By AVA LIVERSIDGE
Jesika von Rabbit has never shied away from outlandish expression or an exuberant piece of performance art, so it is no surprise that she has taken on the daunting challenge of energizing a virtual crowd during “From The Desert With Love,” Joshua Tree Music Festival’s October Streaming Event.
Von Rabbits’ electronic dance music is a staple in California’s desert music scene, with one of her top hits even being entitled “Joshua Tree.” Her style and ambiance embody the quirkiness of the desert’s art scene which will play an important role in connecting with a virtual crowd at the event.
The virtual festival headlines desert favorites like Thumpasaurus, Balkan Bump, Afrolicious, Jesika von Rabbit, Vir McCoy, and his Allstars, Year of the Crow, Heather Christie. Streaming October 23-25, the event includes a series of pre-recorded sets by each artist on the site of the previous Joshua Tree Music Festival in hopes of delivering the same performance quality in very abnormal circumstances. While the circumstances are certainly not ideal, the tight-knit community has rallied and gained plenty of support for music lovers ready for a bit of excitement.
As a desert native and anticipated headliner, Jesika von Rabbit brings color- whether that be in bright pink hair, a wild fashion ensemble, or an eclectic musical arrangement to every facet of her creative endeavors. This ray of light in an often disparaging time is perhaps just what audiences are looking to experience.
Better yet, JvR has just released a topical single entitled “Who the Hell Knows” that’s pertinence nods to the apocalyptic world we’re enduring. In her words, “It is my apocalyptic soundtrack to the current state of affairs and open to your own personal interpretation. Every true artist must be compelled to sonically document such turbulent times.”
This is von Rabbit’s turn to ponder and reflect on the unknown we’ve all been confronted with. The single “Who the Hell Knows” is an electronic wonderland with sonic surprises throughout. While the track doesn’t exhibit the tension and release that is characteristic of the EDM genre, it does draw the listener in with no shortage of hypnotizing, entrancing patterns. Additionally, the lyrics break ground as JvR explores her personal feelings about the current times and tribulations. “Who the Hell Knows” feels like a balladic and fitting marker at this juncture.
Fellow headliners Thumpasaurus bring another layer of electronic music to the festival that essentially embodies the word “funk”. Tending to err on the less serious side of things, Thumpasaurus add more youthful exuberance to a promising setlist. Though they guard a certain homemade aesthetic, Thumpasaurus are seemingly masters of 70s groove that shines through in extensive bass solos and notable saxophone moments during live performances. They’re guaranteed to get even a distanced crowd moving which will only escalate during the set of Will Magid’s newest project, “Balkan Bump”.
Though operating in the niche arena of electro-trumpet production, Balkan Bump is surprisingly invigorating and teaches the valuable lesson to not overlook the horn section, if Thumpasaurus didn’t already send that message. Magid is even anticipating a regional tour to follow Balkan Bump’s approaching album, Osmanity, which is coming soon.
In addition to these artists, there will be plenty more California-based collective likes Afrolicious, a joyful dose of classic funk that is currently spreading the opportune message that “Love Shall Remain!” or electric duo Vir McCoy and Heather Christie who deliver a mix of dance-inducing beats and slower folk tracks. Cutting edge artistry feels scarce at the moment, but a beacon of light shines through in the kaleidoscopic world of Jesika Von Rabbit and fellow desert rockers.
To attend virtually, go to the Joshua Tree Music Fest site.