Coachella Lineup: Not Amused

Why does Muse headline all festivals? Conspiracy!

Muse at ACL Fest 2013
Muse at ACL Fest 2013 (by Gary Miller)

Yesterday, Coachella announced the talent for its two-weekend desert fête, firing the starter pistol that sends us all sprinting into another year of music festivals. The line-up comes with solid second-tier acts, but in the visual hierarchy of festival posters, the font size doesn’t equivocate about who clears out Indio each night.

OutKast reunites after a six-year hiatus for a best-foot-forward Friday. Arcade Fire, riding late 2013 release Reflektor, closes out on Sunday. Who’s the middle child in all of this?

Is it Beck, who announced the February release of Morning Phase, his first album since 2008? No. Pharrell Williams, whose Midas touch graced some of 2013’s best productions and who likely knows what helmet-headed Daft Punk actually looks like? Nah. Ooh, what about indie rock warship the Replacements, which played its first show in 22 years last August? Nope.

It’s Muse. Again.

Since 2010, Muse has rotated headlining spots at Coachella, ACL, and Lollapalooza, snagging both Indio and Austin in 2010, then taking a break in 2012. While the English threepiece certainly has an audience — 2012’s The 2nd Law peaked at the second slot on Billboard — it still manages to edge out fresh-blooded acts and cultish mainstays for the top spot.

I get it. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And yet, to my mind, Muse’s recycled anthem rock doesn’t merit its perma-presence on the festival circuit. Something more sinister is happening here, and I’ve got some theories.

The Light Show’s Affecting our Brains

Muse remains known for its mega-watt light show more than anything. I know. I’ve used it and Muse’s headlining status to beat the crowds out of Zilker Park. For those of you who saw it up close, the lasers are melting your brains down to the point where you can only hear “Supermassive Black Hole” on repeat.

Goldie Hawn’s Pulling the Strings

Am I the only one who saw 2002’s awful The Banger Sisters? The tale of suburbanized groupies reuniting marks Goldie Hawn as a rocker chick in my mind, and I feel like she could find a real fanboy crowd amongst aging booking agents. That’s the perfect clout for her to set daughter Kate Hudson’s fiancé, Matthew Bellamy – Muse’s singer – up with a gig or eight.

All Muse Fans are Vampire Wannabes

Stephenie Meyer, “author” of the Twilight series, cites Muse as her muse for vampire love stories, dedicating the final piece, Breaking Dawn, to the band and including it in the acknowledgements for her third and fourth works. Meyer’s got a huge fan base at her disposal, which likely saw the dedication and adopted Muse. Since the band always headlines – at night – I’m not saying they’re vampires, but if you stick around at a Muse show, bring some garlic.

The Sons and Daughters of Phisheads have now become Muse Heads

A boy and girl met at a Phish concert. They fell in love and followed the jam band around the country. Their first dance as a married couple was to “Waste” and their parents didn’t understand. Then they had a little minnow who watched his parents take out a second mortgage on the house to follow the band around for another summer. The kid thought this is how all fans act. Then he discovered Muse.

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More Coachella
Dust in the Wind
Dust in the Wind
No local love in Indio.

Austin Powell, Jan. 22, 2008

Coachella 2007
Coachella 2007

Austin Powell, May 1, 2007

More Muse
ACL Live Shot: Muse
ACL Live Shot: Muse
Epic UK trio won’t be shut down

Michael Toland, Oct. 5, 2013

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Coachella, Muse, Outkast, Arcade Fire, Beck, Pharell Williams, Replacements, Goldie Hawn, Kate Hudson, Matthew Bellamy, Stephenie Meyer, Twilight, Phish

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