The inaugural Coachella East, better known as Panorama starts tomorrow on Randall’s Island. The folks at Goldenvoice have done an admirable job putting together a solid festival lineup, mostly consisting of big tent indie, electro and hip-hop. Here’s the ten acts we’ll most definitely be checking out this weekend.
10) White Lung
There aren’t too many punk bands playing Panorama, but White Lung are one of the best in the game today. Sure, Mish Way and friends play shows in New York pretty often, but they’ve never played to a crowd this large. Fortunately, their new record, Paradise is their most anthemic yet. If you’re like me, and have been following White Lung for the past half-decade, then it’s pretty cool to see them get to bring their blistering live set to so many people at once.
Friday, 1:10 p.m.
9) Blood Orange
Arguably the singularly most talented musician on the festival placard, Dev Hynes has done it all in the music biz. He’s written hits for the likes of Solange Knowles, Carly Rae Jepsen and fellow Panorama-er FKA Twigs. He’s produced massive electro-pop hits. He’s played in dance punk bands and even did the whole Saddle Creek thing for a while. But he has produced his most compelling work under the Blood Orange moniker, most recently the stunning Freetown Sound. Hynes’ latest LP has only been out for a few weeks, but I can comfortably say it’s found its place in the modern day R&B canon alongside Channel Orange and Black Messiah. Don’t miss your chance to hear it live.
Saturday, 5:45 p.m.
8) The Front Bottoms
The Front Bottoms are probably the most accessible band in the so called “emo-revival,” with hook-laden, confessional tracks that just beg to be shouted out loud by waves of half-drunk, half-stoned festival-goers. They don’t have the songwriting chops of an Into It. Over It. or Hotelier, but they’re just so goddamn fun, and there are few things more fun than a full-on emo sing-along, even if you don’t know all the words. I think of them as a present-day Taking Back Sunday. That makes them probably the best choice to represent the genre’s contemporary scene at Panorama.
Sunday, 3:30 p.m.
7) Sufjan Stevens
You need to see Sufjan, even though he bailed on that whole fifty states project and admitted it was just a promotional tactic but that’s okay because we got Carrie & Lowell instead and The Age of Adz, yes, The Age of Adz, I actually thought that was a good friggin’ record, I hope he plays the whole thing, so sue me.
Saturday, 8:25 p.m.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the best thing from the new Kanye record (maybe the only really good thing, honestly) was “No More Parties in L.A.” because one of the G.O.A.T. producers, Madlib, laid down the track. The Beat Konduckta hasn’t dropped a solo tape of beats in a couple of years (and he keeps torturing us by teasing Madvillany II, but he’s kept busy with solid collabos with Freddie Gibbs and the seriously underrated Hemlock Ernst, aka, the dude from Future Islands’ rap project. His set should be fire, and you should take a half-day Friday to make sure you don’t miss it.
Friday, 2:30 p.m.
5) LCD Soundsystem
I expect some shade thrown my way from folks who think that James Murphy’s big return show in New York should be my undisputed #1, but I’ve never been a huge fan of LCD Soundsystem. I like them, and think they’ve written some truly great songs, but are they really that much better than The Faint?
I also expect to get some shade from the “fuck LCD Soundsystem” crowd of fanboys butthurt that they fell for James Murphy’s obvious money-grabbing MSG/documentary ploy from just a few years ago, but seriously dude? You didn’t see any of this coming? I’ll admit that the whole thing was and is pretty lame, and I’m not the biggest fan of egregious cash grabs, but it’s tough making money in the music industry these days. Remember when the guy from Grizzly Bear said he had to go on his partner’s medical insurance plan? It’s hard to get upset about LCD-gate when it was so inevitable. Plus, I sort of have a soft spot for real-life heel turns.
Anyway, this set should be fun, if not solely because LCD Soundsystem historically puts on a great show, but also for the potential crowd response/rebellion – though I’m not really counting on people who shell out hundreds of dollars for festival tickets to boo one of their favorite musicians because he duped a bunch of people into thinking they’d never play again three years ago. They’re probably just psyched to see the band, as they should be.
Sunday, 9:10 p.m.
4) Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene are one of those bands that make me feel old, because it feels like their heyday was so long ago. They come from a magical time, when Toronto seemed like the coolest place on earth, indie bands all had 48 members, iPod commercials infested the airwaves and Donald Trump was just a game show host. Despite releasing Forgiveness Rock Record six years ago (which feels like a lifetime), BSS feel firmly planted in 2002, and that’s exactly why I love them. The fetishization of the 1990s has become one of my biggest pet peeves, but I guess I’m all in on early-to-mid aughts indie nostalgia… at least until people start penning Garden State thinkpieces.
Friday, 5:30 p.m
3) Run The Jewels
Panorama’s booking is solid, if not a little… safe, but I will admit they knocked it out of the park with the hip-hop acts they’ve booked. Run The Jewels are one of the most engrossing live acts I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing. You can just feel the love between El-P and Killer Mike, and their energy and charisma just explode outward into the crowd. Their set should be extra interesting given the political climate we’re in now, and I’m expecting an eloquent soliloquy from one Killer Mike, the vice presidential candidate we all need.
Sunday, 6:10 p.m.
2) Arcade Fire
They don’t have any new music out (though Will Butler said a new Arcade Fire record might be out next spring. ), and Win Butler has been spending most of his time chillin’ with NBA players, but I am amped all the same to see The Arcade Fire this weekend. It will actually be my first time, so there might be some mild bias here, but for all their heavy-handed bombast, The Arcade Fire are one of our generation’s truly great bands. Please play “Headlights Look like Diamonds.” Thanks.
Friday, 9:15 p.m.
1) Kendrick Lamar
Arcade Fire are great… legends, really, but their best days are likely behind them. Ditto for Sufjan. LCD Soundsystem are a cash-grab reunion show. It’s not often you get to see the best in the world at the peak of their powers, and that’s why Kendrick Lamar, probably the most important rapper in the world today, grabs the number one slot at Panorama this year. This will be like seeing Nas right after Illmatic dropped. No one else stood a chance.
Saturday, 9:20 p.m.
Check out the complete schedule here