February 8, 2011

Coachella Names You Didn't Know You Knew

If you take a closer look at this year's list of Coachella acts, you may realize you know far more of the music being played than you were first aware of.

Familiar with The Killers? Bloc Party? Ben Harper? Their names may not be printed on the bill, but aspects of each are partaking in the weekend's festivities, you just may not have known.

For instance, Brandon Flowers of The Killers plays a solo set Friday. I for one am not always aware of the names of lead singers of even some of my favorite bands. I couldn't tell you who the head guy of The Strokes was until Julian Casablancas released his debut solo effort last year. Kele Okereke of Bloc Party will be doing a Friday solo set as well.

Ben Harper has achieved commercial success over the years despite his natural line of music being outside the normal acceptable mainstream radio stuff. Well, minus "Steal My Kisses". He is part of the three guitar supergroup Fistful of Mercy, which includes Joseph Arthur (a personal favorite of mine) as well as Dhani Harrison, son of George of The Beatles. They play further down the bill on Sunday night, but are a must see for me personally. Note that when they rolled through San Francisco late last year I saw the average price to see them was about $150, which makes them a bargain as part of a three day festival. I wouldn't be totally surprised if Eddie Vedder didn't drop by unexpectedly as he had on the band's tour. Also note that Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello performed with the band on Conan as well.

Lauryn Hill should be recognizable due to her Grammy slaying debut album, but for those not remembering she was part of The Fugees and a reunion would be the perfect way to beef up her set Friday.

Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis will be bringing her collaboration with beau Johnathan Rice to Coachella Saturday. The two released an album this past year as Jenny and Johnny, and between the two of them they have enough high profile friends [think Death Cab's Ben Gibbard and his girl Zooey Deschanel] to possibly make an already interesting set more interesting.

Big Audio Dynamite, Mick Jones' first post-Clash project, is reuniting for the festival. Other acts from the post-pop punk scene of the '80s Duran Duran and Wire will be partaking as well.

Rarely seen Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha's side project One Day As A Lion plays Saturday. Jimmy Eat World is being forgotten by most despite them being one of the early '00s most successful rock bands. They have always been known to put on a killer show as well.

So take a closer look at the lineup, there are tons of hidden gems out there waiting to be discovered. Gems you did not realize you were already familiar with.

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