Palisades Rocks the Fourth Takes on Festival Feel

Photos by Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Uplifters, Madi Rindge and More Amp Up the Hits to Keep Attendees on Their Feet

By MICHAEL AUSHENKER | Contributing Writer

Palisades Rocks the Fourth 2018 felt more like Pali-palooza or ’Sades-chella than the day-capping concert lineup and fireworks spectacular of previous years.

Jumbo screen accompaniment, a second stage worth of local acts and a wagon circle of gourmet food trucks distinguished this year’s Palisades Rocks the Fourth parade-day closer, held at Palisades Charter High School’s baseball field.

Billed as “a community music event,” the climactic concerts—once again organized and overseen by Keith Turner—rose to the occasion of getting locals and visitors movin’ and groovin’ but also proved to set the stage for a homecoming of sorts, in the case of Main Stage maven Madi Rindge, back for the first time since 2010.

The Pali High Class of 2011 grad belted out a succession of songs fitting the day’s flavor, from Kim Wilde’s 1981 chant-and-reply anthem “Kids in America” to The Guess Who rocker “American Woman.”

“I wanted to cater to all ages,” Rindge, 25, told the Palisadian-Post following her set. “I wanted to do American-themed songs.”

The New York University graduate, who next performs at West Hollywood’s Peppermint Club on July 13, said her band are “all guys from Berklee College of Music I met last year in the recording studio.”

After Rindge’s well-received closer—the Whitney Houston banger “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”—got people doing just that, the Palisades Uplifters, a union of musicians fronted by male and female lead vocalists, kept the momentum going as they blew through a succession of songs from the last few decades, including The Killers’ “Somebody Told Me,” Heart’s “Barracuda” and opener “Walk Like an Egyptian” of the Bangles fame, as well as hits originated by The Cars and Tears for Fear.

“These guys have played with Dolly Parton, Meat Loaf and The Motels,” Turner said as the Uplifters rolled into some Hall & Oates.

The Uplifters kept the crowd jumping. For UCLA student Isabella Raindel, a Northern Californian from outside Bodega Bay, the occasion marked her first July 4th foray into the Palisades.

“There’s a really great crowd and fun energy,” Raindel said, dancing and miming the lyrics along to Uplifters’ rendition of David Bowie’s “Heroes.”

Ian Slater boogied with wife Emily, a Palisades native and Class of 2001 Pali High graduate.

“They’re great musicians,” Emily said, praising Uplifters’ covers of Blondie’s “Call Me” and Madonna’s “Vogue.”

The Uplifters peaked unleashing the 2013 Daft Punk/Pharrell Williams charts-ruler “Get Lucky.” Bonus points for the male lead singer tackling Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” while donning a red bandanna and gravelly vocals a la The Boss circa 1984.

Things got serious as Fireworks Chairman Rich Wilkin paid tribute to soldiers survived and fallen, including his dearly departed friend Tom Swanson, “who never came back,” by asking veterans in attendance to rise and requesting others to thank and hug the former soldiers; all set to Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to Be an American.”

Capping off the concert at 9:30 p.m.: an all-hands-on-deck live performance of Woody Guthrie’s timeless magnum opus, “This Land is Your Land” and what has now become an annual tradition set firmly in stone—a breath-taking fireworks display set to the “Let Freedom Ring” medley of pre-recorded American anthems, from John Philip Sousa’s orchestral fanfare “The Stars and Stripes Forever” from 1896 to James Brown’s 1985 funky “Rocky IV” fist-raiser, “Living in America.”

Tom Farrell’s Palisades All-Stars returned to jam, as did the Alex Dale-led Palisades Charter High School Band.

The secondary Festival Stage saw performances by singer-songwriters Arielle Martinez Cohen and Trinity Rose; and a pair of returning teen bands who performed last year—Phat Trick and Cohort, a classic rock-inspired consortium, including Pali High students Jack Ross and Tula Jussen.