Shack Chat: Which video game musical act should headline Coachella?

The staff take a moment to enjoy the music side of video games as they ponder which act should headline Coachella.


Coachella is an opportunity for music aficionados to come together to enjoy some good music and good vibes. Recently, Hikaru Utada performed a couple of songs from Kingdom Hearts at Coachella, which got us thinking about other video game performers. So we sat down, had a think, and came up with a few options of which video game musical act we thought should headline Coachella. Here are our answers! Make sure you leave your own ideas in the Chatty thread below!

Question: Which video game musical act should headline Coachella?

Pauline - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Music Editor

Is it fair to ask if Pauline has more than just her one hit single? Probably. Here's the thing, though. If I'm thinking about a video game musical act that still resonates with me five years later (No, I can't believe it's almost been five years, either), I'm thinking about Pauline performing at the New Donk City Festival in what's one of the real highlights of Super Mario Odyssey.

If she's good enough for Mario and Donkey Kong, she should be good enough for a hot desert crowd.

Ellie and Joel - Donovan Erskine, Multi-hit wonder

When Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker performed Wayfaring Stranger at PSX 2017, it straight up felt like something from a music festival. They’re both talented singers in their own right, but listening to them sing in character is just something special. I could totally see Ellie and Joel slowing Coachella down and giving an emotional set, performing some of the tunes we hear them sing in The Last of Us one and two.

PaRappa the Rapper & Friends - Blake Morse, Co-EIC

I could just picture it now. The one and only PaRappa up on stage with all sorts of colorful, psychedelic visuals behind just blowing the minds of everyone at Coachella. Of course master guitar shredder Um Jammer Lammy would be leading the backup band and PaRappas friends would be up there helping hype the crowd up and probably also freaking some folks out because if you actually seeing living versions of these characters in real life you would probably assume you’re trippin’ balls waaaaaaay too hard. And of course the whole thing would also entail a loving tribute to the late great Chop Chop Master Onion in the form of a rapping hologram. And yes, I’m just assuming Master Onion is dead at this point. No other video game act would be able to drop the mic as hard as PaRappa and his crew.

K.K. Slider - Sam Chandler, Doesn't know the lyrics

There’s only one music-playing character that would make the ideal Coachella headliner, and that’s K.K. Slider from Animal Crossing. This lovable pup has a massive catalog of songs to play and all of them are bangers. He even takes requests, which is exactly what you want when you’re in a crowd and begging the artist for an encore or your favorite song.

Midnight Riders - Chris Jarrard, Dude

This is an easy choice. The Midnight Riders were perhaps the most legendary band in the land even before they were featured in the acclaimed shooter Left 4 Dead 2. One of the standout setpieces in shooter history, the final stand at the end of Left 4 Dead 2’s Dark Carnival campaign, sees survivors attempt to escape the zombie swarm from The Peach Pit stadium.

The Midnight Riders were supposed to play a show at the Peach Pit, but it was cancelled in light of the world ending. The survivors battle their way to the escape chopper while Riders tunes blare over the PA system and the pyro intended for the show is used against the infected swarm. Hell yeah.

Priscilla from The Witcher 3 - Bill Lavoy, School of the Bear

It’s cool to arrive at this moment and realize that I have the objectively correct answer to the Shack Chat question for once.

Anyone who played The Witcher 3 all the way through will remember that performance by Priscilla at the tavern in Novigrad. It was breathtaking from start to finish, and the scene that played out in the tavern reflected exactly how I felt. Coachella might take on a more chill vibe if Priscilla is the headliner, but I’m good with it.

CYS from King of Fighters - TJ Denzer, Knows deep dive SNK lore/bands

It’s a new year, and with it came a new King of Fighters, and with that came the return of Chris, Yashiro, and Shermie as the Orochi Team. Now, while these three might have their mean streaks as embodiments of the evil Orochi, they also know how to cut loose whether they’re in a fight or playing on stage. They were also unfortunately dead since King of Fighters ‘97, but revived in KOFXIV. With their revival and inclusion in King of Fighters XV, it’s time for a reunion tour. Why not get Shermie back on the keys, Yashiro on guitar, and Chris on vocals and have ourselves a classic revival show. You’d just have to make sure Iori Yagami wasn’t playing the same night or things could get violent fast.

The Maximizers from Pokemon Sword/Shield - Steve Tyminski,  Galar-Garage Punk Band.

There are a lot of good choices for video game musical groups to lead Coachella. I really like video game music and there really isn’t a wrong answer to this question. You could have the New Donk City Band, featuring Pauline. You could have Link playing the Ocarina (might be a stretch) and have other Legend of Zelda characters back him up. However one of the more overlooked musical numbers is the Maximizers from Pokémon Sword and Shield. They already have a huge gig under their collective belts as closing entertainment for the Galar Pokémon League. There are a lot of Galar Pokémon that have musical traits like Rillaboom with his drum, Toxtricity times two with their air guitar. Finally you have Obstagoon on lead vocals and how could you not think these Mon are not hard-core rockers. You could go a few options with this but I’m going with the Maximizers from Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Mae’s band from Night in the Woods - Morgan Shaver, Highly recommends Night in the Woods

Night in the Woods is one of my favorite indie games, and focuses on Mae as she returns home and reconnects with old friends. Mae and friends like Gregg and Bea do a number of fun things together, but one of the main highlights has to be band practice.

The songs that Mae’s band play are fantastic, with standouts being Die Anywhere Else and Weird Autumn. Mae also has guitar solos that she plays, which from a concert set standpoint, would make for great entertainment when paired with performances from the band as a whole.

And in general, I just think it’d be charming to have a band of animals play weird, moody songs at Coachella. As a bonus, if this counts (this isn’t a “video game band” per se as it’s comprised of real life musicians), I’d also love to see League of Legends’ K/DA at Coachella.

I think any one of these performances would make for a fantastic headlining act at Coachella. What video game musical act do you think should headline Coachella? Let us know in the Chatty comments below!

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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