austin to indio
Coachella lineup released: Explosions In The Sky, Gary Clark Jr. among localacts headed to Indio
A handful of Austin acts coming off or about to have big years joined a “wow”-heavy roster of bands revealed Monday night as the lineup for this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, slated for the weekends of April 13 - 22 in Indio, Calif.
While headliners like Radiohead (themselves headed here in March), The Black Keys (odds-on favorites as Austin City Limits Festival headliners this fall) and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are the biggest names on the iconic poster, Austin acts Explosions In The Sky, The Black Angels, Gary Clark Jr., Neon Indian and sometimes Austinite Greg Ginn join the more than 100 acts making the trek west for what’s pretty much the start of the 2012 festival season.
None of those acts feel out of place for the festival that’s heavy on indie and dance music but also keeps some toes firmly planted in the rock and throwback pop realms (Madonna, Paul McCartney and Prince had marquee spots in recent years). So it’s no surprise to see instrumental post-rockers Explosions In The Sky making their second Coachella appearance (their first came in 2007) following a year where they sold out iconic rooms in New York City, had a splashy opening slot for Grammy winners Arcade Fire and released their latest critically acclaimed album, “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.”
Same “no duh” conclusion for The Black Angels, whose droney psych rock seems tailor made for Coachella, even if almost certainly playing in the late afternoon or early evening (ie, where there’s still light in the sky) will harsh that vibe just a little bit. And Neon Indian’s beat-heavy electropop will fit right in and continue the the great run Alan Palomo has been on for more than two years now, since the release of “Psychic Chasms” in 2009 and its followup “Era Extrana” in September.
Gary Clark Jr., though, seems a just bit of a head-scratcher in this context. No one doubts the Austin blues-rock superstar to-be is on the verge of a year for the ages; Eric Clapton took him under his wing, Rolling Stone magazine will have a blowout feature on him in their next double issue within the next month, and his new full-length album coming this summer from Warner Bros. Records is as hotly anticipated a record as there’s been around these parts for a while.
But in a hipster-heavy setting like Coachella it’s hard to say how he’ll be received. At more rock-based festivals like Bonnaroo or our own ACL Fest he’d fit right in and could easily steal the weekends. Out in the desert, though...
Looking beyond Austin and at the lineups as a whole, it’s clear the promoters didn’t leave any of their ammo in the shed. From the previously mentioned headliners to of-the-moment acts like Florence and the Machine, Bon Iver and M83 to reunions of all kinds — Neutral Milk Hotel head guy Jeff Mangum continues his slow crawl back into the spotlight, and punk vets Refused and At The Drive-In delighted recovering punks like yours truly by making their returns official essentially on the same day — it’s a lineup that’s actually worth two weekends so truly crazed music fans can experience every single moment of goodness.
And as in most instances involving music of a distinctively high caliber, Austin will be there making plenty of noise with all the others.