Coachella 2012 | WELO’S Top 10 Acts Not to Miss

It’s obvious that Coachella has jumped shark in a big way. I’ll be the first to admit that the “organic luster” of the festival has rubbed off a bit since I went for the first time 3 years ago. What was once a platform for new, emerging artists to make a name for themselves has now became a bit of a high school popularity contest. BUT… with all the negative ruckus going on around Coachella this year, the lineup when broken down is actually pretty damn good. With the help of DJ Eyepatch, I had a chance to preview all of the bands on the roster this year and put together a Top 10 Acts Not to Miss list for WELO readers to chew on. I have not included the top tier headline acts (Radiohead, Black Keys, Dre/Snoop, Bon Iver, M83, Cat Power, Kaskade, etc and so on) within this list. These are bands that many of you may have not heard of but stuck out to me in some way or another. I based these 10 picks on 3 criteria.

1. I can shake my ass to it

2. SOUL & Funk

3. Originality

Take a scroll. Take a listen & let me know your favorites.


10. The Black Angels
Overshadowed by that other “Black” group headlining on Friday, The Black Angels bring a pyschadelic rock flavor fit for a festival. Pull out your air guitar and rock your sunglasses to this.
Performance Time: Friday Afternoon (I’m guessing b/t 3:00 – 6:00)

9. honeyhoney
LA’s very own, honeyhoney make their Coachella debut early Friday afternoon. Having met and worked w/ Suzanne & Ben in early 2011 on our WELO Show project it’s amazing to see how far they’ve come in such a short time. Their sound is sultry folk mixed with a vintage American sound. It’s an act you don’t want to miss if you’re hot out the gates early the first day.
Performance Time: Friday afternoon ( I”m guessing b/t 12:00 – 2:00 )

8. Azealia Banks
If Little Kim and M.I.A had a bad ass little babygirl it would probably sound like Azaelia Banks. Stick your bottom lip out, find some swagger, and sing“I guess that kunt gettin eatin” at the top of your lungs.. with 10,000 other people…. under a tent…  yep, this is in your future my friends.
Performance Time: Saturday late afternoon (I’m guessing b/t 3:00 – 6:00)

Yaesayer’s spawn is that you? WU LYF has a killer deep sound and is very “anthem” friendly. (Fast forward to 3:15 to get a good taste) You’ll most likely find yourself dancing in circles, singing each song like you’ve known it for years. They are definitely one of my favorite bands to debut in 2011. I’m stoked to see how they stack up live.
Performance Time: Friday afternoon ( I”m guessing b/t 3:00 – 6:00 )

6. Le Butcherettes
One of my highlights at 2011′s Coachella was watching Alison Mosshart & The Kills completely destroy it. The Le Butcherettes are no Kills by no means but this Mexican garage band is a bright spot in a festival that is short on female rockers. I see a bunch of luche libre masks and fist pumping in the future.
Performance Time: Sunday afternoon (i’m guessing b/t 2:00 – 5:00)

5. Kendrick Lamar
Arguably L.A’s best rapper that noone has ever heard of, Kendrick Lamar may be Compton’s next king. His sound is smooth, lyrics are catchy, and could be this weekend’s Rap wildcard. (sorry A$AP Rocky & Snoop/Dre)
Performance Time: Friday afternoon (I”m guessing b/t 3:00 – 6:00 )

4. Breakbot
Fans of Chromeo will love them some Breakbot. Throwback 70′s / Disco / Dance.  Can you say. Dance F***ing Party?!
What day do they perform? Friday afternoon (I’m guessing b/t 4:00 – 7:00)

You remember that Nintendo game you used to play back in the early 90′s? Little small elf dude, carried around a sword with magical powers, maze upon maze to conquer… ring a bell, yet? Now picture yourself in the Sahara tent dancing your face off to this “Nintendo Game” theme song combined with a slick dub tempo & bass that drops harder than anything you’ve heard all day. I invite you to turn your speakers up, listen to the song below and hear what happens at around 1:53. Welcome to Coachella. My name is Zedd
Performance Time: Sunday (I”m guessing b/t 3:00 – 6:00 )

2. The Sheepdogs
With a name like The Sheepdogs, what do you get? …Classic Rock with a modern funk twist. I missed out on Woodstock back in the day, but for 1 hour on Friday you can find me dancing around like a hippie channeling my inner Jimi Hendrix air guitar…
What day do they perform? Friday afternoon (I’m guessing b/t 12:00-2:00)

1. Fitz and The Tantrums
You may see a pattern happening here. I’m a Do-Wop fanatic. When a band manages to bring pure funk and soul from this era and mix it with a modern sound, you get Fitz & The Tantrums. Mayer Hawthorne stormed the scene a few years back with a fresh approach at looking at Modern Do Wop and Fitz and the gang picks up exactly where he left off at. I’m all in on this one.
What day do they perform? Sunday afternoon  (i’m guessing b/t 3:00 – 6:00)

I’m no music critic, nor do I claim to be. I’m a lover of all types of music and I love to shake my ass. For that one special weekend in April every year, I celebrate life, music, & love with friends despite the lineup.

Just check out this shit show the day after last year’s festival.

Put these artists in your bag and I’ll see ya at the Polo Grounds, kids.



About the author

Justin LaBaw-Rivers, chief ninja at WELO, loves to write about any random happenings in the music, art, & design scene. An artist himself & a lover of life, it's not uncommon to find this kid singing karoake or dancing with friends at local watering holes until the doors shut.


  1. I didn’t even see The Black Angeles on the lineup! YES!!! SO stoked to see them for my 1st time! AWESOME list, Justin! This is gonna be my 8th Coachella in a row & I’m just as excited as ever!

  2. Black Angels are badass! thanks for the love, Lauren.. I’ll see ya in the desert, girl!

  3. Zac Blakeley says:

    Great post!

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