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Friday, April 11
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
EMPIRE POLO CLUB
The big box of candy known as Coachella is stuffed again with an assortment of familiar flavors, although there are fewer exotic confections overall this year than in previous editions. A couple of the more notable surprises occur on the first day, when André 3000 and Big Boi realign as Outkast for the first time in seven years, and a version of The Replacements reappears out of the misty haze. It should be a thrill to hear laid-back balladeer Paul Westerberg finally crank it up again (albeit, sadly, without key 'Mats members Chris Mars and the late Bob Stinson), but it isn't clear yet if Outkast is an organic entity again or merely two separate speaker boxes paired together for a nostalgia cash-in. Friday's other wonders range from Chromeo's goofy electro-funk and Neko Case's fiery vocal contrails to The Knife's electronic propulsion and Wye Oak's stormy, swirling melodicism. Saturday alternately rocks harder with Queens of the Stone Age, slinks strangely with Muse's dynamic waves, impresses with Pharrell Williams' pop-hop savvy and enchants via Lorde's gauzily contemplative dance pop. Sunday features the ubiquitous Arcade Fire and Beck, but highlights include Lana Del Rey's dreamy romanticism, Disclosure's engrossing electronics and a reunion of alt-rockers Neutral Milk Hotel. - Falling James
Motörhead may not have invented rock & roll, but they surely were the first to so completely weaponize it - although historical accuracy demands we give an iron-clad fist bump to Australian contemporary Rose Tattoo. If any combination of leather, riffs and whiskey gets your blood pumping, you're only reading this far to see if there's a reason to come find me and punch me later. (And I said
Rose Tattoo, so we should be good.) Swedish openers Graveyard add outré '70s vibes (à la Sir Lord Baltimore or Pentagram) to their old-school r-a-w-k and have a healthy appreciation for psychedelic horror legend Roky Erickson, whose fearsome howl surely inspired at least one terrifying moment on recent album Lights Out. - Chris Ziegler