CVIndependent

Wed02262020

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Matt King

Embedded in the air of Joshua Tree, one can find the soothing psychedelic folk sounds of the Adobe Collective. Every song from the group sets a listener in a state of extreme calm, and they create a perfect soundtrack for a lazy day. My favorite tracks include “Carousel” and “Home (Sins)”

The band released its third album, All the Space That There Is, in January, and has been playing various shows around the Coachella Valley, including a February Monday-night residency at The Alibi Palm Springs. I spoke to brainchild of the band, Tim Chinnock, over the phone about music, life and, of course, the name of the band.

“It’s always hard to give something a name, but somebody once told me that you just have to name it,” Chinnock said. “In 2011, my wife, Faith, and I were stationed at the Marine base in Twentynine Palms. When we first moved to the area, the first house we found for rent on Craigslist was this old 1937 original adobe house in Twentynine Palms. It was passed down from this guy’s grandma, and he had lovingly restored the whole thing; as soon as we walked in, we just felt at home. It was in that house that songwriting actually started to make sense to me, and songs just started coming one after another.”

Although songwriting didn’t come to him until later, Chinnock’s family has always been around music.

“I was born in Redlands and grew up most of my life in the Inland Empire,” he said. “My family has always been really musical, but it was always something that they did on the side. My dad and his three brothers were in a band in high school, even though they grew up very religious, and it was kind of against the rules. They all went on to get jobs, but they still did music on the side. I grew up kind of religious and kind of conservative, and when John Lennon said that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, my parents went out and burned all of their rock records. So I was just left with my dad’s classical and folk records. I didn’t really get into rock until junior high.”

The Adobe Collective’s discography includes a lot of serene tones, although the most recent LP turns up jams a little bit more—with a bit of a rock flair.

“The first couple of albums are definitely more what you call Americana,” Chinnock said. “At the core of me, I’m a folk singer and a folk writer. What’s so great about the new album is that as we’ve solidified our band lineup, we’ve been inviting other people to take more of an active role in the creation of the stuff. I’d come up with some structure to the song, but then we’d come together as a band to finish it.

“As for the recording process, we recorded with Chris Unck, who’s in the band, at High Lonesome Studio. With this album, he got a little bit more freedom with the palette. What I’m really excited about for this new album is that we’re exploring a bunch of new and different possibilities. It’s much more of a collaborative approach, and we’ve got a little bit more of a rock feel thanks to Chris. We’re taking people’s influences and building on top of what me and Faith started with our first two albums.”

All the Space That There Is comes four years after the band’s last album.

“We took a little bit of time off, because my son was born, and it was also around the time I quit the military,” Chinnock said. “We took a long time to move out of our house, get settled and make the split from the military, which is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. Moving houses and finding a new job took up quite a fair amount of time.

“As for the album, well, it’s actually been in the can for a while. We’ve just been trying to shop it around and get some advertising behind it. Everybody in Joshua Tree knows who we are, but not everybody in Indio knows who we are. It was all super-local in Joshua Tree for the first two albums, so we wanted to bring this new record out to a bigger audience.”

Chinnock said the band has gradually gotten more serious—and that now, after almost a decade, things are truly coming together.

“It’s been a slow burn,” Chinnock said. “When we started, me and my wife were in the military, and it’s hard to get serious about something like that when there’s an overlord in your life. Both of our first two albums coincided with the birth of our kids. Now we’re at a place where our kids are old enough so we can start to get some distance from them—but we’re also getting so much richness from them that we put into our music. It’s a really good time right now, because we can take trips away for weekends if we need to play shows and whatnot.”

For more information, visit www.theadobecollective.com.

The first show I ever went to in the Coachella Valley was a Fever Dog show—and the fusion of blues and psychedelic rock introduced me to the local music scene with a bang.

That performance cemented Fever Dog’s place in my mind’s Hall of Fame, and the band has received a fair amount of attention beyond my fanboy self. It was a part of a European tour in 2015 with Fatso Jetson, and the band’s music has been well-received across various streaming services.

Fever Dog is Danny Graham and Joshua Adams, joined by Ramses Lopez and Alex Galvan. A listen to the band’s earlier work on Volume One and Second Wind will take any rock listener back to the ’70s—albeit with a unique desert twist. Heavy-hitting tracks like “One Thousand Centuries” and “The Great Tree” are rockingly reminiscent of Sabbath and Zeppelin, if those bands had included stoner rock in their songs. The band’s latest EP, Mainframe (2017), offers three tracks that are pure psychedelic rock jams, with the title track sounding like a Pink Floyd B-side.

This takes us to the present day. The release of “Freewheelin’” earlier this year made stereos everywhere sparkle; the track is four minutes of every glam-rock fan’s dream. A second single release, “Solid Ground,” made it clear that the band was prepping for something big this year--so I decided to check in with my Fever Dog friends.

“Our album is planned for release this year, hopefully not too long from now,” said frontman and guitarist Danny Graham during a recent phone interview. “We’re going to try to book some tours as soon as that’s out; hopefully a European tour an Australian tour, and maybe a small American tour, too.”

The upcoming new album is slated to be called Alpha Waves.

“We are shopping for a label right now,” Graham said. “We really want the next album to be released under a European label. The last time we went to Europe, it would’ve helped to have a vinyl release. It’s the best thing to have on your merch table, and we wanted to make sure that we were able to press it on vinyl this time.”

With a big 2020 ahead, Graham looked back on the band’s humble beginnings.

“I was brought up on almost exclusively KISS, and a lot of ’70s rock music,” Graham said. “Me, Josh and Nathan—our old bass player—went to elementary school together and started playing together in 2006. We all picked up our instruments around the same time.

“When we first started, we were mostly a hard-rock, AC/DC-style band. As soon as we started going, we decided that we needed to do this for real and make a recording, even though we were only in the sixth-grade. We wouldn’t have done that, though, if we didn’t have the resources for it. My dad was in a band, so we had a lot of help to make that happen.”

Fever Dog is known for its epic live performances. Long hair flies all over the place, and the jams keep coming as Graham’s disco-ball guitar shines onto audience members’ faces. I was curious whether all the different sounds that Fever Dog has featured would still be represented live.

“For live shows, we’re doing a mix of everything,” Graham said. “We’re doing about half new songs and half old songs, with some improvisation and changes added in. We’re trying to blend pretty much everything we’ve ever done.”

With the change in sound came the addition of the aforementioned two new members. The group didn’t have to look too hard to find them.

“Josh knew our new bass player, Alex, from one of his old bands, The Active Kissers,” said Graham. “He also met our keyboard player, Ramses, through Twitter. They were just friends and then we realized that he also played music, so we asked him to join.”

It’s been pretty lonely in the local music scene without Fever Dog; the band’s two recent single releases are the first in three years.

“We took a break and didn’t really have a specific goal on how anything was going to sound,” Graham said. Josh and I just started recording whatever we wanted. Instead of deciding what kind of songs we’re going to make, we just kind of went for anything. This upcoming record is pretty much a blend of everything we’re into—all the’70s rock, progressive rock, experimental stuff and a lot of glam rock.”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/feverdogrocks.

Local band Pescaterritory has played together for less than a year, but the group is already quite popular—popping up at shows all over town, and even getting attention from radio stations in the United Kingdom. The attention is much-deserved, as the four teens excel with a stacked set list of original material mixed with covers of influential classic-rock songs. On guitar for the band is Jason Zembo, who is the latest to take The Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Although I had gone to Coachella and Stagecoach through connections, I didn’t much care for the music, as I was too young. The first concert I went to for the music was a Rush concert—the 40th anniversary of the late Neil Peart joining the band. (May he rest in peace.) I actually discovered Rush through Guitar Hero. From then on, I adored Rush, and my father soon surprised me with tickets to one of their concerts.

What was the first album you owned?

I didn’t initially purchase albums; I usually just shuffled songs that interested me, either from the radio or my dad’s collection of rock gems. I remember my dad listening to The White Album by the Beatles all the time on long road trips, but the first album that I actually got into and bought was Pink Floyd’s The Wall. To this day, it is still one of my favorite albums of all time. Although it was a long first album (a double LP), it showed me what rock was capable of, and introduced me to concept albums.

What bands are you listening to right now?

For a while, I was getting into prog: the early Genesis stuff, Yes, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, etc., and then I moved on to acts like Crosby, Stills and Nash; Neil Young; Simon and Garfunkel; and Cat Stevens—music that soothes the soul—but now I’ve started appreciating the Beatles more. I am also now into some of their solo records, and listening to George Harrison’s sitar work has also inspired me to listen to some Ravi Shankar. Also, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd and Bowie.

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

The one musical trend that I just can’t seem to enjoy is the use of electronic instruments, such as drums, which a lot of music today uses. I do not like the timbre of electronic music, and a lot of it feels lifeless. A part of this issue for me is the production, which is so polished that it leaves no room for human error. It is much more pleasing to hear real instruments played by real people than artificially made beats lacking dynamics or individuality. Also: One band I’ve never really gotten into was AC/DC, which may anger some people, but I’ve never really been too intrigued by their music—although I can’t deny that they do have some good music to get you hyped up.

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

I would love to see early Genesis led by Peter Gabriel live. Their music is so complex, and back in his prime, Peter Gabriel’s showmanship was something unparalleled. It’s like musical theater brought into rock. Every time I watch a video of Genesis live, I can’t help but be amused by the energy and talent onstage. Seeing Led Zeppelin in their prime would be a close second, especially if they pulled out some acoustic guitars and mandolin.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

I don’t really have any guilty pleasure artists, unless you count Tenacious D as a guilty pleasure, but I’d heavily disagree with that classification. A lot of ’70s soft rock such as “Brandy” by Looking Glass has always made me feel great. Other guilty-pleasure songs include “Ocean Man” by Ween, “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes, “I’m Gonna Be” by The Proclaimers, “Down Under” by Men at Work, and a few Bee Gees songs.

What’s your favorite music venue?

I love all venues as long as they have power to plug in an amp. Obviously Madison Square Garden, the Hollywood Bowl and all of the other hot spots are incredible and have such a vast history. But to me, those are just the vessels for the music: So as long as there is good music, it is a good venue.

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

“In charge of who is there in charge of me / Do I look on blindly and say I see the way? / The truth is written all along the page / How old will I be before I come of age for you? / I get up, I get down / I get up, I get down / I get up, I get down,” “Close to the Edge,” Yes.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and the Beach Boys. Led Zeppelin is probably my favorite band of all time, because of how organic they are. All of their music comes from the soul, and their catalog is so diverse. Led Zeppelin’s diverse range of music really opened the door for my music tastes, and they are still at the top of the rock totem pole. I got into David Bowie around seventh-grade, and his music and multiple personas taught me to be myself more than any other artist. I was in awe of his individuality, and having him as an early influence taught me to be myself and gave me confidence in my everyday endeavors. The last influence is the Beach Boys, in particular Brian Wilson, who has influenced me the most as a musician and composer. I got into the Beach Boys after watching a video on the greatest harmonies in rock ’n’ roll, and “Good Vibrations” was at the top of the list. I then proceeded to listen to The Smile Sessions and later Pet Sounds, as well as many other Beach Boys songs. … Being in choir since middle school, I have always loved harmonies, and hearing such beautiful melodies and accompaniment blew my mind. From the Beach Boys, I embraced sensitivity, and my musical horizon was widened to a degree unmatched by any other artist.

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

“What’s up?” to Paul McCartney.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Forever” by the Beach Boys. Its lyrics are beautifully simple: “Let the love I have for you, live in your heart and beat forever. … So I’m going away, but not forever, I got to love you anyway, forever.”

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

All the Pink Floyd albums, starting with Meddle up to The Wall, are five-star albums for me; same with the first six Led Zeppelin albums. I would probably choose either Pet Sounds or Dark Side of the Moon as my favorite album, though, since those albums will always be timeless for their lyrical themes and exquisite music. If there were a gun to my head, I’d be dead, because I can’t pick just one album.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

If you have the time to listen to a 23-minute song, listen to “Supper’s Ready” by Genesis. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Take the best parts of gospel music; add some blues and soul; and tie it all together with a silky-smooth delivery—and you’ve got Son Little.

Aaron Livingston, aka Son Little, has been charming audiences for more than 15 years with soft jams that give listeners chills. Check out tracks “Lay Down” and “Neve’ Give Up” to hear what I mean.

Son Little is set to perform at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Saturday, Feb. 15, to a sold-out crowd. I spoke to Livingston over the phone about getting back on tour, and how he got his stage name.

“I had a neighbor who used to tell all of his friends that I was his kid, so people started calling me ‘son’ based off that,” Livingston said. “This woman I worked with started calling me ‘little son.’ I guess one day, I just kinda started turning it backwards.”

The name Son Little isn’t the only thing that stands out about Livingston and his music. Listen to his records, and note how he is able to combine and move through musical styles with subtlety and elegance. Just listen to the first three tracks on his self-titled album, from 2015, as he goes from a gospel song, to an electronic song, to an R&B ballad. He attributed this ease with multiple genres to his upbringing, as Livingston spent his youth living on both coasts.

“I used to come back to New York in surf clothes after spending summer in L.A., and listening to N.W.A. and Geto Boys,” he said. “It was kinda the beginning of opening myself up to all different styles, and it made it easy to branch out to Cuban jazz or Puerto Rican jazz, African highlife or Afro-pop.”

I spoke to Livingston on his third day back on tour, and he was still re-adjusting to life on the road.

“Muscle memory is trying to gather right now,” Livingston said. “I’m trying to get my sea legs back. I’m doing something a little different this time, as I just played solo in the fall, and now I’m rolling with a trio. It’s a different feel, and it’s pretty cool. I got drums, and keys with the bass parts on the left hand. It’s nice and simple, and it’s great.

“I love both sides of the coin—being in the studio and being on the road. I wouldn’t trade one for the other, but I do enjoy getting out on the road and sharing music with the people face to face. It’s a different energy completely, and it’s very rewarding.”

Livingston has been active in the music scene since 2004, and I asked him to talk about some stand-out moments from his career.

“There have been so many amazing moments; I look at all of it as such a blessing,” Livingston said. “I feel like I have stand-out moments every day. From recording this record, to spending time in Paris, or just being able to see great spots in nature—every day, I have moments like that. It’s really all one big highlight reel.”

As for that aforementioned record: Son Little just released his fourth studio album, Aloha, and it is his most emotional and soul-driven album yet.

“I don’t go out there trying to reinvent the wheel,” Livingston said. “There’s a certain vibe that people who follow me come look for. I think I’ve captured that and deepened it. It’s another color for the palette, and I think this time, I’ve found a lot of (colors). I’m just happy to get it out there and start to move around and share it.”

Son Little will perform with Balto at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. The show is currently listed as sold out. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Local band Ocho Ojos has been the talk of the Coachella Valley for a couple of years now. With two performances at Coachella under their figurative belts, the eight-eyes clan has been on a roll, with no plans to stop. The band released single “Cali” late last year, and new track “Baile Trankis” arrived in late January. The unique blend of cumbia and psychedelic music makes for perfect party-time jams, as every show from the band feels like a celebration. Behind the keyboard is Danny Torres, the latest to take the Lucky 13; here are his responses.

What was the first concert you attended?

The Sounds of the Underground Tour back in 2006. It was a metal concert with about 10 to 15 bands on the lineup, but I honestly only cared about two of them: Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth.

What was the first album you owned?

The first album I ever purchased with my own money was King Diamond’s Abigail.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Steely Dan, and some more-contemporary artists like Mayer Hawthorne as well. I’ve really been enjoying a lot of the music Hawthorne has been releasing as a solo artist, and through his side project, Tuxedo—anything groovy and funky. I’m a metal head at heart, though, so I always have Immolation, Pantera and Sepultura on my playlist.

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

I don’t think I can say that about any artist, genre or musical trend. There’s too much music in the world, so many different styles, that even as a musician, for me to say, “I don’t get it,” would be illogical. Music, like any other art form, is meant to be enjoyed (or hated) on an individual basis. I may not like a particular artist or genre, but that doesn’t mean I don’t “get it,” because I do get it. There is a difference, and I understand why people love a certain artist, genre, musical trend, etc.

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

Without a doubt, Michael Jackson. Alive would be Sade.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

I’m not sure. I think I enjoy music too much to feel as if I have a “guilty pleasure.” I’m not shy to turn up the volume on any song or artist I like.

What’s your favorite music venue?

As far as performing, my favorite venue to gig at is Club 5 in Indio. It’s a small spot, but they’ve got a good sound system, good vibes para la raza, and great owners! It’s always a fun time performing there.

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

“They may fix the weather in the world … but tell me, what’s to be done, ’bout the weather in my head,” “Weather in My Head,” by Donald Fagen. My brother introduced me to this song shortly after my dad passed away, and the lyrics and song really stuck with me. They really helped me through that tough period of time.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Michael Jackson. For as long as I can remember, he has been my No. 1 influence and is one of the main reasons I began playing music. His Moonwalker film was one of my favorite movies to watch as a kid. I have studied him intently as a musician and performer; his entire catalog of music and his live performances have had a huge impact on me, and to this day, I think of him when I’m about to perform.

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

“Can I sit in on a studio session?” is what I’d be asking Mr. Donald Fagen of Steely Dan.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I would have to go with a traditional song that’s played at probably 100 percent of Mexican funerals: “Amor Eterno” by Juan Gabriel.

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

Bad by Michael Jackson. I can listen to that album in its entirety any time.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Everyone should listen to the newest single, “Baile Trankis,” by Ocho Ojos (shameless plug). But seriously, check out “Healing” by Mayer Hawthorne. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Best Coast is back: It’s been five years since the Los Angeles-based rock duo of singer Bethany Cosentino and instrumentalist Bobb Bruno put out a proper album—and it’s been pretty lonely without them.

The band’s 2010 debut, Crazy for You, exploded onto the music scene, with tracks like “When I’m With You” and “Boyfriend” becoming indie gems. Headlining tours; opening gigs for acts such as Paramore, Green Day and the Pixies; and the release of two more albums only heightened their popularity, yet we hadn’t heard anything new from the band since 2015 (not counting a 2018 kids’ album). Until now.

Best Coast recently released two new singles for upcoming record Always Tomorrow, due Feb. 21. “For the First Time” is a soft-rock tune with sparkling indie guitar and a great synth line, while “Everything Has Changed” is a heavier track—yet the singing makes it more of a happy, uplifting song. Both singles feature lyrical content regarding life getting better, and will put any listener in a great mood.

You can catch Best Coast on Feb. 27—right after the release of that new album—at The Alibi Palm Springs.

“I think for me, music always sort of serves as a therapeutic act,” Cosentino said during a recent phone interview. “I always write about my experiences and my life, and I try to keep things open in hopes that they are relatable to other people. A lot of the stuff that I talk about on this record is stuff that I’ve been going through for the past 10 years. It definitely helped and was very cathartic to get a lot of it off my chest.”

Cosentino’s lyrics are one of the best parts of the Best Coast listening experience. Take the emotional verses on “No One Like You”: “If I sleep on the floor / will it make you love me more? / If I pack up my things and leave / can I still be the queen to your king?”

“I’m always just trying to create something that people can connect to,” Cosentino said. “I feel like the music that resonates with me the most is the stuff that’s relatable—(music) that I can trace back to my own life and own experiences. I try to be a help to people with the music that I make, and I hope that people can relate to it.”

Best Coast’s Palm Springs show is the first date on the duo’s first headlining tour in five years.

“Touring is very fun, especially when you have new stuff to get out there and share with the world,” she said. “There’s a big shift in energy when you have new music and when you get to come back after some rest. Given that we haven’t done a headlining tour in five years, we are very restless. We’re definitely excited to get back out there and share some new stuff—and old stuff, too. We are stoked to revisit the live vibe.”

The band’s name, obviously, references the West Coast. The band has more than a few songs about a love for California; the 2015 record is even titled California Nights. It turns out Palm Springs is a favorite place for the group.

“I think the only time we ever played Palm Springs was when our last record came out,” Cosentino said. “We did this big event for Tumblr at the Ace Hotel, and it was really cool.

“I love Palm Springs; it’s one of my favorite places to go. It’s an easy, chill, little getaway from L.A. I’m stoked to be playing a proper show there—and we’re bringing this band called Lunch Lady. One of my best friends in the world plays in the band, so it’s cool to get to bring them and expose them to a bigger audience.”

With the addition of new songs into Best Coast’s repertoire, I was curious how the duo’s setlists will be organized for the tour.

“We’re trying to figure out the best way to keep some of the classics and add in a bunch of the new songs,” Cosentino said. “We’re really excited about this new record, so it’s hard to pick which ones belong in the set and which ones feel like they won’t translate as well to a stage. We’re in the early stages of trying to figure out the exact set list. We’re not going to abandon the stuff we put up before, but it’s pretty tricky trying to figure out how to integrate it all when you have a new record out that you’re so excited to play songs from.”

While each record by the band features a similar vibe, the influences differ from album to album. The two new singles feature a more classic-rock vibe—a departure from previous Best Coast material.

“A band that has always sort of been with us and influenced us is Fleetwood Mac,” Cosentino said. “I know it’s not maybe the most obvious influence, but Bobb and I both love Fleetwood Mac so much; we both grew up listening to them from our parents. They’re a band that we’ve always kind of tried to go to and see what kind of risks they took and what sort of changes they made. I think Fleetwood Mac is one of those bands (with which) every record they ever put out was always different than the last.

“With this record specifically, we really tried to do something different without abandoning who we are as a core. It’s definitely a bit of growth, and a bit of a departure sonically and musically. We took some risks, and we tried some stuff; this record has a lot of classic rock ’n’ roll influences, which is something we’ve never tried too much of. A lot of bands that came out in the studio that we referenced were Thin Lizzy, Def Leppard, Fleetwood Mac and The Cars. We tried really hard to do our own version of ’70s and ’80s rock. It was cool to work with Bobb and sort of blend our two loves together. There’s a lot of heaviness in the guitars from Bobb—and a lot of poppy softer rock stuff from me.”

The end of the 2010s saw Best Coast end up on a few “Best of the Decade” lists—as well as a few “Most Anticipated Albums of 2020” lists.

“It’s always really cool to be recognized in any capacity,” Cosentino said. “For anybody to ever tell me that something I created impacts them in any way is always really nice to hear and really makes me feel valued. I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and there have been a lot of times when I’ve wondered if anyone cares. I’ve been my own harshest critic for a very long time. It’s very easy to dip into that headspace of, ‘Does anyone even care what I’m doing?’ To see our name appear on lists like that is always really cool. Not even (just) the lists—sometimes it’s cool just to see people tweet something or send me a little message on Instagram. … It makes me feel special to know that people care about what I’m creating.”

Best Coast will perform with Lunch Lady at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27, at The Alibi Palm Springs, 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Tickets are $25. For tickets or more information, visit dice.fm.

February is the month of love! It’s also leap month, so you have an extra day to enjoy all the amazing entertainment coming to the valley. Who doesn’t love that?

My favorite event in Indio returns for its 74th year this month: The Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival makes its way to the Riverside County Fairgrounds February 14-23. The musical headliners this year are funk legend George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic (Feb. 15); Mexican banda icons Banda Machos (Feb. 16); an entire ’90s themed night featuring Vanilla Ice, Coolio, Tone Loc and Young MC (Feb. 21); breakout country star Chris Janson (Feb. 22); and fifth-generation Mexican mariachi band Mariachi Sol de Mexico. (Feb. 23). For just $10 (with discounts), you get these great musical acts, plus rides, food and countless other activities! For tickets or more information, visit datefest.org.

Many notable acts are set to grace the McCallum Theatre stage; the theater has shows on 25 of the 29 February days! From Wednesday, Feb. 19, through Sunday, Feb. 23, you have six chances to come witness The TEN Tenors in action, performing new show Love Is in the Air, which will showcase their versions of the greatest love songs of all time. The Australian group has sold out the McCallum more than 30 times! Tickets are $50 to $100. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28, five-time Grammy nominee Michael Feinstein is returning to Palm Desert. Experience music from the Great American Songbook with a show that has landed Feinstein many TV specials, and even a White House gig! Tickets are $70 to $130. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs is hosting some premier music entertainers in February. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1, Mexican treasure and mariachi titan Pedro Fernández is coming to town. With singing, acting, composing and conducting under his hat, the ranchera great is sure to put on a great show! Tickets are $49 to $99. Another Latin group is arriving the following weekend: At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8, Spanish-rock revivalists Caifanes will take the Fantasy stage. Tickets are $39 to $69. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22, living legend Sheryl Crow is bringing three decades’ worth of hits to Indio. With more than 35 million albums sold, and nine Grammys won, Crow features singing and songwriting talent that will captivate any audience anywhere. Tickets are $69 to $129. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28, soul duo The Righteous Brothers is bringing the ’60s back to Indio. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” is the most-played song in radio history! Tickets are $29 to $59. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente is set to host some great musical entertainers throughout February. On 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, the Make It Last Forever Valentine’s Day Show comes to Rancho Mirage. Come get in the loving mood with performances by Keith Sweat, 112, and Next. Tickets are $85 to $115. On Saturday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m., ’80s soft rockers Air Supply are landing at The Show. Featuring eight Top 10 hits in the early ’80s, Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock can help you re-live the past. Tickets are $40 to $60. On Saturday, Feb. 29, at 8 p.m., famed singer-songwriter Michael Bolton will perform. Come listen to a selection of his hits arranged for a symphony orchestra. Tickets are $55 to $75. Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 is creating all sorts of excuses to party! The Tribute Concert Series continues in February, as you can watch tips o’ the hat to The Eagles, Aretha Franklin, Elvis and Neil Diamond, Fridays at 8 p.m. All the shows are $10, and promise to teleport you back in time to the original artist’s prime! At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15, beefcake comes to town in the form of Magic Mike XXL. With dance numbers inspired by Magic Mike movies, this male revue show promises to wow audiences with “choreographed routines, stage presence and steamy showmanship.” Tickets are $20 to $30. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s, per usual, has a fantastic slate of music. At 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20, rock-group The Blank Tapes will bring dreamy psychedelic tunes to Pioneertown. It’s a free show, so money is not an excuse for not being there! At 8:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21, SASAMI (below; photo by Alice Baxley) will perform. Previously of Cherry Glazerr, SASAMI put out her debut solo record less than a year ago—and it is everything an indie kid’s ears can dream of … if ears could dream, that is. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Toucan's is featuring some great cabaret! At 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, American Idol alum Melinda Doolittle will perform The Great American Soul Book. Expect hits from James Brown, Aretha Franklin and more! Tickets are $25 to $35. Continuing the theme of TV-singing-show alums: At 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, come listen to Love Songs with Miss Frenchie Davis. Is there a better way to put someone in the Valentine’s Day mood? Tickets are $30 to $40. At 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21, laugh and get your heart (or liver?) warmed by A Tupperware Party With Dixie Longate. This hilarious show promises to demonstrate uses for Tupperware you never imagined. Tickets are $25 to $35. Toucans Tiki Lounge and Cabaret, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-416-7584; www.reactionshows.com.

The Purple Room’s February lineup is intriguing! At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8, enjoy Linda Lavin’s Love Notes show. Come for hits from the Great American Songbook, and stay for Lavin’s stories about her acting career. Tickets are $50 to $60. On Saturday, Feb. 15, Chadwick Johnson comes to town. Expect original music from this Las Vegas headliner! Tickets are $30 to $35. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

The Ace Hotel is determined to make you laugh. The Belly Flop comedy series continues every Wednesday, with Barry Rothbart performing at 9 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 5. Go laugh out loud to Comedy Central and Showtime’s very own talent—and the show is free! Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

The Date Shed is featuring local ska group Spankshaft at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22. Go support local music, and have a SKA-riffic night! Tickets are $10. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.facebook.com/dateshed.

 

Tuesday, 28 January 2020 15:10

Live: 4xFAR, Empire Grand Oasis, Jan. 18-19

The Coachella Valley is home to some of the biggest music festivals in the world—so newcomer 4xFAR had to bring its “A” game to Empire Grand Oasis on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 18 and 19.

That mission was accomplished.

The first thing that greeted attendees was a big “4x” statue; stickers with every state printed on them were available to place on the statue. Moving past this and into the festival grounds, there were many attractions: One could sit in a brand-new Land Rover and do your own version of Carpool Karaoke; or you could have a video taken of yourself by a drone. There was even a little tent where you could get an insulated drink container with a personal engraving—but they ran out pretty quickly.

While “music” and “adventure” were the festival’s main selling points, the venue itself was also a highlight: The main stage and all of the adventure and activity tents surrounded a huge lake—that even had a waterfall. Much of my time at the festival was spent admiring the view. Empire Grand Oasis is a place that certainly lives up to its name.

But let’s get down to the music.

Mahalia, aka Mahalia Burkmar, brought some R&B and charm to the Saturday early-afternoon crowd. The sun was out, and it was a little hot, but that didn’t stop the 21-year-old—with help of her drum-and-bass-only backing band—as she fired through her set, gaining new fans along the way. “I’m a Brit, we talk a lot,” Burkmar repeated many times as she gave each song’s inception story and entertained the crowd with tales of love and loss. Go check out “I Wish I Missed My Ex.”

Tijuana Panthers were next up—bringing less talking, and more music. The Long Beach natives blasted through a 22-song setlist of bad-ass surf rock, backed by cool ocean visuals on the big screen. Guitarist Chad Wachtel expressed gratitude to the few of us waiting on the barricade for the show to start, yet as soon as the band started playing, only a few thank-yous were muttered. Each member of the Panthers shared vocal duties, with each having a different sound. Their stage presence and jumpy songs were just what the crowd needed as the weather began to cool down. Go check out “Creature.”

Kurt Vile and the Violators performed next as the sun went down. His Neil Young-style vocals and low stage energy were made up for by his guitar prowess and jamming ability. A few people were dancing, but most were relaxing, as Vile provided a chill performance of his hits. Check out “Pretty Pimpin.”

Kaytranada, aka Louis Celestin, got the night-crowd moving with a DJ set featuring many of the songs he produced over the last decade, as well as works from his two solo albums. He didn’t say much, and the stage was dark with minimal visuals, but Celestin provided a set filled with dance-able music leading up to the headliner. Check out “You’re the One.”

As for that headline: Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals closed Saturday night in a blaze of glory … literally. He brought pyrotechnics to 4xFAR to heat up the crowd. Everyone at the festival was enthralled by the performance—consider that .Paak’s first break in the music to address the audience consisted of loud cheering for a minute straight. The band played a hit-laden list set, and even paid tribute to Nipsey Hussle and Mac Miller. The crowd demanded an encore, but a strict 9 p.m. curfew left many fans hungry for more. Check out “Come Down.”

Music duo Sofi Tukker was the first act I saw on Sunday, on the recommendation of photographer Guillermo Prieto. The stage was adorned with greenery as the two walked out in eye-catching attire. Their brand of EDM, combined with their stage presence, led to a rather fun performance—including a synchronized dance by the crowd, which seemed to baffle the duo. They invited a fan onstage, who happened to be a dance teacher, and he taught the whole crowd a dance number. Check out “Purple Hat.”

I found myself in one of the “hammock stations,” which were located around the festival grounds, for Young the Giant, and I’m beginning to think it was fate: The smooth indie-rock sounds were the perfect accompaniment to the nighttime air and the beautiful landscape. I could hear the crowd’s roar as the band played hit “Cough Syrup.”

A DJ set from Q-Tip and Mark Ronson closed out the weekend in an interesting way. Despite the seemingly unlikely pairing, they managed to play off each other very well. Q-Tip hyped up the crowd with some music from his rap roots, including songs from his very own A Tribe Called Quest, while Mark Ronson played some pop hits in which he had his bands, including songs by Amy Winehouse and Bruno Mars. The set reached a peak when Mark Ronson put on “Uptown Funk” and Q-Tip passed out cups filled with liquor.

While the music was grand, an equally powerful draw was the adventure portion of the festival. 4xFAR was presented by Land Rover, and the one of the main attractions was being able to test-drive the new 2020 Land Rover Defender. While I couldn’t drive—I fall below the 21-year-old age limit—I was able to be a passenger. A multi-terrain driving course put the vehicle’s limits to the test, including dips, turns, rocks and drops.

Ax-throwing, a bicycle course and a horse-racing track were all part of the festival, and even a non-adventurous sort such as I was able to experience some thrills.

I’m excited to see what the future holds for 4xFAR—and I hope the weekend’s success pushes the limits for what other festivals offer.

Scroll down to see photos by Guillermo Prieto/Irockphotos.net.

I play in a couple of bands, and whenever I get recognized on the street, it’s a humbling experience. I feel honored that all of the hard work I’ve put into my music is paying off—especially when people tell me they love my band.

But a few of those encounters have started with the person saying: “You’re from Instigator, right?”

I am not—but I take the confusion as a compliment. In only a short few years, the local band has grown from a high school garage band into a full-fledged force. The group’s thrash-metal stylings and shared vocal duties create an electrifying mix, and are available to blow out your speakers anytime via 2018 EP Built to Defy. Listen to tracks like “Power” and “Tied Up” for some heavy vocals, head-banging instruments and piercing guitar-solo sandwiches. The release of the music launched them into local stardom; the band has graced seemingly every valley stage at least once, and has even been catapulted into out-of-town shows.

And, yes, you can count on there being a mosh pit.

Instigator is Mark Wadlund on vocals and guitar; Jaxon Fischer on vocals and guitar; and Garrison Calkins on bass. Original drummer Joe Boomer recently departed; the new drummer is Nick Willman, of Pescaterritory and Silver Sky.

“We all met at school—La Quinta High School,” Wadlund said during a recent sit-down with the band. “A girl had introduced me to Jaxon, saying that he liked metal—and being that I liked metal, I had to say what’s up. We sang the riff to Slayer’s “Chemical Warfare” for five minutes, and then we became best friends.

“We saw Garrison around school wearing (Metallica album) Ride the Lightning shirts and saw that he played bass, so we decided to get together and jam. We then found Joe from the drumline a few months later. This all happened about four years ago.”

At that time, Wadlund and Fischer were sophomores, while Calkins and Boomer were freshmen. Little did they know what they’d become.

The band members talked about the favorite show they’ve played.

“The FACELIFT shows are pretty fun,” said Fischer, referring to the local punk band. “They’re crazy, gnarly backyard shows. It’s a mosh pit going on the whole time, and all the kids are just going wild.”

Added Wadlund: “Yeah, we opened up for Doyle, guitarist of the Misfits, at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles. It was the second time we played there, and we even got to meet Doyle before the show. He’s 7 feet tall, very vegan, and very buff. Garrison and I both could’ve squeezed inside of his body.”

Now that the band members are post-high school adults (sans new addition Willman), they have to face the music … literally.

“There’s less time for practice, because we have to pay rent and go to our (college) classes,” Wadlund said. “Being an adult forces you to be out of the band for a little bit, but we all try our very best to still meet.”

Fischer added: “Our schedules are a little more flexible now, because we don’t have to go to school in the morning, so we can always practice in the morning and still be able to go to work and pay our rent.”

Has the addition of high-schooler Willman thrown a wrench in any plans?

“Nick’s a good kid and has passed all his classes so that during his senior year, which is this year, he gets out at (noon),” Wadlund said. “More often than not, that’s when we are just waking up.”

That is a true fact: I met with the boys for the interview at 1 p.m. at Starbucks, where they had their “morning coffee.”

I was curious when the members realized the true potential of the band.

“Honestly, at our very first show,” Fischer said.

Added Wadlund: “We were playing for over a year just practicing and writing songs, so our first-ever show, at The Date Shed, went really, really well. We were also very nervous, but we pulled through and had an amazing set.”

Fischer said: “We did a cover of ‘The Conjuring’ by Megadeth and ‘Black Magic’ by Slayer. I thought we played a lot of the songs horribly, but everyone thought we were really good, so it made us think, ‘We could do this.’”

Wadlund conceded that their egos may have been a little over-inflated in their early days.

“People think that you’re much better than you really are when you’re younger,” he said. “We started when we were 16 and 17, and had our parents drive us around to all of the shows. Now we’ve grown past that, and we’re good because we practice. Yeah, we were good when we were young, but the real turning point is being older and still being really good and impressing people. When you’re an adult, you get the most authenticity (in terms of feedback). People aren’t authentic with kids.”

A new album is coming soon. The members have returned to Brian “Puke” Parnell of Throw the Goat, who produced their Built to Defy EP.

“Our producer is the busiest guy in the world; he doesn’t have a day where he’s not doing anything,” he said. “We’re on the very last inches of the mastering process. Compared to our first album, this album is going to be unbelievable. This new album is so fucking good that it will blow away what you think anybody in this valley can do. I want this to be something that the Coachella Valley can be proud of. I can’t wait for everybody to hear it.”

When the Independent last featured Instigator, about a year and a half ago, Wadlund said he wanted to instigate a movement within the valley through music. So far, so good.

“My mom used to work at La Quinta High School,” Wadlund said. “She would speak to admins and teachers, who would talk to troubled kids and tell them about Instigator. They’d tell them a story about these kids in high school that started this band to get their frustrations out into music. We played at the high school at a bunch for rallies, and we’ve definitely inspired kids there. … We exposed everyone to this extreme thrash metal that most of them didn’t even know existed. Just having it in front of their face with the double-bass drum kit and the Marshall stacks changed their lives.”

Yeah, Instigator is indeed instigating something in this valley … hence my occasional encounter with someone asking me if I am part of the band.

“It’s so easy for people our age to have this big ego and think that we are the shit, but that’s not the truth behind us and who we are,” Wadlund said. “We are excited to be doing this—not because no one else is, but because it’s something that we want to do, and we know it’s bettering the community. It’s getting people together that would not normally be together at all, for the sake of music and happiness.”

Instigator will perform with Pescaterritory and Israel’s Arcade at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25, at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St, in Indio, Tickets are $10. For more information or tickets, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/pescafest-tickets-82683066277. For more information on Instigator, visit www.facebook.com/instigatorofficial.

Few bands in the history of music have had a huge lasting impact, yet remained out of the spotlight, like the Melvins have.

There’s no denying that the Melvins’ music has influenced many different genres—in part because the band never stuck to one sound. Sludge, metal, grunge, punk and thrash, all combined into one concoction—that’s the Melvins.

After more than 35 years and close to 30 albums, the Melvins are still here, piercing ears, blowing speakers and screaming at the top of their lungs—and the band has no plans to stop anytime soon. They’ll return to Pappy and Harriet’s for a sweaty, loud show on Thursday, Feb. 6.

“We’ve played there a bunch, I think maybe four or five times, inside and outside,” said legendary drummer Dale Crover during a recent interview. “I like inside more. Outside is a bit dusty. Pappy’s is always fun, though. We could easily play it once or twice a year. Every time we’ve played, it’s been sold out. The outdoor show we did was a part of the Stoned and Dusted festival with Fu Manchu and Brant Bjork—all that desert rock.”

The Melvins are one of the hardest-working bands in music. If the 27-album discography on Wikipedia doesn’t express that enough, here’s more: In 2012, the band did 51 shows, in 51 states, in 51 days. (They made a really cool documentary about it, available on Amazon.) I spoke to Crover about the challenge of translating multiple decades of music into setlists across such frequent shows.

“We never really look at our old records and say, ‘Let’s play this one!’ It’s more that we just remember old songs and bring them out,” Crover said. “We always try to have structure to the set: A third of it will be old material; a third will be the middle period, the last 20 years; and a third that’s somewhat new, maybe the last 10 years. Of course, we’ve always played cover songs. It’s just whatever we feel like playing. Sometimes we make setlists too long and have to cut songs. We’re starting fresh this year, so we’ll be concocting a new setlist, and it’ll be fun.”

Crover said that with the Melvins, he’s been able to do many things he never dreamed of doing.

“Once, we got to jam with Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon at the Roxy,” Crover said. “They actually invited us to the show to play with them, because Sean was really in to the record we had out at the time, Stoner Witch. They even had a song that was Melvins-influenced. It was very surreal but very cool at the same time.”

Crover’s “legendary” title is much-deserved simply based on his Melvins work, but it’s important to note his other drumming duties: He has been a part time drummer for Nirvana, OFF! and Redd Kross—and has done two sets a night when the Melvins and Redd Kross toured together.

“Redd Kross is different,” Crover said. “It’s definitely not as complicated as Melvins stuff—not as pounding, Neanderthal-style drumming. They’re almost a punk-rock band influenced by the Beatles. It’s Ringo, Keith Moon, Charlie Watts-style drumming, classic ’60s-type drumming. I’ve always been influenced by that stuff, though, so it’s not a new thing. I’ve been into those drummers for a long time. When I started, it was Peter Criss, because I was really into KISS, but the Beatles and the Monkees were the first bands I really got into. You can blame Ringo and Micky Dolenz.”

The Melvins, unlike most other acclaimed bands, have refused to “sell out.” They have remained humble despite the gigantic footsteps they have left.

“Certainly, if the Melvins hadn’t existed, you wouldn’t have one of the biggest bands that the grunge genre had,” said Crover. “We all came from this super-small, isolated area, and we definitely influenced all of those guys for sure. Soundgarden and a bunch of those other bands will cite us as influences, and it’s really cool. It’s weird to think about, and we try to keep our egos in check about it, but we definitely influenced a whole new genre of music.”

As for the future, Crover promised this will be a great year for Melvins fans.

“Usually, this time of year is when we’re working on recording,” Crover said. “We’re doing a bunch of that, and we have some stuff in the can. We’ve been doing some projects where we have bands we’re friends of, or that we’re fans of, come into the studio, and we’ll record each other’s songs. Not too long ago, we had the band Flipper come in, who were an influence on us for sure. We wrote a new song with them, and we covered some Flipper songs. We just had this band called Helms Alee, from Washington state, come in. We covered one of their songs; they covered one of our songs; we did a new one, and covered a Scorpions song.

“We’re also working on putting together a podcast; hopefully that’ll be out very soon. I’m touring with Red Kross soon, and Buzz (Osborne) has a new acoustic record coming out soon, with Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle on upright bass.”

Melvins will perform with Hepa.Titus and Cunts at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. The show is currently listed as sold out. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

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