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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Reviews

12 Nov 2016
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Culture Club’s performance on Friday night, Nov. 11, at Fantasy Springs made good on a promise. The well-known ’80s new-wave band, fronted by Boy George, was slated to kick off its current reunion here in the Coachella Valley back in November 2014, but after the show was announced Boy George learned he had a serious throat condition that required surgery. The show was cancelled, and the reunion tour was delayed. On Friday night, the band gave fans a two-hour performance that was more than worth the wait. Culture Club started the show with “Church of the Poison Mind,” and Boy George was the last member to walk onstage—dressed in an outfit covered with Xs and Os, which together stand for love. He addressed the audience after the song with his trademark wit and snarky humor, saying that people were probably not sure what they were going to get—and that the…
31 Oct 2016
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Morongo wanted the best, and Morongo got the best when KISS stopped by to perform on Sunday night, Oct. 30. KISS performed in the outdoor tent at Morongo, which has a capacity of about 3,000. It was immediately obvious that this would be a scaled-down show; after all, tents aren’t conducive to over-the-top pyro and members of the band flying around. Also worth noting: This edition of KISS lacks Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, as they were replaced in the early ’00s with Tommy Thayer (guitar) and Eric Singer (drums). When the lights dimmed and the KISS curtain fell, all four members appeared onstage in their usual makeup, and with the help of some minimal pyrotechnics, they started “Detroit Rock City” and were welcomed with a loud reception. Frontman Paul Stanley acknowledged crowd after a performance of “Deuce,” telling the audience, “As you can see, this is a tent. There’s…
31 Oct 2016
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Alice Cooper is 68 years old, so one could assume he’d prefer to put the makeup away and spend his days enjoying his favorite hobby—golfing. But rock ’n’ roll runs through Alice Cooper’s veins, and while he might enjoy spending time on the golf course, he still rules the stage: On Saturday night at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, it’s amazing the roof remained in place over the Special Events Center after Cooper was done performing. After a brief Vincent Price-themed intro, the band blasted into “The Black Widow,” followed by his 1973 hit “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” It was evident early on that his band of Chuck Garric (bass), Tommy Henriksen (guitar), Nita Strauss (guitar) and Glen Sobel (drums) help make Cooper’s current live show sound nothing short of amazing—especially Strauss, who came from the Iron Maiden tribute band The Iron Maidens. The show featured both familiar songs and…
19 Oct 2016
Last weekend’s annual Desert Daze music festival offered music enthusiasts a supersize meal of indy, alt, psych, punk and crazy tunes at the Institute of Mentalphysics, with music replacing meditation, yoga and UFOs. Three days in Joshua Tree offered an upgrade from the one-day edition at the Sunset Ranch Oasis. The traffic jam in Mecca was replaced with a good traffic flow. Also gone were the traffic challenges that occurred during a recent Childish Gambino gig, held at the Institute of Mentalphysics by another promoter, that stoked mislaid reservations about Desert Daze. Safety was a priority, as every car was subjected to a detailed search, including the opening of trunks. According to one of the security staffers I spoke to, they did remove an ax and a sword from a car on the first day. Yes, promoter Phil Pirrone of JJUUJJUU had the logistics down for this increasingly ambitious festival.…
14 Oct 2016
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“This is the biggest gig we’ve ever played!” Sir Paul McCartney told the crowd of about 400 people at the beginning of his last-minute show at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Thursday, Oct. 13. That bit of hyperbole from the former Beatle aside, it was indeed a big day for those who had made it into Pappy’s for the show, which had been announced just hours before. Those hoping to attend were told to arrive with $50, cash only, around 3 p.m. to stand in line for a 6:30 p.m. entrance and an 8:30 p.m. show. I arrived around 2:30 p.m. (as an invited media guest, meaning I knew I would get in, thank goodness) and noticed as we drove up the hill to Pappy’s that the parking lots were closed, and a line already wound all the way into the back of Pioneertown near the Pioneer Bowl. Around…
10 Oct 2016
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Desert Trip’s inaugural weekend is now in the books—and not even the highly anticipated debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could keep people away from the final-day performances by The Who and Roger Waters. Some music critics and fans in recent years have mused that it might be time for The Who to hang it up, since the only remaining original members are frontman Roger Daltrey and songwriting wizard and guitarist Pete Townshend. These musings ignore the fact that The Who includes some great touring members, including Ringo Starr’s son, Zak Starkey, who has sat in the late Keith Moon’s spot on drums since 1996; and bassist Pino Palladino, who took over bass duties after the death of John Entwistle in 2002. Palladino has played with Paul Simon, Joe Walsh and Nine Inch Nails. Critics have also claimed that Townshend’s hearing issues have caused problems with The Who’s live…
09 Oct 2016
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After a thrilling (if traffic-choked) first day of Desert Trip, attendees returned on Oct. 8 for Day 2—excited about the performance of Saturday headliner Paul McCartney. But before Sir Paul took the stage, it was time for Neil Young and his current band, the Promise of the Real, which includes Willie Nelson’s sons, Lukas and Micah. Let’s just say the appearance of the stage was … odd. On both stage right and left were large teepees with “Water is Life” painted on them; two smaller teepees flanked each of the large ones. The backdrop resembled a canvas bag of seeds, with the words “Seeds of Life. Indio, CA. Organic.” This was a reference to Neil Young’s latest album, recorded with the Promise of the Real, titled Earth, which references the plight of the small farmer, Monsanto, environmentalism and many other farming and environmental issues. Considering Young sits on the board…
08 Oct 2016
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The unofficial nickname of Desert Trip, as everyone knows, is “Oldchella.” The jokes have been flying regarding the possibility of AARP discounts at the Empire Polo Club, where Goldenvoice is holding the three-day affair over two consecutive weekends. After night one of Desert Trip, it’s official: The crowd at Desert Trip is certainly older than the Coachella audience. Nonetheless, the concert, featuring older legends of rock ‘n’ roll, still had an incredibly exciting vibe. First up on Friday night, Oct. 7, was Bob Dylan. I’m a fan of Dylan’s recordings from the 1960s; I own all of them and know most of them by heart. But in the ’70s, he went electric and shifted his musical style—and his live shows can be a disappointment if you’re not a fan of everything he’s ever done. In fact, during one recent concert, he apparently did not have a song in his set…

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