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Underdogs will be worth your time at Neon Desert

File Photo/The Prospector
The sixth-annual Neon Desert Music Festival will be held May 28 and May 29 in downtown El Paso.

Over 40 artists and bands will hit the stage in less than three weeks for the sixth-annual Neon Desert Music Festival that will be held May 28 and 29 in downtown El Paso.

Although some consider this festival’s release to be at a weaker caliber, the depth of the lineup goes far more than simply lower-level names. Much of the lineup includes artists who are not that well known, but are definitely noteworthy and should be checked out during the event. Below are some of the more unheard of artists to check out and possibly watch live at the show:


Check out — “Typical,” “Light Up” and “Monument”

Whoever said rock ’n’ roll is dead has not listened to MUTEMATH. The New Orleans band has been making music since 2003 and continues to appeal to the alternative rock-goers. Their deep guitar riffs clash with heavy drums to make their style so impressive. Their new album, “Vitals,” is fundamentally sound, and although it does not take too many risks, it proves to be a solid listen. Even though they are not the most critically acclaimed group, many true rock groups use the band as inspiration for their Southeastern sound.

STRFKR Indie/Electronic

Check out — “Never Ever,” “Isabel of Castile” and “Julius”

STRFKR seems like it was locked in a time capsule from the 1980s and sprung out to revitalize the indie-pop scene. The three-man band is also no stranger to the Sun City with numerous previous appearances in El Paso, including a Neon Desert slot back in 2013. After a three-year hiatus from recording new music, the band previewed a project in the making with the release of their new single, “Never Ever.” This band is definitely one to check out with their groovy, trippy, aesthetic vibe.

Niykee Heaton R&B

Check out — “Bad Intentions,” “Infinity” and “I’m Ready”

Last year, Neon Desert brought Kehlani, who at the time was unheard of and regarded as an up-and-coming artist. By the end of 2015, everyone knew about the amazing songwriter for her R&B talents. This year, the music festival brings a new, on-the-rise act with Niykee Heaton. She is a producer’s dream due to her cool and distinct vocals. Heaton, who became famous by recording YouTube covers, now showcases more talent in her sophomore album, “The Bedroom Tour Playlist.”

G HerboHip-hop

Check out — “Peace of Mind,” “Lord Knows” and “100 Days 100 Nights”

The Chicago rap game is one  to be reckoned with, and G Herbo breaks all the boundaries of a Chi-Town hip-hop artist. The 19 year old has experienced some eye-opening, scary occurrences during the short span of his life, which is all showcased in his freshman album, “Ballin Like I’m Kobe.” The album takes on the trap-rap genre and it is evident he uses influences from Chief Keef, another hip-hop Chicago native. His flows speak about gang-violence, drug influences and are narrations of his life on the Chicago streets.

Wilk & MiskySynth/Indie

Check Out — “I Want Your Lovin’,” “Clap Your Hands” and “Babe I’m Yours”

The London-based indie duo is taking their talents through the states during their tour, which will make a stop at Neon Desert. They use synthetic keys, western acoustic guitar and indie-driven vocals to make for an easy-going listen. They are very popular in Mexico, so their performance may attract a hefty crowd.

Rare IndividualsAlt Hip-hop

Check out — “Rare Town” and “I Got This”

The hip-hop group based in El Paso comprised of Derrell Peoples, Andy Ceballos, Lavell Jones and Josh Brown, are a noteworthy local hip-hop group. The group raps about societal problems and uses El Paso innuendos in their songs. Although there has not been a full project released by the group, once the group does drop an album, it is sure to be a local hit.

Stan ZIndie Hip-hop

Check out — “Waves,” “Face the Music” and “Some Days”

When you combine alternative hip-hop and indie rock, you get Stan Z. The local band, fronted by lead vocals and guitar Stan Zubia, also combines hip-hop influences with the help of rapper Idea. They experiment with different sound waves to make for groovy, electrifying music. Stan Z’s debut LP, “Ego Loss,” is still a hit and they continue to make noise in the El Paso local music scene.


Check out — “You,” “Song 4” and “Color”

The band of brothers—plus one—makes up ANiMALSOUL. The West Texas group utilizes all their musical influences—funk, rock and hip-hop—to their advantage. Their modern style of alternative rock makes for a charming listen.

Two-day tickets are still available at for $119 and VIP tickets are $250, which includes complimentary drinks, re-entry to the festival and separate entrances and exits. For the full lineup, visit the official website.

Adrian Broaddus may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
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Underdogs will be worth your time at Neon Desert