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July is the hottest month of year in the Coachella Valley—and the month is bringing some hot shows along with the toasty temps.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has three big shows in July. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 7, enjoy your post-Fourth of July weekend with Michael McDonald. McDonald has been part of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers. He’s also been an iconic force as a solo artist, winning five Grammy Awards and collaborating with greats like Elton John, Ray Charles and many others. Tickets are $29 to $59. At 8 p.m., Friday, July 13, venture back to the ’90s with the Counting Crows. It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the Counting Crows helped define ’90s pop-rock when hit single “Mr. Jones” was played endlessly. Tickets are $49 to $109. If you think it couldn’t get hotter, there’s more: At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 21, famed producer and electrifying performer Pitbull will take the stage. The man is known as “Mr. Worldwide,” and it’s been said that one way to guarantee a song’s success these days is to have Pitbull on board as a collaborator or producer. Tickets are $69 to $129. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa sails into July with some old-school events you won’t want to miss. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 7, head down the highway to the danger zone with Kenny Loggins (right). It’s amazing how many epic ’80s movie soundtracks Loggins found himself on—and even if the movies were box-office bombs, the songs were still hits. One example I’ll leave you with: “Meet Me Half Way” is from my favorite box-office stinker of all time, Over the Top. Tickets are $65 to $85. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 14, you may not be able to handle all the disco when the Village People stop by. If there was ever a time to see the Village People, it’s now, because the original frontman, the cop/admiral himself, Victor Willis, is back after a lengthy absence. Willis had problems with drugs but has cleaned himself up and has enjoyed an epic run since rejoining the Village People in 2017. Tickets are $28 to $98. At 8 p.m., Friday, July 27, continue on with the tradition of the ’70s with Donny and Marie. The two famed Osmonds are part of a large family of entertainers, and are a regular act in Las Vegas. Tickets are $95 to $150. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has a relatively quiet July, but there’s still some cool stuff going on. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 14, Bronco will be performing. The traditional Norteño band has been going for almost 40 years, has sold more than 10 million records, and continues to put out new music. Tickets are $49 to $69. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

On the flip side … Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has a lot going on in July. Here are but a few events to consider for a high desert night out: At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 7, jam-band Moe (below) will be performing. The Buffalo, N.Y., band members are contemporaries of Phish, Widespread Panic and the Dave Matthews Band. Bassist Rob Derhak recently won a hard-fought battle against cancer—and Moe returned to the stage without missing a beat. Tickets are $30. At 8 p.m., Thursday, July 12, stoner-rock band Dead Meadow will be performing. If that’s not enough, desert-rock band Yawning Man, featuring Gary Arce and Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson, is also on the bill. Tickets are $15. At 8 p.m., Thursday, July 19, Los Angeles producer and multi-instrumentalist Matt Adams, aka The Blank Tapes, will take the stage. If you’ve never heard of him, you should stop what you’re doing and look him up. Admission is free. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

We Are Scientists’ Chris Cain and Keith Murray met at Pomona College in 1997. Several years later, they’d take the world by storm.

In the years since the band’s debut, We Are Scientists released six albums that helped define today’s indie rock—before pushing the bar even higher with Megaplex, the group’s seventh album, released in May.

We Are Scientists will be performing at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Saturday, July 14.

During a recent phone interview with Chris Cain, he explained the process the band went through to make Megaplex.

“With each record, I think we’ve been reacting to the music that we were listening to at the time, or a year or two prior,” Cain said. “That’s part of why each one ends up a bit different: It’s our natural shifting tastes and interests. There’s also a very conscious effort on our part to make sure we don’t make the same record over and over again.

“With this one, we consciously set out to incorporate some synth elements and electronic beat elements that we haven’t really dabbled with on previous records. That’s because Keith and I have become more conversant with the software everyone uses, which had never really been a part of our workflow in the past. We figured it was time to learn that stuff and begin that journey during the writing process. … Any of the tools you use to create are inevitably going to create a different result. Combine all those things, and this record for us definitely feels like a pseudo-generational thing that we’ve made. I assume the next one will be earth-shattering as well.”

Many mainstream bands today make music that follows a certain formula.

“There is sort of a new perceived wisdom about how quickly you need to get to the chorus, how quickly you need to get yourself through the first verse, and so forth,” Cain said. “I think that’s true for a certain type of outreach that you are doing with your music. There’s always kind of a balancing act. (You want to) really get your existing fans fired up. These are people who are automatically going to give a new record more time to impress them. We prefer a record that takes a minute to grow on them. You’re balancing that with a desire to reach new people. Poor old U2 got in trouble for trying to reach new people by having their record placed on everyone’s iTunes account a couple of years ago. There’s no point where a musician wants to stop trying to have new people hear what they’re making.”

When the band signed with Virgin Records, the members insisted on using Ariel Rechtshaid, who was then largely unknown, as the producer. Rechtshaid would go on to become one of the world’s most popular producers, recording U2, Adele, Beyoncé and many others.

“We had made a demo with Ariel that ended up on Love and Squalor,” Cain said. “We really loved that, and we made that album without a label and just with a publishing company footing the tiny bill for the production. We thought he totally knocked (that album) out of the park, working on a short deadline and no money for studio time. He really got the best out of us. When it was time to do Brain Thrust Mastery and we signed with Virgin Records, they had a clause in the deal that they needed to approve any producer, and we fought to have an exemption in there that if we wanted to do it with Ariel, they would have to accept that. They didn’t want to do that, but ultimately, they let us. They begged us to consider alternatives—and obviously, history is on our side.”

I asked Cain if he felt like rock music and its subgenres were in a sort of music purgatory right now.

“I’m concerned by it in the sense that I’m attentive to it. It’s a very uncertain time, but I don’t feel a sense of dread,” he said. “I think it’s more that there are a lot of unknowns about how consumer behaviors are going to change and how distribution is going to change—also, the technology for making music and how that will change. I think those all affect how we do our job, and they’re all changing. I don’t know how to predict where they will go. I am concerned, but not in a critical way.”

The unique atmosphere and history of Pappy and Harriet’s does not concern We Are Scientists.

“We’ve sort of managed to entertain in a pretty wide variety of venues in our career,” Cain said. “We’re not the kind of obstinate dudes who refuse to read the room and just do what we want to do. Part of the pleasure of playing live is pleasing the audience.”

We Are Scientists will perform with Beverly at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 14, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53668 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $20. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

Yo La Tengo has been together nearly 35 years—and the band finally made it to Pappy and Harriet’s for a sold-out outdoor show on Sunday, June 10.

Yo La Tengo is often compared with the Velvet Underground—so much so that Yo La Tengo played the nameless band evocative of Velvet Underground in the movie I Shot Andy Warhol.

As a public service to all baseball outfielders who may find themselves with Spanish-speaking teammates, I will now explain the origin of the band’s name: In 1962, Mets center fielder Richie Ashburn went to catch a fly ball, yelling, “I got it!” repeatedly. Shortstop Elio Chacón had the same idea …and collided with Ashburn, because Chacon did not speak English. Ashburn learned the phrase, “¡Yo la tengo! ¡Yo la tengo!” in order to avoid this mishap in the future. I could go on with the story, but this is a music review, not a baseball history lesson.

The band kicked things off with “You Are Here” from newest release There’s a Riot Going On; the song is an expansive instrumental that starts with a sole hum before becoming a wistful blend of guitars and steady drumming. Yo La Tengo is currently a trio with husband-and-wife Ira Kaplan (lead guitar) and Georgia Hubley (drummer), and bassist/multi-instrumentalist James McNew. The band rotated places throughout the stage as they switched instruments.

Kaplan was chatty: “Nice to be here; we have never been here before. If you have any questions, don’t shout them out; write to us, and we will reply.” The band went into new-song “She May, She Might”—also from the band’s latest release via Matador Records—which ponders the idea that you may not know the individual you live with: “She hears, not quite, your voice to reply, she knows by sight too well all that’s being left behind.” Also from the same album was “Shades of Blue,” a down-home song sung by Hubley as she contemplated anguish and solitude: “Staring at walls when I’m feeling down, staying indoors cause you’re not around, indigo, violet; doesn’t matter; what’s the use? Whenever I see them, they’re all shades of blue.”

The quieter songs mellowed the crowd but set the tempo for a more-upbeat set as the night progressed. Kaplan said, “We were surprised on how many people are here.” Adding a press-conference feel, Ira Kaplan pointed to a person in the audience and said: “Question from the front.” The audience member asked: “Have you ever been to the Integratron?” He replied, “Some of us, but not all of us.” Yo La Tengo then shifted into “Autumn Sweater”: “Me with nothing to say, and you in your autumn sweater, so I looked for your eyes, and the waves looked like they’d pour right out of them. I’ll try hard, I’ll try always, but it’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of time, if I can’t smile easily, like in the beginning.”

After that tearjerker, Kaplan announced: “We are going home tomorrow; you can tell by looking at us that we are happy people.” He then added: “As we drove around this area, we asked: ‘Are we the type of band that will do a Gram Parsons song?’ This song has lots of chords.” The band then wound down the set with “How Much I’ve Lied” by Gram Parsons and Pam Rifkin: “Darling, there is something I must tell you, you must know, but it’s so hard to say the words I feel. This fancy that I’m on has been going on too long. It’s time we stopped pretending things are real.”

The band briefly walked off stage before returning with the first encore, “Sugarcube.” Andrea Svenneby, a super-fan from Long Beach, identified that song for me; she’s a former Yucca Valley resident was there with her sister Erica Svenneby, an artist and local real estate agent. As I stepped away to say hello to a friend, I saw Andrea looking at Hubley talking with a fan. Erica tried to coax her to talk to Hubley—but Andrea won’t go over. Finally, as Hubley passed by, Erica got her attention and introduced her to Andrea. What followed was an adorable conversation about the time Andrea thought she saw Georgia on the subway in New York. It was just one of the amazing little moments that routinely occur at Pappy and Harriet’s.

Published in Reviews

It’s June, which means that summer is officially arriving. While some venues close or slow down for the summer, there are still plenty of great shows from which to choose this month.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has some fine events. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 23, Latin-music greats Pandora and Yuri will be performing. They have become world-famous since they started performing music together in the ’80s. The vocal power that these women have is remarkable. Tickets are $49 to $89. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 29, country group Little Big Town will take the stage. Little Big Town performed at Fantasy Springs in 2015 to a packed house—and the electrifying show was one of the best I’ve seen. The group puts on a mind-blowing show no matter the size of the stage. Tickets are $69 to $129. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a nice variety of events. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 1, Mexico’s hilarious comedy duo, Adrian Uribe and Omar Chaparro, aka Imparables, will be performing. Uribe and Chaparro are known for their battle style of comedy that includes numerous colorful characters. Tickets are $55 to $85. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 15, Michael Carbonaro will bring his magic to The Show. On top of his awesome talents as a magician, he’s also an actor who has appeared in Grey’s Anatomy and Another Gay Movie; he also has his own truTV television show, The Carbonaro Effect. Tickets are $25 to $160. At 7 p.m., Saturday, June 30, my favorite annual event, Art Laboe’s Summer Love Jam, will return for its seventh year. I used to listen to the dedication hour of the radio show just to hear the “love and kisses” to people’s loved ones in prison, with names like “Baby Joker,” “Lucky” and “Little Brown Eyes.” Performing at this year’s event will be Peaches and Herb, Manhattans, Deniece Williams, MC Magic, Lighter Shade of Brown, Aalon, and the man himself, Art Laboe. Tickets are $45 to $65. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino’s June calendar includes a couple of heavy hitters. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 2, Banda Los Recoditos will be performing. Banda Los Recoditos, from Sinaloa, Mexico, includes performers with different vocal ranges, as well as a huge brass section. The group was nominated for a Latin Music Grammy in 2010; one of the group’s songs is “Ando Bien Pedo,” which translates as “I Am Very Drunk.” Hey, sounds like a good time to me! Tickets are $59 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 23, Eric Paslay (right) will bring the country. Paslay had a hit song called “Friday Night” that reached No. 6 on Billboard’s Hot Country Chart in 2014. Tickets are $25 to $45. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has some big things slated for June, along with appearances by regulars. At 10 p.m., Saturday, June 9, Rancho de la Luna will be celebrating the release of its very own branded mezcal. It seems appropriate, given tequila seems to be the adult beverage of choice at the ranch, seeing as there’s a sculpture outside including a lot of Patron bottles. Performers include Mojave Lords, Bone Acre, Sinner Sinners and some “surprise guests.” Who knows who will show up? Tickets are $20. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 23, enjoy the majestic comedic country vibes of Pappy’s regulars The Evangenitals. The group always puts on a show that will make you laugh until it hurts. The Evangenitals recorded an album that tells the entire story of Moby Dick, and created “The Vagina Song,” so you can’t go wrong. Admission is free. At 8:30 p.m., Thursday, June 28, Scottish indie-band the Trashcan Sinatras will be performing. If you’re thinking this is some kind of tribute act with a name like that, you’re wrong: Trashcan Sinatras is a fantastic indie-alternative band that has been compared to The Smiths, and the album Cake is considered by some to be a masterpiece. Tickets are $20 to $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room Palm Springs is preparing to go on a summer break—but it will be open through the end of June! At 8 p.m., Friday, June 1, R&B and pop performer Jake Simpson will take the Purple Room stage. He’s performed with Stevie Wonder, Adam Lambert, and Earth, Wind and Fire, and he’s been on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Tickets are $25 to $35. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 23, the alt-cabaret performers known The Skivvies will perform. The show features musical comedy …performed by Skivvies duo Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley in their underwear. Wow! The “undie rock” stars will also be joined by surprise guests. Tickets are $30 to $35. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 30, it’s the last The Judy Show of the season. It’s performed by Purple Room owner Michael Holmes, in drag as Judy Garland … and others. It’s wild, over the top and one of the most popular regular live events in Palm Springs. Tickets are $25 to $30. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Published in Previews

A handful of performers are semi-regulars at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace—and Paul Chesne is fortunate enough to be one of these select few.

He performed at the Campout in 2014, and has turned in some New Year’s Eve concerts there in the past. He’ll be returning for a show on Saturday, June 16.

Why is Chesne a Pappy’s regular? For one thing, his band’s alternative-country sound works nicely on Pappy’s stage—and Chesne’s stage presence works nicely anywhere. During a recent phone interview from Los Angeles, Chesne talked about why he loves coming back to Pappy and Harriet’s.

“The people (who go there) are great,” Chesne said. “There’s something about it that I say sometimes from the stage: Because you’re so far away from everything, you can do whatever the hell you want, as long as you don’t hurt anybody. You have freedom, and it’s close enough to Los Angeles, but you’re in a whole different world. You’ve transferred into a place where you can let loose, and the crowd really does let loose.”

The crowds at Pappy and Harriet’s New Year’s Eve shows were huge when Chesne played them.

“It’s kind of like that every night there now,” he said. “It’s a congregation of people on any given night, and Pappy’s always has that certain vibe. I always thought of New Year’s Eve in general as arbitrary numbers that were sort of meaningless. It’s a reason for amateurs to get drunk—but I’ll take a gig if they’re getting drunk and having fun. (At Pappy’s), it’s getting loose and having fun in the desert. It’s always nice to bring that kind of milestone in people’s lives, and we all share that changing of the number, whether it’s arbitrary or not.”

Playing country-style music in Los Angeles can be tough, but Chesne said he has it figured out.

“Over the years, I’ve sort of honed in on places that are welcoming through a collective of musicians and friends,” he said. “The interesting thing about Los Angeles is that it’s so compartmentalized, and there are so many different neighborhoods, so we can play in Hollywood and have no people come out from the westside of Los Angeles. It feels like you can do a tour of Los Angeles where you have different crowds every night. We’ve gone from Venice to Santa Monica, playing two nights in a row, and having 150 people each night.”

In 2016, Chesne teamed up with singer-songwriter Matt Ellis for a song called “They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To,” which talked about the changing times in terms of culture and music.

“I’m pretty progressive and open to the things that are happening technologically and culturally,” he said. “… The resistance parts and women’s rights are at the forefront with gay rights, and Black Lives Matter is still trying to fight back against the never-ending war that we’ve been fighting forever in this country. It feels like things have only gotten better slightly.”

Chesne comes from a unique family: His father is a surgeon, and one of his siblings has had a successful career in music.

“My brothers are both very talented. One of them wrote music for television shows like Family Matters and Full House and other ones back in the ’80s or ’90s,” Chesne said. “Now he’s a music teacher and has a music institute that he runs out of his house with his wife for kids. My other brother taught me everything I know about guitar. When I’d ride in the car with my dad, I heard a lot of Mozart and Beethoven. My brothers would always bring around The Beatles’ Let It Be or Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. I wound up with the bug, and I’m mostly self-taught, but I started writing and singing—and I couldn’t really stop.”

There are a lot of reasons to go see the Paul Chesne Band—and there are testimonials in that regard, ranging from serious to funny, on his website. Here’s my testimonial: Seeing him at Pappy’s is always a treat.

“It’s a great place to let the city sort of wash off your back and get some fresh air,” he said. “They have great food, and we put on a happening, spectacular extravaganza of music.”

The Paul Chesne Band will perform with the Shadow Mountain Band at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 16, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53668 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

That time of year is upon us when we say our temporary goodbyes to the snowbirds—and the valley becomes a lot quieter. However, there are still shows that’ll be just as hot as the weather will be.

Alas, the McCallum Theatre goes dark during the summer months—but there are still a handful of great events there in May. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 9, everyone’s favorite comedy/parody rocker, Weird Al Yankovic, will be performing. Weird Al has brilliantly spoofed many great pop, rock and rap songs through the years, and starred in his own “successful failure” of a movie, UHF. Speaking of which, Emo Philips, who played Joe Earley in UHF, will also be appearing. Tickets are $37 to $87. At 7 p.m., Saturday, May 12, singer-songwriter and actress Melissa Manchester will take the stage with the Coachella Valley Symphony. She’s released numerous albums since the early ’70s, and appeared in television shows such as Blossom and films such as For the Boys. Tickets are $27 to $67. At 4 p.m., Sunday, May 13, 70 high school music students from throughout the Coachella Valley will perform as part of the 2018 All-Valley High School Honor Band. This is the third-annual concert, for which students must audition in front of College of the Desert faculty members to perform. Tickets are $10. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

May is flat-out hot with spectacular events at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. At 8 p.m., Saturday, May 5, Train will be performing. The band arrived with its debut album in 1998, scoring a hit with “Meet Virginia,” and then found it on the very top of the charts in 2010 with “Hey, Soul Sister.” Tickets are $69 to $129. At 8 p.m., Saturday, May 19, legendary R&B outfit Earth, Wind and Fire (right) will be performing. Although frontman Maurice White passed away in 2016, Earth, Wind and Fire remains as popular as ever. It is one band every music-lover should experience live at least once; I’m speaking from experience. Tickets are $49 to $79. And now the highlight: At 8 p.m., Sunday, May 27, ’80s rock icon and badass Billy Idol will take the stage. Idol’s mainstream success was well-deserved … but there was a punk-rocker inside of him who always needed to unleashed—and that side of him comes out at times. Tickets are $59 to $99. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a great May schedule. At 8 p.m., Thursday, May 17, former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar will be performing with his band The Circle. That band includes drummer Jason Bonham (son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham), bassist Michael Anthony (of Van Halen) and longtime Hagar guitarist Vic Johnson. Hagar was a successful solo artist in his own right before temporarily replacing David Lee Roth. Tickets are $95 to $125. At 8 p.m., Friday, May 18, enjoy a double bill from Tower of Power and Average White Band. There’s a lot of truth in Tower of Power’s name, as it is one of the most powerful R&B bands in music history. Average White Band may have a funny name, but it is one of the best-known names in funk music, most remembered for “Pick Up the Pieces.” Tickets are $45 to $65. At 8 p.m., Saturday, May 26, husband-and-wife Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo will be performing. Benetar and Giraldo married in 1982, and have been performing together at times ever since. Tickets are $55 to $75. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has a fun Cinco de Mayo event: At 8 p.m., Saturday, May 5, enjoy performances by Nacho “Nash” Bustillos, Mariachi Serenata Mexicana and DJ Morales. Mariachi Serenata Mexicana has been performing in the Coachella Valley for several years and is quite popular. Tickets are $10. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace is showing no signs of a post-Coachella/Stagecoach hangover, with a packed May. At 8:30 p.m., Sunday, May 20, X bassist John Doe will be performing a solo set. John Doe’s performance at Stagecoach last year impressed me; he’s a fantastic songwriter, and his style of performance will go over well at Pappy and Harriet’s. Also on the bill: J. Micah Nelson (son of Willie, performing as Particle Kid), and Feisty Heart. Tickets are $20. At 9 p.m., Thursday, May 24, punk/ska band Fishbone will rock Pappy’s. If you’ve never seen Fishbone, you have no idea what you’re missing. Nearly the entire original lineup is back. This is going to be a high-energy show in a small setting, and you’ll love it. Tickets are $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, May 25, the instrumental band Godspeed You! Black Emperor (below) will perform outdoors. I’m personally stoked for this one, given I have always wanted to see the band. Godspeed’s “songs” are not songs in the classical sense; they are long and evolving jams that go to some dark and psychedelic places. Tickets are $40. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Copa Room Palm Springs is hosting the return of a longtime favorite. At 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, May 25 and 26; and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, May 27, comedy and music duo Amy and Freddy will be performing. They've shared the stage with some great names such as The Supremes, Kathy Griffin and even Bea Arthur. Tickets are $25 to $35. Copa Palm Springs, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.coparoomtickets.com.

Published in Previews

Friday the 13th brought Grammy Award-winning country star Maren Morris to Pappy and Harriet’s. The show was originally scheduled as an indoor gig—but plans were shifted after the show sold out in minutes. The concert location was changed to the outdoor stage, which has a capacity of more than 1,000—and the show was still a sellout.

Pappy’s was spruced up with a new wooden barrier erected behind the west perimeter wall that helped with the cold, breezy conditions. Maren Morris created a VIP check-in area that allowed guests to meet the artist and get a photograph with her prior to the general-admission gate opening.

I got there early so I could position myself in front of the stage—and I met super-fan Rodney Braman from Wyoming, who got the VIP treatment. Braman told me that he drove 14 hours with his family to catch the show.

Tenille Townes was an incredibly warm opening act. Hailing from the Great White North, she presented heartfelt lyrics, incorporating her new EP, Living Room Worktapes, into her short set. The songs on that EP include “Where You Are,” “Jersey on the Wall” and “Somebody’s Daughter,” the latter being a soul-tugging song about a homeless girl she saw while on a drive with her mother: “Probably somebody’s high school first kiss … she’s somebody’s daughter … I wonder how she fell and no one caught her.”

Acknowledging the cool evening, Townes said the weather reminded her of home. “We got to drive to Joshua Tree National Park—such a spiritual experience,” she said. I smiled, as it appeared she connected with the audience in a transcendent way.

Maren Morris’ robust vocals and touching lyrics delivered—demonstrating why this singer is worth watching; she already has four Grammy nominations to her credit, with one win—for Best Country Solo Performance for “My Church.”

She started with the song “Sugar,” from her album Hero. She followed up with “Drunk Girls Don’t Cry,” which got a cheer from the crowd. (Some attendees tested this theory: I witnessed a handful of people needing help from friends to stay upright for the concert.) “Bummin’ Cigarettes” was pure country that would make Wanda Jackson or Patsy Cline proud with the verse: “I should find the common thread that makes it all unravel, laying down my dollar just for a temporary high. I got to quit bummin’ cigarettes from the wrong guys.”

The concert took a more serious tone as Morris introduced “Dear Hate.” She explained that she was “deeply in shock” after the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting. She performed at the festival the night before the shooting in Las Vegas, and she penned the new song, with all proceeds going to the shooting victims. She added: “The purpose of music is to connect with people.”

Modestly, she introduced the song “The Middle,” featured heavily in Target ads, acknowledging to the crowd that they probably had heard this one before. Then she announced, “By the way, cheers! I am doing a Dolly Parton song,” before singing “9 to 5.” A chorus of “I love you” rang out from the audience, and she reciprocated with, “I love you, too.”

A little later, she said: “Pioneertown, I am taking you to church with this last one,” before leading into the song “My Church.”

Maren then took a short break before sharing: “I literally got back four days ago from my honeymoon. We wrote this song years ago for Tim McGraw. The first time we played this song was this year.” Her husband, songwriter Ryan Hurd, walked onstage to sing the song with her and close out the night.

I hate to label performers. Is Maren Morris country, or is she pop? Who cares?! She is an incredible performer worthy of your attention if you are a music fan.

Published in Reviews

April is the final month of the busy season—and it seems like some venues have saved the best for last.

April marks the final full month of events at the McCallum Theatre. At 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 3, Lucie Arnaz—actress, singer, producer and daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz—presents Stepping Out for College of the Desert: Latin Roots. The show will pay tribute to Arnaz’s Latin roots, especially the man who helped bring Latin music to America—her father. Tickets are $67 to $127. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 7, enjoy a rock show by Boz Scaggs. His soulful singing combined with his rocking guitar is always a treat—and “Lowdown” is a great song to hear live. Tickets are $100 to $250. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 14, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra will be performing A Tribute to John Williams. Considering how many great films for which Williams has composed soundtracks, this should be a wonderful show to take in. Tickets are $87 to $137. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is hosting two fine events in April. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 7, comedian and puppeteer Terry Fator will be performing. Fator’s wildly popular shows are always funny and entertaining. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 14, enjoy a double-bill of Latin music when Los Lobos (right) and Los Lonely Boys perform. While Los Lobos is best known for the cover of “La Bamba” for the 1987 biographical Ritchie Valens film, there are a lot of cuts the band recorded early in a 45-year career that are political and go deep into the Latin-music genre. Hopefully some of that will be played here! The group Los Lonely Boys is best remembered for hit-song “Heaven,” and the band has sold millions of albums. Tickets are $39 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has one compelling music event in April: At 8 p.m., Friday, April 6, The Doobie Brothers will be performing. The famed Northern California rock band is no stranger to the desert. The group has won four Grammy awards and has sold 48 million records. Tickets are $60 to $80. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has an event in April comedy fans will love: At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 7, Marlon Wayans will be returning to the area. I spoke with the comedian and actor last year, and during the interview, his mother—the famous “Mrs. Wayans” referenced in Wayans brothers comedy—actually called him on his other phone. Marlon is hilarious, and he’s proven himself to be a talented actor outside of the comedy genre—see Requiem for a Dream—and has worked as a screenwriter and producer. Tickets are $25 to $45. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa doesn’t have any big music events in April, but get ready to celebrate, ladies … that’s right: At 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28, Australia’s Thunder From Down Under is BACK! The all-handsome, all-hunk, all-male revue is a hit, and the shows usually sell out—so get your tickets while you still can. They cost $25. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace will probably be bonkers with surprises in April thanks to Coachella and Stagecoach—and already, there are a lot of sold-out events. Here are some great shows with tickets left as of our deadline: At 9 p.m., Thursday, April 5, bass-and-drum duo Sumo Princess will take the stage. Sumo Princess features Abby Travis (KMFDM, Eagles of Death Metal, The Bangles) and Gene Trautmann (Queens of the Stone Age, Mojave Lords, Mark Lanegan). Also on the bill is Elettrodomestico, featuring Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Gos. Tickets are $15. At 8 p.m., Friday, April 6, talented local musician Gene Evaro Jr. (pictured below; photo by Guillermo Prieto/irockphotos.net) will be performing an outdoor show. Also on the bill: His sister, Gabriella Evaro. Tickets are $15 to $20. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room Palm Springs has a busy month of April, per usual. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 14, Palm Springs cabaret star Jerome Elliott will be performing. Elliott will sing hits from Broadway, the world of pop music, and the Great American Songbook. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 21, internationally known singer and pianist Lori Donato will take the stage in a show celebrating Marilyn Maye. Donato has a vocal range that allows her to master blues, jazz and other genres. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, April 27, Ann Hampton Callaway will perform songs from all the divas that we love—Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland and many others. Tickets are $55 to $65. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Published in Previews

Grammy-nominated Swedish electronic band Little Dragon came back to Pappy and Harriet’s on March 2—and two hours before the show, fans were already crowding the stage.

Barriers were set up in front of that stage, because Little Dragon fans get a little crazy—in a good way, dancing as if injected with frontwoman Yukimi Nagano’s personality.

Nagano welcomed her fans by saying, “How are you? Good to be back in the desert.” Her offbeat signature moves were full of vigor as she stepped across the stage—displaying a vitality that was free and unrestrained.

A few songs into the set, Nagano thanked the crowd: “Thank you! Guys, you feel good. Make some noise!” Her request was rewarded by a roar from the audience.

She introduced her melody “Ritual Union” by stating: “This next song is not a love song. The lyrics would enthuse Morrissey: “Love’s sinking in the sand, petals falling on demand, my feet are running like the wind; I’m sorry, boy that we sinned. Love is not like, they say, a lie, that it’s hard to make it stay. I drown my feelings in the sea; I dried out over on the beach.”

Heavy bass lines shivered the adobe walls of Pappy’s as songs transitioned from suave to fast, featuring tunes from the band’s diverse album catalog. Their set list included “High,” “Pretty Girls,” “Strobe Light” and “Crystalfilm.”

Little Dragon’s encore included the song “Sweet,” as well as a light show that was candy for the senses in all forms and hues. As the lights showered fans, Nagano waived her drumstick magically, like a Scandinavian fairy.

“We are Little Dragon, feeling love. Thank you so much,” she said in conclusion.

Published in Reviews

Shovels and Rope brought haunting lyrics and unpretentious harmonies to Pappy and Harriet’s for a sold-out show on Friday, Feb. 23.

Husband-and-wife duo Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent redecorated the stage with wooden pallets lighted by inexpensive Christmas-type lights. Lamps were also added, creating a comforting ambiance.

“It’s going to be a fun night … peace, love and music,” Michael Trent said as he greeted the audience.

“There is so much desert,” Cary Ann Hearst added. “We were having an argument if we played here before. We are grateful to be here.”

Trent then made a quip about the sight lines at Pappy’s: “We are Shovels and Rope, for those not in the front row. We are two people, and we are short.”

Shovels and Rope fuses electric guitar and a roaring kick drum with thoughtful choruses—and the result was the best performance I have seen so far this year. The Charleston, S.C., couple is very comfortable onstage—as if they are allowing you to visit their living room.

My favorite song of the night was “Carnival,” with sad words of a love lost: “Across the world I wonder, my moments made from years. On a still and silent midway, I wait for you to reappear.”

Trent dedicated the song “Save the World” to the kids in Parkland, Fla., recently been victimized by yet another school shooting. The lyrics include: “When you’re caught in the wave of a terrible tide, suddenly you’re struggling to stay astride, so you calm your hands, and you cool your mind, and you wake up happy on the other side.” As they sang, cheers erupted in the audience.

Michael announced: “We are going to play some deep cuts … a song about the West Coast,” by way of introducing “San Andreas Fault Line Blues.”

From the audience someone yelled out, “It’s her birthday,” while pointing to a woman in the crowd. Hearst responded: “Happy birthday! You’re beautiful. Throw her a $10 bill—not in a slutty way, but in a good way.”

In between songs, crowd members would shout out, “Lay Low!”—a song being requested as if Shovels and Rope were a jukebox.

The song “Birmingham” told the fantastic story of their relationship, describing a “Rockmount cowboy” and a “Cumberland daughter” from a “Delta mama” and a “Nickajack Man” who travel across the U.S. performing. The two then pivoted to a broader history with “Missionary Ridge,” a down-home tale about a Civil War battle. Things got rocking when they laid into “Hail, Hail,” one of the most upbeat songs of the night.

Once again, a woman screamed, “Lay Low!” Finally, the duo relented: “Here is an honored request, sweet little tumbleweeds,” Hearst said. Shovels and Rope was quickly rewarded with applause as the first note was played.

Shovels and Rope concluded the night with Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell.”

Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent combined perfectly sung lyrics and blues progressions, converting me into a fan of what I would call alt-country music sung by Southerners who may yearn to be rock stars.

Published in Reviews