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Going to Coachella 2022 (or Watching the Live Stream)? Don’t Miss These 21 Acts Across All Stages
This article spotlighting acts to catch at Coachella was first written for the 2020 event, but it has now been updated to reflect the 2022 lineup and details.
Headliners. When it comes to music festivals, everybody’s obsessed with who’s headlining. Rumors swirl for months until the big reveal, and there are undoubtedly tons of people who are motivated to stay home or go to a given festival based solely on who’s headlining.
And that’s a shame, because big festivals pack a ton of talent over a multi-day span. The same can definitely be said for this April’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, which finally announced its lineup on Jan. 12, after lengthy delays forced by the pandemic. It will be the first Coachella since 2019, after rescheduled editions first to late 2020 and the spring of 2021 were pushed back.
Headlined by Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Swedish House Mafia x The Weeknd, filling in for Kanye West after West dropped out, the 2022 lineup boasts some huge headliners — but the undercard, AKA the bands and artists whose names are printed in increasingly tiny font on the massive festival poster — is stacked.
If you’re going to Coachella this April or watching the free live stream of both weekends and really want to experience some of the best the fest has to offer outside of the “big names,” here are some suggestions for can’t-miss sets. Just know that catching many of these acts will probably require being there all day and taking in some early afternoon sets in the blistering sun.
Bring a hat!
Amyl & the Sniffers (Friday)
This upstart Australian punk/garage/glam band released a new album, Comfort to Me, in September, and is riding the wave of buzz to a coveted slot at the polo fields in April.
Front woman Amy Taylor, a vocalist with frantic, frenzied energy, is flanked by Bryce Wilson, Dec Martens and Gus Romer, and together the quartet is a brash, in-your-face blast of throwback punk aggression and pissed-off lyricism.
Phoebe Bridgers (Friday)
Few artists in the indie/rock circuit have enjoyed as momentous a rise in recent years as Phoebe Bridgers. The Los Angeles-based musician will likely have one of the biggest crowds at both weekends at Coachella 2022, riding the wave of a star turn led by 2020’s Punisher and the acclaim it generated.
Phoebe was not initially part of the 2020 Coachella lineup, so her addition to the roster of acts is a rather big “get” — and, again, will generate a huge and inevitably very passionate crowd, whether she’s on the main stage or the Outdoor Stage.
The Hu (Friday)
You’ve never seen a Mongolian folk/metal band quite like The Hu. OK, you’ve probably never seen a Mongolian folk/metal band at all, but this ensemble burst forth in 2019 with one of the more captivating new sounds around.
With a style of music utilizing traditional Mongolian throat-singing, classical instruments and dark, ominous hard-rock compositions, the Hu is one of those acts that will definitely amass a large crowd at Coachella merely by taking the stage and playing … their music and epic live show will take care of the rest.
Make sure to catch Bristol, UK-based band IDLES for what promises to be one of the most high-energy crowds of the weekend. The band’s second album, 2018’s Joy As An Act of Resistance earned massive acclaim, its songs touching on hot-button issues including Brexit, masculinity and immigration, to name a few.
This past November’s Crawler, meanwhile, upped the ante again with another collection of powerful and unique compositions from the group, which isn’t afraid to try new things and challenge the listener with its music.
The Regrettes (Friday)
In the comment section for The Regrettes’ music video for “I Dare You” (off 2019’s stellar How Do You Love? LP) there’s a message that reads, “In case you wondered what the Strokes would sound like with a female singer,” and it’s hard to argue with that. The song does sound eerily reminiscent of the Strokes thanks to jangly guitars not unlike those that put the NYC indie icons fronted by Julian Casablancas on the map two decades ago.
But as the years have progressed, so have the Regrettes — their new, adaptive sound taking a more subdued approach with reflective themes and honest, raw lyrics from Lydia Night. The result is a versatile and relentlessly catchy pair of albums (and a new record out soon) that helped put the band on the radar and, now, a spot on the Coachella bill.
It seems like a challenge to put together an album of catchy, edgy pop-punk tunes that touch on serious topics like death, anxiety and depression, but Canadian band PUP did just that with 2019’s appropriately titled Morbid Stuff. and the just-released follow-up, The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND.
That energy propelled the band to a spot at Coachella 2020 (and, now, two years later), where they seem a logical choice to be another band that earns a dedicated mosh pit on whichever stage they end up playing, with hopefully more than a few fans screaming along with the impassioned vocals of lead singer Stefan Babcock.
Code Orange (Friday)
While there isn’t exactly a wealth of hard-rock or “metal” bands on the lineup this year, Pittsburgh’s Code Orange ought to more than pick up the slack. But that’s not to say Code Orange is a “metal” band, even, as the group incorporates elements of indie, punk and hardcore into its sound.
And grunge, too, as evidenced by “Bleeding in the Blur,” taken from 2017’s Forever album.
Catch Code Orange if you seek something a bit more aggressive at the festival.
Of the band’s newest material, “Out for Blood,” is another blast in the face of aggression and 2000s-inspired sentiment:
On the complete opposite end of the musical spectrum is L’Impératrice, a French collective that plays a groovy style of disco/pop.
Forming in 2012, the six-person ensemble plays a style of music so dance-oriented and well suited to new audiences it’s easy to imagine their performance at Coachella becoming a big hit of the weekend.
Arlo Parks (Saturday)
Collapsed in Sunbeams announced Arlo Parks as a significant force when it was released in January of 2021, and the English-based singer/songwriter will bring her dynamic melancholia to the Coachella stage as a result.
Her danceable-yet-thoughtful blend of indie/soul is a perfect fit for the Coachella crowd, and will no doubt win Parks more fans by the time the weekends are finished.
“Softly” is the latest song shared from Parks, and will likely be performed at the Coachella stage:
Wallows is riding the wave of near-constant buzz, having launched a nearly sold-out tour this month. The Los Angeles-based indie/pop trio featuring actor Dylan Minnette of the new Scream film and Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, Braeden Lemasters, an actor known for roles such as Men of a Certain Age, and Cole Preston, puts on a lively show and has amassed a feverish fan base already.
A returning act to Coachella (having played the fest in 2019), Wallows will touch on tracks from its excellent new album, Tell Me That It’s Over, as well as its earlier material.
girl in red (Saturday)
Released in April of 2021, if i could make it go quiet established 22-year-old Norwegian singer/songwriter Marie Ulven as an intriguing new artist to watch.
The reception of the album generated millions of streams and attention given to her compelling brand of indie/pop, leading to a pretty high billing on the third line for Coachella 2022.
Baltimore-based band Turnstile is hard to explain — by design. The group’s style is a unique blend of punk, rock, metal and indie pop, its songs unafraid to throw jarring stylistic changes in the middle of songs.
Somehow, someway, it works. 2021’s Glow On furthered Turnstile’s explosion onto the mainstream scene, and its absolutely chaotic live show will spark some serious mosh pits out in the polo fields.
Japanese Breakfast (Saturday)
It’s not easy to have “New York Times bestselling author” on your resume as a side gig — but that’s the case for Michelle Zauner, the creative force behind Japanese Breakfast.
Don’t miss her performance.
Rina Sawayama (Saturday)
Similar to how Turnstile thrives upon unpredictable sounds, so, too, does Rina Sawayama. The British-Japanese singer/songwriter released her full-length debut in April 2020 and was poised to celebrate with a Coachella performance which will now arrive two years later.
She seamlessly jumps across genre throughout the record, and even scored a major hit with a song that dabbles in the “nu-metal” sound of yesteryear with “STFU,” a fiery feminist anthem:
Mannequin Pussy (Saturday)
Three albums in, Philadelphia-based punk outfit Mannequin Pussy earned the buzz necessary to land a vaunted slot at Coachella, and rightly so. 2019’s Patience was a high-energy affair, jagged guitars and propulsive drums pounding ahead as singer Marisa Dabice sings, shouts and screams her way through their alt/rock/punk/indie anthems.
See them on Saturday on the polo fields.
Black Midi (Saturday)
Black Midi’s 2019 debut record Schlagenheim turned many heads and earned the young English band a Mercury Prize nomination, and with good reason. The band’s music doesn’t sound like anything but itself, which is the mark of musicians who are truly comfortable in their own space. That creative journey continued with May 2021’s follow-up, Cavalcade.
Drummer Morgan Simpson frequently gets accolades for his work behind the kit, and taken as a collective Black Midi has a captivatingly fresh sound that is sure to win over many who are in the mood for something distinctly different this year.
Altin Gün (Sunday)
The less you know about Altin Gün, the better — because pressing ‘Play’ on a Spotify song or YouTube video from this Turkish rock/jazz/psychedelic/folk band, the better. Just go watch them at the festival, if you get an opportunity.
Chicano Batman (Sunday)
Chicano Batman is more than an excellent band name. The Los Angeles band formed in 2008 has earned a strong reputation over the years for its psychedelic indie music that leans into tropicalia — all this to say, it’s pretty tough to classify them by a specific genre.
2022 marks the band’s third Coachella jaunt after visits in 2015 and 2017, and that’s a well deserved badge of honor for the group, as is their placement pretty high up on Sunday’s lineup. Catch ’em for a good time at the show.
Orville Peck (Sunday)
Just who is the masked country singer Orville Peck? Haunting vocals and a well-maintained mystique propelled Peck to precipitous highs in 2019, as did his debut record, Pony.
While it is known who in fact is the man under the mask and cowboy hat, Orville Peck has enough allure and buzz around him to ensure his set will be one of the most talked-about at Coachella.
Viagra Boys (Sunday)
Glancing at the Coachella 2022 poster, way down on the second-to-last line of Sunday’s lineup, you’ll notice a phrase: Viagra Boys. It’s a real band, a Swedish post-punk outfit that formed in 2015 with a sound that at times is a strange blend of Lou Reed and “desert rock,” i.e. any project involving Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age.
Viagra Boys’ 2018 debut album Street Worms is a unique listen, vocalist Sebastian Murphy playing the ringleader of this offbeat musical circus. Plus, they dig sports and ruining strangers’ tennis matches, and aren’t afraid to admit it. The band followed that record up with 2021’s Welfare Jazz, another unique musical adventure.
A buzzworthy singer/songwriter (real name: Bea Kristi) who unleashed her dynamic debut album, Fake It Flowers, in Fall 2020, beabadoobee bottled ’90s alt/rock energies into a decidedly fresh and reinvigorated set of songs.
She recently announced another new record, previewed with a crisp, ’90s-styled video for “Talk” ahead of a headlining tour of her own:
These 21 acts from all over the musical spectrum barely scratch the surface of the entire Coachella 2022 roster.
Feel free — nay, encouraged — to dive into the small font and discover some more surprises to catch out at the festival or on the YouTube live stream, if you’re watching at home.
May 16, 2022
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