Coachella leads the pack when it comes to innovative lineups. Two of its hottest artists (Harry Styles and Billie Eilish) are under 30, while further down the carefully curated bill you’ll find some of the hottest new acts – Koffee, Amyl and the Sniffers, Rina Sawayama – mingling with old school staples such as Spiritualized and The Avalanches.
But with so many great bands on the bill, it’s hard to know where to start. So if you’re in Indio for Weekend 1 (April 15-17) or Weekend 2 (April 22-24), here are the 12 acts you can’t miss.
Formed in 2016, Mongolian metal band The Hu is a phenomenon. The Independent wrote in a 2020 live review: “Their fusion of traditional Mongolian (“khoomei”) throat-singing with modern elements of rock, metal and even pop (a few members are big Coldplay fans) is nothing like nothing the UK has seen before. But if you think their music sounds ancient, you’re not mistaken: the Hu rely on a sound that has been around for thousands of years. They are, predictably, an extraordinary thing to see live. Don’t miss it.
Grammy-nominated British artist Arlo Parks has the perfect sound for a hot, foggy day in California. The instrumentation is long, languorous; her voice is a dreamy, happy whisper. While the songs tackle heavy themes, such as depression, anxiety, and unrequited love, there’s an anthemic quality to many. Perfect for parties.
The mega-massive pop star is headlining Coachella and Glastonbury this year – not bad for a 20-year-old with just two albums to her credit. She tore down the house when she performed on a crowded lot at Worthy Farm in 2019. Expect it to be bigger, better… Billier.
This Los Angeles band has been flying under the radar for a while — hopefully Coachella brings them a whole bunch of new fans. Their sound is sultry late-night R&B with squelchy beats and vocalist “V” delivering lyrics in a raspy croon.
Described by The Independent as “one of pop’s boldest vocals,” Japanese-born, London-based Rina Sawayama lays down a load of glitter on industrial, bare-metal instrumentation. It’s a heady mix of jagged guitar riffs, furiously droning synths, and 90s-style pop and R&B. Her self-titled album was released last year and she’s also collaborated with Charli XCX and Elton John. Hopefully, she can also perform her stunning cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” at Coachella.
Phoebe Bridgers is what you might call a low-key performer. She manages to captivate her audience with minimal fuss, focusing on the music rather than over-the-top statements. Think fatalistic lyrics, pounding percussion and gusts of brass. Get ready for the scream on the epic “I know the end”.
Dave still puts on an amazing show, but you can bet he’ll go even further when he represents the UK rap contingent in the States. Expect him to perform tracks from 2021 We’re all alone together which was unanimously acclaimed by critics and topped the charts in the UK.
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Still going strong, the British synth-pop nerds are set to unleash a storm in the California desert with crowd-pleasing tracks like the crisp “Over and Over” and the bouncy “Ready for the Floor.” Then you have their 2019 albumBath full of ecstasy, and its euphoric single, “Melody of Love”. Let the dancing begin!
At only 22 years old, Jamaican singer and rapper Koffee managed to catch the attention of Rihanna, Protoje and Chronixx, all before the release of her debut album, Gifted. Released last month, it’s a rambling mix of upbeat melodies and afrobeats, indie jams and uplifting reggae anthems.
Italy’s Eurovision 2021 champions are an all-out riot and the live performances live up to the hype. Since winning the annual song contest, they’ve toured with Guns N’ Roses, had a few Top 10 hits, and picked up some rock ‘n’ roll tips along the way. Expect plenty of leather and over-the-top rock posturing from frontman Damiano David.
Bilingual Mexican-American singer Omar Apollo has just released his first album, Ivory, as he takes the stage at Coachella. He excels in slow-jam R&B (see, “Killing Me” and the bass “Hit Me Up”), and has just released his collaboration with Pharrell, the sizzling “Tamagotchi”. Things are about to heat up.
The Soundcloud rapper has matured since his first breakthrough, aged 18, with his debut Amen. There’s a playful new sound on more recent tracks, like last year’s viral “Edamame” with Canadian rapper bbno$, and “New Tooth,” with its woozy synth line and Rich Brian’s staccato delivery. .