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REVIEW: The Darkness Envelops & Excites Fans at Marquee Theatre… Again (10-7-23)

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Tempe, AZ — The Darkness returned to Arizona for a triumphant show as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album Permission to Land, and the special reissue collection that was released the day prior to the show: Permission to Land…Again. They last graced the Marquee Theatre stage in March of 2022 on their “Motorheart” tour. This October 2023 show was the 4th date of the US leg of the world tour celebrating their debut, and they played a setlist full of their biggest hits from that album and beyond. The Comancheros, a country/southern rock band from Missouri, opened the show with an infectious energy that warmed up the crowd for the high-octane headliner.

The Comancheros

The Comancheros perform energetically at Marquee Theatre
The Comancheros
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

They began with their powerful song “Mississippi”, which electrified the room, and they followed up with a string of other hits, including “Long Hair”.

The Comancheros rock Marquee Theatre
The Comancheros
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

The band asked the audience if there were any beer drinkers and hellraisers in AZ while holding beer cans up in the air, then drank it up and kicked into their song titled “Beer Drinkers”.

The Comancheros raising beer at their Tempe concert
The Comancheros
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

They continuously engaged with the audience throughout their set and completed it  with the songs “We Own the Night,” “George Jones,” “Cowboy Song,” “Drum/Gun/Chariot,” “Shoot Me Down,” and “Bird/Time Machine”.

The Comancheros vocalist and guitarist Tanner Jones
Tanner Jones (Vocalist, Guitarist), The Comancheros
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

The Darkness

"Welcome to The Darkness" theatrical poster
“Welcome to The Darkness” theatrical poster

On October 2nd, just five days before this show, The Darkness announced the launch date of their feature-length documentary, Welcome to the Darkness, that adds to their extensive discography with seven studio albums since their start in the early 2000’s. The film will arrive in cinemas for one night only on November 9th, and will then be available on Blu-Ray and digital download on December 4th. 

The Darkness kicked off their set with a high-powered rendition of “Black Shuck.” Fans were immediately singing along and dancing fervently. The band followed that up with a string of their biggest hits, including “Get Your Hands Off My Woman,” “Growing on Me,” and “The Best of Me.”

The Darkness vocalist Justin Hawkins
Justin Hawkins (Vocalist, Guitarist), The Darkness
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Lead singer Justin Hawkins was in top form, delivering his vocals with power and precision. He showered the audience with guitar picks, ensuring the youngest fans got their concert memento by stretching and throwing as far as he could to get closer to them from the stage.

The Darkness frontman throwing a guitar pick to the crowd
Justin Hawkins (Vocalist, Guitarist), The Darkness
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

He had the crowd in the palm of his hand with his witty banter and stage presence. Guitarist Dan Hawkins, bassist Frankie Poullain, and drummer Rufus Taylor were also on fire, playing with some truly impressive musicianship.

The Darkness performing at Marquee Theatre
The Darkness
| Photography:
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

During their performance, the engagement with the audience was ongoing, including a sing-a-long with a member of the audience, also named Justin (with Hawkins grinning after the audience member shared his name). The frontman also saw a group of 4 British fans in attendance, all dressed up in Union Jack patterned suits, with their companion in a full American flag outfit, wearing a bald eagle head mask that got thrown onto the stage. The drummer put it on and wore it while playing an entire song, before throwing it back to the audience member that threw it to the stage.

Fans of The Darkness in British and US themed costumes at Marquee Theatre
Fans of English rock band The Darkness donning British and US themed costumes at Marquee Theatre concert
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

They closed out their set with a rousing performance of their signature song, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”. The crowd went wild, with smartphones raised from almost everyone in attendance, prompting Justin Hawkins to stop and playfully ask the audience to ‘place themselves in their place, and to not record the performance’ before starting back up and, delighting the audience with a fantastic show, giving it his all. 

Justin Hawkins of The Darkness doing a headstand in front of their drum kit
Justin Hawkins (Vocalist, Guitarist), The Darkness
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

For their encore, they emotionally played “I Love You 5 Times” before the vocalist announced they had one song remaining, and with a mischievous grin stating, “but is a pretty f***ing long song.” The Darkness closed the set with “Love on the Rocks with No Ice”. The shower of guitar picks continued as the band did their goodbyes, with no pick left behind. 

Justin Hawkins smiling widely as he plays the guitar, with Frankie Poullain playing bass in the background
Justin Hawkins (Vocalist, Guitarist) & Frankie Poullain (Bassist), The Darkness
Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Overall, The Darkness put on an incredible show at Marquee Theatre. They played a setlist full of their biggest hits and deepest cuts, and they delivered a performance that was both energetic and entertaining. If you have the chance to see them on this tour, you will be lucky to witness one of the best live bands in the world, with (at the time of publication of this article) just 9 more dates left for the US leg, and 36 upcoming world tour dates before coming back to the US in 2024 for the Monsters of Rock cruise festival in Miami, Florida. 

If you’re a fan of rock music, then you need to see The Darkness live, and they’re sure to put on a show that you’ll never forget. Make sure to catch a screening of their feature documentary on November 9th, or look for it on Blu-Ray on on its December 4th release date.

View Setlist

Photo Galleries

Photographer: Rodrigo Izquierdo

View Separately: The Darkness* | The Comancheros

*includes additional photos

The Darkness & The Comancheros – Marquee Theatre 10-7-23

Photography © Reagle Photography
All Rights Reserved

Joy Kills Sorrow‘s Bluegrass Cover of “Such Great Heights” Deserves Your Attention

If you’re a fan of The Postal Service’s iconic hit “Such Great Heights,” you’ve probably heard countless covers of the song over the years. But have you ever heard a cover of a song that completely transforms it into something new and exciting? That’s exactly the case with Joy Kills Sorrow’s bluegrass version of this hit. This rendition, which was released on their EP Wide Awake in 2013, deserves your attention if you haven’t heard it yet. 

What is particularly impressive about this cover is how effortlessly the band took an electronic indie-pop hit and made it their own, infusing it with their signature Americana sound that is a refreshing departure from the original. Fueled by Jacob Jolliff’s intricate mandolin playing and lead singer Emma Beaton’s soaring vocals, the song was transformed into a foot-stomping bluegrass number that’s impossible not to dance along to.

Right from the beginning, the mandolin and banjo (played by Wes Corbett) take over, providing a lively and instantly engaging introduction. While staying true to the melody and lyrics, the band injects their signature style, adding instrumental breakdowns and harmonies that showcase their musical prowess. Beaton’s vocals add a touch of sweetness and vulnerability to the already poignant lyrics. As the song progresses, each instrument takes its turn to shine, from the rhythm of Matthew Arcara flatpicking the guitar, to the harmonies of Zoe Guigueno and her upright bass. You can feel the energy building up, culminating in a triumphant ending that will leave you with chills. The result is a cover that’s just as catchy and memorable as the original, but with a new energy and vibrancy that’s impossible to resist. 

What makes this cover so successful is that it doesn’t try to imitate the original, but rather reinvents it completely. It manages to capture the essence and emotion of the song while putting a new spin on it. Overall, Joy Kills Sorrow’s bluegrass cover of “Such Great Heights” is a testament to the power of musical creativity and innovation. It proves that good music can transcend genres and styles, and that sometimes the most unexpected artist can surprise you. So, if you haven’t given it a listen yet, it’s high time that changes. 

Even die-hard The Postal Service fans will find themselves tapping their feet along to this bluegrass rendition. If you haven’t heard Joy Kills Sorrow’s cover of “Such Great Heights” yet, do yourself a favor and give it a listen. Although Joy Kills Sorrow disbanded after performing their last show in 2014, their legacy includes a stunning example of how a great cover can take a beloved song and elevate it to new heights.

Ben Gibbard Returns with a “Double Feature” Performance 

Speaking of The Postal Service… lead vocalist Ben Gibbard is making a comeback to Arizona and other cities (listed below) with a “double feature” show that is sure to delight. As part of the “Give Up & Transatlanticism 20th Anniversary Tour,” The Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie will be co-headlining, and Gibbard will be at the forefront of it all.

The tour runs in September and October of this year. Arizona Financial Theatre, one of the iconic spots to host this show, is set to witness an unforgettable night of music that showcases the evolution of the creative genius of Gibbard and his bandmates. (Fun fact: Jenny Lewis of The Postal Service is also a solo artist, actress, and was the lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and keyboardist for the indie rock band Rilo Kiley.) It goes without saying that Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service carry energies that leave fans yearning for more. But, to have both bands share the stage on a joint tour is something else entirely. 

Back in 2003, The Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie became musical sensations that rocked the world with Gibbard at the helm. The Postal Service’s debut album, Give Up, and Death Cab for Cutie’s fourth studio album, Transatlanticism, showcased the range of Gibbard’s vocal and songwriting abilities. It’s been twenty years since those albums’ releases, and that is all the more reason to celebrate. The “Give Up & Transatlanticism 20th Anniversary Tour” is, therefore, more than just a tour. As each band performs their respective albums in their entirety, it’s a trip down memory lane accompanied by heart-thumping instrumentals and performances that leave concertgoers reveling in nostalgia. 

With Gibbard headlining, The Postal Service & Death Cab For Cutie: Give Up & Transatlanticism promises to be a night to remember.
Get your tickets now!

The Postal Service & Death Cab for Cutie 2023 Tour Dates

  • September 8 – Portland, ME – Cross Insurance Arena
  • September 9 – Kingston, RI – The Ryan Center
  • September 10 – New Haven, CT – Westville Music Bowl
  • September 12 – Boston, MA – MGM Music Hall
  • September 13 – Boston, MA – MGM Music Hall
  • September 14 – Washington, DC – Merriweather Post Pavilion
  • September 17 – Detroit, MI – Meadow Brook Amphitheater
  • September 20 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
  • September 21 – Philadelphia, PA – The Mann Center
  • September 24 – Minneapolis, MN – Armory
  • September 26 – Denver, CO – Mission Ballroom
  • September 27 – Denver, CO – Mission Ballroom
  • October 3 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Financial Theatre
  • October 4 – Las Vegas, NV – The Chelsea Ballroom at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
  • October 7 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena
  • October 10 – Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre – UC Berkeley
  • October 13 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl

Featured photo (top) courtesy of Mongrel Music

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Motion City Soundtrack‘s Classic LP with This Limited-Edition Vinyl


Fans of Motion City Soundtrack, get ready to celebrate! It’s been nearly 20 years since the iconic American rock band released their debut LP, I Am the Movie. To commemorate this special anniversary, Motion City Soundtrack is releasing a limited-edition vinyl version of the band’s first full-length LP. This exclusive release comes in a super tasty tangerine and milky clear version that is perfect for any record collector’s display. 

Motion City Soundtrack "I Am The Movie" LP Limited Edition tangerine and milky clear vinyl
Motion City Soundtrack’s ‘I Am The Movie’ limited Edition tangerine and milky clear vinyl

This vinyl is sure to fly off the shelf, so make sure to pre-order yours today!

But that’s not all!
Stay tuned for even more limited-edition variant colors to be announced soon. 

Whether you’re a long-time fan of Motion City Soundtrack or a newcomer just discovering the band’s music, this special vinyl is sure to be a worthwhile addition to your collection. Motion City Soundtrack’s debut EP captured the hearts of music lovers around the world with its energetic, catchy, and heartfelt tracks. From the high-energy opener “Cambridge” to the uplifting closer “A-OK,” every song on the album tells a unique story while showcasing the band’s distinctive sound. 

It’s hard to believe that I Am the Movie was released two decades ago, but its impact on the music industry continues to be felt today. Don’t miss your chance to celebrate this milestone with the limited-edition vinyl release of the album. So head on over to https://bit.ly/3JSk2IL to pre-order your limited-edition tangerine and milky clear vinyl copy of I Am the Movie today!

Photograph courtesy of Motion City Soundtrack

Acid King Mark 20th Anniversary of Landmark Doom Album, Busse Woods, with U.S. Tour

San Francisco – “S.F. stoner luminaries” (Decibel) Acid King mark the 20th anniversary of their landmark doom album, Busse Woods, with a nationwide tour that sees the pioneering trio play the 1999 album in its entirety.

“For the old fans that bought this record twenty years ago, I hope they’re excited to hear the songs all played for the first time like this,” said singer/guitar player Lori S.. “By the same token, I hope that a lot of new fans who haven’t heard it live also have a special experience. We’re going out of our way to make it special for everyone. It’s what Acid King was always meant to be.”

The tour news arrives alongside word that RidingEasy Records will reissue the six-song release on Aug. 30. The remastered vinyl release is available in multiple colors with in-depth liner notes and never before seen photos.

Acid KingBusse Woods 20th Anniversary Tour” Dates:

September 20 Portland, OR Northwest Hesh Fest (Star Theater)
September 21 Seattle, WA Highline
September 23 Denver, CO Marquis Theater
September 24 Omaha, NE Slowdown
September 25 St. Paul, MN Turf Club
September 26 Chicago, IL Reggies
September 27 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
September 28 Buffalo, NY Mohawk Place
September 29 Boston, MA Sonia
September 30 Brooklyn, NY Knitting Factory
October 1 Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda’s
October 2 Richmond, VA Richmond Music Hall
October 3 Raleigh, NC Kings
October 4 Asheville, NC Mothlight
October 5 Atlanta, GA 529 Club
October 6 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks
October 7 Dallas, TX Gas Monkey
October 9 Albuquerque, NM Sister Bar
October 10 Mesa, AZ Club Red
October 11 Los Angeles, CA The Satellite
October 12 San Francisco, CA The Chapel

View the trailer for the “Busse Woods 20th Anniversary TourHERE:

Tickets are on-sale this Thursday, May 23, at 10 am local time.

Busse Woods, initially released via Frank Kozik’s Man’s Ruin label, still exudes the same sense of mysticism it did upon its 1999 debut. Lori and bandmates Joey Osbourne [drums] and Brian Hill [bass] entered a practice space to write the full-length follow-up to their debut Down with the Crown but behind the scenes, the band and its members were suffering through both professional and personal tumult. The chaotic backdrop led to limited promotion for Busse Woods with some of the songs never having been played live. Over the years, new generations of fans have discovered the album, earning it a reputation as a must-have for lovers of stoner and doom. Acid King returned in 2015 with Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere, an album Stereogum placed in their Top 15 Metal Albums of the year, saying the collection is “a 53-minute celebration of a band at the height of its powers.”

Busse Woods is so potent that by the time you finish listening to opener ‘Electric Machine,’ your eyes are bloodshot.” – The Obelisk

Acid King Online:

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Featured photo (top) by Raymond Ahner

REVIEW: Goo Goo Dolls Celebrate 20 Years With a Sold Out Show at The Van Buren (9-30-18)

PHOENIX — The Valley of the Sun was transported back in time to the halcyon 90’s Sunday night as Goo Goo Dolls kicked off their “Dizzy Up the Girl” Anniversary Tour at The Van Buren. The four-time platinum certified album contains thirteen songs, four of which made it into the top 40. As the tour name suggests, Dizzy Up The Girl was the primary focus of the show, taking up the entirety of the first of two sets from the band, being played from beginning to end. It certainly did not feel like two decades had passed since its release, as thick crowds of people covered every square inch of the venue for this sold out show.

There was a tangible current of excitement in the air, and people were becoming antsy and murmuring to one another about their impatience for this much anticipated show to start. Each time a new melody would boom from the speakers, or a guitar was tweaked backstage, the excitement could be felt as it was mistaken for the beginning of the show.

The lights dim and the stage goes dark. A melody begins to play as lights begin to dance in unison to the music across the platform, engulfing the instruments in various colors as vocalist Johnny Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac, and current touring members: guitarist Brad Fernquist, keyboardist Jim McGorman, and drummer Craig Macintyre moved slowly towards them. A sea of light from cell phones rose up from the crowd to capture the initial moments of the show. As each found their way to their place on stage they wasted no time heading straight into the opening chords of the albums first song “Dizzy.”

Goo Goo Dolls - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Johnny Rzeznik (Vocalist/Guitarist), Goo Goo Dolls
Katherine Amy Vega
© Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

Following an intense performance of the first song, they effortlessly flowed into the following song on the album which also happens to be the second most popular song, coming in at #9 on Billboard’s Top 100 Pop list from 1992-2012. The beginning notes of Slide glided out of the speakers and it was like a fire had been lit inside the venue. Screams and cheers rang out as Rzeznik sang the words that any true Goo Goo Dolls fan would know. Goo Goo Dolls exuded a palpable “rockstar” energy. At points during the song, the audience was so jazzed up and into the music that they began to drown out the band with their singing. Not wanting to be outdone, this caused a chain reaction of events as the five progressed powerfully through the next seven songs on the album without any breaks in between.

Dizzy Up the Girl album cover

While talking about the anniversary of the album, Rzeznik tells the audience about the iconic girl on the album cover, saying that everyone wants to know who she is. Thinking there would be an intricate story involved, he surprises everyone by saying they have no idea who she is, other than the assistant of the photographer despite casting models for the shoot. Even without a great story, the crowd loved it and snapped right back into their trance as they sang their hearts out from song to song, dancing with the strangers next to them and thrusting their drinks and hands in the air. This was the general reaction throughout their set, with a vibrant light show and dozens of black latex balloons floating around during another hit single, “Black Balloon.” Set one was brought to a close at the conclusion of the last song on the album, “Hate This Place.”

Goo Goo Dolls - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Brad Fernquist (Guitarist) & John Rzeznik (Vocalist/Guitarist),
Goo Goo Dolls
Katherine Amy Vega
© Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

“Thank you! Hang on a sec, we’ll be right back,” Rzeznik said as the band left the stage for a short intermission. Before long, the musicians were back on stage ready to keep the party going for the second part of their set. Already having played thirteen songs, the band proceeded to double the experience and play thirteen more for set two, entitled “Deep Cuts”. Fans went down several paths of memory lane while the band played some of their biggest hits outside of their most popular album. “Better Days”, “Can’t Let It Go”, and “Two Days in February” were all played with acoustic guitar, evoking a range of emotions from their followers.

Goo Goo Dolls - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Robby Takac (Bassist), Goo Goo Dolls
Katherine Amy Vega
© Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

The remainder of the show was more amped up, wanting to bring the audience back to full volume before they ended with a two-song encore including “Big Machine” and a mindblowing performance of “Flat Top”. Right before that, though, Takac addressed the audience a final time with a simple “Thank you guys for coming out to celebrate with us tonight. Truly truly truly means a lot,” no doubt with mutual feelings in the hearts of fans. As the show ended after 26 songs, people could be overheard talking all around about how wonderful the show was and how much it meant to them to be there for it. For over twenty years the Goo Goo Dolls have brought several beautiful songs to life, and if this tour has anything to say about them, no amount of time can weaken the love their fans have for them, or their music.



Photographer: Katherine Amy Vega

Goo Goo Dolls – The Van Buren 9-30-18

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

Guitar Legend Adrian Galysh Releases “So Close… So Far” Off of Upcoming ‘Venusian Sunrise: 20th Anniversary Edition’

Rock Guitar virtuoso Adrian Galysh has revealed the first single, “So Close… So Far,” off of his upcoming Venusian Sunrise: 20th Anniversary Edition. Due out July 10, 2018, Venusian Sunrise: 20th Anniversary Edition will include completely re-recorded tracks, the remastered original record, and bonus live tracks.

“Venusian Sunrise was recorded in my parent’s basement on a single Alesis 8-Track ADAT recorder. While the performances are commendable for their time, given limited resources at the age of 22—it lacks what 20 years of experience and advancement in recording technology can now easily provide—richer guitar tones, advanced recording techniques, the palatial keyboard and realistic orchestral sounds of today, and maybe most importantly…real drums!” – Adrian Galysh

Venusian Sunrise 20th Anniversary Edition Cover

Track List:

1. Venusian Sunrise (2018)
2. What On Earth (2018)
3. The Blue Jungle (2018)
4. Lullaby of South Aiken St. (2018)
5. Drifting Memories (2018)
6. So Close… So Far (2018)
7. Lydian Dreams (2018)
8. Miss Fabina The Ballerina (2018)
9. In The End (2018)
10. Venusian Sunrise (1998)
11. What On Earth (1998)
12. The Blue Jungle (1998)
13. Lullaby of South Aiken St. (1998)
14. Drifting Memories (1998)
15. So Close… So Far (1998)
16. Lydian Dreams (1998)
17. Miss Fabina The Ballerina (1998)
18. In The End (1998)
Bonus Tracks:
19. The Blue Jungle (Live in LA 2011
20. Lydian Dreams (Live in LA 2011)

Click HERE to Pre-Order
Venusian Sunrise: 20th Anniversary Edition’


Adrian Galysh - Photography: Tamea Agle
Adrian Galysh | Photography: Tamea Agle

Los Angeles-based guitarist Adrian Galysh is an in-demand solo artist, session guitarist, published author, and educator with an illustrious career spanning five studio albums.

Praised by artists like Carl Verheyen and outlets like Guitar Player and Fireworks magazines, Galysh has a successful trajectory that includes numerous collaborations and performances with industry giants like Uli Jon RothYngwie MalmsteenRobben FordMike KeneallyGeorge LynchWarren DeMartini, and many more.

Galysh is also a Guitar World Magazine online lesson columnist and Education Coordinator for Guitar Center Lessons. He’s the author of the book Progressive Guitar Warm-Ups and Exercises. He uses Brian Moore GuitarsD’Angelico GuitarsSuhr GuitarsSIT StringsSeymour Duncanpickups and effects, Straptight StraplocksVoodoo Lab and Morley pedals.

Connect with Adrian Galysh:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Featured photo (top) by  Tamea Agle