CVIndependent

Wed10162019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Best of Coachella Valley

Best of Coachella Valley 2019-2020 List of Finalists—and Information for Finalists

Best of Coachella Valley 2019-2020 List of Finalists—and Information for Finalists

Sep 30, 2019 09:48  |  Staff

Here is the complete list of 2019-2020 Best of Coachella Valley finalists, as determined by the readers of the Coachella Valley Independent .

This Final Round of voting will take place at CVIndependent.c...

Readmore

Best of Coachella Valley 2018-2019: Readers' Picks

Best of Coachella Valley 2018-2019: Readers' Picks

Nov 26, 2018 08:00  |  Staff

This whole process started back in August, when voting began in the first round of the fifth annual Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll.

Now, after three months, two rounds of voting and ballots fro...

Readmore

Best of Coachella Valley 2018-2019: Staff Picks

Best of Coachella Valley 2018-2019: Staff Picks

Nov 26, 2018 07:59  |  Staff

Best Auto Service for Honesty’s Sake

Cam Stone’s Automotive

Cam Stone’s Automotive in Palm Desert is the kind of auto-service shop every woman dreams of—at least women (and men) like me who know little ...

Readmore

Building Kids Now: The Boys and Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley Make The Lives of 6,000 Children in La Quinta, Indio, Coachella and Mecca Better Every Year

Building Kids Now: The Boys and Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley Make The Lives of 6,000 Children in La Quinta, Indio, Coachella and Mecca Better Every Year

Nov 26, 2018 07:59  |  Kevin Fitzgerald

On a recent sunny but cool weekday afternoon, more than 200 children and teens, ages 7 to 18, were busy inside the President Gerald R. Ford Clubhouse at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley in...

Readmore

A Family Matter: Avenida Music's Success Has Been Part of the Plan Since Before Most of the Members Were Even Born

A Family Matter: Avenida Music's Success Has Been Part of the Plan Since Before Most of the Members Were Even Born

Nov 26, 2018 07:59  |  Brian Blueskye

For Avenida Music—voted as the Best Local Band by readers of the Independent in the annual Best of Coachella Valley poll—music revolves around family.

The band includes three brothers—and may be the only...

Readmore

The Kids Are Alright: Frank Eats the Floor's Matt King, 17, Is Pleasantly Surprised to Be the Readers' Choice as the Best Local Musician

The Kids Are Alright: Frank Eats the Floor's Matt King, 17, Is Pleasantly Surprised to Be the Readers' Choice as the Best Local Musician

Nov 26, 2018 07:59  |  Brian Blueskye

Matt King of Frank Eats the Floor was shocked when he learned he was voted Best Local Musician by the readers of the Coachella Valley Independent —beating out local greats including Giselle Woo and last...

Readmore

Best of Coachella Valley 2017-2018: Readers' Picks

Best of Coachella Valley 2017-2018: Readers' Picks

Nov 27, 2017 08:00  |  Staff

At long last … here are the results of the fourth annual Best of Coachella Valley readers' poll!

From all of us here at the Coachella Valley Independent , we’d like to thank the many, many readers who vo...

Readmore

Best of Coachella Valley 2017-2018: Staff Picks

Best of Coachella Valley 2017-2018: Staff Picks

Nov 27, 2017 08:00  |  Staff

Best Local Album

Thr3 Strykes, CMNCTN-BRKDWN

When I interviewed them last year, the members of Thr3 Strykes told me that putting together the album that would become CMNCTN-BRKDWN was a proving to be diffi...

Readmore

Loading...

After a busy couple of years—including a performance at Coachella—local favorite CIVX seemingly disappeared, with months passing between local gigs.

Then in May, the band resurfaced with not only a slate of local shows, but a brand-new EP, Security Through Obscurity.

I recently caught up with frontman Dillion Dominguez and bassist Clay Samalin in La Quinta, and they explained CIVX’s absence and the trials and tribulations of making the new EP.

“We did everything differently this time,” Dominguez said about Security Through Obscurity. “We worked with Freddy Jimenez, from Blue Hill Records and Tribesmen. We were in the studio in the most DIY way ever. We had been working with Jesse James from Sourdough Records, but I guess they split and disbanded. I hit them up out of nowhere, and they were like, ‘We’re not going to be doing any recording anymore.’ They split all their gear between him and the other guy they were working with. Long story short, they’re not recording other bands anymore.

“Freddy had done some stuff with Venus and the Traps before. Glock Lesnar is a good friends of ours and told us we should hit up Freddy. We did all the recording with him, but all the tracking is done in the United Kingdom with Rhys Downing.”

Rhys Downing, who has done work as a mixing engineer with The Cranberries, Sarah Brightman, Mark Ronson and many others, has been working with CIVX for a while.

“We did one song with him and didn’t do anything again with him for a while, but we knew we wanted to work with him again,” Dominguez said. “A lot of it has to do with getting money to record. When we got that done, we worked with Rhys, and he’s been good to us through the whole process. We got it done during a weekend where we were free, and Freddy was free.”

Samalin explained that Downing has done all the mastering work for CIVX at no cost and as a hobby project, and that’s why a lot of CIVX’s recordings have been slowly released over time.

“It’s getting the tracks mastered that takes so long,” Samalin said. “Rhys is a pretty busy guy, and for him trying to find time to work on our stuff during all these other jobs, it’s hard.”

Dominguez said the band has already recorded another EP and is waiting for Downing to finish it. Meanwhile, CIVX has been playing gigs out of town and writing new material.

“We’ve been playing a lot in Los Angeles,” Dominguez said. “We tried to get out of town with all the venues (in L.A.). You also want to have a new arsenal of material, too, and that’s also been our focus right now.”

Looking back on the band’s 2014 Coachella performance, Dominguez said that the band was fortunate to get the gig—but in some ways was unprepared.

“It’s so weird. That was a big step and goal for us, but we had the transition after (former frontman and bassist) Nick Hernandez left and we brought in Clay,” Dominguez said. “It’s a really cool hook-up, and it’s really great to say you played Coachella, but it’s not smooth sailing after that. People were also asking us afterward, ‘Awesome. Who’s your booking manager?’ We didn’t have one, and we didn’t even have an EP album. It was our fifth-ever show. We went from playing a couple of backyards in Coachella to playing at Coachella.

“When we went up to perform that day, they put us in the corner of the Mojave Stage, and we were just a hassle for the sound guys. They were like, ‘There’s no kickport for the bass drum? Are you guys fucking serious? You don’t even have a kickport?’”

CIVX released an EP on cassette-heavy Burger Records—but by the time it was released, it was old and outdated.

“That EP was one we did when we still had Nick Hernandez,” Dominguez said. “Afterward, Burger Records approached us, and they do cassettes, and they wanted to press however many of them. They sold theirs. We still have all ours. They probably got stuck in cars for days in the heat. We’ll hand them out for free, and we tell people, ‘We don’t know how they’ll sound.’”

While CIVX has had played many memorable shows, I’ll never forget their performance at The Date Shed last September. It was a mess from the start, because Clay Samalin’s bass didn’t work.

“That was the worst show ever,” Samalin said. “The XLR cable was plugged into my amp in the back, and the guy had plugged it halfway in, so it was enough to where my amp would switch off. I was thinking it was my pedals, so I’m like freaking out and going through all of them, taking them apart, and I was like ‘Fuck it!’ The guy finally came around and switched the cable, and my bass comes on. By then, I was so pissed. Getting through that show was hard.”

Dominguez explained how CIVX continues to evolve.

“With Nick Hernandez, something we did with him was structuring songs beforehand. Nick would write bass lines, and his vocals would come within those bass lines,” Dominguez said. “With me, I don’t think of vocals at all when structuring songs. I always have the microphone there, and I’ll always spew out melodies and listen back, thinking, ‘OK, that one is all right, and I’ll work around that one.’ I’m a very guitar-driven singer, no matter what. I’ll figure out how to sing and make it work until I’m confident doing the two things at once.”

For more information on CIVX, including a June show at the Joshua Tree Saloon, visit www.facebook.com/civxmusic.

Best Pastries

Peninsula Pastries

The cute little shop at the end of Palm Springs’ Sun Center strip mall isn’t a place to go for a co-worker’s last-minute birthday sheet cake, nor is it a place that serves trendy cupcakes.

No, this place is something much more unique.

Owners Helene and Christophe Meyer import flour from France to make classic French baked goods like croissants, turnovers, tarts and baguettes. Yes, there are cakes, but they’re on the fancy side—think chocolate ganache, lemon-raspberry and Grand Marnier.

On most days, bread is available fresh from the oven at 1 p.m., but on Saturdays and during the peak of season, you may want to order ahead to avoid the disappointment of arriving at the bakery—and finding your favorite variety sold out.

—Jeff Clarkson


Best Local Musical Collaborator

DJ Day

DJ Day (Damien Beebe) has been holding down Thursdays in the Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club with his ¡Reunión! nights for several years now. While the DJ and producer is probably best known for ¡Reunión!, he’s gained a worldwide fan base due to his travels.

He’s also well-known for one other thing: He truly believes in the spirit of collaboration. For starters, he often shares his for ¡Reunión! night with other local DJs, such as Aimlo, Pawn and Pedro Le Bass.

Earlier this year, I interviewed Aloe Blacc, who has worked with DJ Day in the past. “He’s a great human being, and working with him is very easy,” Blacc said about DJ Day. “We both love the same music, and we speak the same language. He sends me examples of music and songs he’s really interested in, and I try to make music that he’ll like. One of the markers I use in the studio is, ‘Do the musicians I’m working with really like this, and will my real friends like this?’ It’s not all the time that I hit that mark; sometimes I take a lot of risks, but for the most part, I think I’m making my buddies and DJ Day proud.”

Far too many DJs these days have a “me first” attitude. DJ Day does not—and that’s a beautiful thing.

—Brian Blueskye


Best Band Transformation

CIVX

It’s been a turbulent couple of years for local band CIVX.

The group played its first show in early 2014, and basically achieved overnight success: CIVX won a slot at the downtown Palm Springs Tachevah Block Party in 2014, and found itself playing Coachella just a few days later.

But all good things eventually come to an end. Earlier this year, CIVX parted ways with frontman and bassist Nick Hernandez. Guitarist Dillion Dominguez took over lead vocals—a move that forced CIVX to reshape its sound and write new material. The remaining members recruited Dominguez’s jam buddy, Clay Samalin—originally a guitarist—to replace Hernandez on bass.

The results of all these changes: CIVX came out on top, playing a session for Jam in the Van, releasing a cassette that included new single “In Trance,” and turning in some fantastic live performances. Dominguez has come a long way since stepping into the role of frontman, while Joel Guerrero’s drumming has become tighter and more intense.

Our prediction: CIVX will continue to make great strides in 2016. We can’t wait.

—Brian Blueskye


Best Community Ambassador

Clifton Tatum, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2015

The leather community is full of sort-of-but-not-really contradictions: On one hand, the community has a very sexual and kinky focus. On the other, it’s service-oriented; you’d be hard-pressed to find many groups that do more fundraising for fantastic local causes.

On one hand, the community is dominated by gay men; on the other, the Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert recently held a brunch for women during Leather Pride.

Here’s what I mean by sort-of-but-not-really contradictions: Why can’t a group that focuses on kink and sex also focus on helping others? Why can’t women be at home in the leather community?

Until this year’s Leather Pride, which took place in early November, the local leather community’s official ambassador was Clifton Tatum—a strikingly handsome, muscled, 57-year-old retired Department of Corrections counselor. Tatum perfectly represented the not-really dichotomy of the local leather community: He is sexy as all hell, and looks mighty fine in a jock strap—and he cares, deeply, about the Coachella Valley. He cares so deeply, in fact, that he spent his title year tirelessly raising funds for four local LGBT-youth charities.

In the end, he raised more than $20,000—and bemoaned the fact that he didn’t raise more—all while representing the leather community with class and style in both mainstream and not-so-mainstream circles. (Full disclosure: I helped him at several fundraising events.)

Christopher Durbin, the newly crowned Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2016, has big shoes to fill—figuratively and literally.

—Jimmy Boegle


Best Attention to Detail

Shabu Shabu Zen

A confession: I was disappointed that Rancho Mirage’s Shabu Shabu Zen, the 2014-2015 Best Japanese winner, did not repeat its first-place finish in this year’s Best of Coachella Valley. I mean no disrespect to Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, this year’s winner—a restaurant at which I have had numerous wonderful experiences over the years—when I say that Shabu Shabu Zen is my go-to Japanese restaurant in the valley.

Here’s why: The attention to detail at Shabu Shabu Zen, presided over by the always-gracious Miho Suma, is unparalleled. The quality ingredients that go into the various Japanese hot-pot preparations look and taste amazing. The service offered by Suma and her staff is flawless. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a speck of dust anywhere in her restaurant.

I remember being blown away one day when she talked to me about making her own ponzu sauce. Ponzu sauce is generally just soy sauce and citrus; if Shabu Shabu Zen bought pre-made ponzu sauce, Suma would probably save both time and money—and 99.999 percent of her customers probably would neither notice nor care. Yet she makes her own—because details matter.

As a result of this fantastic attention to detail, not only is Shabu Shabu Zen one of the best Japanese restaurants in the valley; it’s one of the best restaurants, period.

—Jimmy Boegle


Best Way to Spend a Monday Night

Trivia With Bella da Ball at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

If you’re looking for the staff of the Coachella Valley Independent after 9 p.m. on any given Monday night, chances are you’ll find us in the Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, sipping cocktails and scribbling answers to random trivia questions on a dry-erase board.

The weekly trivia nights are presided over by Palm Springs’ hostess with the mostess, the fabulous Bella da Ball (aka Brian Wanzek). The crowd varies from week to week, depending on whatever’s happening at the Ace (and whatever’s happening in town in general); the mix is roughly 50 percent locals, and 50 percent out-of-towners. Some nights are calm and breezy; other times, the crowd can get a little rowdier than you’d expect a crowd to get at a trivia contest.

Then there was that time a bunch of liquored-up employees of a So Cal brewery wandered into the Amigo Room for trivia after a company meeting. It’s probably a good thing Bella wasn’t armed.

Anyway, admission is free, and the top teams always win prizes—usually a $50 gift certificate to the Ace. Try it … and see if you can knock off the Independent and Friends Team. Good luck with that.

—Jimmy Boegle


Best of Coachella Valley 2015-2016: Readers’ Picks

Best of Coachella Valley 2015-2016: Best Local Band: The Flusters

Best of Coachella Valley 2014-2015

Published in Staff Picks

When the Coachella Valley Art Scene announced the first 111 Music Festival last year, the idea of putting local bands and DJs on SunLine buses seemed pretty crazy. But the festival was a success—and the 111 Music Festival will return for a second year on Sunday, Nov. 1.

The festival will take place on the 19-mile long Route 111 Line from Palm Springs to Indio—and back again. Bands playing the festival include The Flusters, Alchemy, Brightener, CIVX, IIIz (formerly the Yip Yops), Machin’ and others. The fare will be $3 for the whole festival; a one way ride will cost $1.

Coachella Valley Art Scene founder and director Sarah Scheideman and marketing director Ian Cush recently explained how they came up from the concept. (Full disclosure: I also do work for the Coachella Valley Art Scene.)

“It actually came from Portland,” Scheideman said. “I went up there (to Oregon), and I saw a much smaller version of it, and I thought it was a cool idea. I thought about doing it down here in the Coachella Valley. It was like, ‘They do it, so why can’t we do it?’”

Cush explained the differences between Portland’s festival and the 111 Music Festival.

“Their festival is tiny,” Cush said. “They have carolers and things. Sarah mentioned she had a good time with it, and that it was fun and cool. I worked with SunLine before, doing their training and tutorial and training video. I said, ‘Let’s do something like that, but really put it on the bus.’ The one thing that comes down to this festival is that this place is open to ideas, too.”

Cush said there was no resistance to the idea when it was pitched to SunLine.

“The logistics of it is where there was a lot of worry,” Cush said. “I think we came in strong with the idea, and we were both passionate about the idea. I called them on the phone, and within two minutes, I had the CEO on the line. They were like, ‘Yes, we want to do something like this!’ Once they met us and realized we’re not completely crazy, it was more like, ‘How is this going to work?’ We still probably freaked them out every day.”

The festival results in no changes to the normal SunLine schedule.

“We didn’t want to change anything that they were already doing; we just wanted to add to it,” Scheideman said.

The response to the 111 Music Festival last year was quite positive.

“Ridership was good, but we could have had more riders,” Cush said. “I think there was a little worry the first time of, ‘Is every bus going to be full?’ It’s such a small venue. You put 30 people on there, and it’s packed. We had a worry and said, ‘Let’s not go too crazy.’ So many people talked about it that the idea now is clear. Everyone was excited about doing it, too.”

Playing on the bus isn’t hard for some bands, although others obviously cannot play on a bus. When I was discussing the idea with Dan Dillinger of Bridger, he remarked, “You think we could fit Katie (Cathcart’s) drum set on a bus?”

Cush said organizers talk to participating bands in advance about what they can and can’t bring.

“The nice thing about bands is they are road guerillas,” he said. “(Some) brought the full arsenal. We did have some inverters go down on the bus, and they just had to play acoustic. They also had some swinging mics, because things move on a bus. That’s what makes it cool, though: It’s live, and it’s a crazy event; everyone is in there together. You’re going over bumps, and you’re mobbing. It’s like road trippin’ with the family.”

Local musician Alfa Cologne said his performance last year offered him some welcome exposure.

“It was very interesting. It gave me a new crowd to play music to: people who were just riding a bus, and also people who came to see me play on the bus,” he said. “It was a little wobbly; the mic was swinging, and felt like a Disney ride at times. But it was a very fun experience.”

There will be some changes to this year’s festival. Scheideman said an event in downtown Cathedral City has been added.

“This year, instead of having people get on the bus and not have any direction, we’re going to be directing traffic toward the Cathedral City City Hall lawn, where we’re going to have a stage, and headlining bands performing on the stage,” she said. “You can ride the bus with the bands to here, and they’ll perform on the stage, too.”

Cush said almost every city on the Route 111 Line has been supportive of the festival.

“Next year, the line will go all the way into Coachella. Coachella has been a donor; they see it coming, and they want to be a part of it,” he said. “They donated last year, and they donated this year. Every city on the route donated to this festival. It’s a true public festival, and it’s for the people. The whole point is we’re connecting everyone: Everyone is getting on the bus together and enjoying this experience. Cathedral City stepped up and said that they wanted to be more involved, and they let us have the lawn to produce something.”

Cush said he hopes next year’s fest has even more stages.

“I hope next year, we do the same thing we’re doing in Cathedral City at city hall in Coachella, Indio and Palm Desert. Why can’t we do the entire valley?” he said. “I also hope businesses along 111 will do something for it. They don’t need our permission, and they can get involved. If the stop comes by your business, offer something.”

The 111 Music Festival takes place from 3 to 10 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 1. For more information, visit 111musicfestival.com.

Published in Previews

Cathedral City’s CIVX has been in a period of transition. After the departure of bassist and lead vocalist Nick Hernandez, guitarist Dillion Dominguez took over lead vocals, and Clay Samalin and his bass guitar joined the group. After taking a few months off, CIVX is back and has recently played at the Purple Room and the Coachella Valley Art Scene. Learn more at www.facebook.com/civxmusic. Samalin was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

A Brian Setzer concert when I was 5. It was at an amphitheater in Santa Barbara. I just remember singing along and snapping my fingers to “The Dirty Boogie.”

What was the first album you owned?

Good News for People Who Love Bad News, by Modest Mouse. I got it when I was 6 for a Christmas present, and it has been my favorite album ever since.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Foals, Modest Mouse, Interpol, Oberhofer, King Krule, and Mac DeMarco.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Trap and electronic-type music that would be played in the Sahara tent at Coachella. It is painful noise to my ears.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

I really wish I could have seen Foals and Cage the Elephant play together. That must have been a crazy show with wild energy.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Metallica when they were at The Big 4 (concerts with Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax).

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Wiltern in Los Angeles.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“Late Night,” Foals.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Oberhofer, because it made me want to play guitar.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

Yannis (Philippakis) from Foals: “When will your next album be out?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Good News for People Who Love Bad News by Modest Mouse.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra. Try being upset while listening to that song. (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

It’s that time of the year again: Coachella and Stagecoach are here, and things are crazy before the season begins to wind down. Consider April to be last call before the summer heat comes.

I will be throwing my third NestEggg Food Bank Benefit Show, this time at the Coachella Valley Art Scene, at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 4. On the bill: John Robbins, The Rebel Noise, Alchemy and CIVX. There will also be a closing DJ set by Pedro Le Bass. The Rebel Noise and CIVX have recently had to reshape after changes to their lineups—but both bands are back and sound great. There will also be raffle items. Admission is $10, and all proceeds go to the NestEggg Food Bank. Coachella Valley Art Scene, 68571 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City; www.thecoachellavalleyartscene.com.

The McCallum Theatre is concluding its season with a couple of great locally focused events. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 11, the McCallum will host a special anniversary gala for the The Desert Symphony. The gala will be hosted by Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame. Tickets are $65 to $125. At 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 22, Jewish Family Service of the Desert will be presenting Michael Childers’ production of One Night Only, which features music from the ’60s. Tickets are $75 to $195. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino will host Marie Osmond at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 4. She performed with her brother Donny under the name “Donny and Marie”; that led to a variety show during the late ’70s. She’s recorded 35-plus albums and has appeared on Broadway. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 25, Earth, Wind and Fire (first below) will be performing. One of those disco groups that defied “Death to Disco,” EW&F has been inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame, earned eight Grammy awards and sold 90 million albums worldwide. Tickets are $49 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

The Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa only has one big music event scheduled in April, but it’s a good one: At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 4, it’ll be time to boogie with Kool and the Gang. Since 1964, the band has sold 70 million albums worldwide. Tickets are $45 to $65. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has a couple of events worth mentioning in April. At 8 p.m., Friday, April 3, you can enjoy a personal evening with Barbara Eden (above right), of I Dream of Jeannie fame. The actress has had an acting career for six decades—and she has a lot of stories to tell. Tickets are $25. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 18, R&B singer Keith Sweat will be stopping by. With several hit singles in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Sweat became a household name. Tickets are $30 to $45. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa is the place to be in April. At 9 p.m., Friday, April 3, Lily Tomlin will be performing. She’s as busy as ever, with rumors of a possible 9 to 5 sequel and various television appearances. This is a great time to see her live. Tickets are $49 to $59. You’ll be happy to know Margaret Cho will be returning to the area at 9 p.m., Friday, April 24. The Korean comedienne includes anecdotes from her family and personal issues in her comedy. Just a warning: She can get raunchy. Tickets are $35 to $45. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace looks ready to open the outdoor stage for the spring/summer season, so there are probably some great outdoor shows coming. At 7 p.m., Saturday, April 11, The Evangenitals will be returning to Pappy’s for a free show. If you missed them back in December, don’t miss them again. I can guarantee there will be plenty of laughs. At 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 14, Jenny Lewis will be performing in between Coachella performances. Tickets are $25. At 7 p.m., Thursday, April 16, Jamie xx from The xx will be performing. Tickets are $35 to $45. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The LED Day Club will be featuring performances during both weekends of Coachella at the Hilton Palm Springs. On Thursday, April 9, Chromeo will be doing a DJ set; on Friday, April 10, Panda Funk will be appearing; on Saturday, April 11, Odesza will be doing a DJ set; on Sunday, April 12, Flosstradamus will be appearing. On Thursday, April 16, CHVRCHES will be doing a DJ set; on Friday, April 17, Porter Robinson will be doing a DJ set; on Saturday, April 18, Skrillex and “friends” will be appearing (that guy has friends?); and on Sunday, April 19, DJ Snake will perform. A four-day pass to the event is $125 per weekend (which is really not bad); day passes vary. Hilton Palm Springs, 400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs; leddayclub.frontgatetickets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has a couple of notable events taking place in April. At 6 p.m., Thursday, April 9, Fishbone will be performing at an outdoor show. The Pedestrians, which now features Machin’s David Macias on guitar, will be opening. Tickets are $25 pre-sale and $35 at the door. My suggestion: Get your tickets now! Remember McLovin from Superbad? Or “The Motherfucker” in Kick-Ass? Well, Christopher Mintz-Plasse will be bringing his band Bear on Fire (second below) to The Hood at 9 p.m., Saturday, April 18. Local bands Caxton and War Drum will also be on the bill, and admission is free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

Published in Previews

The Purple Room Restaurant and Stage is known for its residencies featuring acts such as the Gand Band and The Judy Show—but the venue hasn’t been particularly well-known as a place to see edgier, younger talent.

However, that is beginning to change, thanks to a new series of programming called Purple Room After Dark. The series features local and visiting acts in shows that start at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Handling the booking for Purple Room After Dark is Alex Callego, who has worked with the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, as well as Bar. He also handles the Palm Springs Comic-Con and various other local events.

“I was approached by Tony Marchese, and by Dean McFarlane, who I used to work with over at the Ace Hotel,” Callego explained. “When Dean moved over to Purple Room, I said, ‘Hey, maybe you can get me in there. I’d love to try to do some entertainment over there.’

“It took about a year. Tony contacted me and basically wanted to have a meeting. We sat down, and I gave them a proposal, and we are launching our first shows at the end of February. This is the first time I’ve been able to actually be creative with what I’m doing—and there’s a lot of stuff I’m really excited to do.”

Local acts slated to play at the Purple Room in February include Waxy (Friday, Feb. 20), DJ Aimlo (Saturday, Feb. 21 and 28), CIVX (Friday, Feb. 27) and Independent resident DJ All Night Shoes (Saturday, Feb. 28).

Callego said he has big plans for March.

“I have Organic Junk Fude on Friday, March 6, with the Yip-Yops. Organic Junk Fude is a band that was around in the early 2000s and sort of had a cult following. They were this punk band that were kind of like GWAR, and also did hip-hop. It was a really strange stage show—and I was actually in the band for a bit. They were gone for a few years. They all have kids, and now they’re back and writing new music.” (See The Lucky 13 for more on Organic Junk Fude.)

Callego also isn’t afraid to go beyond musical acts for Purple Room After Dark.

“Another thing I have that I’m excited about is a stand-up comedy show on Friday, March 20, with Allen Strickland Williams, Eric Dadourian and Solomon Georgio. Allen Strickland Williams is part of a sketch group called Women; they’re getting a lot of attention and just got picked up by IFC.com. … All of them individually in Women are really talented and do different things. Solomon Georgio was just on Conan, and he did a lot of awesome comedy writing. Eric Dadourian was written up somewhere as part of the 100 Best Comics in Los Angeles.”

The band Roses is scheduled to appear on Saturday, March 21. It features members of the late, lamented group Abe Vigoda.

“Abe Vigoda played Coachella, but they are now defunct,” Callego explained. “Roses just did a mini-tour and played in New York. They also part of the scene that plays at The Smell in L.A. I’m also going to have Dunes on Saturday, March 28, which also features ex-members of Abe Vigoda.”

Callego said admission to most shows is free for the time being.

“We will have some shows that will have a $5 or $10 cover charge at the door, but I would say a good 90 to 95 percent of our shows will be free,” he said.

Purple Room After Dark takes place at 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, at the Purple Room Restaurant and Stage, located at 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission to most shows is free. For more information and a complete schedule, call 760-322-4422, or visit afterdark.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Published in Previews

Joel Guerrero was showing me the practice space his father, Noel Guerrero, helped him construct for Joel’s up-and-coming band, CIVX.

Sound insulation supposedly helps keep the noise contained at the Guerreros’ Cathedral City home, but I was skeptical; after all, CIVX can be loud. For example, Nick Hernandez’s bass literally shook the ground at Coachella during the band’s the Mojave-stage performance.

However, Joel Guerrero, CIVX’s drummer, assured me that the space he and his father constructed is indeed legit. “The neighbors seem to be cool with it and have never called the police during a practice,” he said.

Formed after the dissolution of the band PSSSTOLS, which included Guerrero and two of his CIVX bandmates, CIVX has had a whirlwind six months of existence. The band played its first show—with hardly any material—in January. Mere months later, the band was selected to play at the Tachevah block party in Palm Springs—where the band announced that CIVX play at Coachella’s second weekend.

Nobody was more elated about the good news than Noel Guerrero, himself a well-known local musician.

Noel Guerrero immigrated to Miami from Morelia, Mexico, in the late 1980s. Joel was born in 1988, and the Guerreros settled in the Coachella Valley soon after.

“I came to the United States for a better life,” Noel Guerrero said. “I wanted to get away from everything that holds you down in Mexico.”

Joel Guerrero said life wasn’t always easy for his parents. “Even here, you struggle a lot, and my parents really struggled. But there was a better chance of actually making something of themselves, and it was their dream,” he said.

Noel Guerrero’s music career began in Mexico, and continued in the United States. On top of being a vocalist, Noel can play a “little bit of everything,” he said. He has played in Latin groups such as Los Bukis, Los Temerarios and Los Tigres del Norte. He also plays every Saturday night at Mr. Patron in Cathedral City with Inesperado; he also helps book bands at Mr. Patron.

“I started playing music about when I was 8 years old,” Noel Guerrero said. “I started in a choir when I was 14. When I was 16, I broke out of the choir scene and started my own band. I was in a band that played Quinceañera ceremonies. In Mexican culture, Quinceañera is when a young girl crosses into being a young adult woman. … They hire bands to play; they have a traditional Mariachi band and then a regular band. I also played in other venues in Mexico.”

Grupera, a genre of Mexican folk music, was popular in Mexico through the ’80s, and it influenced Noel’s tastes.

“In every state in Mexico, there are different kinds of genres that appeal to people. Mariachi really appeals to those in Jalisco. Where I grew up, Grupera was really big at the time,” Noel Guerrero said.

When Joel was about 13, Noel decided to teach Joel how to play guitar. One of Joel’s fellow students was his cousin, CIVX bandmate Salvador Gutierrez.

“The reason I started playing music was because of my dad,” Joel Guerrero said. “He started giving me, Sal, and our two other cousins guitar lessons.”

What kind of students were they?

“They gave it their best,” Noel Guerrero said. “We gave it a try, and there were definitely times that it seemed like they didn’t want to play—especially Sal. Sal is a great guitar-player now, but when he started, he just wasn’t into it and didn’t like it. He was 15 years old and into the whole DJ thing. I didn’t see him actually taking it far.”

However, Gutierrez did wind up embracing the instrument.

“My uncle definitely sparked the flame inside of me,” Gutierrez said, “Once I learned how to play my first Ramones song, it allowed me to start learning everything I could by myself. If it weren't for that little push on the guitar, I would have probably ended up being a DJ and just pressing the ‘play’ button on the iTunes.”

Joel, however, moved on to another instrument.

“Around 14 or 15, I picked up the sticks and took up the drums,” Joel Guerrero said. “My cousins and I wanted to start a band, and we were all playing guitar. My cousin Frank moved to bass; my cousin Nester played guitar and was the vocalist, too; our other cousin Raul already knew how to play guitar; and I just moved to drums. It was natural.

“It’s funny, because the first song I played on the drums was ‘Clocks’ by Coldplay, because it was super-repetitive and easy. At the time, I was into punk music like The Clash, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and The Dead Kennedys. I was listening to that, but of course, I couldn’t play that kind of music. So, I started with Coldplay,” he said, laughing.

Noel Guerrero said he’s proud that he was able to share his love of music with his son.

“It’s one of the best things I could pass on to my son,” Noel Guerrero said. “I’m really satisfied and happy with how far Joel has come. It’s something I value highly as a musician myself. It’s something a musician dreams of, to pass on to their son or daughter.”

Joel said he’s proud of his father, too. “At first, thinking back to playing guitar—I didn’t want to play. I could tell it bummed him out. When I finally started taking the lessons and playing drums, to see how far I’ve come in music is something he’s really happy about and values a lot.”

Joel is especially grateful that his father has been realistic regarding the music industry.

“The one thing I’ve always said to him is the life of a musician is hard,” Noel Guerrero said. “It’s not what you see on TV. You can play a big show and then have little money to eat afterward, or you have to save money for gas if you’re touring—especially if you’re not signed to a big label. It’s a tough life and a tough industry.”

Joel said he values his father's advice.

“I took it to heart, because it’s the truth,” Joel Guerrero said. “… It’s coming from an actual musician, somebody who lived it, and someone who has done it. I value that over someone saying, ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to make it; it’ll be easy, and you’ll make big bucks.’ I think all of that is bullshit. It can happen, but like my dad was saying, ‘Work hard, and as long as you don’t give up, believe in yourself, and the music, you’ll get somewhere.’

“He’s always told me to love what you do, or there’s no chance.” 

The band CIVX has come a long way since three of the members broke from PSSSTOLS to form their own group late last year.

Nick Hernandez (bass), Joel Guerrero (drums), Dillon Dominguez (guitar) and Sal Gutierrez (guitar) were chosen to play at Tachevah, a Palm Springs Block Party, this past Wednesday, April 16—and shocked those in attendance when they announced they would be playing at Coachella on Sunday, April 20.

One thing is for sure: They looked like they belonged on the Coachella stage.

At 11:25 a.m., CIVX took the Mojave tent stage. The hard-core fans of the Cathedral City band were on hand to witness it, including Guerrero’s girlfriend, Aurora Jimenez. Ross Murakami, of The Yip Yops, who played with CIVX at Tachevah, was also on hand. The band had a decent-sized crowd, considering the doors had just opened, and fans were trickling in the festival grounds.

At Coachella, Hernandez said he and his bandmates were shocked when they learned shortly before their Tachevah performance that they would be playing at Coachella.

“We’re a new band,” Hernandez said. “We’ve only been together for about four months. It’s just really a shock. It’s definitely a learning experience, and it gets us motivated. We just want to work harder now to achieve our goals.”

Gutierrez agreed. “We’re ready to work hard,” he said.

Dominguez reflected on what it meant to be added to the Coachella lineup.

“When I’ve seen the other talent out here, it’s inspiring,” Dominguez said. “It makes you want to fill up your sound and make it more crisp. It’s exciting that somebody saw enough in us to want us to play here already, and they can see that potential in us. We want to expand on that for sure.”

When it came to the subject of PSSSTOLS, Guerrero explained what led to him leaving the group, along with Hernandez and Gutierrez.

“It was all about differences,” Guerrero said. “The chemistry wasn’t really there in the end. We wanted to do different things. We just kind of knew it wasn’t going to last very long. It just died out in the band, and we decided to call it quits back in September. We kept it on the down low and didn’t want to really say anything.”

During the performance in the Mojave tent, attendees could literally feel Hernandez’s bass: The ground near the stage was vibrating. His vocals were excellent, even though he said he had not been feeling well throughout the week and had some concerns about performing.

The band can now say it’s had an experience that most bands can only dream of.

“It was surreal, and it was one of the beautiful things I’ve ever experienced,” Dominguez said.

Hernandez said it was awesome simply to be on a Coachella stage. “Once you’re on there, you just want more of it. It’s fun; you have a good time doing it; and it feels good. That’s why we’re musicians.”

Guerrero said the band members are in awe at the month they’ve had.

“We started playing in local venues here, and then all of a sudden, we’re at Tachevah,” Guerrero said. “We didn’t even think we’d get in the Top 10, and then Tachevah was our first big stage where we performed. From there to Coachella? It’s such a big jump from local venues to such a big venue.”

I had to ask Gutierrez a follow-up question based on an interview I did with PSSSTOLS last year: Does he still have a love for “space wine”—the bag from boxed wine, sans the box?

“No, I’m slowing down on the space wine,” Gutierrez said with a laugh. “I haven’t had any in a while.” 

Tachevah, a Palm Springs Block Party, offers a great concept: It allows up-and-coming local acts to take the stage with nationally recognized bands—in the midst of all the Coachella-related music insanity.

In the second year of Tachevah, Fitz and the Tantrums and Classixx will be joined by three local acts who won their slots via a public poll, followed by showcases at the Hard Rock Palm Springs: CIVX, from Cathedral City; One11, from Coachella; and the Yip Yops, from Palm Desert.

Only 10 bands were selected to play at the Hard Rock showcases, where they performed for the likes of country singer Shelby Lynne, The Desert Sun music editor Bruce Fessier, and representatives of Goldenvoice (which puts on the party with The Desert Sun, P.S. Resorts, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and the city of Palm Springs).

During the first showcase, CIVX beat out local scene veterans Blasting Echo, along with In Viridian, Elektric Lucie and the mysterious local band Alchemy. At the second, One11 and The Yip Yops won slots, beating out one of last year’s winners, Tribesmen, along with The Mellowdie and The Morning After.

We decided to get to know these three local bands a bit.

CIVX

Cathedral City’s CIVX was born after the dissolution of local band PSSSTOLS. Former PSSSTOLS members Nick Hernandez, Salvador Guti and Joel Guerrero formed the band after recruiting guitarist Dillon Dominguez.

“When Sal and I were in PSSSTOLS, we were writing music on the side,” Hernandez said. “I would do my solo thing and record the songs by myself with drums, bass and guitar, and this was while PSSSTOLS was fading out a bit. I told Sal I wanted to do something with one of the tracks that I did, and Sal played on that track. From there, PSSSTOLS just kind of broke up, and we planned to do something else. So Dillon, the other guitar-player we have, he was in another band that I played in, and he decided to come with us, too. After that, we got Joel to come along, too.”

In January, CIVX played its first show under the name of Past Decades, along with Parosella and Tribesmen.

“We didn’t let anyone know that we had formed another band,” Hernandez said. “We had just gotten Joel in the band, and we only had about four original songs, and one of them, I didn’t even write the vocals for yet, so I just hummed out the melody for that whole song. People didn’t understand it; they thought I was singing vocals, but I was just sort of humming and making up stuff as I went along.”

When the band entered their video for the Tachevah poll, the members had low expectations.

“We just wanted to enter the competition,” Hernandez said. “We were like, ‘We’ve only been a band for such a short time, and we have nothing but having just played a show.’ We had one of our fans record us about a week before the deadline. Two days before Tachevah, we went out to the desert for recording the video with our cell phones. That whole night before, we just worked on the video. We didn’t know what to expect, because we just did it for fun.”

The members were stunned when they learned they had nabbed a spot in Tachevah.

“It was one of the best things I have ever felt,” Hernandez said. “I’ve never been in a competition like that. A lot of the local bands we like have played something for Goldenvoice, and it felt so good to play at that level.”

The members of CIVX have been working on new material, and Hernandez said the band will play a new song during their performance. “We have this one new song that we’re working really hard on, and it’s already done. We’re just adding new stuff here and there, and this song is pretty much Tachevah-made. When we write music, we want people to be into the music as much as we are, and just going into it with that.”

The Yip Yops

Like CIVX, The Yip Yops are also new—in fact, they are only about six months old. During a recent interview, guitarist and lead vocalist Addison “Ison” Van Winkle talked about how Jacob Gutierrez (bass) and Ross Murakami (drums) joined him to create the band.

“I met Jacob in seventh-grade at a talent show; we actually competed against each other,” Van Winkle said. “After we performed, he came up to me and asked me if I was doing anything or if I was in a band. I didn’t really have answer, and being the douche that I am, I was blowing him off for a little bit. I met Ross about a year or so before I started the band. … It was one of the reasons why I started the band, because I saw him and his former band playing at a family friend’s house, and it was a life-changing experience seeing how cool it was interacting with other guys playing music and sharing music.”

While the members of The Yip Yops certainly didn’t expect to earn a Tachevah slot this year, it was a goal they had in mind. 

“When we first got together, our main goal was to play Tachevah,” Van Winkle said. “That’s kind of what we were getting ready for a little bit. We knew it was going to be a real big struggle, because we weren’t around as much; we didn’t have as many fans like Parosella or One11 does. Somehow, we just spread the word, and we got in. We’re kind of blessed to be in this position and have all the fans and support we have behind us.”

Playing the showcase at the Hard Rock alone was a dream come true for the band.

“Speaking for the whole band, I think that was one of the best experiences that we’ve had as a band and probably in our entire lives,” Van Winkle said. “Just the energy of the crowd, the energy of getting up on stage in front of Goldenvoice and Shelby Lynne—I think we just liked the pressure of doing that kind of thing.”

Van Winkle said his band hopes to turn in a solid performance at Tachevah.

“It’s not like any other gig because of the exposure, and a lot of people are going to be there,” Van Winkle said. “It’s going to be bigger than anything than any of us have ever thought about. I just think we’re going to do the same thing as we did for the voting: We’re just going to tell as many people, and hope for the best. We’ll see what happens.

“We don’t really have any fears. … It’s all part of the experience for us. It’s cool enough for us just to be on the lineup and playing there.”

One11

One11 may be more experienced than CIVX and The Yip Yops, but they aren’t exactly the Rolling Stones: The group has been together for just two years.

However, the band has made the most of that time, playing more than 200 shows both locally and in well-known venues around Los Angeles, such as the House of Blues, The Roxy, and The Key Club.

One11 has become a local favorite thanks in part to their combination of pop-punk and an alternative sound.

“We all have a lot of different inspirations,” said drummer Ryan Cenicola, whose bandmates are Evan Boydstun (lead guitar), Michael Ramirez (lead vocals, guitar) and Matt Sutton (bass). “Our guitarist is really into classics like Led Zeppelin; I’m into Green Day; our other guitar-player is into Arctic Monkeys, and it all just comes together into this unique sound. We all bring our own unique twist into it.”

When it came to entering Tachevah, they focused on putting together the best video entry that they could. When they found themselves in the showcase, they knew they had some intense competition.

“The competition was really, really fierce,” said Cenicola. “I saw CIVX when they played, and they were awesome; The Yip Yops are really cool, and every band that played was awesome. After we played, we felt good about ourselves, but with the competition being so fierce, we knew it could have gone either way.”

While One11 has played many shows, Cenicola said he was still blown away the amount of support they received during the showcase.

“I can’t believe how many people came out to see us,” Cenicola said. “It was awesome how many people came out to support us. All of us were overwhelmed with the love we were given. It was a really unique show, because it was intimate, and I just wanted to play my heart out so I could earn this spot at Tachevah.”

Cenicola said that Tachevah represents the big time to the band.

“This show is obviously going to be of a higher caliber, because a lot of people are going to be there, and it’s on such a huge stage,” Cenicola said. “Because it’s on a huge stage, we need to make it a huge show. We’re going to tweak our show and make it as big as possible, as great as possible, and bring as much energy as we can.”

The Tachevah Block Party takes place on Wednesday, April 16, at the Spa Resort Casino, 401 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs. Doors open at 5 p.m., and admission is free. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Tachevah. Below: One11.

Published in Previews