On Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 6), the Coachella 2015 lineup was unveiled in full, as the annual Indio, Calif. music extravaganza is set to touch down from Apr. 10-12 and Apr. 17-19 this year. With AC/DC, Jack White and Drake confirmed as headliners, “Coachella” immediately started trending on Twitter worldwide as thousands of festival-goers (and a whole lot more who will watch via live-stream) debated the dozens of acts appearing on the lineup.
What are the biggest surprises, letdowns and questions arising from the Coachella lineup reveal? Here are seven takeaways from a once-over of the 2015 Coachella lineup:
1. It’s Drake’s time to shine. We predicted a few weeks ago that Drake would be headlining one night of Coachella, being handed the torch from recent hip-hop headliners like Outkast, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, Kanye West and Jay Z. Now that the appearance is set in stone, we have three months to speculate and anticipate the most talked-about set of this year’s festival. With the two other headliners, AC/DC and Jack White, skewing older and attracting rock audiences, the pop and hip-hop world will look toward Drake to deliver the show that will break Twitter and highlight music blogs on Monday morning.
2. Is AC/DC really a headliner in 2015? AC/DC has a new album to promote and a ton of classic rock hits (“Thunderstruck,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Back In Black”) to trot out in the Indio desert. The Australian rock soldiers are a more than welcome addition to the Coachella lineup… but slotting them as the Friday night headliner seems awfully generous in 2015. Consider the fact that the group’s biggest hits are decades old, and that its new album, Rock or Bust, sold 174,000 album equivalent units in its debut sales week last month; that’s a solid number in line with recent sales debuts from Foo Fighters and the Black Keys, but nowhere near AC/DC’s last album, 2008’s Black Ice, which moved 784,000 copies in its first week. We’ll see if the band can make the whippersnappers stay and raise their devil horns as younger artists perform concurrent sets on Friday night.
3. Steely Dan! Yup, we called the Dan rocking the desert in last month’s predictions piece, but we can’t believe we’re seeing their name on the lineup, either. With AC/DC, Steely Dan and Ride all performing on Coachella’s opening day, Friday might be the “Take Your Dad To Work” day of the 2015 festival season.
4. The woman problem. For the eighth straight year, Coachella has stacked the headlining slots with male performers, failing to bring in a female or female-fronted group to cap off the main stage every year since Björk performed in 2007 (Arcade Fire headlined twice, and that’s the closest we’ve come since). Most of this year’s sub-headliners are dude-filled too, with artists like Alabama Shakes and St. Vincent looking like exceptions at the festival that was highlighted by artists like Lorde and Lana Del Rey last year. Why not have been bold and booked Florence + The Machine — a tremendous festival act with a hotly anticipated third album on the way — as a Friday or Saturday headliner, instead of pushing Florence Welch and co. under Drake on the Sunday lineup?
5. Font Winners & Losers. Congrats to artists like Tame Impala, Hozier, St. Vincent and Alt-J, who have all graduated to the second-biggest font on the Coachella bill! Props to Stromae, still largely an unknown in America, for muscling his way up to the third line on Sunday! And hey, why are Panda Bear, Angel Olsen, Parquet Courts and Perfume Genius in such tiny lettering? Indie-rock’s elite deserves a little more recognition.
6. Where’s the R&B star power? It’s nice to see the Weeknd jump so high in the lineup, but we were hoping that Frank Ocean and Miguel would sneak onto the 2015 bill and showcase their long-awaited next projects. And hey, where is D’Angelo? The R&B legend just won raves for his Black Messiah album and needs to debut this collection live; sadly, he won’t be doing it in Indio.
7. Azealia Banks is playing on the same day as… Action Bronson. This is definitely worth keeping an eye on, considering the two rappers’ Twitter feud last month. Will tensions rise in the desert? We’ll have to wait three months to find out for certain.