Like any great disaster, the impact of Coachella reverberates for miles. In its decade and a half of existence, the annual Palm Desert music festival has grown into an untenable avalanche of molly-whopped teenagers and plastered college bros no one younger than 25 should feel the need to brave. Luckily, you don’t necessarily have to: Now that the shitstorm is spread across two weekends, bands end up hanging around the West Coast in the intervening days, picking up gigs in areas outside the Goldenvoice blackout zone — Ventura included. Over the next week, the Ventura Theater welcomes a handful of the festival’s top-billed acts on consecutive days. Here’s a quick guide to the mini-Coachella happening right in our backyard.

Tuesday, April 15
Coachella Dates: Saturday, April 12 and 19.
Poster Placement: Fourth line from the top, between City and Colour and Dillon Frances.

A darkness lurks in the shadows of Chvrches’ fluorescent synth-pop. Under the laser-tag bleeps’n’bloops, jazzercise rhythms and swollen-hearted melodies is the creeping unease of classic Depeche Mode — which, no surprise, tapped these disgustingly young Glaswegians to open a few gigs last year. Singer Lauren Mayberry’s lyrics run an emotional gamut, from despairing to frustrated to downright mean, but she never quite arrives at joyful, no matter how blindingly bright the music sounds. Heck, The Bones of What You Believe, the title of the trio’s heavily pre-hyped 2013 debut, sounds awfully menacing when removed from the context of its deep red cover. Somewhere, there’s a black metal band flagellating itself for not thinking of it first.

Ellie Goulding
Wednesday, April 16
Coachella Dates: Friday, April 11 and 18.
Poster Placement: Second line from the top, between Girl Talk and Chromeo.

Ellie Goulding is Adele for kids fed up with mom always stealing their Adele CDs. She’s got the same golden pipes as Ms. “Rolling in the Deep,” but isn’t interested in using them to impress American Idol super-fans. Instead, she employs her soprano with a kind of winning insouciance, tethering it to the heavyweight electro-pop production that’s propelled her to superstar status on both sides of the Atlantic in a way that overwhelms neither the music nor the emotional resonance. Funnily enough, Halcyon, her 2012 smash, is where Goulding moved away from the placid folktronica she started her career with, toward a bigger, brighter, clubbier sound. She also appeared on the cover rocking the same asymmetrical haircut as her boyfriend, dubstep wunderkind Skrillex, ensuring their relationship is referenced in everything written about her. I’m guilty, obviously, but I bring it up only to point out how unfair it is: She stands on her own.

Thursday, April 17
Coachella Dates: Friday, April 11 and 18.
Poster Placement: Third line from the top, between Martin Garrix and Bryan Ferry.

Science hath spoken, California, and it says Bonobo is your favorite artist. The numbers don’t lie. Remember those maps everyone was sharing on Facebook a few months ago, detailing the musical proclivities of every state in the union? According to the research, he’s all you’ve been listening to. OK, so the fine print on that analysis is that it wasn’t determining each state’s “favorite” act per se but the one that is enjoyed disproportionately to the rest of the country. Still, the fact remains: Y’all love some downtempo electronica. That’s not terribly surprising, really. Since the early aughts, the English producer’s post-rave comedown jams have brought together backpack-wearing hip-hop heads, burned-out Burners and EDM chin-scratchers — which pretty much hits all the Golden State’s demographic bases. Uber-chill, late-night mood music not your cup of Sleepytime Tea? Too bad. If you live here, you are listening to Bonobo. Our analytical overlords say so. To deny them is to defy the law of the cosmos. What are you, a creationist?

Cage the Elephant
Friday, April 18
Coachella Dates: Saturday, April 12 and 19.
Poster Placement: Fourth from the top, between Sleigh Bells and City and Colour.

A cynic might think of Cage the Elephant as just another faceless millennial alt-rock band, indistinguishable from the rest of the Foster-the-Giant-Portugal-People brat pack microwaving memories of bands with better brand recognition and sacrificing any sense of identity for anonymous ubiquity. And they’d mostly be right, in that, if you held a gun to my head and demanded I pick the singer out of a lineup, well, tell my parents and cat I love them. Musically, though, the group, from appropriately inconspicuous Bowling Green, Ky., isn’t exactly “faceless.” They just wear a lot of masks. First, they tried on the Stones. Then it was a mash-up of ’90s radio staples, from Smashing Pumpkins to Oasis. Now, with the third album, Melophobia, the band has donned a Technicolor Dreamcoat of pan-generational references: a Beatles melody here, a Pixies riff there, with a garnish of early ’00s garage-rock revivalist fuzz. At first, it seemed as though Cage the Elephant had no idea who it was. Turns out it’s everyone.


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