Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Before COVID-19 arrived, the valley’s music scene was celebrating the relatively recent introduction of a space for music that combined local talent with bigger bands on tour—right in the heart of Palm Springs.

The Alibi Palm Springs is one of the newest and best music venues in the desert. It has hosted local acts like The Flusters and the Yip Yops, as well as national acts such as Best Coast and The Midnight Hour. For a while there, it was like the Coachella Valley had our own little slice of L.A.

“My business partner, Melanie (Tusquellas), and I have been in the L.A. music business for many years, and we were originally looking for a spot in L.A.,” said owner Elizabeth Garo during a recent phone interview. “A friend of Melanie’s told her about this beautiful, amazing, historic building in Palm Springs that was available. We saw it and thought, ‘This is it!’ It wasn’t our intention to be in Palm Springs, but when we saw the building, it compelled us to bring the model to Palm Springs, and it seemed to make sense. We noticed that there were a fair amount of venues for cover bands and dance nights, and we wanted to bring a different kind of programming.”

I talked to Garo about the Best Coast show in February—which was the last concert I attended before the pandemic.

“That was such a fun one,” Garo said. “It was a very big deal for us to do that show, and I was very thrilled that they chose to play The Alibi. It certainly let us see that we can do underplays for bands that size, and that the room can handle it. I had many plans of getting more of those underplays; then COVID hit. But once things are back up and running, we will hopefully be able to do more shows like that.”

Like every live-entertainment venue right now, The Alibi is struggling. However, Garo said she and her team remain determined.

“It’s been really difficult on business,” she shared. “We closed down in March and were looking at a pretty healthy spring for programming. Like every small venue, it’s been a challenge. I will say the community’s been really supportive of us and has been cheering us on to keep going, so that’s what we intend to do. We’ve developed a small crew of locals, and they’ve been very positive and look forward to us opening.”

The Alibi is part of the National Independent Venue Association, which has been lobbying Congress regarding the Save Our Stages legislation ( Many venues across the country are struggling to find the money to survive until concerts are able to take place again. This is an issue Garo is very passionate about.

“We’ve been involved; we’ve been putting it in our email blasts and getting the word out, trying to gather signatures,” said Garo. “I’ve worked with a Save Our Stages captain here in L.A., and she and I have been writing to Congressman (Raúl) Ruiz just so he’s aware of the bill, and trying to get his endorsement.”

Until concerts can happen again, The Alibi is focusing on food and drink, and working on launching a series of paid livestream concerts. The venue just re-opened its famous patio for outdoor dining Thursday through Sunday, and is also serving food and cocktails to-go.

“We’ve been doing food with Hoja Blanco, who is our food vendor,” Garo said. … “We are looking into the process of doing some livestreaming performances, which would be on the off nights. We are just doing some research and trying to get equipment together, seeing how to make it work.

“We’d like to highlight the local stuff, but there’s an expense to it. We want to make sure it’s the right artist that will generate some ticket sales to help offset the cost of the production. I think we’re going to be able to do a combination of the two, both local and underplays. We also want to be able to stream any kind of corporate meetings or weddings as well. We are in the early stages of figuring out what can be done.”

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It’s March in the Coachella Valley—but the weather isn’t the only thing getting hotter. Check out some of the fiery entertainment coming to us this month.

The McCallum Theatre’s March schedule is packed. From Wednesday, March 4, through Sunday, March 8, you can catch Pink Martini, featuring singers China Forbes and Storm Large. The group's diverse catalog crosses multiple music genres—and there’s a reason why Pink Martini is one of the most popular acts ever to come to the McCallum. Tickets are $58 to $98. From Friday, March 13, through Sunday, March 15, witness Chicago The Musical. The longest-running Broadway musical ever is coming to Palm Desert for five performances only! Tickets are $65 to $125. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 18, all the way from the East Coast, it’s the New York Philharmonic String Quartet! Four musicians from the famous orchestra are coming to town for an evening of musical expertise. Tickets are $25 to $65. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 27, vocalist Steve Tyrell will take the McCallum stage. With a Grammy under his belt, and a catalog filled with new takes on classic songs, Tyrell should offer a night of vocal greatness. Tickets are $40 to $80. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787;

Fantasy Springs is featuring a diverse lineup that has something to please pretty much anyone. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 6, renowned comedian and ventriloquist Terry Fator returns to Indio. He won hearts on his victorious season of America’s Got Talent, and continues to make audiences laugh at his Las Vegas residencies. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 14, Latin superstar Pitbull will grace the stage. Go dance the night away to Grammy-winning radio hits from Mr. Worldwide. Dale! Tickets are $79 to $169. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 21, Daryl Hall and John Oates return. They’re the No. 1-selling music duo in history, and are behind some of your favorite hits, like “Maneater.” Tickets are $79 to $169. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 27, Chaka Khan will be in the house—and 1980s R&B never sounded so good! Tickets are $49 to $89. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

Spotlight 29 has a March filled with nostalgia. The Tribute Concert Series keeps on truckin’, as you can catch tributes to Queen, Bob Marley, ABBA and the Rolling Stones, Fridays at 8 p.m. All the shows are $10, and are the cheapest form of time travel currently on the market. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566;

Agua Caliente is showcasing a few top events this month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 14, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are coming straight from the ’60s. Experience a great vocal group from the past that still packs a punch. Tickets are $95 to $125. At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 28, boogie the night away at Saturday Night Dance Fever. Come enjoy performances from The Trammps featuring Earl Young, Rose Royce, Evelyn “Champagne” King and many other disco greats! Tickets are $60 to $185. Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Morongo Casino Resort has some enjoyable evenings in store in March for people who want to be entertained. At 9:30 p.m., Saturday, March 14, Flogging Molly is coming to Cabazon. Wanna learn what the words “Celtic'' and “punk” are doing next to each other? Well, go find out for yourself. Tickets are $69 to $79. At 9 p.m., Friday, March 20, entertainer extraordinaire Marlon Wayans will provide a comedy show for the ages. Go see the White Chicks actor live onstage! Tickets are $29 to $49. At 9 p.m., Friday, March 27, Rob Lowe brings his Stories I Only Tell My Friends tour to town. After 40 years in film and TV, the actor has a lot of stories to tell. Tickets are $59 to $79. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499;

Pappy and Harriet's March schedule includes a lot of sold-out shows; here are a few shows you can still get into. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 20, local Latin-rock group Giselle Woo and the Night Owls will rock the Pioneertown stage. Catch Giselle and co. before Coachella crowds do in April—and the show is free! At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 28, Rose’s Pawn Shop and The Shadow Mountain Band will serve up a night of genre-bending rock tunes! This show is also free! Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

Toucans is hosting two fantastic shows in March. At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 7, Leslie Jordan (below) brings his Over EXPOSED show to town. The actor will provide a night of comedy and stories from his long career. Tickets are $35 to $45. At 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 20, Anne Steele brings her “Made Out of Stars” tour to Toucans. The singer/songwriter recently released a new EP, and is prepped for a night of music and fun! Tickets are $25. Toucans Tiki Lounge and Cabaret, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-416-7584;

The Purple Room continues to provide many great nights out on the town. From Thursday, March 19, through Saturday, March 21, catch the return of the marvelous Marilyn Maye. This musical treasure has still got it at the age of 91, and has been a performer since she was 9! Tickets are $70 to $90. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 28, Branden and James will return to the Purple Room. This time, catch the duo putting their classical spin on Lady Gaga’s songbook. Tickets are $40 to $45. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422;

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club is hosting myriad unique events. At 7 p.m., Thursday, March 12, it’s the return of Campfire Stories With Desert Oracle’s Ken Layne. Come and indulge yourself in the mystique of the desert at this free event. At 1 p.m., Sunday, March 22, experience the first Draught in the Desert beer festival. More than 30 craft breweries will be pouring for your drinking pleasure. Tickets are $55. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900;

The Date Shed will feature some local talent this month. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 13, local indie-rock group Blue Sun will be releasing its brand-new EP, Haunted Garden, with support from other great local acts like Milhan, Host Family and Shaman Rock. Tickets are $10. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699;

You can also go support local music at The Alibi Palm Springs. At 6 p.m., Sunday, March 8, local psych/surf rock group The Flusters will perform, with opener 88 MPH. Let them entrance you with dreamy tunes all night long. The show is free! At 8 p.m., Friday, March 13, local indie duo YIP YOPS will make their hometown return. Go experience the group’s first show in the valley in months, with support from groups Gomi Neko and Israel’s Arcade. This show is also free! The Alibi Palm Springs, 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-656-1525;

Published in Previews

Embedded in the air of Joshua Tree, one can find the soothing psychedelic folk sounds of the Adobe Collective. Every song from the group sets a listener in a state of extreme calm, and they create a perfect soundtrack for a lazy day. My favorite tracks include “Carousel” and “Home (Sins)”

The band released its third album, All the Space That There Is, in January, and has been playing various shows around the Coachella Valley, including a February Monday-night residency at The Alibi Palm Springs. I spoke to brainchild of the band, Tim Chinnock, over the phone about music, life and, of course, the name of the band.

“It’s always hard to give something a name, but somebody once told me that you just have to name it,” Chinnock said. “In 2011, my wife, Faith, and I were stationed at the Marine base in Twentynine Palms. When we first moved to the area, the first house we found for rent on Craigslist was this old 1937 original adobe house in Twentynine Palms. It was passed down from this guy’s grandma, and he had lovingly restored the whole thing; as soon as we walked in, we just felt at home. It was in that house that songwriting actually started to make sense to me, and songs just started coming one after another.”

Although songwriting didn’t come to him until later, Chinnock’s family has always been around music.

“I was born in Redlands and grew up most of my life in the Inland Empire,” he said. “My family has always been really musical, but it was always something that they did on the side. My dad and his three brothers were in a band in high school, even though they grew up very religious, and it was kind of against the rules. They all went on to get jobs, but they still did music on the side. I grew up kind of religious and kind of conservative, and when John Lennon said that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, my parents went out and burned all of their rock records. So I was just left with my dad’s classical and folk records. I didn’t really get into rock until junior high.”

The Adobe Collective’s discography includes a lot of serene tones, although the most recent LP turns up jams a little bit more—with a bit of a rock flair.

“The first couple of albums are definitely more what you call Americana,” Chinnock said. “At the core of me, I’m a folk singer and a folk writer. What’s so great about the new album is that as we’ve solidified our band lineup, we’ve been inviting other people to take more of an active role in the creation of the stuff. I’d come up with some structure to the song, but then we’d come together as a band to finish it.

“As for the recording process, we recorded with Chris Unck, who’s in the band, at High Lonesome Studio. With this album, he got a little bit more freedom with the palette. What I’m really excited about for this new album is that we’re exploring a bunch of new and different possibilities. It’s much more of a collaborative approach, and we’ve got a little bit more of a rock feel thanks to Chris. We’re taking people’s influences and building on top of what me and Faith started with our first two albums.”

All the Space That There Is comes four years after the band’s last album.

“We took a little bit of time off, because my son was born, and it was also around the time I quit the military,” Chinnock said. “We took a long time to move out of our house, get settled and make the split from the military, which is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. Moving houses and finding a new job took up quite a fair amount of time.

“As for the album, well, it’s actually been in the can for a while. We’ve just been trying to shop it around and get some advertising behind it. Everybody in Joshua Tree knows who we are, but not everybody in Indio knows who we are. It was all super-local in Joshua Tree for the first two albums, so we wanted to bring this new record out to a bigger audience.”

Chinnock said the band has gradually gotten more serious—and that now, after almost a decade, things are truly coming together.

“It’s been a slow burn,” Chinnock said. “When we started, me and my wife were in the military, and it’s hard to get serious about something like that when there’s an overlord in your life. Both of our first two albums coincided with the birth of our kids. Now we’re at a place where our kids are old enough so we can start to get some distance from them—but we’re also getting so much richness from them that we put into our music. It’s a really good time right now, because we can take trips away for weekends if we need to play shows and whatnot.”

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Best Coast is back: It’s been five years since the Los Angeles-based rock duo of singer Bethany Cosentino and instrumentalist Bobb Bruno put out a proper album—and it’s been pretty lonely without them.

The band’s 2010 debut, Crazy for You, exploded onto the music scene, with tracks like “When I’m With You” and “Boyfriend” becoming indie gems. Headlining tours; opening gigs for acts such as Paramore, Green Day and the Pixies; and the release of two more albums only heightened their popularity, yet we hadn’t heard anything new from the band since 2015 (not counting a 2018 kids’ album). Until now.

Best Coast recently released two new singles for upcoming record Always Tomorrow, due Feb. 21. “For the First Time” is a soft-rock tune with sparkling indie guitar and a great synth line, while “Everything Has Changed” is a heavier track—yet the singing makes it more of a happy, uplifting song. Both singles feature lyrical content regarding life getting better, and will put any listener in a great mood.

You can catch Best Coast on Feb. 27—right after the release of that new album—at The Alibi Palm Springs.

“I think for me, music always sort of serves as a therapeutic act,” Cosentino said during a recent phone interview. “I always write about my experiences and my life, and I try to keep things open in hopes that they are relatable to other people. A lot of the stuff that I talk about on this record is stuff that I’ve been going through for the past 10 years. It definitely helped and was very cathartic to get a lot of it off my chest.”

Cosentino’s lyrics are one of the best parts of the Best Coast listening experience. Take the emotional verses on “No One Like You”: “If I sleep on the floor / will it make you love me more? / If I pack up my things and leave / can I still be the queen to your king?”

“I’m always just trying to create something that people can connect to,” Cosentino said. “I feel like the music that resonates with me the most is the stuff that’s relatable—(music) that I can trace back to my own life and own experiences. I try to be a help to people with the music that I make, and I hope that people can relate to it.”

Best Coast’s Palm Springs show is the first date on the duo’s first headlining tour in five years.

“Touring is very fun, especially when you have new stuff to get out there and share with the world,” she said. “There’s a big shift in energy when you have new music and when you get to come back after some rest. Given that we haven’t done a headlining tour in five years, we are very restless. We’re definitely excited to get back out there and share some new stuff—and old stuff, too. We are stoked to revisit the live vibe.”

The band’s name, obviously, references the West Coast. The band has more than a few songs about a love for California; the 2015 record is even titled California Nights. It turns out Palm Springs is a favorite place for the group.

“I think the only time we ever played Palm Springs was when our last record came out,” Cosentino said. “We did this big event for Tumblr at the Ace Hotel, and it was really cool.

“I love Palm Springs; it’s one of my favorite places to go. It’s an easy, chill, little getaway from L.A. I’m stoked to be playing a proper show there—and we’re bringing this band called Lunch Lady. One of my best friends in the world plays in the band, so it’s cool to get to bring them and expose them to a bigger audience.”

With the addition of new songs into Best Coast’s repertoire, I was curious how the duo’s setlists will be organized for the tour.

“We’re trying to figure out the best way to keep some of the classics and add in a bunch of the new songs,” Cosentino said. “We’re really excited about this new record, so it’s hard to pick which ones belong in the set and which ones feel like they won’t translate as well to a stage. We’re in the early stages of trying to figure out the exact set list. We’re not going to abandon the stuff we put up before, but it’s pretty tricky trying to figure out how to integrate it all when you have a new record out that you’re so excited to play songs from.”

While each record by the band features a similar vibe, the influences differ from album to album. The two new singles feature a more classic-rock vibe—a departure from previous Best Coast material.

“A band that has always sort of been with us and influenced us is Fleetwood Mac,” Cosentino said. “I know it’s not maybe the most obvious influence, but Bobb and I both love Fleetwood Mac so much; we both grew up listening to them from our parents. They’re a band that we’ve always kind of tried to go to and see what kind of risks they took and what sort of changes they made. I think Fleetwood Mac is one of those bands (with which) every record they ever put out was always different than the last.

“With this record specifically, we really tried to do something different without abandoning who we are as a core. It’s definitely a bit of growth, and a bit of a departure sonically and musically. We took some risks, and we tried some stuff; this record has a lot of classic rock ’n’ roll influences, which is something we’ve never tried too much of. A lot of bands that came out in the studio that we referenced were Thin Lizzy, Def Leppard, Fleetwood Mac and The Cars. We tried really hard to do our own version of ’70s and ’80s rock. It was cool to work with Bobb and sort of blend our two loves together. There’s a lot of heaviness in the guitars from Bobb—and a lot of poppy softer rock stuff from me.”

The end of the 2010s saw Best Coast end up on a few “Best of the Decade” lists—as well as a few “Most Anticipated Albums of 2020” lists.

“It’s always really cool to be recognized in any capacity,” Cosentino said. “For anybody to ever tell me that something I created impacts them in any way is always really nice to hear and really makes me feel valued. I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and there have been a lot of times when I’ve wondered if anyone cares. I’ve been my own harshest critic for a very long time. It’s very easy to dip into that headspace of, ‘Does anyone even care what I’m doing?’ To see our name appear on lists like that is always really cool. Not even (just) the lists—sometimes it’s cool just to see people tweet something or send me a little message on Instagram. … It makes me feel special to know that people care about what I’m creating.”

Best Coast will perform with Lunch Lady at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27, at The Alibi Palm Springs, 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Tickets are $25. For tickets or more information, visit

Published in Previews

What: The double burger

Where: The Heyday; various locations, including Palm Springs VillageFest on Thursday nights, and The Alibi Palm Springs (369 N. Palm Canyon Drive) on Friday and Saturday nights

How much: $15 (including chips) plus fees via Doordash

Contact: 714-328-3825;

Why: It’s a juicy, perfectly prepared burger.

I had my first burger from The Heyday at Palm Springs Pride.

Several friends of mine had told me I must try the burgers from this pop-up burger joint after getting them at Palm Springs VillageFest, so when hunger struck, and it just so happened that the Independent’s booth was right next to The Heyday, I considered that a sign from the universe.

The hubby and I each ordered a double—featuring two Harris Ranch beef patties, shredded lettuce, American cheese and caramelized onions. Well, the burgers were splendid: juicy, flavorful and filling, despite their not-huge size.

After the madness of Palm Springs Pride had ended, I decided I needed (and, well, wanted) to give The Heyday’s burgers another try, to see if they were oh-so-good on a second devouring. I intended to head to The Alibi on a Friday night to get one after seeing a play … but I was exhausted, so I went home and decided to instead order a burger via Doordash, which can be done when The Heyday is set up at The Alibi on Fridays and Saturdays.

I balked at the price—$15 (more than the $12 we paid at Pride) plus delivery fees and tip—but I went ahead with the purchase anyway … and I am happy to report that the burger that arrived at my door was just as delicious as the burger I eagerly scarfed down at Pride.

Was it worth $15 plus all the fees? No. Was it worth $12 in person at the popup? Yeah … The Heyday’s burgers are that good.

Published in The Indy Endorsement

Fans of A Tribe Called Quest are familiar with the group’s genre-melding sound—including creating rap beats using jazz music.

The Midnight Hour, the latest project from Ali Shaheed Muhammad, a founding member of ATQC, offers a similar sound—just without the rapping.

Muhammad has joined composer Adrian Younge for this new jazz-fusion group that will move and groove you in the ways the jazz bands of old could do. On the group’s self-titled debut album, Muhammad and Younge are surrounded by a full orchestra, and have a few special vocal guests on duty. Stand-out tracks include the instrumental “Black Beacon” and the lead single “Questions,” which features CeeLo Green on vocals.

The Midnight Hour will perform this Saturday, Nov. 16, at The Alibi Palm Springs.

“Ali and I met when I was working on a project for (hip-hop group) Souls of Mischief,” Younge said during a recent phone interview. “I was a fan of his from A Tribe Called Quest and onto his solo work and stuff that he did with Lucy Pearl. It was a mutual thing. I asked Ali to be a part of the (2014 Souls of Mischief album, There Is Only Now), and he said yes.  He came to my studio, and we started working, and I just felt a real kinship with him. It was as if we had been in a group for years, and from that point, we just started making music. That’s how The Midnight Hour came together.”

Before The Midnight Hour project became an official release, the duo worked together to provide the soundtrack to Luke Cage, a Marvel series on Netflix. Younge talked about his soundtrack process.

“Basically, you look at the scene and see what you can do to enhance the visuals,” said Younge. “You are there to make the picture look better, so you need to see the picture in order to enhance the mood. Certain projects are harder, because you have to be in line with what the director wants. Sometimes the director's vision may not be your vision. As long as you guys are on the same page, then it’s an easier project, but then at that point, it is just based on how much work you actually have to do. Some directors don’t want that much music, and some directors want a lot of music.”

The Midnight Hour’s sound reminds of great jazz artists, such as Coltrane or Miles Davis, while adding a splash of funk. These two sides of the coin blend beautifully together, creating a sound that both honors the group’s heroes and shows off a unique personal sound.

“We’re inspired by Idris Muhammad, the Mizell Brothers, Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers—a lot of these jazz pioneers who served as a lot of the bedrock for hip-hop,” Younge said. “We’re getting inspired by those guys, but we are also doing our own thing that started decades ago. We are always going to have our own signature—always.”

After listening to the music, it’s hard to think of a more appropriate title for the group than The Midnight Hour. Younge agreed.

“It was just the feeling of the music,” Younge said. “The kind of music that we make just resonates in that midnight hour—that late-night type vibe where the worries of the world don’t matter so much, when you’re just more receptive to feeling.”

The Midnight Hour will perform at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16, at The Alibi Palm Springs, 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Tickets to the 21-and-over show are $16.50. For tickets or more information, visit the ticketing website.

Published in Previews

Although August is one of the slowest months for entertainment in the desert—and the second half of this particular August is especially dead—there are still many events, many places to catch a drink, and many bands coming through town.

Interestingly, most of the events this month are either ’90s projects (the kind of artists that will make you say, “Oh I remember them!”) or contemporary underground acts. Whether you like throwback pop or underground alternative rock, there is something for everyone across our vast, eclectic desert community.

Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage has the first notable event on the Venue Report this month: At 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 2, the legendary Chicago band Styx will take The Show stage. Tickets start at $65. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Rancho Mirage, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3, Spotlight 29 will host the Pop 2000 tour with host Lance Bass and performances by O-Town, Aaron Carter, Ryan Cabrera and La Quinta-native-turned-Hollywood-star Tyler Hilton. Unfortunately for those wanting to hear “Bye Bye Bye” or “It’s Gonna Be Me,” the event details say Lance Bass is only hosting and not performing. I know from experience that hosts don’t usually perform; I once went Wango Tango, crossing my fingers for the host, Britney Spears, to drop a surprise performance. Didn’t happen. Nevertheless, the show will be interesting if you are nostalgic for the third wave of ’90s boy bands. Tickets start at $35. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, UB40 will arrive at Spotlight 29 for a performance as part of the British reggae band’s 40th Anniversary Tour. Tickets start at $35. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566;

On Sunday, Aug. 4, The Alibi, downtown Palm Springs’s coolest new venue (learn more here), will welcome ’90s alt-rock band Imperial Teen; the exact show time has not been announced. The four-piece multi-instrumental band from San Francisco has an alt/grunge, instantly recognizable sound, with alternating male/female vocals. The group’s most-famous song, “Yoo Hoo,” is featured in the cult classic film Jawbreaker, starring Rose McGowan. The video for the song features the Imperial Teen lead singer being tied to a bed and teased by the actress herself. Lucky guy! The event is free for those 21 and older. The Alibi Palm Springs, 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-656-1525;

Be prepared for a short drive up Interstate 10, because at 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 8, Morongo Casino Resort Spa is hosting a show by Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds (below). He’s mostly known for his production talents and for writing songs for many other people, including Madonna, so it’s interesting to see him embarking on a solo tour. Together, Madonna and Babyface released one of my favorite songs, “Take a Bow.” Here’s hoping Babyface plays it, or that Madonna will be there, or that she herself returns to the desert one day (insert cry face emoji). Tickets start at $49. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499;

At 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 9, Pappy and Harriet’s will welcome Oh Sees. You can read an interview with the band’s leader, John Dwyer, here, but I’ll add this: The group’s wild, exciting, antic-filled show is guaranteed to be worth the drive. The band puts on an in-your-face, loud performance that’s perfect for the outdoor stage at Pappy and Harriet’s. Want a hot summer night with some exciting, skuzzy, punk-rock sounds? Cold beer? And views? Check. Check. And check. Tickets start at $30—but they were listed as sold out as of our press deadline. You can get them on secondary-sales websites, but you’ll pay a lot more. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10, Fantasy Springs Resort Casino will feature a performance from Mary J. Blige. She has many hits, and it promises to be a good throwback night. Tickets start at $79. At 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 23, Fantasy Springs will host another Grammy Award-winning singer, Boz Scaggs. You most likely have heard the song “Lido Shuffle” at some point in your life, but you somehow haven’t, do your ears a favor, and bless them with the song. Tickets start at $49. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

At 8 p.m., Monday, Aug. 12, Indio’s Club 5 Bar—along with Ian Townley and Kylie Knight, Indio-based artists and musicians—will host Host Family, Flexing, The Teddys and Carlee Hendrix. Flexing is a touring band from Corvallis, Ore., that has a dark, angular post-punk sound with a female vocalist, reminiscent of Savages, as well as Editors. The group is coming down to Indio to support recent release Modern Discipline. The Teddys is the new project from Indio’s Bryan Garcia, drummer for the recently defunct Town Troubles. Host Family is an up-and-coming indie band that is making big splashes in the desert and beyond, with a sound reminiscent of Beach Fossils or Mac DeMarco—a laid back, original and refreshing sound compared to the punk/metal that is popular in the desert at the moment. Carlee Hendrix is a talented local singer-songwriter from Bermuda Dunes; she hasn’t played a show in a long time, so anyone who attends is in for a real treat, as she has a wide catalog of acoustic and electric indie/pop songs from which to pull. This promises to be a unique night of underground music. Bring $5. Club 5 Bar, 82971 Bliss Ave., Indio; 760-625-1719;

At 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 15, local event promoters Queer Cactus Presents will welcome El Paso, Texas-based indie rock band Sleepspent, as well as Palm Springs’ Host Family, Indio’s Blue Sun and Palm Desert’s Plastic Ruby, to play at Coachella’s newest bar, the appropriately-named Coachella Bar. This show promises to be an interesting night of DIY alternative rock bands. Coachella Bar; 85995 Grapefruit Blvd., Coachella; 760-541-9034;

Published in Previews

I’ll be honest: I’m not feeling very inspired this month.

My list of favorite cocktail places in the Coachella Valley hasn’t changed much this year. With the exception of the Del Rey (sorry for not covering you yet—it’s coming), it’s pretty much still the same seven or eight places. While there is no shortage of earnest people trying, I would like to be able to get a proper negroni or daiquiri before I can get something with beet juice and cachaça. You’ve got to crawl before you can walk, people.

We’re also in the middle of a ton of retrogrades and astrological horrors … and while I am not using that as an excuse, I think many of you can relate. So this month, you’re getting a thought piece on what it means to be a bartender—specifically, a bartender in the Coachella Valley.

I realized two insane truths recently: 1) Some guy named “Joe Pizzulo” sang “Never Gonna Let You Go” when I was certain it was James Ingram. 2) I can host an event, and people will show up. Seeing a crowd actually turn out for something as weird my “Tarot Workshop” at the fabulous Dead or Alive bar in Palm Springs was great … and exhausting.

This got me thinking about bartending, and the role of the bar and the bartender. I had a bar in front of me at Dead or Alive—as I always do at work. Could I have addressed a crowd without a bar in front of me?

What is the bar? Is it a stage? Is it a barrier? What is a bartender? What am I to you? When you look at me at the grocery store, like, “How do I know that guy?” it’s a little freaky. You don’t recognize me? Honestly, I talk to you three days a week for hours at a time. It must be like when I used to see a teacher out in public. She buys milk, too?!

The bar is like a sacred space, with the bartender as the shaman or priest. When one attends religious services, one (hopefully) leaves worldly problems at the door while walking into a sacred space. One does the same at a bar. The bar is a place of freedom and camaraderie, with the bartender being something like a friend—but a little removed, like a priest, or an actor, or something like that. I suppose this is why I wave at you, and you think, “How do I know that guy?”

It can be a lonely life, but luckily, we have other bartenders. Bartenders mostly hang out with bartenders, or other service-industry folk—maybe chefs here and there, or the server or host we’re dating … anyone who “gets it.” Is it any wonder that so few of us can make it long in this business … and if we do make it for a while, we never leave? It’s both a support system and a vicious circle. We spend a lot of time absorbing energy from everyone who walks in the door, and the rest of our time drinking over-proof rum and burdening other bartenders. We’re mostly introverted, and the question is: Were we introverted before we started? In my case, I can say “probably” … I was definitely the fat, nerdy kid, but I have always had a big mouth.

Of course, being a bartender in the Coachella Valley can be a little … different. Why does nearly every new-to-town entrepreneur seem to think you can bring in a consultant from San Francisco, an architect from Los Angeles and a manager from Brooklyn (who are all going to leave within six months) and succeed? Why not see what the local talent pool has to offer? There are many talented locals who would jump at the chance to take on a project. You want the good local people to work for you? Well, we take care of each other around here. No disrespect to the consultants—a lot of you are friends—but not everything that is a hit in the Meatpacking District will be a hit here.

The Coachella Valley could also use a more-robust nightlife scene. The number of questions I get every weekend in the range of, “So, what is, like … fun to do around here?” is in the dozens. Perhaps the tendency to drink by the pool all day or have bottomless mimosas is the real problem. That’s a pretty wicked combination. The fact that people occasionally bristle when I suggest a “gay bar” on a weekday (even if it’s a welcoming little spot like Retro Room—come on, people!) doesn’t help.

But there is hope. We have a new music venue, The Alibi, bringing cool and exciting acts to town (which you can read more about here), and an arcade and nostalgia bar called Glitch just getting rolling. (They’re both working on their cocktail programs as of writing, this so forgive my not talking about their drinks.) I am also aware there are new venues slated to open all over the place in the fall and winter … and that’s just in Palm Springs proper! In fact, the number of events and things to do has never been greater. FOMO is a real thing these days, and I hope to contribute to that in a small way.

So … get out there, people! If you’re a young bartender, it’s time to shine. Make your mark! The Coachella Valley needs you to step up—and I am just an email away if you’re in over your head.

Kevin Carlow is a bartender at Truss and Twine, and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Cocktails

On the northern edge of downtown Palm Springs, a new music venue is on the verge of rekindling the music and nightlife scene that seems to have disappeared after the closure of Bar two years ago.

There’s one small problem: The venue isn’t fully open quite yet.

Until the venue finalizes its aesthetic identity, secures more seating and optimizes its kitchen and menu, The Alibi is in a “soft-opening” phase. Nevertheless, the venue is off to a great start, with an experienced team working together toward a common goal: making the northern portion of downtown Palm Springs a hip place to be once again.

Located at 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in the space that was for years known as Azul, the venue—directly across from the original Las Casuelas, next door to the Nat Reed Gallery, and a hop, skip and jump away from the old Bar space (which was previously the home of the infamous JD’s Landing)—the building is known for its beautiful patio, swing seats and island bar. All of that is still there, along with a pop-up hamburger stand from The Heyday.

As you walk inside the building, the first thing you see is the stage, and to the left of it, a raised lounge area. As for the décor: Adorning the bar area are leafy, mature houseplants, with dim romantic lighting and chandeliers installed here and there. The result: chill vibes all around. A grand piano and a disco ball are tucked away in a back corner, waiting to be relocated and repurposed. Perhaps most importantly: The Alibi has a stage, a proper sound system and—gasp!—a sound guy. All of these elements combine to create for visitors a unique and chic night on the town.

After taking over the old Azul location, the new owners initiated an extensive renovation. General manager Anthony Molnar says he and his team—which includes accomplished Los Angeles music and restaurant industry people behind The Echo, The Knitting Factory and Spaceland Presents—have a vision to create a “culturally creative space for artists and musicians in the local community, and provide a space for independent music.” They hope to connect to the community organically by providing free, 21-and-older shows—and booking excellent music. Molnar says a dance floor is next.

The team hopes to further attract locals with an expansive and eclectic drink menu. The current incarnation includes craft beers from local breweries, and exotic, yet affordable cocktails. Bartender Angie Bloom said she appreciates the extensive “tool box” she can pull from to quench the thirst of parched patrons. She is among the many excited and curious people who see The Alibi as a blank canvas, full of potential.

The venue’s current hours are somewhat mysterious—for now, The Alibi is mostly only open on weekends—but it is evident the creative people working behind the scenes want to deliver top-notch underground experiences in a lounge-like setting. For example, on Saturday, July 13, The Alibi hosted Jim White, the gothic Western folk musician, playing a warm-up show for his performance at The Echo. Every second Thursday of the month, The Alibi is hosting goth/industrial/EDM DJs. On Saturday, July 27, Lee Joseph is spinning garage and punk music (Joseph is the bassist for local musician Jesika Von Rabbit, who herself also DJ'd The Alibi’s first open night); and for Aug. 4, The Alibi booked Imperial Teen, a band that was big in the ’90s you might recognize for having a song in the movie Jawbreaker.

While the bar owners and managers have close ties to the Palm Springs community, their experience and sensibilities from also working in Los Angeles should result in eclectic, alternative and—above all—interesting music programming—something very refreshing to downtown Palm Springs.

For more information, visit or @thealibipalmsprings on Instagram.

Now Open (At Least a Little): The Alibi Palm Springs

You’ve probably heard this one before: Owners announce a new restaurant is going to open on a tentative date. That date comes … and goes. A new date is announced; it passes, too. Cycle repeats a time or three.

Such has been the case with The Alibi Palm Springs, opening under new ownership and after significant renovations at the former Azul/Alibi/Georgie’s etc. space at 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive.

The new owners opened the space for the Lesbo Expo Launch Party—bringing in outside food—during Palm Springs Pride last November. In December, The Alibi Facebook page ( announced a soft opening would take place on Jan. 25. We don’t know whether that actually happened; we do know signs went up a little later on The Alibi’s front doors, announcing an April opening. Which, of course, didn’t happen.

In recent weeks, The Alibi’s Instagram page ( has sprung to life with encouraging photos of things like functional misters and a new jukebox. However, three pics got me really excited: One shows newly renovated glider seats on the patio—and those unique glider seats helped put the old Azul/etc. on the map; another shows meat being grilled; and a third shows a patio view—with an announcement that the patio would be open over Memorial Day weekend. Yes!

According to a subsequent Instagram post, The Alibi, for now, will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight, Thursday through Sunday. Follow that aforementioned Instagram page for more information.

Fire Leads to Temporary Closure of All Aspen Mills Bakery Locations

A fire on May 17 at Aspen Mills Bakery, 555 S. Sunrise Way, in Palm Springs, has led to the closure of all four of the much-loved bakery’s valley locations.

“Our oven serves all our locations in the desert, so every one of our stores will be affected by this setback,” said a message on the Aspen Mills Facebook page. “We hope to be doing what we do best at Aspen Mills as quickly as we can.”

We sent an email to owner Marty Webster asking when Aspen Mills may reopen, but we did not get a response as of our deadline.

Here’s hoping the closure is very short. Watch for more information.

Worth Checking Out: Holey Scoops Ice Cream, in Palm Desert

If you’re inclined to support a small business started up by young, enthusiastic entrepreneurs, and you happen to like good ice cream, I recommend trying out Holey Scoops Ice Cream, located at 74600 Highway 111, in Palm Desert.

Siblings Becca and Aaron Brukman opened the shop around six months ago. After growing up in Long Beach and attending the University of Arizona, they moved to the Coachella Valley and decided to open Holey Scoops, using Aaron’s business acumen, and Becca’s experience with people, marketing and customer service.

“We’re a brother and sister. We’re young. We’re trying this whole small-business thing out,” Becca told me.

Holey Scoops offers 16 ice cream flavors (including a no-sugar-added flavor), plus dairy-free bars, chocolate-covered bananas and other treats like cookie pies. If you stop in, chances are Becca and Aaron will be the people helping you: So far, they’re their only employees.

For more information, visit

In Brief

Sad news: Three Sixty North, at 360 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, closed on Sunday, May 26. After word started spreading on Facebook that owner Tony Gallardo had decided not to renew the lease, we reached out to the restaurant via Facebook—and confirmed the news. Gallardo and some staff will remain available for catering, however; call 760-797-5733 for details. … Now open: El Patron Crafted Tacos and Drinks, located in the old Starbucks space at 101 S. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. The renovated spot looks gorgeous, and the menu—featuring tacos, burritos, ceviche and all sorts of tequila-fueled cocktails—looks delicious. Get details at and … Congratulations to Vicky’s of Santa Fe, at 45100 Club Drive, in Indian Wells, on its 30th anniversary! Get more info, including the restaurant’s amazing $29 Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week menu, at … PS Underground, which has presented an amazing array of themed culinary experiences at venues across the valley over the last six years, now has a permanent home in Palm Springs: 1700 S. Camino Real, Suite 2; that’s the old Appetito space next to Koffi. Awesome! Details at … Now open again: Los Arcos Mexican Restaurant, at 68718 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Cathedral City. It had been in the side space of the old IMAX theater in Cathedral City. However, CVRep needed that space after taking over the building, and Los Arcos closed down for a bit before reopening on the other side of the “downtown Cathedral City” complex, near The Roost Lounge. Welcome back! Get details at

Published in Restaurant & Food News