Coachella is not just about festival dressing or getting papped near celebrities — it’s about the music! It’s a dizzying two weekends jam-packed full of sounds. Having a strategy to make sure you can cram in every worthy performance is absolutely key. Worry not because we’ve got the ultimate 2015 Coachella shortlist — all the performances you should not miss. It’s divided by day and there’s a vibe for everyone, from the calm and collected sounds of former child stars to the thumping beat of up-and-coming electro acts. Whatever your preference, we’ve got an idea of which acts you should be making time to see these next two weekends in Indio, California.
Interpol (Friday, April 10 & 17)
This New York City post-punk band’s first album, Turn On the Bright Lights, may be a teenager now (it was released in 2002), but you don’t want to miss a chance to see them IRL. Things have been quiet on the Interpol front for a while (plus their bass player Carlos D left), but they released their latest, El Pintor, last fall. Here’s a clip of the band playing at this year’s BBC 6 Music Festival, in case you’re wondering if they still got it.
Tame Impala (Friday, April 10 & 17)
What better venue for thumping, throbbing psychedelic sounds than the California desert? None, really, which is why you should add Tame Impala to your must-see Coachella list. Australian Kevin Parker makes the kind of chill, gorgeous music that is a perfect bookend to other acts. Here’s a clip of a light-fueled live Tame Impala performance from last year.
Alabama Shakes (Friday, April 10 & 17)
If you’re at all familiar with Alabama Shakes, you know the special sauce is in the live performance. Singer and guitarist Brittany Howard’s all-out spirit (and compelling facial contortions) make it impossible not to watch. Here’s the band earlier this year on SNL.
Ride (Friday, April 10 & 17)
When a band that basically encapsulates one of the major sounds of the 90s — luscious shoegaze — says they’re reuniting like 20 years later, you listen up. Ride is that band, and they’re getting back together to tour this year, including playing at Coachella. Pull on your best plaid and watch this vintage clip of the band at Glastonbury in 1994.
Azealia Banks (Friday, April 10 & 17)
Pretty sure you can either absolutely love or totally hate this spitfire rapper (and recent Playboy cover star). Either way, you’re not going to want to miss this one in the flesh. Here she is a few years ago at Reading Festival.
Flying Lotus (Friday, April 10 & 17)
If it’s a drug-free trip you want, it’s Flying Lotus you want to see. This is no ordinary, humdrum light show — it’s more like an all-immersive illustrated video game. Should go smashing in the California desert. Here is FL at last year’s Moogfest.
The Weeknd (Saturday, April 11 & 18)
Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, is the brains behind many of your favorite hits from the radio the past few years, so it’s high time to hear all those killer tracks live. A performance by The Weeknd is a meditative, interactive experience, which will be super fun at Coachella. Here’s a clip of Abel at the Hollywood Bowl last year.
Belle and Sebastian (Saturday, April 11 & 18)
You can’t think “contemporary indie” without conjuring an image of Belle and Sebastian, the now-legendary Scottish outfit. They’ve released nearly 10 albums and each one is chock-full of classic tunes. Now’s your chance to see a well-oiled machine that is still totally relevant after all these years. Here they are playing a decidedly more intimate show earlier this year.
FKA twigs (Saturday, April 11 & 18)
Ahem, you already know that FKA twigs is one of the buzziest musicians currently out there, so you wouldn’t miss the chance to see her live at Coachella, now would you? See a sneak preview from her performance at the Brit Awards nominations concert this year.
Alison Baitz is a freelance fashion and culture writer. When she's not busy chatting about online shopping or rooting out cool new designers, she's interviewing up-and-coming musicians or sampling food for articles and calling it research. She's proud to be a part of the DC-based food zine The Runcible Spoon. Yes, she is on Twitter: @itsmealison.