When it comes to pre-Coachella shows, Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace almost always has some of the best—and such was the case on Thursday, April 10, when the Afghan Whigs put on a fantastic outdoor show.
Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle (right) took the stage as the sun began to set. During a set of mostly Distillers songs, Dalle opened with “Die on a Rope.” Dalle explained that earlier in the day, she had been in some sort of accident with a Joshua tree, and that her left leg was a little numb—but she never showed any signs that it hindered her. When Dalle and the band (which includes Distillers and Spinerette guitarist Tony Bevilacqua) played “Sick of It All” and “I Am Revenant” toward the middle of the set, she was on fire, belting out the lyrics and playing her guitar masterfully. It’s been said that Dalle’s voice is not that attractive; however, she is a punk-rock frontwoman, after all, and her voice suits the themes of her songs quite well.
Toward the end of her set, Dalle pointed out two young kids standing in front of the stage and asked how old they were; when the boys said they were 13, she cheered them on. One of the boys screamed out that it was his birthday; Dalle then wished him a happy birthday.
One of the last songs in her set was a cover of the Misfits’ “Hybrid Moments,” before she closed out with “Underworld.”
The Afghan Whigs broke up in 2001, with a temporary reunion in 2006 before reuniting again in 2012—but the band played like they’d never left. After an instrumental intro, the band blasted into a song that will be on their upcoming album, Do the Beast, called “Parked Outside.” Their second song, “Matamoros,” is also on the upcoming album, and the songs prove that Greg Dulli and the rest of the guys still have their songwriting abilities. Do the Beast marks the band’s return to Sub Pop Records, and is one of the most anticipated albums of 2014.
A special moment occurred when the Whigs played “When We Two Parted”: Some members of the audience noticed during the mellow instrumental that the moon in the Pioneertown sky had an aura around it. People immediately took out their phones and started photographing the remarkable sight; the band seemed a little lost as to what was going on before Dulli began to sing.
Before playing two more new tracks—“Royal Cream” and “I Am Fire”—Dulli announced that the new album was recorded “right down the road” at Rancho de la Luna, and dedicated both songs to Eagles of Death Metal’s Dave Catching, the owner of the Rancho de la Luna, who was in the audience.
The band returned to the stage for the encore with a cover of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Heaven on Their Minds” from Jesus Christ Superstar, and immediately followed with “Somethin’ Hot,” which was played with such intensity that everyone was moving along to the music, including Pappy’s security man, Big Dave Johnson, who was caught headbanging to the song.
Before the Afghan Whigs left, the band said they had been virgins to playing at Pappy and Harriet’s, and thanked the crowd for “popping their cherry” and “going easy on our hymen.” They then closed with a great performance of “Faded.” Throughout the entire show, the vocals were flawless, and the guitar solos were extraordinary.
After the Afghan Whigs were finished around 10:30 p.m., it was time for Pappy’s second show, this one indoors, featuring GOAT. Many people were curious about the mysterious band which claims to be from a village in Sweden that was pillaged by Christians who accused the villagers of practicing witchcraft. The members perform in costumes and masks, concealing their identity.
Before GOAT took the stage, Holy Wave, a psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas, performed a short but impressive set consisting of a sound as if someone took the Doors and combined them with Moby Grape. The band members of the band, with the exception of the drummer, rotated instruments, moving between keyboard, bass and guitar.
Cell phones came out the minute that GOAT, minus the two female vocalists, walked in from the patio behind Pappy’s onto the stage and began to tune their instruments. After what seemed like a 10-minute-long tuning session, the band began to play rather suddenly. The two female vocalists seemingly came out of nowhere, dancing and chanting vocals over the psychedelic-rock-meets-Afrobeat sound. They then performed an incredible live set that included their jams “Goatman,” “Let It Bleed” and “Run to Your Mama.”
Pappy and Harriet’s owners Robyn Celia and Linda Krantz deserve applause for assembling the best Coachella celebrations, and things are only getting better: The Pixies are playing at Pappy’s next Thursday night.
Below: The Afghan Whigs. Photo by Guillermo Prieto/Irockphotos.net.