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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Music News and Features

01 May 2017
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The Who played Desert Trip at the Empire Polo Club back in the fall—and selections from the band’s rock opera Tommy were some of the most popular songs. At Stagecoach, much of Tommy was once again played at the Empire Polo Club—albeit in a much different fashion. The HillBenders on Sunday played a bluegrass version of the album in its entirety—minus four or so songs, given the group had to trim things down to fit into an hour-long set. It’s worth noting that the band pressed on sans bassist Gary Rea, due to flooding in the Ozarks. After the performance, frontman Jimmy Rea discussed where the idea came from to record the entire Tommy album. “It was actually a friend of ours’ suggestion,” Jimmy Rea said. “He had been wanting to do it for 25 years and was messing around with it. His name was Louis Meyers, and he was…
01 May 2017
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If you were at the Smokey Barrel Stage at Stagecoach, you might have caught a set by Tarzanaland—which marked the first public performances by this band made up of music-industry veterans. The lead singer of Tarzanaland is Kelly Kidd, also of the Podunk Poets, a band which has performed at Stagecoach in the past. Joining Kidd in Tarzanaland is Thomas Gallmeier. Bassist Grady Hutt and guitarist Jake Kelly, both members of the Podunk Poets, backed Kelly and Gallmeier at Stagecoach—and at least one of those Podunk Poets may be increasing his involvement in Tarzanaland. Kidd and Gallmeier explained that Tarzanaland was created to fill the gaps in between Podunk Poets’ performances and recording sessions. “I’ve known Thomas for years and years, and we’ve been in and out of different projects.” Kidd said. “Thomas comes from the (electronic dance music) world, so I thought it would be fun to throw some…
30 Apr 2017
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On Day 2 of Stagecoach 2017, two music legends celebrated their birthdays. In recent years, Goldenvoice has booked some psychedelic rock bands with 1960s heydays to play the festival. On Friday, the Zombies played to a large crowd in the Palomino Tent; on Saturday, it was Tommy James and the Shondells. When Tommy James and the Shondells took the stage, they started with their 1971 hit “Draggin’ the Line.” I immediately noticed was how tight the band sounded—and how well James can still sing and play his guitar; it appears he’s taken care of himself over the years. James told the audience that in their time slot, they couldn’t perform their standard repertoire, but he promised everyone a good time with as many songs as possible. The band then launched into “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” At one point, the band endured some technical difficulties that went on for a few minutes.…
29 Apr 2017
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Stagecoach kicked off on Friday with a whole lot of interesting things going on—and I am not even talking about the happenings on the Main Stage. Son Volt played in the Mustang Tent in the afternoon—which created a schedule conflict for those (like me) who also wanted to see the Zombies play in the Palomino Tent next door. While the Zombies’ 1960s psychedelic rock ’n’ roll won over a crowd that nearly filled the Palomino Tent, Jay Farrar and the rest of Son Volt also put on quite a show, holding most of the crowd as the band played. Son Volt, coming off of a lengthy hiatus, actually played at the first Stagecoach in 2007. The group sounded magnificent, producing a stellar show that included edgier, rock-influenced stuff, as well as more country-sounding songs that included slide guitar. After the Zombies and Son Volt, “The Killer” himself, Jerry Lee Lewis,…
25 Apr 2017
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It’s become a fantastic tradition for local bands to perform at Coachella, and this year, three local groups got their moment in the spotlight—or, rather, moments in the Gobi Tent. Kayves, a Tachevah finalist, played on Friday. The Yip Yops, which played a set to a packed house at The Hood Bar and Pizza with the Flusters in between the two Coachella weekends, performed on Saturday. And Ocho Ojos, a psychedelic cumbia band hailing from the East Valley, played on Sunday. There are numerous benefits for a local band to play at Coachella. Some members of the local bands who have played Coachella in the past have told me about the ability to engage with the bigger names and get advice, or be put in touch with producers or people who they should work with. The exposure alone can help newer bands. To some Kayves members, this year actually marked…
24 Apr 2017
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Since its inception in 1999, Coachella has continued to evolve—to the point where it’s now one of the most well-known festivals in the world. This year, it went through a large evolutionary step: The capacity went from 99,000 people to 125,000. The site was also reorganized, with the Outdoor Stage and the Mojave and Gobi tents pulled all the way back against Monroe Street. The Sahara Tent is a permanent fixture on the site, but the interior got all sorts of new effects. There is also a new tent, too: the daytime/early evening-only Sonora Tent. It offered an air-conditioned, club-like atmosphere and hosted a lot of punk-rock acts, like as T.S.O.L., The Interrupters, Shannon and the Clams and others. Many Weekend 1 attendees took to social media to complain about crowding in the general admission areas. There was some truth to those complaints, as I learned during Weekend 2. Still,…
23 Apr 2017
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Coachella attendees who braved Saturday’s hot temperatures got some great music to enjoy, including the day’s headliner, Lady Gaga. I must admit that I am not a big fan of pop divas, but I promised myself I would keep an open mind as I took in Gaga’s performance, rather than doing my usual full embrace of the “music snob” title that some have bestowed upon me. As for that performance: After Bon Iver’s Main Stage set finished a little before 10 p.m., most of the area was dead, as attendees crammed the Outdoor Stage area to take in DJ Snake’s performance. That let Gaga’s die-hard fans grab spots close to the stage. Gaga was scheduled for 11:10 p.m., and even though the stage seemed set well before that, she did not take the stage until after 11:30. I watched parts of last weekend’s Gaga show on the live YouTube stream.…
23 Apr 2017
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Camping accommodations at Coachella are pretty sweet—if you like to party. But what if you aren’t into partying, are Jewish, and are attending Coachella? Shabbat Tent has you covered. Coachella and Passover tend to overlap at times—as was the case last weekend. This weekend, on Saturday morning—during the Sabbath—I noticed Shabbat Tent and decided to stop in. There, I met Rabbi Yonah Bookstein. Before the service, Rabbi Bookstein’s volunteers offered attendees grape juice, wine or whiskey to drink during the service. One of the attendees raised his hand and said, “WHISKEY PLEASE!” He then added: “I LOVE JUDAISM!” During the brief Sabbath service, Rabbi Bookstein discussed giving freely to others without expecting anything in return, as well as the meaning of establishing healthy boundaries. Shabbat Tent doesn’t only show up at Coachella. When you look at the Shabbat Tent website, you’ll see it has appeared at numerous U.S. music festivals,…