Coachella 2013’s 5 Most Wrenching Set-Time Conflicts


“Who would want to live in an area where debauchery is allowed five weekends per year?” That’s the question of one Indio, California, resident in a draft environmental impact report quoted today by the Los Angeles Times. And as amusing as it could seem to the music (and occasional debauchery) fans about to descend upon the Southern California community for this year’s Coachella, for a local it’s a fair one.

But festivalgoers’ immediate question might be a little different: How the hell am I going to see all of the bands I want to see without cloning myself, inventing a time-travel device, or otherwise launching myself into the plot of an implausible sci-fi movie? That’s right, the two-weekend festival has announced its set times. Check them out here.

Coachella, of course, runs from April 12 to 14 and then again from April 19 to 21. So theoretically if you miss a great act the first time, you can try again the second weekend. In the meantime, SPIN has broken down the bill’s most excruciating conflicts. 

5. Phoenix vs. Sigur Rós vs. Booka Shade vs. New Order, 11:35/11:50/12:00/11:35 p.m./a.m., Saturday night

Let the agony begin! One seasoned French festival band with an ambitious new album and Saturday Night Live fame. One seasoned Icelandic festival band with an ambitious new album and Madison Square Garden fame. A talented Berlin techno duo that’s still underexposed to rock crowds. Or New Order, the one and only.

Recommendation: Sigur Rós. New Order have long been undergoing lineup drama, and though there’s a fair chance they’ll somehow involve former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and everyone will act surprised, the real surprise will be seeing how much the usually ethereal Icelandic atmosphere-wielders aggro new vibes fire up the Coachella crowd. But there are really no losers in this conflict (or any of them, come to think of it).

4. Blur vs. Purity Ring vs. Grinderman, 9:55/9:40/10:10-11:15/10:30/11:15 Friday night 

Excruciating. The resurgent British art-poppers square up against moody, beat-mongering Canadian up-and-comers and bleak-minded Australian legend Nick Cave’s wonderfully sleazy garage-rock band. They’re all phenomenal live, even Purity Ring, whose act is more computer-centric.

Recommendation: Blur. Their Parklive CD/DVD shows they’re at a new, victory-lap peak as they extend their on-again, off-again reunion. And (critical bias alert!) we adore their catalog enough that when they issued a vault-clearing, 21-disc box set of albums, rarities, and a smattering of previously unheard tracks, we were able to come up with 21 never-before-released tracks you need to hear.

3. Stone Roses, Tegan and Sara, Earl Sweatshirt, How to Destroy Angels, 11:40/12:00/12:05/12:00 p.m., Friday night

Your neighbors will understand if you feel the need to swear loudly. The much-ballyhooed return of an influential British rave-rock band go up against the recent SPIN cover stars behind this year’s SPIN Essential album Hearththrob, the most wildly gifted Odd Future member who isn’t Frank Ocean, and Trent Reznor’s current band.

Recommendation: Tegan and Sara. Who’d you think? But this is a tougher decision than it looks, and you might just have to follow your own tastes. If Nine Inch Nails weren’t slated to play later this festival season, for instance, our verdict might’ve been different.

4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs vs. Beach House vs. TNGHT, 8:40/8:15/8:35-9:30/9:05/9:20 p.m., Friday night

Their set times might not perfectly overlap, but odds are good you won’t be able to see all of them in one weekend. The newly free New York rock avatars square off against the reliably great Baltimore narco-pop slow-jammers and the rising pair of electronic producers turned unfathomably speaker-shaking instrumental hip-hop beatmakers. This is not fair, God.

Recommendation: Yeah Yeah Yeahs. If you’re seeing TNGHT, you already know you are. And Beach House, while spectacular and potentially just the reprieve you’ll need, can also be a little too slow when you’re trying to plow ahead through all those sets. Plus, simple logistics: If you’re there for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, you’ll stay at the same stage for Blur. But mostly, even though the YYYs have some pretty strict rules for their concertgoers, they seldom fail to put on a show. They’ll suck your blood and you’ll love it.

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers vs. beating the traffic, 10:15 p.m., Sunday night

Young cynics will reply this is an easy one, but there’s a reason this Los Angeles band is an institution (and that Flea plays in Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace). And they’ve been cranking out some intriguing new singles lately.

Recommendation: RHCP. Even if you just want to sing along with “Under the Bridge,” you might as well stick it out. After all, if you’re piled in the car, you won’t be able to see Disclosure, the British group behind one of the year’s best songs, at 11:10 p.m.


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