Six Best Coachella Death Matches

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver at the Pageant in 2011. He'll be at Coachella, as well, but can he stand up to kindred spirit Andrew Bird? - Jason Stoff
Jason Stoff
Justin Vernon of Bon Iver at the Pageant in 2011. He'll be at Coachella, as well, but can he stand up to kindred spirit Andrew Bird?

You may know that the Coachella festival begins this weekend, in which Indio, California is overtaken with every type of person from hippies to people who like watching bands outside and camping yet deny being hippies. The impressive lineup has a few notably similar acts who may not be rivals but still bring up thoughts of competition when deciding which band to walk a mile to see. Here are the six best Coachella death matches and the respective winners.

6. Explosions In The Sky vs. Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Explosions and Godspeed are arguably the two bands most responsible for the surge in instrumental post-rock bands in recent years. The former expanded the style's popularity by loaning its tracks to the Friday Night Lights franchise. The latter kept up the mystery by being cryptic and Canadian. Explosions In The Sky tends to be more raucous live than its moderately tame records. Meanwhile, Godspeed You! Black Emperor's drawn-out quiet intros are likely to be buried by festival chatter and its climaxes may not achieve maximum impact without walls to contain the punishing volume. Plus, that exclamation point still does not sit well. Winner: Explosions In The Sky

Andrew Bird at the Pageant last month. - Jason Stoff
Jason Stoff
Andrew Bird at the Pageant last month.

5. Andrew Bird vs. Bon Iver

These two post-Sufjan kitchen sink songwriters have broken into the highest level of success allotted without a legitimate radio hit song. Bon Iver performed on SNL and was honored with a parody the following week. Andrew Bird recently received the "Colbert Bump" after an interview and performance on air. Those highly publicized appearances captured the essence of both; Bird proved he could keep up with a wittier-than-thou interview while Bon Iver's Justin Vernon was mocked for putting listeners - and himself - to sleep. Winner: Andrew Bird

4. Squeeze vs. Pulp

For the international attendees of Coachella, or maybe even those who experienced the late '70s/early '80s instead of learning about them after the fact, these two acts may not seem comparable. But the long-running bands seem to attract similar attention in today's context, mostly an entry point for digging into Britpop on a deeper level than Oasis/Blur/The Smiths. In the most general sense, Squeeze's tunes are a bit calmer and Pulp's frontman Jarvis Cocker is the best kind of trainwreck, two factors that give Pulp more potential for a memorable performance, regardless of one's experience with their catalogs. Winner: Pulp

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