Ray LaMontagne's Supernova a Product of Friends and Passion

Categories: Interview

Samantha Casolari
Ray LaMontagne

The ever-whispering and quiet Ray LaMontagne stepped away from his private life to share some insight with Up On the Sun about his new album. How quiet is he? He currently is not listening to any music other than his own to focus on the tour and his own sound.

"I went into sonic overload, so I'm allowing my brain to just shut everything off," LaMontagne says.

One artist it sounds like he has had on heavy rotation is The Black Keys. If you recently gave a listen to Ray LaMontagne's latest album Supernova and thought to yourself, "This sounds like a Black Keys ripoff," it might be because Dan Auerbach assisted in the production of the record.

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Best Concert Photographer in Phoenix: Finalist Ben Garcia

Categories: Contests

Ben Garcia
Slug, of Atmosphere

Earlier this year, we announced a concert photography contest. We received more than 46 submissions, and a crack panel of judges winnowed down the submissions to 10 finalists. We are now introducing you to each photographer, presented in random order. First up is Ben Garcia.

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Arizona Hip Hop Festival a Showcase of Culture

Categories: Last Weekend

Melissa Fossum
The Arizona Hip Hop Festival featured almost 100 AZ-based hip-hop artists. Full slideshow here.

"The culture is back"

This is what one of the people introducing MCs on the outside stage at the Arizona Hip Hop Festival at Comerica Theatre got the crowd chanting.

I have no idea what the previous culture of Arizona hip-hop was, so I couldn't tell if you if anything made a return, but Saturday night did feel like a distinct moment. MCs spitting bars, DJs spinning, fans watching, nodding their heads and throwing their hands up while kids in the background played games on some old Nintendos hooked up to flat-screen TVs as a guy in camo pants and some friends did capoeira. Again, I don't know if this is a return of local hip-hop culture, but maybe it's a return to culture in general in the downtown area, which can often feel like a lunar landscape, even on a Saturday night. It felt good to see people creating and enjoying art in such a profound way in a public space, and I think that was a huge accomplishment of Respect The Underground's Arizona Hip Hop Festival.

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7 Best Concerts to See in Phoenix This Week

Categories: This Weekend

Courtesy of White Mystery
White Mystery plays Yucca Tap Room on Tuesday.

Another great week for music. You have it good this month, Phoenix. Check out our picks for the best shows here, and browse our comprehensive concert listings for a giant list of musical options.

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Phoenix Heavy Metal Bands Enter the Whiskey Game

Categories: Metal Mondays

Headbanger/Hoffman Cellars
A few shots of this, and you'll definitely be ready to mosh

Some of the most legendary artists found inspiration from their favorite alcoholic spirits -- and unfortunately for several, an untimely death. However, it wasn't until the past decade or two when artists and the creators and distributors of said brands decided to put their (metal) heads together to create something truly unique for the marketplace.

Bands figured out another way to make money off their brand -- by actually helping create a bottle of booze (instead of just chugging it on camera). With spirits like Motorhead vodka, Mastodon beer, and KISS wine, fans could feel even close to their favorite band, while the musicians had an endless free supply of the alcohol they endorsed.

Some have even made a lot of money off the concoctions. Take Marilyn Manson, for example. Back in 2007 he created Mansinthe, a.k.a. nightmare fuel, producing it out of Switzerland. It's a solid absinthe; however, you basically have to realize that you're not getting the real deal unless you to somewhere in Eastern Europe, like Prague. Metal icons Iron Maiden have sold more than 3.5 million pints of their beer as of 2014 -- and I will admit, it tastes pretty damn good.

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EDM Phoenix Opens Tonight and Brings More Dance Music to Downtown

Categories: Opening/Closing

Benjamin Leatherman
What once was Amsterdam and Bar on Central is now EDM Phoenix.
If you're of the opinion that downtown Phoenix not only needs more nightclubs but also more outlets for DJs to perform, both of those wishes are about to be fulfilled. Later this evening, a new downtown danceteria called EDM Phoenix will make its debut along Central Avenue and will offer a prime spot for checking out -- as you might've guessed -- electronic dance music.

It's located in the former home of iconic gay lounge Amsterdam and the recently closed Bar on Central, but will feature an entirely different focus from either of those joints. Tracy Chavis, one of EDM Phoenix's general managers, says that the emphasis will largely be on dance music and DJs.

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St. Lucia - Crescent Ballroom - 10/16/2014

Categories: Last Night

Freddie Paull

The sold-out St. Lucia show at Crescent Ballroom last night definitely felt like being hit with a tidal wave of pop sensation. Arizona may be one of the only places where you can comfortable rock beachware in October: floral-printed button-up shirts, khaki shorts, flip flops and tans were displayed on almost every guy in the venue. Most possibly because most guys at the show last night were quite comfortable with their sexuality, if you know what I mean.

Before the band stepped onto the stage, Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" can be heard on the speakers as the lights dimmed. The members of St. Lucia entered and got into position. In just minutes, the Crescent Ballroom would be struck with brightest lights the venue had seen, according to a few audience members. Flashes of pink and teal flew across the stage as Jean-Philip Grobler led his band of merry instrumentalists through a parade of '80s-infused electronica. Music aside, the band was visually pleasing: the lights complimented them, their fashion sense was like looking at an ad for H&M, and the energy on stage was contagious with jumping and clapping and smiling.

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Combichrist Still Doesn't Give a Damn

Categories: Last Night

Warren Whitmore
Combichrist played Club Red last night.

No fucks were given at last night's Combichrist show -- but none were needed.

The self-described "aggrotech" band Combichrist stopped in Mesa last night, performing at Club Red with opening acts Davey Suicide, William Control, and Darksiderz.

About 300 black-shirted fans filled the venue's east stage area.

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Weezer - Arizona State Fair - 10/16/14

Categories: Last Night

Jim Louvau
Weezer. Full slideshow here.

Before Thursday night, I hadn't been to the state fair in close to a decade. I spent most of the day there, frolicking through the bright, bursting animal smells and the tantalizing stench of grease. The whole day was an adventure, filled with overstimulation, unbridled joy, and thoughts of "Wow, this thing that shouldn't exist totally does exist." I even got a hat shaped like a doughnut! It seems like the fair hasn't changed a bit.

I've always wondered about the perspective of the bands who play at the Arizona State Fair. Wouldn't they think it's super-lame? It's not the most modern of venues, and they have to share space with contests for who can grow the most tumor-ridden squash. But then I remembered there was a guaranteed audience and probably decent payment for these shows, so it would probably be a lot of fun.

Weezer also is a lot of fun. It's that band that everyone was into 10 years ago, whether they liked it or not, and its ballads about being an outsider were easy to relate to for a 13-year old like me. Weezer's greatest hits have aged relatively well, but not enough that I've been closely following their last few releases. The band's new album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, appeared to rely heavily on Internet subculture, and when Weezer opened with a track from the new record, it confirmed a return to form. They followed up with "Hash Pipe" and "Perfect Situation."

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Zac Brown Band - Ak-Chin Pavilion - 10/16/2014

Categories: Last Night

Melissa Fossum
The Zac Brown Band rocked Ak-Chin Pavilion last night. Full slideshow here.

It can often seem that country music has taken a turn for the worse in recent years. As the genre edges closer and closer to nothing more than Top 40 pop, one band stands out as the antithesis to the decay: Zac Brown Band. Like a lone blooming flower in an otherwise desolate nuclear wasteland, Brown and his band burn bright with heartfelt composition, spirited lyrics, and a radiation of musical talent. So how do all of these characteristics translate into a live show? Well, after watching the band's performance last night at Ak-Chin Pavilion, the easy way to sum it up would be "kickass," but you, dear reader, rightfully demand more from a concert review, so let's dig a little deeper.

In addition to their cohesiveness as a band, the eight-piece group truly pulls out all the stops in an effort to entertain their fans. Whether they are wearing glow-in-the-dark skeleton costumes, honoring military members standing on stage, or teaching the interactive class History of Music 101 with Zac Brown through a barrage of cover songs, the guys really do go all out.

It's not just country songs that the band will cover either. While fellow country musicians as of late are dropping hybrid hip-hop mix-tapes with Lil Wayne, ZBB is hitting fans with "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin as the third song in their set list, followed by a healthy dose of Queen, Billy Joel, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Metallica peppered throughout.

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