Pantera Tribute Act Cowboys N Hell On The Best Cover Bands in Phoenix

People either love or hate cover bands. Some think they are fantastic tributes, while others think they are blatant rip-offs.

Personally, I love tribute bands. They give music fans a chance to hear songs live and celebrate a favorite band--and often it's a band that's disbanded, one you'll never be able to see live anyway. Some of the biggest cover bands are doing it up huge today, like the Pink Floyd Experience and Led Zeppelin II; The Pink Floyd Experience have played Pink Floyd's music for decades, and Led Zeppelin II recreates their live performance to perfection after studying tapes of the Led Zeppelin's performances, appearances, antics and body language.

I'm lucky that when it comes to my favorite band, Pantera, I have two different tribute bands that know how to rock wonders. One is Far Beyond Driven, based in my hometown of Kansas City, and the other is Cowboys N Hell, based right here in Phoenix.

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Mergence Explains Why They Wrote "White Bark" In The Desert

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These vibrant young people aren't dead yet...
The atmospheric, bluesy local rockers in Mergence may already be known for keeping it weird with communes, nomads and robots with the release of their first album, Those Vibrant Young People Are Dead--but with their upcoming EP they are taking it to an entirely new level.

It makes sense, since the name Mergence describes the future evolution of their influence on the industry and their sound, which has been compared to the likes to The Black Keys, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Up On The Sun talked with front man Adam Bruce over a post-band practice phone call, punctuated by the clinking of ice from glasses of whiskey and gin. He discussed how he lived up to his statement in our last interview of writing the second album in the middle of the desert, why the band didn't appear in the "White Bark" music video, and the new experimentation the band dabbled with in the studio.

Mergence is scheduled to perform at Crescent Ballroom on Saturday, June 1.

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Otep on Hydra, Piracy, and Leaving Heavy Metal Forever

Pamela Lopez Grant/Otep Facebook
Get ready for Hydra
Imagine taking a demonic ride through a girl's mind, filled with fantastic illusions, haunting, heavy melodies, and vengeance against a world that has forgotten her.

To get there, you could spend an evening with Otep, one of the most prolific female-fronted bands of the past decade -- or have a listen to their newest album, Hydra, which was released in late January.

Based on a short story by frontwoman Otep Shamaya, the album evolved into a graphic novel based around a character named Hydra. Eventually, Otep realized that Hydra had become a creature all her own, and her story a vast musical excursion. But Hydra isn't just Otep Shamaya's latest work -- it's also her farewell to the music world.

Otep is playing with One-Eyed Doll at Joe's Grotto tonight.

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Matt & Kim Make the Best NSFW Videos Ever

Categories: Interview, Q&A

Caleb Kuhl
Matt & Kim
Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino do whatever they want. They play with whatever kind of bands they want, they get naked in videos, they do the "Harlem Shake," and they picked a band name, Matt & Kim, that immediately establishes their singular style of indie/pop.

See also:

-Matt Johnson of Matt & Kim Talks SB 1070, Fighting Kim, and Getting Naked in Times Square

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Bloc Party's Back and Refreshed With Four

Categories: Interview, Q&A

Bloc Party is back, and the post-punk outfit is Tempe bound.

Hailing from London, the band is closing out its 2012 comeback tour here in the Valley. The buzz kings benefited from the early 2000s "rock is back" craze, but it stuck around, outlasting the hype and incorporating soul, post-rock, and pop influences on increasingly diverse records before splitting in 2009. The band reunited this year for its fourth album, not-so-coincidentally titled Four in August.

Up on the Sun spoke with drummer Matt Tong about the mature split and reunion of the band, how remixes have become cynical, and how Wikipedia can lie to us all.

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IAMWE Soldiers on With a Newly Completed Album and Upcoming Tour With Anberlin

Categories: Interview

Derek A. Welte
It's easy to write. Learning to edit, however, takes time.

It's a lesson IAMWE is intimately familiar with. When we last talked to the local indie rockers in depth, they fully anticipated pushing out a record in December of 2011. Today, nearly a year later, they release Run Wild, or the record formally known as She's a Soldier - edited, aged and genuinely heartfelt.

Initially named for Bella, a 100-year-old woman that touched the band that drummer Josh Carlson befriended while working at a local hospice, She's a Solider was about Bella; Run Wild is instead inspired by her spirit.

The recent death of Bella hit the band hard, but they're taking her warrior spirit with them when they embark on an upcoming East Coast tour with Anberlin.

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Reptar on Oblangle Fizz, Y'All

Reptar makes it look easy. Y'know, the whole "band" thing. The whole build a fanbase, tour, release albums... all that. But the way that the fast-rising dance-pop band's career has evolved seems so by the book that it seems a little off. After all, didn't the digital revolution mean that everything bands knew about, well, everything had been upended? Altered? Fundamentally shattered? Maybe so, but Reptar is one of the rare acts that's followed a traditional path in its brief two-year lifespan, and one of the rare acts for whom that's worked.

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Slightly Stoopid's Rymo On the Band's New Album, Surfing, and BBQ

slightly stoopid.jpg
Silverback Management/Slightly Stoopid

The members of Slightly Stoopid have been making music together for more than a decade.

Slightly Stoopid's sound is varied. Its six members wield an array of instruments including congas, harp, trumpet, keyboard and saxophone. They've toured with such legends as the Dave Matthews Band, Sublime (Bradley Nowell helped bring them to the public eye), Snoop Dogg, G. Love & the Special, Sauce and Pepper.

And although they aren't touring to promote a new album (their last was 2008's Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid) fans can expect to hear a handful of new songs when the band comes through Mesa Amphitheatre this Friday.

Drummer Ryan 'RyMo' Moran sat down the Up On The Sun to dig into their record label and upcoming album, his top surfing locations, and the band's favorite post-show activity.

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Hanson on Social Media, Shout It Out and Katy Perry

Categories: Interview
Jiro Schneider
Hanson has been a household name since 1997 when they made it big with their unforgettable song "MMMBop." You know, the one you could never get out of your head every time you heard it. But the three-brother band has moved on to bigger and better things now, like their chart topping latest album Shout It Out and making a point to give fans a ton of inside access via social media.

We spoke to Taylor Hanson about Shout It Out, charity work, the band's appearance in Katy Perry's latest music video and more.

Don't miss Hanson perform at the Marquee Theatre on Tuesday, September 13. Fans even get to vote on the set list. How's that for a unique concert-going experience?

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Cactus Chainsaw's Dirty Vox on Blood, Sweat and Beers

When Cactus Chainsaw's singer said the band's list of influences was possibly a higher number than his criminal record charges, I took it with a grain of salt (courtesy of a cheap tequila shot).

But within the first 20 seconds of listening to their music, I could hear the band's specific influences, from Ministry to Muddy Waters. It's a bit too simplistic to categorize them as bluesy metal -- just ask their fans, who label them everything from Southwestern rock to swamp metal to --wait for it -- desert hillbilly metal. Yes.

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