The world’s highest grossing music festival is back this year with its highly anticipated big names like Eminem and The Weeknd who just dropped a six-song EP weeks before Coachella. Beyonce is set to fulfill her duties as Saturday night headliner after having to postpone last year’s set due to her expected twins and second-billed HAIM is bringing a Paul Thomas Anderson-curated performance the hour prior. While those in the largest typefont are expected to bring major hits to both weekends, the Goldenvoice produced event is packing some power lower down on the lineup. We dug a little deeper into the over 100 acts at this year’s festival to highlight a few sets you shouldn’t miss.
Set Time: Friday at 7:20 pm, Sonora Stage
The Buttertones’ dreamy rockabilly sound will be a perfect way to kick off the three-day weekend. The five-piece band brings an alternative sound splashed with some serious surf rock. Their influences range from Jamaican doo-wop group, The Cleftones, to the Clash and Elvis Presley as lead singer Richard Araiza borrows from the likes of Scott Walker and various punk greats. The band’s fourth studio album, Midnight in a Moonless Dream, is expected to drop on May 4 and, based on singles like “Baby C4,” is bound to deliver some heavy bass for a garage rock sound that will usher you straight into the first night of the festival.
Set time: Friday at 6:10 pm, Sonora Stage
LA quartet The Regrettes are still in their teens, but they’ve managed to cull their musical tastes from genres past. With a combination of 60s pop, riot girl fervor, and a punk mentality, the band is as lively and entertaining as seasoned rock stars on stage. Since their first single in 2015, “Living Like a Human Girl,” the group has garnered much acclaim and toured with acts like Sleigh Bells and Kate Nash. The Regrettes debut album, Fell Your Feelings Fool!, is full of youthful excitement, strong hooks, and elements of Bikini Kill. Check out their video for “Come Through” for a preview of some of the desert vibes headed your way at Coachella.
Set Time: Saturday at 7:50 pm, Gobi Stage
Benjamin Booker arguably put out one of the best albums in 2017. Throughout the album, Witness, Booker tackles love, mental health, and police brutality in a charismatic, uplifting, and often self-depreciating tone. Booker’s voice ranges from a low growl to gospel choir on his latest and his overflowing talent flows easily on stage. The first single off his sophomore album, Witness, was the title track featuring the legendary Mavis Staples. The single has its roots in blues, soul, and a whole lot of gospel as the two croon about how they could be next in a world fraught with tension.
Set Time: Saturday at 7:20 pm, Mojave Stage
Tash Sultana is making her way to the Coachella Valley all the way from Melbourne, Australia. The singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist has been playing guitar since she was three and it shows in the comfort and ease of her performances. She began her musical career busking on the streets to get by then joined a short-lived band. Sultana’s name started to garner attention when she uploaded a video of herself playing guitar and racked up a million views in five days for the independent artist. With only one EP to her name, Sultana has already had three songs on Triple J’s Hot 100 list, a top five position on the Australian album charts, and been nominated for four ARIA Awards. With a sold out tour already under her belt, the ability to play 20 different instruments, and a reputation as a one-woman-band, Sultana’s Coachella performance should be a standout for the festival known for breaking new artists in the states.
Set Time: Sunday at 4:35 pm, Gobi Stage
Newcomer Hayley Kiyoko is a force to be reckoned with. Some may recognize Kiyoko from her Disney channel days or her role as a band member in Gem and the Holograms, but the multi-hyphenate has a lot to offer with her new music. Her debut album Expectations dropped on March 30 and shows off polished pop gems from the Los Angeles native. Expectations hit the US pop charts immediately in the top 20 and features hit after hit from the singer, songwriter, actor, and dancer. The string of hits include “Sleepover,” “Feelings,” and queer anthems like “Curious” and “Girls Like Girls” that have gotten her rave reviews and the nickname “Lesbian Jesus.” Most importantly, her songs provide the perfect chance for the artist to show off some of the stellar dance moves we’ve seen in her music videos.
First Weekend Set Time: Sunday at 6:55 pm, Gobi Stage
While we all anxiously await the arrival of Janelle Monae’s newest album, we can enjoy an artist hand picked by the pop star. Jidenna is a signee on Monae’s Wondaland record label and nearly as stylish. Even Kendrick Lamar took notice and did a remix with the Nigerian-American MC for his 2015 single “Classic Man.” The original single debuted on the Billboard charts and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2016 before he released his debut album The Chief in 2017. The hip-hop artist’s debut is flush with collaborations from Wondaland label-mates and tries out various musical stylings from tap to retro beats and keeps listeners on their toes.