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Reviews

31 May 2013
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It’s been six years since Palm Desert’s Queens of the Stone Age released its previous album, Era Vulgaris; however, that does not mean band founder Josh Homme hasn’t been busy. He started the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. He’s contributed to a number of other projects. And, thankfully, he hasn’t forgotten about Queens of the Stone Age: … Like Clockwork (Matador Records) will be released on Tuesday, June 4—and it’s well worth the wait. As with previous albums, there’s an impressive list of guest appearances, by Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters), Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys), Alain Johannes and even Elton John, who reportedly told Homme that the band needed a “real queen” on the album. Former bassist Nick Oliveri plays on some tracks, as does drummer Joey Castillo, who recently quit the group.…
29 Apr 2013
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There were two rules for Stagecoach 2013’s third day, spelled out on video monitors and texted to attendees who downloaded the Stagecoach app: Drink water, and find shade for your health and safety. While water was supplied by vendors and free refill stations, shade is limited at the Empire Polo Club. The official sponsor of Stagecoach—Toyota—offered a bit of shade inside their exclusive tent on the right hand side of the “Mane Stage.” The Toyota tent became the “Toyota World of Wonders” this year, featuring an interactive vintage carnival theme, with a milk-jug throw, a ring toss and even a professional palm-reader—seated, of course, in a 2013 Rav4. Over the weekend, Toyota revealed the brand new 4Runner model, which featured an acoustic performance in the Toyota World of Wonders from Dierks Bentley. Around 1 p.m. on Sunday, the Budweiser Clydesdales—who made an appearance on El Paseo in Palm Desert earlier…
28 Apr 2013
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With the temperature surpassing 100 degrees, the Empire Polo Club was a challenging place to be during day 2 of Stagecoach 2013. Nonetheless, the people showed up ready for another day of country music … but that music came a bit belated. While the gates were supposed to open at 11 a.m., general-admission attendees were held at the entry gates until noon on the dot. Nobody announced why fans were held up for an extra hour, but from the sound of it, sound checks were running late. “Taps” played throughout the festival grounds as fans finally made their way in. Ray Cammack Shows, which operates the Ferris wheel, was kind enough to allow photographer Erik Goodman and I to start off the day with a ride. With a grand view at close to 200 feet, we could watch attendees entering the grounds, with a stunning view of the mountains and…
27 Apr 2013
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It’s definitely another hot weekend at the Empire Polo Club. The Stagecoach Music Festival kicked off on Friday, April 26, with a mellower, laid-back vibe compared to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival’s two weekends. Beautiful women clad in Daisy Dukes and Western attire and a lot of shirtless men in cowboy hats braved the hot weather. The sun didn’t bother a couple of fans in attendance, who appeared happy as they exited the beer garden next to the Mane Stage. (That’s not a typo; that’s what the main stage is called.) “I’m having an awesome time,” said Zack Lindsay of Palm Springs. When it came to the sun, Lindsay came prepared. “I’m not bothered by the sun. That’s why I have a hat.” Larry Owen of La Quinta wasn’t bothered, either, going shirtless and displaying good spirits. He shared what excited him the most about the festival. “It’s…
22 Apr 2013
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They saved the best for last. Day 3 of Coachella 2013’s second weekend started off with blistering temperatures, but attendees came prepared. While a windstorm put a damper on the closing events of Coachella’s first weekend, the winds on the second Sunday remained relatively calm. While Saturday’s schedule was heavy on the EDM, on Sunday, it was mostly about the rock. Throughout the Coachella’s history, Day 3 has always seemed to feature the biggest acts. The Gaslight Anthem took to the main stage at 3:30 p.m. One figures the New Jersey punk outfit would attract a sizable crowd, but the attendance was quite thin. The band walked onstage and began performing without an intro and without addressing the crowd—and they suffered through technical difficulties throughout the set. Guitarist and lead vocalist Brian Fallon’s microphone didn’t appear to be loud enough; the guitar solos were low volume and barely present. Overall,…
21 Apr 2013
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It’s definitely hot out here. The second day of the second weekend of Coachella 2013 featured high temperatures in the 90s by mid-afternoon. But despite the heat, most of the attendees were having a good time. Still, many sought shade under the Mirage art exhibit, designed by Paul Clemente of Los Angeles. Mirage, a Frank Lloyd Wright-looking housing structure, was crowded in the open spaces under the roof. “It’s pretty hot, but not too unbearable,” said John, from Santa Monica. “It bothers me a little bit, especially right now.” The Helix Poeticus—a large mechanical snail that moves around—was close by, attracting the curiosity of attendees who were snapping photographs and touching it as it slowly slithered around the main stage area, close to Mirage. Eric Hendricks, from Orange County, was in awe. “I love it; I love the interactiveness of Coachella with the people,” he said. However, there was a…
21 Apr 2013
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The Dropkick Murphys’ set during Weekend 1 of Coachella seemed … off. The performance by the Boston-area band seemed cut in half, and the band only played a string of songs off their two most-recent albums. Of course, a lot has happened in the week since that performance. Dropkick Murphys have always had a soft spot for their hometown and have never held back in expressing their love for their city. The Weekend 2 appearance of Dropkick Murphys, of course, came a day after the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. As the world now knows, he and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, allegedly planted two bombs that exploded at the Boston Marathon, and killed one police officer. The Dropkick Murphys’ style of including Celtic music in their punk-rock sound has always made them a popular live act around the world. The band has always included their hometown of Boston as a…
20 Apr 2013
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Coachella Weekend 2 is officially under way. While this weekend is essentially a repeat of last weekend, there was still a great deal of excitement and anticipation in the air. “There are some awesome bands and great weather. It’s going to be a good time,” said a man from Calgary as he went through one of the security lines. There was even excitement among the bands playing at the festival. “We are very excited to have opened the main stage,” said Lorna Thomas of Skinny Lister. “The crowd was up for it today, and we had a good time, and it was a great gig.” Art installations are widespread throughout the grounds. One exhibit that caught my eye on Day 1 was called The Coachella Power Station, designed by Los Angeles artists Derek Doublin, Vanessa Bonet and Chris Wagner. It looks like a model of a power station, with costumed…