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Anticipation Building Towards Coachella Festival
Written by Zachary Fenell   
Friday, 23 March 2012 19:35

One weekend cannot contain all the fanfare for this year’s Coachella Festival and accordingly neither can one preview. Back in January we looked ahead to Coachella 2012 with the article “Coachella Legend Continues Growing.” Coachella 2012 takes place over two consecutive sold out three-day weekends, Friday, April 13th through Sunday, April 15th and Friday, April 20th through Sunday, April 22nd, at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA.  Given over 100 bands will play the two consecutive sold out events understandably a comprehensive glimpse into the festival requires multiple posts.

As noted in our January preview headliners for this year’s Coachella Festival include Radiohead and Dr. Dre, two artists who enjoyed success in the 1990s. Radiohead main events Coachella Saturday, April 14th and Saturday, April 21st while Dr. Dre caps off Sunday, April 15th and Sunday, April 22nd. In a recent article Los Angeles Times’ Todd Martens mentions a number of supporting acts possess histories dating back to the 1990s too. For instance, former Neutral Milk Hotel front man Jeff Magnum and UK’s Pulp both tasted triumph two decades ago.

Todd Martens recalls Jeff Magnum and Neutral Milk Hotel finding, “a niche audience in the mid-90s.” Magnum playing Coachella feels like a big deal because as Guest of a Guest indicates on their Coachella artist profiles Magnum pretty much refused to do any public shows for years. Basically Coachella continues the musician’s reemergence. Neutral Milk Hotel fans can rejoice knowing the concerts Magnum played since returning to the public eye feature a number of old Neutral Milk Hotel tracks. Jeff Magnum takes to the stage at the Empire Polo Club Saturday, April 14th and Saturday, April 21st.    

In his Los Angeles Times piece Marten compares Pulp to bands like Oasis and Blur. Glancing at Pulp’s band history a devotion to music by front man Jarvis Cocker and violinist/guitarist Russell Senior becomes apparent. Cocker actually started Pulp three plus decades ago in 1978. Senior joined the group in the mid-1980s. Despite many lineup changes and an inability to stand out Pulp kept pushing forward with Cocker and Senior remaining at the band’s core. 1995 saw their dedication receive vindication with the release of their fifth album Different Class. The song “Common People” captured the second slot on UK’s music charts and helped place Pulp in a position to headline England’s Glastonbury Festival. Pulp plays Coachella Friday, April 13th and Friday, April 20th.             

While to this point I’ve focused on acts acquainted with the 1990s, don’t be mislead. Coachella will be more than a throwback to a time where you paid for the Internet by the minute. Headliner for Friday, April 13th and Friday, April 20th The Black Keys illustrates this. Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney joined forces 10 years ago to create The Black Keys. Yet the tandem didn’t really start experiencing great success until the past few years. The Black Keys earned spots on the Billboard 200 Albums of the Year charts in 2010 and 2011. Last year two songs from the duo, “Lonely Boy” and “Tighten Up,” charted on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Other triumphant musicians from this decade who will look to make their presence known at Coachella include Bon Iver and M83. Bon Iver formed in 2007 and scored their first Billboard 200 Albums of the Year chart spot last year. You might recognize the indie folk/rock outfit for the music they supplied to Twilight New Moon‘s soundtrack or from an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2011. Bon Iver performs Saturday, April 14th and Saturday, April 21st.

M83, like Pulp, adds another international element to this year’s Coachella lineup. Frenchmen Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau compose M83. Together the two artists know how to occupy one’s attention span. When asked about M83 Alternative Addiction’s Peter Fenn commented, “M83 is completely unique in style… There's really nothing else like what Anthony Gonzalez does. Each song lays out a sonically distinct musical landscape that is unparalleled elsewhere.” You can test this analysis for yourself by seeing M83 live at Indio’s Empire Polo Club Friday, April 13th and Friday, April 20th.

Beyond the acts themselves, the consecutive weekend format implemented this year supplies further intrigue to Coachella as The Orange County Register’s David Hall points out. Hall posed the question recently in an article about whether the artists will perform the same sets each weekend or if they will change things up. The question came to mind after Radiohead played two different sets in two straight days before the kickoff of 2012 SXSW Festival in Austin, TX. If in April most Coachella acts follow Radiohead’s SXSW example, the festival should provide some uniquely memorable sets.

Unfortunately, between our initial 2012 Coachella preview published in January and now no more tickets have been made available for the sold out festival. If you didn’t get your passes before they sold out in three hours, you’ll need to stay on the hunt for opportunities to win tickets. So keep an ear on the radio and an eye on social media in order to spot contests which can place you at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA either Friday, April 13th through Sunday, April 15th or Friday, April 20th through Sunday, April 22nd.    


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