PHOENIX — While genre-bending musician & DJ Bonobo was electrifying The Van Buren downtown, The Rebel Lounge was being taken over by post-hardcore, indie, and alternative rock. On the bill were co-headlining classic Drive-Thru Records artists The Movielife & The Early November, along with Racquet Club, & locals Daylight Heist.
Phoenix was the first night that Racquet Club joined this tour, and they will continue through to the last show on October 14. Racquet Club features members of Knapsack, The Jealous Sound, and Samiam. They released their debut self-titled album on September 29, just 4 days before this Phoenix show. Fans of local legends The Format, whose lead vocalist was Nate Ruess, may have recognized vocalist Blair Shehan from The Jealous Sound when they performed together in 2003 along with Limbeck and The Like.
The Early November
The Early November played their debut album, The Room’s Too Cold, in it’s entirety, to the delight of the crowd that sang 3/4 of the songs. The band took a break from 2007 to 2011, and has been active up until the present, with their fifth studio album Fifteen Years released in January of this year. The Early November performed as part of the Taste of Chaos line-up at Comerica Theatre in July of 2016; alongside Saosin, Taking Back Sunday, & Dashboard Confessional. (View our review & photos here.)
The Movielife released their first new album in 14 years, Cities in Search of A Heart, on September 22. Their 2014 reunion was a dream come true for fans who didn’t expect their return 11 years after their 2003 break-up, those who never had a chance to see them before, and for Phoenix fans who didn’t expect the band to play outside of New York.
Daylight Heist, who were on after The Movielife, are the official resident DJs of EmoNightPHX, which has been taking place at The Rebel Lounge, but will next be at The Van Buren on October 21. You can check them out, along with out all-emo cover band Hands Down, and other special guests (TBA) that night. Some of the special guest DJs that EmoNightPHX has had this year include: Buddy Neilsen of Senses Fail (9/27), Ryan Key of Yellowcard (7/20), and JT Woodruff of Hawthorne Heights (6/22).
PHOENIX — With an Arizona summer solar-powered surge of ambition, Tempe-based Alternative HipHop artist DaDadoh started recording the 6-track You Can’t Rap Forever in June of this year. In only four months between then and the release show, he worked with a perfectionistic fervor to re-work and refine his songs that had already proven popular. Regardless of unwavering confidence in the songs he’s written, DaDadoh honed his insatiable appetite for challenging himself to accomplish beyond what he thought feasible before. In fact, he mixed and mastered the album, and performed all of the songs including all of the instrumentals, himself. The result was reaching the same kind of new heights as an artist that he is regularly helping other artists achieve as a music producer with his record label TVLiFE Entertainment.
Although You Can’t Rap Forever is a cohesive addition to DaDadoh’s discography, the release brings a fresh sound that comes with his growth and evolution as an artist and a person. Lyrically, he continues to cleverly inject commentary into his verses, using music as his platform to have a voice in matters. Steering away from his cocky, comedic, and sex-saturated themes of the 2016 release Radical, he takes a more sober tone, and channels angst into his music. The new release is both melodic, and infused with punk rock. The album feels sincere and intense – like it’s made of his very soul. Get ready to get f*cked up when you dive in.
You can buy You Can’t Rap Forever on Bandcamp as a digital download only, or with a physical copy in CD format:Here
While DaDadoh is a charismatic (and somewhat-eccentric) staple in the Phoenix local music scene, he isn’t one to boast; despite the fact that one might consider him a hiphop-flavored renaissance man. If you’re not familiar with his projects and you’re reading this now, it might have taken some online sleuthing to discover that on top of his solo project and music production, he also hosts “Before The Show: The Podcast,” and is a member of bands including Exxxtra Crispy and Militia Joan Hart. And during the four months leading up to the EP release, he helped local musicians even further by recruiting 3 live band members – now known as The P.o.C. – Andy Warpigs (Guitar & Vocals), Jimmie Lewis (Bass), and Daviid Giiron (Drums).
The more you learn about DaDadoh, the more you come to understand that he passionately pours 100% into his artistic projects, and how important the community is to him. Although this release show was his time to shine, his gratitude for his new bandmates, and all of the fans and media people swarming around The Trunk Space venue, was no secret; nor was their willingness and enthusiasm to support his release show – and THAT reciprocal community is what Burning Hot Events is all about.
Tempe, Ariz. — Even before a band took the stage there was a sense of friendship and camaraderie sweeping the room at the Marquee Theatre that Friday, September 22. Ben Folds’ Paper Airplane tour had come to town, and the audience smiled and laughed as they waited excitedly for the show to start.
Tim Harrington and Paul Wright of the duo Tall Heights sauntered on stage, carrying their instruments: a guitar and a cello. The electrofolk group from Boston serenaded with haunting harmonies that lulled back and forth as an ocean’s tide, pulling the audience in and releasing them once again. Their emotive lyrics of songs like “Spirit Cold” and “Iron in the Fire”weighed on hearts and the duo used creative sounds like cell phone feedback to accompany the song “Cross my Mind”. The spell was eventually broken as their set came to an end, signalling to the crowd to usher forward for the main event, Ben Folds.
After holding the audience in eager anticipation Ben Folds entered the stage and seated himself at the piano, gave a short wave and sheepish grin to the crowd, then immediately slammed fingers to keys, playing “Annie Waits”. Arms slipped over shoulders and the audience sang along. It was as though everyone was invited to an intimate house party, every song a precious memory as it poured over the audience, friendly reminders of days now past.
Ben Folds warmly shared stories, talking about his father as a construction worker and being cornered by his Uncle Walter who talked about what he would do if he were president. Occasionally Ben Folds would stop singing and just listen to the audience sing instead. He stood and happily conducted the crowd in a five part harmony singing “Not the Same”. Tall Heights came back to the stage joining Ben Folds to sing “Still Fighting It”.
For the grand finale of the first half of his set he started playing a drum while walking across the stage and continued playing an amazing drum solo as they set up the remaining set around him. The stunned audience continued to watch intently, impressed into silence broken intermittently by hoots and screams. When it was over, a brief intermission began, but there was a catch.
The audience was instructed to go into the lobby and get a piece of paper. Write a request on it and fold it into a paper airplane to be sailed across the Marquee landing gently on the stage, where Ben Folds would take it and play what was written on it. People rushed to get their paper and pushed their way close to the stage, hoping that their paper would make it, and more importantly, that their paper would be chosen. It was none other than Arizona’s own Alice Cooper who came on to the stage, swinging red lights and wearing his signature black hat, who initiated the count down. The crowd chanted “10, 9, 8…” and at 0 the entire audience sailed airplanes towards the stage. The planes that didn’t make it were picked up by strangers and thrown again, everyone helping to get all the paper planes to the stage.
Ben Folds did explain he might not be able to sing every song, or occasionally a song wasn’t even written on the paper, making it impossible to play. However, the highlight of the second half of the set was when just that happened. He started to play a song that no one recognized, and went on to completely ad-lib a song based off what was written on the airplane, which was “Rock this B***h, Omaha Symphony 2017.” In the song Ben Folds told a story about how he acquired his favorite piano, his Frank LLoyd Wright piano for only $8000, singing that the guy who sold it “thought that was a lot.” The audience laughed over and over at the witty story set to music, all in the guise of a request written on an airplane.
Songs kept coming and wrists flung in the air to the beat of “Kate” while bodies moved back and forth to the sweet piano chords. Abruptly, Ben stood and bowed the audience, thanking them for coming out and left the stage. The audience continued to cheer and scream, knowing an encore had to be in store. In a few minutes he returned and played “Zak and Sara” for a rejoicing audience.
Then it really was over, the house lights came on and the crowd started to head to the doors. Their faces full of smiles, holding the hands of loved ones and already reminiscing about their favorite part of the concert. It was as though they were leaving a friend’s party who had come to town unexpectedly, hyped up and already awaiting the next chance they get to see each other. The next time Ben Folds comes to town, they’ll be ready.
MESA — As the first day of fall descended upon the Phoenix metro area, locals were preparing for a much-anticipated event hosted by local alternative radio station ALT AZ 93.3, featuring many wonderful bands and headlined by Bleachers. While it was maybe a little long for a concert, and a little short for a music festival, it was just the perfect length of time for music fans attending the Dia De Los ALT music festival in Mesa Amphitheatre on Friday, September 22, 2017. Luckily, the weather this year also seemed to participate, with a lower-than-average high of 86 degrees. A beautiful afternoon of music entertained a slowly-growing crowd, preparing them for a fantastic night of great alternative bands and temperatures in the 70s. What a wonderful way to welcome these musicians to the Valley of the Sun.
Dia De Los ALT may have been headlined by Bleachers, but 5 other incredible bands also blessed Mesa Amphitheatre with their presence – and their tunes. The lineup included local band Rival Coast, Los Angeles/Seattle band Tangerine, Los Angeles-based Sir Sly, the Copenhagen/New York musical sensation New Politics, and finally the London (by way of Los Angeles) queen of alternative, Bishop Briggs. Each band brought their unique style and sound to the festival, showing how truly diverse and interesting alternative music can be. This was also reflected by those in attendance – Dia De Los ALT was a wonderful way for all types to come together and enjoy beautiful music and a fantastic time.
First up was Rival Coast, a young yet capable local Phoenix band. The festival started at 4pm, and with the recent venue change and rush hour traffic in Phoenix, the venue was just starting to gain a sizeable number of attendees. While Rival Coast are still just getting started, they just recently released their first EP – Red Lights. These young men may have only recently graduated from high school, but their talent and love for music are both crystal clear. Since they have all been friends since childhood, it was also easy to see that they love playing music with one another.
Each band member totally rocked the stage and entertained a small yet enthusiastic crowd. They only had the spotlight for 20 minutes, but they made ample use of the time they were allotted. They have likely gained at least a few new fans after their stellaalr performance. They are energetic and enthusiastic, and they pair fantastic vocals with excellent instrumentals. The highlight of their performance was definitely their last song, “Shiver,” a portentous yet spirited tune with a fun, memorable chorus. It was certainly a great choice with which to end their brief performance.
After a brief break and a word from some of the ALT AZ hosts who thanked everyone for coming out early, the next band – Tangerine – was introduced. They started with great energy, fun vibes, and a very chill stage presence. Their music is considered alternative pop, and they certainly have a unique sound. The band consists of two sisters, Marika and Miro, and their best friend Toby. It was easy to tell how close they are to one another, and this made their performance a seriously enjoyable experience.
Tangerine has been making music for quite a while, but they have yet to release a full album. They do have singles and EPs out, however, and their latest song ”Sly Moon” was released last month. Other highlights from the show include the songs “Sunset,” “Girls Like Us,” and “Nothing Better.” They seriously brought out some fun and chill vibes for the growing crowd near the stage as others found seating in the shade around Mesa Amphitheatre; attendees were throwing beach balls around, eating some snacks, enjoying some beverages, or getting some free face painting done with various Sugar Skull themes. Their music perfectly complimented the easy-going nature of the festival. Prior to playing their last song, they threw in a wonderful comment: “We love Phoenix so much! This is our second time here.” It was great to have them visit again – Phoenix loves you too, Tangerine!
Between shows, ALT AZ played some select songs from Bleachers, New Politics, and Bishop Briggs to hype up the valley for their performances later in the evening. However, Sir Sly was on next. Sir Sly dominated the stage with their interesting music and fantastic stage presence, bringing the energy levels of the festival up a few notches. The synth music was out in full force, and the bass was certainly bumping. There were some tinges of 80s music in there, but this was certainly a unique musical experience. Landon, the vocalist, concentrated all of his energy into moving around the stage and sharing his fantastic vocals with the crowd. Most importantly, he shared his smooth dance moves with the audience, with a PBR in hand. That man can move!
Sir Sly recently released a new album – Don’t You Worry, Honey – and played a few of these new songs during their set. The best part was that the band members are very close to one another, and Landon said it was wonderful to create this new music with his best friends, Jason and Hayden. He also shared that “it’s good to be back once again,” as their very first show outside of California was here in Phoenix; it obviously holds a special place in their hearts, so being back was a truly special experience for everyone that night.
It was clear Sir Sly loved performing their music, and some highlights were new songs “Altar” and “Change.” The songs were full of fun, yet sometimes sardonic and cutting lyrics and backed up with lots of bass, guitar, drums, and synth. They also employed some voice filters to interesting effect during songs. The highlight of their performance, however, was when they played the song “&Run” just as the sun began to set over Mesa; they sang the lyrics, “Heavy as a setting sun…” and “I’ll run into the setting sun…” at the perfect moment. This truly made their presence at the show truly unforgettable.
During another brief break, as dusk set itself upon the Phoenix metro area, more people began to arrive to the Mesa Amphitheatre. The temperature was dipping into the 70s, and people were getting excited for New Politics coming on next. People were grabbing more beers and cocktails, more people were getting some face painting done, lots of people were finding spots to sit down or hang out with one another, and entire families were enjoying one another’s company; in fact, there was one family with small children playing with one of the many beach balls floating around the amphitheater. One young boy had ear protection on and a shirt that read, “HERE TO ROCK.” I’m sure he wasn’t alone!
Just as twilight was setting in, New Politics came on at about 6:30pm. They were the first to have a dramatic entrance onto the stage, and dramatic it was – they played some epic background music while the band members came on stage one at a time. First up was the drummer, Louis Vecchio, followed by guitarist Søren Hansen, and finally, lead vocalist David Boyd. The crowd was screaming, and they did not waste any time getting into things. They started the show with a huge bang, rocking out pretty hard and getting the crowd jumping. Now that it was getting dark, it was time for some fantastic lighting, and New Politics’ light show definitely delivered.
New Politics was great at getting the crowd involved, and everyone certainly loved the attention and engagement. They discussed how it was great to be back in Phoenix, how they have a new album coming out next month (Lost In Translation), and sang one of their new songs, “CIA.” During this song, David threw his hat off to really get into the mood of rocking out and moving all over stage with his ridiculous yet entertaining dance moves while sporting his bright red microphone. He even told the audience he hoped they had their dancing shoes on so they could join him. During the show, they played some of their greatest hits, such as: “West End Kids,” “One of Us,” and “Just Like Me.” They also played a new song, “Color Green,” while illuminating the entire stage in green lighting (of course).
Not only did New Politics play some amazing songs, but they also brought a message of hope and love. They thanked ALT AZ for having them and bringing everyone together, citing them as the main reason they were all there that evening. They also praised ALT AZ for spreading music and love, how they love alternative music because it is truly the best. Continuing on this theme, they also discussed how, when we all have each other, through all the bad stuff like hurricanes and earthquakes, we’re here for each other; “All it is is just a lot of good people listening to music and sharing love.” This is when they started singing “One of Us,” which was perfect timing.
The most beautiful moment of New Politics’ performance was when they busted out the ukulele sang “Fall Into These Arms,” at which point a little girl popped up on her parents’ shoulders towards the front of the crowd. In the middle of the song, David pointed out to her and said, “I LIKE YOU!” The little girl was overjoyed, but that wasn’t the end of this beautiful moment. David also, quite literally, fell into those arms by gently diving into the crowd. The excitement levels of the crowd were off the charts by this point, and it was such a wonderful moment where everyone truly was brought together by some beautiful music.
Sadly, at about 7:15pm, New Politics’ time was up. Before parting ways, they announced that Bleachers were coming up later, but first, the “most beautiful woman in alternative rock” was coming on – Bishop Briggs. They then got together at the front of the stage, bowed to the audience, and threw some guitar picks and drumsticks into the crowd for a few delighted fans to catch. After that, they were off, and after another short break consisting of an awkward word from the show’s sponsors, Bishop Briggs took the stage.
First on the stage were Bishop Briggs’ band members, and the lighting was quite dark. They started playing music, and after a few moments, Bishop Briggs herself jumped out on stage with incredible energy. Dark purple lighting flooded the stage, but right at the perfect moment, the big 93.3 ALT AZ banner in the back was lit up in bright red right as Bishop Briggs started singing the first lyrics of her first song of the night. It may have been a bit difficult to see anything on stage, but what stood out were her signature dual hair buns and jumpsuit – a black Adidas tracksuit that evening, with bright white iconic stripes down the sides. This was just the outfit she needed, because not only was she singing, she was also running! This made the show feel a bit like a high energy workout routine, but it certainly made the audience move and jump too.
The first song Bishop Briggs played was “Dark Side,” containing the lyrics “Welcome to my dark side, it’s gonna be a long night;” perhaps that’s why the stage was so dark during her show! Regardless, the intense beats and maximum bass were perfect accompaniments to her high-energy lyrics and her almost-non-stop jogging and jumping around the stage. What also stood out was her massive smile the entire time, and it was easy to tell she was truly enjoying her time up on stage. She also had a unique style of inserting a little scream into the perfect moments in her lyrics and just talking to the crowd, with such moments like “How is everybody DOING?!” followed by an enthusiastic “GOOD!!!”
Her music was loud, aggressive, and entertaining, and there were even guests staying in the nearby Marriott hotel who came to their windows to look down at the amphitheatre to see what all the commotion was about. Hopefully they enjoyed their free view of the show! The crowd definitely did – everyone seemed to be jumping up and down, dancing, and singing along with Bishop Briggs’ songs. To show her appreciation for everyone, she stated that she was “so honored to be in this lineup. It’s great to be alive in this little bubble we have going on here.” On that note, she ended her show with her wildly famous hit single, “River.” The crowd went wild!
During another short break, it was easy to feel the anticipation in the air; clearly, there were many people at Dia De Los ALT who were there to see Bleachers. During this break, one could hear the final calls of the Lemonade man, who had been shouting all evening: “Lemonade, Lemonade, like Grandma… made!” Attendees had grown accustomed to him and his impressive set of lungs, particularly those who had been in the amphitheater since the doors opened at 3pm. During this time, technicians took down the huge 93.3 ALT AZ banner and replaced it with the new stuff for Bleachers’ elaborate stage setup.
Finally, at about 8:50pm, the moment many had been waiting for had arrived. Bleachers came out on stage to the screams, shouts, and claps of the audience. They started out with the fact that they are from New Jersey and that they have never headlined in this part of the world before, so this was a very special night for them. They also continued to hilariously decide if it was okay for them to call everyone “Phoenix” since they were in Mesa, and they asked if that was offensive. They decided, “f*ck it, we’ve never headlined in Arizona before. All of AZ is here tonight!”
Their high-energy, anthemic songs uplifted and roused the crowd; their music was coupled with one of the best light shows possible, which added a new level to the experience and pumped the crowd up even more. Their songs encourage people to sing along in many ways, compounded by the fact that four out of five of the band members pipe in from time to time to sing along with Jack Antonoff. Not only that, but Jack frequently encouraged the crowd to sing along with shouts like “SING IT LOUD!” and “holy sh*t, you guys don’t f*ck around!”
After a few of their songs, Jack ripped off his jacket; things were getting serious now. They also had a huge surprise for everyone that night – Jack announced they had a birthday in Bleachers very recently. The crowd cheered a bit, but to his displeasure, not loud enough: “Come on, you can do better than that! Do you guys not give a sh*t?! There was a birthday, like, a WEEK ago!” The cheering got much louder at this point, to which he shouted, “That’s more like it!” At this point, everyone sang happy birthday together with the band to one of its drummers, Mike Riddleberger. Jack then brought out a cake and handed it to the crowd, stating “You all can share it.”
Jack then followed the birthday celebration up with how he knows Bleachers hasn’t been to Arizona enough, but he considers Phoenix a home away from home; it meant a lot for them to be there at Dia De Los ALT. After a few more songs, Jack punctuated the show with another little personal story. He first made the crowd get quiet, and then he made bass guitarist and keyboardist Mikey Hart stop all background music. Everyone then listened to how quiet it was outside in Mesa, and then Jack had Mikey start playing a low, humming sound. He then went on to explain how he loved Yaz (Yazoo) when he was young, and he heard this beautiful yet sad synth humming sound in the song “Only You.”
He became obsessed with that sound, and he bought the type of synth Yaz used to make it. He would play it all night long in his bedroom, which inspired him to write the lyrics to the songs that would one day become Bleachers. He wanted to make sad sounds, sad lyrics, and sad stories sound beautiful. He then stated that it would “sound something like this,” and then the other sounds of the beginning of their massively popular song “Rollercoaster” began to play. The crowd instantly screamed and cheered; this was truly one of the greatest build-up moments, and the crowd loved it. They were hanging off Bleachers’ every note, every lyric, and every word. Of course, Jack inspired the audience to sing it with him, and they most definitely sang along.
Since Jack has been a part of many beautiful moments in recent alternative music history, including being a part of the band Fun., they just had to include a slowed down version of “Carry On.” The crowd enjoyed this lull in the hype, sang along, and swayed solemnly. This more somber moment was followed up by additional slower songs, such as “Foreign Girls.” After this point, Jack discussed how they were excited to be touring with Bishop Briggs again in November, and they asked, “How are we doing on time? Someone give me a sign… I don’t want to f*ck this up.” Someone in the audience jokingly announced that it was over, to which Jack replied, “Oh, that’s it? Okay, I guess we’re done then!” However, they were far from done.
Jack next shouted out to the audience, “We’ve gotta keep it moving!” and inspired the crowd to pick up the pace once more. Next up was the song “You’re Still a Mystery,” which certainly brought the energy back again. After this, it was time to introduce the band, which was a significant moment in the show. They did a musical introduction to each member, along with a fun fact about each. Some even got to do a sort of musical solo after being announced.
Some exceptional moments were when the audience found out that Sean Hutchinson lived in Phoenix for a few years. We also learned how Mike Riddleberger is the “original Jersey hipster;” apparently, he started the entire movement! Finally, Mikey Hart was introduced, and the crowd learned he has a brother who lives in Phoenix. Mikey then treated the audience to a wickedly awesome saxophone solo, which was met with raucous applause.
Bleachers ended the evening strong, with two high-energy songs: “I Wanna Get Better” and “Don’t Take the Money.” While the crowd desperately wanted an encore, time was unfortunately up, and the festival had to come to an end. The guests staying at the adjacent Marriott were likely relieved, at least!
All in all, despite the last-minute venue change from Fear Farm on the west side of the valley over to the Mesa Amphitheatre, Dia De Los ALT was a raging success! Citizens of the Phoenix metro area truly did come together to share love and music, and it was wonderful to see so many people of all ages and types enjoying these bands and the beautiful fall weather together. With any luck, the Phoenix area will continue to enjoy beautiful weather from here on out, and it would be great for all the bands from the Dia De Los ALT lineup to return and play in Phoenix again soon. After all, many of them seem to love Phoenix, and many of them did throw Phoenix into their lyrics as frequently as possible!
Phoenix — A long of line of dark figures stood waiting outside the Marquee Theatre on September 17th. Even on a Sunday night, fans gathered together under the setting sun, bonding over their shared excitement of the night to come. The Dutch symphonic metal band Epica was joining the Italian gothfathers Lacuna Coil in a show that was sure to not be forgotten.
Elantris & Insomnium
As the stage glowed an ominous red the opening band Elantris, a female-fronted symphonic metal band, perched on the edge of the stage amping up the crowd. The melodic voice of Lindsay Victoria Ketchum mixed with the gravelly screams of Thomas Ullom made for a beautiful contrast and got hearts pumping, Thomas even joined the crowd for moshing. After Elantris, Insomnium took the stage, bringing the crowd to new heights with their super charged energy and in-sync head banging. All the way from Finland, they were excited to be celebrating their 7th album Winter’s Gate.
It was now time for Lacuna Coil to take the stage and the crowd pushed forward, the room thick and dripping with anticipation. One-by-one, the band members took to the stage, adorned in their sanitorium costumes. Straight jackets stained red and band members’ faces painted white and red to look like sadistic clowns.
Only the vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro stood with unpainted faces, their clothes scrawled with lyrics such as “Leave me Alone” in erratic black marker. It was a sight to behold. They immediately launched into song and the crowd’s cheering filled the theatre.
They started off the night with some of their new songs from their latest album, Delirium which was released May, 2016. Songs such as “Delirium” as well as “House of Shame” and “Blood, Tears, Dust” all shook the theatre to the core. In between each song, vocalist Cristina Scabbia would address the crowd and make connections on a personal level. She told the audience to “Leave your problems at the door, because everyone is welcome in the sanatorium!”; and made them cheer as she told them, “We know where we are, and we are headed towards our destiny!”
Midway through their set, Cristina challenged the audience to raise the bar as she burst into their hit song “Swamped” the audience went wild, moshing and throwing their hands in the air. After singing “Come to Me” and “My Demons” Lacuna Coil brought it down a notch, asking the crowd to get out their lighters and cell phones and keep loved ones alive in their hearts as they sang “Downfall.”
Towards the end of their set Lacuna Coil announced a new project for their 20 year anniversary. They will be releasing a book entitled “We Fear Nothing” in 2018, which will document the band’s journey from beginning to their current platform. It should be an amazing and vivid illustration full of their accomplishments and past concerts. They finished their set with “Nothing Stands in Our Way” emphasizing that they believe in destiny! Even as the band members left stage, the audience was soaking in their message of love, acceptance, and strength. But the night wasn’t over.
The last band to take the stage was another female-fronted symphonic metal band, Epica. On their Ultimate Principle Tour, Epica promoted their newest album The Holographic Principle.
The band members took the stage as the eager crowd cheered them on. Vocalist Simone Simons appeared last, in a tight-fitting black leather like dress, flipping her iconic long red hair. Her operatic vocals filled the theatre as guitarists Mark Jansen and Isaac Dela haye wowed the crowd with their fingering skills, parading back and forth. Even the keyboardist Coen Janssen got into it, spinning his keyboard around and headbanging with his bandmates, even with his shaved head!
Green light emanated from behind them as though the audience was transported to a different world, as alternating lights flickered and flashed. Belting out the songs “Our Destiny” and “The Essence of Silence” the audience was electrified as though in a trance. It was the best way to end the night.
Afterwards, it was hard not to dwell on the lyrics and messages of the bands. It felt as though you could take on the world with a newfound passion and strength. With the words echoing in your head, “We Fear Nothing!”, it was time to tackle Monday.
PHOENIX — Just as the heat started to break, Phoenix began its transition from a seemingly-endless scorching summer to the fall and winter temperatures locals seem to live for. A perfect night for Phoenicians to head down to the brand new venue downtown – The Van Buren. Beth Hart, along with Marina V, headed to the Valley of the Sun to serenade and entertain a diverse crowd in this beautiful new downtown space.
Marina V set the stage for a beautiful, emotional evening, slowly warming up a relaxed crowd with her melodic voice and piano-playing skills. She shared many tender, intimate moments with the audience, making it seem as if it was a private show for each and every one of them. Her passion for the art she creates and shares with the world is obvious, and her performance was a mixture of the subtle and the sublime.
Marina V, short for Verenikina, hails from Moscow, Russia, but she has lived in the US for quite some time now. When she first started performing live, one of her first shows was opening for Beth Hart, making this tour very special – she was happy to be sharing the stage yet again with Beth. She also shared that she has performed over 1000 live shows by now, with her husband always by her side. In fact, after a few solo songs on stage and sharing her recent health struggles which she has recently recovered from – singing her song “Bring It On,” the anthem she wrote in some of her darkest moments – she brought out her husband to play guitar. Together, they rocked the stage, slowly ramping up their music and playing more stimulating songs and slowly warming the crowd up.
Eventually, Marina V told the crowd a bit more of her backstory, about growing up in Russia among tense relations with the US, and how she wishes peace, love, and unity for the two countries. To seal this deal, she confessed that she learned about most American music much later in her life, discovering Neil Diamond only recently. She sang “Solitary Man” in Russian, which was quite a pleasant surprise for the audience.
Marina V shared a few songs from her newer albums, and in fact plans to release her second album of the year soon. Her first one of this year, Inner Superhero,was released in January, and her latest album, Born to the Stars,comes out later this month. Fortunately for attendees, she was selling the newest album at her merch booth, giving fans a bit of a head start.
At the end of Marina V’s set, she offered for everyone to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for 4 free songs, and a promise that she would read each and every message personally. She also invited everyone to visit her in the merch area, where she offered to sign every piece of merch sold, and to hug anyone who came to see her. As a bonus, she made sure to write fans’ names in both English and Russian on any merchandise sold.
During a short break, people were able to explore The Van Buren a bit more, enjoying its spacious lobby, beautiful outdoor patio area, a drink or three from one of its bars, and maybe even a snack. As people were returning to their seats, Beth Hart took the stage by storm, starting the show with a “bang bang” and a “boom boom.” She rocked out hardcore, along with her band, moving all around the stage and singing her heart and soul out. It was crystal clear that she was enjoying her performance just as much as the audience, if not more so.
Beth Hart recently released a new album, Fire on the Floor, in the US this February, and what better way to celebrate than with a worldwide tour? On top of playing some of her newer songs, Beth Hart played some of her greatest hits since the early 90s. She also made sure to play one of her own mother’s favorite songs – something she thinks is a pretty sexy song: “Close to My Fire.” What she didn’t reveal just yet was that her mother was actually in the crowd at that very moment.
Beth Hart went through a great sampling of her best songs from over the years, transitioning from high energy to intimate, sobering, somber moments, and just about every other feeling in between. Her music is a mix of blues, rock and roll, jazz, and soul, and it is no wonder that The Blues Magazine called her “the ultimate female rock star.” Her voice has such a unique, enchanting sound, and her commanding stage presence only helps to amplify this.
The crowd was also treated to Beth playing acoustic guitar on stage for a few songs, and of course she pulled out a few of her singer-songwriter-esque piano songs. Eventually, she had a heart-to-heart with the crowd, revealing her struggles with bipolar disorder and how it took her a very long time to “figure it out.” She also shared what was probably one of her proudest moments – reconnecting with her mom and showing her that she can do this thing called life. It was in that moment that she shared the fact that her mom was in the audience, somewhere towards the front, stage left. The lights went out, and they put the spotlight on Mama Hart, right as Beth prepared to play a song she had written just for her: “Mama This One’s For You.”
After this heartwarming moment, Beth wanted to get back to the business at hand – rocking the house, and she sure rocked it good. She shared how she hasn’t been to Phoenix in a very long time, and that she “really f*cked things up bad” last time she was here. She expressed how ridiculously happy she was to be back, how she has overcome many of her past struggles, and that she is in a truly good place in life now. All of this, combined with her supreme performance and masterful presence on stage, made the concert feel like a treat for all in the audience.
In addition to some of those more tender moments, she also shared how, as a young girl, she would go to the beach, see all the beautiful men, and imagine that they all looked delicious. Her line of choice? “I bet they taste like Coca-Cola.” This, as she informed the crowd, is what inspired her song “Coca Cola.” She also shared how her brother’s ex-girlfriend, who was “crazier” than Beth herself, inspired another one of her songs: “Get Your Sh*t Together.” In fact, she loved her brother’s ex, but she felt the need to write that song for both her and herself.
Later on, she shared how she always wanted to get the hell out of LA, as many people apparently do, leading into “LA Song (Out of this Town);” she expressed how she loves to tour but always seems to long for home when on the road. This lead to her final song, “No Place Like Home,” which was a raw, sincere moment where she shared how she wanted nothing more than to be at home with her husband, who does everything for her. She also changed some of the lyrics for a more contemporary look at her life, such as switching “have someone curl up at my feet” to “have Stella curl up at my feet” and interjecting with “Stella’s my dog” between lines.
As all good things tend to do, the show came to an end after her solo performance of “No Place Like Home,” to which Beth said her farewells to the crowd and ended with some wise parting words: “Now go home and take care of each other!” A bittersweet moment of the band coming back out on stage and motioning their own farewells to emphatic applause and cheering ensued before the stage lights went off, the venue lights came back on, and people were left to find their way home.
All in all, The Van Buren was a perfect place to hold such an intimate, surreal show filled with all the emotions under the sky – and then some. The sound was near-perfect, despite Beth’s requests for the sound engineer to tweak what she was hearing. The light show was on point, illuminating the band, highlighting Beth, and casting some interesting shadows with the TOS-era Star Trek-esque alien planet-looking props in the background. The crowd was full of true Beth Hart fans, calmly swaying to her more soothing tunes and rocking out to her more upbeat songs. All in all, this was a fantastic insight into the downtown Phoenix music scene, and Beth Hart herself certainly seemed to love every moment of her visit.
Be a part of one of the nation’s most well-known music competitions, “Proof is in the Pudding”, produced by Alice Cooper’s Rock Teen Center. In 2016, the competition had 300 plus musicians from many diverse music genres.
The winning band and the winning solo artist will open for Alice Cooper and other famous musicians on December 9 at the annual Christmas Pudding show at Celebrity Theatre.
There are over 100 prizes and live performance opportunities; including performing before an Arizona Cardinals game, a free guitar from Taylor Guitars, free recording studio time, opening for national bands, and more.
Sign up early and you can enter for a chance to see Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo and meet them backstage on August 29 at Comerica Theatre.
You can win the opportunity to open for P.O.D. at Mesa Music Festival on November 11.
The winning band and the solo artist will also receive $1,000 and $500 cash.
Join this amazing community of over 300 musicians to network, receive exposure, and to showcase your music.
Musicians ages 25 and under that sign up and are registered for the upcoming annual music competition “Proof Is In The Pudding” are eligible to be considered for these experiences. Deadline to enter is September 1st, 2017.
Alice Cooper’s Rock Teen Center’s mission is to make an everlasting difference in the lives of teenagers.
Tempe, Ariz. — Dead Cross, the band comprised of Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Mike Patton (Faith No More/Tomahawk), Justin Pearson (Retox/The Locust) and Michael Crain (Retox), stopped at Marquee Theatre on their first national tour, supporting their self-titled debut album.
Scottsdale, Ariz. — Think About It, an alt rock band from Mesa, AZ, brought soul and energy to Scottsdale’s The Rogue Bar late on a Thursday night. Headlining a show with supporting acts Wurmfur, M. Crane, Dwarf, and Brother Cousin; they topped off an evening of impressive performances in Rogue Bar’s intimate atmosphere. Brother Cousin filled in last-minute for the original opener in the line-up, FutureSpeak.
The band’s Facebook page bio describes their sound’s unique blend: “Think About It combines the diverse influences of a rock & soul singer, a blues rock guitarist, a punk bassist, and a metalcore & pop-punk drummer to bring you a unique blend of passion-fueled alternative rock and roll you won’t hear anywhere else.“
The full personal investment of heart into the music from frontman Lee Taggart is visible in his stage presence. Think About It’s intentions are quite clear, as they close out their bio with, “If you’re not thinking about it, you’re not thinking.”
PHOENIX — Valley Bar’s retro interior design was the perfect setting for psychedelic rock band Post Animal’s entrancing show on Sunday, July 23. Their music and the atmosphere of the rain outside were the perfect combination for a show that made the crowd exude happiness and dance throughout the entire set.
The show was opened by Femny and Stef Chura. Stef Chura had a female lead singer /guitarist, as well as a female bassist. Their music echoed underground vibes, and it had a reminiscent sound of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
When Post Animal came on stage, they began their set with an electrifying new song. The crowd was quickly out of their seats to dance, and filled up the previously barren space by the stage. “Swamp Fruit”, the next song, brought ambiance that made for the perfect transition.
Jake Hirshland (Guitarist/Keyboardist/Vocalist) bolstered the crowd as he complimented their presence saying, “Beautiful, Phoenix, Arizona!”. There’s always something special about hearing a band say the name of your hometown.
The entrancing guitar in the following song, “Alabaster”, took you somewhere else; it’s truly a psychedelic must-hear! The crowd was feeling the band’s energy, and head banging was in full swing.
The band played fan favorites, including “When I Get Home”. After Hirshland let the crowd know they had nowhere to sleep that night and were looking to crash at someone’s place, Javi Reyes (Guitarist) said, “Let’s talk!”.
They ended their set with another new song. You could feel the high energy of the crowd the from beginning to the end of Post Animal’s set.
Post Animal brings a modern touch to classic psychedelic rock with heavy drums and powerful guitar solos. Each member plays their role perfectly as they synchronize with each other. Their music is just as good live as it is on their records, with the added bonus of an impressive energy worth the experience. Undeniably, they are a band you will want to listen to and make sure to come out to see next time they are in Phoenix!