CVIndependent

Tue06272017

Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Reviews

24 Apr 2016
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When the original lineup of Guns N’ Roses (or what was left of it) fell apart due to acrimony in the mid-late 1990s, it seemed that Axl Rose would never again play with the other men who made the band legendary. Well, Axl made good with Duff McKagan (bass) and Slash (lead guitar) for a reunion at Coachella—their two weekends as the Saturday headliner have been pretty epic. While the band sounded great during the Weekend 2 show—although Axl’s voice is not as powerful as it once was, and he was sitting on Dave Grohl’s “broken leg throne,” as Axl is nursing a leg injury—and the band performed all the hits, the show felt less exciting and more nostalgic. As the band opened with “It’s So Easy,” it was obvious that the production budget was quite hefty. The new Coachella Stage, with visuals all the way across, flashed interesting images…
23 Apr 2016
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This is the fourth Coachella I have covered for the Coachella Valley Independent. I’ve seen many memorable performances. Motörhead was fantastic in 2014, while AC/DC rocked last year, and Major Lazer put on a spectacle in the Mojave in 2013. However, I’d never been blown away—that is, until I watched M83’s show on Friday night. Simply put, it was a perfect performance that was both fun and, in some ways, unbeliebavle. M83 first seriously piqued my interest in 2011, when I heard the band’s new album at the time, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. I was excited to hear the just-released new album, Junk—and could not wait to see the band when it was announced as part of the Coachella lineup. In some ways, Junk is a cheesy throwback to the ’80s. Many of the songs feature a new-wave vibe and funky bass grooves; the album art even features creatures that…
23 Apr 2016
J. Mascis opened for label-mate Beach House on Tuesday, April 19—one of the in-between Coachella shows at Pappy and Harriet’s. Macias did not have a wall of Marshall amps behind him like he did when his Dinosaur Jr. performed at Coachella in 2013. Instead, he was seated as he performed. He played “The Wagon,” a track by Dinosaur Jr. first released in 1990; according to his tour manager, it’s a tune he seldom plays live. Mascis weaved in a few Bowie instrumentals as he led into his set, and then took a minimalist approach by only switching between two well-worn Gibson acoustic guitars—each of which were magical in Mascis hands. His stunning set included “Heal the Star” and “Make It Right.” Fans dispersed after J. Mascis to refill their beverages and grab some great barbecue from Pappy’s grill—but these fanatics quickly reappeared to see the headliner. Fans surrounded me. Some…
15 Apr 2016
The best bands in stoner rock flooded the Desert Generator festival at Pappy and Harriet’s on Saturday, April 9. But unlike the legendary generator parties of the past, this party had a strict 11 p.m. curfew. Gotta keep the neighbors happy, after all. In association with Rolling Heavy magazine, the event featured a vintage-van contest. Only American-made classic vans were allowed to enter, but thankfully, VW buses were still permitted in the parking lot, which allowed a groovy set of fans to arrive from Joshua Tree. Brant Bjork, co-founder of Kyuss, helped plan the event. I was expecting a smooth night, because as a rule, one associates vans with mellow dudes with long hair, swaying to the music and perhaps occasionally banging their heads against the stage monitors. Everything started out as expected, with Ecstatic Vision laying down a mood-altering set. Their set was a catalyst for one Mr. Tripped…
29 Feb 2016
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The Commodores and The Jacksons were two of the bigger groups during Motown’s heyday—and while their celebrity may have faded a bit over the years, the groups remain relevant, as proven by the nearly sold-out audience at Fantasy Springs on Saturday, Feb. 27. While The Commodores were a delight, The Jacksons’ set was a disappointment, largely because of the curious setlist. The first up was The Commodores. While Lionel Richie is no longer part of the group, having left in 1982, The Commodores have never stopped performing since the group began in 1968. While William King is the only remaining original member, Walter Orange has been with the group since 1972, and James Dean Nicholas has been a member since 1984. The group started off with “Wild Thing” (not the Jimi Hendrix tune) and was energetic from the very first note onward; it soon became obvious this was a night…
31 Jan 2016
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Heart is one of the most successful rock bands ever. One trivia tidbit: The band has now had a Billboard Top 100 album in five straight decades—with a Top 10 album in four of those five. With such an amazing résumé, the band is expected to deliver—and Heart certainly delivered on Friday night, Jan. 29, at Fantasy Springs. Heart was due to take the stage around 8 p.m. At that time, the house music changed, getting louder and sounding like stuff you’d hear in a yoga studio—but with a hard-rock edge. After about 10 minutes of that, the lights went down—and Heart started things off with “Kick It Out,” from the 1977 album Little Queen. “Heartless” then followed. I had never seen Heart perform live before, and within the first 10 minutes, it became clear that Heart’s reputation as a fantastic live band was well-deserved—and beyond. Ann Wilson’s vocals sound…
19 Jan 2016
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Forgive the odd comparison, but it’s true: Tony Bennett shares one thing with the late Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister—he can stand in one spot and effortlessly deliver an amazing performance. On Saturday night, Jan. 16, Tony Bennett returned to Fantasy Springs a year after performing a great show there. Saturday’s performance was also incredible; it was more jazz-focused than last year’s show was and featured a few surprises. However, many of Saturday night’s moments were repeats from last year’s gig, including a joke about how he did an album with Lady Gaga because she “needed the money.” The show also started off similarly: Antonia Bennett, Tony’s daughter, opened with a few songs. She also delivered a great performance—while pregnant! After she thanked the audience and walked off the stage, she said to pay attention to a message from the chairman of the board. A vintage audio clip then played of…
21 Dec 2015
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The Brian Setzer Orchestra has become known for profitably celebrating the holidays. The group has released four Christmas albums and has gone on several holiday-themed tours over the years—so it’s no surprise that the show on Saturday night, Dec. 19, at Fantasy Springs was nearly sold out. Setzer started off the show with the first track on Rockin’ Rudolph, the group’s new Christmas album: “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” a true classic. While the show might have been billed as a Christmas affair, Setzer made it clear early on that things were going to vary when he played “This Cat’s On a Hot Tin Roof” and then went back to his Stray Cats era with “Stray Cat Strut.” After “Stray Cat Strut,” it was time for him to switch out his signature Gretsch guitars: He traded his red guitar for a beautiful green one while receiving an ovation from the…