Downtown Boys, Drunk & Horny, The Line Cutters, The Cons - Trunk Space - 7/10/2014

Categories: Last Night

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Meghan Herring
Downtown Boys played Trunk Space last night.

If there is one thing that can never be taken away from the decade-old downtown Phoenix DIY venue The Trunk Space it is the bookers' uncanny ability to put together a lineup that will leave the audience scratching its head. Such was definitely the case last night when the Rhode Island-based Downtown Boys rolled through with their heavily political and pseudo radical left wing punk tunes, and had comedy polka punk duo Drunk & Horny open for them.

Even veteran performer Ryan Avery of D & H had to admit that after looking into the Downtown Boys when they were booked for the show he didn't quite understand why the venue had turned to him and Andrew Jemsek to do it. The only thing that could have possibly been farther away from the Downtown Boys "radical" message could have been Avery and Jemsek's other project, the habitually outrageous Father's Day.

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KISS, Def Leppard - Ak-Chin Pavilion - 7/9/2014

Categories: Last Night

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Jim LouvauKISS. Full slideshow here.

The surroundings of a KISS and Def Leppard concert are one of the most entertaining parts about it, aside from the legends performing on stage.

Wednesday's concert contained a huge range of age groups, but the most amusing of them is what I like to call the "dad-rock" group. Dad-rock isn't a negative phrase and will surely be the genre I enjoy in in the decades to come. Here, I'm using the term to refer to those who grew up with the metal and rock icons onstage last night.


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Deafheaven, Destruction Unit, Wreck & Reference - Crescent Ballroom - 6/30/14

Categories: Last Night

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Troy Farah

I went to a Deafheaven show, but you probably haven't heard of them. That's a deaf joke, because my ears are ringing and won't stop and I'm a little terrified I have tinnitus.

I get called a hipster every so often, which is kind of stupid, but whatever; I've been called worse things by better people. That's still the argument, though, isn't it? Music conversation has become about whether it's cool or not or whether you've heard of something (first, no less), not whether it's good or not.


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Arsonists Get All The Girls - The Underground - 6/26/2014

Categories: Last Night

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Arsonists Get All The Girls

Going to a show at The Underground is always an interesting experience. The basement-style venue is popular for local and national acts and crams in its audience for the bigger shows.

One of the most memorable shows I've been to there was about four years ago. My friends opened up a show with For Today. The night ended with For Today's set, which was possibly the hottest set I've ever watched. As the crowd left, a pool of water, presumably from everyone's sweat, had formed in the middle of the floor.

While I didn't expect anything close to that last night, the expectation for myself was that the show would have a pretty big turnout. Arsonists Get All The Girls has a solid following, but the amount of people in the venue throughout the evening was fairly low.


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I Called in Sick to Follow Menzingers on Tour

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Melissa Fossum
The Menzingers. Full slideshow here.

Against all odds, Pennsylvania punk outfit the Menzingers gets better with every tour. The band gained quite the following with its fantastic 2012 album, On the Impossible Past. If Past serves as an introduction to the Menzingers, the band's most recent record, Rented World, will make lifelong fans.

The Menzingers has a devoted audience. I speak from experience -- I went on a mini-tour and saw the band three nights in a row.

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Lionel Richie - Ak-Chin Pavilion - 6/8/2014

Categories: Last Night

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Maria Vassett
Lionel Richie. Full slideshow here.

Lionel Richie's All the Hits, All Night Long Tour
Ak-Chin Pavilion
June 8

Lionel Richie is one of the best-selling artists of all time. He was a member of Motown's The Commodores in the '60s and went on to be a hit machine as a solo artist, with 10-plus albums released over 30 years. He's 64 and still appears to thoroughly enjoy performing. The sheer amount of smiling and laughing Richie can fit into an hour and a half is kind of incredible and contagious (even while he's singing, I mean, come on). His signature move is to face the crowd, place his hands on his hips and throw his head back and laugh. Mix that kind of happiness with a performer who still has quite a bit of soul and grit and a good but maybe dorky sense of humor, and you've got a fine night of entertainment.

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Hugh Laurie's Rock Face Is Epic

Categories: Last Night

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Evie Carpenter
Hugh Laurie charmed the Mesa Arts Center last night. Full slideshow here.

Toes were tapping, bodies were swaying and there were mini standing ovations after almost every song Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band played for a sold out crowd Tuesday night at the Mesa Arts Center. If there was any doubt that the House M.D. star was a tried and true musician before, it was quickly forgotten somewhere between his guttural performance of "Wild Honey" and him jumping up on the piano to play with his feet during the finale.


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tUnE-yArDs - Crescent Ballroom - 6/3/2014

Categories: Last Night

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Jeremiah Toller
tUnE-yArDs played the Crescent Ballroom last night. Full slideshow here.

I've been to maybe 100 shows at Crescent Ballroom, yet I've never seen the place so packed for an opener. Someone screamed, "We're here for you," so apparently Sylvan Esso has some fans in town. Their glockenspiel samples and soft, pitter-patter vocals made Esso feel like a modern version of Portishead, except Beth Gibbons uses real fucking drums. Take some notes, Esso.

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OneRepublic - Ak-Chin Pavilion - 6/1/2014

Categories: Last Night

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Maria Vassett
OneRepublic played at Ak-Chin Pavilion on Sunday, June 1. Full slideshow here.

OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder knows fans aren't going to mouth every lyric to every song at their show, and he's OK with that. The days of fans listening to entire albums are slowly dissipating, he says backstage before the group's show in Phoenix on Sunday. Music is appreciated one single at a time. Since OneRepublic is the kind of band that often sidesteps its cardinal genre several times per album, it works. When the band formed in 2002, Tedder says, this fluid approach to their identity was a curse. Now, he calls it a blessing.

As you may recall, OneRepublic was one of the first MySpace wunderkinds, landing a second chance at fame with Timbaland's Mosley Music Group after being dropped by Columbia. The band's third studio album, Native, was released in March 2013. It came after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus and was the Colorado group's first top 10 album in the United States, even though the album sold a little less in its first week than its debut Dreaming Out Loud (2007).


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Billy Joel - US Airways Center - 6/1/2014

Categories: Last Night

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Jim Louvau
Billy Joel played the US Airways Center on Sunday, June 1.

Billy Joel turned 65 years old on May 9. When you're as old as he is, you retire, have a party, collect your pension, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. But when you're the sixth best-selling recording artist of all time, you just keep on working. The audience at the sold out US Airways Center knew when the first note was played on Joel's Steinway, the singer-songwriter really likes working. His dexterity on the ivories was apparent when he opened with "Miami 2017 (I've Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)," but when his band went into the keyboard heavy "Pressure," Joel remained seated while keyboardist Dave Rosenthal tickled the Kurzweil.

The Piano Man made it clear when the song ended that he wasn't the performer he was over 20 years ago when River of Dreams, his last album of original pop music, was released.

See also: On Billy Joel and the Days When You Had to Earn Music


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