It turns out, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Or, at least, you can teach an old dog to like new tricks. That's my thesis after accompanying my daughter to the Niall Horan concert at Comerica Theatre in Downtown Phoenix on Monday. I was skeptical that I wouldn't need ear plugs to survive the show, raised as I was on true rock 'n roll, not the flowery, moody pop that passes for music on the Top 40 stations these days. But, I must admit, the experience was tolerable, even enjoyable in parts (despite the near-constant squeals of joy and adolescent cooing coming from the audience).
The season opener for Arizona Opera, Hercules vs. Vampires, demonstrates just how fine the line between highbrow and lowbrow can be. The mythological Greek hero Hercules ventures into the underworld to fetch a cure for a princess who, thanks to an evil king, has lost her memory. Sure... OK.
There’s nothing about this story that wouldn’t have been taken seriously by generations of grand opera composers. Indeed, it’s arguably a more straightforward narrative than that of many operas.
In April of this year, a gaggle of talented musicians gathered in Boston’s intimate Red Room at Cafe 939. Berklee College of Music had invited renowned guitarist Kaki King to record a live album with the Porta Girevole Chamber Orchestra, made up of 12 Berklee students and faculty. The resulting live album, “Kaki King Live at Berklee,” will be released September 22.
When you think of King, you might think of versatile guitar chords and acoustic instrumental ballads. She was the youngest person (and the only woman) named to Rolling Stone's "New Guitar Gods" list in 2006. Since then she's enjoyed some pretty heady collaborations, including with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Timbaland.
“Kaki King Live at Berklee,” King’s first album in two years, introduces many of her older songs re-envisioned, or rather, re-energized with an orchestra. It’s not only an album that is the first of its kind for King, but was a unique experience for the students. BirnCORE, Berklee’s own record label, gave students the chance to experience the ins and outs of recording and producing under an independent record label.
"Magazine" is the only single released prior to the album dropping.
Ahead of her performance in Phoenix this week, PHOENIX checked in with King to chat about her new album, the challenges of recording live and her thoughts on being a woman (and mom) in the music world.*
Check out King, along with guitarist Derek Gripper, at the Musical Instrument Museum this Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Nothing says “Arizona” like saguaros, the Grand Canyon and, of course, puppets. OK, so puppets might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but with one of the most notable puppet theaters in the U.S. located in the heart of Phoenix, puppetry is a part of our local culture.
"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" runs Tuesday, June 20, through Saturday, June 25, at ASU Gammage.
Topia, a Ballet Arizona performance that runs through Sunday, is back-dropped by the prickly landscape of Desert Botanical Garden and Papago Park beyond. And it has as many peaks and valleys as the hills beyond the stage.
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