The fact that the temperature will reach the low 90s this weekend in Indio, Calif. is hardly the hottest thing about the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. With hundreds of musical artists and tens of thousands of concertgoers descending upon the polo grounds this year, the long-running festival is bursting with intrigue. From the hottest rumor of the festival to the first must-see artist taking the stage on Saturday, check out the details of this year’s festival that make Coachella overwhelmingly hot.
Hot Reunion: Wu-Tang Clan
Twenty years after “Enter the 36 Chambers” changed hip-hop forever, the mighty Wu is once again forming like Voltron for a new album, “A Better Tomorrow,” as well as a proper tour that effectively kicks off on Sunday at Coachella. After the in-fighting that plagued 2007’s “8 Diagrams,” will all the members show up and play nice? And exactly how crazy will Cappadonna be? Coachella attendees will be on the front lines of what could be glorious, or a glorious mess.
Hot Headliner Alternative: Disclosure
Unlike Bonnaroo, which shuts down its smaller stages while its headliners perform, Coachella offers multiple alternatives to the groups at the top of each night’s bill. This can lead to some maddening conflicts — sorry, Purity Ring, but you’re playing the same time as Blur! — as well as opportunities to prove how hip you are. On Sunday night, for instance, catch the first half of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ headlining slot and then float over to the Gobi stage to catch all of Disclosure, the U.K. production duo responsible for the lush singles “White Noise” (feat. AlunaGeorge) and “Latch” (feat. Sam Smith). You might miss “Under The Bridge,” but you’ll be all over one of the more exciting new artists in electronic music.
Hot New Stage: Yuma
Sick of only having five stages to choose from at Coachella? This year, the festival has expanded to six stages with the addition of the Yuma tent, located in the general vicinity of the merch table. Performers like Four Tet, Zane Lowe and Jamie xx will apparently turn the Yuma into a slightly less propulsive dance area, perfect for sipping cocktails as the sun sets on the desert.
Hot First-Band-of-the-Day: #BEEN #TRILL
A handful of artists are set to perform at Coachella while the majority of the crowd is still making its way to the polo grounds. DJ troupe #BEEN #TRILL, for instance, is scheduled to take the stage at the bright and early time at 11:30 AM on Saturday morning! But for campers and those who want to get to the festival grounds as soon as humanly possible, #BEEN #TRILL’s sumptuous electronic stylings will provide a solid wake-up call on Saturday.
Hot Rumor: Daft Punk Will Make an Appearance
Despite the fact that the famed electronic duo publicly denied that they’ll be showing up at this year’s fest, continuing chatter suggests that “Random Access Memories” could begin in Indio. Two and a half years after Daft Punk joined Phoenix onstage at New York’s Madison Square Garden, could the French compatriots once again link up during the rock group’s Saturday headlining spot? After all, Phoenix’s booking agent told Billboard in our recent cover story that the band “will have a few surprises” during their Coachella set.
Hot Band That Didn’t Cancel Yet: La Roux
After showing up on the 2012 Coachella lineup, “Bulletproof” auteurs La Roux bowed out soon after. Scheduled to perform this year on Sunday at the Mojave tent, the U.K. synth-pop duo are looking like a safe bet to attend, after playing a handful of recent shows overseas with new music sprinkled into the set list. Although fans are still awaiting the follow-up to their self-titled 2009 debut, La Roux appears to be, at long last, on its way to Indio.
Hot Inevitable Sign/T-Shirt/Joke: Holograms
After a hologram of Tupac made a splash during Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s headlining set last year, expect to see multiple references to the 2012 spectacle at this year’s fest, from t-shirts reading “Tupac Hologram: Best Rapper Alive” to bands joking onstage about bringing out the ghost of Mr. Shakur. Try not to groan too much.
Hot Can’t-Miss Dance Act: Bassnectar
Last year’s Coachella lineup featured some of the biggest names in EDM music — Swedish House Mafia! Calvin Harris! Avicii! David Guetta! Afrojack! — and while the 2013 dance acts aren’t quite as flashy, there are absolutely some heavy hitters in the fold. Bassnectar, who takes over the Sahara tent just before the clock strikes midnight on Friday night, is a top-line artist with an entrancing live show and massive following, which will make his performance both packed and spectacular. Not a huge Stone Roses fan? Buzz over to the Sahara for Friday night’s biggest party.
Hot Resurrection: Rodriguez
On late Sunday afternoon, hundreds of festival goers will be drawn to the Gobi tent mainly because of a great documentary they watched in the past year. Rodriguez, the subject of the Oscar-winning “Searching For Sugar Man,” will play to a sizable Coachella crowd after decades of obscurity in the United States. “Sugar Man” not only revealed that the folk artist is a massive star in South Africa, but also that he has some damn good songs in his arsenal, most from the early 70s. Expect a breathtaking performance that would have been unimaginable a year ago.
Hot Excruciating Set Conflict: Phoenix vs. New Order
For many, French indie rockers Phoenix have scratched the itch that veteran electro-rock group New Order used to provide — and the bands are somehow scheduled at the same time on Saturday night. Sure, Phoenix is the headliner and always puts on a magnificent show… but how can you pass up losing your mind to “Blue Monday” on a warm California evening? More than any other set time conflict, this one feels like cruel and unusual punishment.