Las Vegas has grown so much, physically and musically, over the span of Coachella’s 15 years, it hardly seems strange that more than a fifth of the festival’s massive lineup will descend on our Valley over the next two weeks. From Lorde to Bryan Ferry, Calvin Harris to Mogwai, Vegas venues will be filled with ’chella acts—before, between and after the fest’s twin three-day weekends. But locals holding sold-out Coachella passes needn’t unpack their bags. Despite all the spillover, the annual SoCal gathering showcases plenty of music you won’t find within Nevada’s borders—including these recommendations from festival veterans Spencer Patterson and Mike Prevatt, set to head to their 12th and 15th Coachellas, respectively.
OUTKAST I’ve dreamt of seeing the Southern hip-hop giants ever since I caught André and Big Boi performing on HBO’s old Reverb concert series. It was funky and full-bodied—and felt like everything hip-hop typically isn’t live. I’m betting they’ll bring more than nostalgia to the main stage. Friday, 11:30 p.m., Coachella Stage.
THE KNIFE Reports from last year’s European run were steeped in dismay over the Swedes’ weird—and weirdly non-live—stage show, but I’m curious to see it anyway. I’ll approach it less as a concert than a concept, where performance art meets experimental electronics. Friday, 10:30 p.m., Outdoor Theatre.
GOAT Swedish invasion! These psych-rockers sound nothing like The Knife, though both acts do share a passion for strange visuals. Goat’s members perform while masked, though for me that’s secondary to their addictively droney freak-jams. Friday, 1:25 p.m., Outdoor Theatre.
NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL Jeff Mangum hushed the Coachella masses with his heartfelt solo set in 2012; this time he’s got his old bandmates at his side to liven and louden up the Polo Club. How excited am I for the reunion? I also bought tickets for both Phoenix shows. Sunday, 6:35 p.m., Outdoor Theatre.
ARCADE FIRE The Suburbs left me cold, but Reflektor has had me grooving from the start. And the moment I first made my way through its bouncy tracklist, I thought “Coachella!,” anticipating the big-field dance party to come. Sunday, 10:20 p.m., Coachella Stage.
THE REPLACEMENTS Long on my bucket list, the ’Mats will finally be in my line of sight, though with Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson as the sole pioneering members, I’m keeping my expectations in check. Still, it’ll be hard to play it cool with one of the purest rock ’n’ roll delights from my generation reconvening in my time zone. Friday, 8:45 p.m., Outdoor Theatre.
HOLY GHOST The infectious Brooklyn synth-pop duo was this close to playing Beauty Bar, but there’s something special about seeing a new fave for the first time at Coachella. Bonus: I celebrate my birth at 4:56 p.m. Thanks for the gift, Goldenvoice! Saturday, 4:45 p.m., Gobi Tent.
HOT SINCE 82 My first true conflict of the weekend: The Knife’s set starts a half hour into that of this European deep house phenom. I can’t predict where my weary feet will take me at that exact time, but I know exactly where I’ll be when Daley Padley drops his first beat. Friday, 10 p.m., Yuma Tent.
AFGHAN WHIGS I’ve been pining to catch Greg Dulli and crew again since straining to hear them in 1999 at the Thomas & Mack. Their raucous R&B should alternatively seduce and throttle us longtime fans. Friday, 6:40 p.m., Mojave Tent.
RUDIMENTAL I’ll spend most of Sunday in the Yuma Tent, grooving to four-on-the-floor DJs who rarely come to Las Vegas, but there will be no missing live electronic act Rudimental, whose soulful drum ’n’ bass will be a welcome palate cleanser. Sunday, 4:45 p.m., Mojave Tent.