We get it, Coachella. You've got over 100 acts and only about 36 hours to cram them all onto your six stages, so there's bound to be some overlap. And for the most part, you do a good job of putting acts head-to-head that have little chance of cannibalizing one another's audiences. Squarepusher versus AC/DC? Not a problem. Belle and Sebastian against Run the Jewels? A no-brainer.
But sometimes, it feels like you're tormenting us on purpose. Here are this year's five worst examples of FOMO-inducing, cruelly conflicting set times.
5. J.E.S.+S./Gesaffelstein (9:00-10:30, Sunday)
French techno producer Mike Lévy has announced that Coachella will be his last show using Gesaffelstein's live setup, so this one should be easy, right? But wait a minute — look closer at this J.E.S.+S. outfit you never heard of. Turns out it's a trans-Atlantic supergroup made up of British producers Skream and Eats Everything, Detroit techno legend Seth Troxler, and ace Scottish DJ Jack “Jackmaster” Revill. Their cheekily named foursome (the plus sign is sometimes also rendered as a letter “u,” short for the German “und”) has played only a handful of sets worldwide, so who knows when they'll join forces again on the left coast.
4. Action Bronson/Ab-Soul/Lil B (2:30-4:00, Friday)
Hip-hop fans should be able to catch most of chef-turned-rapper Action Bronson's main stage set. After that, the choice gets tougher. Ab-Soul's thoughtful, TDE-approved rhymes, or The BasedGod's unpredictable antics and kidding/not-kidding homages to Katy Perry and Justin Bieber? Most will probably bet on Ab-Soul, especially if they're hoping for a surprise appearance by his Black Hippy cohort, Kendrick Lamar. But in Lil B, they'll be missing one of the weekend's more entertaining rhyme-slingers.
3. The Orwells/Off!/Joyce Manor (2:00-2:55, Sunday)
Sunday's lineup is stacked with some of the weekend's best and noisiest rock acts. But why put three of the best on at the same time — in the hottest part of the afternoon, no less? L.A. audiences are already familiar with hardcore supergroup Off! and rising South Bay punks Joyce Manor, so the loser here will likely be The Orwells, a Chicago area garage-rock crew with a sleazy, swaggering sound somewhere between The Black Lips and FIDLAR. Which is a shame, because in a better time slot, Orwells frontman Mario Cuomo would probably emerge as one of the festival's breakout stars.
2. Nero/Porter Robinson (9:35-11:00, Friday)
Watch your back walking between the Sahara tent and the Outdoor stage during this time slot, lest you be trampled by the amped-up hordes of EDM fans scurrying back and forth between Nero's epic, teeth-gnashing electro and Porter Robinson's prettier but still raging dance floor sounds. By the time Alesso takes the Sahara decks at 11:35, the dance floor might be littered with comatose kandi kids who burned their last Red Bull calorie rushing back from “Promises” in hopes of catching “Easy.”
1. Jack White/Tyler, the Creator/FKA Twigs (9:15-10:25, Saturday)
Somebody at Goldenvoice probably decided that Jack White's all-analog followers have little in common with the streetwear fashionistas of Tyler's Golf Wang empire, or the artsy alt-R&B faithful who hang on FKA Twigs' every syrupy bass throb. But putting three of the weekend's most mercurial, idiosyncratic personalities up against each other represents a scheduling trainwreck of truly epic proportions. Pity poor San Francisco ambient electronic producer Tycho, an excellent artist who will probably play to a half-empty Mojave Tent because he's up against three of the weekend's biggest heavyweights — who are all on at the same exact time. You're killing us, Coachella.
To agonize over Coachella's complete set times, visit www.coachella.com.
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