Top Phoenix Music Stories of the Week
The news waits for no one -- at least that's what we read somewhere -- so it's perfectly understandable that you, the reader, might have missed out on a musical tidbit, breaking news about your favorite venue, or one of our rants.
So enjoy this digest-style sampling of some of our biggest stories from the week of August 13-17.
Viva Crescent: Venue Celebrates an Enduring Scene
Though its name has become nearly ubiquitous on concert flyers and Facebook invites, it's important to note that it hasn't quite been a year since Crescent Ballroom, the 400-capacity venue spearheaded by indie promoter Charlie Levy and his Stateside Presents company, opened in downtown Phoenix.
Photo by Abraham Karam Los Dias de la Crescent Day Two
Why is it important to note? Because it's been a very good almost-year for the Crescent, which flung open the doors on Monday, October 4, 2011. Those doors have hardly closed since, as a lineup of powerfully varied musicians has shuffled through them, including St. Vincent, Iron and Wine, Destroyer, Jonathan Richman, Santigold, Miniature Tigers, Jonathan Davis of Korn (under his J. Devil moniker), and more.
What's more is that the venue has served as a hub of music action, with some shows -- Kongos, Mergence, The Technicolors, What Laura Says, The Through and Through Gospel Review, and more -- drawing fans and lines that wrap around Van Buren Street and leave some eager would-be attendees getting turned away. There's never been a lack of passion in the Valley music scene, but there's clearly an energy centered around the club.
--Jason P. Woodbury
Even after being sentenced to two years in prison for a political stunt pulled in the Russian Orthodox Church, feminist punks Pussy Riot shouldn't feel alone. The riot grrls' plea for the Virgin Mary to expel Vladimir Putin from the Kremlin has gained global support from musicians as varied as Madonna, Paul McCartney, Franz Ferdinand, Sting, and many others.
To show our solidarity with the balaclava-clad Russians, here are five great punk protest songs.
Main Megadeth man Dave Mustaine really upped his verbal diarrhea game with the recent revelation that he truly believes President Barack Obama is directly responsible for the "Fast and Furious" gunwalking scandal at the US/Mexico border, and the Aurora, Colorado, and Sikh Temple shootings in Wisconsin. We're mostly immune to his brash ramblings, but man have they really piled up this year.
Photo by William Westfall Megadeth
I though we'd take a look at 10 more awesomely atrocious comments Mustaine has made over the years.
On August 7, Lamb of God's Randy Blythe was allowed to leave a Czech prison after posting $400,000 bail. Blythe was detained on June 27, after being arrested and charged with manslaughter stemming from the 2010 death of a fan.
Lamb of God
He was held without bail for fear that he would leave the country and never return, making music fans and fellow musicians all over the world wonder when, or if, he would actually be released.
In a recent interview with Jason Hook from Five Finger Death Punch (scheduled to appear in Phoenix at Comerica Theatre on Sunday, August 26) I asked him if the music industry is nervous that Blythe may be convicted of the crime.
"I think the industry is nervous. The whole situation seems sketchy ... I mean, they doubled his bail, which is an indication that they are kind of making up the rules as they go," says Jason Hook from Five Finger Death Punch. "And there's new evidence that came out, which is more than just the initial video that might spin it against him? I don't' know, it's a scary thing. But it's a potential six- to 10-year sentence. But all I can tell you is that my toes, my fingers, and both earlobes are crossed that he gets out of this, free and clear."
If you've had "Mercy" on repeat for the past couple of months, you'll be pleased to know that Kanye West and Rick Ross appear in the double-video/double-single, "I Wish You Would"/"Cold." Hype Williams combined both of these songs in a long, shaky, headache-inducing music video. But as good as Ross and Khaled's performances are, chances are the cameo most exciting to pop fans is the barely noticeable one from 'Ye's "Perfect Bitch," Kim Kardashian.
Kanye West's "Cold" single
The black and white video finds Yeezy, Ross, and Khaled hanging out in a narrow tunnel. It's two songs in one video, which means it's loooooonnng, and it's shaky as hell, so if The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield made you woozy, just push play and minimize the window. You won't miss much; it just looks like the trio has to deal with passing subways or a non-stop earthquake.