Tachevah, a Palm Springs Block Party, offers a great concept: It allows up-and-coming local acts to take the stage with nationally recognized bands—in the midst of all the Coachella-related music insanity.
In the second year of Tachevah, Fitz and the Tantrums and Classixx will be joined by three local acts who won their slots via a public poll, followed by showcases at the Hard Rock Palm Springs: CIVX, from Cathedral City; One11, from Coachella; and the Yip Yops, from Palm Desert.
Only 10 bands were selected to play at the Hard Rock showcases, where they performed for the likes of country singer Shelby Lynne, The Desert Sun music editor Bruce Fessier, and representatives of Goldenvoice (which puts on the party with The Desert Sun, P.S. Resorts, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and the city of Palm Springs).
During the first showcase, CIVX beat out local scene veterans Blasting Echo, along with In Viridian, Elektric Lucie and the mysterious local band Alchemy. At the second, One11 and The Yip Yops won slots, beating out one of last year’s winners, Tribesmen, along with The Mellowdie and The Morning After.
We decided to get to know these three local bands a bit.
Cathedral City’s CIVX was born after the dissolution of local band PSSSTOLS. Former PSSSTOLS members Nick Hernandez, Salvador Guti and Joel Guerrero formed the band after recruiting guitarist Dillon Dominguez.
“When Sal and I were in PSSSTOLS, we were writing music on the side,” Hernandez said. “I would do my solo thing and record the songs by myself with drums, bass and guitar, and this was while PSSSTOLS was fading out a bit. I told Sal I wanted to do something with one of the tracks that I did, and Sal played on that track. From there, PSSSTOLS just kind of broke up, and we planned to do something else. So Dillon, the other guitar-player we have, he was in another band that I played in, and he decided to come with us, too. After that, we got Joel to come along, too.”
In January, CIVX played its first show under the name of Past Decades, along with Parosella and Tribesmen.
“We didn’t let anyone know that we had formed another band,” Hernandez said. “We had just gotten Joel in the band, and we only had about four original songs, and one of them, I didn’t even write the vocals for yet, so I just hummed out the melody for that whole song. People didn’t understand it; they thought I was singing vocals, but I was just sort of humming and making up stuff as I went along.”
When the band entered their video for the Tachevah poll, the members had low expectations.
“We just wanted to enter the competition,” Hernandez said. “We were like, ‘We’ve only been a band for such a short time, and we have nothing but having just played a show.’ We had one of our fans record us about a week before the deadline. Two days before Tachevah, we went out to the desert for recording the video with our cell phones. That whole night before, we just worked on the video. We didn’t know what to expect, because we just did it for fun.”
The members were stunned when they learned they had nabbed a spot in Tachevah.
“It was one of the best things I have ever felt,” Hernandez said. “I’ve never been in a competition like that. A lot of the local bands we like have played something for Goldenvoice, and it felt so good to play at that level.”
The members of CIVX have been working on new material, and Hernandez said the band will play a new song during their performance. “We have this one new song that we’re working really hard on, and it’s already done. We’re just adding new stuff here and there, and this song is pretty much Tachevah-made. When we write music, we want people to be into the music as much as we are, and just going into it with that.”
The Yip Yops
Like CIVX, The Yip Yops are also new—in fact, they are only about six months old. During a recent interview, guitarist and lead vocalist Addison “Ison” Van Winkle talked about how Jacob Gutierrez (bass) and Ross Murakami (drums) joined him to create the band.
“I met Jacob in seventh-grade at a talent show; we actually competed against each other,” Van Winkle said. “After we performed, he came up to me and asked me if I was doing anything or if I was in a band. I didn’t really have answer, and being the douche that I am, I was blowing him off for a little bit. I met Ross about a year or so before I started the band. … It was one of the reasons why I started the band, because I saw him and his former band playing at a family friend’s house, and it was a life-changing experience seeing how cool it was interacting with other guys playing music and sharing music.”
While the members of The Yip Yops certainly didn’t expect to earn a Tachevah slot this year, it was a goal they had in mind.
“When we first got together, our main goal was to play Tachevah,” Van Winkle said. “That’s kind of what we were getting ready for a little bit. We knew it was going to be a real big struggle, because we weren’t around as much; we didn’t have as many fans like Parosella or One11 does. Somehow, we just spread the word, and we got in. We’re kind of blessed to be in this position and have all the fans and support we have behind us.”
Playing the showcase at the Hard Rock alone was a dream come true for the band.
“Speaking for the whole band, I think that was one of the best experiences that we’ve had as a band and probably in our entire lives,” Van Winkle said. “Just the energy of the crowd, the energy of getting up on stage in front of Goldenvoice and Shelby Lynne—I think we just liked the pressure of doing that kind of thing.”
Van Winkle said his band hopes to turn in a solid performance at Tachevah.
“It’s not like any other gig because of the exposure, and a lot of people are going to be there,” Van Winkle said. “It’s going to be bigger than anything than any of us have ever thought about. I just think we’re going to do the same thing as we did for the voting: We’re just going to tell as many people, and hope for the best. We’ll see what happens.
“We don’t really have any fears. … It’s all part of the experience for us. It’s cool enough for us just to be on the lineup and playing there.”
One11 may be more experienced than CIVX and The Yip Yops, but they aren’t exactly the Rolling Stones: The group has been together for just two years.
However, the band has made the most of that time, playing more than 200 shows both locally and in well-known venues around Los Angeles, such as the House of Blues, The Roxy, and The Key Club.
One11 has become a local favorite thanks in part to their combination of pop-punk and an alternative sound.
“We all have a lot of different inspirations,” said drummer Ryan Cenicola, whose bandmates are Evan Boydstun (lead guitar), Michael Ramirez (lead vocals, guitar) and Matt Sutton (bass). “Our guitarist is really into classics like Led Zeppelin; I’m into Green Day; our other guitar-player is into Arctic Monkeys, and it all just comes together into this unique sound. We all bring our own unique twist into it.”
When it came to entering Tachevah, they focused on putting together the best video entry that they could. When they found themselves in the showcase, they knew they had some intense competition.
“The competition was really, really fierce,” said Cenicola. “I saw CIVX when they played, and they were awesome; The Yip Yops are really cool, and every band that played was awesome. After we played, we felt good about ourselves, but with the competition being so fierce, we knew it could have gone either way.”
While One11 has played many shows, Cenicola said he was still blown away the amount of support they received during the showcase.
“I can’t believe how many people came out to see us,” Cenicola said. “It was awesome how many people came out to support us. All of us were overwhelmed with the love we were given. It was a really unique show, because it was intimate, and I just wanted to play my heart out so I could earn this spot at Tachevah.”
Cenicola said that Tachevah represents the big time to the band.
“This show is obviously going to be of a higher caliber, because a lot of people are going to be there, and it’s on such a huge stage,” Cenicola said. “Because it’s on a huge stage, we need to make it a huge show. We’re going to tweak our show and make it as big as possible, as great as possible, and bring as much energy as we can.”
The Tachevah Block Party takes place on Wednesday, April 16, at the Spa Resort Casino, 401 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs. Doors open at 5 p.m., and admission is free. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Tachevah. Below: One11.