Questions and answers: The 2015 Coachella lineup

01.07.15 3 years ago

The lineup for the two-weekend 2015 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival is out: earning top billing is AC/DC on Friday, Jack White on Saturday and Drake on Sunday.

Tame Impala, Interpol, Steely Dan, Alesso, Alabama Shakes, Ride (reunion!), Nero; The Weeknd, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, alt-J, Belle & Sebastian, Ratatat, Hozier; Florence + The Machine, Kaskade, Ryan Adams, David Guetta and St. Vincent are also toplining the fest.

Look at the entire 2015 Coachella lineup — by day, even! — here.

The Indio, Calif.-hosted event runs April 10-12 and 17-19 in 2015.

Wait, who were the headliners in years previous?

Outkast (Fri), Muse (Sat) and Arcade Fire (Sun) in 2014. Stone Roses and Blur, Phoenix and Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2013. The Black Keys, Radiohead and Snoop Dogg/Dr. Dre in 2012. Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, and Kanye West and the Strokes in 2011. Jay Z, Muse and Gorillaz in 2010.

So am I right in thinking AC/DC as headliners are kind of old?

Acts like Paul McCartney (2009) and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and Prince (2008) have also headlined. So it's not the first time. But, yes, they're old and it's kind of a weird move. 

BUT WHY.

I agree, it is really weird, particularly since AEG/Goldenvoice (the organizers behind Coachella) don't have financial ties to AC/DC's success. But my guess is this: while Coachella has earned a reputation for sparking reunions and revivals, this may mark a year for a departing act. AC/DC was rumored to be calling it quits this past year. “Rock or Bust,” their latest album, was the first to not feature founding member Malcolm Young, who has been suffering demential. Drummer Phil Rudd was arrested for a litany of really screwed up charges and his future with the band remains unknown. Angus Young swore up and down that the band would charge forward but… retirement may be on the horizon. Again.

Steely Dan's playing, too, so it's a classic rock year?

Two makes a trend! Steely Dan, agreed again, is a super weird troupe to toss into the mix. (I would have thought Fleetwood Mac was in it to win it, frankly.)

But they're Dad Rock. They're not exactly a college-aged-girls-with-laurel-crowns-in-their-hair act.

First, there are plenty of women who love The Dan, Straw Man. Cough.

And second, the fact that Steely Dan is practically an anti-Coachella act is a pretty brilliant move on organizers' part. As with all recent years, Coachella sells out before the lineup is even announced. Organizers aren't selling they lineup, they're selling the experience. Steely Dan's concerts can admittedly hot and cold, with some pretty insane in-song and between-song banter on Donald Fagen's part. You're not gonna see the band “collaborate” — like a Beck superjam, or Mary J. Blige stopping in for a guest verse — because SD treats their concert experience like their in-studio experience: working only with the greatest performers and studio hands possible.

So maybe “Rikki Don't Lose That Number” or “Reelin' In The Years” are the only “hits” some of the Coachella kids will have “heard” from the jazz-rockes. But there's a guarantee of a sonic and performance-oriented experience that no DJ behind a deck can offer. Can you imagine the backup singers they'll bring for “Kid Charlemagne?” Or the sneering Walter Becker has planned for “Black Friday?” Steely Dan thinks this booking is as hilarious as you do.

Speaking of dude-rock, am I right in thinking there's not a lot of women-led acts on the marquee?

St. Vincent, Alabama Shakes and St. Vincent are the only artists to get second-line billing. Azaelia Banks, Lykke Li, Immaculate Noise favorite FKA Twigs and Marina and the Diamonds are the only ladies to get third line.

This is typical. It doesn't make it right. Again, the fest sells out before a lineup is even announced. There should be a band called Steely Denise.

Who are all those single-word names I don't recognize?

They're DJs. I'll see you in that tent.

Wasn't Jack White everywhere last year?

Yes, which is why this is another question-mark booking. The former White Stripe headlined at NUMEROUS festivals in 2014 — including Bonnaroo, Governor's Ball, Osheaga and Forecastle — which makes Coachella feel a little bit like sloppy seconds. For a festival that gets first-of-the-year fresh dibs for a weekend in April, it's strange that the “Lazaretto” victory lap would get a second (third?) wind in Indio.

White is a clever mastermind of the live band recipe. He's produced quite a few other artists' records lately. I'd look out for this one as “surprise guest” central.

I thought that was Drake's title.

Which makes me wonder if Drake is willing to give Coachella as much effort as he does his own OVO Festival. What his addition means is that this spring may be high time for the kick off to his next, and very-much-anticipated new album “Views from the 6.” He's probably not holding on to that set until October('s Very Own).

The Weeknd is playing Coachella weekend too, so look for their party van.

What are the other notable reunions or farewells are happening?

Ride and Drive Like Jehu reformed for this meeting. Raekwon and Ghostface Killah are stepping away from all the Wu-Tang drama and negativity together. Gesaffelstein (French techno dreamboat) says Coachella will be his last live show ever.

Where else have I heard his name?

He produced two tracks for a little-known artist named Kanye West on his last album “Yeezus.”

Did we mention Drake and The Weeknd are gonna be there?

Is there old-school EDM in the mix?

Boy is there ever. This is one of the best years in that regard: Doc Martin, Danny Tenaglia, Marques Wyatt, Guy Gerber, Erol Alkan, Annie Mac and Pete Tong, the amazing Carl Craig and Dubfire and Loco Dice will all be on hand.

What's the No. 1 act I shouldn't miss?

DJ Snake. You'll hear it from the middle of the country.

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