DESERT DAZE: Say what you will about the annual two-weekend desert deluge known as Coachella. Now 14 years into its hot, sweaty, music-filled run, many old-school Coachella-goers will tell you the fest has jumped the shark, the crowds have ballooned to unwieldy proportions, the lineup just “ain’t what it used to be,” et cetera, et cetera. As a decade-long veteran of the event, I’ll simply say that if you’re headed to Indio for the first time this year, you’re guaranteed to have a great time. Just, dear god, don’t forget the sunscreen.
For those of us staying local, though, the next two weeks are bringing with them some of the hottest shows the 805 will host all year. And if you’re up for some late nights and a little bit of driving, it promises to be one hell of an action-packed good time. The party kicks off a solid 48 hours before the Coachella gates even open when Beck makes a two-night stop at the Arlington Theatre this Wednesday and Thursday, April 9 and 10. (He headlines Coachella on Sunday, April 13 and 20.) Touring on the heels of his recently released Morning Phase, Beck’s Arlington sets are sure to focus on his mellower, more intimate jams. Here’s hoping this also means a solid resurrection of the tunes from his 2002 acoustic opus, Sea Change. Tickets for Thursday night’s show can be purchased online by visiting thearlingtontheatre.com.
Also on this week’s Coachella overflow list is Aussie psych-rock duo Jagwar Ma, which makes its Santa Barbara debut on Wednesday, April 16, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. (The band plays both Friday afternoons in Indio.) Like fellow Down Under guitar noodlers Tame Impala, Jagwar Ma create tunes that are dizzying exercises in layering and soundscape creation. Pedals, loops, and synthesized effects are exacted with a heavy hand, resulting in some beautiful sonic palettes — not to mention some seriously mind-expanding instrumental compositions. (See “Backwards Berlin,” from the band’s 2013 LP, Howlin, for a taste.) Wednesday night’s show kicks off at 8 p.m. For tickets and info, call (805) 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com.
GOULDEN GIRL: Working our way south, the Coachella cup continues to overflow at the Majestic Ventura Theater, thanks to shows from Bonobo (see p. 89), Chvrches (see p. 87), and the incomparable Ellie Goulding, who headlines the venue on Wednesday, April 16. Operating somewhere in between the dance-floor-igniting fury of Robyn and the glittering synth spectacular of Florence + The Machine, Goulding pens the kind of electro-pop torch songs that were meant for hot desert nights. (Check out “Anything Could Happen” for a nice little crash course.) The young singer makes an impressive top-of-the-marquee Coachella return on Friday, April 11 (and again on Friday, April 18). And in between those shows, she hits the stage at the Majestic for one very sold-out night. But, as anyone who’s seen Ellie live will tell you, this is one ticket well worth the trouble of a Craigslist search. For info, call (805) 653-0721 or visit venturatheater.net.
ALSO THIS WEEK: On Monday, April 14, the Eastside Boys & Girls Club hosts N.Y.C. roots musician Vincent Cross. Touring in support of his latest, folk-centric offering, 2013’s A Town Called Normal, Cross will plug in for a live taping and post-set Q&A as part of the club’s Live from the Music Box sessions. The event starts at 4 p.m. and is free and open to all ages. Call (805) 962-2382 for info.