All posts by Katherine Amy Vega

Manager & Concert Photographer of Burning Hot EventsPhotographer, Web Designer & Developer, Video Producer, Graphic Designer, Entrepreneur, Freelancer, concert-junkie, musician, dancer, #1 fan of LOTR & the Spice Girls, cat-lover, & moar!

PHOTOS: Diarrhea Planet – Valley Bar 11-9-16

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by Katherine Amy Vega

Diarrhea Planet – Valley Bar 11-9-16

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PHOTOS: Spafford – Last Exit Live 10-28-16

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by Katherine Amy Vega

Spafford – Last Exit Live 10-28-16

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PHOTOS: Wes Williams Band – Last Exit Live 9-11-16

Photos of Wes Williams Band performing at Last Exit Live in Phoenix, Arizona on September 11, 2016.

Wes Williams Band – Last Exit Live 9-11-16

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Photography by Katherine Vega, © Kataklizmic Design
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REVIEW: The Piano Guys Strike Chords in Phoenix 8-5-16

PHOENIX — YouTube sensation The Piano Guys shined with the power of their unique piano and cello arrangements of popular music to an audience of 3,500 at Comerica Theatre. The Piano Guys not only create orchestral versions, but they also create hybrids of classical music and pop songs; such as “Hello / Lacrimosa“, bridging Adele and Mozart, and “melting together” Disney’s Frozen and Vivialdi with their rendition of “Let it Go“. Something that is to be truly appreciated is how they manage to keep classical music relevant for new generations.

Jon Schmidt, The Piano Guys - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Jon Schmidt, The Piano Guys
© Kataklizmic Design
Steven Sharp Nelson, The Piano Guys - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Steven Sharp Nelson, The Piano Guys
© Kataklizmic Design

The Piano Guys consist of Jon Schmidt, Steven Sharp Nelson, Paul Anderson, and Al van der Beek. The majority of the concert featured Schmidt (pianist) and Nelson (cellist). Al van der Beek joined the duo for vocal performances of “Father’s Eyes”, and “OKAY”, their debut to an upcoming release. Paul Anderson joined them for a couple of epic jams featuring all 4 of them, “Ants Marching/Ode To Joy” and “What Makes You Beautiful“.

The Piano Guys - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
The Piano Guys © Kataklizmic Design

They had a couple of delightful surprises for Phoenix when they were joined with guest performers from Chandler School of Fine Arts and Phoenix Youth Symphony for “Beethoven’s 5 Secrets“, and Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band for “This is Your Fight Song“. The young performers on the strings moved me to tears, and the climactic energy of the bagpipers gave me goosebumps.

Guest Youth on Strings - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Guest Youth on Strings
© Kataklizmic Design

Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson have great senses of humor, taking jabs at each other and interacting with the audience. They also engaged the audience with funny, entertaining and inspirational stories about things like how they started and became what they are today, getting a piano on the great wall of China, Nelson’s sneaky goal behind “Cello Wars“, and much more. At one point Schmidt got up from his piano and did an unanticipated and highly animated dance that, combined with Nelson’s hilarious reaction, had the audience cracking up.

Jon Schmidt, The Piano Guys - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Jon Schmidt, The Piano Guys
© Kataklizmic Design

Seeing The Piano Guys live is definitely something you want to add to your bucket list. You might be pleasantly surprised and how much a concert featuring the piano and cello will rock your world.

The Piano Guys' Setlist – Comerica Theatre
The Piano Guys’ Setlist – Comerica Theatre
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PHOTO ALBUM by Katherine Amy Vega

The Piano Guys – Comerica Theatre 8-5-16

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PHOTOS: Brand New – Comerica Theatre 7-25-16

 3 Demos, Reworked - Album Cover
3 Demos, Reworked (Album Art)

PHOENIX — Brand New came to Comerica Theatre alongside Modest Mouse for their co-headlining 2016 tour. The show came very shortly after the July releases of a 10″ EP called 3 Demos, Reworked, and a 7″ single of Mene. The band started touring on June 1 in Vancouver, and will finish on July 31 in Portland.

The young crowd of Phoenicians might have had viral case of “the Mondays” spreading amongst them, or perhaps all of Brand New’s die-hard fans from the early 2000s were stuck “adulting”; because as Brand New took took the dark stage guided by flashlights, the audience’s hush with an occasional lackluster “WOO!”  was equivalent to that of a crowd at a local pub who weren’t quite sure what they were in for. But without a hint of concern or scolding, the band went along with in it good humor by sushing the sparse cheers. Frontman Jesse Lacey whispered their introduction and title of the first song.

With their signature sound and high energy accompanied by strobe lights, Brand New woke them up and rocked their socks off. The audience was transfixed during their moody downtempo songs, and they showed their love for the rest of the show!

PHOTO ALBUM by Katherine Vega

Brand New – Comerica Theatre 7-25-16

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PHOTOS: Rooney – Pub Rock Live 7-9-16

SCOTTSDALE Ariz. — Equipped with a new lineup after a six-year hiatus, Cali power-pop band Rooney’s first gig of their tour had the crowd sh-sh-shakin’ every moment of their performance!  The dimly-lit concert at Pub Rock was opened with local Americana/Pop band Luxxe, followed by Cheeto-tossing G-punk band New Beat Fund from Los Angeles.

The tour follows the release of Rooney’s new album “Washed Away“; and the first single from the album is “My Heart Beats 4 U”.

Rooney Album Art - Washed Away
Washed Away (Album Art)

“Rooney is my baby and I really love it and I miss it.  I came to a place where I felt creatively ready to make new Rooney music.  On Washed Away, I wrote, produced, engineered, mixed and performed all of the songs which, I hope, will serve as a direct line from me to you.  I hope you enjoy it.” – Robert Schwartzman, lead singer. (Source: RooneyMusic.com)

The majority of the crowd appeared to consist of young new fans , which is great for the future of Rooney! Robert gave a heartfelt thank you to those that have been loyal to the band from the very beginning.

Check out our photos (below) of Rooney performing at Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale, Arizona on July 9, 2016:

PHOTO ALBUM by Katherine Vega

Rooney – Pub Rock Live 7-9-16

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PHOTOS: We, Beloved – Shady Park 5-28-16

Photos of We, Beloved performing at Shady Park in Tempe, Arizona on May 28, 2016. We, Beloved was the first opening band for Jane N’ The Jungle at their music video premiere and concert.  (Check out our photo albums of second opener Korbe in the Moment, and headliner Jane N’ The Jungle!)

We, Beloved – Shady Park 5-28-16

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PHOTOS: Korbe in the Moment – Shady Park 5-28-16

Photos of Korbe in the Moment (Korbe Canida) performing at Shady Park in Tempe, Arizona on May 28, 2016. Korbe in the Moment was the second opening band for Jane N’ The Jungle at their music video premiere and concert. Coming next: Photos of the first opening band We, Beloved!

Korbe in the Moment – Shady Park 5-28-16

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PHOTOS: Jane N’ The Jungle – Shady Park 5-28-16

Photos of Jane N’ The Jungle’s “Shake Me Out” music video premiere and performance at Shady Park in Tempe, Arizona
on May 28, 2016.

Jane N The Jungle, Music Video Premiere – Shady Park 5-28-16

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Photography by Katherine Vega, © Kataklizmic Design
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Check out our review of Jane N’ The Jungle’s new “Shake Me Out” music video, and watch the video here!
REVIEW: Jane N’ The Jungle ‘Shakes Out’ New Video

REVIEW: Jim Adkins Returns to Phoenix 4-30-16

Phoenix, Ariz. – Jim Adkins, lead singer of Jimmy Eat World, returned home to Arizona last night, bringing his solo project super chill “dude-with-a-guitar” gig to Valley Bar. The show sold out at least a month in advance, which is no surprise considering the success of the band he fronts, the success of his recent European tour,  and the special place he holds in the hearts of those in his hometown.

Set Times - Jim Adkins at Valley Bar 4-30-16
Set Times – Jim Adkins at Valley Bar 4-30-16

A refreshing deviation from the norm, the show unexpectedly opened with stand up from Anwar Newton instead of an opening band. Recruited by Adkins, he loosened up the crowd before it was going to “get emo”. Newton succeeded in garnering laughter from the audience with off-color humor about topics like self-righteous coworkers, a carjacker who couldn’t drive manual,  separation of food and politics, and paying taxes versus giving blowjobs (in his opinion… there’s no question, BJs FTW). For those that came to see Adkins, this was an engaging act, and time passed quickly before Adkins took the stage. It was unique that, as the headliner, he was the second act of the night with more bands following.

Jim Adkins at Valley Bar 4-30-16
Jim Adkins © Kataklizmic Design

As emotional as Adkins’ music is, he brought a very lighthearted, slightly goofy stage presence to Valley Bar. He was excited to be playing at Valley Bar for the first time! Despite 23 years in Jimmy Eat World, he is arguably the least pretentious major musician you could ever meet. Adkins effortlessly tapped into the vulnerable emotions of his music, while still interjecting his quirky sense of humor between songs. One moment he was singing heart-wrenching lyrics like, “Are we too damaged now to possibly connect?”, and the next, he was joking about learning Slayer songs to play upon request.

Jim Adkins setlist - Valley Bar 4-30-16
Setlist – Click to Enlarge

For the set, Adkins played songs from his “I Will Go” EP, as well as select J.E.W. songs and covers. Without falter, his vocals delivered exactly what you would expect from listening to his records, with the only noticeable difference being intentional changes to the melody for the performance. Adkins’ guitar is like an extension of himself, which lends itself to his ability to fully invest in the nuances of his vocal performance. He is a seasoned musician with the ability to genuinely connect with his adoring audience on the same level.

Jim Adkins at Valley Bar 4-30-16
Jim Adkins © Kataklizmic Design

For some solo projects, such as Nate Ruess and The Band Romantic or Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra, the artist performs with a full live band. For Adkins’ solo endeavors, he may be only one man with an acoustic guitar on a big empty stage, but these humble, low-key vibes are exactly what he goes for.

In a 2015 interview, Adkins told Substream Magazine that, “…planning out an encore makes me feel like an asshole.” So it was unsurprising that when Adkins exited the stage, that was the end of his set. He loaded up his equipment himself afterward, which he joked is what rock ‘n roll really is. Some in the crowd were overheard asking, “Why is he carrying out his stuff himself?”

Jim Adkins is a totally normal guy who happens to be a world-famous musician, and Arizona is proud to call him our own.

PHOTO ALBUM by Katherine Vega

Jim Adkins – Valley Bar 4-30-16

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Photography by Katherine Vega, © Kataklizmic Design
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A special thank you to Debbie Malone for editorial. You’re legit… Please forgive me for ignoring a few small bits of your advice!