Coachella 2011 Lineup: Commence Your Snarking

January 19, 2011 · Print This Article

During the frigid, moribund Winter months – when the concert touring season is tightly shuttered, amplifiers and confetti machines tucked snugly in their warehouses – the average live music fan has little to cling to for emotional support.

To fill the void of boredom, a favorite January pastime is the annual “predict this year’s Coachella Festival lineup” sweepstakes, a ritual that always produces a litany of outsized expectation, faked posters, and inexplicable attention for the tattered carcass of L.A. radio station KROQ.

This year’s rumor mill included everyone from Daft Punk to Radiohead to The Rolling Stones to even U2, as well as perennial favorites The Smiths, David Bowie, and The White Stripes. However, Morrisey would apparently still rather eat his own genitals than reunite his old band, Goldenvoice has apparently not thrown enough money at the erstwhile Ziggy Stardust to lure him from his gilded spiderweb, and Jack White III apparently has another four or five side projects to form before he and Meg are seen on a stage again.

In lieu of all that, we have this year’s headliners:  Pigeon-dodgers Kings of Leon, fishstick enthusiast Kanye West, and The Arcade Fire.

It would appear that Coachella has settled into a comfy <rut> niche of picking a festival vet that has successfully crossed over to the mainstream (Arcade Fire, The Killers), a juggernaut pop or hip-hop icon (West, Jay-Z, Madonna), and some stalwart of the classic rock scene to draw in a wider audience (Roger Waters, Prince, Paul McCartney).  This year, the closest thing the bill has to a “classic rock stalwart” is Duran Duran, an act probably picked more for kitsch value than credibility. Arcade Fire, meanwhile, are a great live band – and have risen in stature on every Coachella bill since their first record – so perhaps it was inevitable they would receive a coveted headlining spot following the release of their third record. However, The Suburbs was released last year, and enthusiasm over their return has died down somewhat in the interim.

So… the headliners are rather underwhelming.  But what about the rest of the lineup, you say? As always, there are some great names here and there, but many of them are buried in font so tiny you can barely see them:  Titus Andronicus, Gogol Bordello, The New Pornographers, The Swell Season, Elbow, and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (of The Mars Volta) have all been marginalized for the likes of Paul Van Dyk, Brandon Flowers, and The Bloody Beetroots.  Odd.

Anyway, before I become too much of a ranting curmudgeon, judge for yourself.  Here’s the lineup in full:

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