Coachella 2013: No Stars … But The Stone Roses!

The Coachella lineup may be light on big-name stars, but there's plenty of bang for your buck, in Bigger Than The Sound.

How you feel about the 2013 Coachella lineup probably depends on your answer to this question: Do you know who the Stone Roses are?

If your answer is an emphatic “Yes!” then you will undoubtedly be plunking down the $349 required to catch the recently-reunited Mancunian rockers at their first U.S. appearance in nearly two decades. If you think they’re some sort of Rolling Stones/Guns ‘N Roses sideproject, well … there’s always Summerfest Milwaukee.

And I suppose that’s simplifying things just a tad, but in the hours since this year’s Coachella lineup was first released, much of the discussion has centered around the Roses’ prime Friday spot (though they apparently lost a “rock, paper, scissors” contest to fellow Brits Blur, who are the night’s actual headliners) not to mention the other acts that are topping the bill throughout the weekend: Phoenix and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In short, it seems most aren’t impressed — especially since everyone from Daft Punk to Justin Timberlake were rumored to appear in those spots — and, really, you can’t blame them. Though perhaps they should take a closer look before rushing to judgment.

Because while this year’s crop of headliners lacks the wattage of previous editions of the fest (Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Radiohead, Rage Against The Machine etc.) and the lightweight Sunday lineup — topped by the Peppers, who, just in case you forgot, headlined everything from Hangout to Lollapalooza last year — certainly makes the idea of purchasing a three-day pass a little less appealing, there are still plenty of worthy acts on the bill … though, curiously, organizers decided to put most of them on the undercard.

You want returning indie royalty? You’re in luck: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend and the Postal Service will all be there. So will a ton of great hip-hop acts (the reunited Jurassic 5, the Wu-Tang Clan, Pusha T, Danny Brown and more) and electronic artists (not just Pretty Lights and Bassnectar, but drum-n-bass pioneer Roni Size, too). Franz Ferdinand, Modest Mouse, Japandroids, Dinosaur Jr. are all on the bill. And don’t forget legends like Lou Reed (who’s sure to be surly; he doesn’t do well in the heat), New Order and Johnny Marr, not to mention Nick Cave, who’s actually playing twice, with his bands Grinderman and the Bad Seeds. Shoot, your mom can even go watch the Lumineers play.

There’s really something for everyone … except star power. And while, ultimately, that fact may impact ticket sales — especially in the ever-expanding summer festival scene, where big-name headliners are the best way to cut through the glut — you can’t accuse Coachella organizers of assembling a bum lineup in 2013 (though that hasn’t stopped everyone from doing just that). Would it have been nice to catch the Rolling Stones or Kanye? Of course, but below the fold is where this year’s fest really shines. There’s bang for the buck and then some, and, really, if you don’t feel like coming out to Indio this April, that’s fine … more room for me.

What do you think of this year’s Coachella lineup? Let us know in the comments below.