The Declaimed, Shovel, Freaks of Nature - 4/11/2014 and 4/12/2014

Dan Rose
The Declaimed

This time of year you should be well within your rights to bitch slap any music fan who spends the weekend whining about how there's "nothing going on." Plenty of live music is flowing all over the damn city, at any given time, and the weather is nice, too -- a bonus incentive to soak up live music. Though I could fill a page with all the shows I missed this weekend 'cause life was busy fucking up my game plan (and I couldn't miss the killer pinball and arcade gaming convention, Zapcon), I managed to see a few Phoenix acts strut their stuff.

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††† (Crosses) - Crescent Ballroom - 3/25/14

Photos by Melissa Fossum
††† (Crosses)performs at Crescent Ballroom last night. See more photos via our slideshow.

††† (Crosses)
Crescent Ballroom

It started with crosses. And a rosary.

"O memories that bless and burn / O barren gain and bitter loss / I kiss each bead and strive at last to learn / To kiss the cross, sweetheart / To kiss the cross . . ."

Perry Como's voice crooned over the loudspeakers for "The Rosary" song, which blasted the introduction of ††† (Crosses) onto the stage Tuesday night at Crescent Ballroom. Three heavy three white crosses were set across the back curtain. They flashed green, white, pink, and red throughout the entire performance.

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Iration's Micah Pueschel on Legal Weed and How America Needs to Be More Forward-Thinking

Iration is scheduled to perform on Saturday, March 15, at Tempe Beach Park.
It's difficult not to like something called "sunshine reggae" -- even for those who aren't the biggest fans of Marley dreads, Nag Champa and barefoot romps.

Iration embodies the description of sunshine reggae perfectly, a mix of dub, reggae and rock, and the band's live shows pulse with an undeniable Hawaiian/California positive energy. Easily understood, since members Micah Pueschel (guitar, vocals), Adam Taylor (bass), Cayson Peterson (keyboards), Joseph Dickens (drums) and Joseph King (dub controls, live sound) all hail from Hawaii but no live in breezy San Diego.

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The Pixies' Joey Santiago on Their New EPs and Possibly Replacing Kim Deal

Courtesy Photo
The Pixies are scheduled to perform on Monday, February 24, at Comerica Theatre.
Millions of people know who the Pixies are. Since the '80s, the band has found its songs incorporated into some of the most significant moments within pop culture's most beloved films and shows -- but only within the past 15 years or so. (Think Fight Club's buildings tumbling, Zack and Miri Make a Porno's main character love story, or one of the most important episodes of Lost. And, of course, actor Paul Rudd's deep infatuation with the band.)

But how many people, especially who were born in the '80s and '90s, actually know the Pixies? It's a damn shame, but many don't -- at least not in the United States -- even though the band had a huge influence on the alt-rock boom of the 1990s.

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Johnny Richter: I'm Sick Of Dealing With Kottonmouth Kings Fighting

Johnny Richter, formerly of the Kottonmouth Kings, doesn't slow down for anyone. He also doesn't take shit from anyone. After unexpectedly leaving KMK in mid-October, Richter hit the ground running with a rejuvenated solo career and a new EP, FreeKING Out, set for release December 17.

The short and sweet five-track EP delivers the vintage Richter sound that carried the Kottonmouth Kings to fame, but there is something different about this collection of songs. A new bull-dozing spark in Richter's lyrics courses through every verse and brings the EP to life, showing that he is for real about his own career.

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Alice Cooper: Our Christmas Is More Ozzie Nelson Than Ozzy Osbourne

Solid Rock
Alice Cooper wishes you a very metal Christmas.
From blasting "Schools Out" during my teenage wasteland days to jamming out to the chugging guitar in "Under My Wheels" in my office, Alice Cooper has always played a prominent position in my heavy metal playlist.

Not only did he help shape the sound and look of heavy metal with his horror and vaudeville imagery as rock and roll's first villain. By the time Cooper was 18, it was the sexual revolution and Vietnam, and the band's best friends were The Mothers of Invention, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix.

He toured with Pink Floyd and once awoke to find Syd Barrett staring at a box of corn flakes like he was watching television, laughing, to which the shock-rocker comments: "He was a paranoid schizophrenic. Add acid to the mix and you get a much deeper problem."

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Arizona State Fair Concerts: What to Expect This Year

Categories: Up On Sun

State Fair at night (credit Andrew Petro, Flickr)
Andrew Petro
It's that time of the year again: State Fair time. What's not to like? It provides three weeks of opportunities for Valley folks of every variety to congregate and yuck it up within the confines of the Arizona State Fairgrounds, get their fill of uncomfortable white-knuckle-inspiring rides, fried food that attempts to top itself in grossness every year, and plenty of special events. This year, things got a little extra-geeky with the inclusion of the touring Star Trek exhibition. Plus, a big bonus: It signifies an end to a summer that always that stretches well past its welcome.

But for those about to rock, it is all about the concerts. A slew of musical acts take the stage during the Fair's span to entertain you FOR FUCKING FREE with the price of your fair admission -- man, it just gets better and better. You can purchase tickets for some of the concerts for "better seating" within the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, if you want a more close up view of Megadeth or Billy Currington (who?!). This fairgoer says save your dollars, win some stuffed shit or eat some gooey insect on a stick.

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Volbeat's Michael Poulsen: The Biggest Mission We Have on Earth Is Finding Love

Volbeat press photo 2013
Elvis, Johnny Cash, King Diamond, Black Sabbath, Ramones, Fats Domino, Motorhead--these are just a few of the influences that make Danish rock band Volbeat tick. And it seems to work out for them. They've been headlining in Europe for almost a decade, and all of their studio albums have been certified gold. Their second album, Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil went platinum, and 2010's Beyond Hell/Above Heaven went double platinum in Denmark, platinum in Finland and Germany, and gold in Austria and Sweden.

Within the past few years they've been bringing their rockabilly-meets-classic-rock-meets-heavy-metal to the United States, and over that time they've steadily been gaining popular ground.

Up On the Sun talked with vocalist/guitarist Michael Poulsen about his favorite decade of music, the influence Arizona has on the band's Wild West imagery, and how the band's sound will evolve now that they have a thrash guitarist on board.

Volbeat is playing Desert Uprising with Avenged Sevenfold, HIM and Halestorm at Ak-Chin Pavilion on Friday, September 13.

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Doyle: You Wouldn't Believe How Many Popular Musicians Have Regular Jobs

Tim Tronckoe
Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein is most often identified as a celebrated member of horror punk act the Misfits, brought into the band at the tender age of 16 in 1980. Originally a roadie for the band, he was taught how to play guitar by his brother, Misfits bassist Jerry Only, and Glenn Danzig. He and his brother helped finance the band by working at their father's shop.

Four years later the Misfits disbanded, but Doyle's metal and punk rock roots only grew stronger and deeper, with his signature guitar playing style of heavy downstrokes and power chords. He helped found (with his brother) the metal band Kryst The Conqueror, and in 1995 reformed the Misfits after settling a legal battle with Danzig for the rights to the bands' name. He left the Misfits in 2001, though, to pursue other ventures, including his band Gorgeous Frankenstein; play select dates on Danzig's tour circuit; and in 2013, put out the album Abominator, that was released on June 25 to great press.

The tracks are dripping with horror imagery in the form of a twisted love story, with such track names as "Hope It's Warm in Hell" and "Cemeterysexxx." His music has the punk horror qualities of the Misfits, the dark layers of Black Sabbath, and the same punch-to-the-face as Pantera. Up On The Sun caught up with Doyle to talk about his new solo work, touring with Danzig, and how he has never owned a Misfits record.

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Feeding America Benefit Concert - Crescent Ballroom - 7/25/2013

Lauren Wise
Sara Robinson & The Midnight Special
On Thursday night at Crescent Ballroom, the vibe was even more feel-good and positive than usual. Sure, it was a roster chock-full of locally loved acts -- Flamenco por la Vida, Sara Robinson & The Midnight Special, The Senators, and Dry River Yacht Club -- that attracted an impressively large crowd for a Thursday evening. But the main focus of the show was that it was also a chance to help fight hunger in Arizona.

It was time to watch a great show for an even better cause. Benefiting Feeding America and United Food Bank, and sponsored by Fourpeaks Brewery, the concert attendees arrived with non-perishables in tow. They were directed to the back of the venue, where they received promo materials from United Food Bank, and receive a raffle ticket for each food item you donated.

United Food Bank is a driving force in fighting hunger, distributing almost 46,000 meals daily, and can provide five meals with just $1. By the time I donated my bag of four non-perishable items, they had already collected about 160 pounds of food.

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