Top 10 Metro Phoenix Metal Vocalists

Categories: Metal!, Top Lists

Halo Isgod of Element A440.
When it comes to categorizing what makes a great heavy metal vocalist, there are a lot of factors that come into play. First off, there's the matter of subgenres. Mainstream, Swedish, death, black, melodic -- as much as I hate to pay attention to this bottomless list, it's a fact of the industry.

And then there are the standards by which you measure a great metal singer, typically including power, vocal range and variation in tone. It also matters if you like clean melodic singers (Rob Halford of Judas Priest, Dave Draiman of Disturbed), or harsh growlers (Amon Amarth's Johann Hegg, At The Gates' Tomas Lindburg).

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Top 5 Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Categories: This Week

Courtesy Photo
Neutral Milk Hotel is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, April 15, and Wednesday, April 16, at Crescent Ballroom.
From everything we've heard, seen, or read over the past few days, the first weekend of Coachella apparently went off quite fantastically (unless you happened to be in Outkast). And if you're weren't able to be at the polo grounds in Indio, well...that certainly is a bummer.

The good news is that there's still the second weekend at Coachella coming up, if you happen to have the means to attend, however. If you don't, we've got plenty of coverage on tap. Plus, there's the fact that several high-profile bands and acts will be performing here in Phoenix in the days ahead, including several of the artist on our list of top concerts to see this week.

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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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Jason Aldean, Colt Ford, Joe Diffie, and Tyler Farr - Country Thunder - 4/13/14

Andrew Pielage
The main stage at Country Thunder 2014 over the weekend.

Joe Diffie, Tyler Farr, Colt Ford, Jason Aldean
Country Thunder 2014

As Country Thunder closes out, the tried and true aficionados remain: They're the groups who've done this before, who have more alcoholic stamina than all your friends combined, who will wake up at 5 a.m. on Monday morning to decamp and head home.
Everyone is slightly more subdued, a little windburned and exhausted, leaving only the diehards to stick it out to the very end.

You'd be right in assuming a lot of the remaining attendees are college kids, as there was a steady stream of families with their trailers and RVs leaving the campground all day long. With just the younger audiences around, earlier acts like Gordon Bamford and Joe Diffie seemed to get a bit of the shaft, but both, especially the latter, still know how to put on one hell of a show.

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These Folks Came to Coachella to Get...Sober?

Categories: Coachella 2014

Colin Young-Wolff
When night falls at Coachella, the sober come out to play.
Did you know that, for some people, Coachella represents a big ol' Alcoholics Anonymous meeting?

Since 2009, New Orleans couple Bob Johnson and Jane Smith (not their real names) have led 12 step meetings on the festival grounds for those who, like themselves, are in recovery. They call their group Soberchella.

But one wonders: Is there a harder place to be sober than at Coachella?

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Female Artists Are Killing It at Coachella This Year

Categories: Coachella 2014

Chris Victorio
Solange killed it at Coachella this past weekend.
As a dusty wind whipped behind her in hazy stage light, Solange and her ultra-slick backing band brought serious chops and swagger to the polo fields as nighttime fell over Coachella. And then Beyonce showed up on stage, dancing to "Losing You." It was the first Coachella big celebrity surprise -- before Pharrell brought out everyone and their mother -- during a festival characterized by strong sets by women.

The musical pretext for the Solange set was laid out by two prominent bands on the L.A. scene, unwashed afternoon sets by Haim and Warpaint Friday and Saturday.

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Bombino -- Musical Instrument Museum -- 4/12/2014

Categories: Last Night

Glenn BurnSilver
Bombino, playing the Musical Instrument Museum on April 12

Omar "Bombino" Moctar is a Tuareg nomad from Agadez, Niger, and while his music is rooted in the deepest traditions of desert life, Bombino is also deeply indebted to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton -- maybe even Jerry Garcia.

I went to the Musical Instrument Museum to see a this songwriter and immerse myself in his melodic, polyrhythm playing style I have come to know from other Tuareg musicians that is as deeply moving as it is hypnotic. A rock concert broke out instead. Not that I'm complaining -- and not that it wasn't entirely unexpected given that the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach played on and produced Bombino's current release, Nomad.

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Mark Chesnutt, Craig Morgan, Miranda Lambert - Country Thunder - 4/12/14

Andrew Pielage
Craig Morgan performs at Country Thunder.

Mark Chesnutt, Craig Morgan, Miranda Lambert
Country Thunder 2014

By day three of Country Thunder, most attendees are in one of two states: You're either cripplingly hungover and sunburnt, acting as brothers in spirit with those souls at Coachella, or you've been saving yourself for the biggest two days of the festival so far. With headliner Miranda Lambert and main stage acts Mark Chesnutt and Craig Morgan, Saturday proved to be the biggest and best day yet with some 26,000 attendees throughout the day. Like any other year at the festival, there's a lot of tan skin, catcalling and Bud Light. From the furthest reaches of the campgrounds -- I should know, I seemed to walk them all over the course of the day -- to the main stage itself, day three also seemed to have everyone in good spirits. Country music just has an ability to take most cares away, as evidenced by this year's revelers.

See also: Country Thunder 2014 coverage as well as our slideshow of the best people at Country Thunder 2014.

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The Band Perry, Easton Corbin - Country Thunder - 4/11/14

Photos by Benjamin Leatherman
The Band Perry takes to the stage on Friday, April 11, at Country Thunder 2014 in Florence.

The Band Perry, Easton Corbin, & more
Country Thunder 2014

Country music fans in Florence were surely pleased with the way their weekend kicked off last night. Friday marked day two of this year's annual Country Thunder festival, and the night's lineup featured up-and-comers Mary Hoffman and Cassadee Pope, along with seasoned musicians Sawyer Brown and chart toppers Easton Corbin and the Band Perry.

When I arrived at Country Thunder, there were campers set up in every direction and thousands of people wandering the festival grounds, browsing vendor booths like Stetson and Jack Daniel's. Finding my first beer was an unforgiving and daunting task in the high afternoon heat, but after going through all the avenues for alcohol, I could settle in.

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Broken Bells - Marquee Theatre - 4/10/2014

Categories: Last Night

James Minchin
At a April 10 show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Broken Bells showed they were interested in more than just music.

Broken Bells
Marquee Theater

There's a line from the LCD Soundsystem song "Drunk Girls" that resonated through Broken Bells' show last night at the Marquee Theatre: "Drunk Girls know that love is an astronaut / It comes back but it's never the same." It was clear that the duo, consisting of The Shins' frontman James Mercer and producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton, were, in a way, telling the story of that forlorn astronaut in the song, a man haunted by the memories of lost love.

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