It’s been a long three months since the lineup for this year’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts festival was released in early January, whetting fans’ appetites with one of the most stacked rosters the fest has trotted out in recent years.
The billing is led by three superstars in The Weeknd, Beyonce and Eminem, and even if the rest of the lineup can’t quite compete with that combined star power, there’s plenty of other artists we’re just as excited to see in various font sizes underneath the biggest names on the marquee. Here are ten of the acts we’re most looking forward to this weekend (Apr. 13-15) at Coachella.
The Canadian R&B singer-songwriter’s music — especially the majority of last year’s breakthrough LP, the Grammy-nominated debut Freudian — is hushed and gentle, which likely explains why he’s slotted during the sunset on Friday evening. His velvety vocals and intimate musical arrangements could very well be the antidote to the more EDM-leaning, upbeat acts slated to perform on adjacent stages, the perfect way to find your chill before the night kicks into full gear. — STEVEN J. HOROWITZ
Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis is fresh on the heels of releasing her debut album Isolation, which is why her Coachella Friday performance feels like an arrival of sorts. However, Uchis has been edging towards this moment for years, with a mixtape and EP under her belt, and a string of singles and guest features that positioned her as an R&B iconoclast. Isolation is a testament to that, a record where she steps through the looking glass and corrals funk, doo-wop and soul into a frothy confection. — S.J.H.
Members of the #bonniehive are likely already familiar with her credits: McKee sharpened her pen as a songwriter for others, dotting the liner notes of megahits including Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” and Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me.” But she’s also an established solo artist of her own, most recently with singles “Thorns” and “Sleepwalker.” She’ll make a stop at Coachella while on tour with Kygo, appearing with the DJ during his Friday set for their collaboration “Riding Shotgun” — one of the festival’s special guests you’ll least want to miss. — S.J.H.
The English collective, fronted by the furry-hatted Jay Kay, seems an odd inclusion on the Coachella lineup, as they haven’t always been a Stateside festival staple. It makes sense that the group is booked, though, particularly in the wake of last year’s funk-filled Automaton, their sorely underrated first album since 2010’s Rock Dust Light Star. And with a catalogue of turn-of-the-century hits spanning “Virtual Insanity” to “Canned Heat,” Jamiroquai stands as a solid Friday alternative to a time-conflicting performance from The Weeknd. — S.J.H.
Nile Rodgers & Chic
Nothing at a festival quite like a set from an artist where you know it’s gonna be nothing but hits you’ve loved your entire life straight through. All-time funk and disco great Nile Rodgers will have classics to spare when he and Chic lace up for their Saturday afternoon Coachella set, pulling from a catalog that spans from the group’s epochal early smashes to Rodgers’ days as a hitmaking writer-producer with ’80s icons like Madonna and Duran Duran, right up to his work on modern-day club anthems from Daft Punk and Christina Aguilera. In short, get ready to lose yourself to dance. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER
There’s no other live experience on the festival circuit (or anywhere else) to compare with seeing the prodigiously talented Tash Sultana, a one-woman-band who can play, sing, write and even loop with the best of ’em. Her performances are both technically stunning and overpoweringly soulful, and it’s hard to imagine a better context for her transfixing and transportive performance than against the backdrop of the desert sunset on Saturday night. — A.U.
Two esteemed veteran dance producers with ties to Germany’s legendary Kompakt label — Superpitcher and Rebolledo — occasionally join forces as the Pachanga Boys, with spellbinding results. (Observe their 15-minute out-of-body epic “Time,” once accurately described in a Thump headline as “Proof We’re the Saddest, Proudest Creatures in the Entire Universe.”) The duo haven’t released new music in over a half-decade, but their jams are so far outside the contemporary music realm anyway that their Saturday night live set should be a gloriously interstellar experience regardless. — A.U.
The 18-year-old singer-songwriter Lindsay Jordan was all but named Queen of South by Southwest after a couple years of electrifying performances at the Austin festival with her Snail Mail outfit, and her 2016 EP Habit was rightfully hyped as one of the most promising indie rock releases of the last few years. Snail Mail’s debut album Lush is due out in June, and based on the captivating lead single “Pristine,” her playing and songwriting are evolving at a near-alarming pace. Be sure to see Jordan this Sunday before the buzz becomes too loud to stand. — A.U.
?Though many in attendance at Coachella on Sunday might only know the rapper born Adam Aminé Daniel from his surprise Hot 100 top 10 hit “Caroline,” his 2017 debut LP Good for You was full of similarly clever, winning jams, earning the Portland MC a bigger following that you might realize. Watch the entire Mojave tent sing along to the irresistible “Spice Girl” chorus, or freak out to the classic Neptunes-worthy banger “REDMERCEDES,” and see if you still worry about him getting dismissed as a one-hit wonder afterwards. — A.U.
In just one year, Cardi B has bloomed into a hip-hop superstar, courtesy of her chart-topping single “Bodak Yellow.” Because of her punchy lyrics and exuberant swagger, high-profile stars like Oprah, Ellen and more have lauded the Bronx MC, especially after the release of her hotly anticipated album Invasion of Privacy last Friday (April 7). Sunday at Coachella will mark Cardi’s first festival performance since announcing her pregnancy, but fortunately, the Latina spitter has proven to be calm under pressure before: Earlier this month, she delivered a dazzling performance on Saturday Night Live, where she first revealed the news of her pregnancy. — CARL LAMARRE