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Hip-hop has always offered insights into the realities of racial barriers, urban life and American political issues—and Sage Francis has thoroughly embraced these roots on the way to becoming an influential figure not just in hip-hop, but also spoken-word and poetry.

Sage Francis will be performing at the Date Shed at 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24, fresh off a European tour.

Sage Francis (Paul William Francis) grew up in Providence, R.I. After hearing Run-DMC and Public Enemy when he was 8 years old, he began writing his own lyrics. At the age of 12, he began sneaking out of his house to take part in rap battles. He later DJ’d at the infamous CBGB club in New York.

During a recent Skype interview from Helsinki, Finland, where he was performing, he reminisced about CBGB.

“Every week I would DJ, there was a poetry slam happening there, and I was living in Brooklyn and had a lot of connections to that scene,” Francis said. “I would perform, but I would also DJ and was the main DJ there.”

CBGB had a reputation for having one of the world’s worst toilets. Francis said it’s all true.

“Right before CBGB was closed down, I recorded a video for a song called ‘Escape Artist,’ and in one part, I go into the bathroom; I kick open the door, and you can see the toilet for yourself.”

Francis said he had a visceral reaction when he first heard hip-hop

“It was the way words sounded when they rhymed together,” he said. “It was the attitude; it was the delivery of the words; and I think there was a futuristic quality about it. I was familiar with rock sounds and folk sounds, but hip-hop had the electronic element to it that just really felt brand new and inspired.”

Francis’ spoken word and poetry has become as popular as his music.

“It’s kind of like being bilingual, I think,” Francis said. “It takes different parts of the brain, but when you merge them together, it all makes sense. I did keep them separate for a long time, because I wasn’t sure how to incorporate the good qualities of spoken word with the good qualities of hip-hop and make it work. After years of being involved in both scenes, I went through trial and error figuring out, and that’s how it all came together.”

Some rappers have said that one can’t be taught to write rhymes and perform rap. Sage Francis doesn’t agree.

“I think everyone starts off pretty whack,” he said. “Some take to it more quickly than others, especially freestyling. That took me a long time to figure out. I’m a writer by nature; I like being able to craft something and mold it exactly to how I want it to be, and you have to let go of a lot of those expectations of yourself when you freestyle. … You can look like an idiot sometimes if they don’t work out. That’s the good thing about writing: You get to edit it afterward. You don’t get to do that with freestyle. It takes a lot of practice.”

Francis is outspoken on political issues, especially on the subject of economic inequality. He co-founded Knowmore.org in 2004-2005 with poet/activist B. Dolan; the site tracks corporations and their business ethics.

“I think we are thrown morsels of economic justice every month or two, and that is enough to appease the people who think we’re on a path of progress,” he said. “It’s really tough to admit that, because I want to believe we’re working toward a greater social justice for everybody. History tells its tale, and I read it, and it’s not looking great. … Empires rise and fall every couple of centuries, and we’ll see what happens. We’re also living in an age when technology is being used against us as much as we use it to progress. That’s where the next big change and revolution will happen.”

In 2004, Sage Francis performed at the first Rock the Bells festival at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino. In a documentary made about the festival, founder Chang Weisberg was shown in an unflattering light, as he lied to ticketholders who waited for hours to get in, and dealt poorly with several issues surrounding the festival’s logistics. Francis explained his experience and what followed in the years after.

“It got worse, and probably because it became more popular, it imploded, eventually,” Francis said. “They were very cool to invite me and other independent artists onto that first one. But they booked way too many acts, and most of the people who went wanted to see Wu-Tang Clan as a full unit for the first time in 10 years. I could understand why the crowd got wild and almost rioted. There was very high tension at that show, and I feel like I took part in releasing some of that tension by letting them throw plastic bottles at my face when I was onstage. I think Chang is a visionary, and he’s a very sincere and cool guy, but we all had our problems eventually, and festivals are tough in general.”

He said he couldn’t wait for his show at The Date Shed.

“I’m in Helsinki, Finland, right now, and it’s freezing cold, so I’m actually looking forward to the desert,” he said.

Sage Francis will perform at 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24, at the Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Tickets are $25 to $28 for the 18-and-older show. For tickets or more information, call 760-775-6699, or visit www.dateshedmusic.com.

Published in Previews

Season is here! Let’s celebrate with some great events.

Greater Palm Springs Pride takes place Friday, Nov. 7, through Sunday, Nov. 9. There are a ton of related musical performances—many of those taking place at the new festival location in downtown Palm Springs. Get all the details at www.pspride.org.

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club will be celebrating Greater Palm Springs Pride with special events on Friday, Nov. 7, and Saturday, Nov. 8. Offerings include performances and sets by JD Samson, W. Jeremy, Sparber, Amber Valentine, Nark, Chelsea Starr and Victor Rodriguez; Murray Hill is the host. There will also be pop-ups from Wacky Wacko and Peggy Noland. Admission is free. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

The Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club will be having Pride pool parties Friday, Nov. 7, through Sunday, Nov 9. DJs scheduled to perform include Aaron C, All Night Shoes, COLOUR VISION and others. Admission is free. Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club, 1555 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-778-8954; www.haciendacantina.com.

The McCallum Theatre is back in full swing for the season. At 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 2, a group of all-star high school musicians throughout the Coachella Valley will join up for the All Coachella Valley High School Honor Band. Tickets are $10. Patti Austin will be coming through at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 22. The jazz vocalist has had an extensive career and was even a guest artist on Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. Tickets are $35 to $75. If you want to enjoy some laughs, the Last Comic Standing Live Tour will be at the McCallum at 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 23. Tickets are $25 to $65. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has several excellent events taking place. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 1, Def Leppard will be performing. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past four decades, or you’re just too young to know, Def Leppard is one of the big names of the British wave of heavy metal. The group’s drummer, Rick Allen, only has one arm, which makes Def Leppard the best nine-armed band ever. Tickets are $95 to $185. The reunited Culture Club (bottom) will be opening its reunion tour at Agua Caliente at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15. The group, fronted by the infamous Boy George, was a big hit in the ’80s, and the reunion includes all original members. Tickets are $90 to $160. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a great November schedule. Country-music sensation Reba will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 1. Reba has been in the business for almost 40 years and is a powerhouse in country music. She’s also an actress who is probably best known for her television sitcom on the WB Network. Tickets are $59 to $149. Howie Mandel will be bringing the funny at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 8. While Mandel is a hugely successful comedian and actor, he’s almost as famous for being a germophobe. Tickets are $29 to $59. Finally, the great Sheryl Crow will be returning to Fantasy Springs at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15. Tickets are $49 to $99. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a couple of events worth noting. LeAnn Rimes will be appearing at 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 2.Her record-breaking single 1997 “How Do I Live” was recently the answer to a trivia question at Bella da Ball’s Ace Hotel trivia night. Tickets are $29 and are only available at the Morongo Casino Box Office. Los Lobos (above right) will be stopping by with Los Lonely Boys at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 7. I had the opportunity to see Los Lobos perform in Riverside back in July, and band put on an amazing show. The members joked with fans who were cheering for them to play “La Bamba”; they said the song was actually performed by Los Lonely Boys. Tickets are $39 to $49. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has great things going on in November—as always. At 9 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 2, J.D. McPherson will be performing. McPherson performed locally at Stagecoach back in the spring. Tickets are $15. If you’re a fan of both lucha libre (Mexican professional wrestling) and rock ’n’ roll, stop by for Los Straitjackets at 9 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 13. I’ve seen the band twice before—and the shows are crazy fun. Tickets are $15. Now here’s something rather… odd: Macaulay Culkin and his band The Pizza Underground will be performing with Lizzo and Har Mar Superstar at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18. The Independent tried to interview someone from The Pizza Underground, but it didn’t work out, in part because the band only wanted to talk about pizza. So it’s a little odd that the band is performing in a barbecue restaurant that doesn’t serve pizza. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Speaking of pizza, The Hood Bar and Pizza has a fine November schedule. At 10 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 8, Independent resident DJ All Night Shoes will be hosting his next installment of FRESH Sessions Live. His guests will be Aimlo and COLOUR VISION. Admission is free. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15, the Hellions will be throwing a Turbojugend party that will include Monolith and Whiskey and Knives. Turbojugend, the legendary fan club of the Norwegian band Turbonegro, has a chapter in Palm Desert—made up of the Hellions. The Hellions will most likely be bringing in their brothers in denim jackets from Los Angeles, so you don’t want to miss this one. Admission is free. At 9 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 26, Machin’ will offer a special free Thanksgiving Eve performance. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

The Date Shed continues to make a comeback after a dormant period. Fortunate Youth will be performing at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 1. The Los Angeles reggae group has received accolades for a brilliant stage show. Tickets are $15 to $20. If that’s not enough reggae for you, San Diego reggae group Tribal Seeds is coming back for another show at The Date Shed at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 22. The crowd at the last show was packed, so get there early. Tickets are $17 to $20. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe Street, Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

Published in Previews

In the 1990s, Lagwagon was the talk of the underground punk scene.

However, the band never attained the mainstream success that contemporaries like Rancid and Green Day did. Nonetheless, Lagwagon is still around; in fact, the band just released a new album, Hang, and will be appearing at The Date Shed on Friday, Nov. 7.

Lagwagon formed in 1990 in Goleta, just outside of Santa Barbara. The name is a reference to frontman Joey Cape’s mother, who drove a station wagon and was never on time to pick up him and his brother from school.

During a recent phone interview, Cape talked about the relative lack of a punk-rock scene in the Santa Barbara area when he was growing up.

“Things were so different back then,” Cape said. “There were a lot of bands in the ‘80s from the Ventura, Santa Barbara and Oxnard area through a scene called nardcore. Mystic Records put out a lot of those bands like Dr. Know and Aggression. That’s sort of the scene I grew up in during the early ’80s. We always had a scene, but it was smaller than L.A., of course. Later, when my band got together … things changed—and punk changed a lot in major cities. It was kind of evolving, and there were a lot of crossover bands. Back then, a band had to get in a van and go on tour to actually be seen. We were never afraid to do that.”

Lagwagon caught the attention of Fat Mike of NOFX, who signed them to his Fat Wreck Chords. In 1992, the band released its first album, Duh, which is still one of Fat Wreck Chords’ most commercially successful albums. Mainstream record labels began trying to sign Lagwagon, but the group refused to leave Fat Wreck Chords, and remains with the label to this day.

“I felt we weren’t as easily accessible as some of the other bands, like Rancid and Green Day,” Cape said. “I had experienced through bands I was friends with (that) … if something hit, there was this frenzy for anything that sounded like it. I saw so many deals go bad for bands that were really happy and creative; they signed a deal, and their record didn’t hit the market the way the label wanted it to, and the band was stuck. They were shelved, and they were sitting there with no chance to make another record. When there was a glimpse of that for Lagwagon, I was totally against it.”

Over the years, the band has gone on hiatus several times, and suffered through the death of drummer Derrick Plourde.

“I’ve never had a moment in the history of this band where I’ve believed we’ve broken up,” Cape said. “There are definitely times that the reality of being in a band is like being in a family, and there are times that you just really don’t want to see your family, because they’re disgusting you. You also go through phases where it’s not really exciting. I never believed in the quick fire/breakup things that bands do, because it’s really easy to just take a break. What’s the point of working hard to get your band to a place (and then) just going, ‘Yeah, we gotta break up’? … It’s so stupid, and I really don’t understand it. Of course, a lot of those bands come back a few years later with their tail between their legs like, ‘Sorry, we’re back!’”

Cape said it wasn’t easy to return to the studio to make Hang, the band’s first full album since 2005.

“Given the amount of time between records, we felt some pressure to knock it out of the park,” Cape said. “This had to be a great record. That’s part of the reason it took me so long to come up with this batch of songs and go for it. But our band has always been one of those bands where if we’re not ready to record, we just don’t do it. I think it’s a great thing in the long run, and we’ll look back and be really proud of everything we’ve ever done.”

What keeps Lagwagon going after almost 25 years?

“As long as we’re in a phase like the one we’re in now, where we love what we’re creating, and we enjoy playing music together, that’s it. It’s a pretty amazing job to have,” he said.

Lagwagon will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 7, at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Tickets are $20. For tickets or more information, call 760-775-6699, or visit www.dateshedmusic.com.

Published in Previews

October is here, and in theory, we should begin to get some relief from the oppressive heat.

In theory.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has two excellent events coming up that you probably shouldn’t miss. First, the Experience Hendrix Tour will be coming through at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 11. The lineup is packed with big names, including Buddy Guy, Billy Cox, Zakk Wylde, Jonny Lang and many others. As you can probably guess from the name, the tour pays homage to Jimi Hendrix, and has been going for more than a decade. Tickets are $29 to $69. And now for something completely different: Cheech and Chong and WAR will be stopping by at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 24. Cheech and Chong are the comedy world’s biggest stoners, of course, thanks in part to films such as Up in Smoke, Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie, and Nice Dreams. And if anybody asks, Dave’s not here, man. Tickets are $29 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has two fine events scheduled. The Beach Boys will be performing at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3. Former Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson came through the Coachella Valley in late August, so a performance by the Beach Boys should be a nice follow-up; however, keep in mind that technically, Mike Love is the only original member of this group of Beach Boys, although Bruce Johnston, a touring member since 1965, is also part of the lineup. There’s no word on whether or not John Stamos will be performing on the drums. Tickets are $45 to $75. Creedence Clearwater Revisited will be performing at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 17, featuring Creedence Clearwater Revival members Stu Cook (bass) and Doug Clifford (drums). The group formed in 1995 to play a couple of shows that a friend of theirs wanted to put on—and then they decided to tour. This did not sit well with Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty; Fogerty filed suit against Cook and Clifford, forcing them to perform under a different name until the courts ruled in favor of Cook and Clifford. Tickets are $40 to $60. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a couple of events worth mentioning. They’re back: Thunder From Down Under returns to Morongo at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3. Tickets are $25. If mostly naked men aren’t your thing, you’ll be happy to know that Paquita la del Barrio will be performing at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 24. The renowned singer has been fighting sexism in Mexico since 1970—and she’ll put you on the spot if you give her any flak. This is a show definitely worth checking out. Tickets are $59 to $69. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

The Purple Room reopened as The Purple Room Restaurant and Stage just before Labor Day. Machin’, The Judy Show and The Michael Holmes Trio still have their usual weekly residencies, and the fine folks there have added the David Ring Duo on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. They play jazz and old favorites from the American Songbook. There is no cover. The Gand Band will be ending their snowbird season in Chicago and returning to the Purple Room at 8:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3. Tickets are $10. The Gand Band is also leading some themed events in October, such as Tiki Chic on Friday, Oct. 10, and an ’80s Halloween on Friday, Oct. 31. The Purple Room Restaurant and Stage, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

The Copa in Palm Springs has a full calendar in October. At 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2, and 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3, Suzanne Westenhoefer will be appearing. Known as a panelist on GSN’s I’ve Got a Secret, and for her LOGO Television comedy special A Bottom on Top, this lesbian comedian will have you laughing for sure. Tickets are $20 to $40. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 11, Gloria Loring will be stopping by. The actress and singer has released several albums and helped compose the theme songs for Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. Fun fact: She was married to Alan Thicke—and is Robin Thicke’s mom. Tickets are $40 to $60. Jazz singer/songwriter Tony DeSare will be appearing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 18. DeSare’s songs have appeared in films such as The Tooth Fairy and My Date With Drew. Tickets are $20 to $40. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.copapalmsprings.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has booked several great shows. Dawes will be stopping by at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 11. The Los Angeles folk-rock band has played the late-night talk shows, performed with Jackson Browne at an Occupy Wall Street event, and received acclaim from critics and fans alike for their albums. Tickets are $25. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 15, The New Pornographers (above) will be performing an outdoor show. The band’s blend of pop and indie-rock has made them popular since they formed in 1999. If that’s not enough to convince you, consider the lineup: Neko Case, Dan Bejar of Destroyer, Kathryn Calder of Immaculate Machine, John Collins of The Evaporators, Todd Fancey of Limblifter, and independent filmmaker Blaine Thurier. Wow. Tickets are $30. Tycho with Com Truise will be at Pappy’s at 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 26. Tycho is a well-known ambient-music artist and producer, and Com Truise is a solid name in dance music. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Hard Rock Hotel’s schedule is heating up. At 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 24, it will be “Dive-In Movies” night, with the Palm Springs Film Society screening the Talking Heads concert film, Stop Making Sense, in the pool area. It’s a perfect pairing of venue and film, isn’t it? Admission is free. BB Ingle will be having his Annual Halloween Bash at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 31. I can vouch for the fact that it’s a lot of fun. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $30 at the door; 21 and older only. Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9676; www.hrhpalmsprings.com.

Bar is hosting a special event at 9:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 9. The Rebel Noise will be playing the first show of the band’s California tour for the hometown crowd. Also on the bill are CIVX and former War Drum guitarist John Marek. Admission is free. Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; 760-537-7337; www.barwastaken.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has two events that should not be missed. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3,punk veterans Guttermouth will be returning to The Hood. The controversial and humorous punk band puts on an excellent show. Tickets are $10. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 31, the Koffin Kats (below) will be stopping by for a Halloween show. The Detroit psychobilly group’s performance would be a perfect way to celebrate Halloween. Admission is free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

The Date Shed is back with an encouraging calendar of events going into 2015. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 11, rapper and producer Warren G will be performing. In 1994, his song “Regulate” was a major hit. Tickets are $25. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe Street, Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

Here’s some advance notice about an early-November event: Celebrate the Day of the Dead on Saturday, Nov. 1, and Sunday, Nov. 2, at the Dia De Los Muertos festival in Coachella, at Rancho Las Flores Park. Scheduled to perform are Chicano Batman, Noel Torres, Banda Nachos, La Santa Cecilia, La Bikina and others. There will be food vendors, art exhibitions, and many other things Day of the Dead. This is a great event for all ages. Tickets start at $20. Rancho Las Flores Park is located at 48350 Van Buren St. in Coachella. For more information, visit www.diadelosmuertosusa.com.

Published in Previews

The heat is here. The snowbirds have gone home.

But great events are taking place in June for the ample number of us who remain.

The first big event worth mentioning is the second annual Splash House. The three-day event featuring pool parties and world-class DJs at three different venues returns this year with an amazing lineup, from Friday, June 13, through Sunday, June 15. The venues this year are the brand-new Hacienda Beach Club, the Hard Rock Hotel, and the Saguaro. The lineup includes Moby (right), Purity Ring, Neon Indian and many others. Tickets start at $103. For more information, visit www.splashhouse.com.

The Hard Rock Hotel has a great new weekly event. Flirt is a Thursday show hosted by friend of the Independent Bella da Ball. Each week revolves around music, entertainers, dancing, partying and rocking, and includes local personalities Marina Mac, Sassy Ross, Jersey Shore and others. The shows start at 7:30 and 9 p.m. There is no cover charge, but there is a two-item food/drink minimum. Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, 150 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9676; www.hrhpalmsprings.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has some good stuff going on heading into the first month of summer. The very funny and controversial Kathy Griffin will be appearing at 9 p.m., Friday, June 6, and 8 p.m., Saturday June 7. Tickets are $45 to $75. Fans of Art Laboe’s radio show, take note: The Art Laboe Summer Love Jam III will take place at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 14. The show will feature El Chicano, Rose Royce, MC Magic, Amanda Perez and Club Nouveau. I wonder if you can call in a live dedication for that loved one of yours who couldn’t make the show with you, or that special someone who is far, far away. Tickets are $35 to $65. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

We realize this is primarily a music column, but Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in June has a sporting event and a comedy event that we can’t help but mention. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 6, is the Golden Boy Boxing tripleheader. The main event is a bout between Hugo “The Boss” Centeno and Domonique Dolton; both fighters are undefeated. Tickets are $25 to $45. In what should be a great night of comedy, The Wayans Brothers will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 21. Damon, Keenen, Marlon and Shawn will all be there. I grew up with In Living Color, and I have seen many of their films, so I feel comfortable saying this is one you won’t want to miss. Both Damon and Keenen are excellent stand-up comics, while Marlon and Shawn aren’t too far behind. Tickets are $29 to $59. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 will be bringing the folk-duo America back to the desert at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 7. After 44 years, the duo is still going strong and has influenced numerous contemporary musicians, including former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha. Tickets are $35 to $55. Latin-music fans will be happy to hear that Roberto Tapia will be stopping by at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 14. Tapia has been at the top of the Billboard Latin music charts and brings electronica and hip-hop to his traditional Norteno sound. Tickets are $30 to $50. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has booked Motown legend Gladys Knight to perform at 9 p.m., Friday, June 13. Gladys Knight and the Pips is one of the best-known Motown acts, usually mentioned in the same conversation as Marvin Gaye or the Temptations when discussing Motown’s legacy. In recent years, Knight has talked extensively about her conversion to Mormonism, and how that helped her keep her life together. Obviously, this woman still has a lot of soul. Tickets are $59 to $79. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

The Date Shed—remember that venue?—actually has an event booked in June. San Diego reggae band Big Mountain (below) will be stopping by at 9 p.m., Saturday, June 28. Since 1991, the San Diego group has put its city on the reggae map, along with Tribal Seeds. Big Mountain’s cover of Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way” was a smash hit, and the group has had a solid career ever since. Tickets are $15 to $40. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

Published in Previews

The season is in full swing, so there are plenty of great March events to talk about—and this is the last hurrah before the craziness of Coachella and Stagecoach set in next month.

The McCallum Theatre will host some amazing theater events during the month of March; you can read more about that in our Arts & Culture section’s theater listings. Thankfully, there are some great music events as well. Michael Feinstein (right) will be stopping by for performances at 8 p.m., Friday, March 7, and Saturday, March 8. Feinstein was mentored by the late Ira Gershwin, and he’s been labeled as the “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook.” This is one you won’t want to miss. Tickets are $65 to $105. Jazz-vocalist Steve Tyrell will be appearing at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 22. Tyrell makes vocal pop classics cool for modern audiences—and has been doing so for more than 40 years. Tickets are $45 to $85.McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a couple of events that should be, in a word, huge—on back-to-back nights, no less. At 9 p.m., Friday, March 21, Everybody Loves Raymond stars Ray Romano and Brad Garrett will be performing. The TV show focused on the Barone family, and was based on the real-life experiences of Romano and some of the show’s production and writing staff. It was a huge hit during its entire nine-year run on CBS—in large part due to the talents of comedians-turned-actors Romano and Garrett. Tickets are $65 to $85. In a rather spectacular booking, Liza Minnelli will be coming to the desert at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 22. The daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli has made quite a name for herself both musically and on the big screen. More recently, she became a hit on TV as well, thanks to her hilarious portrayal of Lucille 2 on Arrested Development. Of course, she’s also famous due to some personal issues, including alcoholism and a strange marriage to David Gest, who filed a lawsuit against Minnelli for alleged physical abuse. (The suit was later dismissed.) Still, she’s a true icon—and an inspiration for many famous drag performers! Tickets are $80 to $120. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino will host great events throughout March that should draw big crowds. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 7, Daryl Hall and John Oates will be playing. Hall and Oates are icons of ’80s pop music, best known for “Maneater” and “You Make My Dreams.” Meanwhile, video-game lovers know them thanks to the appearance of “Out of Touch” on the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack. Tickets are $49 to $79. R&B superstar John Legend will be stopping by at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 22. While many modern “R&B” singers don’t really have a lot of R&B in their music, Legend is a genuine soul singer with elements of Motown and Stax Records in his sound. In 2010, Legend and The Roots teamed up for the album Wake Up, which was a huge hit. Tickets are $49 to $89. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

At Spotlight 29 Casino, comedy trailblazer/legend Joan Rivers will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 1. An amusing personal story: I used to work at the now-late Borders Books and Music in Rancho Mirage, and Rivers stopped by there for a book-signing in 2009. At the time, she was being filmed for the documentary A Piece of Work. Well, I wound up in the film, with her sharing an amusing tidbit about Carol Channing while she personalized a copy of her book for me. Now 80, Rivers’ mouth is as filthy as ever, and she looks like a walking plastic-surgery miracle. Thankfully, she’s also as funny as ever. Tickets are $35 to $55. Country-music star Kenny Rogers will also be stopping by Spotlight 29, at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 15. The star of the ’80s film Six Pack is also well known for that song about how to be a good gambler; perhaps you should listen to it for advice if you plan on gambling that night in the casino. Tickets are $55 to $75. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has yet another busy schedule during the month of March. If you’re in the mood for blues, The Record Company will be performing at 8 p.m., Friday, March 14. They’re a group of young, modern-day blues musicians, but trust me: You will enjoy their traditional blues style and sound. I highly suggest listening to their song “Baby I’m Broken” if you want a little preview. Admission is free. The Black Lips will be stopping in at 8 p.m., Thursday, March 20. The Atlanta band is a throwback to the days of psychedelic rock, with a low-fi twist—and an unorthodox live show. Vocalist Cole Alexander often vomits during performances due to a medical condition. Other outrageous live antics have included chickens, setting instruments on fire, and a variety of other things that could have them arrested. Tickets are $18. In the midst of an impressive comeback due in part to audiophiles who seek out rare records and then share information about them online, Linda Perhacs will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 29. Perhacs released a trippy psychedelic folk anthem in 1970 titled Parallelograms, which has since been rediscovered by the millennials. The album featured haunting folk anthems that went the way of an Alice Coltrane album at times; “Hey, Who Really Cares?” is enough to give one the creeps. Now, 44 years later, she’s releasing her sophomore album, called The Soul of All Natural Things. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Date Shed has a couple of intriguing events booked in March. If you had a great time at Tribal Seeds show in February, you may want to attend the Fortunate Youth show at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 8. The Los Angeles-based reggae outfit has played some high profile reggae festivals and has toured with Tribal Seeds and The Expendables. Tickets are $10. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 15, Cleveland rap legends Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (right) will be stopping by. As a native Clevelander, I remember when E. 1999 Eternal dropped in 1995, and you’d hear “1st of tha Month” and “The Crossroads” playing on every car stereo. “1st of tha Month” would also go on to be hilariously referenced in Chris Rock’s stand-up comedy routine. Plus there was the unforgettable moment in MTV Music Awards history when law enforcement showed up to arrest Bizzy Bone. Tickets are $40 to $100. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

The Copa Room has some worthy events occurring in March. Comedienne Heather McDonald will be performing at 8:30 p.m., Friday, March 14, and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 15. McDonald has regularly appeared on Chelsea Lately and is now a best-selling author thanks to her memoir, You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again. Tickets are $20 to $45 with a two-drink minimum. If you’re a fan of the Broadway musical Rent, catch Adam Pascal (below) at 8 p.m., Thursday, March 20, and Friday, March 21. Pascal, who played the HIV-stricken Roger Davis in the original cast, is also a talented rock musician. He played Eddie in SLC Punk, and Jack Black’s nemesis, Theo, in School of Rock. Tickets are $20 to $45 with a two-drink minimum. The Copa Room, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.coparoomtickets.com.

The Purple Room in Palm Springs will be hosting an Academy Awards screening party at 4:30 p.m., Sunday, March 2. The screening will be part of The Judy Show, and there will be a “purple carpet,” mock paparazzi and a six-course dinner included with admission. Proceeds will go to the AIDS Assistance Program. Tickets are $75. The Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Published in Previews

It’s February, and you know what that means: Love is in the air for Valentine’s Day, and it’s also the month of Modernism Week.

Here are some local events during our shortest month.

The McCallum Theatre is booked solid through February with a ton of events. Cesar Millan will be stopping by the McCallum at 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9. Although his famous show on the National Geographic Channel, Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan, has ended, Millan is still sharing his techniques and wisdom in the field of dog-training; this live show should be a real treat (no pun intended) for dog-owners. Tickets are $45 to $75. Frank Sinatra Jr. (right) will be stopping by post Valentine’s Day, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15. Although the younger Frank may be best known as the victim of a famous kidnapping, he is a talented performer in his own right, and has also branched out into acting over the years. Tickets are $45 to $85. Boz Scaggs will be at the McCallum at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 18. The sometimes-lead singer of the Steve Miller Band was a songwriting powerhouse in the ’70s and continues to put on a great show. Tickets are $55 to $95. Roberta Flack will be appearing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22. Flack had a No. 1 hit in with “Killing Me Softly With His Song”; The Fugees would return the song to the top of the charts in 1996. Tickets are $35 to $85. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

After a slower January, Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has some fantastic events in the second half of February. If you’re a fan of soft rock, Air Supply (bottom of page) will be softly rocking for a special performance on Valentine’s Day, at 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14. Tickets are $35 to $55. The great Johnny Mathis will be appearing at 6 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. The romantic-ballads singer has been performing since 1956 and was one of a handful of crooners from his era who survived the wave of rock ’n’ roll. Tickets are $60 to $100. For fans of Jeff Dunham, you’ll be pleased to know that he will be joined by Walter, Peanut, Achmed the Dead Terrorist and the rest of the puppet gang at Agua Caliente at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22. Tickets are $85 to $135. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino doesn’t have a lot of events in February, but there are a couple worth noting. Kenny “Babyface” Edwards will be performing on Valentine’s Day, at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14. The ’80s R&B star has had a long and successful career; not bad for a guy who originally started playing with Bootsy Collins—the man who gave Edwards his famous “Babyface” moniker. Tickets are $55 to $75. There will also be a tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21. Attendance is free. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a spectacular list of events for February. Chicago will be appearing at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7. The band has been around since 1967, and still features four of the founding members. Since Terry Kath’s unintentional self-inflicted shooting death in 1978, the band has experienced a series of ups and downs, but they are survivors and have continued to make great music. Also: In Little Nicky, Adam Sandler discovered a rather hilarious subliminal message if you play their self-titled debut album backward during “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” If you haven’t seen it, YouTube it! It’ll blow your mind. Tickets are $39 to $69. CeeLo Green will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15. The singer of “F**k You” (or “Forget You,” whichever version you prefer) has managed to escape the potential one-hit wonder status used to describe his former project, Gnarls Barkley. While Danger Mouse swears that he and CeeLo will make another Gnarls Barkley album, Green’s success as a solo artist seems to throw that into question. Tickets are $39 to $69. Rick Springfield will be performing the following evening, at 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. The soap opera actor and “Jessie’s Girl” hit-maker has a fanatical, mostly female following. He’s still wildly popular and is the subject of a recent documentary, An Affair of the Heart, currently available via Netflix. Tickets are $29 to $49. Fresh out of bankruptcy court, Wayne Newton will be performing at 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 23. While Newton was the king of Vegas and has remained a music icon, recent photos of him seem to prove that age and plastic surgery don’t always go hand in hand. Tickets are $29 to $49. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, per usual, has some good shows booked for February. At 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 2, Futurebirds will be performing. The experimental indie band recently released a new album, Baba Yaga. They have been described as a “psychedelic country” band and have toured with the likes of the Drive-By Truckers, Widespread Panic and others. Admission is free. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, Pappy’s will host a Valentine’s Day show with Ferraby Lionheart. Lionheart is an indie-rock performer out of Los Angeles. He has some very catchy tunes that will make for a non-traditional Valentine’s Day show. Take your sweetheart to Pappy’s for some pre-show barbecue and then enjoy the show; you won’t be disappointed—plus admission is free. There will be a show not to miss from Moistboyz (right) at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27. Moistboyz is a project that includes Dean Ween, formerly of Ween; Nick Oliveri, formerly of Queens of the Stone Age; and vocalist Guy Heller. The project has been around since 1994, when they released their debut album on the Beastie Boys’ now-defunct Grand Royal label. After the breakup of Dean and Gene Ween, it’s not a surprise Dean Ween has resurrected Moistboyz. The current touring lineup also includes Hoss Wright of Oliveri’s Mondo Generator. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

After requesting a list of events from The Date Shed, I was informed that the venue is now heading in a direction toward more private events. However, the venue still hosts shows from time to time. Along with the Tribal Seeds show, The Date Shed has Ozzmania booked at 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7. Ozzmania, a local Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath tribute band, has received acclaim for excellent covers. A true metal fan wouldn’t miss it—plus it’s a free show, so there’s no excuse for not attending. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has some great local shows going on. At 10 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6, The Hoodwill host the second monthly Industry Night, featuring DJ Angelique. Attendance is free. At 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, Mikey Raines Acoustic Movement will be performing, with The Hive Minds opening. Derek Gregg and Sean Poe of the Hive Minds are starting to sound tighter and tighter as they keep playing regularly. Since they parted ways with bassist Patrick “Tricky” Mitchem, they have yet to find a permanent replacement, but have brought in friends on occasion. Attendance is free. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8, the aforementioned Mondo Generator will take the stage. While Nick Oliveri and some of the members of Mondo Generator are playing with Moistboyz at Pappy and Harriet’s later in the month, this is another not-to-miss show featuring Oliveri. At 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, Long Duk Dong will be returning for a Valentine’s Day Show that will be themed like a 1980s prom. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.thehoodbar.com

The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs will be hosting Haunted Summer at 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21. After a successful show at Pappy and Harriet’s in January, the Los Angeles dream-pop duo is happy to be doing a performance for us here in the low desert. The Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

Published in Previews

Ozzmania is a local band that pays tribute to the music of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath. At 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, they’ll be performing a free show at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio; Dirt—which performs the music of Alice in Chains—is also on the bill. For more information on Ozzmania, visit ozzmaniausa.com, or www.facebook.com/ozzmaniausa; for details on The Date Shed, head to www.dateshedmusic.com. Mark Knapp, Ozzmania’s Zakk Wylde (or, in other words, guitarist), was kind enough, apparently during the morning hours, to answer The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

Deep Purple in Tucson, Ariz. Let’s just say it was a long time ago.

What was the first album you owned?

Wow… I wish I could remember. I think it might have been Kool and the Gang.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Pantera.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Justin Bieber and pop—or is that poop?

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Original Van Halen.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Anything metal.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Anyplace metal.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

At the moment, since I mentioned Kool and the Gang, it's “Jungle Boogie.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Ted Nugent. The second I heard "Stranglehold," my life in music started. I knew I was going to learn to play guitar, and will most likely die with one in my hands.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

It’s way too early in the morning for that question …

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Iron Maiden, “Die With Your Boots On.”

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Van Halen,Van Halen.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Whatever inspires them!

Published in The Lucky 13

A lot of great bands have come out of San Diego’s music scene—and one of the latest is reggae group Tribal Seeds, performing Saturday, Feb. 1, at The Date Shed.

The band—consisting of Steven Rene Jacobo (lead guitar and vocals), Victor Navarro (bass), E.N. Young (keyboards and vocals), Tony-Ray Jacobo (keyboards and vocals) and Carlos Verdugo (drums)—formally came together in 2005. During a recent phone interview before a show in Fresno, Tony-Ray explained that he and Steven, his brother, were raised on reggae music; in fact, Tony-Ray’s first album purchase was Born Jamericans’ Kids From Foreign.

“It started with me and my brother in 2003,” said Tony-Ray. “We were both in high school at the time, and we were just jamming in our garage. We wanted to take it seriously after a while, and we wanted to do it as a career. We decided to find band members who had the same mindset. We had some who came and went, but we finally got a solid group of guys who believe this is their passion, and this is their love.”

Tony-Ray said San Diego was a perfect place for them to form as a band.

“I think we were blessed to have grown up where we did,” said Tony-Ray. “There’s a strong reggae environment, the whole beach environment, and it just seemed to fit very well; reggae music seems to thrive there. We’re blessed to be from San Diego.”

Since 2005, the band has released three full-length albums; the most recent album, released in 2009, The Harvest, debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard reggae charts. They have shared the stage with some heavy hitters in the music industry, including as Gregg Allman; Earth, Wind and Fire; The Wailers; and their musical heroes, Steel Pulse. They have also toured extensively around the world and in the U.S.

Reggae music can be a challenging genre for an American band. While many American groups have given reggae a go, some of the most successful eventually incorporated pop or punk sounds, as Sublime did. However, the members of Tribal Seeds stay fairly true to reggae, and even embrace the spirituality element of the music, rooted in Rastafarianism, the religion that many reggae musicians follow.

“A lot of it is Bible teachings and Rastafarian teachings,” said Tony-Ray. “It’s just something that was in the music we heard while growing up, so we wanted to continue that message. It just seemed natural to us, so the spiritual element for us has been there from the beginning.”

While Rastafarianism may be best known (and is often parodied) for its embrace of marijuana, it’s also known—and criticized—for ultra-traditional views of women, the practice of polygamy, and homophobia. Around 2004, the “Stop Murder Music” campaign was enacted by a group of gay activists who opposed the violent messages in some reggae music; in 2007, a number of reggae artists signed an agreement to fight homophobia.

“I’m totally open-minded to however a person wants to live their life,” said Tony-Ray. “If they’re a good person, it makes them happy, and they’re not hurting anyone else, that’s all good with me. There are a lot of older people teaching the close-minded thing. I think times are changing … even in the Catholic Church with the new pope. It’s all about how we’re trying to live—good positive things.”

Fans who have been waiting since 2009 for a new album won’t have to wait much longer.

“We’re actually close to finishing up our latest album that we hope to release really soon,” said Tony-Ray. “We’re really excited about it. I know it’s been a long time since our last full-length album, and that our fans are anxious—and we’re just as anxious. We’ve got a lot of good artists featured on this one.”

I couldn’t help but ask what the backstage ritual was before a Tribal Seeds show. Not surprisingly, it involves some smoke.

“A lot of the guys like the green. They like to get a little buzz going just to have fun on stage and enjoy it,” Tony-Ray said.

Tribal Seeds performs with Through the Roots, Mystic Roots and Wakane at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1, at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Tickets to the all-ages event are $15 to $21. For more information, call 760-775-6699, or visit www.dateshedmusic.com.

Published in Previews

Season is finally here! As you make plans for Thanksgiving and prepare for the other big holidays just around the corner, you should also plan on attending some of these great shows.

The McCallum Theatre has an amazing variety of events booked solid through the month. One show that definitely won’t disappoint music-lovers is an appearance by Crosby, Stills and Nash’s Graham Nash at 8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 18. While he may be best known for his work with Stephen Stills and David Crosby, he’s had a long and successful solo career; his 1971 solo debut album, Songs for Beginners, was critically acclaimed and reached No. 15 on the Billboard albums chart. Tickets are $35 to $75. Herb Alpert will also be stopping by the McCallum, at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22, along with his wife, singer Lani Hall. The jazz trumpeter, known primarily for his years with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, was a pioneer in jazz because he mixed Latin, funk, pop and R&B styles into his sound. While jazz has been on the decline with audiences over the years, Alpert is still going strong. Tickets are $35 to $75. The Kingston Trio will be appearing at 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24. Before folk music became political in the 1960s, putting the genre on the path to a major revival, The Kingston Trio was paving the way for that revival. One downside: The original three members are long gone from the group, so the trio continues in a “third phase” with collaborators who worked with the original lineup or were otherwise affiliated with the trio. That shouldn’t stop you from going to see them and taking in some of the songs that inspired the folk revival of the 1960s. Tickets are $25 to $45. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Aaron LewisAgua Caliente Casino Resort Spa is hosting some big events, too. Theresa Caputo, aka the “Long Island Medium,” will be there at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15. What can be expected from Caputo? Well, it’s a safe bet that she’ll be communicating with the spirits and talking directly with their living relatives in attendance. Tickets for the event were $60 to $100, but we received word just before our deadline that the show is sold out. (I do NOT suggest shouting out a request for “Freebird” to her.) The following night, Neil Sedaka will take the stage; the “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” crooner will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. Sedaka was a pop icon before the British Invasion and rock ’n’ roll took America by storm. He’s still a success today; he’s been involved with American Idol and had his first big-hit album in two decades in 2007 with The Definitive Collection. Tickets are $50 to $75. For those who remember the band Staind from the infamous nu-metal era: Aaron Lewis, the frontman of the band, will be there at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30. Lewis became a hit after he did a live duet at Korn’s Family Values Tour in 1999 with Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit of a song Lewis penned called “Outside.” He turned in solo acoustic performances in the later part of the last decade and has now transitioned to country music while Staind is on hiatus. Fun fact: In July 2012, Lewis had a bitter feud with Carrie Underwood after she released her song “Last Name,” which he said “made her sound like a complete whore.” Whoa! Tickets for the event are $25 to $55. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

The Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has two big music events booked this month. Modern R&B superstar Ne-Yo will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. The three-time Grammy Award-winning artist is currently touring behind his latest album, R.E.D., an acronym for Realizing Every Dream. He has crossed over into pop and dance-pop; his recent single with Sia Furler, “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself),” was well-received and even included a successful music video—in an era when the music video isn’t appreciated much any more. Tickets are $49 to $109. Burt Bacharach will follow in Ne-Yo’s footsteps a week later, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23. Like Sedaka, Bacharach was part of the pop scene that came before the British Invasion and rock ’n’ roll, but he always stood out because of his unique songwriting. With 73 Top 40 hits in the U.S., Bacharach has also won Grammys, Academy Awards and pretty much every other award a singer-songwriter can win. Tickets are $29 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino has a light music schedule for the month of November; however, the resort’s Free Friday Concert Series kicks off with a Johnny Cash tribute by Rusty Evans at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15. Admission is free. Also, the venue will be hosting The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience: Moonwalker at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9. With a live band and a cast of singers, the show is a must-see for Michael Jackson fans. Tickets are $15. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has just one big scheduled November event: The Cabazon resort will host comedian and TV host Craig Ferguson for a standup performance at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8. Ferguson has established himself as the host of The Late Late Show and is a possible replacement for David Letterman if The Late Show host ever decides to step down. We’re dying to know: Will Ferguson bring along his robotic skeleton sidekick? Tickets are $55 to $65. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s has booked Cass McCombs for a gig at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12. McCombs blends folk, rock, blues, country and several other different styles into one big, awesome mess. He’s toured with the likes of Band of Horses and Cat Power—and he’s definitely someone you should see live at least once. Tickets are $15. (Read my review of his latest album at CVIndependent.com.) The following evening, at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13, Bill Callahan will take the stage. The underground rock artist, who has also performed under the moniker of Smog, continues to push the boundaries of simplicity in songwriting; it’s said that he can repeat the same chord progression throughout the entire song. He’s another musician who has tried his hand in writing, releasing a novel, Letters to Emma Bowlcut, in 2010. Tickets are $15. After an appearance earlier this year at The Date Shed, Reverend Horton Heat will be playing Pappy and Harriet’s at 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24. The Texas trio and warriors of the road never disappoint and always put on a great show. I saw them on the same night as the 2009 Academy Awards when they played the House of Blues, right down the street from the awards ceremony and Vanity Fair after-party; the show was packed despite the traffic and all the Oscars craziness. They’re truly one of the hardest-working independent bands in the business today. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; pappyandharriets.com.

The ExpendablesThe Date Shed hosts The Expendables at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. No, this group does not include Sylvester Stallone, the Governator or any of those guys; it’s the Santa Cruz surf-rock band that mixes reggae and punk. The resulting sound is similar to that of Sublime. Tickets are $15. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza continues to get some great bands thanks in part to their booking genius, Brandon Henderson. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, the Palm Desert venue hosts a retro-themed show going back to the big-band and rockabilly eras featuring Vicky Tafoya and the Big Beat, the Jennifer Keith Quintet and the Deadbeat Daddies; the show will include a pinup contest. Admission at the door is $10. Guttermouth plays at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. Guttermouth’s shockingly humorous and offensive lyrics reportedly got them booted from the 2004 Warped Tour; you never know what to expect from the Huntington Beach group. Antics aside, they’re a great punk band that shouldn’t be underestimated. Admission to the 21-and-over show is $10 at the door. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.thehoodbar.com.

Azul Tapas Inspired Lounge and Patio features a November party that is not to miss—Bella Da Ball’s Star Dedication. It will take place at 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, in front of Azul, followed by an all-star concert at 7:30 p.m. with food and drink specials. Performers such as Allison Annalora, Doug Graham, Keisha D, Marina Mac and others are all scheduled to perform. Admission is free, and the full menu is available, but reservations are suggested. Azul Tapas Inspired Lounge and Patio, 369 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; 760-325-5533; www.azultapaslounge.com.

The Hard Rock Hotel is open for business and moving forward with events. The hotel will kick off an entertainment series titled The Edge at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, with repeats on Friday and Saturday the following two weekends. The Edge is variety show that brings together actors from the screen and the stage in a production of rock classics, similar to Rock of Ages and other Broadway productions that include classic rock and stage performance. November’s show is titled “Top Rock.” Tickets for the event are $45. Hard Rock Hotel, 150 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; www.theedgepalmsprings.com.

Neil Sedaka

Published in Previews

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