Coachella 2014: What to Watch, What to Avoid

Ever since Coachella expanded to two weekends in 2012, the dirty little secret is that both weekends are almost exactly the same. With some exceptions, the lineups are the same, the order the bands play is the same and, often, the songs they play and the order they play them in is the same. This isn't a surprise; touring acts tend to do repeat themselves as they travel from city to city, since they need to rehearse and choreograph the show beforehand.

At Coachella it can be lame in that there aren't often surprises–even the surprise guests tend to come back for weekend two. But on the other hand, this means those weekend two attendees can know in advance which shows are likely to be good, and which are likely to suck. So, in case you missed our exhaustive weekend one coverage, peep our guide below to know who to see and who to avoid. Oh, and stay tuned: We'll also be covering the crap out of weekend two!

See also: The Worst of Coachella 2014
Female Artists Are Killing it at Coachella This Year


Who Will Be Awesome

“As a dusty wind whipped behind her in hazy stage light, Solange and her ultra-slick backing band brought serious chops and swagger to the Polo Fields as nighttime fell over Coachella on Saturday. And then Beyonce showed up on stage, dancing to 'Losing You.'” -Adam Lovinus


With Saturday's high winds adding a moody touch of chaos in the background, Darkside — Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington — took the stage at 10:30pm and whipped up their own storm with a hypnotic set that fused IDM space noise and a guitar-laden jam band ethos. While brief (just under 50 minutes) this show had a depth and soul rarely heard in the musical buffet free for all festival circuit, and the crowd was the grooviest we encountered all weekend. -Katie Bain

The Replacements

“It was not like the old days where the gang was phoning it in, or drunk. Frontman Paul Westerberg often gave his all, playing harmonica, shredding, and really singing. Ironically, he seemed to care too much. The fairly small crowd of twenty-something assholes were going to have to earn his full efforts.” -Ben Westhoff

“Haim performed a charged-up, decidedly homegrown vibe, including banter about how they've been sneaking into Coachella since 2004. The Fleetwood Mac comparisons fade in the live setting; the sisters Haim (Este, 28, Danielle, 25, and Alana, 22) bring a more playful, sassy attitude and way more shred. ” -Adam Lovinus

“Warpaint's set offered a shot of noise-pop, climaxing guitars and huge three-part harmonies — pure '90s alt shimmering through their classic stage gear. Their jams were stylishly packaged, yet monsterous. Warpaint are Coachella veterans, having played in 2011, but this time their sound was bigger and louder.” -Adam Lovinus

These acts will also be awesome

Arcade Fire
Duke Dumont
Bryan Ferry
Nicholas Jaar
The Magician
Aloe Blacc
Blood Orange
The Toy Dolls
Neutral Milk Hotel

Below: These acts will probably suck


Who Will Suck

Right at the very tip top of the peak of their set, Flosstradamus's music cut entirely. For like 30 seconds. Everyone audibly groaned; though it sounded planned it may have been due to a power outage. But, considering how sub par the set had been up until that point, we found the peace and quiet refreshing. -Ben Westhoff

Calvin Harris
Though perhaps the best-attended set of the entire weekend, Harris epitomizes the “just press play” school of DJing. If you like his songs on the radio, you'll like them performed live, but that seems an odd way to spend $400. -Ben Westhoff

Lana Del Rey
Dull and lifeless, her performance lacked much in the way of stage presence. -Katie Bain

Justin Bieber
Yes, even the Biebs was there, doing a surprise spot during Chance the Rapper's set. Not even the bro-iest bros and most underage girls wanted him there. -Andrea Domanick

These acts will also suck
Future Islands
Cage the Elephant
ZZ Ward
Glitch Mob
The Pixies
RL Grime

Who Could Go Either Way, Depending on if They Get Their Stage Show Fixed

“Outkast were originally slated to start at 11:30 on Friday night, but then organizers bumped it up to just after 11. So that's when everyone showed up, but we stood around for some 45 minutes, shoulder-to-shoulder near the Coachella Stage soundboard, being jostled by the aggro-bros doggedly weaving toward the front. What was happening? Well, the tech crew spent at least half of that time trying to get what looked like a giant red sheet on top of the cube thing Outkast performed inside of. But they couldn't do it, so we sat there like dopes. Maybe they should have ironed all of this out in the dress rehearsal? And then, their show got cut off at exactly 1 am, just as Killer Mike came on stage for 'The Whole World.'” -Adam Lovinus

See Also:
The Best of Coachella 2014
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Johnny Shockey's LED and Goldenvoice Bring a New Era of EDM to Indio

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