CVIndependent

Sun02242019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Brian Blueskye

The weekend of April 5 and 6 was going to be big for Debra Ann Mumm and local lovers of public art.

The owner of Venus Studios Art Supply had joined renowned local muralist Ryan“Motel” Campbell to launch PLANet Art Palm Springs. The project brought four renowned mural artists to downtown Palm Springs’ Arenas Road area to paint four large-scale murals.

Proper funds had been raised; the city’s Public Arts Commission had even endorsed the week long project. Everything was ready to go.

Except it wasn’t.

As the artists started to paint, the police showed up and told Mumm and Campbell that their project was not authorized—it was illegal. Police reportedly threatened arrests if the artists continued to paint.

Campbell took to Facebook and other social media to vent his frustration. He even posted a picture of the police arriving and shutting down the project.

“ART IS NOT A CRIME,” Campbell wrote.


Today, out-of-place white paint can be found along the edges of some of the walls where the murals were intended to be—Lulu California Bistro, Eddie’s Frozen Yogurt, Clinic and StreetBar—illustrating the sudden stoppage of the project.

“I wish I could explain what exactly happened,” Mumm said. “The news articles that came out about it didn’t say a lot, because there wasn’t a lot of explanation for the actions the city took. We showed up to paint, and the police came and said they were told to cite us if we began to work.

“It came as a bit of a surprise to us. We had followed all the procedures that we had to follow for the area we were painting in. There were no permits needed for that area as far as using the sidewalk and everything like that.”

However, Palm Springs City Manager David Ready told the Independent that what Mumm and Campbell had planned was not allowed—despite the endorsement of the city’s Public Arts Commission.

“Currently, the city does not allow murals,” Ready said, adding that the Public Arts Commission lacks the authority to approve mural projects on its own. “However, the City Council had asked to create a policy that would allow murals. The Arts Commission looked at it, and the Planning Commission is currently looking at it, and the City Council will consider it on May 7.”

Mumm said she’s seen no law or ordinance prohibiting murals in Palm Springs.

“There aren’t any procedures for murals in Palm Springs,” Mumm said. “Because there are no procedures, they are taking it from the standpoint that murals aren’t allowed.

“I’m not sure exactly what happened. It was very clear about the dates we were doing this and moving forward, and that there was nothing in the city language that prevented us from doing that.”

Ready also said that property owners did not have proper permits for the murals.

“They never received a permit from the city,” Ready said. “The property owners did not receive or request any approvals.”

Mumm responded that her group did everything possible to get all the proper approvals.

"We thought we only needed use permits for the sidewalks, because all of Arenas is private, and the Arts Commission approved the project."

The confusion has cost Mumm and Campbell. The project featured out-of-town artists for whom Mumm had made accommodations; it was funded, in part, by locals to bring more arts and culture into the city of Palm Springs. (Mumm and Campbell are still raising funds, by the way.)

Mumm said she hopes a fair policy will be put in place on May 7.

“At this point, we’ve created a lot of public support,” Mumm said. “It’s clear that the city needs to move forward in making a procedure, because the public is very anxious for this project to move forward. At least we’ve created that dialogue.”

One of the artists included in the project is Los Angeles painter Saber, described by The Washington Post as one of the most respected artists in the field of murals. (The others are APEX, Jeff Soto and Chad Hasegawa.) Saber went with Mumm to the Public Arts Commission meeting after the project was halted.

“(Saber) was instrumental in helping the city of Los Angeles develop their mural policy,” Mumm said. “We brought copies of the Los Angeles city mural policy to maybe try and help them develop some kind of program.”

Mumm said the plan is to continue work once the city enacts a mural policy and approves the project.

“We’re still on board,” Mumm said. “The artists came here to paint, and they still want to paint, so we’re just going to continue to move forward. It’s just an extreme delay. … At the very least, it’s created the dialogue and created the conversation, especially after the illegal mural activity.”


“Illegal mural activity” is a reference to the mural that James Haunt painted at Stewart Fine Art, 2481 N. Palm Canyon Drive, and the mural at Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, painted by Fin DAC and Angelina Christina. There was no attempt for the creators of these murals to get city approval, according to Palm Springs city officials.

“It’s my understanding from the Public Arts Commission meeting that they’ll develop the policy, and once the policy is developed, Bar’s and James Haunt’s mural will both have to go through that procedure,” Mumm said. “They’ll make sure they’re compliant with the newly formed ordinances, and it’s clear that there will be no grandfathering of existing murals. That’s the language that I heard at the meeting. But again, the policy hasn’t been developed yet.”

Mumm said the mural issue is getting caught up in the ongoing conversation about the nature of Palm Springs—and what belongs and doesn’t belong.

“The problem with art is not everyone is going to like it,” Mumm said. “Bar has a fairly controversial mural. It’s a little bit provocative. … What we were bringing to the plate was a little more palatable publicly. I’ve heard people say about the Bar mural that it looks like a strip club. We’re trying to bring internationally recognized, quality artists and experienced muralists to the valley. I love Angelina Christina’s work, but that particular piece (at Bar) got some attention, and maybe all the neighbors aren’t happy about it. There was no public forum for them to come out and say, ‘Oh, man. You can’t do that.’ There was no approval by the Public Arts Commission, either. Everyone just wants the opportunity to weigh in on the subject.”

She also points out that murals have been great for other cities.

“It has made such a big difference for Miami,” Mumm said. “They have the Art Basel event, which draws $500 million in revenue to the Miami area in one week. I know there have been a lot of surveys done that cultural tourism is beneficial. It’s beneficial for businesses. … If you keep doing it, there’s bound to be something for everybody.”

What about people who claim that murals don’t “belong” in Palm Springs?

“I grew up here, and I was born in Indio,” Mumm said. “I’ve seen a lot of changes to Palm Springs from the time when I was a teenager. … I see extreme value in preserving our history, and there’s a lot of significant architecture here. … But the new generation, there’s not a lot to attract them or newer businesses to the area. There’s a lot of clinging to the past, and there’s a certain part of that past that’s important. I’m a big fan and have a lot of respect for what Palm Springs stands for. I think this just adds to it. We’re not taking away from anything that is Palm Springs, but adding something new and creating a new dynamic that can be more than one-dimensional for Palm Springs. It doesn’t have to be just one thing.”

“Forever Marilyn,” the Seward Johnson statue that spent about two years at the intersection of Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon Drive, was the subject of a debate over whether or not it was tasteful—or even art.

“I wasn’t a fan,” Mumm said. “But I’m a fan of what the statue did for the community. Everybody took pictures with the Marilyn. I’m a local, and I don’t like the Marilyn statue, but I have to admit: I have pictures of her on my cell phone.”

When asked whether murals are a good fit for the city, city manager Ready wouldn’t comment specifically, but he did say the city has noticed the potential.

“I think that’s why the City Council requested that we bring forth a policy on murals,” Ready said, “because they recognize murals could certainly have a place in Palm Springs.”

Mumm said that murals are also a good source of graffiti prevention.

“We’ve been invited to bring our program to Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Indio, and even Indian Wells is even interested in looking at some murals,” Mumm said. “They realize the potential for what we’re offering. It is a graffiti deterrent.

“I know if (someone) went up and tagged on a Saber mural, (the tagger) wouldn’t last long,” she said, laughing. “There is a lot of respect even in that culture for significant work like that. You do not tag on a mural unless you’re an idiot, and your whole community around you knows you’re an idiot.”

Understatement alert: Neil Hamburger is not an ordinary stand-up comedian.

His jokes often take a question-and-answer riddle format, and the answers usually have neither rhyme nor reason. Still, the resulting act is quite hilarious, if not for everyone—so it’ll be interesting to see the reaction of the crowd at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, where the greasy-haired comedian will be performing on Friday, May 9.

Neil Hamburger is the alter ego of Gregg Turkington, the co-publisher of the underground zine Breakfast Without Meat. Turkington performed with various San Francisco punk bands throughout the ’80s.

During a recent phone interview, Neil Hamburger discussed what inspired his comedy act.

“The idea came from walking down the street and seeing people with tears streaming down their faces,” he said. “People with broken shoulders, with their legs in a cast, and that type of thing. It occurred to me that these people need some laughs; these people need to forget their problems for a few minutes, and laugh their heads off. We tried to put something together to relieve these people’s burdens, and I have to say, we failed for the most part. But we do provide a few laughs over the course of the evening.”

Neil Hamburger’s routine includes many comedic punches—often raunchy and in poor taste—toward celebrities.

“These are garbage people,” he said. “These are people who are being paid 150,000 times more than the fireman who will save your life, and these people get up there and do a poor job of entertaining. Now, I’m all about paying somebody who does a good job well, but when you see this stuff like we saw at the Oscars, where this woman takes a photo with the phone she’s being paid to advertise, and suddenly she’s being heralded as some sort of comedic genius? She orders pizzas, and that’s supposed to be entertainment? These people are being paid ridiculous amounts of money while the rest of us are eating wallpaper paste.”

Has a celebrity ever confronted Neil Hamburger about one of his jokes?

“I was in Montreal one night, and Dane Cook came up to me in a bar,” he said. “He told me that he wasn’t particularly thrilled about being the subject of some of the jokes.”

Some corporations have come after him, too.

“We had a situation with AXE Deodorant,” he said. “They had a disgusting ad campaign that was very, very sexual in nature. It was all about using their products for men to clean their testicles and things. They were doing it in what they thought was a humorous way, but it was really grotesque. So I wrote an article about this at the request of Vice magazine. So AXE didn’t like this one bit, and within 30 minutes, the article was removed from the Internet, never to be seen again.

“We’ve had problems with Arby’s, and the comedian Rob Riggle had blocked me on Twitter, because I called him an ‘AXE Comedian’ because he does work for AXE.”

Hamburger’s act is packed with riddles. In fact, there was an online campaign to get him to play the Riddler in a Batman film.

“People pay good money to see a show to go out and laugh their heads off,” he said. “Of course, we’re doing a show there in your region soon at Pappy and Harriet’s, assuming it isn’t torn down to make room for a Dollar General. But in all seriousness, when people pay good money to see a show, they want to laugh as many times as possible. Riddles give that dream a chance to become a reality, because if you tell riddles, you can probably work six, seven or eight of them into each minute of the show, opposed to one of these comedians who come out and tell this long dreary story about how they went to the supermarket and they didn’t have peaches, so they went to the frozen-food aisle to get frozen peaches, and five minutes later, you finally get the punch line. By then, your mind has wandered back into all your problems.”

Hamburger’s unorthodox jokes and horrible comedic delivery have led him to a career that most comedians would envy. However, Hamburger remains angry.

“There’s more to do if you take a guy like Carrot Top, who’s making millions and millions of dollars for jamming suitcases filled with props up his ass,” he said. “… I certainly have played (some great venues), whether it was Madison Square Garden or a big stadium in Sydney. I cannot complain about the venues I have played. While I’m very satisfied with my career in terms of all the wonderful cities I’ve gotten to visit, unfortunately, you’re still looking at a living wage that is somewhere (like) that of a short-order cook at your local Denny’s diner.”

So what’s Neil Hamburger’s pre-show routine?

“I like to put on some music that would get me in the mood,” he said. “Generally, it’s Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra, Jr., or Bow Wow Wow, because you have to be in a mood that you want to put on a good show. The other thing is hopefully at the nightclubs, they have good quality liquors and not some of these that are actually cut with store-brand alcohol, water or Clorox bleach.”

Hamburger often discusses his old car with a broken tape player. I asked him if his car will make it up the hill to Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown.

“The car will probably make it, but the tape player probably won’t,” he said.

Neil Hamburger will perform with Johnny Pemberton and Clownvis Presley at 8 p.m., Friday, May 9, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $12. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

The band CIVX has come a long way since three of the members broke from PSSSTOLS to form their own group late last year.

Nick Hernandez (bass), Joel Guerrero (drums), Dillon Dominguez (guitar) and Sal Gutierrez (guitar) were chosen to play at Tachevah, a Palm Springs Block Party, this past Wednesday, April 16—and shocked those in attendance when they announced they would be playing at Coachella on Sunday, April 20.

One thing is for sure: They looked like they belonged on the Coachella stage.

At 11:25 a.m., CIVX took the Mojave tent stage. The hard-core fans of the Cathedral City band were on hand to witness it, including Guerrero’s girlfriend, Aurora Jimenez. Ross Murakami, of The Yip Yops, who played with CIVX at Tachevah, was also on hand. The band had a decent-sized crowd, considering the doors had just opened, and fans were trickling in the festival grounds.

At Coachella, Hernandez said he and his bandmates were shocked when they learned shortly before their Tachevah performance that they would be playing at Coachella.

“We’re a new band,” Hernandez said. “We’ve only been together for about four months. It’s just really a shock. It’s definitely a learning experience, and it gets us motivated. We just want to work harder now to achieve our goals.”

Gutierrez agreed. “We’re ready to work hard,” he said.

Dominguez reflected on what it meant to be added to the Coachella lineup.

“When I’ve seen the other talent out here, it’s inspiring,” Dominguez said. “It makes you want to fill up your sound and make it more crisp. It’s exciting that somebody saw enough in us to want us to play here already, and they can see that potential in us. We want to expand on that for sure.”

When it came to the subject of PSSSTOLS, Guerrero explained what led to him leaving the group, along with Hernandez and Gutierrez.

“It was all about differences,” Guerrero said. “The chemistry wasn’t really there in the end. We wanted to do different things. We just kind of knew it wasn’t going to last very long. It just died out in the band, and we decided to call it quits back in September. We kept it on the down low and didn’t want to really say anything.”

During the performance in the Mojave tent, attendees could literally feel Hernandez’s bass: The ground near the stage was vibrating. His vocals were excellent, even though he said he had not been feeling well throughout the week and had some concerns about performing.

The band can now say it’s had an experience that most bands can only dream of.

“It was surreal, and it was one of the beautiful things I’ve ever experienced,” Dominguez said.

Hernandez said it was awesome simply to be on a Coachella stage. “Once you’re on there, you just want more of it. It’s fun; you have a good time doing it; and it feels good. That’s why we’re musicians.”

Guerrero said the band members are in awe at the month they’ve had.

“We started playing in local venues here, and then all of a sudden, we’re at Tachevah,” Guerrero said. “We didn’t even think we’d get in the Top 10, and then Tachevah was our first big stage where we performed. From there to Coachella? It’s such a big jump from local venues to such a big venue.”

I had to ask Gutierrez a follow-up question based on an interview I did with PSSSTOLS last year: Does he still have a love for “space wine”—the bag from boxed wine, sans the box?

“No, I’m slowing down on the space wine,” Gutierrez said with a laugh. “I haven’t had any in a while.” 

Coachella Day 3 started off on a much hotter note—but that did not diminish the excitement of festival-goers. After all, this was the last day of the festival, so it was time to savor every moment.

Early in the afternoon, the Mojave tent hosted the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans. At the same time, Trombone Shorty was playing on the Main stage, so it sounded like New Orleans at Mardi Gras.

As Trombone Shorty finished up, it was time for Fishbone. The band started off a high-energy set with “Party at Ground Zero”—and when the song picked up, so did the mosh pit. The band then broke into “Fat Chicks/Bustin’ Loose.” The funk/punk/reggae/ska legends have never received the respect they’ve deserved, but they had some big-name fans on this day: Later in the set, Andre 3000 and Big Boi from Outkast showed up in the VIP aisle to catch the band. During “Everyday Sunshine,” Angelo Moore hopped over the barrier to go crowd surfing. Fishbone ended the set with “Sunless Saturday.”

During Fishbone’s set, the Coachella app notified attendees that Chance the Rapper—scheduled for the Main stage after Fishbone—would not be performing. Attendees passed the news to each other, though many fans seemed clueless as they gathered.

The 1975, one of the more anticipated up-and-coming acts, performed on the Outdoor stage late in the afternoon, right as Zoe was scheduled to go on the Main stage. The 1975’s sound seemed straight out of the 1980s at times, with a little bit of modern pop thrown in. While some songs were catchy, others were downright cheesy—even featuring Kenny G-style saxophones.

One highlight of the afternoon/early evening, despite the heat, was the performance by Superchunk in the Gobi tent. The indie-rock band from the era of Fugazi and the Pixies put on an electrifying performance, proving the members can still perform with the best of them.

As the sun was going down, the reunited Neutral Milk Hotel took the Outdoor stage. Frontman Jeff Mangum came out and played a song by himself before he was joined by the rest of band. He has become notorious for asking people not to photograph him, and when he made the request on Sunday for attendees to put their cell phones and cameras away, there were some cheers—but some took photos anyway. Some of the songs were great, but the vibe was ruined whenever the band would leave the stage for Mangum to play solo. While some attendees people were into it, I found it was time to move on to something more lively: The Toy Dolls in the Gobi.

The English punk-rock band is known for their humorous shows, and The Toy Dolls were indeed a sight to see. Guitarist Michael Algar and bassist Tom Blyth would strut in opposite directions while playing; Blyth at one point suffered through some technical issues with his bass. Algar joked, “Sorry, we’re English.” The mixture of confetti, funny sunglasses and humor along with the Oi! punk led even some of the hipsters in the Gobi to get down with it.

As Lana Del Rey was finishing her set on the Outdoor stage, Beck took the Main stage. He opened with a rocking performance of “Blue Moon,” and then followed with “Loser,” his breakout single from 1993.

When Motörhead took the stage in the Mojave (shortly before Arcade Fire took the Main stage), it was clear that frontman Lemmy Kilmister is, in some ways, not the same. He’s always been a Jack Daniels-drinking, Marlboro-smoking ironman who would tell you, “Don’t do heroin; do speed instead.” He’s recently been battling just to stay alive, having a pacemaker installed and trying to get his diabetes under control; it was amazing he was even able to get onstage. However, when he did, he proved that he remains the same in one way: He rocked! “We are Motörhead, and we play rock ’n’ roll,” he said before the band tore into the opening song, “Damage Case.” Their performances of “Over the Top” and “Rock It” were top-notch and proved that while Lemmy might be old, he’s still “God” as far as his fans go. At the end of the set, a huge circle pit started on the left side of the stage as special guest Slash joined the boys for “Ace of Spades,” and the finishing number, “Overkill.”

It was difficult to adjust to Arcade Fire after experiencing Motörhead. When Motörhead finished, Arcade Fire was already about five songs into the set; “The Suburbs” was playing as I approached the Main stage. After “Reflektor,” the group performed a cover of Prince’s “Controversy” with Beck, and the group finished with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band joining them for “Wake Up.”

Arcade Fire, in a way, got a big boost from Coachella in 2005. Win Butler talked about how back then, the band’s manager was also their road crew, and all their equipment was stored in sleeping bags or cardboard boxes. Now, they are headliners.

Who knows which up-and-coming bands that played in the smaller tents and in earlier time slots at Coachella 2014 will one day headline the festival? Stay tuned to find out.

Scroll down to see a photo gallery. Photos by Kevin Fitzgerald.

Coachella Day 2 is always the festival’s busiest—and that was evident on Saturday, April 19, as people came to enjoy numerous up-and-coming artists, in addition to the big headliners.

Early in the afternoon, Laura Mvula took the Gobi stage. I was in the nearby press tent, and the drum beat coming from the Gobi stage captivated me to the point where I had to get up and see what was going on. Mvula’s drummer turned out a unique set of beats throughout the entire set, while Mvula’s stunning soul-style vocals resonated through the whole tent. People were dancing and grooving, with some simply amazed by her performance. Meanwhile, a man in a marching-band outfit stomped through the crowd as people took photos of him.

Speaking of soul, The Internet (yes, that’s what they’re called) followed Laura Mvula. Fronted by a woman named Syd Bennett (aka Syd tha Kyd), the neo-soul band immediately captivated the audience with smooth bass lines, jazz piano and some chill vibes similar to those of Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill. Bennett knows how to entertain and sing deep songs without weird spiritual elements or outrageous costumes: She was wearing a Beach Bum swimsuit, a T-shirt and colored socks with marijuana leaves on them.

As I made my way to the Outdoor stage to see Ty Segall, I noticed that Cage the Elephant had a much smaller audience than the band should have had. The group managed to capture the mainstream with the single “Shake Me Down” a few years back; apparently, the band did not act fast enough to put out compelling new material after that. The band put on a great show; it’s just that the crowds were scattered elsewhere.

As for Ty Segall, he and his band were given an intro by a surprise guest: flop-comedian Neil Hamburger (who will be performing at Pappy and Harriet’s in May; look for an interview with him soon in the Independent). The dry-comedy maestro delivered jokes about Skrillex, Arcade Fire, Fred Durst, his nemesis Carrot Top, and Britney Spears before introducing “Ty and the Boys.”

Ty Segall’s much-publicized love for Hawkwind was evident throughout his performance. His first two songs were loud and heavy psychedelic. During the third song, a tall, shirtless skinny guy managed to start a mosh pit. A man with an inflatable pink dolphin was in the pit the entire time, holding up the dolphin; he even went crowd-surfing a few times. Half-full bottles of water were thrown into the pit, as was a quarter of a watermelon. Segall ended his set with a cover of AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and Bad Company’s “Feel Like Making Love.”

The Head and the Heart took the Outdoor stage as the afternoon transitioned into evening. The folk-rock band from Seattle put on a great set that makes you ask: Is rock music really dead? The band’s folk-rock sound featured beautiful harmonies and violins. Many people were dancing; a group of people even held hands and danced in a circle. The Head and the Heart proved that unique bands can captivate an audience with a mellow sound.

The ladies of Warpaint took to Mojave stage at 6:15 p.m. and turned in a stellar set. Frontwoman Theresa Wayman’s guitar puts out haunting echoes, while Emily Kokal’s synthesizer adds a dark vibe. Warpaint’s echoing vocals and a dark sound are supported nicely by the rhythm section of drummer Stella Mozgawa and bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg.

The High-Energy Performance Award of the Day goes to Future Islands, who rocked out the Gobi tent as the early evening took hold. Beth Clifford, chief doorwoman at Pappy and Harriet’s, told me that the Future Islands show that took place after the Pixies show this past Thursday (April 17) was one of the best shows she’s ever experienced at Pappy’s. Frontman Gerrit Welmers was jumping all over the place as the band opened up with “Back in the Tall Grass.” At times, it sounded as if he was out of breath, but he always kept on going. The band offers a unique modern twist on new wave and synthpop, with a heavy rock sound added in. Given the fantastic stage performance and the recent album success, we should be hearing more from this band in the future. I would not be surprised to see the group back at Coachella on a much grander scale.

As the evening progressed, Fatboy Slim performed to a packed Sahara tent. (The Astronaut even made its way into the tent behind the soundboard.) Opening with “Right Here, Right Now,” Fatboy Slim never stopped, only allowing himself brief transitions that included snippets of songs including Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapvine” and Bing Crosby singing “Let It Snow.” While it certainly wasn’t Christmas, it started to snow in the Sahara tent from the ceilings.

People who wanted to sneak in to get a good spot for Skrillex’s night-closing set in the Sahara were pretty much out of luck: It remained packed, with Empire of the Sun following Fatboy Slim.

As the Fatboy Slim show wound down, The Pixies took the stage in the Mojave to similar conditions: The tent was crammed full. The Pixies proved earlier this week that the band can perform for two hours or more; it’s odd that these legends were given just a 50-minute set that was not on the Main stage.

As for the Main stage: When locals Queens of the Stone Age walked on, they delighted their die-hard fans. While the audience wasn’t as large as it was for some acts, the band still garnered a decent-sized crowd, considering the Pixies weren’t quite done yet on the Mojave, and Sleigh Bells were tearing it up on the Outdoor stage. I’d never before seen the Queens of the Stone Age live, and now I know: The experience of seeing and hearing them live cannot be fully captured on video. The band plays with some serious power, and they were ready to rock on Saturday night. The visuals in the background were stunning; one was a dark desert sky with fierce moving clouds, and a marquee with “QOTSA” front and center.

The Queens opened up with “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire”; “No One Knows” followed. Josh Homme made note of the fact that it was beginning to get late. “Darkness is upon us … and I’m already fucked up,” he told the audience, to a loud ovation. “Little Sister” and “If I Had a Tail” were played in the middle of the set, and the band only got better as the show progressed. When Homme noticed the sign-language interpreter to his left, near the video monitor, he asked, “Are you doing sign language?” The interpreter nodded as he signed; Homme then made a request to the interpreter to sign: “Let’s go fucking nuts!” When the band finished up with “Go With the Flow,” the image of seagulls flying in silhouette was the visual.

Pharrell Williams began in Outdoor theatre right as the Queens were finished—and the Outdoor area was already filled beyond capacity. I got as close as I could, and I could barely hear or see the show. He performed “Blurred Lines” with special guest T.I. Busta Rhymes, Pusha T, Usher and even Jay-Z also showed up during his set; alas, Snoop Dogg was absent this weekend when Pharrell played “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” Pharrell’s stage show was obviously big enough to be on the Main stage, but was quite exciting to the people who could get close enough to enjoy it.

It was at this point that I had to call it a night: Someone tampered with my laptop in the media tent, and I needed to make sure it was functional enough to get me through Day 3. Therefore, I asked Dan Gibson, the editor of the Tucson Weekly, to take notes for me on what happened with the headliners—and I am glad he did, as I missed some interesting goings-on.

The second Pharrell’s set ended, the majority of the crowd from seemingly all stages rushed to the Sahara tent to see Skrillex. That left a half-empty tent for synth-pop legends the Pet Shop Boys. Clearly, the Pet Shop Boys show represented the 30-and-older Coachella-attendee meet-up; the band’s energetic performance included two dancers wearing giant cattle skulls at times—with Alexander McQueen outfits for the duo themselves.

The strobe-heavy lighting for the Pet Shop Boys proved to be too much for one attendee, who needed attention at the side of tent for an apparent seizure. Despite a seemingly over-long wait for medical attention, the woman was able to walk away with assistance.

Seemingly all of the headliners, including Nas and The Dismemberment Plan, ended their sets at almost the same time, meaning the rush to the parking lots and shuttles was shoulder to shoulder. In fact, the parking lot was still half-full at 2:30 a.m.

Scroll down to see a photo gallery.

Coachella’s second weekend started off on Friday, April 18, on a comfortable note: The heat was not overbearing, with temperatures generally remaining in the 80s. Not even the arrival of some ominous clouds in the afternoon would put a damper on the fun.

The Gabba Gabba Heys, a Ramones tribute band, started things off in the Gobi tent at noon. As someone who was fortunate enough to catch the very last Ramones tour during a stop in Cleveland, I can say that the Gabba Gabba Heys sound exactly like the Ramones. When they opened up with “Rockaway Beach,” a portion of the crowd in front of the stage began to mosh. Ramones tunes such as “Teenage Lobotomy,” “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Rock and Roll High School” and “I Wanna be Sedated” were performed with the Ramones sound intact—although visually, the Dee Dee Ramone was a little pudgier and shorter than the original, and the Joey Ramone was much better-looking.

As the members of GOAT sound-checked on the Outdoor stage, members of Flatbush Zombies, who had just performed, walked into the photo pit and chatted up attendees for a few moments. After GOAT took the stage, they proved to be just as amazing as they were at Pappy and Harriet’s earlier this month. The Coachella crowd cheered “GOAT! GOAT! GOAT!” before the band began to play. GOAT performed “Diarabi,” “Run To Your Mama” and a few other songs from their only album to date, World Music.

As for some of the Coachella art you’ve probably seen on your friends’ Facebook pages: In between performances by GOAT and the Dum Dum Girls, Anthony Green was heard on the Main stage saying, “From where I’m standing, It looks like the Robot is going to fuck the Astronaut in the ass.” From the Outdoor stage area, that assessment seemed spot-on.

When the Dum Dum Girls took the Outdoor stage, frontwoman Dee Dee Penny came out wearing a sheer outfit that revealed her breasts in their entirety, save the nipples, which were covered with black circles. They opened up with “He Gets Me High,” and followed with “I Got Nothing.” The sound of the Dum Dum Girls reminded me of the Pretenders at times, especially during “Are You Okay?” The almost-all-female band drew a crowd and put on a solid set. This is a group we’ll be hearing plenty more about in the near future.

In the mid-afternoon, dark clouds began to form over the Empire Polo Club. The wind also picked up, creating fears of a nasty storm. However, that didn’t stop attendees from having a good time.

At 4:35 p.m., the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion took the stage in the Gobi tent. The Blues Explosion never stopped in between sets, and was all over the place with material. One song that seemed to catch everyone’s attention was a cover of the Beastie Boys’ “She’s On It.” The crowd got a show one would expect from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, with loud volume, plenty of feedback and Jon Spencer working the crowd like the master of rock he is.

Around the time the sun went down, the threats of rain and high winds subsided—and delightfully cooler temps made the crowd more comfortable.

When Chromeo took the Main stage at 7:40 p.m., a sizable crowd was waiting, even though Broken Bells were performing not too far away on the Outdoor stage. Chromeo did something daring: The band played two of their biggest songs first—“Night by Night” and “Hot Mess.” The smell of marijuana filled the air; glow sticks lit up; inflatable pool toys were held in the air; people were dancing all over the place. The energy was impressive, but could they manage to hold the crowd with their other material? The answer: a resounding yes. The band ended with “Fancy Footwork.”

The Replacements are on a reunion tour—and the members appeared to have some problems early in their set on the Outdoor stage. Before they took the stage, a couch was brought out and put in front of the drum riser. When the band members came out and started “Takin’ a Ride,” Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg didn’t seem as energetic as he had during other recent performances. The whole band was decked out in plaid suits and bowties, except for Westerberg.

After the third song, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong walked onto the stage in his own plaid suit. Westerberg asked, “What are you doing here, Billie Joe?” Armstrong replied: “Dreams really do come true!” After a few songs during which Westerberg planted himself on the sofa, sang along and played guitar, it became evident that Billie Joe was onstage to stay. Westerberg announced that he was having back trouble, and that The Replacements had heard that Armstrong had always wanted to play with them—so they hired him as an “extension” for the evening. Armstrong breathed life into the set and managed to draw a large crowd to the Main stage. During “Bastards of Young,” the three-ax attack was unbelievable.

A rather amusing note: The Los Angeles Times recently suggested that if a family is going to Coachella, the parents should go see Bryan Ferry. Well, when I peeked inside the Mojave tent toward the end of Ferry’s set, the crowd was mostly middle-age-to-older. Another amusing note: One of the balloon chains broke, sending all of the balloons into the night air.

As the evening’s end approached, and Main stage headliner OutKast was preparing to take the stage, The Cult began to perform in the Mojave, and dedicated their set to a 24-year-old woman who died while attending Coachella last week. Cult frontman Ian Astbury told the audience to take care of one another and stay hydrated, just before the band opened up with “Rain.”

As for Outkast’s set: If you burn through all your hit songs at the beginning of your headlining set, you may just lose some of your audience. The same annoying hologram tent was onstage as it was during Weekend 1, and the visuals were not good unless you were really up close.

Outkast opened up with a stellar performance of “Bombs Over Baghdad,” which probably should have been saved for the closing number. On the plus side, Big Boi and Andre 3000 looked a lot more energetic than they did last week. After performing “Gasoline Dreams,” they went right into “ATLiens.” Shortly thereafter came “Rosa Parks” and “Ms. Jackson.”

Many fans, after hearing all these songs so early, decided to skip out to avoid traffic; after all, there was not much to stay for at that point. It made for an odd ending to an otherwise fantastic Day 1.

Scroll down to see a photo gallery.

Anti-Flag, hailing from Pittsburgh, has been cranking out anti-establishment, left-wing-themed songs over well more than two decades. Before the band’s Coachella performance on Friday, April 18, drummer Pat Thetic sat down with the Independent to talk about the band’s history and political ethos.

Thetic said that while the band has matured, the ethics and mission remain the same.

“We’re still angry,” he said. “We’re just more aware of what we’re angry about now. When we were younger, we were just sort of angry about everything. As we’ve gotten older, we’ve traveled a lot; we’ve seen a lot of the world; and we know where the anger is going to achieve goals, and where the anger is just going to burn us up.”

The band’s connection to Pittsburgh has definitely inspired the band.

“We did come from Pittsburgh, which has a very strong labor history and a very strong leftist political action,” he said. “So we felt as though all punk rock should have a political message behind it. We felt if the music didn’t have a political vent to it, there was no point to it.”

One issue Pat Thetic holds close to his heart is animal-rights activism.

“I’ve been vegan for about 15 years,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that if you treat animals poorly, you’re going to treat people poorly. Also, for the band, the message has always been about letting people do what they think is best for themselves—staying out of their sexuality, staying out of what border they live across, staying out of what flag they fly over their head, and letting people be who they are, and cutting out the bullshit that’s on top of all of that.”

He then placed those statements in a Coachella Valley context.

“We’re close to the Mexican border here. On one side of the border, you’re considered one thing. If you’re born on the other side, you’re considered a completely different thing. That’s just such bullshit to me that luck of birth creates your whole existence. In 2014, that makes no sense at all.”

So how does a punk rock band such as Anti-Flag view the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, with $375 tickets, and high-priced food and water?

“That’s always been an issue,” he said. “What we’ve learned over the years is Coachella is going to go off, no matter what. If you don’t have a voice of dissent, then that’s a missed opportunity. No matter where you are, no matter what the environment is, there should always be a voice of dissent. It doesn’t always have to be Anti-Flag; it can be somebody else.

“Over the past two weeks, it’s been our chance to be that voice of dissent. Does it mean it’s going to change Coachella forever? No. If you have a kid that comes out, and he’s like, ‘Fuck! This is bullshit! I don’t want to pay $4 for water!’ I believe that equality is deeper than the Coachella experience. Then that kid comes to see Anti-Flag play; that kid is inspired to make the steps he needs to make things better in his life and hopefully others.”

Pat Thetic also couldn’t deny the fun he’s had during these two Coachella weekends.

“The set last week was great. We played the last set of the night, so that was awesome—it was nice, and the kids were great. I just watched Kate Nash perform, and we played with Kate Nash about five or six years ago in Australia. For me, I just like to walk around and see what’s going on. Sometimes, what I see is bullshit, but sometimes I see something interesting.

“No matter how high the price tag of the festival is, there’s always a group of fucked-up, weird kids, and those are the kids who make sense to me.”

When the Pixies show at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace went on sale a couple of weeks ago, the excitement of local music fans was evident: The show sold out quickly.

When the doors opened for the show on Thursday, April 17, and the people began flooding in, attendees could feel that excitement: Pixies fans spanned every age range and every walk of life, including punk rockers, hippies and even a few Rastafarians.

The opening act, Syd Arthur—a band from the United Kingdom—was a little hard to place, genre-wise. The sound reminded of Destroyer, who use some jazz elements in combination with psychedelic folk and rock. The band suffered through technical issues during their set, as the drummer kept pointing to microphones in between songs while trying to catch the eye of the sound technician. During the end of a songs, the sound technician actually pushed his way to the front of the stage to get a closer look at the setup. Nonetheless, Syd Arthur put on a good show.

During the setup for the Pixies, the band appeared on the side of the stage as the crew made the final preparations—and it became evident the band had no setlist. The group has been through some recent turmoil within the last year, with original bassist Kim Deal leaving, and replacement bassist Kim Shattuck being terminated; Paz Lenchantin is now playing bass. A bass-line cheat sheet was placed next to her pedal box.

The minute the Pixies took the stage, and the illuminated sign in the background lit up, the sold-out crowd came alive and were ready to sing along with frontman Black Francis, who seems even more intense live than he does on video. When the band played “Bone Machine,” from the 1988 debut album Surfer Rosa, it was obvious: This was going to be a good night to see the Pixies.

It was great to experience a Pixies live tradition: During “Vamos,” guitarist Joey Santiago put on a show for the audience as Paz pounded out the bass line, and David Lovering kept the beat. Santiago held up his guitar as if it were a rifle, put it down on the stage and leaned on the top of the guitar neck, inviting the audience to take photos.

The first half of the nearly two-hour performance included songs such as “U-Mass,” “Isla De Encanta,” “Bag Boy,” “Caribou,” “Broken Face” and the title track from the band’s upcoming album—the first new Pixies album in 23 years—“Indie Cindy.” When they played their classic track “Nimrod’s Song,” some of the people in the crowd looked as if they wanted to start a mosh pit. “Distance Equals Rate Times Time” got a similar reaction.

The Pixies, thanks in large part to Black Francis, really know how to work an audience. He sang in different languages, and always seemed to know when to play slower or speed things up. A Pixies live show proves how well-crafted and creative of a unit the band is.

Toward the end of the show, the band played their cover of “In Heaven” (Lady in the Radiator Song) from the David Lynch movie Eraserhead. It felt a little eerie—which makes sense, since it’s a creepy song in general.

Of course, “Where Is My Mind” was played toward the end of the set, before the band decided to do what I’ve heard Eddie Spaghetti of the Supersuckers refers to as a “fake encore”: The band members acted as if they were going to leave the stage, and then decided to stick around. They closed with an energetic performance of “Planet of Sound” that got a few people near the front of the stage roughhousing with each other.

Various local and semi-local musicians were at the show, such as Jerry O’Neill, the former drummer of Voodoo Glow Skulls; Shawn Mafia from Shawn Mafia and the 10-Cent Thrills; and Travis Rockwell from the Hellions.

What was Rockwell’s perspective of the Pixies? “What’s not to like with the Pixies?” he said. “There’s a lot of heart in these songs.”

Photos by Guillermo Prieto/Irockphotos.net

Shelly Colvin is a natural performer; in fact, she has been performing since the age of 4, and she’ll be bringing her blend of Southern rock and folk music to Stagecoach on Sunday, April 27.

Shelly Colvin grew up in Huntsville, Ala., and her father was a Baptist minister of music. She was singing gospel songs in church before she even started school. Her mother and grandmother were her music teachers, and she even sang in a trio with her parents, touring churches throughout Alabama.

“I was singing in church; I was singing in plays; and I was real active in the community theatre,” Colvin said during a recent phone interview. “It was always a part of my childhood, but there was a period of time when I was in college where I wasn’t really performing much, and I just wanted to be with my friends. It’s always been something I’ve just come back to.”

When I asked her what growing up as the daughter of a Baptist minister was like, she joked, “How much time do you have?"

“It was great. My parents are amazing people,” Colvin continued. “I feel like it prepared me to be a very well-rounded person. He was a minister in a small country church in rural Alabama. It was very rural, and we lived in the city, and I went to city schools. I was around of a lot of different groups of people, and it was really helpful being around people in the country and city-folk. It prepared me for a lot of things and gave me some salvation, for sure.”

She also said her parents were not as strict as people may assume. “They were very open-minded people. … They were OK with me listening to rock ’n’ roll on occasion. They weren’t too overbearing with rules.”

While gospel music was a major influence on Colvin, other unique influences can be heard in her music.

“The Louvin Brothers were a huge influence for me early on,” Colvin said. “They were from Alabama, and I think listening to their records helped me learn how to sing harmony. I definitely gravitated toward the sound in that music. I feel like they were in the house all the time. I also listened to all the bluegrass players and a lot of country artists: I listened to Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt.”

She elaborated on how Emmylou Harris has influenced her. Her sound has been compared to the cosmic-country sound that Emmylou Harris was part of with the late Gram Parsons. She cited ’60s folk-rock groups as a big influence.

“I’m a huge fan of those artists,” Colvin said. “I think The Byrds were one of the biggest influences on our music today. Emmylou is for sure a big influence of mine. I’m sitting here with my little Yorkie, who is named after Emmylou.”

Her debut album, Up the Hickory Down the Pine, included the track “Pocket Change,” which has brought her some attention. She said producer Ken Coomer, formerly the drummer of Uncle Tupelo, deserves a lot of credit.

“It was a lot of fun,” Colvin said. “Working with Ken Coomer on that record, he’s such a great player. ‘Pocket Change’ is a little bit of a bar song; it’s an up-tempo kind of a vibe. (Ken) heard that and just spoke out and said, ‘I think we can make this a really big John Bonham kind of vibe on the drums.’ We recorded it, tracked it, and I needed a roots element to really ground it.”

Shelly Colvin made a promise to Stagecoach attendees.

“It’s going to be one hell of a band, I’ll tell you that. We’re going to soak up any minute of time that we have,” Colvin said. “When I play, I don’t like to play the song as it is on the record, so there will be some surprises. We’ll extend the songs and have a lot of fun.”

Ryan Sheridan, a DJ known by music fans as Gossip Culture, has created some great dance cuts—which you can catch for yourself at Birba on Friday, April 18, at the Catching Shade party, produced by Cream and Eventseeker.

The event’s sponsors include the Coachella Valley Independent, and other performers include Templeton, from Los Angeles; Cream DJs, a collective out of Los Angeles; and local favorite (and Independent resident DJ) All Night Shoes, aka Alex Harrington.

If you fire up Sheridan’s Soundcloud, you’ll hear dance music presented in a very unique way. During a recent phone interview, Sheridan discussed Gossip Culture’s beginnings in Cleveland (which is also my hometown).

“In Cleveland, I had my original first band,” Sheridan said. “It was a trio, and it was called Gossip Culture. I played the venues there called Happy Dog, the Grog Shop and the Beachland Tavern for about two years before I moved to Los Angeles.”

While Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has a vibrant music history, the city’s local-music scene has been in a bit of a rut, with some of Cleveland’s legendary music venues closing up shop.

“The rock hall is there, and there are a lot of good people there,” Sheridan said. “The Black Keys from Akron, and Kid Cudi—it’s funny, because all of these people come from Cleveland, and it seems like they don’t represent it when they get out of there.”

Sheridan said he left Cleveland for Los Angeles because of opportunity and exposure.

“Gossip Culture is very Internet-based,” Sheridan said. “When I first came here, Binary Records and a lot of bookers in downtown Los Angeles were saying, ‘We’d like to book you and help you get set up.’ So that was my main motivation for coming out here. Gossip Culture as a band slowed down, but once I was out here, I met my producers.”

When he began to start recording material, he had a lot of help in high places.

“A lot of the people who helped me make my music are people from Mayer Hawthorne’s band,” Sheridan said. “We kind of just put all of our brains together, and we had hip-hop, soul and a lot of other things. Topher Mohr co-produced it; I just hit him up online and was like, ‘Hey, I’m in L.A., and I have my demos, and they need a good mix,’ and he directed me to a studio in Culver City, and it went from there.”

The material that Sheridan puts together as Gossip Culture gives him the opportunity to work with many Los Angeles artists. For example, his track “Waiting” features Quincy McCrary, a Los Angeles songwriter and vocalist.

“I feel lucky with the way I got hooked up, but it also happened really fast, because everything was here,” Sheridan said. “In Cleveland, there are a lot of really cool people, but it’s hard to make a record there.”

Sheridan said attendees of Catching Shade will be treated to some brand-new music.

“The DJ set is going to be some new remixes, and there’s a new ‘Waiting’ remix from a guy named OneFive, and he’s actually from Orange County. I’m also going to play a lot of throwback stuff. I feel like a lot of DJs try to pump you up, and I’m trying to slow things down a bit. It’s still going to be tropical, but we’re going to keep the BPMs under 120.”

Catching Shade starts at 9 p.m., Friday, April 18, at Birba, 622 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is $8; 21 and older. For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page.