze you.

Blood Orange

I purchased the album Negro Swan on a recommendation from an employee at Amoeba Records in Hollywood and put it in my CD player for the nighttime drive back to the desert. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Blood Orange (Dev Hynes) is clearly an artist of conscious thought and is singing about all of the right things—self-exploration, the political struggles facing the black community, the anxiety of LGBT people, and much more. Blood Orange is definitely on to something, and I can’t wait to experience whatever he has up his sleeve for Coachella.

Published in Previews

Opening for Mac DeMarco’s Cinco de Mayo show at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace was a band called Drugdealer. One could describe the group as quirky and fun … but a little strange.

“My name is Mike, and I write songs with my friends the Drugdealers,” said front man Mike Collins, before quipping: “Joshua Tree, the entrance to heaven.”

Drugdealer offers ’70s-style pop, performed by guys who are riding high via a cannabis-fueled airline. Introducing the single “End of Comedy” off of the band’s debut album by the same name, Collins said: “This time, the band rehearsed twice!” Drugdealer did a great job of setting the mood for the rest of the night.

Mac DeMarco came to Pappy and Harriet’s to celebrate the release of his new album, This Old Dog, via Captured Tracks. Once known for larks onstage—which have even gotten him arrested—this old dog has learned new tricks, with DeMarco bringing a calmer and fantastic performance to Pioneertown. What has not changed: his gorgeously composed narratives with quirky lyrics that are simply delightful. The night was cold, which may explain the bottle of Jameson that was always nearby, keeping the singer warm in the high desert air. The audience was probably the youngest I’ve seen at Pappy’s this year—but the crowd was nonetheless dedicated, lining up a few hours before the opening of the gate.

DeMarco walked on and said, “Hello my name is Mac,” before starting the set with “Salad Days,” which got fans jumping. Reaction was also quite positive to the upbeat tune “The Stars Keep on Calling My Name.” Feeding off the crowd, Mac validated their love by saying, “We’ll try to play as long as we can.”

“A Wolf Who Wears Sheep’s Clothes,” another high-tempo tune off the new record, was a highlight of the night.

Someone in the audience at one point yelled, “Yeah! Yeah!” which was met with Mac saying: “Shut the fuck up!” Things were starting to wind down, but the mood was still happy when DeMarco uttered, “Viceroy early in the morning just trying to let the sun in and open my eyes,” from “Ode to Viceroy,” a sappy yet heartfelt song which required a puff from his cigarette and a swig from the emptying bottle of Jameson at his feet. Mac then said, “Thank you guys,” a clue the end of the show was near. A person in the crowd yelled, “I want to bum a smoke,” to which DeMarco responded only with his eyes, saying something to the effect of, “Dude, buy your own pack.”

“Chamber of Reflection” was dedicated to a family he met in the parking lot—this happens at Pappy’s, as there is no backstage area. The young child from that family was brought onstage and allowed to sit on an amp for the rest of the show—on occasion helping with chimes. 

At one point, I bumped into a fan named Georgia who was beyond excited. She told me she missed a Mac show at Red Rocks in Colorado, because she got arrested a few days before; I did not ask for details.

By then, the crowd was in a frenzy. I spied Mac crowd-surfing while on his side—with a cigarette in his mouth.

What a night.

Published in Reviews