Primus' Chocolate Factory Concert Was Insane

Categories: Last Night

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Melina Dellamarggio
Primus' show pulled out all the stops, went all-out, left nothing in the tank, and went full-throttle.

There was a moment at the Primus concert last night at Orpheum Theatre when bassist Les Claypool left the stage and came back wearing a mask, joining the droning groove his bandmates Larry "Ler" LaLonde (guitar) and Tim "Herb" Alexander (drums) were maintaining. The audience gave a raucous cheer. At this point, the band was just performing in front of a bare curtain, and you got the sense that some in the audience thought the big reveal was coming.

Well, it didn't, not to take anything away from the first set of the Primus concert last night. The mask wasn't the only costume Claypool and company would don, and the best was yet to come.

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Judas Priest - Gila River Arena - 11/12/2014

Categories: Last Night

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All photos by Jim Louvau
Judas Priest singer and Phoenix resident Rob Halford. Check out a full slideshow of the concert here.

The crowd at Gila River Arena in Glendale began to cheer before Judas Priest even took the stage. Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" played overhead and the audience, tuned into a frequency only they could hear, knew that one of the most prominent and distinguished metal band of the last 40 years was about to take the stage. The sound of thunder crashing down was heard as streaks of lightning showered down behind the curtain bearing the band's logo. The drapery dropped like a stone to reveal Rob Halford and company. Blood, fire, and destruction rained down on the screen behind them as they launched into "Dragonaut," the opening track of their latest release Redeemer of Souls.

Halford's operatic voice was as powerful and sturdy as the warrior Hercules, metaphorically shattering glass and bringing down down the "Metal Gods" he was singing about. Dressed in his trademark leather, chains, and sunglasses, the Phoenix resident declared in an English accent that "the Priest is back!" He then launched into the song "Devil's Child," accentuating the end of every line with a sharp wail that pierced the eardrums of everyone in the house.

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At Pizza Underground Show, It's Clear Phoenix Music Does Weird Better

Categories: Last Night

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Jeff Moses
This is the face of the kid whose fictional parents can't seem to remember he exist.

I'm not a Phoenix guy. I am from the great state of New Jersey, and I have been around the block a little bit, and I must say that Phoenix does weird better. The Pizza Underground came through the Rhythm Room with Har Mar Superstar and Candy Boys on Wednesday night, and their shtick just seems to be worlds behind some of the great Valley-based music/comedy acts.

The Pizza Underground played first, going on 45 minutes later than the advertised start time, and I couldn't help thinking how much more productive that 45 minutes could have been if it were filled by Dinosaur Love, Man-Cat, or Hot Rock Supa Joint (what goes better before pizza than weed?). Hell, they had TKLB? behind the bar; they could have given him some of that dead time. But they didn't.

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Black Keys - US Airways Center - 11/10/2014

Categories: Last Night

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Jim Louvau
The Black Keys rocked US Airways Center last night. Full slideshow here.

The Black Keys came on stage at US Airways Center last night in front of a light blue curtain with red, velvet stage drapes with gold trim on either side. After the fourth song, during a tension-building burst of distorted guitar noise, the curtains dramatically dropped, and the band launched into the opening guitar riff of "Same Old Thing." Behind the band were a series of screens that shifted and moved on unseen tracks and featured various visuals and projections of the performance.

It wasn't anything new -- the first time I personally saw the whole "screens moving around and coming together to create trippy visuals" thing was at Radiohead's King of Limbs tour stop in Colorado in 2012. But the way the Black Keys' set incorporated these screens, squares that would drift apart and then occasionally move together to form one giant square and so on, was absolutely spellbinding, much more so than Radiohead's use of it a few years later.

In a way, that's a perfect analog for the Black Keys in general.

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Yelle Made Going Out on Monday in Phoenix Worth It Last Night

Categories: Last Night

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All photos Troy Farah

Sometimes, no amount of coffee or marijuana can help you from lying around a dingy house instead of being able to write. I wasn't excited about Yelle. I almost considered not going at all. But I'm glad I forced myself to get out because this show was possibly the best I've seen all year, and certainly one of the most exciting I've seen at Crescent in a LONG time.

Things weren't running smoothly from the start due to an opener's no-show, but then Lemonade suffered a power outage during their first tune. It probably wasn't a long wait, but it briefly killed the vibe. Thankfully, the percussionist brought everyone back. He was wearing some kind of Pakistani pajamas and a blank white shirt, but his exaggerated smile (not exactly a shit-eating grin) was the real fashion statement.

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Jimmy Eat World - Marquee Theatre - 10/30/2014

Categories: Last Night

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Melissa Fossum
Jimmy Eat World. Full slideshow here.

Jimmy Eat World's recent Arizona appearances have all been special, and Thursday night's was no exception. The band's sold-out show at Marquee Theatre was less intimate than last year's mini Arizona tour, The Rock Lottery, or Jim Adkins' solo Christmas show, but hearing Futures in its entirety with a two-part encore made for one of Jimmy Eat World's best club shows in recent memory.

The vibe of Jimmy Eat World shows really hasn't changed much over the past 10 years. Being surrounded by large crowd screaming the whoas and ohs of "Sweetness" is the same experience one could have had in 2004. Better yet, avid fans were singing before Jimmy Eat World even took the stage.

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Queens of the Stone Age - Memorial Coliseum - 10/30/2014

Categories: Last Night

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Jim Louvau
Queens of the Stone Age. Full slideshow here.

Queens of the Stone Age began its set a little after 7 p.m. at the Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fair. To get there, you have to spend time winding through the fairgrounds, past the hordes of children tugging their parents' hands, begging for tickets to games and rides. There's a giant livestock show that delights kids of all ages, and bright, flashing lights enthrall the eye in every which direction.

The family-friendly, funnel cake-pushing atmosphere of the Arizona State Fair lent a hilarious air to the concert last night, such as during the band's second song, "Feel Good Hit of the Summer," in which frontman Josh Homme croons all the drugs the band took while recording their second album, Rated R: "Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy, and alcohol, c-c-c-c-c-cocaine!"

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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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