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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

According to the Los Angeles Times, L.A is the cultural center of the universe. As a result, the Coachella Valley, being two hours away (plus or minus, depending on how fast you drive), naturally experiences some trickle-down cool; if a star explodes in L.A., we are going to experience some of the blast.

Whether or not you agree with the Times … we can all agree there is much fun to be had this October across the Coachella Valley.

Fantasy Springs is offering a unique comedy event that you won’t want to miss. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5, comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short will bring their “Now You See Them, Soon You Won’t” tour to Indio for an evening of laughs and stories, with special guests Paul Shaffer, Della Mae and Alison Brown. Unbeknownst to many, Steve Martin is an accomplished banjo player, winning a Grammy in 2010 for a bluegrass album. Both men are widely popular—and funny. Let’s hope Martin brings out his banjo. Tickets are $79 to $139. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, put on your cowboy boots and head to the Special Events Center for Big and Rich, with special guests Cowboy Troy and DJ Sinister. Tickets are $49 to $89. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

The Show at Agua Caliente Casino is hosting several events this month we want to tell you about. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18, REO Speedwagon will bring arena-pop anthems to The Show. It’s a good thing this event is on a Friday: You don’t want to go to work the day after a night with REO Speedwagon. Tickets are $65 to $195. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 23, blues great Joe Bonamassa will take the stage. A whopping 16 Bonamassa albums have topped the Billboard blues chart! Tickets are $89 to $199. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, the man Pitchfork called “the face of modern reggaeton” will perform: J Balvin. He wowed audiences at Coachella earlier this year. Tickets are $85 to $125. Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, the legendary Mexican norteño band Los Tucanes de Tijuana returns to Spotlight 29 and the city of Coachella, which gave the band the keys to the city in the week leading up to the band’s performance at Coachella and Chella. Get ready to hear the smash hit about a danceaholic woman, “La Chona”; it drives concert-goers crazy, so the band is known to play it twice. Tickets are $35 to $55. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa is bringing a couple of old-school legends to Cabazon in October. At 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, Patti LaBelle will take the Morongo stage. Need we say more? Tickets are $69 to $79. A 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, the man, the myth, the legend, Engelbert Humperdinck will return to Morongo. The man who was born in British India with the name Arnold Dorsey has gone on to sell more than 140 million records … and baffle Eurovision audiences when the then-76-year-old was inexplicably Great Britain’s entry into the continent-wide contest back in 2012. Tickets are $65 to $85. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s has a number of exciting shows booked this month. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2, indie-rock artists Beth Orton and Mercury Rev will bring their critically acclaimed music to Pappy’s inside stage. The show promises to provide high-desert vibes: psychedelia, acoustic guitars, distortion, lots of effects, boots—all of it. They will be performing their tribute to Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete. Tickets are $35. At 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, Pappy’s welcomes Soccer Mommy and Rosie Tucker, both critically acclaimed artists who have gained popularity in the blogosphere this year. Tickets are $18 to $20. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10, Neon Indian, one of the progenitors of the “chill-wave” genre, will bring electronic pop songs in for an intimate evening. Led by Texas-born musician Alan Palomo, Neon Indian released its debut album, Psychic Chasms, 10 years ago, and most recently released Vega Intl. Night School in 2015. Palomo has kept busy with filmmaking, acting and soundtracking, and this show serves as Neon Indian’s return; according to Palomo’s Instagram, the band will be playing some “nuevo fuego,” or “new fire”—in other words, new songs. Hashtag smiley-face emoji. Hashtag fire emoji. Tickets are $20 to $25. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 24, The Black Lips will return to the desert for a guaranteed loud evening of garage rock. Expect the unexpected, as the band is known for its wild stage antics. For fans of New York Dolls, T. Rex and Wavves. Tickets are $25. Weekdays at Pappy’s seem to be the place to be, because at 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 31, Cherry Glazerr will bring feminist indie garage-rock songs back to the Pappy’s stage. This promises to be a fun show. Tickets are $20. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room has some noteworthy events this month. John Lloyd Young will take the stage at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12. Young performs a series of covers for fans of ’50s and ’60s rock ’n’ roll, including songs by Roy Orbison and The Platters, among others. Tickets are $50 to $65. At 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19, Kinsey Sicks will bring their famous show back to Palm Springs. According to the Purple Room website, the show is a “mix of gorgeous a cappella, hilarious drag, obscenity and absurdity with gasp-inducing political satire thrown in for bad measure.” Tickets are $35 to $45. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, the Tony Award-nominated Sharon McNight will perform her “Red Hot Mama” show, which is a tribute to Sophie Tucker. Tickets are $30 to $35. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

The Tack Room Tavern has a great month of events planned. Indio TerrorFest takes place on Saturday, Oct. 26; you can read all about that next week at CVIndependent.com. But first comes one of the best charity events of the year: At 5:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19, the Tack Room will host the 12th Annual Concert for Autism, a benefit for the Desert Autism Foundation. Performers will include John Garcia and the Band of Gold, FrankEatstheFloor, The Hellions and many others. A $10 donation is suggested at the door. Tack Room Tavern, 81800 Ave. 51, Indio; 760-347-9985; www.facebook.com/tackroomtavern.

Toucans is hosting some fun cabaret events this month. At 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11, adult-contemporary singer-songwriter Tom Goss is performing along with Deven Green. Goss’ songs are emotive folk narratives reminiscent of Mumford and Sons, and Of Monsters and Men. Goss is playing in support of his upcoming album, Territories. Tickets are $25 to $35. At 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, the comedian and entertainer Mama Tits brings her outrageous part-comedy, part-concert show to Toucans for a night of fun, laughter and risqué jokes. Tickets are $25. Toucans Tiki Lounge and Cabaret, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-416-7584; www.reactionshows.com.

Below: Cherry Glazzer, by Pamela Littky.

Published in Previews

I’ll admit it: I was skeptical as I walked into the Empire Polo Club for the start of Coachella Weekend 2—but a relaxed vibe and above-expectations performances led to a wonderful Friday of music.

Here are some of the things I took in:

• Just after 3 p.m., I found myself at the Coachella Stage watching Los Tucanes de Tijuana for the second time this week. The Coachella performance was much different than the one at Chella—and the Coachella crowd couldn’t seem to get enough. The band played 1994 hit “La Chona” early in the set and also at the end. “La Chona” has become a verb, of sorts, as people like to post online videos dancing to the song, and the Coachella crowd was happy to do so as well.

• Late in the afternoon, I was blown away by Calypso Rose’s set in the Gobi Tent (right). The 78-year-old calypsonian from Trinidad—she announced she’ll be 79 in two weeks—is now the oldest performer to grace the stages at Coachella. Despite falling down last week, she stood right back up as if nothing happened. She can no longer do the crazy calypso dances, but she teased the crowd a few times by pulling up her ankle length dress to her knees and moving a bit. She’s adorable … and she’s fierce. In fact, after her second song, she declared herself the “Queen of Coachella.” She also told the men in the audience to never raise a hand toward a woman, because they spent nine months in a woman’s womb, and they wouldn’t want anyone to hit their daughters—and she spoke from a place of authority, as she’s battled sexism in the calypso scene from men who were intimidated by her or felt inferior to her. It’s a wonder why more people weren’t at her set—because she is a true living legend.

• Anderson .Paak (first below) started off his early-evening set on the Coachella Stage with a blasting performance of “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance” from his 2016 album, Malibu—and then was seen performing behind the drums. When I saw him perform at Coachella in 2016, I figured he was only going to become a bigger name—and he’s now a main-stage talent. He joked with the audience that the first-week jitters were gone, so he could relax—and that he was happy to see a turnout bigger than last weekend’s crowd. There were times in the set that felt like a Stevie Wonder set in the 1970s, and there were times that felt like a high-energy rap concert.

• U.S. Girls’ Meghan Remy is a bit eccentric, and the group’s headlining performance in the indoor Sonora Tent was a bit strange (second below). Performing right after punk/hardcore band The Frights was probably not easy for a psychedelic pop band—and the crowd was pretty dismal, to say the least, despite all the positive press the group has garnered over the last year. After about the third song, there was a minute of very awkward silence as Remy stared into the audience and calmly asked: “Are you out there?” The end of the performance was also strange, when she and two other band members got down on the floor of the stage, performed some strange movements, and literally crawled away to conclude the performance … something the audience wouldn’t have known if one of the band members hadn’t walked by and threw some guitar picks to the crowd while waving goodbye.

• As I waited for Lady Gaga’s headlining performance two years ago, DJ Snake’s wild DJ set—complete with a crazy light show accompanying it—offered great entertainment. On Friday, DJ Snake returned to the same stage, with almost the same scenario—playing right before the headliner. This time around, I decided to actually watch rather than just listen, and it was … let’s call it over the top. It was an absolute banger of a set that could probably be heard all the way in Palm Desert. DJ Snake went hard, and—other than an earsplitting number using high-pitched bird sounds—it was flawless.

• Childish Gambino’s intro was the same as it was last week: He started off on a platform about 25 feet off the ground that slowly lowered him down. His eyes were wide, as if he were ready for war, as he walked through the gospel choir accompanying him. After the first song, he took it down a notch, giving the audience two rules: Get down to the performance as much as possible; and put down the fucking phones and live in the moment. He saved his best and newer material for the end, after delighting the crowd with some of his lighter-hearted material.

Published in Reviews

The second-annual Goldenvoice event known as Chella took place at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio on Wednesday night, and local Latin-music lovers packed into the Fullenwider Auditorium to catch performances by Giselle Woo and the Night Owls, Cola Boyy, Mon Laferte and Los Tucanes de Tijuana.

Giselle Woo and the Night Owls—the show’s local act—sounded incredible. If there was a standout beyond Woo herself, it was her guitarist, Christian Colin, whose solos left many of the attendees in awe. After Woo’s brief set, the crowd demanded one more song—which unfortunately never happened.

After a bit of a delay due to technical issues, Cola Boyy finally took the stage. The Oxnard native has a very distinctive voice, and his show was a ’70s throwback, of sorts, thanks to modernized takes on soul and disco. Some of those beats were pretty sweet.

Mon Laferte, one of Chile’s biggest music stars, took the stage to a loud welcoming ovation, with her fans sticking homemade signs in the air. From the moment she started singing through the end of her performance, you could feel the emotion. It was as if the audience was watching a diva give the performance of a lifetime.

The stage setup for Los Tucanes de Tijuana was a show of its own: Towers with lights were carted out; lighting was mounted on the front part of the stage; dry ice was tested, as were other stage effects. After a brief video intro, the group came out and got right down to business with smash hit “La Chona.” The energy level in the auditorium from both Los Tucanes and the audience felt like the energy at an amazing metal concert.

Scroll down to see photos from the show.

Published in Reviews

It’s August, which means we’re starting the downhill slide into fall (and the amazing weather that season brings). Meanwhile, there are still plenty of great shows to enjoy.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a couple of events to consider. At 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 4, Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera of Riverside will square off against Jesus “El Renuente” Soto Karass of Los Mochis, Mexico, in a welterweight-division match that’s part of Golden Boy Boxing. The event will also be broadcast on ESPN. Tickets are $25 to $45. At 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 18, the legendary Doobie Brothers will return to Fantasy Springs. The band’s name has always amused me, but the music is no laughing matter: It’s great. Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa also has a sports event taking place: At 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 5, get ready for the beatdown … the Gladiator Challenge MMA: Ultimate Beatdown, that is. While the card had not been announced as of my deadline, you can bet the beatdown awesomeness will be … uh, awesome, considering the Gladiator Challenge has been going since 1999, and MMA greats including Dan “The Beast” Severn and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson have participated. Tickets are $40 to $150. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 12, you’ll be off the wall and asking Annie if she’s OK when the Michael Jackson History Show hits the valley. This is a production by Showtime Australia, and will feature MJ impersonator Dantanio. Tickets are $29 to $59. Speaking of the King of Pop (sort of): Do you love the ’80s? Well, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19, you’ll be loving Lost ’80s Live, with a lineup featuring Wang Chung, Cutting Crew, Pretty Poison, Naked Eyes, The Flirts, Trans-X, Berlin (right) and Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet, who recently made it known that Spandau Ballet is officially done. Confession: Since I bought my new car a couple of months ago, the SiriusXM radio has been set to the ’80s station almost all the time. Tickets are $45 to $65. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 is offering an interesting mix of events in August. First, do you know who really loves reggae music? Independent contributor Guillermo Prieto does—but I’m sure you do, too, and at 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 5, there will be a celebration of Bob Marley put on by OneGunn, OneLove. There’ll be good times and good vibes, for sure. Tickets are $20. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 12, you’ll be banging your head with the horns up during the celebration of Metallica put on by Masters of Puppets. The group has received a lot of props from Metallica fans, so don’t miss this one if you, too, are a fan. Tickets are $20. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19, fans of Norteño will be delighted to enjoy the show by Los Tucanes de Tijuana. The band has sold more than 13 million albums! Tickets are $30 to $50. It’ll be ladies’ night at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 25 when Las Vegas production Hunks comes to town. The scantily clad muscle men of your dreams will be strutting across the stage and making you scream! Tickets are $20. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a solid August lineup. At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 11, R&B crooner Peabo Bryson will be performing. If you were a ’90s kid who loved Disney films and/or had the “pleasure” of singing in your elementary school choir, you know him as one of the voices featured on several huge Disney hits, including “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and “Beauty and the Beast” from Beauty and the Beast. Tickets are $59 to $69. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 24, The Gipsy Kings will take the stage. Although it is a French group, The Gypsy Kings perform salsa, flamenco and other varieties of world music. Tickets are $59 to $69. At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 25, Fuel will be performing, with the promise of “special guests.” Fuel was a ’90s radio staple, and songs “Shimmer” and “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)” always had the potential to get stuck in one’s head. Tickets are $28 to $35. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s has the best lineup for music-lovers in August; here are just a few highlights. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 17, Neon Indian (below) will be performing. Neon Indian’s electronic pop anthems are a lot of fun and have been remixed by some big names. If you’ve never heard of the band before, check out the song “Polish Girl.” Tickets are $20. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 24, New York City band Psychic Ills will come to Pappy’s. It’s hard to describe the band’s sound; think psychedelic rock with an experimental vibe. The group has been around since 2003 and has put out five full-length albums. This will be a great show for a summer night! Tickets are $15. And we saved the best for last: Thursday, Aug. 31, through Saturday, Sept. 2, the Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven annual event Campout will be back. In its 13th edition, the event will feature the usual Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker performances, along with appearances by The Dangers, Black Marshmallows, Tribesmen (Take the East Valley kids bowling!) and many others. Tickets are $25 to $100. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews