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Beyoncé’s Coachella Weekend 1 performance made news around the world.

Well, her Coachella Weekend 2 performance was just as impressive, even if it was pretty much a direct copy of her set last week, complete with the Jay Z appearance, and the Destiny’s Child reunion.

Although Beyoncé started about 15 minutes later than scheduled, it was an incredible spectacle—with the energy of a crowd of more than 100,000 people.

The Internet stream truly didn’t do her performance justice. Being there in person to witness the show—to hear Beyoncé’s voice and feel the energy of that crowd—was amazing. This is what big-time live music is truly about and why people go to shows. Beyoncé held the crowd for close to two hours—and there were people as far as the eye could see until the very end.

Of course, there were some other great performances during the day.

• X Japan had the unenviable task of headlining the Mojave Tent on Saturday night during Beyoncé’s set. However, I was able to take in some Japanese rock in the Sonora Tent in the afternoon, thanks to the all-female Japanese punk band Otoboke Beaver (below). This group was quite a sight. I’ve seen some all-female Japanese bands in the past, and they seem to always be entertaining, with a cranked-up stage presence and performances that always go above and beyond. The mosh pit the group stirred in the Sonora throughout the performance wasn’t for the physically weak.

• Shortly before CHIC was scheduled to perform on the Main Stage in the afternoon, the video wall suddenly turned on—and showed Nile Rodgers walking through the crowd with his guitar on. He was talking with and meeting fans who were already gathered in the area.

• Like Beyoncé, David Byrne—the former frontman of the Talking Heads—turned in a buzz-worthy set during Weekend 1, and recaptured the magic during Weekend 2. The stage setup one would expect—guitars, bass, drums and keyboards—were gone. Instead, Byrne and his backing band played on a bare stage with only a curtain of streamers hanging behind and to the sides of them. Byrne still sounds fantastic, and it seems as if he has many ideas left in that brain of his (or at least the brain he was shown holding up at the beginning of the performance—while seated at a table and singing).

• Haim, an all-female pop trio of sisters from the San Fernando Valley, had to feel a little pressure, given they were playing right before Beyoncé—but they put on one hell of a show. Bassist Este Haim reminded the audience that it was the second anniversary of the death of R&B and rock legend Prince, and then added that it was also the 10th anniversary of Prince’s fantastic performance at Coachella in 2008, which she attended. She said that if it had not been for Prince’s inspiration, she wouldn’t have been playing music today. To conclude the set, all three sisters pounded out a drum/percussion solo before they stood in the middle of the stage, hugged each other and walked off the Main Stage.

Published in Reviews

Barring any huge surprises, Coachella 2018 will be known as the year of Beyonce … and no rock headliners.

The lineup might be hard to navigate—but I have you covered with this compilation of acts you should make time to check out.

Friday, April 13 and 20

The Buttertones: OK, we did not say Coachella 2018 was going to be completely devoid of rock. The Buttertones are a Los Angeles outfit that has been getting buzz for its brand of garage rock. The band features Sean Redman on bass (formerly of Cherry Glazerr) and Modeste Cobián on drums and other instruments. (I remember Cobián from Jeffertitti’s Nile; he’s a show of his own.) If you want to hear how weird this band can get, check out new track “Baby C4.” If you’re a fan of bands such as Shannon and the Clams and Ty Segall, you’ll love The Buttertones.

Perfume Genius: I first saw Perfume Genius at Coachella in 2015—and it was one of the most mesmerizing things I’d ever seen. Mike Hadreas has invented a pop sound that’s all his own. A lot of his songs are semi-biographical and address the bullying and death threats he received during his youth for being gay. He’s also written songs addressing other controversial subjects, ranging from domestic abuse to the problems younger gay men face in today’s LGBT world.

The War on Drugs: I know a lot of local musicians who were playing the War on Drugs’ Lost in the Dream in their cars or in their practice spaces circa 2014 and 2015. Why? Because the War on Drugs is a great band that has warm psychedelic jams. The band’s keyboard and guitars make me feel like it’s well worth putting down some hard-earned money on their vinyls.

Jamiroquai: My Jamiroquai superfan editor would raise hell if the British nu-funk band were excluded from this list. I’m fascinated by Jamiroquai, given the group is downright huge in Europe—yet all Americans seem to remember about Jamiroquai is the smash-hit song from the late ’90s, “Virtual Insanity.” Jay Kay and co. have been on many Coachella attendees’ wish lists for years. If you’re in the mood for some disco dancing and fantastic funk music, Jamiroquai is who you should see.


Saturday, April 14 and 21

Cherry Glazerr: Named after NPR news personality Chery Glaser, this Los Angeles indie-rock band fronted by Clementine Creevy has been plagued by lineup changes—including going from a four-piece to a trio—but the music has remained fabulous, including sophomore album Apocalipstick in 2017. Creevy is the subject of a documentary put out by VICE called Clementine Creevy: The Millennial Punk Feminist Icon.

Jason Bentley: You might know him from your daily commute as the DJ on KCRW, but he’s also a DJ in the Los Angeles club scene. He told me when I interviewed him a while back that his favorite music to play is house music—specifically at 124 to 126 BPM. Considering he has an ear for great music, Bentley will be a fine Coachella catch.

Chic featuring Nile Rodgers: Nile Rodgers told Rolling Stone that he would be playing Coachella in 2017. That didn’t happen; turns out he was a year off. He played a big part in Daft Punk’s 2013 megahit album, Random Access Memories, and he’s been part of recordings with David Bowie, Duran Duran, Madonna, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga and so many others. Oh, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. Need any more reasons to see him?

David Byrne: Many Coachella attendees will be millennials who have never heard of the Talking Heads; they will be wondering who in the hell David Byrne is. Well, he’s not just a musician; he’s an author, a soundtrack composer, and an artist who created an interactive exhibit combining music and technology, allowing people to “play the room.” Considering he’s worked with St. Vincent, who is performing on Friday night, they may appear during each other’s sets.


Sunday, April 15 and 22

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Thisis a pop band out of Australia that has received praise from a lot of rock writers, including the legendary Robert Christgau, who is not easy to win over. The band has a lot of catchy tunes that will get stuck in your head. The group put out the EP The French Press on Sub Pop Records last year, and fans have been waiting patiently for a full-length album. This is one band that could make pop music cool again.

Motor City Drum Ensemble: German house-music producer Danilo Plessow (below) goes by this moniker and is becoming one of the most recognizable producers in the world. The one thing I love about his stuff is that it has elements of soul, disco, jazz and ambient music. Just about anything he puts together can get you grooving. He’s proclaimed he’s bringing the soul back to techno and house … and it’s about time!

The Drums: The Drums made a big splash in 2010 with the group’s self-titled debut album. The duo of Jonny Pierce and Jacob Graham did quite well for themselves in subsequent years, too—but Graham announced he’d left the group last year, leaving Pierce to carry on. The latest album, Abysmal Thoughts, is solid all around, so it will be interesting to see The Drums live without Graham. I’m betting that Pierce will keep the band going successfully for years to come.

Kamasi Washington: You probably recognize his name if you’re a fan of Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar or Run the Jewels—and his collaborations with these acts have made him almost as famous as they are. This jazz saxophonist is no stranger to Coachella, having performed here in 2016—and it has warmed my heart to see jazz at Coachella in recent years. I’m really stoked for Kamasi Washington.

Published in Previews

When Nile Rodgers and CHIC performed at Fantasy Springs on Saturday night, he expressed concern about the setup inside the Special Events Center.

“It’s weird to see everyone sitting; it feels like being in a classroom,” Rodgers told the crowd about a quarter of the way into the band’s set. “CHIC is a dance band; feel free to move around.”

Sadly, CHIC did not perform to a sold-out crowd on Saturday night, but those who were in attendance savored the chance to enjoy the legendary disco-era band responsible for a slew of hits, such as “Le Freak” and “Everybody Dance,” which have earned front man Nile Rodgers a place in rock ’n’ roll history, and led him to collaborations with artists such as Daft Punk.

Some fans who showed up early got the chance to meet the man himself when he stepped out from the backstage area and began to mingle. As I stood behind Rodgers, patiently waiting for my turn to take a selfie, the compliments were all similar: “Thank you so much for all the great music over the years,” sentiments which humbled Rodgers as he shook fans’ hands.

As for the show … it was fantastic.

The band started with “Everybody Dance,” which was followed by “Dance, Dance, Dance,” and “I Want Your Love”—an epic start, considering all of those are well-known CHIC songs. They wasted no time throwing out the hits.

“I have the best day job in the world,” Rodgers said, noting that he’s worked with and produced many well-known artists. “I’m just going to ego-trip and play all my own hits.” The band then played a medley of some of his produced tracks, starting with Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out” and “Upside Down,” Sister Sledge’s “He’s The Greatest Dancer” and “We Are Family,” and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” sung by his incredible backing vocalist, Kimberly Davis.

Before he played “Get Lucky,” his collaboration with Daft Punk, he announced that six years ago, he had been diagnosed with cancer and was told to “go home and get his affairs in order.” He said that instead, he recorded more music than ever, played more shows than ever, wrote his autobiography—and then received a phone call from Daft Punk asking him to collaborate. He said he was proud to announce he was cancer free now.

Toward the end of the show, CHIC drummer Ralph Rolle commented that while some people were dancing, there were still too many people sitting down—but that they wouldn’t be sitting for much longer. The band then started Rodgers’ produced hit for David Bowie, “Let’s Dance”—which got just about everyone who was still sitting down on their feet.

Of course, CHIC played “Le Freak,” but closed the show with “Good Times,” which featured members of the audience who were invited up to dance with the band.

People say that Disco Demolition Night in 1979 at Comiskey Park in Chicago killed disco. Perhaps it did—but it did no such thing to Nile Rodgers, who is still standing, making hits and kicking ass live with CHIC.

Published in Reviews

We’re in the depths of summer. Some venues, like the Purple Room (as of July 2), are on summer break. However, there are still hot events taking place in the Coachella Valley—in locations where you can stay cool.

Get your dancing shoes ready for two events at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 15, CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers will be performing. At one point, Nile Rodgers claimed that he and CHIC would be appearing at Coachella in 2017—yet they weren’t part of the lineup. If you found that disappointing, here’s a great opportunity to see them. Nile Rodgers has been on the rise again thanks to his work with Daft Punk on the Random Access Memories album. Tickets are $39 to $69. If that isn’t enough … do you like dancing on the ceiling? At 8 p.m., Friday, July 28, the legendary Lionel Richie will take the stage. I remember when I was a small child in the 1980s hearing Lionel Richie on my mom’s car radio, and seeing his videos on MTV—when MTV was still a new thing. Don’t miss this one. Tickets are $89 to $159. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa is hosting some smaller events worth noting. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 1, Imparables will be appearing. Imparables features two of Mexico’s funniest comedians, Adrian Uribe and Omar Chaparro, who will definitely leave you laughing. What more could you ask for? Tickets are $55 to $85. At 7 p.m., Monday, July 3, you will be in heaven if you grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, thanks to The Boy Band Night, featuring a variety of top-notch entertainers paying tribute to the boy bands you know and love. Another reason you’ll be in heaven: Admission is free! The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 will have a fairly low-key July, but at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 8, the Old School Freestyle Festival will be happening, featuring acts such as Sir Mix-a-Lot (read my interview with him on coming up at CVIndependent.com next week), Taylor Dayne, Stevie B, the Ying Yang Twins and others. Tickets are $39 to $59. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 15, Elton John impersonator Kenny Metcalf (right) will be returning to Spotlight 29. His shows are always an impressive tribute to the legend. Tickets are $20. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s has a lot going on; here are just a few events. At 9 p.m., Saturday, July 15, Shooter Jennings will be appearing. The son of Waylon Jennings, Shooter has made a name for himself with his own brand of country music, as well as some very strange rock music on his 2009 album, Black Ribbons. Tickets are $25. At 9 p.m., Friday, July 21, the Queen of Joshua Tree herself, Jesika von Rabbit, will be performing. She recently released her version of the Culture Club single “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” which caught the attention of Boy George himself, who praised von Rabbit via Twitter. Also on the bill: Fartbarf (below), one of the most underrated acts to come out of Los Angeles in recent years. Imagine if Devo and Minor Threat had a baby … and then named it Fartbarf. Tickets are $15. At 9:30 p.m., Saturday, July 22, Terry Reid will be come to Pioneertown. Reid, a UK native who lives in the Coachella Valley, toured with the Rolling Stones and was almost a member of Led Zeppelin. He has a lot of stories, and he’ll gladly tell them to you. One of the funniest stories he told me involved Chuck Berry stealing his guitar amp. Tickets are $15 to $18. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Copa Palm Springs has an intriguing entertainer returning to the reigning Best Nightclub, as picked in the Best of Coachella Valley by Independent readers: At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 1, through, Monday, July 3, everyone’s favorite small-in-stature comedian, Leslie Jordan, will take the stage. Famous for roles in Will and Grace (will he be in the revival?), American Horror Story and Ugly Betty, Jordan is no stranger to the Copa. Tickets are $25 to $45. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.copapalmsprings.com.

Published in Previews