Coachella 2014: What to see and do

DON'T MISS
Critics' recommendations: Don't miss these Weekend 2 shows.
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Coachella 2014: Bryan Ferry

Bryan Ferry

Friday | 9:15 p.m. - 10:15 p.m. | Mojave

What will he play? We'll put in our request: "Same Old Scene," and make it the extended version. Ferry, best known as the suave seducer for Roxy Music, is responsible for some of the most enduring British rock music of the 1970s and '80s. Songs such as "More Than This," "Mother of Pearl," "Angel Eyes" and "Avalon" bridged the oft-battling genres of rock, R&B and disco with elegance and grace. Standing boldly front and center, Ferry crooned over grooves and melodies with the effortlessness of someone who inherently understood the essence of rhythmic assimilation. Ferry still has that twinkle in his eye, which should shimmer a bit more during his expected dusk performance. — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times
Coachella 2014: Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding

Friday | 6:40 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. | Coachella

Glittery, dream pop that blends ethereal hooks and emotionally raw lyrics spun over electro, folk and pop sounds makes Ellie one of my favorites to emerge from the most recent British invasion. She's even better playing to festival crowds, whether she's covering Kanye West on the drums or strumming a folksy pop song on the guitar. — Gerrick D. Kennedy

Credit: Simone Joyner / Getty Images
Coachella 2014: Goat

GOAT

Friday | 1:25 p.m. - 2:05 p.m. | Outdoor

Maybe no other band on this bill will earn you quite as many cool points among indie rock's guardians of musical obscurity — you know who you are — than these costumed weirdos from Sweden. A deranged blend of acid-fried Afrobeat, krautrock and psychedelic, they recently signed to Sub Pop. Whatever crowd they gather is going to get hot. Costumes optional. — Chris Barton

Credit: Tammy Karlsson / Rocket Recordings
Coachella 2014: Haim

HAIM

Friday | 4:55 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. | Outdoor

One of the most promising bands to come out of Los Angeles in years, the sisters of Haim burst into America's consciousness last year on the wings of their infectious guitar pop. Delivered via its 2013 debut, "Days Are Gone," Alana, Danielle and Este Haim, along with drummer Dash Hutton, make expertly played sun-drenched rock, part of a Los Angeles-infused continuum that inspired artists including Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne. — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times
Coachella 2014: Nina Kraviz

Nina Kraviz

Friday | 4:45 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. | Yuma

For better or worse, this house and techno producer's work is infused with sex. Yes, the Russian artist is pretty striking behind the decks, but her accomplished singles and LPs are soaked in the rowdy, desperate hormones of the old Dance Mania catalog. Many of the globe's best clubs have had her out to play, and all it takes is one pass through the delirious video for her minimalist standout single "Ghetto Kraviz" to understand why. — August Brown

Credit: Paramount Artists
Coachella 2014: OutKast

OutKast

Friday | 11:30 p.m. | Coachella

The words that best describe the Atlanta hip-hop duo: "Shake it like a Polaroid picture." The group, reunited for the first gig of an extended summer festival tour, tore through the late 1990s until members Big Boi and Andre 3000 went on hiatus in 2007 to pursue solo careers. Expect a hit-filled package celebrating their thrilling tracks, including "The Way You Move," "Ms. Jackson," "B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)," "Rosa Parks," "So Fresh, So Clean" and their Polaroid-shaking "Hey Ya!" — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times
Coachella 2014: The Glitch Mob

The Glitch Mob

Friday | 7:30 p.m. - 8:25 p.m. | Sahara

With a devotion to muscular synthetic beats and an almost Black Sabbath-like love of mesmerizing bass lines, Los Angeles beat trio Glitch Mob have been crafting jumbo dubstep-inspired tracks for the last eight years. It's been impressive to watch, their gradual ascent to bold-face Coachella act. The group's new record is its most subtle, even if its crescendos are just as heavy-fisted. Featuring tracks with titles including "Mind of a Beast," "Our Demons," "Skull Club" and "Fly by Night Only," the record teems with strange voice manipulations even as it toys with standard song structure. This isn't the most nuanced music, but it sure drives the fans in the pit batty. — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Neil Krug / The Windish Agency
Coachella 2014: The Knife

The Knife

Friday | 10:30 p.m. | Outdoor

Here's a good fix to the fest's "Bro-chella" reputation of late: put a Swedish psycho-sexual feminist goth opera on a main stage. The electro duo the Knife has flirted with American success before, but 2013's "Shaking the Habitual" was punkier, weirder, and somehow funnier and more pretentious than previous efforts. We look forward to seeing how the tank-topped USC frat-alum set reacts to the Knife’s demanding "Let's talk about gender baby, let's talk about you and me." — August Brown

Credit: Ian Pearce / The Windish Agency
Coachella 2014: The Replacements

The Replacements

Friday | 8:45 p.m. - 9:55 p.m. | Outdoor

This beloved Midwestern band defined college rock in the '80s while never hitting it big as a result of bad luck or willful self-destruction. Its should've-been hits such as "Can't Hardly Wait" and "Alex Chilton" set a template for every subsequent guitar band with a penchant for hard-luck storytelling (and harder liquor). A brief run of reunion shows in late 2013 perhaps undercuts the excitement for this set, but expect a rapturous — if not less-than-packed — reception among the faithful. — Chris Barton

Credit: Damon Winter / Los Angeles Times
Coachella 2014: Tom Odell

Tom Odell

Friday | 12:00 p.m. - 12:40 p.m. | Mojave

Amid the thumping and distortion, the strobes and ecstatic musings typical of Coachella, British singer Tom Odell uses real piano tambourines, percussion and acoustic guitar to craft love songs that are mostly noncheesy. Yes, he's another Brit hellbent on shouting a la Mumford & Sons with folk-filled enthusiasm, but Odell's cut from another swatch of tweed. His odd inclinations and curious psychedelic wanderings pepper his more emo moments with a touch of danger. — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Andrew Cowie / AFP / Getty Images
Coachella 2014: Zedd

Zedd

Friday | 10:05 p.m. - 11:20 p.m. | Sahara

This EDM producer is the type of artist who's happy to incorporate a beer company's slogan into his latest single if the tie-in ensures added exposure. But that drive is also what gives his exhilarating stadium-rave jams — particularly "Stay the Night" — such a heady rush. I'll be pumping my fist to that one even as I (easily) resist the urge for a Bud Light Platinum. — Mikael Wood

Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images for CBS Radio, Inc.
Coachella 2014: Banks

Banks

Saturday | 3:45 p.m. - 4:20 p.m. | Gobi

An army of R&B outliers has been shaking things up with alternative spins of the genre since Frank Ocean and the Weeknd hit it big. Banks is right up there thanks to her ability to weave soulful electronics with '90s golden-era R&B. Swaying in the desert to her seductive "Waiting Game" has already landed a spot on my top moments of the weekend. — Gerrick D. Kennedy

Credit: Jasmine / Press Here
Coachella 2014: Darkside

DARKSIDE

Saturday | 10:50 p.m. - 11:40 p.m. | Gobi

A duo of two already established musicians, the inventive electronic producer Nicolas Jaar and his touring guitarist Dave Harrington, Darkside offers a synthetic nuance seldom seen on the Coachella pitch. Absent repetition and the party-starter vibe to drive the Sahara Tent, the pair will be better suited for those less on the adrenaline trip than the hallucinogenic one. — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Tim Jones / The Windish Agency
Coachella 2014: Lorde

Lorde

Saturday | 7:55 p.m. - 8:45 p.m. | Outdoor

Judging by her uncommonly assured 2013 debut, "Pure Heroine," 17-year-old Lorde was born to make records. As a live performer, though, the New Zealand native has been on a learning curve — frustratingly opaque at the Fonda Theatre in September but thrillingly stark doing "Royals" on the Grammy Awards in January. Who knows how far she'll have come since then? — Mikael Wood

Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times
Coachella 2014: Foxygen

Foxygen

Saturday | 1:45 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. | Outdoor

A bitter mix of power pop, laconic British invasion balladry and joyous lyrical wit, the Los Angeles band has released two lovely rock records that read as future underground classics. The band has been relatively silent for the last year, considering the album's acclaim, and it's one reason why anticipation for its Coachella gigs is so high. — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Stephen J. Cohen / Getty Image
Coachella 2014: Future Islands

Future Islands

Saturday | 7:05 p.m. - 7:55 p.m. | Gobi

I'm holding out hope that Future Islands' set at Coachella consists entirely of "Seasons (Waiting on You)," its beautifully warped synth-pop tune in which singer Samuel T. Herring barks out a sad-guy lament over a groove as mournful as it is weirdly triumphant. Last month Herring's full-bodied performance of the song on David Letterman's show went viral; I can’t wait to see it in the flesh. — Mikael Wood

Credit: Tim Saccenti
Coachella 2014: Nas

Nas

Saturday | 12:00 a.m. | Outdoor

At age 20 he set a new benchmark for rap with his debut, "Illmatic," widely considered one of the greatest rap records of all time. Now two decades later the prolific emcee, known for his sharp wit and biting social commentary, is marking the seminal album's anniversary by performing it in full. Don't miss a chance to see history. — Gerrick D. Kennedy

Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times
Coachella 2014: Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams

Saturday | 10:35 p.m. - 11:35 p.m. | Outdoor

Lucky for Pharrell, Coachella long ago traded its sullen, broke indie rock crowd for cheery, parent-funded coeds. Though no doubt this supremely talented producer (who's behind some of the best albums of the last few years — including his own), has the power to move the crankiest of Nick Cave fans, all he really has to do is show up with The Hat to make customers happy. Clap along. — Lorraine Ali

Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times
Coachella 2014: Solange

Solange

Saturday | 8:25 p.m. - 9:10 p.m. | Gobi

No one's worked harder to step out of a famous sibling's shadow (Beyoncé) than this former teen R&B-pop princess turned fashion icon and indie pop darling. Her 2010 EP "True," full of shimmering '80s-era pop/R&B and dark but dancey lyrics, did the trick. — Gerrick D. Kennedy

Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times
Coachella 2014: Ty Segall

Ty Segall

Saturday | 2:55 p.m. - 3:40 p.m. | Outdoor

Those looking for scream-along rock, minus posturing and overproduction, probably already know about Ty Segall, the electrifying San Francisco/Los Angeles-based guitarist and bandleader. Segall's work over the last half-decade reveals a musician in touch with the raw history of underground, nonterrible guitar rock and an adventurous spirit devoted to exploration. — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Panache Rock
Coachella 2014: Young & Sick

Young & Sick

Saturday | 12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. | Mojave

Better known in the biz for his visual art, singer-producer Nick Van Hofwegen is apparently as versatile with audio software as with layout programs. This artist known as Young & Sick has landed his artistic creations atop the charts a number of times. His music is just as precise and curious: a mix of spacial R&B, dubby electronic tones and weird synthetic squiggles, combined with his high-pitched wail. — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Jean-Baptiste Mondino / Young & Sick
Coachella 2014: Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Sunday | 10:20 p.m. | Coachella

Last year's "Reflektor" reframed this bands orchestral pop in more rhythmic structures. It's a dynamic that should serve it well on an expansive polo field, but most fans will be more curious about the spectacle. In 2011 the Arcade Fire showered the Coachella crowd with battery-powered LED balls, illustrating it understood well what festival crowds want. They want glow-in-the-dark orbs. — Todd Martens

Credit: Jean-Francois Lalonde / Arcade Fire
Coachella 2014: Art Department

Art Department producers Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White

Sunday | 5:45 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. | Yuma

This crew's sleek and slithery 2010 single together as Art Department helped set a new template for sexy-yet-narcotized party music. Alongside peers like Seth Troxler, the crew is challenging the conventions of mainstream electronica. Whenever the idea of EDM finally crawls off to die, this is probably the sound that's coming next. — August Brown

Credit: Matt Barnes
Coachella 2014: Beck

Beck

Sunday | 8:55 p.m. - 9:50 p.m. | Coachella

The veteran L.A. shape-shifter resumed his acoustic-troubadour pose for 2014's "Morning Phase." Where 2002's "Sea Change" sounds now like a narcotized bummer, the new disc applies its hazy string-band textures to songs that glimmer with gorgeous melodies and a tentative optimism. "Heart Is a Drum" and "Blue Moon" should shimmer anew in the desert. — Mikael Wood

Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times
Coachella 2014: Blood Orange

Blood Orange

Sunday | 5:10 p.m. - 6:05 p.m. | Outdoor

One of the best make-out records of 2013 was by English singer and producer Dev Hynes. Called "Cupid Deluxe," it was released under Hynes' most recent pseudonym, Blood Orange. Its music is built for between the sheets, but not gratuitously so. Rather, it exudes sensuality rather than bragging about it, recalling quality ballads and mid-tempo groovers from Prince, Lauryn Hill and Michael Jackson. — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for Cutty Sark
Coachella 2014: Bo Ningen

Bo Ningen

Sunday | 12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. | Gobi

The country that brought us the Boredoms, Yellow Magic Orchestra and Amon Duul knows something about building mantras and getting lost in them. New evidence comes from Japan's Bo Ningen, a four-piece quartet as serious about their mission as they are about their matching haircuts (long black hair a la Black Sabbath-era Ozzy Osbourne). Fast sludge rock that will leave some bruises in its wake. — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Cat Stevens / Rough Trader Records
Coachella 2014: Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper

Sunday | 3:10 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. | Coachella

This Chicago-born artist is one of the great hopes of a new hip-hop generation. To CNN viewers, the 20-year-old artist is a shining star of "Chicagoland." After a curtain-raising performance at Lollapalooza in 2013, how will Chance fare on his biggest stage? Expect massive buzz for this Sunday performance. — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Matthew Eisman / Getty Images
Coachella 2014: Disclosure

Disclosure

Sunday | 9:35 p.m. | Outdoor

The most euphoric dancing under the desert sky will happen courtesy of two young British brothers. Their sublime debut of deep house tunes, "Settle," might have lost the Grammy to a pair of French robots, but they are returning to Coachella as breakout stars. Start warming up those moves to "Latch" now. — Gerrick D. Kennedy

Credit: Phil Sharp / PMR Records
Coachella 2014: Factory Floor

Factory Floor

Sunday | 12:40 p.m. - 1:25 p.m. | Gobi

This electronica trio has all the ingredients of a floor-filling dance band — a DFA Records pedigree, Liquid Liquid's percussive clatter and some brilliant synthesizer wrangling. But on its new self-titled LP, Factory Floor defiantly refuses to cut loose with an obvious melody or expected buildup, preferring stark repetition and slow-shifting moods. The end result — think a disco act in the throes of an electrical fire. — August Brown

Credit: Emilie Bailey / The Windish Agency
Coachella 2014: Jhené Aiko

Jhené Aiko

Sunday | 10:00 p.m. - 10:45 p.m. | Gobi

This R&B singer's sultry, emotive voice has soundtracked plenty of lonely Saturday nights for her fans. But Aiko, who has lent her voice to tracks by J. Cole, Big Sean and Drake, isn't about succumbing to wrenching heartbreak. Her voice is airy enough to make you feel like you're floating in the clouds, even without the aid of the green leaf she has an affinity for singing about. — Gerrick D. Kennedy

Credit: Artium / Def Jam Records
Coachella 2014: Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey

Sunday | 8:15 p.m. - 9:05 p.m. | Outdoor

If you can get past the desperately weird identity crisis that is every Lana Del Rey video, photo shoot and "Late Night" appearance, the singer is one of the most intriguing enigmas in pop thanks to a voice that makes melancholy as inviting as a satin pillow. Is Coachella the right place for her to define who she really is? We'll find out in what's sure to be a make-or-break performance. — Lorraine Ali

Credit: Interscope / Polydor
Coachella 2014: Little Dragon

Little Dragon

Sunday | 7:15 p.m. - 8:05 p.m. | Mojave

Those headed to Indio just to see Outkast should know that Little Dragon has a connection. Vocalist Yakiimi Nagano was featured on Big Boi's excellent "Tom Pettie" and "Descending," two highlights from his most recent solo album. Little Dragon rose out of the vibrant Swedish pop scene, and its inventive dance pop is much more expansive and funky than some of the more rigid pop compadres. Little Dragon's last record, "Ritual Union," was one of the best of 2011, and heat's rising for the group's forthcoming follow-up, called "Nabuma Rubberband." — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: SEEK
Coachella 2014: Motörhead

Motörhead

Sunday | 9:50 p.m. - 10:50 p.m. | Mojave

Who better to sully the way-too clean experience that is Coachella than a greasy metal band renowned for its bathtub meth anthems? Singer Lemmy's landscape-razing rasp, coupled with the band's pummeling delivery, means lithe Foster the People fans should not cross the polo field when Motörhead is playing unless they want to fold like a flimsy tent in a tsunami. Skrillex fans should be fine. — Lorraine Ali

Credit: UDR GmbH
Coachella 2014: Neutral Milk Hotel

Neutral Milk Hotel

Sunday | 6:35 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. | Outdoor

It's not an overstatement to say that the '90s indie-rock generation is psyched for the return of Neutral Milk Hotel in Pavement-like proportions. The band, born in Athens, Ga., and led by singer and guitarist Jeff Mangum, released two essential albums, "On Avery Island" and "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea," nearly two decades ago that have become secret handshakes. Both are catchy, smart psychedelic rock records filled with a volume of instrumentation that bodes well for onstage glee. Mangum gigged Coachella a few years back, but he returns with a fully reunited Neutral Milk Hotel for this eagerly anticipated performance. — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Will Westbrook / Merger Records
Coachella 2014: Ratking

Ratking

Sunday | 12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. | Outdoor

A young trio of New York rappers whose creepy, hissy underground tracks over the last few years have drawn raves from the city's hipper corners, the group releases its very above-ground debut through the taste-making XL Recordings imprint on April 6. It's not a sound that'll be landing on KIIS-FM any time soon, but that's for the best. Start at recent singles "So Sick Stories" and "Canal." — Randall Roberts, pop music critic

Credit: Jamie-James Medina / Ratking
Coachella 2014: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Sunday | 12:40 p.m. - 1:30 p.m., 1:20 p.m. - 2:05 p.m. | Coachella, Mojave

Jazz? At Coachella? Odd as it is, the festival nodded to the genre twice on Sunday. In addition to the city's beloved Preservation Hall Jazz Band, bandleader Troy Andrews will deliver his own brand of rowdy Crescent City jazz-funk that led him to appearances as a near-mythic New Orleans figure on HBO's "Treme." Shorty's music freely skips genre boundaries with nods to R&B and hip-hop, and if his jazz festival appearances are any indicator, there's no tent too big for his groove. — Chris Barton

Credit: Gerald Herbert, Associated Press / Shannon Brinkman