Follow the Beat

From dive bars to poolside pop-ups, these digs have live music on lock.

Site Staff Arts & Entertainment, The Guide

Gadi's Bar & Grill offers heavy music and eats in Yucca Valley.

Like the native California fan palm, the Coachella Valley music scene springs from an oasis of creative spirit. It has spread far and wide from roots in midcentury crooning and desert rock to encompass a trove of musical identities, and April serves up a supreme sampling of that vast and varied sound as local talent and big names take the stages at storied venues across town. Here’s where you can check them out.

Palm Canyon Roadhouse

Palm Springs

This gem of a honky-tonk presents cover bands and local rockers playing original tunes sure to blow your socks off. Join the open jam session Sunday nights. (Anyone know any Blue Cheer?)



Ace Hotel & Swim Club in palm Springs.

Ace Hotel & Swim Club

Palm Springs

The Ace draws an eclectic array of artists year-round and packs extra heat during festival season. Enjoy live DJ sets by the pool and techno-funk in the Amigo Room, or belt out the tunes during karaoke Tuesdays.


Palm Springs

Soul, blues, and drag queens. The supper club at Oscar’s shows Palm Springs’ longest-running cabaret, the Celebrity Female Impersonation Dinner Show, every Friday and Saturday night.

Dillon’s Burgers & Beer

Desert Hot Springs

Since 1946, Dillon’s has been doling out good burgers and great music. The Doors reportedly jammed here when rock ’n’ roll was banned in Palm Springs. Today, expect rockabilly, country, or rock.



Dillion's Burgers & Beer in Desert Hot Springs.

The Hood

Palm Desert

Blistering riffs and pulsating drums loud enough to make your blood vibrate dominate this dive. Let the local legends rearrange your ear canal while you enjoy slice after slice of the signature pizza.

Red Barn

Palm Desert

Locals pack this no-nonsense place (that looks like an actual barn) for punk rock, heavy metal, and cover shows. The stiff drinks keep them coming back for more.

The Date Shed


Once a repository for harvested fruit, the Empire Polo Club’s Date Shed — now a low-lit nightclub with black walls and plush white couches — draws top talent for exclusive events during festival season.

Gadi’s Bar & Grill

Yucca Valley

Perched on Highway 62 en route to Joshua Tree, Gadi’s gives off serious David Lynch vibes with mirrored walls and undulating wood-paneled ceilings. The rock bands are like the fried eats: heavy.

Pappy & Harriet’s


At the edge of the High Desert wilderness, Pappy & Harriet’s reputation can be summed up in four words: Paul McCartney played here.