PaliShades to Headline on Main Stage
By LAUREL BUSBY
This year, PaliShades, a for-one-night-only band, will bring their grooves to the Palisades Rocks the Fourth day-long concert event.
Made up of a bevy of skilled, professional musicians, the headlining PaliShades will play a combination of fun popular dance hits and some ‘80s and rock classics. Drummer Adam Topol and guitarist/singer Tom Freund will lead the group, which also includes singer Lucy Schwartz, a PaliHi grad, keyboardist Chris Joyner, who is fresh off the road with Heart, bassist Ethan Phillips, and Emile Millar on vocals and guitar.
“I’m always happy to be asked to play,” said Topol, the drummer for Jack Johnson, who will be appearing for the third time at the event. “It’s a family atmosphere. It’s really well planned. It’s a great time to get together and celebrate.”
Before PaliShades takes the stage, four other acts will entertain the audience from the main stage. The National Anthem will be sung first at 6 p.m. Then, the PaliHi Concert Band will play a 25-minute set.
Next Skull Rock, named after the rock in the Santa Monica Mountains seen from the Temescal hike, will play classic rock by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and others, while teen Arielle Martinez Cohen (see story of page 31) takes the stage at 7:10 p.m.
The PaliShades will then come on at 7:40 p.m. with songs by varied artists such as Prince, Cyndi Lauper, the B52s, and the Rolling Stones, ending with the perennial favorite, Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”
With each band, cover songs will be pre-eminent, including 100 percent covers from the PaliShades. All of the musicians also have other individual and group endeavors in which they play original music, but for this family event, they are looking forward to exploring familiar, popular music.
“It’s social music,” Topol said. “Most people don’t go to an event like this to dig new music or look at a band. I’m quite happy to play covers and contemporary things…. People forget that John Coltrane and Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra played covers. They made history playing covers.”
Topol, who will soon be releasing a new solo album, “Cuando,” treasures the variety of experiences playing music brings to him. In addition to Jack Johnson, he has fun playing as part of the Culver City Dub Collective. For live shows, he might play a quinceañera in Boyle Heights one day, and a coffee shop in Pasadena the next. Recently he returned from an Australian festival, that Jack Johnson, Iggy Pop, and Ben Harper co-headlined.
“The point of playing music is getting out in the community and sharing music on every viable, fun, healthy level,” Topol said. “If it means playing some well-known covers at an event like this, I enjoy that, or I’m happy to support another artist in their vision, but I also need to express my own feelings as well. So, I need to balance all of it.”
And Palisades Rock the Fourth has become an important part of that stream of music.
“Everybody will be celebrating the country without an agenda,” Topol said. “People are going to put aside a lot of different political things and just enjoy. I like that. Love and music are forces that can bring people together. None of the songs we’re playing have any agenda aside from love, joy, and togetherness.”