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The biggest month for music in the Coachella Valley is here, thanks to Coachella and Stagecoach—and even if you’re not going to either of the fests, there are still plenty of other things to do.

The McCallum Theatre has a variety of shows in April, the last big month in the theater’s 2016-2017 season. At 8 p.m., Thursday, April 6, the daughter of Lucy and Desi, Lucie Arnaz will be performing her favorites from the Great American Songbook, backed by the Desert Symphony. Tickets are $67 to $115. At 8 p.m., Friday, April 7, get ready to laugh with Rita Rudner. Rudner is a legendary comedienne and will have you in stitches. Tickets are $37 to $87. At 8 p.m. Saturday, April 22, actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth will perform songs from Glee, Wicked and various Broadway standards. Tickets are $57 to $97. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a great April schedule. At 8 p.m., Friday, April 7, Kenny Loggins will be performing. Loggins has had quite a career, including “Danger Zone” from Top Gun (and, more recently, Archer), “I’m Alright” from Caddyshack, the main song for the Footloose soundtrack—and a lot of hits that weren’t in movies. Alas, when I interviewed Loggins at Stagecoach in 2013, he was more interested in the M&Ms he was eating off of a napkin than my questions. Tickets are $39 to $69. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 8, Creedence Clearwater Revisited will be returning to the desert. The PR rep told me the group has a new singer, Dan McGuinness, who had subbed at various times for former vocalist John Tristao. Tickets are $39 to $59. At 8 p.m., Friday, April 21, David Crosby will be stopping by for a solo performance. On top of his work with Crosby, Stills and Nash, he was a member of The Byrds, and he’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with both bands. Tickets are $39 to $59. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa is hosting several sold-out shows in April, but as of our press deadline, there was still one show with tickets left: At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 22, actor and comedian Kevin James will be appearing. James had a successful run on the show The King of Queens, and achieved some degree of movie fame by playing Paul Blart: Mall Cop. It seems in recent years that he’s been in too many bad projects produced by Adam Sandler. It should be interesting to see how his stand-up comedy will be after years of sitcoms and films. Tickets are $65 to $95. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 casino has a couple of events to consider. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 22, ’80s/’90s R&B sensation Keith Sweat (upper right) will be performing. Some of the best R&B music of that era was written and performed by Sweat; he’s released 12 albums and won the Favorite Male R&B/Soul Artist Award at the 1997 American Music Awards. Tickets are $25 to $45. I can’t believe I am about to write this sentence: At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 29, Extreme Midget Wrestling will be returning to Spotlight 29. I honestly don’t know what to say here. Like anyone else, people with dwarfism are doctors, scientists, actors and actresses—yet people often first think of crap like this when it comes to dwarfism. Also, most people with dwarfism prefer the term “little people.” Whatever entertainment floats your boat, I guess. Tickets are $20. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa, much like Agua Caliente, is hosting a lot of great April shows that are already sold out. Get ready for glistening beefcake when Thunder From Down Under returns at 8 p.m., Friday, April 7. Tickets are $25—and the show was close to selling out as of our deadline, so act fast. At 9 p.m., Friday, April 28, Jana Kramer will take the stage. You may know her from One Tree Hill or (gag) Dancing With the Stars, but both her albums have reached the Top 5 on the U.S. country charts. Tickets are $29. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace is the place to be in April, especially during Coachella and Stagecoach, when a lot of the festival acts stop by. At 8 p.m., Thursday, April 6, the band named after a KCRW DJ, Cherry Glazerr will be performing. Considering KCRW has been playing the band quite a bit, and Chery Glaser herself said she’s honored by the band’s name, it’s worth going to check them out. Tickets are $14. At 4 p.m., Saturday, April 8, Brant Bjork will be bringing back his Rolling Heavy-sponsored Desert Generator festival. On the bill this time are Earthless, Orchid, The Shrine and Black Rainbows. Tickets are $55 to $295. At 9 p.m., Sunday, April 30, hot off a Stagecoach performance, Son Volt will perform. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Take note of this Coachella-related event: At 9 p.m., Thursday, April 13, Goldenvoice and FYF will present Young Turks in Palm Springs at the Palm Springs Air Museum. The show will feature Ben UFO, Four Tet, Francis and the Lights, Jamie xx, Kamaiyah, and Sampha with special guests PNL. Tickets are $30. Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs; 760-778-6262; aeglive.com.

The Date Shed has one event scheduled. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 8, Katchafire (below) will be performing. The reggae band from New Zealand is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and the stop at the Date Shed should be pretty epic. Tickets are $25 to $35. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

Published in Previews

The best bands in stoner rock flooded the Desert Generator festival at Pappy and Harriet’s on Saturday, April 9. But unlike the legendary generator parties of the past, this party had a strict 11 p.m. curfew.

Gotta keep the neighbors happy, after all.

In association with Rolling Heavy magazine, the event featured a vintage-van contest. Only American-made classic vans were allowed to enter, but thankfully, VW buses were still permitted in the parking lot, which allowed a groovy set of fans to arrive from Joshua Tree. Brant Bjork, co-founder of Kyuss, helped plan the event.

I was expecting a smooth night, because as a rule, one associates vans with mellow dudes with long hair, swaying to the music and perhaps occasionally banging their heads against the stage monitors. Everything started out as expected, with Ecstatic Vision laying down a mood-altering set. Their set was a catalyst for one Mr. Tripped Out Dude to shadow me through out the festival.

He asked me to dance. I don’t dance.

Golden Void was one of the highlights, with fans positively reacting to the song “Shady Grove.” Acid King from San Francisco offered stoner rock with a dash of psychedelic guitar. Lori S., backed by a stack of Marshall amps, kept things loud with her low-fi guitar riffs and absorbing singing.

Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band had the home-field advantage, but Bjork’s following goes well beyond the desert, with fans coming from all over to see this desert legend. Brant did not dissatisfy, delivering the classic desert rock he helped spawn. He sucks you into songs that meld, one into to the other, as you lose yourself in a symphony of desert-music goodness; the song no longer matters, because you are enthralled by the artist that is Bjork and how he weaves his guitar into an incredible piece of harmony.

I was getting ready to see Red Fang, the headliner, when Mr. Tripped Out dude kissed me on the cheek. I thought it must be my new French cologne, but I was wrong: It was an omen to the fun and crazy chaos that was to follow.

After the first guitar strum, a half-dozen bros wearing classic flat-billed ball caps decided to violate the Queensberry rules of moshing by creating a mini-riot in the middle of the crowd. Jason, the mellowest sound guy around, had to be brought in to help quell the crowd. No real harm came to anyone, but my Nikons received a drenching from a beer delivered by Mr. Tripped Out Dude, who was having fun in his own way. But even during this chaos, a man offered me his clean shirt so I could wipe the beer off my camera.

Red Fang was incredible—but with so much going on, I headed to the back of Pappy’s to enjoy the end of Red Fang’s set in peace.

Read more from Guillermo Prieto at www.facebook.com/irockkphotos and irockphotos.net.

Published in Reviews

What do you get when you combine custom vans, psychedelic rock ’n’ roll and desert scenery?

A kick-ass music festival, of course.

Desert-rock icon Brant Bjork and Rolling Heavy magazine have teamed up to produce “Desert Generator,” an event featuring all of that stuff on Saturday, April 9, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. He’ll also be performing with his band, Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, along with a half-dozen or so other acts.

During a recent phone interview, the former drummer and co-founder of Kyuss said he saw an opportunity after being introduced by a friend to the people at Rolling Heavy, a magazine that focuses on custom vans.

“They also sponsor events and have a scene going on,” he said of the Rolling Heavy people. “After I talked to them, they seemed they were like-minded people. We hit it off, and they’re coming from their rock ’n’ roll thing involving custom vans and cars, and I’m doing my rock ’n’ roll thing, and I was like, ‘Why don’t we just combine our rock ’n’ roll thing? We’re kind of doing the same thing from different sides of town, so why don’t we just do it together?’”

A lot of stoner-rock and desert-rock bands have featured vans from the ’60s and ’70s in album artwork and merchandise, after all. “I think from back in the day, a lot of the rock bands in our scene, we dig the old classic ’60s and ’70s counterculture, custom cars—and that’s all part of the scene,” Bjork said.

While the festival has “generator” in the title, it is not a true generator party. Last month, Zach Huskey of Dali’s Llama told the Independent that generator parties were often difficult and dangerous. Bjork said that is absolutely correct.

“Speaking for myself and a lot of the people I know who were there, Zach is right: They were scary,” he said. “They were very intense events that we all were willing to participate in and help make happen, because we were suffering from boredom and nothing to do in the desert. The generator party was an act of us trying to develop a source of something to do to express our creativity, be with our friends, party and get away from the lameness of our town. There weren’t any rules; there wasn’t any security; and there was no general setup. It was truly an anarchy style situation, and I’ve seen a lot of heavy stuff go down at generator parties. I’ve seen people to this day who were scarred from them, (and I know people) who lost their lives going to generator parties.”

It’s been an interesting time for desert rock as of late. For example, two different documentaries that shined the light on the Coachella Valley’s history with desert rock both recently enjoyed local premieres. Bjork said that Desert Age and Lo Sound Desert are each good in their own way.

“I liked them. I thought they were entertaining and informative,” he said. “It’s hard for me, because I’m a little biased, and I was part of the subject matter directly, but I think overall, I respect their decisions to choose our environment, choose our scene and to film it, and they both went all the way to finish their projects.”

Bjork continues to stay busy and said that new music is coming—sooner than most people may have expected.

“We just delivered our new record to our label, and we’re in the process of creating the art work for it,” he said. “We’re hoping it will come out sometime this summer. We’re going to be playing some new songs at the festival on Saturday, so we’re excited.”

Bjork said Pappy’s was definitely the place to host such a festival.

“It’s a destination that’s exciting for people from out of town,” he said. “It’s beautiful, and it’s set up to have rock shows. There wasn’t a whole lot of having to put together something from the ground up. It made a lot of sense, and we didn’t think twice about it. It’s a good foundation for what we’re doing. We’ll see how it turns out.”

I had to ask: Does Bjork own a custom van?

“I don’t,” he said with a laugh. “Maybe someday I’ll get into the custom vans, but right now, I have a family, so I have my hands full. I don’t need to take care of a van, too.”

Desert Generator takes place at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, April 9, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $48. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews