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The second of this summer’s two Splash House parties landed Aug. 10 at the Palm Springs Air Museum.

By now, Splash House is running like a fine vintage watch: Shuttles running from the three main pool-party venues—the Renaissance, the Riviera and the Saguaro—delivered Splashers to the pre-party at the Air Museum on Gene Autry Trail. I’m sure most of the young fans understood the deep connection Autry had to music, baseball and Palm Springs.

I am kidding: These EDM fans were here to party and listen to the best electronic music, in an effort to warm up for the pool parties that followed the next two days.

The Black Madonna headlined the pre-party. I had no idea who she was, which allowed me to listen with no biases or preconceived notions. It turns out she is a native of Kentucky who began her career as many do, by selling mix tapes in warehouses and—in her case—farm fields that became underground music venues. She magically melds different genres of music into tracks that fit well together, helping her stand out in the bro-dominated EDM scene. Her original mix of “He Is the Voice I Hear” was absolutely enchanting.

British DJ Hannah Wants brought her house beats to the Saguaro on a very hot Saturday afternoon. The Saguaro is the über-party place of Splash House; the proximity of the room’s balconies to the elevated DJ stage makes it a faultless spot if attendees do not want to leave their rooms.

Louis the Child was excited to be headlining the Renaissance on Saturday night. Robby Hauldren asked the crowd if they wanted a standard set, or a one-of-a-kind set. The crowd was mum on the subject, so the duo went with an incredible new set. “It’s Strange” was a pleasing tune. Aware of the long, hot day, Hauldren inquired as to the mood of the audience: “Are you still all right out there? Are you feeling the love? Are you feeling amazing?” This garnered a cheer from the sun-baked crowd.

Hauldren announced with excitement: “This is our first time headlining a festival.” He then announced the last song, a recorded track, “Better Not” (featuring Wafia), which played as they waved to fans.

One of the highlights of the Splash House after-hours party, once again held at the Air Museum, was Mija—a post-modern harlequin-like tech-house dream. Her “Notice Me”—with the words “I want you so badly in this weather, If only we could be together”—was joyful.

I was excited to see DJ Alex Harrington, whom I first met several years ago at Splash House when Gorgon City played in front of a few hundred fans at the now-defunct Hard Rock Hotel. Alex got the nod to open on the same stage where Gorgon City was the headliner last Sunday at the Renaissance. Harrington, a local and a former Independent contributor, has a new record coming out, Stargazer, and this was a great opportunity to show case his talent to a noon crowd who got to listen to his original material.

Splash House is like any music festival, in the sense that one can find gems while wandering around early in the day—like Silva, a DJ/producer playing a 1 p.m. set at the Riviera.

On a shuttle ride back the Saguaro, I met Kaley from Los Angeles, and Tina from Portland. Both ladies had floaties that were partially inflated. As Kaley was inflating her floatie, she said the air valve tasted like salad—and that she hates salad. She later explained that the night before, after the Louis the Child set, they’d acquired the floaties after they were abandoned by their previous owners; presumably, the person who previously inflated the floatie liked salads. Later that day, they waved happily when they spotted me at the Riviera. The best thing about Splash House is that everyone is in good spirits; it is easily the most laid-back music scene I cover all year.

Early Sunday evening, Grammy-nominated Camelphat packed the Renaissance during their nearly 90-minute set, keeping the bass strong, which re-energized the dancers.

Gorgon City returned to Splash House to close out the night. Fans adored new track “Love Me.” I am sure that while standing on the massive stage, they reflected upon the first time they played this event—in a room that was smaller than that stage.

As Splash House concluded for another year, I wondered: Is this a music festival, or just a well-planned pool party? Frankly, I don’t think it matters, because attendees are getting exactly what they paid for—a fun weekend under the sun with thousands of like-minded fun-seekers.

Published in Reviews

It’s always nice to be inside with air conditioning and cold beverages during the sweltering August heat. Well, here are some upcoming events where air conditioning and frosty drinks are abundant—as is great music.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is hosting some big names this month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, rapper Pitbull will be performing. It seems like every other hit pop song these days includes Pitbull on the track. After selling millions of albums and racking up numerous music awards, Pitbull is showing no signs of slowing down. Tickets are $69 to $129. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 27, former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar will be performing with a group that he’s calling The Circle. Joe Satriani and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently unavailable to perform with him as the supergroup Chickenfoot, so Hagar has recruited Michael Anthony (who also played with him in Van Halen and Chickenfoot), Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson. Tickets are $49 to $109. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has one notable event taking place in August. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, British reggae band UB40 will be performing. UB40’s reggae credentials are incredible, and the band has had about 50 hit radio singles in the United Kingdom, with several here as well—many of which are reggae covers of songs, such as “Red Red Wine” by Neil Diamond and “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher. Tickets are $55 to $75. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has suddenly become the place to be! At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 5, Flogging Molly (right) will be performing, right on the heels of a European tour. One of the two best-known Irish punk bands in America (the other being the Dropkick Murphys), Flogging Molly falls a little bit more on the traditional Celtic music side—and isn’t afraid to slow things down to tell an Irish hard-luck story that will bring a tear to your eye. Fun fact: Frontman Dave King was in heavy-metal band Fastway in the ’80s, and that band did the soundtrack for the terrible horror film Trick or Treat. Tickets are $55 to $65. At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12, there will be a show by Flo Rida. Flo Rida is a fascinating figure in the sense that he’s been combining house music with hip-hop. He’s been highly successful, in part due to terrific collaborations with artists such as Sia, T-Pain, Fresh Kid Ice and others. Tickets are $65 to $75. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499;

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace continues to fill the Monday Open-Mic Night with local music figures as guest hosts. On Aug. 1, Big Dave Johnson, Pappy’s security man and bassist for Mojave Sky, will be hosting; on Aug. 8, it’ll be Stew Heyduk from the Pappy’s Sunday Band. On Aug. 15, Lisa Lynn Morgan of R. Buckle Road and Lisa Lynn and the Country Gentlemen will be hosting; on Aug. 22, the hosts are local musicians Nigel Roman and Jennifer Irvine. On Aug. 29, Brent Simpson from Daytime Moon and Spankshaft is in charge. Admission is free. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13, Joshua Tree musician Gene Evaro Jr. (below) will be celebrating his album-release party. Gene has been on a fantastic run, playing a national tour with Elle King, and performing at various big events including the Joshua Tree Music Festival. His music has also made recent appearances on various soundtracks, including that of The Deadliest Catch. Every local-music lover should support Gene—and buy his album! Tickets are $12. At 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, there will be a performance by Diane Coffee, featuring Foxygen drummer Shaun Fleming. Diane Coffee is sort of a Broadway-meets-’70s-psychedelic-rock project. It’s definitely different … in a good way. Tickets are $10 to $12. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

Splash House will be returning for Round 2 this year, from Friday, Aug. 12, to Sunday, Aug. 14, at the Riviera Palm Springs, The Saguaro and the Palm Springs Air Museum. The lineup features headliners Gorgon City (performing a DJ set) and Snakehips. Other performers will include Hudson Mohawke, Bondax, DJDS and many others. General admission tickets are $120—and as of now, the event is listed as sold out. For more information or to purchase tickets, should any others become available, go to

The Hood Bar and Pizza has one scheduled event that’s a must-see: At 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, catch great triple-bill of Jesika Von Rabbit, The Yip-Yops and Herbert. This is the one local show in August you don’t want to miss. The Yip-Yops are back and performing under the band’s original name, after losing the IIIZ name to former record label Hood and Associates earlier this year. Meanwhile, Jesika Von Rabbit just performed a kick-ass show at Pappy and Harriet’s with the Death Valley Girls. Folks, this is the Low Desert’s chance to party with the cool kids from the high desert. Admission is free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220;

Photo below by Guillermo Prieto/

Published in Previews

It’s 2015! This month, I have put together a mix featuring artists you’ll most likely be hearing from this year.

Coachella is just around the corner, and you may notice a lot of “electronic” acts that you have not heard before when the lineup is announced. I think Gorgon City—which played on the Do Lab stage at Coachella 2014—will be huge this year; keep an ear out for them.

This month’s mix also features tracks from producer Ben Macklin, an artist I have really taken to recently. His music features lots of bass and tropical vibes featuring synths as well as pianos. It’s perfect for an enjoyable winter day in the desert.

The term “EDM” (electronic dance music) has spread like fire and has been used to describe myriad musical stylings. It’s much like the idea of “rock” music: Multiple genres reside underneath a blanket term. I challenge you to take a closer look at the genres that dance music offers. If you are new to this style of music, use this mix as a primer for a new year of discovery.

Listen below. Enjoy!

  • Ben Macklin, “It’s Over” (Original Mix)
  • Overjoy featuring Lex Famous, “Monstrous” (Colour Vision Remix)
  • Deep Sound Express featuring Raha, “After Rain” (Ben Macklin Remix)
  • JackLNDN, “And What”
  • Cazzette, “Sleepless” (Hotel Garuda and Thero Remix)
  • JesusdaPnK, “Ain’t No Game” (Colour Vision Remix)
  • Just Kiddin, “Thinking About It” (All Night Shoes Remix)
  • Tensnake, “No Relief”
  • Dusky, “Yoohoo” (Original Mix)
  • Freya, “2 Mouths, 1 Love”
  • Gorgon City, “Imagination”
  • Russ Chimes, “Baiona” (Original Mix)
Published in Subatomic

Splash House, like every other large-scale music festival these days, is inevitably compared to Coachella.

The two festivals both feature a variety of acts—including a mix of locals, up-and-comers and superstars—spread over a three-day period. However, that’s where the similarities end.

For one thing, the culture surrounding the festivals is completely different. EDM culture features many musicians who work with a DIY ethic, yet have played to large crowds around the world. However, these DJs are often not the focus of attention during their shows: Attendees and their crowd participation is often more of a spectacle.

Oh, there’s one other huge difference: Swimming pools!

It’s a popular joke that all it takes for a DJ to be successful is to “push play.” However, a true DJ doesn’t just “push play.” Instead, he or she has the job of selecting the right music to set the vibe; manipulating the mixing board to create a unique sound; and merging it all together.

This was all on full display at the most recent Splash House, held Friday, Aug. 8, through Sunday, Sept. 10, at the Hard Rock Palm Springs, The Saguaro and the Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club: While most DJs had crowds hopping, others didn’t create the right vibe—and the crowds around the pool would lose a reason to dance.

A great example of a unique EDM act performed at the Hard Rock in the early evening on Friday. (The Hard Rock was the only venue to have an official schedule on Friday, and the festivities were pretty low-key, especially compared to the other two days.) Tone of Arc is a duo featuring Derrick Boyd, who has a haircut similar to a mullet, and who wore a tanktop and yoga-style pants above his bare feet; and Zoe Presnick, a female vocalist who looked like she was almost in a trance as she provided backup vocals. The music featured a heavy beat that included Boyd providing some bass and electric guitar here and there. The lyrics referenced UFOs and metaphysical mumbo jumbo. It was bizarre, to say the least—but those in attendance enjoyed it, because Tone of Arc offered something to dance to and provided the right kind of vibe.

When the pool and patio shut down, and the festivities moved inside to the Hard Rock lobby, the place filled up as people watched sets by Gorgon City, and then Oliver Heldens. Gorgon City and Oliver Heldens are both world-class acts that draw crowds and sell records. They brought out hardcore EDM fans who had illuminated sunglasses similar to Daft Punk’s helmets. Beach balls flew around, and bodies jumped up and down in the air—creating as much of a show as the music did.

Viceroy, who performed at the Saguaro on Saturday, is an artist like many others on the Splash House lineup: He doesn’t have a record deal; he releases remixes independently through Soundcloud and uses social media to promote himself; and he has a large following.

“It’s just the vibe about it,” Viceroy told the Independent before the set, when asked to explain the EDM culture. “It gets you to dance and have a good time and let loose, and that’s what it really is—just having a good time. It’s not worrying about the normal things on the weekdays. The babes are out; DJs are playing sets; and you’re drinking beers. There’s nothing better than that.”

Viceroy has performed around the world, and he said that every crowd has a different vibe.

“The Aussies are the craziest; they know how to fucking party,” he said. “I saw a guy over there run around without pants in a club once. Two pantsless guys at shows in Australia had me wondering, ‘Is this a normal thing in Australia? Guys get pantsless in the club and run around?’ It’s funny.”

Viceroy’s set started with an early ’90s hit from Del Tha Funkee Homosapien called “Mr. Dobalina,” which got the growing crowd in a party mood. He proved that he could play the right kind of music to establish the tone—yet remain consistent through his entire set.

After getting on the shuttle to the Hard Rock Hotel, I arrived as a young man called Trippy Turtle was in the middle of his set. He was clad in a hoodie with turtle eyes on the hood, and a shell on the back. He pumped up the crowd and played a set of heavy dance music with an audio sample of a video, repeated a handful of times throughout the set, that was popular on YouTube, of a little boy responding to a newscaster’s question with a random reply of, “I like turtles.” Attendees were dancing in front of the stage, partying in the pool and occasionally splashing water as the beat got heavier.

After Trippy Turtle, GoldLink took over. GoldLink is a hip-hop artist who is also taking the EDM world by storm.

“I’m from the East Coast, so we don’t get too many events like this going on,” said GoldLink’s DJ Kidd Marvel, with a laugh. “I’ve never been to a pool party like this with all these acts like Trippy Turtle, A-Trak, or Chromeo, and it’s a great event.”

He also made reference to the monikers, symbols and references to retro-cultures that some EDM artists use. The symbol of GoldLink is a tribal African mask.

“It’s like the tag, you know?” he said. “It’s what people are going to remember you by. They know your songs, but you need to have a stamp for them to really remember who you are. An example, Trippy Turtle has a great one.”

The resurgence of the retro pool party has become a key element in bringing millennials to Palm Springs. However, Splash House elevates the pool party to an entirely different level.

“You can program out a pool, but multiple pools?” said founder Tyler McLean. “It gives you a different air and more excitement, because it’s a bigger event than just one pool party. Above all, I think when everyone is on vacation together, and each of the rooms in each of the hotels is here for the same party, I think that automatically gives you a different atmosphere.”

So why is EDM so popular? The reaction of those in attendance at events like Splash House makes the answer obvious—it’s fun. Whether the performer is trying to create a metaphysical vibe and referencing UFOs, or whether the DJ seems obsessed with turtles, it’s all in the name of fun and having a good time. Add to that the Palm Springs pool culture, and it’s easy to see why Splash House has been such a massive success.

Published in Reviews

It’s time for August’s FRESH Sessions, the 11th installment in this series!

I’d like to again thank JF//Discord for his guest FRESH Sessions mix last month. While I love offering people some of the best known and unknown current dance music, I also love sharing the work of other DJs.

In the minds of some, there’s a stigma associated with modern DJing. Many see us as mere “party people” who like to play as loud and as fast as possible. This is not true. Yes, we all like to “get down”—but not in the same way.

For example, I appreciate some theatrics in a DJ set. Creating different sounds with someone else’s work is exciting. This month, I try to do just that, with the final installment in my “Poolside Sounds” mix series. I’ve captured a deeper, sexier sound with this mix. I hope you all enjoy.

Meanwhile, catch me at the follow shows this month:

  • Friday, Aug. 1: Toucans “Mischief/Jungle Jam" (Palm Springs Animal Shelter Benefit)
  • Friday, Aug. 15: Toucans “Mischief”
  • Saturday, Aug. 23: The Curve, “Burning BDay Bash III”

I’ll be adding more dates. Follow me on Facebook and on Twitter/Instagram at @allnightshoes!

  • Disclosure featuring Sam Smith, “Latch” (starRo Remix)
  • Gorgon City featuring MNEK, “Ready for Your Love”
  • Marvin Gaye, “Sexual Healing” (Nine Lives Rework)
  • Gero featuring Kullai Timi, “Turn Around” (Satin Jackets Remix)
  • Zedd featuring Foxes, “Find You” (Simo Remix)
  • EDX, “Breathin’” (Extended Vocal Mix)
  • Cyril Hahn featuring Shy Girls, “Perfect Form”
  • Endor and Midnight City featuring Romany, “Be With Me”
  • Usher, “Yeah” (Knightley Bootleg)
  • TrAmHed, “Circles in My Mind” (Joey Negro Club Mix)
  • Starsmith, “Now I Feel Good” (Club Edit)
  • Kiesza, “Hideaway” (Dom Dolla Remix)
Published in Subatomic