The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert has become known in recent years for both its incredible bookings of big-name punk-rock bands and its support of local music.
Now, the venue may become known for another thing: a fantastic electronic dance music night.
On Saturday, Sept. 20, The Hood will be hosting Fresh Sessions Live, hosted by Independent contributor All Night Shoes (Alex Harrington), with special guests Synthetix and Coffee Blvckk. (The Independent is also a sponsor of the event.)
During a recent interview, Harrington and Jack Kohler, the booking agent for The Hood, said the idea for the EDM night developed in part due to a successful birthday bash for Synthetix back in July. They realized that creating a regular dance-music night might be a good idea, especially since the eastern Coachella Valley doesn’t have a lot of music venues.
“It was my idea, but Jack encouraged it,” Harrington said. “The main idea behind it is it’s all about a form of collaboration. It’s not just one person or one thing, and it’s not just The Hood throwing a show. It’s artists coming together and doing something at The Hood.”
Kohler said he was happy to work with Harrington to put something together.
“I’ve noticed what he’s been doing locally, and I think it’s a neat thing,” Kohler said. “There are people out here who are cutthroat about working together. I think it’s rad that someone is starting a collective group of people. Another thing that’s difficult with this style of music is pairing people. I have a couple of favorite local DJs, with Alex being one of them. Coffee Blvckk is kind of an up-and-comer doing his thing. I had a night scheduled with him that we had to drop because of another show that interrupted it, so it’s cool that he’s going to be a part of this.”
Kohler has joked in the past that The Hood is more known for bros “high-fiving each other and throwing up,” and he said that some of the venue’s patrons have left “Boycott DJs!” messages on The Hood’s Facebook page.
“People would get so upset that we even had DJs,” Kohler said. “People have a kind of negative definition for a disc jockey and someone who uses new technology, so there’s a lot of purism with certain people. The funny thing is: In this town, you can’t just use this venue for straight rock ’n’ roll; it’s impossible to do that without repeating certain acts. Adding DJs to our schedule gives people a new flavor.”
“That’s what I like about The Hood: The Hood just isn’t an average venue,” Harrington said. “They’re always trying to bring in the freshest and highest quality of musicians—and the people here don’t realize it. That’s what I’m trying to do with this event: bring my knowledge and view on (music) to a place like The Hood, and keep that edge, keep that freshness—but also keep an underground vibe.
“People who go out to dance at places like the Hard Rock Hotel don’t necessarily want to go there all the time and be around that; sometimes, it’s just bit much. Sometimes, it’s nice to go somewhere where there’s not a pretentious fiasco going on. You want to let yourself go, but still have that experience with a DJ, and I think that’s something that people are looking for.”
Both Harrington and Kohler said they hope to make the EDM night a regular event.
“I’ve reached out to multiple artists in the area, and I’ve gotten positive feedback and people wanting to do it,” Harrington said. “If this takes off, it could be used in a way to combine local artists and DJs with acts from Los Angeles and San Diego. We don’t really have a place out here that’s like a real dance club; everything is kind of commercialized, to an extent. So I’d like to use it as a hub for local artists and DJs, and broaden the horizons of the scene out here.”
The event will be free. The Hood is also known for being on the cheaper side regarding beer and cocktails, so Kohler sees the potential in creating something new that people can enjoy without breaking the bank.
“I don’t like doing covers for events here,” Kohler said. “I also don’t like the high prices at clubs. That’s why I don’t really do that scene personally. I don’t want to spend a ton on drinks, and I don’t want to pay to see something I believe I can universally see somewhere else. This is a neat opportunity for us. … It’s not douchey, and you don’t have to ‘fit in.’
“I don’t want this bar to be selective to just punk rock, because that’s what it was for so long, and people have gotten over that. I have a lot of national punk rock coming up over the next couple of months, but I don’t want to stick to just that.”
Harrington hopes to see the place as packed as it was for Synthetix’s birthday party back in July.
“It got pretty busy,” Harrington said. “That event was thrown together (at the) last minute, so we’ll see what happens with this.”
Fresh Sessions Live, hosted by Independent contributor All Night Shoes (Alex Harrington) and featuring special guests Synthetix and Coffee Blvckk, takes place at 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free; this is an event for people 21 and older. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or visit www.facebook.com/thehoodbar. Below: Synthetix.