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Coachella 2012: Ten Things That Need to Happen

Our hopes for surefire crowd-pleasers from At the Drive-In, Radiohead, Swedish House Mafia and more

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Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns; Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage; Andy Sheppard/Redferns

As always, the bill for the Coachella festival is an embarrassment of riches, with a perfect balance of big-shot headliners (Radiohead, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg), reunited favorites (At the Drive-In, Pulp), old veterans (Squeeze, Jimmy Cliff), DJ superstars (Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta) and indie luminaries (Bon Iver, St. Vincent). Festivals are first and foremost communal experiences, so a lot of the most exciting moments will come when an act plays a particularly iconic song. Click through for what Rolling Stone hopes will be the most thrilling moments of Coachella 2012.

By Matthew Perpetua

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10. Avicii, ‘Levels’

Swedish producer Avicii has been making his name on the festival circuit over the past year for his extraordinarily euphoric live sets. His mind-melting banger "Levels" is guaranteed to turn the Coachella audience into one enormous dance party.

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9. Jeff Mangum, ‘The King of Carrot Flowers, Part 1’

Though the lead track from Neutral Milk Hotel's cult classic album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is guaranteed to get Jeff Mangum's fans going, it's unlikely that anything he plays will trump the response he's sure to get simply by walking out on stage. Except for a few recent live performances, Mangum has been more or less a recluse since that album came out in 1998, and his appearance at Coachella will be his first West Coast concert in well over a decade. It's likely the hardcore NMH fans in attendance will be alternately screaming and pinching themselves to make sure they're not dreaming.

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8. The Black Keys, ‘Lonely Boy’

The Black Keys have no shortage of crowd-pleasers in their arsenal for their headlining slot on the first night of Coachella, but the surefire hit of their set will be the recent single "Lonely Boy," which all but invites an entire field of fans to loudly sing along with its "whooooa-ohhh-oh-oh!" hook.

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7. Madness, ‘Our House’

British ska legends Madness are famous for their joyful, high-energy live sets, which typically peak with their massive 1982 hit "Our House." The audience for Madness may veer a bit older, but even the youngest kids on the festival site are bound to recognize and freak out over that tune.

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6. Swedish House Mafia, ‘Save the World’

Swedish House Mafia just recently played a triumphant and historic gig as the first DJ act to headline Manhattan's Madison Square Garden, so being one of the headliners on the first night of this year's Coachella festival should be a breeze. They've made their name on relentlessly crowd-pleasing sets, but the audience is sure to explode when they drop in their hit "Save the World."

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5. Radiohead, ‘Everything in Its Right Place’

Radiohead are likely to play a set very heavy on new material featuring second drummer Clive Deamer, but are bound to play at least a handful of oldies from their albums The Bends, OK Computer and Kid A. Pretty much the only song you're guaranteed to hear at every Radiohead gig is the festival favorite "Everything in Its Right Place," but any of the band's classic tunes will go over well with the Coachella crowd.

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4. Mazzy Star, ‘Fade Into You’

Mazzy Star have been on hiatus for years, but their slow, sultry hit "Fade Into You" has never really gone away. All of their hazy, gorgeous tunes are well-suited to being performed in Coachella's desert setting, but there is no doubt that thousands of people will be swooning in unison when they play this number.

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3. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, ‘Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang’

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are sure to play a lot of hits in their headlining set on the final night of the twin festivals, but none will get the crowd going like their Chronic smash "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang," a song so mind-blowing that it basically changed the course of mainstream hip-hop overnight upon its release in 1993.

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2. Pulp, ‘Common People’

When Pulp hit the stage on the first night of the first weekend of Coachella, it will be their first time performing in the United States since they went out for a brief East Coast tour in support of This Is Hardcore in 1998. In the meantime, the Britpop legends have built up a rabid American cult who have never seen the band in concert, but have heard all about their reputation as one of the world's finest festival acts. Expect fans to reach rapturous levels of excitement when the band cap off their set with their signature anthem, "Common People."

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1. At the Drive-In, ‘One-Armed Scissor’

Fan enthusiasm couldn't be higher for At the Drive-In's first concerts in over a decade at this year's Coachella festival. The Texas punks were known for delivering fierce, intensely physical live performances, so their entire set is bound to get an entire field of people thrashing about. Expect a particularly violent response to "One-Armed Scissor," the band's biggest hit.