Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

It’s always nice to be inside with air conditioning and cold beverages during the sweltering August heat. Well, here are some upcoming events where air conditioning and frosty drinks are abundant—as is great music.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is hosting some big names this month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, rapper Pitbull will be performing. It seems like every other hit pop song these days includes Pitbull on the track. After selling millions of albums and racking up numerous music awards, Pitbull is showing no signs of slowing down. Tickets are $69 to $129. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 27, former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar will be performing with a group that he’s calling The Circle. Joe Satriani and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently unavailable to perform with him as the supergroup Chickenfoot, so Hagar has recruited Michael Anthony (who also played with him in Van Halen and Chickenfoot), Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson. Tickets are $49 to $109. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has one notable event taking place in August. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, British reggae band UB40 will be performing. UB40’s reggae credentials are incredible, and the band has had about 50 hit radio singles in the United Kingdom, with several here as well—many of which are reggae covers of songs, such as “Red Red Wine” by Neil Diamond and “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher. Tickets are $55 to $75. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has suddenly become the place to be! At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 5, Flogging Molly (right) will be performing, right on the heels of a European tour. One of the two best-known Irish punk bands in America (the other being the Dropkick Murphys), Flogging Molly falls a little bit more on the traditional Celtic music side—and isn’t afraid to slow things down to tell an Irish hard-luck story that will bring a tear to your eye. Fun fact: Frontman Dave King was in heavy-metal band Fastway in the ’80s, and that band did the soundtrack for the terrible horror film Trick or Treat. Tickets are $55 to $65. At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12, there will be a show by Flo Rida. Flo Rida is a fascinating figure in the sense that he’s been combining house music with hip-hop. He’s been highly successful, in part due to terrific collaborations with artists such as Sia, T-Pain, Fresh Kid Ice and others. Tickets are $65 to $75. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499;

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace continues to fill the Monday Open-Mic Night with local music figures as guest hosts. On Aug. 1, Big Dave Johnson, Pappy’s security man and bassist for Mojave Sky, will be hosting; on Aug. 8, it’ll be Stew Heyduk from the Pappy’s Sunday Band. On Aug. 15, Lisa Lynn Morgan of R. Buckle Road and Lisa Lynn and the Country Gentlemen will be hosting; on Aug. 22, the hosts are local musicians Nigel Roman and Jennifer Irvine. On Aug. 29, Brent Simpson from Daytime Moon and Spankshaft is in charge. Admission is free. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13, Joshua Tree musician Gene Evaro Jr. (below) will be celebrating his album-release party. Gene has been on a fantastic run, playing a national tour with Elle King, and performing at various big events including the Joshua Tree Music Festival. His music has also made recent appearances on various soundtracks, including that of The Deadliest Catch. Every local-music lover should support Gene—and buy his album! Tickets are $12. At 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, there will be a performance by Diane Coffee, featuring Foxygen drummer Shaun Fleming. Diane Coffee is sort of a Broadway-meets-’70s-psychedelic-rock project. It’s definitely different … in a good way. Tickets are $10 to $12. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

Splash House will be returning for Round 2 this year, from Friday, Aug. 12, to Sunday, Aug. 14, at the Riviera Palm Springs, The Saguaro and the Palm Springs Air Museum. The lineup features headliners Gorgon City (performing a DJ set) and Snakehips. Other performers will include Hudson Mohawke, Bondax, DJDS and many others. General admission tickets are $120—and as of now, the event is listed as sold out. For more information or to purchase tickets, should any others become available, go to

The Hood Bar and Pizza has one scheduled event that’s a must-see: At 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, catch great triple-bill of Jesika Von Rabbit, The Yip-Yops and Herbert. This is the one local show in August you don’t want to miss. The Yip-Yops are back and performing under the band’s original name, after losing the IIIZ name to former record label Hood and Associates earlier this year. Meanwhile, Jesika Von Rabbit just performed a kick-ass show at Pappy and Harriet’s with the Death Valley Girls. Folks, this is the Low Desert’s chance to party with the cool kids from the high desert. Admission is free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220;

Photo below by Guillermo Prieto/

Published in Previews

Eddie Spaghetti of rock-country band the Supersuckers is used to the middle finger—in fact, he encourages his audiences to flip him off and then photographs the occurrence during his live shows.

But over the last year, it’s the Supersuckers frontman who has been flipping the bird—to cancer, that is.

Spaghetti returned to stages last year after his battle with Stage 3 oropharyngeal cancer—right after the disease was declared to be in remission. He’ll be back at Pappy and Harriet’s for a performance on Friday, Aug. 12.

During a recent phone interview while touring in Europe, Spaghetti said he’s almost back to feeling normal.

“I feel so much better than I did when I was at the darkest part of it, for sure,” Spaghetti said. “I always felt fine before I had the cancer. I felt that fine was kind of the way I always thought of myself as feeling.

“It’s good to be feeling close to that again,” he added with a laugh.

As friends, family and fans raised more than $68,000 via, Spaghetti went through a radical tonsillectomy and had all of the lymph nodes on the left side of his neck removed.

“It was hard, a lot harder than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “The pain and wanting to sleep all the time—I didn’t feel like doing much of anything—was very difficult for me, because I’ve always been a regularly active dude.”

He was afraid that his vocals might not sound the same after the surgery and treatment, but he’s been kicking ass ever since returning to the stage.

“It was super-rewarding, and I was super-grateful that I had a job I wanted to get back to,” he said. “It made me feel really good about my life’s work, which is something I really hadn’t felt in a while. It was one bad thing after another for this band for so long. To feel grateful about it after all this time—that’s one of the things I’m thankful for after getting cancer. It’s not like I had this religious epiphany or anything like that. My belief system is still largely the same, and all that sort of basic DNA hasn’t started to unravel yet—but, yeah, I definitely feel grateful for the things I do now.”

The last couple of Supersuckers records—Get the Hell in 2014, and Holdin’ the Bag in 2015—have contained a lot more of the Supersuckers’ country music side. While the Supersuckers have always included a country sound and were once labeled as “cowpunk,” Get the Hell is genuinely a country album.

“We just wanted to make a solid country record. We don’t hear a lot of good country that turns us on anymore,” Spaghetti said. “We wanted to make something that we wanted to hear with songs we liked that definitely had the spirit of the band, but were laying down the country angle of things. I feel like there’s so much crappy country music out there that to make a good country record is an achievement these days.”

The Supersuckers are definitely more comfortable doing country music today than the band was in its earlier days; the band was formed in 1988.

“The first time we really dove into it with Must’ve Been High (in 1997), we thought we were on to something special,” Spaghetti said. “It turns out we were, but when the record came out, everybody hated it, and it was totally, roundly booed. Revisionist history has changed that perspective: Now it’s this great influential success story, but at the time, it was a bad experience, and it was horrible to go through that.”

Their band’s four albums, concluding with Must’ve Been High, were released on Seattle-based alternative label Sub Pop Records, famous for bands such as Nirvana, Mudhoney, Beach House, Low and others.

“It was amazing. It was a thrill of a young kid’s lifetime to be involved in that scene,” Spaghetti said. “It happened for us when we were so young. As soon as we moved to Seattle, we attracted the interest of Sub Pop, which was amazing. We went to Japan on their dime, and all the stuff we got to do because we were on Sub Pop was great. I feel we owe our career and legitimacy to the label being such a legitimate force in music, and I appreciate that.

“That’s something new for me as well (post-cancer)—appreciating that whole period. There were some negative things toward the end involving over-expectations and spending too much on the band, and the disappointment that lingers after that happens.”

What’s in the future? A new record, Spaghetti said.

“I’m going to start polishing the turds for that sucker here soon, and I think we’re going to get in the studio next year at some point and forge on,” he said.

Will there be a new Eddie Spaghetti solo record? “Not currently, but I’m sure I will at some point, when we get some down time. I’ll fill (the time)—that’s what I do!”

After Spaghetti plays a song live, he’s been known for him to end by singing, “Cha cha cha.”

“I really don’t know how that started, but it started as a way to get the crowd to react after every song when it was over,” he said. “It’s sort of become a thing, and it’s steamrolled out of control, and I think we need to bring it in a bit. It’s getting obnoxious, but it is a fun thing to motivate the crowd to cheer after the song. But it works, right?”

On the bill at Pappy’s with the Supersuckers will be local band Throw Rag and Los Angeles-based group The Hangmen.

“Dude, I’m so stoked! I couldn’t be more excited for our drummer (Christopher “Chango” Von Streicher), who used to play for Throw Rag,” Spaghetti said. “He’s going to play with them again, and I’m beyond excited that it’s actually going to happen. The Hangmen are on the bill as well, who are another legendary and influential band in my life, so it’s going to be a good time.”

The Supersuckers will perform with Throw Rag and The Hangmen at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $25. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit

Published in Previews

It’s been said that rock ’n’ roll is dead. But for the members of Los Angeles outfit Death Valley Girls, that statement is grossly inaccurate.

For them, rock ’n’ roll is a way of life. They’ll be returning to the desert on Saturday, July 16, for a show at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.

Fronted by Bonnie Bloomgarden, Death Valley Girls also includes guitarist Larry Schemel (brother of former Hole drummer Patty Schemel), bassist Nikki Pickle and the drummer, known simply as “The Kid.” They have taken psychedelic rock and have made it their own, creating what they call an “acid-tripping science experiment.” Their music is a haze of prog rock, psychedelic rock and good old fashioned balls-to-the-wall rock ’n’ roll.

“I think rock ’n’ roll means everything,” Bloomgarden said during a recent phone interview. “It’s sort of like a religion. We live like nomads, with (few) belongings, in the name of rock ’n’ roll. It’s the legend we grew up with, the people we believe in, and it’s what makes us feel whole. I think that’s what religion does for other people. Recently, I’ve been thinking it’s our religion. The more I think about it, the more I think that’s what Christianity or other religion does for some people: It fills them with love, hope and gives you your answers, and it gives you a platform to ask your questions.”

Death Valley Girls did not get off to a smooth start.

“It’s a weird time in music. It took us about six months to book our first show,” Bloomgarden said. “We’re old school, so we were like, ‘We have to record some songs, and that’s how people will book us for shows.’ We didn’t go through the friend channel; we went through more of the idea that the music should speak for itself—which it unfortunately doesn’t.”

The band’s name is a reference to a true-crime story.

“Larry came up with the name,” Bloomgarden said. “It’s sort of a nod to a Mansonesque dream of a utopia in Death Valley, and it’s a play on words with a kind of attitude.”

Of course, the name is not a literal interpretation, so having a male member is just fine with them.

“People love flak and giving it for some reason, but to us, if anyone is focused on the words ‘Death,’ ‘Valley,’ or ‘Girls,’ it’s ridiculous. It’s three words together,” Bloomgarden said. “It’s a band name, and we don’t worry too much about what people want to think or find out. I’m not a huge fan of the word ‘girls’ being in band names, but I like our name just fine.”

Death Valley Girls has released two albums to date: Street Venom in 2014, and the brand-new Glow in the Dark.

“The first record, we had rock ’n’ roll in our souls that we needed to get out and get out of our minds, and the only way to get songs out of your mind is to record them,” she said of Street Venom. “This record serves a purpose for the greater good, we hope. It’s a culmination of everything we learned as a band coming together, and (we made) this record with intention and purpose in two days. Looking back on it, we realized this is meaningful to us.”

Glow in the Dark was inspired by an unusual gig.

“This record came from this idea to play this show at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles for a mummy exhibit,” Bloomgarden said. “We realized that these mummies had been in a museum since 1890 in Chicago, and they just moved them to Los Angeles for this exhibit, and they had probably never heard rock ’n’ roll before. We wanted to make a set for them, to introduce them to rock ’n’ roll and wake them up. … We realized we should record it on a record, and that should be our baseline for where we record from moving forward: waking the dead, or introducing them to rock ’n’ roll.”

That show, Bloomgarden swore, was not her first experience with a mummy.

“We saw a mummy walking around two months before the mummy show, and that’s how this thing sort of came to be. I guess that mummy had to be reawakened. After that, I do believe people can be awoken from the dead,” she said. “I’m more confused about this than I ever have been, but me and The Kid were walking down my street, and at the gas station, there was the mummified remains of a human being. She was trying to get into the gas station, and she had bosoms. She was making the mummy sound, and it wasn’t a human about to die: It was a human who had been mummified and dead for thousands of years. This is just a fact. I’ve never seen anything like it, and that’s why we contacted the museum, to see if they had any mummies missing. … It changed our life, so it’s all for the better we saw the mummy.”

Both of Death Valley Girls’ albums have been released by Burger Records. The indie label and its subsidiaries have released numerous indie albums, including a cassette by local band CIVX. Many bands have gained exposure thanks to Burger Records, during an era when promoting rock ’n’ roll records is harder than ever.

“Burger Records are the best people; they’re music historians, music enthusiasts and rock ’n’ roll lifers,” Bloomgarden said. “They give people a chance and teach kids about old rock ’n’ roll that many wouldn’t think would see the light of day again. For that, we are forever grateful.

“I think of what they did with cassettes a few years ago. … It’s cheaper; it’s more compact; and you can share them with other bands on tour, because every other band has a tape-player in their van. … Cassette culture brought more people back to music. They definitely started that for sure.”

The band is opening for Jesika Von Rabbit, queen of the high desert music scene.

“I can’t wait to see Jesika Von Rabbit play. We’ve always wanted to play with her, and we love Pappy and Harriet’s,” Bloomgarden said. “We’re excited to get to get loose in the desert and look up in the sky and get to see stuff. We don’t have many stars out here, so any chance we get to go to the desert is awesome.

“They have a horse at Pappy and Harriet’s that you can pet, and that’s exciting too.”

When I told Bloomgarden that the nachos on the menu at Pappy and Harriet’s are named after Jesika Von Rabbit, she was thrilled.

“What an honor! Maybe we can eat her nachos with her—that’d be so cool!” she said.

Death Valley Girls will perform with Jesika Von Rabbit and The Shadow Mountain Band at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, July 16, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $10. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit

Published in Previews

July is going to be hot—but never fear, because there are some great air-conditioned events going on.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is again the place to be in July. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 2, get some advice on how to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them, when Kenny Rogers performs. The pop-country icon has sold more than 120 million albums! Tickets are $29 to $69. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 9, pop-star Kesha will be stopping in. Since 2010, Kesha has taken the music world by storm—although many still don’t know what to make of her. After a nasty court battle with producer Dr. Luke, she’s returning to live performances and seems to be heading down a different creative path. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Friday, July 29, get out your dancing shoes, because Earth, Wind and Fire is coming back to town. It’s been a rough year for the group due to the death of founding member Maurice White, but the band is still in demand and continues to dazzle audiences. Tickets are $49 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has several intriguing events in July. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 16, standup comedian Brian Regan will perform. Regan, who is known to refrain from using profanity, is quite popular across all age groups and has been going strong since the ’90s. Tickets are $55 to $85. There’s another event worth mentioning if you are a fan of world music: At 6:30 p.m., Saturday, July 30, there will be a show by Armenian singer Armenchik. Born in Armenia and raised in Los Angeles, Armenchik showed a natural talent for singing at a young age and has performed all around the world. Tickets are $60 to $150. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Spotlight 29 is going to heat up at 8 p.m., Friday, July 22, when Maxwell (right) stops by. In 1996, Maxwell released Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, which is said to have changed R&B forever. Maxwell’s singing ability is right up there with that of Marvin Gaye; it’s no wonder that Urban Hang Suite was a hit, even though Maxwell did it without much commercial support. In fact, the album went on to sell 2 million copies. If there is one show you shouldn’t miss in July, this is the one. Tickets are $71 to $111. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566;

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has a solid schedule through July. Ted Quinn, the longtime host of the free open-mic nights on Mondays, has stepped down. During July, Pappy’s is bringing in a series of guest hosts: Jesika Von Rabbit on July 4; Leslie Mariah Andrews of the Small Wonder Experience on July 11; Bella Dawn on July 18; and Lee Joseph on July 25. In other news: At 9 p.m., Sunday, July 10, the group Imarhan will be performing. Imarhan performs Tuareg music, which has a soulful and groovy rhythm. Sadam, Imarhan’s frontman, is the cousin of Eyadou Ag Leche, of Tinariwen, who also helped write some of the music for Imarhan’s self-titled debut album. Tickets are $15 to $17. At 8:30 p.m., Saturday, July 16, the queen of the high desert, Jesika Von Rabbit, will take the stage. Also on the bill: Death Valley Girls. Hopefully this performance will mark the return of Von Rabbit’s dancing man, Larry Van Horn, who recently told me he suffered a leg injury, but is getting back into the groove. Last but certainly not least, at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 30, The Evangenitals will be coming back yet again for a guaranteed great time. The show is free! Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

The Coachella Valley Art Scene is teaming up with the Ultrastar Mary Pickford Theatre in Cathedral City for the second summer in a row. Each Friday, a local band will play from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. On Friday, July 1, Giselle Woo will be performing. On Friday, July 8, David Morales from EeVaan Tre and the Show will take the stage; on Friday, July 15, The Flusters are the act; on Friday, July 22, EeVaan Tre himself will be performing, and on Friday, July 29, Madison Ebersole will perform. Admission is free. Ultrastar Mary Pickford Theater, 36850 Pickfair St., Cathedral City; 760-328-7100;

Copa Palm Springs will be hosting comedian and actor Leslie Jordan (below) again at 8 p.m., Friday, July 1; 8 p.m., Saturday, July 2; and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, July 3. He’ll be performing his one man show, Straight Outta Chattanooga. Tickets are $25 to $45. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-322-3554;

Published in Previews

The group Mystic Braves has become one of Los Angeles’ most famous bands.

The group has enjoyed national tours, the release of three albums, and some recent shows with the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The group will bring its brand of psychedelic rock ’n’ roll to Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Saturday, June 18.

During a recent phone interview with Ignacio Gonzalez (organ) and Julian Ducatenzeiler (guitar, vocals), they talked about Mystic Braves’ formation in 2011. Also in the group are Tony Malacara (bass, vocals), Shane Stotsenberg (guitar, vocals) and Cameron Gartung (drums).

“I had the intention of playing a more groovy kind of music,” Ducatenzeiler said. “I hooked up with an old friend, and he had two other guys in mind. Tony (Malacara) was one of those guys. We just starting jamming, and there were no real goals in mind.”

Gonzalez had previously played in several Los Angeles bands, including the now defunct psych-rock band Jeffertitti’s Nile. Gonzalez said he feels that psych rock today is becoming something of a fad.

“I think a lot of bands focus too much on the culture of it,” Gonzalez said about psychedelic rock. “… It’s like a hip thing to do these days. When I was playing in Jeffertitti’s Nile, we were wearing dresses and wearing makeup, and trying to take it to that next level playing psychedelic and fuzz music. We were doing it because it was our thing, and there weren’t that many psychedelic rock bands in Los Angeles at the time. The term ‘psychedelic’ wasn’t really genre-specific; it was more of a state of mind. Over time, it became this popular genre-specific thing. There are a lot of psych bands out there now. … We didn’t call ourselves a psychedelic band; we were like retro-future space punk or something.”

The shows the group recently played with Brian Jonestown Massacre were a positive experience for Mystic Braves.

“We actually did two shows back-to-back with them in Los Angeles,” Ducatenzeiler said. “It was really cool. Rob Campanella, who plays in Brian Jonestown Massacre, recorded our most recent album. He was able to get us those shows, and they were both sold out way in advance. Their live shows are amazing. They played for something like three hours, and it was pretty crazy.”

Gonzalez praised the work ethic of the members of Brian Jonestown Massacre.

“Anton Newcombe is a very projective dude. He’s constantly doing stuff and putting stuff together,” he said. “… They have a big catalog of songs to choose from. It was cool for me, because I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time.”

While the members of Mystic Braves have enjoyed their success, including accolades as one of the best bands in Los Angeles, Gonzalez said the main goal of the group is to have fun.

“It’s been an insane journey,” he said. “We just want to play music with each other as friends playing music, and if people like it, it’s cool.”

Gonzalez said they are currently focusing on their upcoming concerts in support their most recent record, Days of Yesteryear. However, the members also have other projects up their collective sleeves.

“We’re scoring movies right now,” Gonzalez said. “We all have individual projects that we do on our downtime. We’re getting ready for the national tour coming up in September, and our show at Pappy and Harriet’s, which should be a fun one, given we love playing up there. Then we’re going to do a little run up north the week after.”

Ducatenzeiler said an overseas tour may also be in store in the future.

“People from different countries have been asking us for a while, ‘When you coming out here?’” he said. “We’ve been dying to go and we’re just waiting for the right opportunity.”

Gonzalez is one of the four partners in Lolipop Records, an independent label out of Los Angeles that’s been receiving a lot of buzz. 

“For me, I’m pretty much there all the time when I’m not rehearsing,” Gonzalez said. “I do a lot of recording in our studio in our little tiny hole under a bridge in Echo Park. I’ll be there recording, working on the label, and trying to show the world these bands that we want them to hear. There’s so much music that will never get heard, and we just want to make sure people get the cool stuff that comes our way.”

Mystic Braves will perform with Levitation Room and The Creation Factory at 9 p.m., Saturday, June 18, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $15. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit

Published in Previews

The kids are getting out of school. The temperatures are consistently reaching triple figures. There’s far less traffic in the valley. Yep, June is here—but that doesn’t mean things are going to be boring, because there are some amazing shows coming during the month.

You can always depend on Fantasy Springs Resort Casino to keep bringing in great entertainment during the summer. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 3, country music star Billy Currington will be stopping by. Considering the guy has nine No. 1 singles under his belt to go along with multiple Grammy nominations, you definitely don’t want to miss this one. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 18, get ready for Madonna … the Mexican Madonna, that is. For more than 30 years, Yuri has stayed consistent, putting out 34 albums with a ton of hit singles. Expand your horizons, and go check her out! Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

Agua Caliente Casino Resort has a must-attend music event in June. It’s that time of the year when you need to get those dedications to your boo ready, because at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 4, it’s time for the Art Laboe Summer Love Jam. This year’s performers will be Thee Midnighters with Little Willie G, Deniece Williams, Malo, Amanda Perez and MC Magic. Tickets are $45 to $65. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Morongo Casino Resort Spa is hosting some intriguing events—and one of them in particular is quite a big deal. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 4, country superstars Lady Antebellum (right) will be stopping by. The group has won eight Grammy awards, four American Music Association awards and numerous varied country-music awards. Lady Antebellum has also been a headlining act at Stagecoach. Tickets are $100 to $200. At 9 p.m., Friday, June 24, a band from the late ’90s-early ’00s you may have forgotten all about, 3 Doors Down (below), will be stopping by. Who can forget that tour the group did with Creed after shortly arriving on the scene? Who can forget how many times that “Kryptonite” song played on the radio, ruining it for us all? I’d prefer to forget all about it, but if don’t want to forget, I won’t judge you for going. Tickets are $65 to $85. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499;

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, per usual, has a fantastic slate of shows. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 4, Nick Waterhouse will be coming back. The Los Angeles based singer/songwriter/producer is a purist regarding ’60s rock ’n’ roll and vintage music. It’s been two years since he released his last album, Holly, so hopefully he has something new in the works. Tickets are $15. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 18, Los Angeles psychedelic rock group Mystic Braves will be appearing. The album Days of Yesteryear was one of my favorite albums of 2015. This group has been selling out venues across the country and is one of the hottest new bands you’ve probably never heard of. You definitely should go check them out; I promise you won’t be disappointed. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

The Hood Bar and Pizza has some pretty good events coming up … wait, make that some awesome events. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 18, desert-rock legends Dali’s Llama will be performing. I have a confession: I somehow had never seen the band perform until earlier this year. Well, I was missing out. If you’ve never seen Dali’s Llama, get your ass to The Hood, and show some hometown love. If you have seen them before, be sure to go anyway. Admission is free! Now, for the really big event … on Monday, June 20, get ready to rock harder than you ever have before, because The Adicts will be stopping by. Yes, The Adicts, the legendary British punk band! However, as of our press deadline, that’s all we know; we could find no more details beyond the date appearing on The Adicts’ tour schedule on Facebook. Stay tuned to The Hood’s Facebook page for more details, because this going to be awesome. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220;

Published in Previews

Two decades ago, former Uncle Tupelo frontman Jay Farrar released the album Trace with his then-new band, Son Volt.

Today, Farrar is on tour performing the album in its entirety to celebrate the anniversary—including a stop at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Thursday, June 16.

Uncle Tupelo came out of a band, first called The Plebes and later The Primitives, that Jay Farrar started with his brothers, Wade and Dade; drummer Mike Heidorn and Jeff Tweedy would later join the group. Tweedy was influenced by punk—which was not exactly popular at the time in their hometown of Belleville, Ill., part of the St. Louis metro area. The group played blues songs at fast tempos during their early gigs.

After Wade and Dade left the group, the remaining members changed the band name to Uncle Tupelo. The combination of vintage-country and folk influences with punk rock was unique, and Uncle Tupelo would release four albums before the group split in 1994. Farrar went on to start Son Volt, with more of an Americana and roots-music sound, while Tweedy went on to form Wilco.

Farrar also recorded one album with Anders Parker under the name Gob Iron.

I recently spoke to Farrar via telephone. He has a reputation as a difficult interview; his answers are brief and to the point. I asked him whether he thought people playing his kind of music had it harder when Uncle Tupelo formed 1987, or today.

“I think surprisingly, in many ways, the current climate out there now reminds of what it was like in the early ’80s,” Farrar said. “There’s not a lot of major-label support for music like this, and only a handful ever really breakthrough. I see it as a period of struggle in many ways for a lot of people out there. But I also think from an artistic standpoint, things will be better for it down the line. I think there are some better things on the horizon.”

Does Farrar listen to any of the new alternative-country or Americana acts out there today? The answer is, surprisingly, no.

“I pretty much concentrate on learning more about what has happened in the past. I’m not up on what’s new and happening out there,” he said. “Recently, I’ve been getting really into Junior Kimbrough’s first recordings, if that tells you where my head is at right now.”

Farrar explained what makes Saint Louis a great city for music.

“It’s a crossroads, and there’s certainly a lot of musical history here,” he said. “Musical ideas historically travel up and down the Mississippi River from New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis and then up to Chicago. It was a melting pot of musical styles coming through, especially blues.”

One of the most interesting albums Farrar has done is a collaboration with Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, One Fast Move or I’m Gone, the soundtrack for a documentary with the same name focusing on beat writer/poet Jack Kerouac. The songs featured lyrics directly from the pages Kerouac’s Big Sur, as well as concepts that came out of the book.

“That approach represented something I had never actually done before—taking lyrics from a book, or just concepts from the pages of the book itself,” he said. “It was a challenge in a way, although I had worked with some of Woody Guthrie’s lyrics prior to that, so that gave me the confidence to forge ahead and see what could be done with the work of Jack Kerouac. I found it to be really inspiring, being able to step aside and work in that framework. It was a great experience, and working with Ben Gibbard was great. We had never met before, and we met through the work of Jack Kerouac.”

Some artists have worked with lyrics penned by Woody Guthrie that he never made into complete songs. Farrar actually recorded an entire album of songs based on those lyrics. For Farrar, Woody Guthrie is still a big influence.

“For me, it goes back to my childhood and going through my parents’ record collection and pulling out Woody Guthrie records,” he said. “It’s fundamental and elemental in that way for me. Of course, he’s still relevant today.”

Of course, Guthrie is well-known for his protest songs.

“I think there will always be a need for protest songs,” Farrar said. “The best protest songs get written when there’s a real need for them. They will always be there.”

Farrar said we can expect to hear many protest songs should Donald Trump get elected president.

“Absolutely!” he said. “I get the feeling people are already preparing for that.”

Is there anything Farrar would change about Trace when he looks back on it after 20 years?

“I don’t know. Things sort of happen organically, and it’s the only way to make a record,” he said. “Listening back, it sounds good and visceral to me, and the band doesn’t sound too polished. The impetus for me as a songwriter at that time was getting to work with a fiddle player and a pedal-steel player. Getting to explore that at the time was great.”

Performing the album in its entirety has been a positive experience, he said, and has given him opportunities to tweak the songs.

“I wanted to have the songs presented more stripped-down and boiled down to the essence. I felt that was the best approach,” he said. “In some cases, I get to rework the songs, but all while still acknowledging the release of the album 20 years later. Currently, (we’re performing as) a three piece: myself; Gary Hunt on guitar, fiddle and mandolin; and Eric Heywood will be back after walking the Appalachian Trail, playing pedal steel.”

Farrar said there’s more to come from Son Volt in the near future—and there could even be another Gob Iron album.

“It is in the works. We’ve recorded 10 songs as a power trio, but it’s still in the works, and ideally released next year,” he said about a new Son Volt album. “We just need to find a home for us.

“Anders and I have also been in contact about doing something with Gob Iron. We talked about recording some songs over the summer, and we’ll see if that comes to fruition.”

Jay Farrar will perform at 9 p.m., Thursday, June 16, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $20. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit

Published in Previews

I had no idea who Charles Bradley was until a month ago, when Jesika Von Rabbit told me I had to go see his show at Pappy and Harriet’s.

I trust Jesika, so I went to the Saturday, May 14, show—pulling a double-shift, of sorts, as I had also covered the Joshua Tree Music Festival that day.

Yeah, I am slow to the train sometimes; I missed him at Coachella in 2015, too.

For the uninitiated, as I was until Jesika’s advice: Bradley is a 67-year-old funk soul singer who started his entertainment career in 1967 as a James Brown impersonator. At Pappy’s, under a waxing moon, Bradley walked onstage and asked: “Brother and sisters, do you like going to church?”

With that statement, Bradley launched into a show of pure optimism and joy. Charles and his Extraordinares preached about love, sin and hope during his hour-plus set, which included a wardrobe change into a blue pharaoh embossed jacket. Fans would yell, “I love you,” to which Bradley replied, “I love you too.”

His songs are part-biography and part-life observation; his performance is genuine, faithful and unpretentious—with some hip thrusts thrown in. The audience witnessed a man who was grateful to be entertaining a young audience—an audience that responded with love. Bradley released his third album Changes, in April—just five years after he released his debut album.

The set included a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Changes,” which could make one cry, as well as “No Time for Dreaming,” from Bradley’s debut album with the same name.

His song “Why Is It So Hard” is an autobiographical work explaining why performers sing such bittersweet songs: “Why is it so hard, to make it in America? I try so hard, to make it in America, a land of milk and honey, a land supposed to be built with love. It takes love and understanding to live and let live. … Got me a job, to get away from all this stress, but I couldn’t get away, no matter how far I went. Seems like nothing gonna change. Everything still remained the same.”

Perhaps this is the new anthem for America?

Find more from Guillermo Prieto at and

Published in Reviews

Sexy-beast soul-singer Har Mar Superstar returned to the Pappy and Harriet’s stage for the third time last Saturday.

“This is one of my favorite places in the world,” said Sean Tillmann aka, Har Mar Superstar, to the audience. He’s touring to promote his new LP, Best Summer Ever, released by Cult Records—a label founded by Har Mar’s longtime friend Julian Casablancas, of The Strokes.

Opening for Har Mar Superstar was White Fang, fronted by Rikky Gage, who brought waggish stoner punk and was backed by some remarkable musicians. Body-confident Gage had no problems making onstage clothing changes through out his set as he sang about Bud Light—and being drunk. Catchy punk riffs had the audience moving as Rikky shared his love for tight white underwear.

Har Mar Superstar brought a six-piece band, to the delight of his supporters—including some female audience members who were absolutely fawning over Tillmann. The Minnesota-born crooner opened with “Prisoner of Love.” Har Mar Superstar reminded everyone he has a new LP out as he introduced “Youth Without Love” from Best Summer Ever.

Har Mar Superstar affirmed: “This place is magical, but no one has given me mushrooms yet—and I resent that.” His lack of mushrooms did not prevent him clinging to the concrete beam above the stage—steadying himself on a speaker monitor—as he sang his passionate melodies, staring into the eyes of the spectators in the front row.

Har Mar does not lack confidence: He declared, “We are really doing a bang up job,” as he introduced “Late Night Morning Light” from the album Bye Bye 17.

His set included “Don’t Make Me Hit You” and “Power Lunch.” After playing “It Was Only Dancing (Sex),” he praised his brass section, saying, “The saxophone is alive and well, motherfuckers!” and then adding: “… About those mushrooms?”

He glared into the crowd, perplexed that no one had provided him with what he wanted.

Find more from Guillermo Prieto at and

Published in Reviews

May means the big festivals are behind us, and traffic is starting to ease. Unfortunately, May also usually means a drop in entertainment offerings at our local venues. This month is indeed a little slow, although there are still some great events going down.

The McCallum Theatre will host a few shows before signing off until the fall. At 3 p.m., Sunday, May 8, An Afternoon at the Popera is a presentation by the Coachella Valley Symphony and the California Desert Chorale featuring selections by artists from Bublé to Bizet. Sounds like a great local event! Tickets are $27 to $67. At 4 p.m., Sunday, May 15, the McCallum will close out the season with a performance by the All Coachella Valley High School Honor Band. You’ll get to hear a selection of music picked by guest conductor H. Robert Reynolds, of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, performed by 70 talented high school students from throughout the Coachella Valley. Tickets are $12. See you in the fall, McCallum! McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787;

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has several of events worth mentioning. At 8 p.m., Saturday, May 14, the man with hoes in different area codes, Ludacris, will be stopping by. While he may have three Grammy Awards, Ludacris has managed to piss off a lot of people on his way to the top, thanks to his explicit content. He also earned the scorn of Bill O’Reilly! Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, May 28, Mexican pop-rock group Camila will take the stage. Mexico has a lot of great rock bands, and Camila is one of Latin music’s biggest success stories, with more than 2 million records sold. What do Camila and Ludacris have in common? They both have three Grammy Awards! Tickets are $39 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

The good news: Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a great schedule for May. The bad news: Two of the best shows, featuring comedian Gabriel Iglesias and Jackson Browne, are sold out. However, as of our press deadline, there were will tickets left for Lynyrd Skynyrd (upper right); the Southern rock legends are performing at 9 p.m., Friday, May 20. That’s right: Get ready to scream “Free Bird!” all you want, and be sure to hold your Bic lighter in the air when the band plays it … at the end of the show, of course. Tickets are $86 to $126. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Spotlight 29 is hosting two big names in May. At 8 p.m., Saturday, May 7, get ready to croon with Michael Bolton. Every housewife went crazy for Bolton in the 1980s and jettisoned him to success. Just in time for Mother’s Day … I guess this is something to which you can take your mom. Tickets are $55 to $85. At 8 p.m., Friday, May 27, Ziggy Marley will be performing. He started out with the Melody Makers in 1979 when he was only 11 years old, and performed with them until 2002, when he decided to go solo. Tickets are $46 to $76. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566;

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace was the place to be in April thanks to all of the events in the orbit of Coachella. While the month of May represents a bit of a slowdown, Pappy’s is still hosting some great shows. At 9 p.m., Friday, May 6, punk-band the Bronx will be bringing alter-ego project Mariachi El Bronx (below) to Pappy’s. When you listen to the Bronx, it’s hard to believe that these same people can turn around and perform mariachi music—but they do both quite well. Their brand of mariachi includes both humorous songs and works that may just bring a tear to your eye. Tickers are $15. At 8 p.m., Saturday, May 7, Four Tet will take the stage. Four Tet is an electronica musician who has written jazzy and folk-sounding tunes, while also remixing songs by Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Aphex Twin, Explosions in the Sky and many others. Tickets are $25. At 9 p.m., Saturday, May 14, soul singer Charles Bradley will be performing. Bradley has sort of an odd story: He spent many years as a James Brown impersonator while holding down various jobs (he was a cook, for example) and playing small shows. In 2011, well into his 60s, he released his first album, No Time for Dreaming. Shortly thereafter, he was the subject of a documentary called Soul of America, which told his story. Now late in his life, he’s become a smash success. Last year at Coachella, he brought the house down on the Main Stage, performing a spectacular set. Tickets are $22. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

Published in Previews