San Diego locals Dani Bell and the Tarantist have played The Joshua Tree Music Festival and BottleRock beforebut this year they hit up both festivals in one swoop, and added a strong Bay Area stint in between. 

Joshua Tree was graceful with its heat this year, but still had the band sweating behind their beaks. With a late afternoon slot in the sun, the full band really pulled out some rockin’ moments with Austin Burns and Ian Owen (sometimes abandoning the keys) commanding their guitars. The rhythm section of Dylan Jones (drums) and Aaron Hook (bass) had an eclectic crowd of yogis, artists, eccentrics, beat-lovers, twirl-dancers, and even families kicking up desert dust. Alfred Howard joined the band again on-stage adding his saw blade and ghetto-blaster meld of percussion.
In between festivals, the band hit The Big Easy, a speakeasy club in the quant town of Petaluma, where they played a chill show Thursday before heading back down to San Francisco.  They also played Fleet Wood – a hip gallery, boutique and custom screen printing shop in a rough part of the citys Tenderloin district. As the homeless danced to the bands outside, the inside of the shop was packed full with appreciators that stayed moving to the music.
Finally, their slot at BottleRock in Napa, contrasted the Joshua Tree Music Festival: there was no more dust, just plush grass and people throwing out the “Rock On” sign with one hand and a Lagunitas beer or Napa County wine in the other. Dani tossed around her cape and peered through her red mask having her own fits of Tarantism. As usual, her performance intriguing and artistically impressive as Dani Bell herself – she’s not just a pretty masked face, she composed all the songs herself.
People went out of their way to compliment them on their set through the day at Bottlerock, proving the new Dani Bell and the Tarantist, having expanded late last year to a full band, managed to captivate audiences and add new fans.
Go see them live around San Diego. Until then, catch their newest single “Driving Me Crazy” on Spotify and their new album “Wide Eyed” will be released later this summer through The Redwoods label.
Photo and words by: Kristy Walker