Has Coachella Jumped the Shark? A Conversation and Playlist

February 04. 2013 | By Staff


subject: Coachella 2013 announced

date: Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 9:10 PM

Has it jumped the shark?

What are your thoughts?

Jason J.

date: Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 9:20 PM

I think it’s not bad. It’s not the hippest lineup ever, and RHCP is a boring choice for a headliner (in my opinion), but there’s a lot of bands worth seeing.

Jason M.

date: Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Honestly it seems like a ton of Owl Mag-fave bands so I’d be surprised at any poo pooing from this corner…

But personally it does nothing for me. Other than Stone Roses. SXSW…hands down over this dishwater dull 3 days. But that’s just me.

Trina G.

date: Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 10:10 PM

I’m in your corner Trina.

Valerie C.

date: Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 10:12 PM

Maybe they should stop adding extra shows like SS Coachella. The money grubbing had made it too mainstream.

Valerie C.

date: Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 10:27 PM

I agree with Trina, I like the lineup of SXSW more, but she’s right, several Owl faves, as well as mine. I’m not sure Coachella has jumped the shark, but certainly it is out there swimming close the mainstream shotgun array of music designed to appeal to whomever has money. Not really a festival celebrating the creative genius.

Jamie L.

date: Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 11:12 PM

More like they surreptitiously swam underneath the shark in the hopes that no one would notice they were on the other side of it.

Beach House can sell out the Fox Theater Oakland three months in advance but still get billed something-teenth. Maybe they should’ve waited to play it 10-20 years after their breakup.

How is Phoenix headlining the on The Postal Service reunion day?

Tame Impala should be considerably more courageous with the RCHP zealots than they were with the Metallica ones.

Each day’s lineup looks overstuffed and unwieldy.


Y’all have fun.

Sean M.

date: Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 11:47 PM

Pretty typical latter day Coachella lineup…I think it’s fine (for what they’re trying to achieve). The “Choose Your Own Adventure” shotgun aspect of the booking will ensure a quality weekend for different tastes.

No obvious cash grabbing heritage rock headliners, no Smiths type reunion…not Coachella’s finest hour, but a good solid lineup. It does seems more like an affirmation of the festival’s roots than an attempt to get bigger.

Good mix of stuff below the line, which is where it’s always been at, for me. Fascinating to see a lot of acts from last year’s FYF… For those who are Sahara tent denizens, how does the EDM aspect stack up? As good as previous years, or not so much?

Personal note: Jurassic 5 reunion?! Hell yeah!

Wayne J.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Yeah, I second what Wayne said. I’d go just for that Jurassic 5! And Saturday is looking pretty great, all the way down to Kurt Vile and Reignwolf at the bottom of the bill.

-Alyssa P.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Wayne nailed it: it does seems more like an affirmation of the festival’s roots than an attempt to get bigger. And that’s not a bad thing, AT ALL. Props to Goldenvoice for that actually.

In SoCal the local radio stations have completely obliterated RHCP by playing them (not even kidding) at least once an hour for years. Some on TW last night were saying that they were a last minute replacement for another band that dropped out, which would explain why it was taking so long to announce the lineup. Who knows, sounds plausible, but whatevs. And I agree, Phoenix is in no way headliner material but I’m going on the hunch (hope) that Daft Punk will make a surprise appearance so they put them in that slot just in case.

My EDM step-daughter is crushed, so there’s the answer to that question.

I’m personally very happy with it. There are several amazing bands that I’ve never seen (Beach House, Tegan and Sara, Divine Fits, Yeah Yeah Yeas… ) and some old school (New Order, OMD, Violent Femmes, Johnny Marr) that I love and a shit-ton that I have seen and am amped to see again (Local Natives, Two Door Cinema Club, Stars, Band of Horses, FOALS… ).

As for SXSW, I never quite understand why people feel the need to compare. It’s apples and oranges. Go to SXSW for music discovery, go to Coachella to party your ass off listening to bands you currently love or have loved in the past. It’s not a competition. Different stokes for different folks, y’all. Music rules either way!


Trina S.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Well said, Trina.

Jennifer S.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Thanks for the endless amusement everyone. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Especially from abroad where this conversation is happening mmmm not at all. Not many care about Coachella here unfortch.

I’m crossing fingers that Daft Punk secretly guests with Phoenix though since they’re buds (and as you all know, I’m Daft Punk’s #1 fan), but not gonna lie, I’ll be beyond green with envy and completely crushed if they do finally show up the one year I’m not in Cali.

Anyway, great convo everyone. Insightful, informed, loving the varied opinions.


Julie D.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:18 AM

You guys got some good weather last year in the first weekend, but usually it’s 100+. It feels like being on Survivor. You can’t drink or party too hard because you’ll pass out and be forced into the “chill out tent.” Or worse. You have to watch the headliners from 300 yards away on a TV screen, or you can get close, get crushed, and have a panic attack.

People watching is awesome, and going from set to set is fun, but otherwise it feels torturous and a total hassle. Outside Lands and Treasure Island are both better at this point.

Living in California all of the bands come through on their way to the festival or after, and play smaller venues that actually have decent sound. I went twice and had fun (’06 and ’07), but never ever ever again.

Jeff B.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Of course Coachella and SXSW are different animals and are supposed to be and contrary to popular brief, I’m not comparing, just preferring that experience and what it has to offer over what Coachella has dug up. Especially since it’s usually the case of going to either one or the other in a calendar year and not both.

So there you go.

Trina G.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Great point about weather, Jeff. Earlier years were such hell (’07?-ish), then  they moved it back a few weeks and it made all the difference. Then forfeited that edge by adding the 2nd week. Those who go, I would say aim for 1st week.

Side note: back to back Sleater Kinney/Yeah Yeah Yeahs at sunset was so epic in ’06!!

Wayne J.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:29 AM

And yes, folks go to SXSW for waaaay more than “musical discovery”- they go to party their asses off as well, and do just fine at it. Sans the potential of getting heat stroke. That’s always a plus.

Trina G.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:30 AM

I went in ’01 before things got ostentatious and silly (*cough* Madonna *cough*/ 2Pac hologram) with a large group that divided during the day and re-formed for the headliners. We had a blast, but the weather was punishing and there was no way you could get up to the front for anyone without sacrificing your needs to eat or use the restroom or stand comfortably. The front of the back was good enough for us to hang out, dance, or crouch to talk down a friend having a panic attack.

I also wonder what people’s thoughts are on what’s left of rave tent culture. It used to be a mandatory night-capping event… Not so much anymore?

Sean M.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:37 AM

The headliners are weak, but any Coachella junkie knows its all about the small font afternoon bands and this year’s lineup is stacked in that area so I’m very pleased with this year’s lineup. I’m excited for a ton of awesome bands that have already been mentioned, but I’ll throw in Tame Impala, Janelle Monae, Yeasayer, Jessie Ware, Tanlines, White Arrows.

New teenage EDM fans are surely upset no big names are at this year’s fest, but as a longtime electro fiend this is the kind of lineup I have expected from Coachella which prides itself on showcasing quality acts and rising young talent. The cheesy cornball button pushers have been left at home. Tell any crying EDM fan to listen to Disclosure, Simian Mobile Disco, Booka Shade, Maya Jane Coles, Richie Hawtin, Paul Kalkbrenner… these are real electronic acts that belong at Coachella.

RHCP and Wu-Tang Clan are performing on the same day? OKAYYY!

Kirk R.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:44 AM

I just want to add Infected Mushroom to Kirk’s EDM list.

Jennifer S.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 11:07 AM

I’d say what stands out most to me is the attempt to bring old, stellar acts back out live. Acts like The Stone Roses, Blur, J5, and New Order really make it seem like they are trying to show fans a more roots-laded lineup, instead of a bunch of whomping dubstep. I totally agree that Phoenix and RHCP are lame headliners though. Phoenix was an adequate headliner for Outside Lands, but not for Coachella. As usual, the smaller band lineup is completely solid.

Amanda S.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 12:29 PM

As a 5th generation California native I love Coachella. What started as a small desert music festival organized by an unknown production company named Goldenvoice featuring relatively unknown acts promoted by the regions only alternative radio station (when there really was such a thing) has evolved into a multi-weekend event with people arguing the merits across the globe.

The majority of the shows I went to as a kid were organized by a company no other production company would get near! Social Distortion, The Descendent and even RHCP are successful thanks to Goldenvoice and their ability to find venues for punk bands when main stream clubs said HELL NO to anything that sounded like punk. Much of my youth was spent in abandoned warehouses watching the bands who would shape my social political views as well my musical taste of the future. Who would have thought you could extend these warehouse shows to the desert and get people to travel from LA to create a successful music festival?

This will probably be my last Coachella. Too old, time to retire, and spend money on new adventures. But this year we’re going out with a bang and camping with my 21 year old 6th generation California who will say to all the haters, “Welcome to California, NOW GO HOME!”

Frank S.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 4:58 PM

I feel you Frank.

When I lived in LA, I went to Coachella allmost every year and kept it up when I moved to SF. It was the best place to explore and find new music. You could just wander from tent to tent to see the bands you were excited about and every now and then, when you had a free set, you would check out someone you never heard of. Or there were those blissful moments when you would be on your way to check out one band, and be lured in by another tent, go in and dance for a bit, and then keep going. THAT was the magic stuff you can’t get anymore.

Now you can’t wander. Now you can’t get lured in. Now you can’t just go where the music takes you.

People used to go to Coachella to experience music. Now I feel like people go to Coachella to go to Coachella.

Sadia H.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 5:10 PM

FYI for those not in the “know.”

I met Kirk (our Social Media Manager and writer) at the campground at Coachella two years ago. I recommended he see… um, Thao And The Get Down Stay Down I think it was. He thought it was odd that some old lady knew so much about music. I gave him my Owl Mag biz card. He expressed interest in writing for us and the rest is history! BOOM!

Trina S.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 5:42 PM

It’s my first time and I’m just excited either way! I don’t go for headliners, I go for the bands in the tiny print. And to make my bf jealous since Trent Reznor is performing (How To Destroy Angels). 😉


Samantha G.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Blur, RHCP, Violent Femmes, Moby, Wu-Tang, Paul Okenfold. I’m pretty sure I went to this show in like 1996 (give or take a few years and $30 festivals).

And oh my goodness, The Make-Up. The Make-Up!? A band I haven’t thought about in years! I bet most of us have never seen Lou Reed live. This is looking less like a festival for discovering new music this year, and more like a nostalgic event.

Kat E.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 8:37 PM

Please don’t misunderstand. I love Coachella. I love the heat, the crowd, the beer gardens so shit doesn’t get spilt on ya, everything about it. Best part about this year is only the right mix of music fans will show up and the snobby I gotta listen to all the cool kid music at trendy clubs while I complain about how much better things used to be so now I only go to major energy drink sponsored conferences in a sterile HVAC environments will stay home. I’d keep going forever, but I may die soon and I’ve never been to London.

Frank S.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 9:39 PM

It’s a shame that the Rolling Stones couldn’t make it work in time. Jagger and Lou Reed in the same festival? Holy hell.

Kat E.

date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 9:48 PM

Lou Reed! Crazy!

Frank S.

date: Sun, Jan 27, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Also, I have to admit that if I had the dough (and the PTO), SS Coachella sounds pretty agreeable to me. It’s the only cruise I’d ever consider taking, and with a smaller crowd, you’re almost guaranteed a better spot in the room for shows. Plus, you’re on the same boat as the bands that play each day, so your chances of finally realizing your dream of beating your favorite artists at the blackjack table greatly appreciate on a cruise ship. Downside: norovirus. Ew. Upside: showers and toilets in every room (probably).

Kat E.

date: Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Coachella is super well run.  I feel like they could manage the country better than our government.

Great lineup  this year (hopefully Lou Reed doesn’t play the Metallica colab songs, and weren’t the Chili peppers here two years ago? Ugh.), but there are some holes. The Knife, Frank Ocean, or Kendrick Lamar would have been nice, but the Postal Service reunion should be sweet. Kurt Vile destroyed my theory that “everyone performs on their way to or from the concert anyway.” Damn.  He could sell out the GAMH right now, maybe the Fillmore.  WTF?

Jeff B.

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