Category Archives: Kataklizmic Design

INTERVIEW: A Video Q&A with Crashing Cairo’s Robert Wax

On the cusp of the release of the Crashing Cairo’s next single “Souls”, frontman Robert Wax discusses how the Beatles and David Bowie made him fall in love with music, the importance of U2, full-circle moments, working with legends, drawing inspiration from a radio contest, and what the future holds for the band, in the inaugural Burning Hot Interview video.

Burning Hot Interview featuring
Robert Wax of Crashing Cairo

Q&A with music journalist Ryan Novak

Watch on YouTube

Crashing Cairo’s New Track “Souls” to Release on July 8, 2022


About Crashing Cairo

Monday Changed Everything album artwork

Hailing from metro Detroit, Crashing Cairo first broke onto the scene with their 2008 debut Monday Changed Everything, and the band has been going steady ever since. On their 10th anniversary, their EP At Speeds that Destroy brought some exciting new course for the group, as a shot-in-the-dark email by Wax gave them the opportunity to work with not one but two legendary producers. Wax is a modern-day renaissance man, as he is not only a singer and songwriter but also an actor, writer, and producer. 

Crashing Cairo’s “89HRS” Music Video

Listen to Crashing Cairo on KWSS
Listen to Crashing Cairo on “The Jaw Cairo Show” on KWSS, FM 93.9 in Phoenix

Crashing Cairo Online:

REVIEW: Robert Mason Hits All The Notes at Intimate Cactus Jack’s Show with Drop D (4-15-22)

PHOENIX— Valley local and current lead singer for Warrant, Robert Mason, performed at Cactus Jack’s Bar and Grill Friday night in Ahwatukee. What is special about this show is the intimate setting and interaction with the artist that is so rare and delightful, you never forget it. Mason recruited metal cover band Drop D from Tucson, Arizona to share the stage both April 15th at Cactus Jack’s, and again April 16th at Encore in Tucson for a show benefiting Women Warriors, a non-profit group supporting female veterans. 

Robert Mason singing and playing the keyboard
Robert Mason (Vocalist, Keyboardist)
| Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

Mason on keyboards and lead guitarist for Drop D, Thomas Bach, kicked off a brief set with an incredible duet of Bob Seger’s song “Turn the Page”. Mason proved quickly why he has no problem heading such bands as Warrant, Lynch Mob, Big Cock Band, and even vocal support for Ozzy Osbourne. His incredible vocal range with a touch of grit would be a great fit for any band. Next up was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man”. Mason wasn’t shy about using his phone as a teleprompter for the lyrics, saying, “Skynyrd used one at bike week too,” with a grin.

Robert Mason (Vocalist)
| Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

Mason played a solo guitar and vocal version of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mama I’m Coming Home” after sharing a story about the call from Sharon Osbourne that led to him touring on Ozzy’s 1995-96 Ozmosis Tour. This led into Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home”, and ended the first set.

Guitarist Thomas Bach of Drop D performing
Thomas Bach (Guitarist), Drop D
| Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

Drop D’s Facebook page cites the band as “Tucson’s hard and heavy cover band”. There is not much information online about the band, but they are a fun foursome with lots of energy and a nice variety of songs in their set. They are definitely worth a watch when they come back to the valley. Members include previously mentioned Thomas Bach on lead guitar, KJ Padilla on vocals and rhythm guitar, and Corey Candray on bass. Drummer Bob Allen could not make it, but in his stead Ando Miller literally “lit up” the stage with his color-change drum kit.

Drummer Ando Miller performing with Drop D
Ando Miller (Drummer – filling in for Bob Allen), Drop D
| Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

An audio clip of “We Are the Champions” by Queen was the intro for the band  whose set began with The Outfield’s “Your Love”. Padilla quipped they would play some more “songs older than I am” before covering Cinderella’s “Somebody Save Me” and Queensryche’s “Empire”. The “sound man Tommy” for Cactus Jack’s was invited up on stage and given a set of drumsticks to help play cymbals on Candlebox’s “You”. Van Halen’s “Unchained”,  Skid Row’s “Youth Gone Wild” and Poison’s “Talk Dirty to Me” set the tone for the next set.

KJ Padilla of Drop D
KJ Padilla (Vocalist, Guitarist), Drop D
| Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

The final ten songs included both Drop D’s full band and Mason himself on vocals. A great set it was, considering the band claims to have had “no practice” prior to the pairing. Bach jokes that Mason was “just tolerating us”, but Mason chose this band to play these two shows with for a reason: talent, and lots of it. From Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” to Mötley Crüe’s “Kickstart My Heart”, Mason impressed again with his incredible talent behind the microphone. He then covered Dokken’s “It’s Not Love”, then stopped the show. His request? That the audience “engage in this moment” and put away cell phones, get out on the floor and dance.

Robert Mason performing with Drop D
Robert Mason (Vocalist) performing with Drop D
| Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

Mason gave a toast to the audience in their honor, and thanked everyone for their support throughout his extensive career, then encouraged the crowd to sing along with Warrant’s beautiful ballad “Heaven”. He said he was grateful to be able to perform such amazing songs written by such amazing writers over the years. Wrapping up the set were the highly anticipated “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and “Cherry Pie”, both big hits for his current band Warrant. Mason joined the crowd at the end of the show for photos and autographs, which thrilled the fans and Mason alike. 

Robert Mason performing with Drop D
Robert Mason (Vocalist) performing with Drop D
| Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

Robert Mason, 57, has had an extensive career as a vocalist. He joined glam-metal band Warrant in 2008 and remains their lead singer present day. George Lynch’s Lynch Mob Wikipedia page shows his years active as 1991-1994, 2003-2006, and 2018. Robert says he moved to Arizona at the behest of George Lynch back when Chandler and Gilbert were “pig farms” that were turned into housing developments. His local “sleaze” band, Big Cock, wasn’t mentioned out loud by name because the band name “upsets my mom”. He appeared on 3 of their albums as lead vocalist: 2005’s Year of the Cock, 2006’s Big Cock and 2008’s Motherload albums, according to Heavy Metal Wiki’s page on Mason. 

Robert Mason smiling behind a microphone
Robert Mason (Vocalist)
| Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

With endless stories about rock-and-roll life, Mason’s show was full of witticisms and talent, mixing music and tales of the road and his extensive career. He even encouraged a heckler who shouted out “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” after every song, assuring him he would get to that in the last set. We learned about tour life, Budokan, his friends and not-so-friendly acquaintances in the music business. We learned what it was like being a “hired gun” in the industry too. It was like visiting an incredibly talented old friend to share stories and a night of timeless music. 

Photo Gallery

Photographer: Mark Greenawalt

Robert Mason & Drop D – Cactus Jack’s 4-15-22

Photography © Mark Greenawalt.
All Rights Reserved

REVIEW: Ministry’s Brings an Intense, Primal Experience to The Van Buren (4-12-22)

PHOENIX — Ministry’s concert at The Van Buren, with support from Corrosion of Conformity and Melvins, has been a long time coming. Originally scheduled for July 29th, 2020 and featuring a completely different lineup (Ministry, KMFDM, and Front Line Assembly), the show was of course forestalled by the pandemic. Various attempts were made to reschedule with varying lineups, including a pre-Halloween show with Helmet and Frontline Assembly last October. Through these fits and starts, the show finally happened this past Tuesday, and it was worth the wait. 

Corrosion of Conformity

“How many of you fuckers here in Phoenix like heavy shit?” was how Corrosion of Conformity lead singer Pepper Keenan greeted the crowd, as the band launched into “Bottom Feeder (El Que Come Abajo)” from their 1995 album Wiseblood. Heavy was what was promised, and heavy was what was delivered. Pulling from nearly every album since 1991’s Blind, when the North Carolina band moved away from its earlier thrash/hardcore days with the addition of Louisiana native Keenan, their set covered everything from hits from their biggest selling album, 1994’s Deliverance, to the criminally underrated America’s Volume Dealer (2000). 

Pepper Keenan (Vocalist, Guitarist) & John Green (Drummer), Corrosion of Conformity
Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

“Nice pipes, y’all”, Keenan said mid-set in response to the crowd’s fierce sing-along to “Shake Like You”, adding, “Thanks for getting here early. We appreciate that shit. I’ve been home sitting in my garage for two years, and that fucking  sucked.” In fact, the band was stepping in to replace the previously scheduled Helmet on the tour. CoC’s blend of hardcore and southern rock had the crowd in a frenzy, with the mosh pit never slowing down. 

Mosh pit for Corrosion of Conformity
Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Closing out their set with the 1-2-3 punch of “Albatross,” “Who’s Got the Fire,” and an extended jam on their biggest hit “Clean My Wounds,” it was an instance where you wish every band on the bill could get a full set of time, as their set didn’t even get a chance to touch on recent albums IX or No Cross No Crown nor dip back into the early thrash records like Eye for an Eye or Animosity. Still though, as the crowd would obviously agree, 45 minutes of Corrosion of Conformity blows away 90 minutes of most bands. 

Crowd raising hands up at Corrosion of Conformity concert
The crowd is hyped for Corrosion of Conformity
Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Melvins

“The Melvins are coming up next to bulldoze you,” Keenan had promised at the end of their set, and bulldoze they did. Opening their set with “The Kicking Machine” from 2008’s Nude with Boots, Buzz Osborne’s guitar stands out in the band’s sound. Osborne himself, whose large shock of white hair and stage outfits that have him resembling the leader of an alien race from a long-lost 1950’s sci-fi cult film, is the perfect visual representation of the band’s sound, as it manages to be at times trippy and psychedelic and then shift into something more heavy and dark.

Buzz Orborne of Melvins performing live
Buzz Orborne (Vocalist, Guitarist), Melvins
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

The rhythm section of drummer Dale Crover, whose drumming is so heavy you half-expect to see him using cinder blocks and not drum sticks, and bass player Steven Shane McDonald, whose own all-white outfit, long hair, and goatee made him look like a 1970’s transcendental meditation guru, fill out the band’s legendary sound. 

 Steven Shane McDonald of Melvins performing live
Steven Shane McDonald (Bassist), Melvins
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

For those not familiar with the Washington natives, Melvins’ experimental style has led people to compare them to bands as far-ranging as Black Sabbath to Black Flag (frontman Osborne, for the record, cites Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn as his biggest influence), and the band inspired so many other legendary bands from the Pacific Northwest, which is evident from their entire Tuesday-night set, as you can hear what elements of their sound other bands spent their whole careers trying to emulate.

Their set covered all eras of the band, with some nice surprises pulled from their mid-nineties classic albums: 91’s Bullhead (“It’s Shoved” and “Anaconda”), 93’s Houdini (“Hooch” and “Honey Bucket”), 94’s Stoner Witch (“Queen”), and 96’s Stag (“The Bit”). The band was joined by Ministry drummer Roy Mayorga for the two Houdini tracks, playing in perfect tandem with Crover. 

This summer, Melvins will be hitting the road again in June and July on their Electric Roach Tour, supported by Helms Alee and Harsh Mellow, stopping in Tucson on June 18th for their only Arizona date.

Ministry

With a chain-link fence set up across the front of the stage before their set began, Ministry had already set a specific atmosphere for their performance. Just moments before they came out, a visual was cast with the familiar blue and yellow Ukrainian flag and a message reading Ministry Stands With Ukraine across it. While other bands choose songs specific to their sound to walk out to, they elected to further drive home their message of solidarity by entering to the Ukrainian National Anthem.

Ministry - The Van Buren
Ministry
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Each member filed out one by one, with lead Al Jourgensen out last. As the band stood ready to perform, he stalked the stage, moving in front of the fencing like an animal who smelled fresh blood. He clawed at, banged on, and swayed the fence back and forth, all the while the audience in turn lurched forward in response, like an aggressive lion tamer goading the beast into action. With the band’s two-drum assault, this dance moved with the rhythm of each song, like watching a violent wash crash into a rocky promenade and then just as quickly recede back.

Al Jourgensen (Vocalist), Ministry
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

It’s hard to fathom that Ministry is approaching the 40th anniversary of their first release (1983’s With Sympathy), as their sound still feels eons ahead of its time. Having recently passed anniversaries for two of their greatest albums, they opened their set with “Breathe” from 1989’s The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and “The Missing” from The Land of Rape and Honey. Their entire performance was a multimedia experience, as their backdrop featured images and video that thematically connected to each song, like witnessing a live music video. Mid-set, they broke out a trio of songs from Jourgensen’s many side projects, including 1,000 Homo DJ’s cover of  Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut” from Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black and two songs from Pailhead, Jourgensen’s band with Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye. 

Ministry - The Van Buren
Ministry
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

The band has never shied away from its politics (their 2018 album AmeriKKKant features the track “Antifa,” for instance), and despite being now almost a 30-year-old song, their performance of “NWO” from Ministry’s landmark album ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ (also known as Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed & The Way to Suck Eggs) seems more appropriate for the times than it did upon its initial release, in this era of increasing social and political upheaval and seems to speak even more so to the political tensions in the country in the five years, especially in light of their opening tribute and show of support for the people of Ukraine. They ended the night with an encore of “Alert Level”, “Good Trouble” (both from 2001’s Moral Hygiene), and a blistering cover of Iggy and The Stooges’ “Search and Destroy”.

Al Jourgensen of Ministry at The Van Buren
Al Jourgensen (Vocalist), Ministry
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Ministry alone is an intense, primal, and heavy concert experience, but when you add to it the Melvins and Corrosion of Conformity it enters an entire new realm. Yes, this concert has been two years in the making, but it was two years worth it. After all, after such a wait, we were all ready for some heavy shit.

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Ministry Setlist - The Van Buren, Phoenix 4-12-22

Photo Galleries

Photographer: Rodrigo Izquierdo

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Ministry, Melvins, & Corrosion of Conformity – The Van Buren 4-12-22

Ministry Setlist – Phoenix, AZ 4-12-22

  • Breathe
  • The Missing
  • Deity
  • Stigmata
  • Supernaut (Black Sabbath cover)
  • Don’t Stand in Line (Pailhead cover)
  • Man Should Surrender (Pailhead cover)
  • Burning Inside
  • N.W.O.
  • Just One Fix
  • Thieves
  • So What

Encore:


  • Alert Level
  • Good Trouble
  • Search and Destroy (Iggy and The Stooges cover)

Photography © Reagle Photography
All Rights Reserved

In Your Honor: On the Passing of Taylor Hawkins

Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins passed away on Friday, March 25th, just hours before the band was scheduled to play at a festival in Bogota, Colombia. While the official cause of death has not yet been revealed, what really matters is that one of the most beloved musicians of his (or arguably any) generation is gone, and in his wake, a huge hole has been left in the music world.

The Foo Fighters are one of the biggest bands in the world, continuing consistently for ten albums spread out across 27 years since their self-titled debut album released in 1995. They famously started out as a solo project for former-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, written and recorded by him in the aftermath of the end of Nirvana, following Kurt Cobain’s death. However, what most people think of as the Foo Fighters came together with the addition of Hawkins just after the release of their seminal second album, The Colour and the Shape. He joined the band for the ensuing tour, permanently replacing departing drummer William Goldsmith. He quickly became an integral part of the group and Dave Grohl’s best friend. 

Embed from Getty Images

His journey to that point, though, was one of a man seizing each opportunity presented to him. In a 2020 interview, Hawkins was asked what his plan B would have been if he hadn’t made it in rock ‘n’ roll. Laughing, he responded, “Weed dealer? Pizza delivery guy? Manager of the drum department at Guitar Center? I don’t know.” It was the third one – manager of the drum department at Guitar Center – that could have been the fate of the man who became not only a legendary drummer and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but so beloved by seemingly everyone he encountered, from fans to fellow musicians. Guitar Center was exactly where Hawkins was at when he got the chance to join the touring band for Canadian rocker Sass Jordan. 

This led to a two-year gig drumming for another Canadian musician (and legend): Alanis Morissette. He joined right as Morisette was becoming one of the biggest artists in the world, hot on the heels of her Jagged Little Pill album. It was while touring with Morissette that he first crossed paths with Grohl, when Foo Fighters and Morissette played the same festival. The two became fast friends, and when Grohl called Hawkins for a suggestion for a replacement for Goldsmith, Hawkins volunteered and the rest is history. Even within a band with such clear camaraderie as Foo Fighters, Grohl and Hawkins seemed like long-lost twins. Their friendship was endearing and affection for each other was clear. 

By his own admission, though, Hawkins admits that early on he battled self-doubt. He felt that if he became a rock star, everything would be better in his life, and in some ways it was but in some it was not. This led to a period of self-examination. Though he had everything he could want, he still struggled with life. Money and fame, for him, didn’t translate to confidence and self-esteem. He seemed to battle these moments with a blue-collar approach to his job: he drummed every chance he got. 

While being the Foo Fighters drummer was his main job, he also drummed on albums by Coheed and Cambria, on their  Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow album, Eric Avery’s (formerly of Jane’s Addiction) first solo album Help Wanted, and on a Foo Fighter bandmate Chris Shiflett’s side project, Jackson United, splitting drumming duties with Grohl on the band’s third album. All of this was in addition to his own side project, Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders, and his heavy metal cover band Chevy Metal

Taylor Hawkins of Chevy Metal performing in Napa, CA
Taylor Hawkins (Vocalist), Chevy Metal
May 25, 2019: Chevy Metal in concert at BottleRock Napa Valley in Napa, CA

With his passing, the tributes have poured in from all over the music community from acts as diverse as Stevie Nicks, Ringo Starr, Wofgang Van Halen, Questlove, Miley Cyrus, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Morello, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, and Peter Criss of Kiss; Axl Rose and Slash of Guns N’ Roses, Susanna Hoffs, Conan O’Brien, and even First Lady Jill Biden. This list could go on and on and double the length of this tribute, but what is clear is that Taylor Hawkins was loved instantly by all he met and worked with. From the fan community, there are hundreds of stories of a guy who took time for every fan he met and always made people feel special. 

Taylor Hawkins (Dummer), Foo Fighters
June 16, 2018: Foo Fighters concert at the Pinkpop Festival, The Netherlands

Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth once said people pay money to go to concerts because they like seeing people believe in themselves. Even though he admitted to his own struggles with self-esteem, to see Taylor Hawkins drum was to watch someone who truly believed in himself the moment he sat down behind the kit or took over vocal duties, such as his Foo live highlight singing Queen’s “Somebody to Love” – performed in the US for the last time at Innings Festival in Tempe, AZ on February 26th. He clearly relished every moment, never taking a second of joy for granted.  Maybe what we loved so much about him was getting to watch someone markedly love what they do. 

Regardless of the cause of death, one of rock’s true good guys is gone now. He leaves behind an undeniable legacy. He might’ve been, as music critic and senior editor for AllMusic Stephen Thomas Erlewin tweeted, “…the only drummer alive who could support  Dave Grohl and not make you wish Grohl was sitting behind the kit.” He played with an unabashed passion, like a guy who had won the golden ticket of life, and was never going to let the opportunity slip from his fingers. 

Honor his memory by revisiting his greatest moments: “Breakout” from There’s Nothing Left to Lose, “Times Like These” from One by One, “Best of You” from In Your Honor, or look up any Foo Fighters live performances on YouTube – especially the band’s performance of “My Hero” from the final episode of Late Show with David Letterman. As you do, let his legacy be more than just a great drummer, but a guy who took on every opportunity and gave it everything he had. Relish life, just as Taylor Hawkins did, and rock out every chance you get along the way. 

REVIEW: Annual Punk in Drublic Festival Storms Into Bell Bank Park (03-19-22)

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Mesa, AZ — The annual Punk in Drublic Festival, held this past Saturday at Mesa’s brand new Bell Bank Park, is built around two things: craft beer and punk rock. This year’s lineup, anchored as always by festival founder Fat Mike’s band NOFX, also featured Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, The Bouncing Souls, Lagwagon, Authority Zero, The Last Gang, The Venomous Pinks, and WinterHaven. It was a lineup that covered several generations of punk and just as many styles. 

Man with a mohawk hairstyle at Punk in Drublic festival
Barry Humphrey with the mohawk hairstyle – an emblem of non-conformity in the punk community
Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

When the gates opened at 11 a.m., with WinterHaven not going on to open the festival until 1 p.m., the other opener took front stage and center: craft beer, and plenty of it. With breweries from all over Arizona giving out free samples to the 21+ crowd in the free Punk in Drublic souvenir sample cups, cans and kegs were emptied on a consistent basis from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

Woman laying on grass, holding 2 cans of alcohol
Woman lounges on the lawn at Punk in Drublic fest with Cutwater Spirits’ Tequila Paloma & Tequila Margarita
Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

What makes a punk festival so different from other all-day festivals is that punks, regardless of era or style, are accepting of everyone who enters the sanctum of punk, as a place of brotherhood and sisterhood for all. Names are never needed, as the t-shirt you wore is enough to identify you. “Hey yo, Black Flag, try that Hazy IPA they got! It’s my favorite!” was shouted at me as I approached one of the many tents. The same guy followed up with me later to get my thoughts. 

Man and two women against the barricade at a concert
Ryan Novak (Music Journalist of Burning Hot Events) & concert-goers Amy Kochansk & Desiree Izquierdo
Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

There’s an inspiring sense of community and fun, like we’re all on the same team, whether we’re toasting a craft brew or slamming into each other in a circle pit. If this day were a musical, it would almost be expected that at any moment the crowd would break out into a punk rock rendition of “Gaston,” sloshing frothy beers from those mini Punk in Drublic sampler cups to and fro in the spirit of a hardy sing-along. 

WinterHaven

Jack Hernandez of WinterHaven performing
Jack Hernandez (Vocalist, Guitarist), WinterHaven
Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Opening the show was Flagstaff’s own Winterhaven. Made up of singer and rhythm guitarist Jack Hernandez, lead guitarist Brendan Goepfrich, bassist Colton Henderson, and drummer Nick Schira, they brought the right balance of humor and youthful energy to open the show. By their own admission, they have gotten onto the festival by getting in touch with Cameron Collins, who handles lining up the breweries for each stop (Fat Mike handles the bands) who dug what he heard and got them added to the lineup. Though the youngest band on the bill, they came out swinging like old pros. 

WinterHaven performing at Punk in Drublic
WinterHaven
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

The band wears its pop-punk influences on their sleeves like a badge of honor. Though you could hear the importance that bands like blink-182 and The Offspring had on their sound (and also some noticeable Ian MacKaye Fugazi-era basslines), there was nothing derivative about WinterHaven. As the opening chords of the first song hit, their music was a magnet pulling people away from beer and merch tents right to the front of the stage. In between songs, they joked with the crowd about Spider-Man and in a hilarious moment, Hernandez said that his mom asked him to remember to wear sunscreen before they went on that day, but he had immediately forgotten and asked that no one tells. (I’m sorry if she reads this and learns that way.) 

The Venomous Pinks

Drea Doll of The Venomous Pinks performing
Drea Doll (Vocalist), The Venomous Pinks
Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

It would seem Arizona was the perfect starting point for the festival, since three-fifths of the acts hail from State 48, with Mesa’s The Venomous Pinks playing second. Though the all-female outfit certainly has some Bikini Kill in their sound, they would not be out of place amongst the heaviest of hitters of early 80’s hardcore. The three-piece attack of Drea Doll on guitar and vocals, Gaby Kaos on bass and vocals, and Cassie Jalilie on drums sounded like the sister band to Bad Brains or Minor Threat, playing each song with a fast and furious intensity. 

Their second song “Todos Unidos” had some Generator-era Bad Religion guitar and “oohs” and “aahs” on the backing vocals. Their new single “No Rules,” the first from their upcoming debut album Vita Mors from SBÄM Records, was a set highlight (the single is out on 03/24/2022 and the album is forthcoming). They closed out their nine-song set with “We Do It Better,” an absolutely righteous rager and the perfect anthem for the band. They were joined by The Last Gang’s lead singer Brenna Red for the final verse. 

The Last Gang

The decidedly more political The Last Gang played next. The California quartet – Red on vocals and guitar, Ken Aquino on guitar, Sean Viele on bass, and Robert Wantland on drums – surprised the crowd throughout their set, as they used the punk rock template as a springboard for so many other styles.  Their third song, “Gimme Action,” even opened with a surprising AC/DC-esque guitar riff.

Brenna Red of The Last Gang performing
Brenna Red (Vocalist, Guitarist), The Last Gang
Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Red admitted to listening to a lot of The Clash and some classic reggae and dub, including Toots And The Maytals and the legendary Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. This was no more evident than on “Noise Noise Noise,” the title track from their 2021 album, which had some very clear Clash London Calling-era dub influence. She is an incredible frontwoman, and the band plays loosely within the punk genre. If their nine-song set is any indication of even a snippet of what they are capable of, they are going to be a band to watch for many years to come. 

Authority Zero

Rounding out the Arizona triad was Mesa’s Authority Zero. The skate punk legends came out guns blazing with lead singer Jason DeVore leading into the first song (or perhaps warning the crowd) with “Here we go!” He was immediately perched on top of amps (rocking one precariously forward before he hopped off of it) and bounced around the stage with each song. For a guy who’s been doing this since the mid-nineties, he didn’t show even a hint of slowing down. 

Jason DeVore of Authority Zero performing
Jason DeVore (Vocalist), Authority Zero
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Though DeVore’s vocals are rooted firmly in hardcore, Authority Zero includes reggae and some very noticeable Bad Religion rhythms in their music. The band’s new song “Ollie Ollie Oxen Free” from the album of the same name was a set highlight. 

Mid-set, DeVore stopped to plug Punk Rock Saves Lives, an organization he supports whose work focuses on mental health, human rights, and equality. His passion for their work was clear in the set’s closer, “Lift One Up.”

Jason DeVore of Authority Zero with Punk in Drublic crowd
Jason DeVore (Vocalist), Authority Zero
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

It spoke to DeVore’s love for his audience and to the communal feeling so clear amongst the attendees since the gates opened: “So lift one up/To put one down/We’ll keep singing these old songs our whole lives through/It’s where we’re found/They’ve touched our hearts/They’ve saved our lives.” It was one of the best sing-alongs of the day. 

Lagwagon

Considering their name was inspired by the band’s unreliable touring van, Lagwagon have been anything but unreliable, recording and touring since 1990. Before they began their set, an audience member complained to the soundman checking the microphones that it was “too loud.” In response, he received a hard laugh from the guy who said, “Don’t worry. Joey’s known for his soft vocals.” Indeed, the start of their set was like a bomb going off (leaving this writer wondering what the kids playing soccer just across the way from the festival at the rather vast Bell Bank Park complex were wondering). 

Joey Cape (Vocalist), Lagwagon
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

With nine albums spread across their 30-year career, frontman Joey Cape joked, “All we have are old songs,” when an audience member requested they play something new after they played “Bombs Away” from their 1995 album Hoss. Regardless of his self-deprecating comment, the band with a lineup almost unchanged since they started, played each song with an ageless vigor. They dedicated “Surviving California” to all of their fallen comrades over the years, in the highlight of their set. 

Crowd surfer at Punk in Drublic festival in Mesa, AZ
Crowd surfer at Punk in Drublic festival in Mesa
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

The Bouncing Souls

New Jersey’s favorite punk sons The Bouncing Souls showed that Lagwagon were not the only 30-year veterans who hadn’t lost a step. The pogoing punk icons brought their trademark lighthearted sound to the stage. Opening with the title-track from the 1999 album “Hopeless Romantic”, the band had the crowd bouncing in unison from the word go (not the song “Go,” because that was their fifth track). 

Greg Attonito of The Bouncing Souls performing
Greg Attonito (Vocalist), The Bouncing Souls
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Singer Greg Attonito was a consummate showman, playfully dancing around the stage during each song. The Bouncing Souls have always been a fun live band, and this day’s set was no different. Their song “That Song” was one of the highlights, with the audience singing along throughout. It felt like a fitting summation of the vibe for the day, with the lyrics: And in the end what have we learned? Are we just faces in the crowd? I died and was reborn again today. Hold fast to myself. Make these good feelings stay. On a pleasantly cool Arizona spring day, it felt like many of us were reborn in those moments of community. 

Crowd at Punk in Drublic festival
Punk in Drublic crowd raises devil horns and smartphones at twilight for The Bouncing Souls
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes

We’re not a cover band,” declared lead singer Spike Slawson, “We are THE cover band!” For the uninitiated, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are like punk-rock karaoke. They are a supergroup, with a rotating cast of members including Slawson of Re-Volts and Swignin’ Utters,  Joey Cape and Dave Raun from Lagwagon pulling double duty, Fat Mike, and CJ Ramone. They will cover any genre of music, with the songs poured through their unique filter. 

Spike Slawson of Me First and The Gimme Gimmes performing
Spike Slawson (Vocalist), Me First and The Gimme Gimmes
Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Opening with “Different Drum,” written by the late Mike Nesmith of The Monkees and made famous by Linda Rondstadt, they followed it with “Sloop John B” and a three-song country superset of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” and John Denver’s “Country Roads,” with Fat Mike coming out to sing on the songs. With no set genre they will pull from, the set is full of surprises because every song is unexpected. Where else are you going to get Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” followed by CJ Ramone singing Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up”? Only at a Me First and the Gimme Gimmes concert. They closed their night with a rousing rendition of Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” 

NOFX

To close out the night was NOFX, fronted by Punk in Drublic founder Mike “Fat Mike” Burkett. Though their live album I Heard They Suck Live!! might set certain expectations for anyone who has never witnessed a NOFX concert, they make each show unique from any other they’ve played before. 

Fat Mike of NOFX performing
Fat Mike (Vocalist, Bassist), NOFX
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Not to veer into politics, but it can be reasonably inferred by the t-shirts and buttons you see around the festival exactly what the political leanings are of a punk-rock crowd. Regardless, Fat Mike opened their set with “Greetings Republicans!” Throughout their set, he continued to playfully troll the crowd, from saying the only thing Arizona got right was doing away with daylight savings, to telling the crowd the only good thing to ever come out of the state was stand-up comic Doug Stanhope. Mike even attempted to call Stanhope from the stage, but the call went to voicemail. 

Eric Melvin of NOFX performing
Eric Melvin (Guitarist), NOFX
Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Some songs were introduced but quickly abandoned. After claiming that drummer Smelly Sandin did not want to play “Liza and Louise,” they moved on to “I Love You More Than I Hate Me” instead. “We’ve only got 5 good songs,” Mike claimed at one point, “and we’ve been doing this for 38 years!” Following “Eat the Meek” and “Franco UnAmerican,” Mike called Arizona “the Alabama of the west.” They closed out their set with a one-two punch of “Don’t Call Me White” and “Kill All the White Man.” 

Though the beer tents were all long gone at this point, everyone held tight to their Punk in Drublic beer sampler cups as they headed for the exit. Together or not, the punk community is always united, and maybe those cups will make their way out again on some random night, filled to the rim, and toasted high to the brothers and sisters, before turning the music up and slamming the beer down. 

Arizona sunset and Punk in Drublic festival
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

The 2022 Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival will continue on through the spring and summer with the following dates:

  • Saturday, March 26 –
    San Diego, CA – Petco Park – Tickets
  • Sunday, March 27 – Ventura, CA
    Ventura Fairgrounds – Tickets
  • Saturday, May 7 –
    Sacramento, CA – Heart Health Park at the Cal Expo – Tickets
  • Friday, July 8 –
    Cleveland, OH – Jacobs Pavilion – Tickets
  • Saturday, July 9 –
    Detroit, MI – Masonic Temple Outdoors – Tickets

Photo Galleries

Photographer: Rodrigo Izquierdo

View Separately:

NOFX | Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
| The Bouncing Souls | Lagwagon
| Authority Zero | The Last Gang
| The Venomous Pinks | WinterHaven

Punk in Drublic – Bell Bank Park 3-19-22


Punk In Drublic online:

Photography © Reagle Photography
All Rights Reserved

REVIEW: Flogging Molly’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Tour Marches Into Marquee Theater (3-15-22)

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PHOENIX — Before Flogging Molly’s concert at The Marquee Theater – with support from Vandoliers and Russkaja – even began, there was a vibe in the crowd different from anything seen the last time concerts were a normal occurrence, and it led to what made this show so special. You see, back in those waning, naïve days of January and February of 2020 – before our lives were collectively turned upside down, leaving us wondering if any semblance of normalcy would return, let alone gathering en masse to enjoy live music once again – we could see live shows whenever we wanted. Though we may not have realized it then, we took live music for granted. 

No, the crowd on Tuesday night at the Marquee was buzzing with a noticeable sense of joy, community, and most of all, gratitude. Strangers happily chatted away with each other when the house lights were still on and an array of punk and classic rock was piped through the P.A. Conversations centered so much on “I was supposed to see… until…” and many specifically mentioned having tickets to see Flogging Molly in spring of 2020. No one was taking this moment for granted, because so much was survived to get to this point. 

Vandoliers

Vandoliers at Marquee Theater
Vandoliers
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Openers Vandoliers hail from Dallas, Texas and were described on the hype sticker on the vinyl pressing of their 2019 album Forever as sounding like a cross between Boston Irish punk legends Dropkick Murphys and Arizona’s own Calexico. With so many physical miles between Boston and Tucson and just as many musical style miles between the two as well, the description was intriguing. At the start of their set, the description immediately made sense. With a similar style of rhythm section, made up of bassist Mark Moncrieff and drummer Trey Alfaro, combined with guitar and aggressive vocals from Dustin Fleming, the Murphys-punk influence was evident. What made their sound so unique, though, was the addition of fiddler Travis Curry and multi-instrumentalist Cory Graves who combined to bring a southwest seasoning on top of the Irish punk brew. 

Vandoliers at Marquee Theater
Vandoliers
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Their seven-song set was fast and furious, punctuated with shout-along should-be classics like “Cigarettes in the Rain,” “Sixteen Years,” and “Troublemaker,” which should be the band’s anthem and the anthem for anyone who were told early on that they’d “be a problem” in life. They closed their set with a cover of Scottish rock duo The Proclaimers’ classic, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” recasting the early 90’s alternative sing-along smash as a rowdy West Texas bar band end-of-the–night, last-call rager. If there was a person in attendance not singing along throughout, they were not easily spotted amongst the packed crowd. 

Russkaja 

Russkaja at Marquee Theater
Russkaja
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Austria’s Russkaja, self-described as “Russian Turbo Polka Metal,” played second. With a foundation of traditional Russian music, they layer it with a confluence of styles, ranging from punk to ska to metal to, yes, polka, all rolled into a wholly unique sound. Founding member and vocalist Georgij Makazaria leads the charge alongside bassist Dimitrij Miller, guitarist Engel Mayr, violinist Lea-Sophie Fischer, Mayr, potete player Hans-Georg Gutternigg, and drummer Mario Stübler, with each member contributing their own particular stitch to their vast tapestry of sound.  Mayr’s guitar playing shifted effortlessly between ska and metal, not just across the entire set, but even within one song. 

Russkaja at Marquee Theater
Russkaja
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

The highlight of their hard-charging set, though, was not even music, but a somber moment midway when Makazaria and Miller stood together and spoke to the crowd not as musicians but as citizens of two countries. Makazaria is Russian and Miller is Ukrainian and together they condemned the war and called for peace and love.

“The people of Russia and Ukraine have to fight against each other, and it is terrible. This is the politics that is destroying peace. We condemn this fucking war. We are against this war! Instead of battle stations, we bring some music equipment and make a festival. We will not give the world a chance to destroy our music!”

It was as powerful, if not more so, than any note played or any lyric sung, and it underscored a theme, intentional or not, that was playing throughout the evening: through disease and war and a score of so many other horrible things plaguing our world now and in the future, we are all very lucky to be together sharing a space and letting live music nourish our souls.

Flogging Molly

What was once an annual tradition, Flogging Molly’s St. Patrick’s Day Tour, like so many other tours, was put on hold, going on a two-year hiatus, save for a St. Patrick’s Day show done via Zoom for fans last year. While their concerts are always a must-see event, they performed with a renewed vigor. Opening the show with “Drunken Lullabies,” from their 2001 album of the same name, there was an extra punch to every note and every lyric. 

Dave King (Vocalist, Guitarist) & Spencer Swain (Banjoist), Flogging Molly
Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Hitting some old favorites early in the set, that theme noticed so early in the night amongst the crowd chatter re-emerged as frontman Dave King touched on the feelings so many of us had surviving the past two years, with the emotional struggles and low-low points before launching into “The Worst Day Since Yesterday” from 2000’s Swagger, which immediately took on a new feel. They followed it with their first new song of the night, written during those early scary and confusing days, called “These Times Have Got Me Drinking,” which given the crowd’s reaction to it, will easily stand beside so many of the band’s greatest. 

Matt Hensley (Accordionist), Flogging Molly
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Flogging Molly have always been a tight band, both on their albums and performing live, but each member was in top form throughout the night. King regularly shouted out members of the band between songs. With such an incredible group of musicians holding down each song, it allows King to be so many things throughout the show: singer, showman, dancer, and all-around master of ceremonies. A lesser band would not be able to afford such freedom to the frontman, but Bridget Regan (violin, tin whistle, and King’s wife of almost 15 years), Dennis Casey (guitar), Matt Hensley (accordion), Nathen Maxwell (bass), Spencer Swain (mandolin, banjo, and guitar), and Mike Alonso (drums) are all so accomplished that it gives King a wide lane in which to play. One minute, he’ll be bantering with fans, and the next, he’ll have his pant legs pulled up, as he dances around the stage, sometimes doing an impromptu jig and others doing a one-man chorus line. 

Dave King (Vocalist, Guitarist), Flogging Molly
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

This is what makes a Flogging Molly concert so special: it never feels overly-rehearsed but instead gives each show an impromptu feel, like each moment is special for that night’s audience exclusively. These moments accompanied a run through a great many classics, including a particularly rousing run through “If I Ever Leave this World Alive.” They left the stage after “Seven Deadly Sins” from 2004’s Within a Mile of Home that felt like it was a well-rehearsed rendition between the band and the entire crowd who sang along and mimicked each one of King’s movements. 

Dave King (Vocalist, Guitarist), Flogging Molly
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Returning for an encore, they finished the set with “Tobacco Island,” also from Within a Mile of Home. That was not, however, how they closed the show. While it has become the norm for many bands to have a walk-out song (Vandoliers came out to The Vandals’ “Urban Struggle,” Russkaja played an anti-war message set to a dark, ominous beat as they walked out, and Flogging Molly themselves used The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” paired with the acapella intro to their own “The Wrong Company”), but very few bands have a walk-off song. While most shows end with a good night, band walk off, and the house lights coming on as music is piped over the P.A., Flogging Molly played “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Monty Python’s The Life of Brian

While not as well-known to the audience, save for this journalist and others within his particular age range, the lyrics, even to fresh ears, served to punctuate the night’s theme: “If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten, and that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.” As the song played out, the group stood together, joined by various members of Vandoliers and Russkaja in kick lines, as King handed out set lists to the younger fans (there were many older fans in attendance with their children), and playfully blew kisses to the audience before everyone at last left the stage with the song’s fading notes and those awkward feelings of 2020 despair dissipating. Nights like this remind us to never again take live music for granted, because it’s one of our true blessings, and that alone should hopefully keep us all on the bright side of life.

View Setlist


Photo Galleries

Photographer: Rodrigo Izquierdo

View Separately:

Vandoliers
 | Russkaja
 | Flogging Molly

Flogging Molly, Russkaja, & Vandoliers – Marquee Theatre 3-15-22

    Flogging Molly Setlist 3-15-22

  • “Drunken Lullabies”
  • “The Hand of John L. Sullivan”
  • “Swagger”
  • “Selfish Man”
  • “The Worst Day Since Yesterday”
  • “These Times Have Got Me Drinking” (new song)
  • “Life in a Tenement Square”
  • “A Song of Liberty”
  • “Float”
  • “Black Friday Rule” (with extended guitar solo)
  • “Croppy Boy” (new song)
  • “Devil’s Dance Floor”
  • “Crushed (Hostile Nations)” / “We Will Rock You” (Dedicated to people of Ukraine)
  • “If I Ever Leave This World Alive”
  • “Salty Dog”
  • “What’s Left of the Flag”
  • “The Seven Deadly Sins”

    Encore:
  • “Tobacco Island”

Photography © Reagle Photography
All Rights Reserved

REVIEW: Jimmy Eat World & Dashboard Confessional Take Rock Underground at The Caverns (3-12-22)

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Pelham, TN — If you were to ask any emo fan who spent their formative years in the early 2000s, “Which bands would make up the tour lineup of your dreams?”, you would get a plethora of answers with combinations that sound much like the When We Were Young Festival happening this fall. But, more than likely, two bands’ names would pop up in nearly every combination provided: Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional.

These bands, who have provided the soundtrack to the lives of countless individuals over their 20+ years of existence, have accomplished much over the years. However, there is one achievement they were missing until this year: hitting the road together on a tour. This “oversight” was rectified when these two powerhouse bands joined forces, and asked Sydney Sprague to open for them on the tour dubbed “Surviving the Truth,” which is a mash-up of Surviving, Jimmy Eat World’s 2019 album, and Dashboard Confessional’s newest album All The Truth I Can Tell, released on February 25th of this year.

Fortunately, they also added another new experience and scheduled two back-to-back nights of shows in The Caverns – a unique venue near an area known as TAG – a place where Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia all converge. Being about an hour away from every major city, a bit of travel is required to get to the venue – through a tiny town where the livestock that disinterestedly watch you drive by likely outnumber the human residents, down Charlie Roberts Road until you reach the end, and find yourself facing a black building with a massive painting of a Big Mouth Cave Salamander named Sally painted on the side of it. This is not the end of the journey, however, as you must now walk down a sloping path into the mouth of a cavern, and then step through enormous wooden doors where the words “Welcome to The Caverns where the Great Spirit brings all people together through music” are carved, using the Sequoyah script of the Cherokee. It is here your journey ends and the adventure begins…

Sydney Sprague

Sydney Sprague (Vocalist)
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Sydney Sprague – an Arizona based musician who first started writing and playing at 11 and performing at 14 – would be first onstage. Before the band kicked off the show with “i refuse to die” – the first track of 2021’s maybe i will see you at the end of the world – she gave the audience the first of many puns of the night: “If you haven’t heard of us, that’s ok. we’re pretty…underground.” As the crowd chuckled, she deadpanned: “it gets worse.

This could not have been further from the truth, as Sprague and her band – comprised of Chuck Morriss III (keyboard, bass), Larry Gast III (guitar), Sebastien Deramat (guitar), and Tom Fitzgibbon (drums) – are all exceptionally gifted musicians and artists who bring an enormous amount of energy that complements her laid back nature. Sprague has a quick, dry wit and the ability to capture the audience’s attention and form a bond that both her and the crowd feed off of as the set goes on. 

While some may compare her vocal timbre to Michelle Branch or Taylor Swift, and it should be noted these are fair and valid comparisons, it would be a mistake to attempt to shove Sprague’s sound into a box and slap a label on it. Her vocals and sound defy conventional expectations, she writes songs that are relatable, and her performances are simple and straightforward – leaving the audience wanting more in the future. Her 8-song set included most of the tracks on her debut album, which had the paradoxical effect of leaving the audience both wishing for a bit more, and yet satisfied with what we were able to witness from this budding star. 

Sydney Sprague
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Between sets, one of the quirks of the cavern became quite obvious: it had the audacity to form without giving a backstage for the bands and their crews to work with. There is no easy access to move the equipment on and off, nor to unload and then load everything back into the waiting vehicles outside. This unusual set-up meant the audience was able to watch the pre-show rituals of the bands and view what the hard-working (and often underappreciated or forgotten) crews do with the equipment they hastily move off and onto the stage. 

Dashboard Confessional

Dashboard Confessional
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Dashboard Confessional was up next, with Chris Carrabba singing “The Brilliant Dance” with an acoustic guitar while the rest of the band stood just off stage. As he finished, they joined him, and a jovial Carrabba asked the audience if anyone had been in attendance last night. There were surprisingly few affirmative replies. Carrabba then asked, “Is anyone here tonight?” and as the cheers faded, he exclaimed, “Me too!” as the first notes of “The Good Fight” started to play. At the end of the song, he asked the audience to give a round of applause for Sprague and her band, and then caught himself cussing when he spotted a kid at the front of the crowd. Asking the young fan if he had ever been to a show in The Caverns, he stated with a huge grin, “I’ve only been to one other show here, and it was last night!” 

Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional performing at The Caverns
Chris Carrabba (Vocalist, Guitarist), Dashboard Confessional
Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Carrabba – joined onstage by Armon Jay (guitar), Scott Schoenbeck (bass), Abigail Kelly (back-up vocals), Chris Kamrada (drums), Dane Poppin (keyboard, guitar) – mixed the nostalgic hits like “Stolen” and “Vindicated” with “The Better Of Me,” the only song from All The Truth I Can Tell. Through it all, Carrabba radiated joy and excitement, possibly because he was playing inside of a cave, but also because, as he noted multiple times, it was just so good to be back together with everyone again. Carrabba is just under two years removed from a motorcycle accident that nearly ended his career, and to be back on stage after all he has endured during his recovery must feel like a miracle he celebrates nightly on this tour with 1,500 or so of his closest friends. His energy radiated out across the audience, many of whom sang along with him during the 17-song set. 

Chris Carrabba (Vocalist, Guitarist), Dashboard Confessional
Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Jimmy Eat World

Jimmy Eat World took the stage during the opening notes of “Futures,” the title track from their 2004 album. It only takes a few verses of watching frontman Jim Adkins pour everything he has out in front of the enchanted audience while drummer Zach Lind, guitarist Tom Linton and bassist Rick Burch effortlessly provide the canvas on which each song is painted anew on each night.

Jimmy Eat World
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

This is the magic of Jimmy Eat World and perhaps the secret of their longevity: their ability to take the songs that helped emo kids grow into slightly less emo adults and make the nostalgic magic that you feel hearing “Sweetness” on the radio disappear during a live show, and make it feel like you’re hearing and experiencing the songs for the first time. Other favorites like “Pain,” “Hear You Me,” “23,” and “Lucky Denver Mint” were included in the set list as well. 

Jim Adkins (Vocalist, Guitarist), Jimmy Eat World
Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Halfway through the show, Adkins switched over to an acoustic guitar to play “555” – a song that has not only inspired a comic book, but also a near-cult-like following among some fans, including a small Facebook group dedicated to posting solely about 555 found in daily lives. Adkins, like Sprague and Carrabba, expressed awe and disbelief that they were playing in a cave, and then threw in a joke about telling a distant relative that he was in an underground rock band. If there were any surprises from the night, it would be that the bands didn’t end up making more bad cave and rock puns.

The level of exertion that Jimmy Eat World puts into each show can evoke the image of a fighter who has gone 10 rounds with their opponent, leaving the ring glistening and triumphant. As Jimmy Eat World closed the show with their most well-known hit “The Middle,” towels awaited them just off-stage. The song generated the the perfect energy to end the incredible evening… the best way to end the adventure at the bucket-list worthy venue, and to send those lucky enough to bear witness a once-in-a-lifetime show on a journey through the improbably cold pre-spring night to wherever their roads may carry them. 

Fans in The Caverns as Jimmy Eat World closes their set
Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

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Photographer: Katherine Amy Vega

View Separately:

Sydney Sprague
 | Dashboard Confessional
 | Jimmy Eat World

Jimmy Eat World, Dashboard Confessional, Sydney Sprague – The Caverns 3-12-22

Photography © Katherine Amy Vega, Kataklizmic Design
All Rights Reserved.

The Atomic Punks Bring David Lee Roth Era Hits to The Marquee (2-25-22)

Tempe, AZ — The return of The Atomic Punks, a Van Halen endorsed Los Angeles tribute band, was a highly anticipated one. Originally scheduled for February 11 at the Marquee Theatre, the date was pushed back to February 25 due to ongoing COVID-19 issues. Clearly, the delay wasn’t a “setback”, as the band brought an evening of high energy rock. The Atomic Punks had a trio of solid opening acts bringing the 1980’s vibe back to Mill Avenue.

Kill ‘Em All

Kill ‘Em All, led by Kevin Hughes on vocals, opened their set with “Creeping Death”, and the high‐speed riffs continued with “The Four Horsemen” and “Master of Puppets”. The band has been performing since 2014, but Kevin Hughes is the only original member.

Kill 'Em All performing at Marquee Theatre
Bobby Alexander (Guitarist) & Randy Omdahl (Bassist), Kill ‘Em All
Photography:
Kara Blakemore © All Rights Reserved

New lead guitarist Bobby Alexander impressed on his leads from his Dean Dimebag Dean From Hell CFH Electric Guitar and the crowd was fist‐pumping. Randy Omdahl’s solid double bass drums were hard‐hitting and paired with Ted Smith’s bass guitar and energetic hair flips, this solid opener was the perfect pick to open this show.

Guitarist of Kill Em All performing
Bobby Alexander (Guitarist), Kill ‘Em All
| Photography:
Kara Blakemore © All Rights Reserved

Black Mountain Project

Cave Creek’s local band Black Mountain Project showcased a fun, pop‐meets‐ grunge sound. Formed in 2018, their bio page states the name of the band “originates from our childhood hometown near Black Mountain in Cave Creek”.

Tony Chavez (Vocalist) & Trent Joiner (Guitarist),
Black Mountain Project
Photography:
Kara Blakemore

Tony Chavez on vocals was perfectly described by someone in the venue as “Layne Staley sings Steve Perry”. They performed their single “On My Mind” and dedicated it to drummer Billy Joe Thomas’s wife, who was celebrating her birthday that evening. The band includes lead guitarist Trent Joiner and Devin McMillion on bass guitar. Based on their unique sound and strong presence on streaming platforms like Spotify and iTunes, we’ll be looking forward to hearing more from them.

Tony Chavez (vocalist), Black Mountain Project
Photography:
Kara Blakemore © All Rights Reserved

Generation HEX

Starting their set with “Perfect Strangers” by Deep Purple was Generation HEX, a group of local musicians from various bands who combined to form a local powerhouse cover band. Vocalist Paige Mills covered songs, like Dio’s “Rainbow in the Dark” and Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”, with the vocal range and skill these classic songs warrant.

Paige Mills (Vocalist) & J Mark Perales (Guitarist),
Generation HEX
Photography:
Kara Blakemore © All Rights Reserved

Norm House on keyboards is a familiar face in the local music scene, as are Eric Parker on drums, and back-up vocalist Michael Morris on bass guitar. Lead guitarist J Mark Perales never disappoints. He may be familiar as the former guitarist of the now‐defunct Desert Plains (Judas Priest tribute) but now shares his energy and talent with Generation HEX.

J Mark Perales (Guitarist), Generation HEX
| Photography:
Kara Blakemore

The Atomic Punks

Formed in 1994, The Atomic Punks’ bio boasts that the band was “Voted ‘Best Tribute Band’ by LA’s ‘Rock City News’ three years in a row”, and after a couple hours of David Lee Roth era Van Halen songs one can easily agree. Opening with their namesake jam “Atomic Punk”, the high‐kicking, blonde coiffed lead vocalist Brian Gellar personified the first Van Halen lead singer both visually and with the familiar rasp of his voice. His microphone stand spinning and laced leather pants rounded out the look we remember from the earlier Van Halen videos.

The Atomic Punks
Brian Gellar (Vocalist), The Atomic Punks
| Photography:
Kara Blakemore © All Rights Reserved

Current lead guitarist Lance Turner has big shoes to fill as Eddie Van Halen and didn’t hesitate to blow us all away with his Eddie‐esque leads. Dressed in the familiar patchwork leather pants and red kerchief around his neck, he handily dealt us strong covers of Van Halen classics from his EVH signature guitar. Joe Lester, on bass guitar as Michael Anthony, grabbed attention particularly on “Mean Streets” while drummer Scott Patterson handed us double‐bass power on “Hot for Teacher”.

Lance Turner (Guitarist), The Atomic Punks
| Photography:
Kara Blakemore © All Rights Reserved

The Atomic Punks have been around for 28 years for a reason: They’re damn good. According to The Atomic Punks’ website, Michael Anthony was quoted as saying, “I feel like I am back in 1982 performing with the old band!”, and has even joined The Atomic Punks on stage at the House of Blues in Hollywood – playing 9 Van Halen Classics for fans. David Lee Roth mentioned them in his 1997 autobiography “Crazy from the Heat”, boasting that the band is “The best tribute to Van Halen ever!

Eddie Van Halen may no longer be with us, but his footprint in the music industry is eternal in the hearts of his fans, and we thank The Atomic Punks for taking us back in time to our memories of Van Halen we hold so dear.

Photo Gallery

Photography: Kara Blakemore

View Separately:

Kill Em All
 | Black Mountain Project
 | Generation HEX | The Atomic Punks

The Atomic Punks, Generation Hex, Black Mountain Project, & Kill ‘Em All – Marquee Theatre 2-25-22

Photography © Electric Eye Photo AZ
All Rights Reserved

The Atomic Punks online:

CHERRY BOMBS Explode on This Summer’s Music Festival Circuit, Announce UK Dates with COREY TAYLOR

Cherry Bombs fire breathing

We have waited nearly two years for real touring and festivals to commence … wait no more!! Cherry Bombs bring an exciting and entirely new way to experience rock and roll music. You won’t believe your eyes watching their daredevil acts, feminine power, fearless and dynamic performances featuring dance, fire, aerial, grinding, stilt walking, and so much more.

Alicia Taylor shares, “We are beyond thrilled to be invited to perform at Louder Than Life and Aftershock in 2022! It feels incredible to be accepted alongside the incredible bands that are on the bill and solidifies that there IS a place for us in the world of rock and metal. We are carving out our own unique path and are eternally grateful to those like Danny Wimmer and team for seeing something in us.”

Corey Taylor adds, “Everybody has their favorite tours. I have been very fortunate to have been a part of so many over the years. To not only be able to tour with my wife, but also to know that they are putting on an amazing show as well, I can maybe think of a handful of people who can say that. Get ready for a rad time!”

Corey Taylor Cherry Bombs Tour 2022

Cherry Bombs tour dates for Fall 2022:

  • Sept 22-25, 2022 – LouderThanLife Festival, Highland Festival Grounds at Kentucky Expo Center – Louisville, KY – Tickets
  • Oct 6-9, 2022 – Aftershock Festival, Discovery Park – Sacramento, CA – Tickets
  • Oct 17, 2022 – London Palladium – London, UK – Tickets
  • Oct 19, 2022 – Bonus Arena – Hull, UK – Tickets
  • Oct 24, 2022 – Swansea Arena – Swansea, UK – Tickets

Girl Gang

Tune in now:
Girl Gang Season 4 – premiered March 9th on YouTube.
Follow the Cherry Bombs, one of the first groups to tour during the pandemic. Watch here how they face the obstacles and achieve success!

Alicia Taylor explains “When Corey Taylor and I started putting together our tour during 2021, we were one of the first acts in our genre to accomplish this during the pandemic. We wanted to do it right, by reducing as many risks as possible- to not only prove to ourselves, but to our industry, that perhaps there is a way to adapt and make shows happen. We covered as many bases as possible: temperature checks, consistent testing on the road, reduced capacity at shows, requiring masks, we stayed in a bubble- we really wanted to make this tour a success. Girl Gang 4 is all about that tour, and the process behind making it happen.”

Cherry Bombs arials

2019 saw the premiere of the YouTube docu-series titled, “Girl Gang”, which pulled the curtain back to reveal what it takes to put on such a unique show. The series has been met with overwhelmingly positive reception for its raw storytelling and willingness of the performers to show vulnerability. Episodes focus on the inner-workings of Cherry Bombs, including the adventures, challenges, and triumphs they experience.

Like many in the industry, the pandemic of 2020 forced Cherry Bombs to cancel their tour. However, they adapted quickly, and filmed their headlining show, Macabarét – a story of karma wrapped in temptation, action, and danger around every corner. This “eyegasm” of a movie was streamed worldwide and met with rave reviews, cementing it to become an annual event every October.

Cherry Bombs performing

About Cherry Bombs:

Cutting their teeth in the world of motorcycle rallies, they soon climbed the ranks of live entertainment by being the first group of its kind to bag a national tour with Buckcherry and Black Stone Cherry in 2016. Since then, Cherry Bombs have appeared in performances and tours nationally and internationally (Stone Sour/Steel Panther, Corey Taylor, KNOTFEST Mexico, ForceFest Mexico, KNOTFEST Colombia), on television (AEW), and in numerous music videos (Corey Taylor, 21 Savage, Fozzy, Moonshine Bandits).

Cherry Bombs online:



Flogging Molly & The Interrupters Announce Co-Headlining Summer Tour 

Los Angeles – Flogging Molly and The Interrupters have announced a Summer co-headlining tour, kicking off on June 7 in Indianapolis, with Tiger Army and The Skints supporting on all dates. Tickets will be available here and here on Friday, March 18 at 10 AM local time.

Dave King, Flogging Molly singer/guitar player, says of the tour: “We’re excited to share the news of our upcoming tour with the one and only, The Interrupters. We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone, and having a great time together. Let’s have some fun in the sun!” While The Interrupters rejoice the return of live music, “We are stoked to announce our Summer Tour with the legendary Flogging Molly, Tiger Army and The Skints! We can’t wait to sing together, dance together and celebrate live music with everyone! See you all very soon!”

The Interrupters by Jimmy Fontaine
The Interrupters | Photography: Jimmy Fontaine

Despite COVID touring setbacks throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021, The Interrupters kept fans engaged with a live album release and an inspired cover of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy,” which went on to be featured in season 2 of the Netflix Original series The Umbrella Academy. As touring resumed in late 2021, the group embarked on one of the year’s largest rock n’ roll tours supporting Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy on the Hella Mega Tour.

Flogging Molly, who recently released their soon-to-be-classic single “These Times Have Got Me Drinking via Rise Records, celebrate the return of their free, outdoor annual St. Patrick’s Day festival this Thursday at the Hollywood Palladium. Having livestreamed the 2021 event, the band mix the best of both worlds for 2022, with the concert being broadcast worldwide via a simultaneous livestream (tickets: Floggingmolly.veeps.com). Flogging Molly set sail on March 28, helming the sold-out Salty Dog Cruise, which also includes performances from the Descendents, Frank Turner, Agent Orange and more.

Flogging Molly The Interrupters Summer Tour
Click to Enlarge

Flogging Molly & The Interrupters tour dates:

  • June 7 – Indianapolis, IN – TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park
  • June 8 – Cincinnati, OH – The ICON Festival Stage at Smale Park
  • June 10 – Charlotte, NC – Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
  • June 11 – Atlanta, GA – Coca-Cola Roxy
  • June 12 – St. Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
  • June 14 – St. Louis, MO – St. Louis Music Park
  • June 15 – Minneapolis, MN – The Armory
  • June 17 – Chicago, IL – Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom
  • June 18 – Detroit, MI – Meadow Brook
  • June 19 – Cleveland, OH – Jacobs Pavilion
  • June 21 – Raleigh, NC – Red Hat Amphitheater
  • June 22 – Washington, D.C. – The Anthem
  • June 24 – Philadelphia, PA – Skyline Stage at the Mann
  • June 25 – Columbus, OH – KEMBA Live!
  • June 26 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE
  • June 28 – New Haven, CT – Westville Music Bowl
  • June 30 – New York, NY – Pier 17
  • July 1 – Boston, MA – Leader Bank Pavilion
  • July 2 – Lewiston, NY – Artpark
  • July 3 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony Summerstage
  • September 9 – Denver, CO – Mission Ballroom Outdoors
  • September 10 – Dillon, CO – Dillon Amphitheater
  • September 11 – Salt Lake City, UT – Complex Outdoors – The Lot
  • September 13 – Bonner, MT – KettleHouse Amphitheater
  • September 14 – Boise, ID – Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater
  • September 16 – Eugene, OR – Cuthbert Amphitheater
  • September 17 – Seattle, WA – WaMu Theater
  • September 21 – Paso Robles, CA – Vina Robles Amphitheatre

About Flogging Molly:

Flogging Molly is Dave King (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, bodhran), Bridget Regan (violin, tin whistle, vocals), Dennis Casey (guitar, vocals), Matt Hensley (accordion, concertina, vocals), Nathen Maxwell (bass guitar, vocals), Spencer Swain (mandolin, banjo, guitar, vocals), and Mike Alonso (drums, percussion). Starting out as the house band for Molly Malone’s in Los Angeles and building a loyal following through endless touring, Flogging Molly has become a staple in the punk scene over the past 20 years, kicking off with their raucous debut album, Swagger, and continuing through their five additional studio releases. With numerous late-night television appearances under their belt, a sold out Salty Dog Cruise through the Caribbean, and a yearly St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Los Angeles, the band is currently working on their Rise Records’ debut, which they previewed with “These Times Have Got Me Drinking” earlier this month. Flogging Molly recently reissued Swagger with exclusive tracks, an Irish traditional set, a 60-minute video feature, and exclusive merch in a collectible box set.

About The Interrupters:

Formed in 2011, The Interrupters came together when the Bivona brothers—guitarist Kevin Bivona, bassist Justin Bivona, drummer Jesse Bivona—found themselves on various bills with Aimee in 2009. Upon bonding over musical tastes, the four formed The Interrupters and delivered their self-titled debut in 2014. The Interrupters have shared stages with bands such as Rancid, blink-182, Green Day, Bad Religion, and many other stalwarts of the punk scene solidifying the band’s status as a dynamic force on the stage. The band is currently putting the finishing touches on their fourth full-length with Hellcat/Epitaph Records.

Flogging Molly online:


Featured photo (top) by Katie Hovland