Video: Cold War Kids, Hanni El Khatib, Mergence, and More at Carnaval Eléctrico

Abraham Karam
The crowd at Carnaval Eléctrico huddles under the warmth of a billboard advertising Cool Ranch Doritos Locos from Taco Bell. #livemas
By now, you know the scoop regarding New Times' Carnaval Eléctrico at Crescent Ballroom: It rained -- a lot -- but performances by pop princes Diners, the soulful Stan Devereaux and the Funky Suns, hard rockers Mergence, garage kingpin Hanni El Khatib, indie combo Cold War Kids, and more, made the wet worth it.

Our own Melissa Fossum and Abraham Karam were on hand, documenting the sights and sounds. Check out Karam's photo slideshow, and scope Fossum's video compilation and more photos after the break.

See also:

-Carnaval Eléctrico ft. Cold War Kids, Hanni El Khatib, Mergence, and More, Crescent Ballroom, 3/8/13
-Carnaval Eléctrico @ Crescent Ballroom [Slideshow]
-Meet the New Times Carnaval Eléctrico Lineup: Cold War Kids, Hanni El Khatib, Mergence, and More

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Carnaval Eléctrico ft. Cold War Kids, Hanni El Khatib, Mergence, and More, Crescent Ballroom, 3/8/13

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Abraham Karam
Cold War Kids performing on Crescent Ballroom's outdoor stage.

Carnaval Eléctrico ft. Cold War Kids, Hanni El Khatib, Mergence, Stan Devereaux & The Funky Suns, Diners, and More @ Crescent Ballroom|3/8/13
It's awesome when everything goes right at a show: great lineup, great venue, and great concept. But, as the crowd at Friday night's sold-out Carnaval Eléctrico festival proved, sometimes it can be even greater when everything goes wrong. It rained cats and dogs, making the outdoor sets soggy, and creating a massive line -- a "one in/one out" situation -- to get back into the dry venue. Still, the pouring rain didn't stop the audience from dancing and cheering as Cold War Kids performed their trademark song, "Hang Me Out to Dry," the bass line booming as singer Nathan Willett sang "too, too, too many times" in his singular rasp.

See also:
- The Complete Carnaval Eléctrico Slideshow
-Meet the New Times Carnaval Eléctrico Lineup: Cold War Kids, Hanni El Khatib, Mergence, and More


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Meet the New Times Carnaval Eléctrico Lineup: Cold War Kids, Hanni El Khatib, Mergence, and More

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Following up last year's New Times Soundcheck, a two-day festival at Club Red in Tempe -- which featured performances by The Love Me Nots, Sugar Thieves, 2 Tone Lizard Kings, Jason Devore, The Insects, Crusher Sound System, and more -- was a serious task.

But challenges are cool, right? Up on the Sun and New Times are proud to present a brand new music event for 2013: Carnaval Eléctrico at Crescent Ballroom. The following profiles will give you a taste of what to expect on Friday, March 8, when local bands join touring acts Cold War Kids, Hanni El Khatib, Sir Sly, and In the Valley Below in taking over two stages at Crescent Ballroom.

Read on to get to know each of the acts performing.

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Cold War Kids Turn Up the Experimentation With New Record

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Cara Robbins
Cold War Kids
Nathan Willett of Cold War Kids says that when it came time to make the band's new record, the forthcoming Dear Miss Lonely Hearts (due April 2), they decided to play less to what the band "should be" and more to what it "could be."

"I feel like we started to do that with the last album [2011's Mine is Yours]," he says. "But we continued on with this record."

See also:

-Cold War Kids to Headline New Times' Carnaval Eléctrico at Crescent Ballroom

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Phoenix R&B Stud Stan Devereaux Says Young Folks Are Getting Hip to Soul Sounds

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Abraham Karam
Stan Devereaux and the Funky Suns
Singer Stan Devereaux has been playing R&B and soul in Arizona since the 1960s, growing up in Tucson before exploring the Phoenix soul scene after college, then departing for Europe, South America, and Georgia. His journey led him back to Phoenix, and since he's settled into a groove here in town with his band the Funky Suns, he's noticed something about his crowds: They're young.

See also:

-Cold War Kids to Headline New Times' Carnaval Eléctrico at Crescent Ballroom

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Hanni El Khatib and Black Keys' Dan Auerbach Spin Garage Gold

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Nick Walker
Hanni El Khatib
The most obvious difference in Hanni El Khatib's music these days is a sense of control. The former skate punk -- "playing the world's worst guitar" (but "Guitar Hero is helping out)," he jokes -- still dabbles in garage, psychedelia, punk, and blues, only now his songs are tighter, more realized. They're still menacing in places, but never filled with the raw, reckless abandon that marked such all-out thrashers as "Fuck It, You Win," "Build Destroy Rebuild," and "Roach Cock" from 2011's Will the Guns Come Out. Instead, that tension now gives these songs a pulsating edge.

See also:

-Cold War Kids to Headline New Times' Carnaval Eléctrico at Crescent Ballroom

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Sareena Dominguez Is Taking a Little "Me Time" Before Next Album

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For someone not even old enough to drink, Sareena Dominguez sure has accomplished a lot: After signing to the River Jones Music label less than a year and half ago, she's played South by Southwest, released an album (her debut, Moonbeams), and starred in a music video of the same name, directed by Laura Belle of Tobacco Films. But now, the Gilbert singer-songwriter is taking a step back and giving herself a little "me time."

See also:

-Phoenix New Times' Carnaval Electrico Lineup

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Mergence Adds "Surf-Samba" Track to Its Arsenal

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Maria Vassett
Mergence performs at Crescent Ballroom.
It's no coincidence local rockers Mergence have been likened to California's Cold War Kids. Not only is the Phoenix band a quartet, but it also has a knack for crafting bluesy, soul-inspired opuses -- kinda like those other guys. So it seems only natural that they would get the nod to rep the Valley when one of California's finest comes to town for Carnaval Eléctrico.

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In The Valley Below: Irresistible Synth Pop for Even the Most Jaded Indie Fan

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There comes a time in every music snob's life when they realize pre-judging a band based on the city where it resides and what musical genre it fits into is just as stupid as it sounds.

In the case of L.A.-based duo In the Valley Below, a new musical project comprising singer/multi-instrumentalists Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob, it might be easy to read a few keywords, toss them into the over-saturated sea of synth-poppers, and save fishing them out (to give their music an actual listen) for a later date (i.e., after Pitchfork tells you what to think about them).

However, the joke would be entirely on you, dude.

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