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There was another capacity crowd at Pappy and Harriet’s on Thursday, June 4. At the door was chief doorologist Beth, banding ticketholders as she smiled.

I’d never seen Beth actually stay to see an entire show. This changed when Aimee Mann came to Pioneertown.

Beth was stage right for Mann’s performance with the Mountain Goats. Aimee Mann first hit it big with her band ’Til Tuesday, which had the high-rotation MTV video hit “Voices Carry.” (For the youngsters reading this: MTV actually played music videos a long, long, long time ago.)

As Mann entered through a side door, she commented, “They sure packed you guys in,” and went straight into “The Moth,” from her 2002 album Lost in Space. Mann would often pause to tune her acoustic guitar, at one point saying, “This is the tuning part of the show. I would like to blame the tuning problems on the desert air.” The sound coming from the wedges was spot-on—but I suspect that Mann is a perfectionist.

Mann showed pure poise as she ran through her 12-song set, including two songs from the soundtrack of Magnolia, including “Save Me,” which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Two-thirds through her opening performance, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats came onstage to sing chorus for Aimee Mann’s song “Labrador.” Mann ended with a delightful cover of “One” by Three Dog Night. As I looked over to the side of the stage, I saw Beth with a smile that was pure bliss.

The Mountain Goats are lead by Darnielle, and their show highlighted songs from a new record, Beat the Champ (Merge). Darnielle is part raconteur, part vocalist and evidently part professional-wrestling analyst: The Mountain Goats latest release is primarily about pro wrestling. The band kicked things off with “Southwestern Territory,” the first track on the latest album. Darnielle, while introducing the song “Animal Mask,” said, “This is a song about surviving; this is about a battle royale. What happens is that 18 dudes kick each other’s ass at once, and you must make friends to survive.” 

I am not sure if “Heel Turn 2” is a Jungian interpretation of wrestling or life, but I do know the song is about a wrestler who turns from good into bad in the middle of a wrestling match: “Drift down into the new light, Without any reservations, you found my breaking point, Congratulations, spent too much of my live now trying to play fair, throw my better self overboard.”

Paying homage to Pappy’s Western roots, Darnielle said as he introduced “Billy the Kid’s Dream of Magic Shoes”: “This is an old country song for sure.” It’s a song about Billy the Kid coming to terms with being filled full of holes—but he does not care because he has special shoes. 

I would bet Mil Máscaras and André the Giant are smiling from the stars above about the fact that The Mountain Goats “get it.”

Published in Reviews

Summer is upon us as of this month—but fantastic acts continue to come through our toasty little valley, and there is some entertainment you definitely won’t want to miss in June.

Splash House is returning for two 2015 weekends, and the June version of the festival will be held on Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 14, at The Saguaro, the Hilton Palm Springs and the Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club. Shuttles will run between the three venues. Performers include Bakermat, Cashmere Cat, Gigamesh and Wave Racer, just to name a few. Tickets start at $115. For more information, visit www.splashhouse.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s month is highlighted by Cheap Trick and Peter Frampton at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 13. Peter Frampton was a staple of ’70s rock, and they joked in Wayne’s World that his album Frampton Comes Alive! came in the mail with samples of Tide. He continues to record to this day—and he’s a brilliant performer. Cheap Trick is a big name in rock music that won over young fans through the ’90s. Don’t miss this one. Tickets are $49 to $89. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 26, Latin music icon Marco Antonio Solís will be stopping by. After 30 years and 50 million albums sold, he’s one of Latin music’s most successful performers. Tickets are $59 to $129. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has busy June schedule. At 7 p.m., Saturday, June 6, Art Laboe will be returning with his Summer Love Jam IV. The “Oldies but Goodies” radio show is popular, and I love it when listeners call in to declare their adoration for their loved ones in lockup. Tickets are $40 to $60. At 9 p.m., Friday, June 12, the Doobie Brothers will be returning to the Coachella Valley. While many members have come and gone over the years, Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons keep it going, and they have a devoted following. Tickets are $55 to $75. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino has a great lineup this month. While Magic Mike XXL doesn’t come out until July 1, you’ll be happy to know that at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 6, Hunks: The Show will be at Spotlight 29. The Las Vegas-style show is similar to the performances by the Chippendales and Thunder From Down Under. Tickets are only $20, which means you’ll have more dollar bills to “tip” the performers. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 19, Gregg Allman will be following up on his Stagecoach performance. Allman is a true survivor who has managed to return spectacularly after a liver transplant a few years ago. Tickets are $35 to $55. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa is filling up the summer schedule. At 9 p.m., Friday, June 19, Tim Allen will be performing. The star of Home Improvement and the voice of Buzz Lightyear can breathe a little easier now that his current sitcom, Last Man Standing, has been picked up for another season. Tickets are $65 to $85. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 20, Wynonna and the Big Noise will be stopping by. This is a new project for country star Wynonna Judd (above right), and it’s been well-received by her fans. Tickets are $49 to $69. Partridge Family fans will be thrilled to know that at 9 p.m., Friday, June 26, David Cassidy will be performing. Cassidy has admitted to problems with alcohol and received another DUI in January 2014. Let’s hope that’s behind him now. Tickets are $29 to $39. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace recently announced some great new shows. At 7 p.m., Thursday, June 4, indie-folk band The Mountain Goats will be appearing. The North Carolina trio has put out 15 records since forming in 1991 and has performed around the world. Tickets are $20. At 7 p.m., Saturday, June 13, country singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard will take the stage. Hubbard has been considered a traditional country musician while also getting tagged with “cowpunk” and “folk” labels. Whatever you want to call him, the man is a brilliant songwriter, and this is indeed one of those June shows you don’t want to miss. Tickets are $20. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 26, the Paul Chesne Band will be playing. Chesne played at the Campout last year and has brought in the New Year at Pappy’s. This regular puts on a great show. Admission is free. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Copa in Palm Springs has one event worth noting in June. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 12, and Saturday, June 13, well-known dragapella beautyshop quartet The Kinsey Sicks (below) will be stopping by. The name is a play on words referring to the Kinsey scale, of course, with six being the number on the scale that defines “exclusively homosexual.” The group sings parodies of various songs a cappella and has remained a crowd-pleaser in the LGBT community despite lineup changes. If you want to mix things up, take your dad as a Father’s Day gift! Tickets are $30 to $50. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.copapalmsprings.com.

Published in Previews