CVIndependent

Sat11252017

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Reviews

22 Jun 2014
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It’s hard for me to believe that the Vans Warped Tour is celebrating 20 years. It has outlasted Ozzy Osbourne’s OzzFest, the Lilith Fair tour, and the touring version of Lollapalooza. On Friday, June 20, the 2014 Warped Tour came to Pomona, at the Fairplex, 80 miles or so from the Coachella Valley. In its first decade, the Warped Tour focused on punk—but today, it has a completely different vibe. While some punk-rock veterans occasionally pop up, the tour now includes Christian metalcore bands, “emo” groups, and pop-punk acts. However, not everything is different: Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman is still involved, and the tour still offers low ticket prices and a DIY ethic. One big complaint: It was nearly impossible to find a simple schedule of the bands spread out over 11 stages inside the Fairplex. When I saw a merchandise booth selling schedules for $2, I broke down…
26 May 2014
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The Black Uhuru show was thankfully worth the wait that some unfortunate fans had to endure on Saturday night. Some people holding tickets for the show at The Hood Bar and Pizza had to wait more than an hour before gaining admission; the poor fans who did not already have tickets were told that only a small fraction of them would be able to get in. As the fans trickled in, local reggae band Tribe-O showed off their solid traditional reggae sound. The Indio group was a perfect choice to open the show. Formed in Jamaica in 1972, Black Uhuru’s only remaining original member seems to be Derrick “Duckie” Simpson. Andrew Bees, added to the group in recent years, along with backing vocalist Kaye Stahr, joins Simpson to make up the core of today’s Black Uhuru. After an introduction by a member of the Black Uhuru crew, the band played…
28 Apr 2014
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The final day of Stagecoach on Sunday, April 27, closed out three weekends of Coachella/Stagecoach awesomeness with more great music—and a notable dud as well. Kicking things off, on the Palomino Stage, was I See Hawks in L.A., a band with a traditional country-music sound that hearkens back to the late ’60s and early ’70s. Frontman Rob Waller has a voice that is similar to that of the late Waylon Jennings; the lap-steel guitar and harmonies felt like a throwback to the legacy era of country music. When I recently interviewed Shelly Colvin, she spoke about the influence of Emmylou Harris, and explained how being raised in a Southern Baptist household tinged her music. Her performance on Sunday afternoon certainly showed those influences: Gospel music and a rustic country sound were mixed with Colvin’s stunning vocals. She didn’t sing any of her songs like she sang them on her debut…
27 Apr 2014
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The winds were up and the temps were down during Day 2 of Stagecoach 2014—but the music was spectacular. Former Old Crow Medicine Show member Willie Watson kicked off the day on the Mustang Stage. Watson’s set was a prime example of the diversity offered at Stagecoach when attendees get away from the Mane Stage area. Watson offered a traditional sound, switching between banjo and guitar. His one-man folk act was impressive. The Spirit Family Reunion appeared on the Mustang Stage mid-afternoon. The America band has appeared on NPR and has earned write-ups from various Americana-related publications—and the group is certainly worthy. With a sound similar to that of the Felice Brothers (minus the accordion), Spirit Family Reunion had crowd members dancing and clapping along. “Mainstream” country music is becoming more diverse with bands such as this gaining an audience, and the modern sound—mixed with a traditional, rustic approach—of Spirit…
26 Apr 2014
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Wind, a threat of late rain and cooler-than-normal temps didn’t dissuade the cowboy-boot-and-cowboy-hat crowd from reveling at the Empire Polo Club in Indio on Friday, April 25, during Day 1 of Stagecoach 2014. Attendees were let into the merchandise-booth and lobby areas a bit early, but access to the stages was blocked off until noon sharp—when the gates opened, and the theme to The Benny Hill Show, “Yakety Sax,” played as everyone ran toward the Mane Stage to set up chairs and blankets. At 1 p.m., The Wild Feathers had the honor of kicking it all off, on the Palomino Stage. The small crowd was blown away—and perhaps a bit uncomfortable—during the blasting Southern-rock sound of the first two numbers. However, when the band moved on to its honky-tonk-style material and California-inspired country sound, its became a crowd hit. “It was beautiful,” The Wild Feathers’ Joel King said. “We toured…
21 Apr 2014
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Coachella Day 3 started off on a much hotter note—but that did not diminish the excitement of festival-goers. After all, this was the last day of the festival, so it was time to savor every moment. Early in the afternoon, the Mojave tent hosted the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans. At the same time, Trombone Shorty was playing on the Main stage, so it sounded like New Orleans at Mardi Gras. As Trombone Shorty finished up, it was time for Fishbone. The band started off a high-energy set with “Party at Ground Zero”—and when the song picked up, so did the mosh pit. The band then broke into “Fat Chicks/Bustin’ Loose.” The funk/punk/reggae/ska legends have never received the respect they’ve deserved, but they had some big-name fans on this day: Later in the set, Andre 3000 and Big Boi from Outkast showed up in the VIP aisle to…
20 Apr 2014
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Coachella Day 2 is always the festival’s busiest—and that was evident on Saturday, April 19, as people came to enjoy numerous up-and-coming artists, in addition to the big headliners. Early in the afternoon, Laura Mvula took the Gobi stage. I was in the nearby press tent, and the drum beat coming from the Gobi stage captivated me to the point where I had to get up and see what was going on. Mvula’s drummer turned out a unique set of beats throughout the entire set, while Mvula’s stunning soul-style vocals resonated through the whole tent. People were dancing and grooving, with some simply amazed by her performance. Meanwhile, a man in a marching-band outfit stomped through the crowd as people took photos of him. Speaking of soul, The Internet (yes, that’s what they’re called) followed Laura Mvula. Fronted by a woman named Syd Bennett (aka Syd tha Kyd), the neo-soul…
19 Apr 2014
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Coachella’s second weekend started off on Friday, April 18, on a comfortable note: The heat was not overbearing, with temperatures generally remaining in the 80s. Not even the arrival of some ominous clouds in the afternoon would put a damper on the fun. The Gabba Gabba Heys, a Ramones tribute band, started things off in the Gobi tent at noon. As someone who was fortunate enough to catch the very last Ramones tour during a stop in Cleveland, I can say that the Gabba Gabba Heys sound exactly like the Ramones. When they opened up with “Rockaway Beach,” a portion of the crowd in front of the stage began to mosh. Ramones tunes such as “Teenage Lobotomy,” “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Rock and Roll High School” and “I Wanna be Sedated” were performed with the Ramones sound intact—although visually, the Dee Dee Ramone was a little pudgier and shorter than the original,…