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As exciting as it is when the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival schedule is unveiled each year, as it was on April 7, there’s also a sense of anxiety that comes with the scanning of the set times. For every great set that festivalgoers will witness at the Indio, Calif., gathering, there will be two or three other great sets that they will be forced to pass up — barring any cloning experimentation. Sure, some of the sets are no-brainers (sorry, Kaytranada — we can’t skip Drake for you), but what about the more difficult clashes?
Below is our roundup of the 10 toughest scheduling showdowns at this year’s Coachella festival — ranked on how frustrating the conflict is — in which we explain each conflict and offer a “right choice” to make. None of these artists should feel insulted if they end up on the wrong side of the coin, since none of these decisions are easy!
10. Lil B (Friday, 3:10-4:00 p.m., Outdoor Theatre) vs. Ab-Soul (Friday, 3:00-3:50 p.m., Gobi Tent)
The Conflict: Experimental rapper Lil B, who has been known to sing the line “You can f— my b—” to staggeringly large crowds, is certainly a fine way to begin your Coachella experience, but underrated TDE rapper Ab-Soul will deliver scorching rhymes in the desert heat.
The Right Choice: Lil B. The rap purists will scoff, but the Based God’s live show (which previously invaded Coachella in 2011) simply has to be seen to be believed. And who knows? Maybe he’ll update his fans on the curse he placed upon Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant.
9. Hozier (Saturday, 6:00-6:50 p.m., Coachella Stage) vs. Yelle (Saturday, 6:00-6:45 p.m., Gobi Tent)
The Conflict: Want to rock out with one of the breakout stars of 2014, or dance your troubles away with a veteran French electropop group? In other words, do you want to be taken to church, or to the Safari Disco Club?
The Right Choice: Split the difference. Catch The first half-hour of Yelle’s kinetic tunes, then pop over for the last 15 minutes of Hozier’s main stage coronation — just in time to belt out “Take Me To Church” with thousands of others.
8. Tame Impala (Friday, 9:15-10:05 p.m., Coachella Stage) vs. Todd Terje and the Olsens (Friday, 9:20-10:15 p.m., Gobi Tent)
The Conflict: Australian psych-rock mainstay Tame Impala is finally getting its crack at the main stage to preview its highly anticipated new album, Currents … but for those who heard Norwegian producer Todd Terje’s It’s Album Time! last year, those deep house grooves will be tough to resist.
The Right Choice: Tame Impala. Terje and the Olsens will put on a spectacular showcase, but Tame Impala has the potential to be the band everyone is talking about as they head toward the exits on Friday night. The epic new track “Let It Happen” makes this an easy choice on its own.
7. Parquet Courts (Saturday, 1:25-2:05 p.m., Gobi Tent) vs. Ryn Weaver (Saturday, 1:15-2:00 p.m., Mojave Tent) vs. Matthew Koma (Saturday, 1:25-2:15 p.m., Sahara Tent)
The Conflict: Immaculate slacker rock, innovative synth-pop and slick EDM, all starting within 10 minutes of each other. Even in its opening hours, Coachella presents some absolutely painful choices.
The Right Choice: Ryn Weaver. Parquet Courts’ tightly wound tunes need to be seen live to be fully appreciated, but Weaver is already a forceful stage presence on her own — and there will be plenty of other guitar-driven rock to be experienced at Coachella.
6. Ryan Adams (Sunday, 6:35-7:25 p.m., Outdoor Theatre) vs. Brand New (Sunday, 6:40-7:30 p.m., Mojave Tent)
The Conflict: The battle of the early 2000s! Alt-rock star Ryan Adams makes his Coachella return on the heels of the release of his 2014 self-titled album, but the Heartbreaker auteur is playing against post-hardcore survivors Brand New, who are making the festival rounds this year in order to (we hope) finally preview some new material.
The Right Choice: Brand New. Adams will play a riveting set at the sun sets, but he will not play “Sic Transit Gloria … Glory Fades.” Game, set, match goes to Brand New.
5. Belle & Sebastian (Saturday, Outdoor Theatre, 6:40-7:30 p.m.) vs. Run The Jewels (Saturday, 6:55-7:45 p.m., Mojave Tent)
The Conflict: The Scottish indie poppers of Belle & Sebastian will try to dismiss their unbearable whiteness with songs from the solid new album Girls in Peacetime Want To Dance, and across the polo grounds, Killer Mike and El-P will be delivering a message to every f—boy in sight.
The Right Choice: Split The Difference. Catch 20 minutes or so of Stuart Murdoch‘s soothing songwriting, then close your eyes, count to f—, and stroll over to the Mojave Tent to watch Run The Jewels tear the face off of their sure-to-be-massive crowd.
4. Marina and the Diamonds (Sunday, 5:45-6:35 p.m., Coachella Stage) vs. Jenny Lewis (Sunday, 5:35-6:25 p.m., Outdoor Theatre) vs. Vance Joy (Sunday, 5:30-6:15 p.m., Mojave Tent)
The Conflict: Marina Diamand is is enjoying a delayed breakout with her new full-length Froot, while former Rilo Kiley leader Jenny Lewis soldiers on as a solo artist after dropping the acclaimed LP The Voyager last year. Meanwhile, Vance Joy will test out a slightly smaller crowd than the one he’ll greet when opening for Taylor Swift during her stadium tour later this year.
The Right Choice: Marina and the Diamonds. Lewis and Joy will dish out the hits, but Marina has an exuberant live show and a lot of momentum coming in to Coachella. Make time for her main stage spectacle.
3. Flying Lotus (Friday, 10:00 p.m., Mojave Tent) vs. Porter Robinson (Friday, 10:00-11:00 p.m., Sahara Tent)
The Conflict: It’s simply unfair that Coachella-goers will have to choose between genius electro hip-hop producer Flying Lotus and EDM wunderkind Porter Robinson. Both sets will be pulse-pounding and gorgeous — and begin at the exact same time on Friday night.
The Right Choice: Porter Robinson. This choice is more circumstantial than anything: FlyLo would have the upper hand if the concurrent sets were scheduled on Sunday night, a time when some sumptuous jazz symphonies would provide a beautiful comedown, but as it is, Friday night is a time to party, and Robinson is the superior party starter in this matchup.
2. Florence and The Machine (Sunday, 8:50-9:45 p.m., Coachella Stage) vs. David Guetta (Sunday, 9:00 p.m., Sahara Tent)
The Conflict: Seriously? Having to choose between Florence and The Machine’s main-stage set, which is sure to be earth rattling and include a handful of new songs, and David Guetta’s Sahara Tent experience, which may very well include some gigantic guest stars, is disturbingly tough.
The Right Choice: Florence. The opportunity to hear tracks from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful for the first time — as well as instant classics like “Dog Days Are Over” and “Shake It Out” — is impossible to resist, especially in the Indio dusk. Guetta will play the smashes, but Florence and The Machine will hypnotize.
1. Jack White (Saturday, 9:15-11:00 p.m., Coachella Stage) vs. Tyler, The Creator (Saturday, 9:15-10:05 p.m., Outdoor Theatre) vs. FKA Twigs (Saturday, 9:35-10:25 p.m., Gobi Tent)
The Conflict: A painful pile-up of talent, with Saturday headliner Jack White pitted against Odd Future leader Tyler, The Creator and indie darling FKA Twigs, who just dropped the electric new track “Glass & Patron.” Why, Coachella Scheduling Gods? Why have you done this to us?
The Right Choice: Split The Difference. Here’s how to navigate this: Catch the first 20 minutes of Tyler, and cause a ruckus in the pit if you feel so inclined. Then, bop over to FKA Twigs and chill out while searching for Robert Pattinson in the adoring crowd. When that set ends at 10:25 p.m., zip over to Jack White for the last half-hour, which is sure to include a gargantuan “Seven Nation Army” sing-along. With some proper planning, you can have the best of all worlds on Saturday night at Coachella.
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