Deep in the heart of Detroit, the birthplace of motown, bluesy roots artist Samantha Fish recorded the first of two albums to be released this year. Out in March “Chills & Fever” strays from the 28-year-old's typical rock and roll/blues sound and itches a curiousity in soul music. November will see the release of her second album, “Belle of the West,” which is a return to Americana folk.
Last night's highly anticipated U2 concert at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale ushered in the official start of fall in the Valley. The roof, gleefully, was open, framing a few stars and washing the packed crowd with blessed late-September breezes. Bono and the band delighted, playing hits spanning their 41-year career – from “Sunday Bloody Sunday” to “Beautiful Day,” along with every song from the beloved Joshua Tree album.
Folsky rhythms poured from the doors of the Crescent Ballroom lounge last night as The Sugar Thieves took the stage. It started with some simple strums of the guitar and plucking of the upright bass, then Meridith Moore's voice swooped in and quickly filled the room. Before playing for an admirable two hours – Moore is pregnant, after all! – I spoke with her about the band, Americana music and what the future holds for Tempe's own blues band.
Since emerging from the punk underground with Black Flag in the 1980s, Henry Rollins has been a pop culture super force; aside from musician, he can list writer, DJ, and actor on his packed resume. Currently, he’s in the midst of a 13 month spoken word tour, which hits Crescent Ballroom on December 3rd and 4th, and finds the outspoken punk icon speaking his mind each night.
PHOENIX Magazine interviewed Rollins before the 2016 election but that didn’t stop the conversation from getting political.
Every year, nonprofit arts organization Arizona Musicfest produces a series of concerts in the fall and winter at various Scottsdale venues. The fall 2016/winter 2017 fests kick off on October 28, and the lineups include bluegrass, classical music, rock, opera, soul, folk, and Broadway songs. You can see the full schedule of shows at azmusicfest.org, but here are the five we deem the most unmissable.
#1: Mavis Staples at Highlands Church, March 6, 2017
At 77, gospel and R&B singer Mavis Staples shows no signs of slowing down. This year, Staples released a new album, “Livin’ on a High Note,” and was a Kennedy Center Honoree. She brings her powerful pipes and repertoire of popular songs such as “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There” to the acoustically impressive Highlands Church. 7:30 p.m. March 6 at Highlands Church. Tickets cost $34-$76.
While the Rose Room and billiards draw crowds nightly, the pull on Fridays is the rotating cast of characters that Valley Bar hosts for its collection of dance parties.
German techno pop pioneers Kraftwerk were the cream of the “krautrock” scene in the early 1970s, and last night, they demonstrated why they remain one of the most influential musical groups in history.
The setting: The gorgeous, historical Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Phoenix. With its Baroque Revival architecture, magnificent murals and molding, and balcony seating, this former vaudeville venue (built in 1929) provided classy, old world ambience for the show. Perfect for purveyors of art pop.
For Valley residents, September signals the welcome return of cooler nights with less sweltering days. Many Valley shopping centers offer evening shopping and dining as well as free outdoor concerts showcasing some of the Valley’s most talented musicians and bands.
The appeal of tribute bands is an illusion: the illusion that you’re watching one of the biggest music acts in the world perform some of your favorite songs live. In some cases, it’s not possible to see the real deal anymore because the bands are broken up or the players are dead; in other cases, the originals are still touring and the bands are like guitars crossing in the night (Def Leppard plays the Valley the same week as DL tribute band Pyromania), and in some cases, the originals take issue with their tributes -- like litigious Metallica, whose lawyers sent a 41-page cease-and-desist-or-we-will-sue-you letter to one of their tribute bands, called Sandman, for using the band’s name and lettering style in their logo.
Not every tribute band is good. Some could be considered downright insulting to the object of their homages. But maybe that just makes the truly terrific tribute bands worth seeing even more. Here are five very fine tribute bands playing Phoenix in the coming months.
Sitting between two couples in the music hall at Valley Bar, I observed the polarity of stages of romance. The couple in front of me argued for ten minutes about spending more holidays with one person’s family than the other and talked about a lot of stuff – as in, “I can’t get to my Nordic Track because all your stuff is in the way” and “I’ll come get my stuff next week.” They were wearing wedding rings. Maybe not for much longer. The couple sitting behind me was much younger, and it sounded like they were on a first date from all their slightly awkward, get-to-know-you Q&A (“So, um, I like peas. Do you like peas?”).
This eavesdrop sandwich was a lot like the jazz music of Thelonious Monk, which we were there to hear Wednesday night. The late, great pianist’s compositions ranged from wobbly, borderline-raucous bebop and hard bop (infused with gospel and blues) to mellow, swooning cool jazz so cool you’d swear the C notes were winking at you from behind sunglasses. Monk’s jazz scale tipped two directions – percussive piano-pounding peppered with melodic pretzels, and then sudden slides into dramatic silences. His best-known songs to a casual jazz fan are probably “Round Midnight” and “Straight, No Chaser,” but Monk is the second-most recorded jazz composer, behind Duke Ellington. So it’s little wonder that a show at Valley Bar featuring the Will Goble Quartet (actually, a quintet that night) performing the music of Thelonious Monk was sold out.
Imagine, if you will, a barn on the Lake Erie shore, the location of a summer camp. A drum set and an old piano are the first things that catch your eye. Then you see two guys take the stage in a blaze of energy and lights. The shows of their early days and the twenty one pilots clique I came to join in that barn was magnified one hundred fold at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Tuesday night.
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