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

Categories: Last Night

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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

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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

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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

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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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Chicano Batman Adds Latin Flavor to Classic Oldies Sound

Categories: Last Night

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Anthony Sandoval
Chicano Batman

Psychedelic soul and funk band Chicano Batman have been rocking the Dark Knight moniker since long before Ben Affleck received the nod to be the next Hollywood man to don the legendary cape and cowl.

But the Los Angeles-based quartet comprised of singer, guitarist and organist Bardo Martinez, bassist Eduardo Arenas, drummer Gabriel Villa and guitarist Carlos Arévalo have been chasing a different kind of justice and freedom since the group's inception in 2009.

That quest made its way to FilmBar last night, when Chicano Batman hit Phoenix for their Outer City Limits tour.

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Belle & Sebastian Make the Best of a (Not That) Bad Situation at Orpheum Theatre

Categories: Last Night

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Melissa Fossum
Phoenix wasn't its usual cranky self at the Belle & Sebastian concert last night.

I fully expected to hear a night filled with mumbling and complaining. A gin and tonic costs $8 at the Orpheum Theatre, and, after a long, hot summer, I think we all were really excited to go outside, watch some music at Civic Space Park, and actually enjoy ourselves. After both the Crescent Road Trip to Arcosanti and the bulk of Summer Ends Music Festival programming were rained out and moved indoors, we could have all been really grumpy and shitty about last night's venue change, but you try being sad while Belle & Sebastian are playing "Piazza, New York Catcher."

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Experience Hendrix a Fitting Tribute to Guitar Great

Categories: Last Night

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Melina Dellamarggio
The Experience Hendrix concert wasn't nearly as asinine as it could have been. Full slideshow here.

The burning question has always been: What would Jimi Hendrix be doing now if he were still alive? Shortly before passing away at age 27, Hendrix was considering a move away from rock 'n' roll psychedelia to explore aspects of jazz and blues. He'd frequently been jamming with progressive jazz drummer Tony Williams, as bootleg recordings attest, and there was talk of making an album.

Alas, that never came to pass, and now fans of Hendrix's revolutionary playing must be content with random album reissues and tribute concerts, such as Experience Hendrix, which came to the Mesa Arts Center Tuesday night.

The show was an interesting mix of talent and style. There were guitarists who played Hendrix music close to original form, and those who strayed far afield in showing up their talents. Was this the result of some Hendrix influence that led them to solo well beyond the original song or just showing off? Given the worst culprit was Kenny Wayne Shepherd, I'd suspect the latter.

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Eagles Tour Looks at Band's History -- When Convenient

Categories: Last Night

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Melissa Fossum
Check out the full slideshow from the Eagles concert here.

Old white people like the Eagles. That is the biggest takeaway from Wednesday night's "History of The Eagles" stop at Gila River Arena. That, and history is very easily changed when it needs to be for the sake of some feel-good moments on tour.

They also more or less left founding member Randy Meisner and influential Eagle Don Felder out of their tale altogether. Meisner was afforded a very quick shout-out when current bass player (and influential member in his own right) Timothy B. Schmit took the stage. But Felder . . . Felder seems to have been thrown into Big Brother Don Henley's memory hole, never to be spoken of again.

Maybe they just forgot to mention him, as they also seemed to gloss over the decade called the '80s, when Henley and Glenn Frey weren't recording together -- they referred to their "40-year songwriting partnership" on several occasions.

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Does Joyce Manor Have the Right to Complain About Stage-Diving?

Categories: Last Night, Punk

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Melissa Fossum
Joyce Manor

Last night's Joyce Manor show was arguably the perfect format for a punk show. A couple hundred kids were jam-packed into Yucca Tap Room to sing along to the California punkers' sweaty, 40-minute set, which was just shy of 20 songs. The stage banter was kept to a minimum and there was no stage-dive rant to be heard.


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Drake vs. Lil Wayne Tour: Battle, or Hip-Hop Bromance?

Categories: Last Night

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Melissa Fossum
Drake vs Lil Wayne was more spectacle than battle. Full slideshow here.

When writing show reviews, I always struggle with the journalistic imperative to report "what happened?" because usually nothing really happened other than some brooding subculture people played some notes and maybe moved around in a vaguely distinct way. The kind of stuff that is so commonplace that it's not worth talking about. So it's kind of a change of pace when I go to some big-budget arena show like the one Drake and Lil Wayne played at Ak-Chin Pavilion last night, because usually something markedly interesting enough happens for me to report on.

For instance, Drake flew around on a mic stand singing shout-outs to people.

That's what happened. It's not the only thing that happened. It's also something that literally everyone with an Internet connection knew was going to happen because people have been Instagraming this rehearsed moment of a highly rehearsed tour for the previous 28 or so stops. But people were into it. I was into it. It was really Drake. Maybe the Drakest moment of a performance that wasn't completely Drake in character, opting for mostly the "Started from the Bottom" narrative and leaving out most of the concessions of emotional vulnerability and creative risk-taking that chip at that veneer of hardness and make Drake such an idiosyncratic artist for the rap game.


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