With more than 160 bands to choose from across three days at Coachella, how do you decide who to see? To help you out, our U-T San Diego and DiscoverSD experts chose their top picks for each day in the desert - with a few surprises along the way. Our picks for Friday...
AC/DC: Many, many eyebrows were raised when it was announced AC/DC will headline the opening night of both weekends of Coachella this year. But so what? If any act in the festival’s history can inspire hordes of hipsters to bang their heads, play air guitar and shout “Highway to Hell” in unison, it’s this perpetually hard-rocking Australian band, whose first album came out in - gulp! - 1975. And if AC/DC isn’t your cup of whiskey-spiked tea, there’s always fellow Coachella performers Steely Dan. GEORGE VARGA
Kimbra: You may know Kimbra thanks to her vocals in Gotye’s song, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” but on her own, the New Zealand-born singer is much more fascinating than the delicate love song for which she won a Grammy. Kimbra’s latest album, “The Golden Echo” is a sunshiny mix of pop, classic R&B and experimental indie. Her videos and live performances are daring and soulful, emphasizing themes of love and nature. Plus, Kimbra (whose last name is Johnson) hands-down wins the Coachella fashion show with a style that’s as artistic as Lady Gaga’s, minus all that ridiculousness. NINA GARIN
George Ezra: Just coming from a stellar performance as the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live,” this British singer-songwriter has propelled quickly from indie up-and-comer to radio sensation, thanks in large part to his hit “Budapest.” At just 21 years old with the body of a young, blue-eyed British boy, George Ezra’s bluesy baritone voice is somewhat surprising. It’s working well for him though as he is serenading American audiences and receiving rave reviews. His January debut album “Wanted on Voyage” peaked at No. 1 on the Folk Albums chart, and Ezra spent the start of the year opening for Sam Smith and Hozier’s North American tours. MICHELLE DEDERKO
Alesso: Alessandro Lindblad isn’t your average Swede DJ. He became interested in EDM at the age of 16 and garnered attention from other EDM artists early on. One in particular was Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia. Ingrosso became a Swedish big brother to Alesso and taught him how to DJ while helping him create some production tracks. Soon after, they produced the 2011 track “Calling,” which reached No. 2 on Beatports chart. Alesso continues to create chart-topping EDM music, leaving no question as to why he is ranked 15th on DJ Magazine’s list of Top 100 DJs. AMBER MESKER
Flying Lotus: Experimental electronic and hip-hop producer Flying Lotus is going to stun the Coachella crowd with his stage presence and extraordinary style of music composition. He’s been making a name for himself throughout the years with his remixes and collaborations with artists such as Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and others. Flying Lotus’ fan base will have a presence at Coachella and the show will be full of tunes you can groove to. JARNARD SUTTON