Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Summertime in the Coachella Valley can be brutal—but those of us who live here year-round know that the local music scene never stops because of a little heat.

The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert, Kilo's Cantina in Thousand Palms, and Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails in Thousand Palms hosted many local rock shows during the summer—and the crowds often came out. The Hood Bar and Pizza, for example, hosted several weekend shows at which attendance was near capacity; the venue also launched and regular theme nights, including an open-mic night on Wednesday, and comedy night on Sunday.

Here are some photos of local musicians from shows that happened over the summer.

Published in Reviews

It's been a big year so far for local-band Mega Sun. The group played its first-ever show just after the new year—yet it took home Best New Band honors at the CV Music Awards, and drummer Tyler Ontiveros was named Best Drummer. For more information on Mega Sun, visit Ontiveros was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

It was either Thrice with Deftones, Journey or Blue Man Group.

What was the first album you owned?

The first album on CD I owned was Boston’s self-titled album, given to me by my dad. The first two I purchased with my allowance were Follow the Leader by Korn and Nevermind by Nirvana. Around the same time, I also acquired two tapes. Yes, tapes were still a thing. They were Dookie by Green Day and a random and literal find, His Greatest Hits and Finest Performances by Fats Domino. What a mix!

What bands are you listening to right now?

To feed my desert rock/doom cravings, I’ve been listening to Nightstalker, The Sword, Earthless and Red Fang. Some others I’ve been into are Katatonia, Ghost and TesseracT. The most recent artist I discovered is Anderson .Paak, who sings/flows and plays drums at the same time. The live performance of him with The Free Nationals on Tiny Desk Concert, which you can find on YouTube, is straight fire.

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

I just can’t seem to grasp country music. Although I’ve heard there’s good money in country, I’d rather play what I love.

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

Led Zeppelin, with “The Beast,” aka “Bonzo,” aka John Bonham. Come on, man!

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

No guilt, but something most don’t know is that I listen to classical music almost daily.

What’s your favorite music venue?

I haven’t ventured out enough to answer that honestly quite yet, but I would really like to check out the venue at Hollywood Forever at some point. There has to be some crazy energy there.

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

Since I just recently came across this, it would have to be: “That’s a whole lot of reefer; let me help you with that pre-roll,” from Anderson .Paak’s “Come Down.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

As much as I’d like to credit just one specific band or artist, I’d have to credit my instrument. I don’t want to go in depth on the importance of rhythms and vibrations, but drumming is so powerful. Just research Shamanic drumming.

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

To Frank Sinatra: “If your perceived affiliation with the Mob is true, how did it impact your career, and what doors were opened because of it?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I would prefer to have all attending participate in a drum circle with numerous percussive instruments, especially hang drums.

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

Given the first song I learned on drums was “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” I’d have to say Nevermind by Nirvana. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

I’m really diggin’ that song “Come Down” I mentioned earlier. Paak is a genius and locks into that pocket so hard and so effortlessly. (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

Shortly after the new year, a new band arrived called Mega Sun—and thanks to a great sound that comes straight out of the desert-rock scene, the group has become something of an overnight success.

The band first played at The Hood Bar and Pizza as part of the CV Weekly Music Showcase back in January—and in February, the group returned to The Hood, opening for Se7en4.

Mega Sun consists of Jeremy Parsons (bass, vocals), Chris Rivera (guitar) and Tyler Ontiveros (drums). When I showed up to interview them at Rivera’s home in La Quinta, they seemed astounded by how much buzz they’ve received after only a few shows.

“What’s crazy is our early practices … were so spread out,” Parsons said. “We’ve been kinda making stuff up for months, and it would go for one practice—and four weeks would go by, and then we’d have another practice. Then we decided we were going to start playing shows, and we started getting serious about it.”

That first practice actually led to a police presence.

“I guess they thought it was a big ol’ party happening, and it was literally us three, and my roommate sitting there watching us,” Parsons said. “I blame it on grumpy neighbors. One of the hardest things is trying to find a place to play. I remember for the longest time it was just like, ‘Come on!’”

The band members have already learned about the dangers of equipment failure: Rivera’s amp head blew a fuse during the Se7en4 show. But after borrowing an amp head from Nick Hales of Sleazy Cortez, Mega Sun was back rocking, as if nothing happened.

“The show with Se7en4 had some bumps in it,” Ontiveros said. “But overall, I think it went well, with all of the technical problems that went down.”

So how did Mega Sun start?

“We just wanted to get something going,” Rivera said. “We started looking for a drummer, and Jeremy was actually playing guitar when we first got together. He decided to go to bass, because we couldn’t find a bass player. We found Tyler—and then we knew that was it. Bass is definitely an instrument to learn if you want to get in a band really quick, because it feels like there’s a shortage of bass players.”

The band’s sound came from the members’ influences and what felt comfortable to them.

“It’s naturally what came out,” Ontiveros said. “Initially, we started writing or playing some songs that Jeremy had written already and put our own little twist on them, and then when we started writing some originals together as a three-piece, it kind of went down that alley with that desert vibe and all of our different influences. There’s metal in there, too, because Chris comes from playing in metal bands.”

When I mentioned that the band’s name and logo were actually decent, Rivera asked with a laugh: “Our logo with the three sperms?” Ontiveros then explained the inspiration.

“We were trying to come up with something that (referred to) that three months of being here during the summer,” Ontiveros said, “something that was on the level of the sun being brutal and beating down on all of us. But we didn’t want to be cheesy and throw ‘desert’ into the actual name, even though Mega Sun is pretty cheesy. But those three things in the logo are supposed to be heat waves … and there are three of us.”

Mega Sun did not win that CV Weekly Music Showcase, nor did the members expect to win—it was their first show, after all. However, they were hoping to get some good advice from the judges.

“We knew going in that we had a lot of work to do, but we wanted the criticism to move forward and pick apart what we needed to work on,” Ontiveros said. “We didn’t really expect anything out of it—and the response we got blew us away, plus being asked to play on Se7en4’s comeback show. There was a packed house that night, and we got a great time slot right in front of them.

“We had some promising doors open to us, and we’ve had some people come up to us and offer to record us for free, which is awesome,” Ontiveros continued. “That’s definitely one of the biggest factors: the financial standpoint. But quality is what we’re looking for, too. We don’t want to keep people waiting who really want our music.”

Parsons agreed and said that having music available for purchase is an advantage.

“It’s better when you know what’s about to be played (at a show),” Parsons said. “I can go see a band and be really into it—but after I get their CD, and the next time I go to (a show), that’s where it’s really cool.”

For more information on Mega Sun, visit