With over 200 acts taking the stage throughout the two weekends of Coachella 2018, there are names you won’t think twice about passing on to maximize your festival experience but those inevitable slots of uncertainty bring stress and anxiety to what should be a carefree weekend in the desert. We’ve compiled a list to ease the burden.
Jamiroquai’s JayKay looks a bit like a villain in the next Spy Kids sequel but he can jam with the best of them. Their funky jams suck you into a wormhole of Disco guitar and synthesized vocals making you forget you skipped the second half of The Weeknd’s set to get all the way down with ya bad self.
Camping Center –
Last year, the Turn Down tent in the Camping Center was solace for those waiting on a return to homeostasis after long day raging on the grounds, equipped with blankets, grass, a visual experience, and oversized bean bags. This year, hard floors and plain white walls made the Turn Down a frigid time. If you really need to turn down, just go back to your tent.
Next door to the Turn Down was the Silent Disco that offered fans school district quality headphones that lagged and dropped out way too often. A lack of energy and hardly any dancing made the space a drag to end off the night.
Let Beyoncé take you to school, church, and the club at the same damn time Saturday night. Everything from choreography, to wardrobe, to personnel, song arrangement and the surprise guest X-factor peaks at 10. She is getting ready to tour but don’t count on getting this experience anywhere else.
The Neighbourhood –
The Neighbourhood surely deserved a slot on this year’s lineup, releasing a handful of high quality EPs but a main stage scheduling in the middle of the day proved to be a bad decision as the empty space surrounding them made them look and smaller than they truly are. They may have worked better in a tent that brought them closer to fans.
Eminem caught tons of shit for his latest album Revival, and like each of the five releases before it but hearing tracks like “Walk on Water” (performed by Skylar Grey) and “River” with only Ed Sheeran’s tracked vocals sounded amazing coming out of those Coachella stage speakers. Plus, if you know the words to his super violent, deranged shit, you can shake up the Emi-noobs by singing along to tracks like “Criminal” and “Kill You”.
Daniel Caesar –
A Daniel Caesar set that kicked off slightly later in the day or later in the weekend might land in the top-tier of your festival experiences but scheduled at 6PM on a Friday isn’t the ideal time to slowly sway and potentially be lulled back to the car for a nap.
If machines do end up taking over humanity, I’ll be ok with that as long as they’re beat machines. Soulwax throws three drum sets, two beat machines, and some auxiliary snares together on stage to deliver something that sounds like the Blue Man Group meeting Aphex Twin. You won’t be able to stop yourself from dancing and that bass serving is going to further enhance any nerve sensitivity you may be experiencing for various reasons.
Cardi B –
Cardi B’s set length of 35 minutes is a direct testament to the world in which we’re living today. When booked, there was no way the festival could’ve known her star would continue rising and doing so as fast as it did. Her Weekend 1 set saw her bring out nearly all of the features from her debut album Invasion of Privacy and she twerked with a growing baby in her stomach. So there’s that. Go party with Cardi!
Go see Miguel if and only if, you feel like bumping and grinding and most importantly if, you have someone to bump and grind with. He will jump into “How Many Drinks” fairly early into the set and that will be the exact moment you’ll regret not taking this advice if you haven’t prepared correctly.
Absolut Openhouse –
Whoever’s genius idea it was to scatter air-conditioned spaces throughout the festival deserves a medal. And whoever is behind-the-scenes curating the vibe at Absolut Openhouse can have my entire paycheck. Every time I entered the space this weekend, I was greeted by bumping beats and a jam-packed dance floor. This is the place you wind up to take a break and end spending the whole time busting it open on the dance floor.
Highly Suspect –
To be out of Beyonce’s presence is to be out of God’s grace. And those voluntarily choosing to skip Queen Bee and watch Highly Suspect should described as just that. Were it up to them, they’d skip their own set to watch the best live show in recent history.
Some have called it the Color Tower, others the Life Saver Tower, but it’s that groovy structure smack dab in the middle of the festival that takes center stage once the sun goes down. You can wait the 20 minutes to stand in line for it, only to walk another 10 music-less minutes to the top of the plain, white interior or you can enjoy it from a distance and throw it in the background of your pics.
I listen to music. I write about it. I like hot sauce on my chicken.