Empire Polo Club

Coachella 2023 Lineup Review

10 days into January and the Coachella lineup has dropped. After balloons in the sky showed up in LA and NY and Coachella billboards popped up in cities worldwide last week, we knew the drop was coming at any moment. Shortly after 3 PM EST/12 PM PST yesterday, the 2023 Coachella lineup dropped. At the moment of the release, I was about to start a team meeting and I dropped to my knee with joy exclaiming, “The Coachella lineup just dropped!” I can’t say I remember much from our meeting as I was distracted the entire time. I also can’t say I’m surprised or impressed with this year’s mix of artists.

I feel like every year since I’ve started this blog has been an ongoing trend of the lineup getting worse and worse. This year feels like it takes the trash cake for me. For the first time since I started being interested in Coachella, there’s no standout act for me. There’s no top artist. It’s just a handful of artists I barely listen to. I could go on about it generally or talk about it in depth so here it is, the Coachella 2023 Lineup:

The Headliners: Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK, Frank Ocean, Calvin Harris

The true headliners based on the poster are Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK, and Frank Ocean. I included Calvin Harris based on his solo poster spot because we all know he’s going to be a headliner. Frank Ocean was scheduled to play in 2020 and of course the covo ruined it all. In the months that followed the inevitable 2020 cancellation, news of Frank skipping 2022 and playing 2023 circulated. Frank Ocean last played Coachella in 2012 so his highly anticipated return is very overdue. Calvin Harris was also scheduled to play 2020 as the first name under Friday night headliner Rage Against the Machine. His last time playing the festival was 2016. Meanwhile both Bad Bunny and BLACKPINK played in 2019 as highly billed acts with BLACKPINK playing an 8:00 p.m. set at Sahara on Friday night and Bad Bunny playing the main stage at sunset Sunday. These headlining performances for both acts will mark Coachella firsts as BLACKPINK will be the first K-pop group to headline the festival and Bad Bunny will be the first Latin artist to headline.

Am I excited? Not really. If I see anyone, it’ll be Calvin Harris. I don’t know a single song by any of the other artists. I’m not into Latin music. I may or may not enjoy some K-pop because I had a friend obsessed with BTS a few years ago and Frank Ocean just hasn’t ever hit for me. However, I might give him a second chance because he doesn’t often perform. Generally though, I’m disappointed with this selection, but it seems to be what’s in right now and Coachella has always set the bar with that.

The Other Highly Billed Performers: Despacio, Gorillaz, Burna Boy, the Chemical Brothers, Kaytranada, Blondie, Becky G, Metro Boomin, FKJ, Pusha T, Tobe Nwigwe, Wet Leg, SG Lewis, Yves Tumor, the Garden, TESTPILOT, Angèle, MUNA, Maceo Plex, ROSALÍA, Eric Pyrdz presents HOLO, boygenius, $uicideboy$, the Kid LAROI, Charli XCX, Labrinth, Underworld, Diljit Dosanjh, Eladio Carrión, SOFI TUKKER, Remi Wolf, Chromeo, Tale Of Us, Yung Lean, Mura Masa, Yaeji, 070 Shake, Björk, Kali Uchis, Porter Robinson, Fisher + Chris Lake, A Boogie, Dominic Fike, Jai Paul, Jackson Wang, Latto, the Blaze, Willow, GloRilla, Jai Wolf, Boris Brejcha, 2manydjs, Christine and the Queens, Rae Sremmurd

This mix of big names is where you’ll find all the legacy acts with names like the Chemical Brothers, who last played in 1999, the first year of the festival, Blondie, and Björk, who was the first female artist to headline Coachella. There’s a few names in this list that I listen to occasionally who I plan to check out at the festival. I can’t help but be excited about this small group of legendary artists, but I can’t hype myself too much because Blondie and the Chemical Brothers both play Friday night and I work until 8 p.m. From this list, I’m most excited that LCD Soundsystem frontman, James Murphy, will be playing with his side project Despacio all weekend according to the poster. Another notable from this mix for me is indie rock supergroup, boygenius, composed of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus. They don’t often perform together so this should be a special one in Indio. Alternative rock band Gorillaz, who last played the festival when they headlined in 2010, will be fun to check out as well. I’ll also probably want to check out Wet Leg, MUNA, Chromeo, Remi Wolf, Porter Robinson, and Jai Wolf if I get the chance too. I’m sure I’ll discover other indie/alternative rock or electronic artists to listen to in this mix but for now, these are the names that stick out.

The Undercards: Two Friends, YUNGBLUD, Jamie Jones, Ashnikko, Malaa, TV Girl, Whyte Fang, Doechii, BENEE, Idris Elba, Magdalena Bay, Vintage Culture, Domi & JD Beck, Dombresky, DannyLux, Nora En Pure, Overmono, Uncle Waffles, ¿Téo?, Mochakk, Gabriels, Saba, Dennis Cruz + PAWSA, Soul Glo, Lava La Rue, Sleaford Mods, the Comet is Coming, Oliver Koletzki, Kyle Watson, the Murder Capital, Chris Stussy, Jupiter & Okwess, Lewis OfMan, Juliet Mendoza, Desert Cahuilla Bird Singers, Marc Rebillet, Hiatus Kaiyote, Dinner Party, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Elderbrook, Kenny Beats, Flo Milli, Keinemusik, Snail Mail, Rebelution, Hot Since 82, EARTHGANG, UMI, Shenseea, the Breeders, Monolink, Ethel Cain, Bakar, Donavan’s Yard, the Linda Lindas, Sunset Rollercoaster, NIA ARCHIVES, Jan Blomqvist, DRAMA, WhoMadeWho, Destroy Boys, Elyanna, DJ Tennis, Carlita, AG Club, Mathame, BRATTY, Horsegirl, Colyn, Chloé Caillet, Scowl, Francis Mercier, Weyes Blood, Alex G, DPR LIVE + DPR IAN, Stick Figure, Adam Beyer, Big Wild, MK, Cannons, Romy, Gordo, Fousheé, Noname, Sasha & John Digweed, Sudan Archives, Knocked Loose, Camelphat, IDK, Sasha Alex Sloan, Mareux, 1999.ODDS, Pi’erre Bourne, Cassian, Joy Crookes, TSHA, El Michels Affair, Paris Texas, LP Giobbi, Momma, Ali Sethi, Minus the Light, Los Bitchos, Conexión Divina, Airrica

The undercards this year have a handful of names I’d like to see, such as YUNGBLUD, who was scheduled to play in 2020. I missed him at ACL this past fall and I like a few of his songs so I would love to check out his Coachella set. I’ve listened to electronic artists, Two Friends, here and there as well and hope I can catch their performance. However, it’s another Friday set and everything Friday will be TBD for me until the set times get released. I think out of all the artists playing this year I actually listen to Elderbrook the most. I’ll likely want to check out Alex G too. I started getting in to him in anticipation of his 2020 appearance, but that was short lived. Big Wild, MK, and Sasha Alex Sloan are a few other artists I’d like to catch as well.

Coachella has always been ahead of the game when it comes to new music and pushing a multitude of genres. Unfortunately for me, the kind of music I listen to isn’t what’s hot these days. Like I’ve mentioned in years past, Coachella has become a place of music discovery for me. I wish I could hear a ton of bands I already love and listen to, but this does help me stay fresh. I usually have a few acts that I love. This year though Paul missed the mark for me. I’m still incredibly excited. Even when the lineup isn’t great, it’s still great. It’s Coachella. It can’t be bad. The vibes are always immaculate. There will be surprises, guest appearances, and celebs for days. I think the fashion faded away from flower crowns, but we’ll certainly see the finest in festival fashion come April. I can’t wait to be out there. Until then, look forward to weekly blog posts previewing all these bands I just mentioned. Happy Coachella season everyone! Let’s get back to the desert!

Coachella 2022 Re-Cap

Well…I’m back. We did it. Coachella happened and it was as normal as could be. I look back on my time there over the last 4 weeks and feel so grateful for all of it. It’s still as magical as ever. I realized during Coachella how I can be alone on the polo fields and never feel lonely. There’s always something to see and do there. I feel like a lot of festivals are like this, but with Coachella there’s just a comfort for me that doesn’t always exist in other places. The art was great. The fashion was back. The vibes were immaculate and the music was unforgettable. So here’s what I was able to see over the two weekends….

The hype for Weekend 1 lasted from the weekend before I arrived until Day 1 Weekend 1. It was a little chaotic at times on the work front because we had a lack of staff, but my pals and I stepped up to make it work and the team that I did have was amazing. The biggest surprise of Weekend 1 came when the set times were released on Thursday and Arcade Fire was listed for a 6:45 p.m. set at Mojave. I couldn’t even believe it was real! So yes Arcade Fire played Weekend 1 and I missed it because I wasn’t onsite until 8:30 p.m. The “livestream” didn’t air the set until 9 p.m either, when I was vibing at the festival. It was okay though! I was able to see Phoebe Bridgers and Harry Styles including the Shania Twain appearance. I missed Bishop Briggs and Lost Kings as I expected due to the early set times. Lane 8 overlapped Harry Styles so that became a Weekend 2 set for me as the Danimal and I saw the beginning of Lane 8, hopped over to Harry to see who he would bring out (Lizzo!!!), and then returned to see the end of the Lane 8 set.

The music I wanted to see on Saturday was abundant. Saturday Weekend 1 began with seeing Beach Goons with Hailey before she started her shift and then followed up with Wallows on Outdoor at 4 p.m. and Emo Nite at Sahara right after Wallows. There was a bit of overlap between the two but I couldn’t bring myself to leave Wallows. I’m now very into the band with the kid from 13 Reasons Why (he should quit acting and just do music in my opinion now) and am already making plans to see their Philly show in June. They were too good live. After they ended though, I met up with some friends at Emo Nite. It was extremely cool to see the masses singing along to all the emo classics. Tom Higgenson from Plain White T’s made an appearance to play “Hey There Delilah,” which earned a huge sing along from the crowd. My plan was to see girl in red after Emo Nite but I needed to return back to the Safari home base to start on some work for Weekend 2. Girl in red became my Weekend 2 priority and it was one of my favorites after going back to back with Wallows again with the Danimal. Yes, I also decided to see Wallows again Weekend 2. Again I am now VERY into them. L’Imperatrice was another Weekend 2 set for me (super fun and full of dancing) after a recommendation from my buddy Noah. I also caught the Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach appearance at Emo Nite Weekend 2 and heard him sing “Last Resort.”

I needed to see Turnstile Weekend 1 as I had to meet up with my long time friend Chelsea to see one set as we usually do. It was Turnover in 2019 and Turnstile in 2022. Hailey also joined halfway through the set and so did my friend Lexi. It was definitely full of hardcore tunes and plenty of moshing. I saw the end of Disclosure both weekends with a little more of the set during Weekend 2. I definitely danced along to “Latch” twice though. I saw Flume both weekends as well, but my highlight of Flume came during Weekend 1 when I saw Dave Bayley aka Wavey Davey from Glass Animals hanging out in the viewing area. Hailey went over to him to say hey and he ended up telling her they were there to make an appearance during Denzel Curry’s set the next day. At that point, my Weekend 1 Sunday night plans changed from Jamie xx to Denzel Curry because Glass Animals are everything.

Late Saturday night I saw Hot Chip Weekend 1 and most of Billie Eilish. Weekend 2 I saw Caribou and made the mistake of leaving early. Billie Eilish brought out Hayley Williams from Paramore. They covered Misery Business and I missed it. I was so upset, but the fact that it was acoustic made it a little better. It was still one of the biggest talking points of Weekend 2.

Sunday’s afternoon sets alternated for me on Weekend 1 and Weekend 2. I saw Olivia O’Brien Weekend 1 and part of Hayden James Weekend 2 (a work meeting held me back from the full set). Olivia O’Brien might have brought out Jake Paul at the end of her set after ending it with “Josslyn” and I might have hated it. Then I hit Maggie Rogers set both weekends as well. Maggie Rogers sunset set happened and I was fully immersed in it. On Sunday night, I saw the beginning of Duke Dumont Weekend 1 and the end of the set Weekend 2. Weekend 1 we decided to hit up the tiki bar instead of sticking around for the rest of Duke so I finally got there after 4 years! Then it was Denzel Curry time Weekend 1 and Jamie xx for me Weekend 2. I saw the full sets of both, but the highlight of Denzel Curry was hearing Tokyo Drifting with Glass Animals. The highlight of Jamie xx was hanging and dancing with a bunch of my Safari fam. Both sets were a great time. On Weekend 1, we took in all of Swedish House Mafia and the Weeknd’s combined set and I hung around for the end of it Weekend 2 as well because I wasn’t ready for Coachella to be over (never am). I soaked up my last moments on the polo fields wandering around, listening to music, and taking pictures for the mems of two incredible weekends back in Indio.

After a third weekend, aka Stagecoach weekend, I’m finally back home and experiencing the Coachella Valley withdrawal, but it needed to come to an end at some point. It’s still my favorite place to work and I feel like I could do it every weekend. My body, however, would argue. I realized yesterday that this year has a lot of new music releases from some of my favorite artists so stay tuned for album reviews going forward as I’m already behind on them. That’s it for Coachella though. Three years in the making and we finally got to do it again. Until next time, Coachella forever and always!

Coachella Band Preview: Duke Dumont

Well, here we are. Coachella begins Friday. FINALLY! We made it guys. April 21, 2019 until April 15, 2022. 1,090 days. This feels surreal, but it’s happening. I’m so so happy. There’s a few more artists I wanted to preview, but as always I need to just narrow it down and choose one. This last week of the longest Coachella wait ever, we’ve got an electronic DJ who has been putting out music since 2006, Duke Dumont.

Adam George Dyment, known professionally as Duke Dumont, first started his career in the late 2000’s by remixing pop songs. He hails from Harrow, England which is in the suburbs of London. His first single, “Need U”, came in 2013 and he’s been simultaneously releasing original music and remixes since. His single “I Got U” which was also released in 2013 was even nominated for a Grammy. Despite his lengthy career, his debut album came out in 2020. Up until that, point he only dropped EPs.

Duke Dumont is first and foremost a house artist. Some may say he dabbles in deep house or tech house but honestly, I define him as just pure house. He played his first Coachella in 2015 at the Sahara tent, and even though I might have been there, I definitely did not see him, nor did I step foot in Sahara. Obviously you know that changed by the following spring when I got into Flume, but electronic music at that time for me wasn’t a thing. I’ve definitely progressed and I’ll likely be at Sahara several times this year. I would bet that we’ll see Duke Dumont again at Sahara. He plays Sunday and I would expect another night time set. You might only have a few days left, but here’s what you wanna have on repeat, if you’re planning on seeing him:

  1. Ocean Drive
  2. I Got U
  3. Real Life
  4. Red Light Green Light
  5. The Power
  6. Need U
  7. Won’t Look Back
  8. Inhale
  9. The Giver (Reprise)
  10. Therapy

So that’s it for this round of Coachella previews. Hopefully we’re back again next year, but you never really know what can happen as we all learned. I’ve truly been soaking it all in as I’m currently out in Indio hard at work on Weekend 1! So far it’s been incredible to be back here. It’s always been my rule to live every Coachella like your first Coachella, but this time I urge you to live this year like your first Coachella and your last. Basically live it up as best as you can. We finally can and the vibes are gonna be more immaculate than ever. Happy Coachella! We deserve it!

Coachella Band Preview: Turnstile

Only another 2 weeks before people from all over the world descend upon the fields at the Empire Polo Club. The stages are being built as we speak while all attendees get in any final preparations for their time in the desert. My hype level is high as I leave in just under a week from now. I still can’t believe it. In the last few months, I’ve been consistently listening to bands and artists I want to see at Coachella. This next band is one that I’ve recently been trying to get into in anticipation of seeing them at the festival. Their hardcore punk style of music is a genre I haven’t listened to much since I was in high school and college, but I kind of like it. They’re Turnstile from Baltimore, MD.

The band formed in 2010 and released their debut album Nonstop Feeling in 2015. The band is comprised of Brendan Yates, Franz Lyons, Daniel Fang, Brady Ebert, and Pat McCrory. They released two EPs prior with Pressure to Succeed in 2011 and Step 2 Rhythm in 2013. Their third EP Move Thru Me came out in 2016 followed by their second full length album Time & Space in 2018. Two more EPs Share A View (2020) and Turnstile Love Connection (2021) were released before their latest album Glow On dropped this past September. The album debuted at #30 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart and was listed as #8 on Rolling Stone’s list of Top Albums from 2021. For a hardcore band, that doesn’t happen very often. The hype surrounding the band has built up over the years, and it’s for good reason. They’re putting out great music. They have a much harder sound being a hardcore punk band, but also remind me of Turnover and other modern alternative rock bands.

Turnstile plays on Saturday during Coachella. I expect them to play in the heat of the afternoon sun. I would guess you might catch them at Mojave, Outdoor, or the Main stage depending on what time they play. I would love to see them at Sonora, similar to Turnover’s 2019 set, but I think they’re a little more popular than Turnover and will likely draw a bigger crowd. The only requirement for their set is that there needs to be enough room for a mosh pit. Their set will likely have the sweatiest and hardest dancing crowd. Sahara and Yuma aren’t even a competition. If you’re trying to mosh at Coachella, here are the Turnstile songs you should be listening to:

  1. MYSTERY
  2. BLACKOUT
  3. Real Thing
  4. HOLIDAY
  5. Gravity
  6. Generator
  7. I Don’t Wanna Be Blind
  8. ALIEN LOVE CALL
  9. UNDERWATER BOI
  10. Keep It Moving

Coachella Band Preview: Lost Kings, Flume, Emo Nite, Maggie Rogers, & Hayden James

In exactly one month, the 21st installment of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival begins in Indio, California at the Empire Polo Club, 81-800 Avenue 51. It’s all come down to this. One month left in the almost 36 month wait, once all is said and done. Since I returned from Mexico, I’ve been listening to my Coachella 2022 playlist almost every day. Over the last several Coachellas since I attended in 2015, the lineup has strayed away from my music interests. What was once a largely indie rock festival now spans across genres. My music interests have developed as well. I mean I was someone who never step foot in the Sahara tent in 2015. Coachella has become a festival of music discovery for me. There’s usually a good handful of artists I know and at least listen to on the lineup, but in recent years I’ve felt like I’ve used Coachella to become more interested in artists I don’t listen to as much or to discover new artists entirely. It’s broadened my interest in Arkells, Kungs, Maggie Rogers, and Petit Biscuit, and has helped me to discover artists like Dermot Kennedy, Daft Punk (Couchella 2020 was a thing!), and Dillon Francis. This week though I’m highlighting a bunch of artists and one style of music I’ve known and have liked for a while.

The first artists on this list are Lost Kings, the electronic music duo who have been releasing music since 2014. I previewed them as part of the 2020 lineup before shit hit the fan, so you can check out that blog here for more info about the electronic deejays. Since 2020, they released a new EP It’s Not You, It’s Me in December 2021. The EP contains all of their singles released over 2020 & 2021. Lost Kings play Friday to kick off the weekend and I’ll bet you’ll catch them and their progressive house style music sometime in the afternoon at the Sahara tent. These are some of the songs you’ll wanna know before you catch their set:

  1. Phone Down
  2. Oops (I’m Sorry)
  3. When We Were Young
  4. Don’t Kill My High
  5. First Love
  6. Anti-Everything
  7. You
  8. Stuck
  9. Look At Us Now
  10. Don’t Call

Flume is no stranger to this blog. Since 2016, I’ve considered Flume one of my favorite electronic artists. In fact, Flume, also known as Harley Streton, was the first deejay to get me into electronic music. I may have liked a song or two before that point, but I really found an interest in most of Flume’s music after listening to some of his tracks before volunteering at and attending Sweetlife Music Festival in 2016. Flume was also supposed to play Coachella in 2020. Read that preview here. It would have been his third appearance, but thankfully he’s back on the lineup in 2022 and will be making his third appearance this year instead. Prior to what would have been Coachella 2020, Flume released his track “The Difference” ft. Toro y Moi. He’s dropped a few remixes since, but released a brand new single, “Say Nothing” ft. MAY-A, a few weeks ago. Flume will be dropping a new album, Palaces, in May and I anticipate Coachella will probably get some new tunes as a result. Flume plays Saturday night and I would suspect he’ll be moving to the Main Stage this time around. His 2016 set was at Outdoor Theatre. These are the Flume songs you should be listening to so you’re ready for Saturday night in Indio:

  1. The Difference
  2. Say Nothing
  3. Rushing Back
  4. Never Be Like You
  5. Say It
  6. Holdin’ On
  7. Sleepless
  8. Drop the Game
  9. Insane
  10. Smoke & Retribution

When the 2020 lineup came out, I was both stoked and intrigued to see Emo Nite listed as an act for the festival. For someone who grew up listening to emo bands and who has attended a few emo nights, I’ve never actually been to the official Emo Nite that started them all. I’m excited to finally see what this is all about at Coachella and who makes an appearance at the festival. Here is the Emo Nite preview I wrote in 2020. Emo Nite is slated for Saturday at Coachella 2022. I would anticipate it to be at one of the smaller stages like Gobi or Mojave. It may even be at Sonora, which would would be the perfect setting for Emo Nite as an all enclosed air conditioned space where everyone can mosh freely. Although it’s kind of tough to prepare for Emo Nite because there’s tons of emo music, here are a few staples that have a good chance of being played:

  1. I’m Not Okay (I Promise) -My Chemical Romance
  2. Dear Maria, Count Me In -All Time Low
  3. Misery Business -Paramore
  4. I Write Sins Not Tragedies -Panic! At the Disco
  5. Sugar We’re Going Down -Fall Out Boy
  6. The Best of Me -The Starting Line
  7. Ocean Avenue -Yellowcard
  8. MakeDamnSure -Taking Back Sunday
  9. Hands Down -Dashboard Confessional
  10. The Great Escape -Boys Like Girls

Coachella 2019 was the first time I saw Maggie Rogers perform. Honestly, I haven’t seen her since, but I’ve continued to listen to her since the last Coachella, one of my favorite festival experiences to date. Maggie Rogers was a small part of that because of her song “Back in My Body.” I became obsessed with the song while I was in Indio for three weeks and it was so cool to see her perform it live. The song now reminds me of that time in my life and working/being at Coachella. Since my preview of Maggie Rogers for the 2019 festival, she has released a new single, “Loved You For A Long Time,” and an album of old recordings, Notes from the Archives: Recordings 2011-2016. She’s recently been dropping mixtape EP’s with songs from both albums. A few weeks ago she reported that her latest album is done, but there’s no set release date as of yet. This makes me think she’ll be debuting a new song or two at Coachella. Maggie Rogers plays Sunday and I’ll be damned if she doesn’t play a sunset set at Main Stage or Outdoor Theatre. She played the Mojave tent in 2019 and it was far too small. I expect her to move up to a bigger stage just as her name moved up on the lineup. Here’s some Maggie Rogers songs you’ll want to know beforehand:

  1. Alaska
  2. Love You For A Long Time
  3. Light On
  4. Fallingwater
  5. Back in My Body
  6. Celadon & Gold
  7. Burning
  8. Give A Little
  9. Say It
  10. On + Off

My first exposure to Hayden James came in 2018 during EDC Las Vegas. If you’ve following my blog in the past few years, you’d know his song “Numb” became my top listened to song of 2018 too. Like many of the artists I mentioned before, he was slated to play Coachella in 2020 and now returns for 2022. I had the chance to preview him two years ago, since I was just as stoked to see him perform again then as I am now. Since 2020, the Australian deejay has released a handful of singles and a DJ mix. He’s also put out so much more music since I last saw him perform in 2018 at Electric Forest. I can’t wait to have the chance to watch him again. He plays Sunday at Coachella, and I can bet you’ll catch him at the Sahara tent. I’m predicting a late afternoon, early evening set. It might even be a sunset set. Here’s some old and new songs you’ll wanna check out before heading to his Sunday show:

  1. Something About You
  2. Numb
  3. Just Friends
  4. Foolproof
  5. Rather Be With You
  6. Hold Tight
  7. On Your Own
  8. Waiting For Nothing
  9. Better Together
  10. Just A Lover

These five Coachella 2022 acts have all been part of this blog at one point or another, whether they were previewed for 2020 or played in the past. The thing they all have in common though is that if I already previewed them once, then I like them and I’m hyped to see them play. I’ve been listening to all these artists for the past week, along with many others I’ve already previewed. Time is winding down. Dust off your flower crowns because before you know it, we’ll be back. Coachella will be back. The vibes, the tunes, the fashion, the art, the food, the sunsets, the views, and everything else you love about Coachella will be here before you know it. Get ready and keep listening. We’re almost there!

Coachella Band Preview: FINNEAS

From the day after the last Coachella ended in April 2019 until now, I’ve been waiting to go back. Obviously March 2020 put a huge damper on the yearly spring tradition, and since then it’s just been a waiting game. I spent so many times thinking about Coachella, looking at pictures, and wondering what the day would be like when I finally get to go back and hoping by then it would be a normal Coachella. Now here we are, I leave for Coachella in just under a month and the festival begins in 5 weeks tomorrow. 1,090 days since the last Coachella once Day 1 Weekend 1 2022 hits. It’s unreal. I still keep holding my breath as I prep by listening to acts playing the festival this year, watching the Coachella Documentary from 2020, booking my travel, and planning out what I want to wear. With plenty of festivals now happening and three years since the last installment, Coachella seems imminent. I truly can’t believe we’ve made it this far. With the amount of time left, it’s really time to intensify the prep so this week I’m previewing an artist I’ve known about for a few years who, in my opinion, doesn’t get enough credit.

Finneas Baird O’Connell really has his claim to fame through his sister, Billie Eilish. He writes and produces a ton of her music along with other artists. He also writes and records his own music under the name FINNEAS. Before taking on his own project, he was the lead singer in the band, The Slightlys and took on some acting projects in the early 2010’s, including having a few appearances on the musical based TV show Glee. Since 2016, he has been recording and releasing his own music though. He released his first EP Blood Harmony in 2019 and his first studio album Optimist just last year. His music style is considered pop/alternative. After listening to FINNEAS for the first time in 2019, I would definitely consider him a pop artist. Also, despite the fact that he writes Billie’s music, I really do prefer his stuff over his sister’s. I knew once I discovered this that I wanted to listen to him more, but never really made the effort to do so. I guess there’s no better time than the present and no better festival to do it for than Coachella.

Billie Eilish is Saturday night’s headliner and usually a Billie festival appearance equates a FINNEAS festival appearance (sans Coachella 2019 when Billie made her first Polo Fields appearance). He plays a Sunday set. I’d expect a Sunday afternoon appearance from the older O’Connell sibling. I would also expect a Gobi or Mojave set from him. His set will likely be far less crowded than the set he’ll be a part of on Saturday night, but nonetheless, will be just as good. Here’s what you should be listening to in preparation for FINNEAS:

  1. Let’s Fall in Love for the Night
  2. Break My Heart Again
  3. I Lost A Friend
  4. Till Forever Falls Apart
  5. What They’ll Say About Us
  6. Angel
  7. A Concert Six Months From Now
  8. I Don’t Miss You At All
  9. Claudia
  10. New Girl

Coachella Band Preview: Jamie xx

Two things: it’s almost March and I’m almost home from my winter in Mexico! This means one thing: Coachella is a little over a month away after almost 1,100 days. Simple math. It makes my Coachella motto all that morning meaningful. I’ve always said to live every Coachella like your first Coachella. This time live every Coachella like your first Coachella and your last Coachella. Live it up hard. You never know. It just might be a while before your next one. Safe to say it’s been that way for this week’s preview artist. He last performed solo at the event in 2015 and performed with his band The xx in 2017. He goes by the name Jamie xx.

James Thomas Smith, or Jamie xx, is an English DJ/record producer. As I mentioned, he’s a member of indie pop band The xx, but it was shortly after the band’s formation that he began remixing tracks leading to his solo work. Along with remixing tracks by The xx, he began remixing music of several artists such as Florence + the Machine, Adele, and Glasser. His first album, We’re New Here, was entirely remixes. It came out in February 2011. His second and first original album, In Colour, was released in May 2015. He hasn’t really released much new music since then, aside from a single in 2020. The xx, however, last put out an album in 2017.

It’s definitely been a while since the last polo fields visit for the electronic artist who specializes in a style that incorporates future garage, post-dubstep, and house. He takes to the stage on Sunday in the desert. I’d imagine he would play the Sahara tent, but I could very well be wrong. He may be on the Coachella main stage or behind the booth at Outdoor. I would love a Jamie xx sunset set, and I feel like I’m not alone in this so I’ll be crossing my fingers that it happens. I’m also hoping that there may even be an appearance from Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim, the other two members of The xx. It would be so sick to get the band back together for their first appearance in several years. To get ready for whatever the Jamie xx set brings, I’ll be listening to:

  1. Loud Places
  2. I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)
  3. Gosh
  4. See Saw
  5. Idontknow
  6. Obvs
  7. Girl
  8. On hold (Jamie xx remix)
  9. You’ve Got the Love (Jamie xx remix)
  10. Stranger in a Room

Coachella Band Preview: girl in red

Now that it’s February, we’re closing in on the two month mark until Weekend 1! It feels so weird writing this anticipating Coachella like it’s any other year. It’s not though. We haven’t been thriving on the polo fields since 2019. So much has happened and changed since then, but at the same time, having Coachella back will feel like another part of normal life has returned. I keep writing these blogs like I have for years, but god knows I’m so much more excited and emotional about getting back to Coachella this year than I ever was. That being said, this week I’m stoked to preview an artist I didn’t know much about when the 2020 lineup came out. She was on it but I had no idea at the time. Thankfully over the last two years I got to know and love girl in red.

When girl in red was booked for Coachella 2020, she was up and coming. She was an undercard. But thanks to tik tok and lesbians everywhere, girl in red has since exploded. Last spring girl in red, aka Marie Ulven Ringheim, released her debut album, if i could make it go quiet. The album reached top 10 spots on music charts worldwide. I was able to catch a few songs of her ACL set during Weekend 2. She played the main stage early in the day. She wasn’t drawing a huge crowd at the time, but I guarantee she will at Coachella. This time her name has moved up on the lineup poster and I suspect she’ll be playing a late afternoon or early evening set on the main stage or at Outdoor.

Since I first wrote about girl in red, as I already mentioned, she has gotten a lot bigger. Over the last year, she’s stuck to the festival circuit, in support of her debut album. Her name has been rising higher on every festival lineup though. She has a completely sold out spring North American tour lined up that includes her stops in Indio, before she heads back overseas for the European leg of the tour. The European leg is completely sold out too.

girl in red is an act that you won’t want to miss in April. She fills the indie rock card that now seems a lot more rare at Coachella. However, she’s part of that new wave of Gen Z indie rock, so you’d expect a lot more younger fans at her set. She’s definitely going to crush her first Coachella appearance though. Here’s a few tracks that you’ll need to know before you catch her:

  1. we fell in love in october
  2. Serotonin
  3. i wanna be your girlfriend
  4. bad idea!
  5. midnight love
  6. girls
  7. I’ll Call You Mine
  8. summer depression
  9. Rue
  10. You Stupid Bitch

Coachella Band Preview: Olivia O’Brien

It’s the last week of January which means we’re 2 1/2 months away from Weekend 1 of Coachella 2022. I’m finishing my 4 week run in Mexico and will be back for about a week and a half before spending another 2 1/2 weeks down in Cancún putting on a few more events. Hopefully I can prepare some blogs before heading back, because as I’ve found out, it’s really tough to write band previews down here. In fact, it’s taken me almost 3 days to write this. Anyway, time to focus on music and today it’s all about pop artist Olivia O’Brien.

I first heard of Olivia O’Brien around the time of Lollapalooza when my friend Hailey wanted to see her Lolla Aftershow. It was the same night as All Time Low and as you may know, we ended up there. The next day I ended up helping Olivia out before she entered the festival site because she forgot her wristband in her hotel room. When she walked in, I yelled to her “You’re gonna crush it today!” and of course that made her smile. She thanked me and continued on her way.

Hailey then pushed me to listen to Olivia. She made me a playlist and included one of her songs, as well as recommending a few to me. I can’t say I got super into her, but I know a few songs. I plan to listen to her in preparation for Coachella though because I’d love to check out her set.

Olivia O’Brien got her start around the age of 13 by posting a cover of a Gnash song on SoundCloud. After getting attention from Gnash, himself, he invited her to record her original song “hate u, love u” with him in Los Angeles. The single peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, which eventually lead Olivia to a record deal.

Olivia released her first EP It’s Not That Deep in 2017 amongst multiple singles over the years until she dropped her first album Was It Even Real? in April 2019. She followed up the album with the EP It Was A Sad Fucking Summer in November 2019. She has since released two more EPs The Results of My Poor Judgment in February 2020 and Episodes: Season 1 in June 2021.

Olivia O’Brien’s music style is pop mixed with R&B. In my opinion, she has a powerful, edgy pop style with an R&B vibe. It comes through in so many of her hits like “hate u, love u”, “Fuck Feelings”, “Josslyn” and “Love Myself”.

I think it’s very likely that you can catch Olivia O’Brien at one of the smaller stages this spring. She’s probably playing either Gobi or Mojave on Sunday. I would anticipate a mid-afternoon set as well, but you never know. Either way, I’m trying to catch her performance. I wouldn’t anticipate huge crowds yet, but I know she’s popular amongst the young crowds attending the festival. If you’re trying to see her, here’s a few songs you should listen to:

  1. “hate u, love u”
  2. “Josslyn”
  3. “Fuck Feelings”
  4. “Love Myself”
  5. “No More Friends”
  6. “RIP”
  7. “Tequilawine”
  8. “NOW”
  9. “Fade Out”
  10. “Empty”

Nochella 2020

It’s been several days since the news finally broke about the year’s biggest party in the Indio desert being cancelled. 3 months ago I would have been absolutely devastated to hear about Coachella being cancelled. In fact I spent a weekend crying about it. Over the first few weeks after Coachella got postponed and live music every where ceased to exist, it became evident that Coachella in October was probably not going to be a thing. I stopped thinking about it. I hosted my own Couchella during the Coachella weekends. I watched the new documentary and decorated a room in my house like the polo fields. I even watched former live Coachella sets. I tried to celebrate Coachella as it should be celebrated in the best way I could.

Even though I expected this to happen, I’m still bummed about the news. This year has really become the year without live music and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. Times are so strange right now. Life feels so weird and everything is upside down. I actually prefer being home these days since at least it’s comfortable. Home is the world I’ve always known, but I still miss the rest of the world as I knew it too. I miss the days when two weeks in the southern California desert listening to music with thousands of people on fields at a polo club would cure any similar heart break.

Time felt like it moved so slowly in March. Then it started to speed up. Now, 3 months later, it feels like we’re 3 months closer to be able to live, breathe, exist, and listen as we’ve done for our entire lives. Coachella 2021 dates have already been set, but even next April is in question right now. The uncertainty of it all feels like someone has taken a bat to my stomach and knocked all the air out of me. The only thing we know is that live music will be back the way we knew it at some point, we just don’t know how long it will take and I really hate thinking about it. I’m just trying to focus on right now and enjoy what I have in the present.

However, until it’s back, I’ll also still be here yearning for the days spent admiring flower crowns, sweating in the afternoon sun at the Outdoor Theatre, capturing pictures of art installations and that iconic ferris wheel, losing myself to the electronic beats of the Sahara tent, relaxing in the air conditioned Arctic Dome, drinking yerba mate and living my best life with my co-workers, indulging at catering, appreciating the palm trees and snow peaked mountains, eating In-N-Out Burger, catching one of my favorite bands at sunset, spying celebrities, witnessing ground-breaking headlining performances at the main stage, and getting lost in the good vibes and good tunes that only Coachella has to offer. We’ll be back there some day and I can’t wait for that moment. Can’t wait to see you again Coachella. You know I’ll be prepped and ready and I hope you will be too.