We haven’t crunched the numbers, but a quick look at the 2019 Coachella lineup has us thinking it might be the most electronic the Indio Valley has ever been. More than 50 artists on the 160-plus lineup represent for the beat freakers, whether as electronic live acts or full-on DJ sets — and that’s not counting the host of performers coming through the Do LaB stage each weekend. Suffice to say, a solid quarter of the lineup is down to rave, but therein lies another problem: who from this massive list of artists do you go see?
If you’re a dance music fan with any familiarity with the last decade, you know all about headliners DJ Snake, Diplo and Dillon Francis. If you’re a basshead, Bassnectar is high on your list, and Zedd is king of dance-pop hits (will he and headliner Ariana Grande perform “Break Free” together? We can only hope). We also want to give a special shout out to Coachella bookers for flooding the fest with powerful female talent. We highly advise catching Nina Kraviz, Nicole Moudaber, Charlotte De Witte, CloZee and all the talented femmes we couldn’t fit on our list.
If you’re a big techno or house fan, you likely have your chosen favorites, and if you’re looking for live ambiance, there’s plenty on the bill. If you’re looking for a mixed bag of beats and entertainment, maybe even down for a little music discovery, we suggest these fabulous 15.
Friday, April 12 & 19
Anna Lunoe – 2:40-3:30 p.m. Sahara
This Australian is a triple-threat. She producers her own bouncy bass house beats, her DJ sets are over-the-top energetic explosions, and she grabs the mic to sing her own hypnotic vocal hooks. Lunoe is charismatic on stage, and her set, which we imagine will be chock-full of banging originals, is sure to turn the desert heat into pure steam. Her latest release “303,” out now on Mad Decent, interpolates Eminem’s “Without Me” and is a sweet mood setter for kickin’ off weekend party plans.
Fisher – 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., Sahara
It’s hard to miss this fellow big personality. Whether you’ve run into his smash singles “Ya Kidding” or the Grammy-nominated “Losing It,” or just come across his beaming mug and booming laugh on social media, the former pro surfer-turned-DJ is larger than life. His demeanor behind the decks is just as fun. He’s dancing harder than some of the audience members.
Amelie Lens – 5:30 – 6:45 p.m., Yuma
Just when you think you can stand the heat no longer, escape into the Yuma stage — a full-fledged, air-conditioned nightclub environment — and drink up the icy cold techno beats of this Belgian wonder. Best believe she’s going to loop and layer and conjur aurial hallucinations out of the ether.
Polo & Pan – 8:00 – 8:50 p.m., Gobi
It turns out Parisians can rock Bossa Nova with the best of them. These electronic duo drops some of the flirtiest tropical beats this side of the equator with flourishes of jazz sensuality and mod attitude. Close your eyes and time travel at this delectable set tailor-made for humid desert night vibes.
Rüfüs Du Sol – 8:50 – 9:55 p.m., Outdoor Theatre
Chances are you’re aware of this live trio, but we thought Rüfüs’ third album Solace was the best electronic LP of 2018. How you could miss this enchanting hour, we don’t know. It’s sure to be transcendent as the stars begin peeking out of the dark sky and the lights of the Outdoor Theatre add dimension to the band’s ethereal sonic wonder.
Sophie – 9:10 – 10:00 p.m., Mojave
Sophie is the Grammy-nominated fever dream that lives at the intersection of glitter and mechanical sparks. She’s part pop princess, part experimental noise queen, and she’s absolutely one of the most interesting acts on the modern electronic music scene. Her debut album Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides is a beautiful, tender and abbrassive must-listen. Her Coachella set will be no different.
Nora En Pure – 10:55 – 11:45 p.m., Sahara
If you’re a SiriusXM subscriber, you may have caught this South African-Swiss DJ’s Purified Radio show on Saturdays on XM Chill at 10 p.m. Her original productions and song selection craft light and airy moods to take you high above the clouds and into dreamy spaces of imagination. This is a good way to catch a musical breeze.
Hot Since 82 b2b Lauren Lane b2b Nic Fanciulli – 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., Yuma
You knew a festival with as much respect as Coachella would bring you a super-sized back-to-back. This tech-house trifect will be deep, dark and groovalicious, with selections by British DJ hero Hot Sice 82, LA-based funk freaker Lauren Lane, and moody Grammy-nominee Nic Fanciulli.
Kayzo – 12:05 – 2 a.m., Sahara
If chill, evil tech house beats isn’t exactly your vibe and headbanging is more your speed, do not miss Kayzo’s close-out set Friday night at the Sharara. This dude has been working his metal roots into his bass music for the last few years, and he’s hit his stride with collaborations alongside some of metal’s boomin’est voices. Who know? Some of those voices may just join him on stage.
Saturday, April 13 & 20
FKJ – 3:50 – 4:40 p.m., Mojave
A lot of producers have shifted to live performances, but no one is quite as multi-instrumental as this French wonder. FKJ, or French Kiwi Juice, plays everything from electric and bass guitars to saxophones and pianos. He sings. He beatboxes, and he blends it all together in his loopy sampler until he’s got brilliant compositions to fill the room — or in this case, the Mojave structure.
Deep Dish – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., Yuma
Now we’re getting into the rarities. Deep Dish is a highly respected progressive and tech house duo that lit up the scene throughout the ’90s and into the mid-aughts. But in 2006, the group disbanded. Members Dubfire and Sharam continued making noise on their own, and in 2014, they got back together for an exciting reunion; now, they’re coming together again. Yuma’s nightclub environment will provide a sleek environment for these mix masters to get in the groove.
Bob Moses – 6:25 – 7:15 p.m., Outdoor Theatre
There’s something special about sunset at Indio Valley. The way the light hits the mountains can outshine man a high-end stage production. It’s great to set the mood with stellar music, and Bob Moses’ world-weary beauty will fit the vibe exactly. Get caught under this live act’s spell and let it usher in the night.
Gryffin – 7:20 – 8:20 p.m., Sahara
Not only is Gryffin a producer-singer dance-pop wonder, he’s got something extra-special planned for his big Coachella performance. In December, he dropped his debut LP Gravity, and he’s been hard at work creating an out-of-this-world stage production that will pluck you right from the Sahara and put you in an interdimensional world of sight and sound.
Aphex Twin – 9:05 – 10:35 p.m., Mojave
One of the rarest and most influential acts in modern electronic music takes the stage at Mojave for what is sure to be a mind-bending experience. His chaotic sound has infuenced a generation of beat-makers, from Skrillex to G Jones and pretty much everyone who’s touched a drum machine — analog or digital — since the Richard D. James Album was released in 1996. If you miss you chance to see Aphex Twin, you may not get another.
Gesaffelstein – 7:45 – 8:45 p.m., Outdoor Theatre
It’s not every day this suited smoker takes the stage. The murderous Frenchman creates some of modern electronic music’s most beastly tunes, and on his latest album Hyperion, he even went a little pop. He’s got tunes out now with The Weeknd and Pharrell Williams. What are the chances for star-studded appearances? We’re not sure, but honestly, if he just stood there and played his darkest intrumentals, we’d be happy.