Marco Antonio Solís - US Airways Center - 9/19/2014

Categories: Last Weekend

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Melissa Fossum
Marco Antonio Solís. Full slideshow here.
Marco Antonio Solís has been rocking his infamous long hair and a full beard since the '70s. People have always compared his looks to those of Jesus of Nazareth, but in our current era of memes, his image has made the artist one of the most viral and popular faces all across the Internet. While this boom of virtual presence comes from people getting a kick out of it, truth is, Solís is one of the most beloved and respected artists for generations.

On Friday night, US Airways Center welcomed Solís "El Buki" (as he is commonly known) to an almost full house. The 54-year old Mexican pop star follows Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga as one of the few acts whose popularity and demand can be sized for the grand sports and concert arena located in downtown Phoenix.

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Rob Zombie and Powerman 5000 - Westworld - 9/19/2014

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Jim Louvau
Rob Zombie. Full slideshow here.

On Friday, Rob Zombie officially brought the Halloween season to the Valley of the Sun in wicked style. The heavy metal musician's show celebrated the opening of his very own Great American Nightmare haunted house at Westworld, and his stripped down performance took place in the shadow of his three haunted houses that totally immerse those daring to walk through in his horror films.

Right at 8 p.m. sharp, Powerman 5000 took the stage to a packed field and a humid 90-degree atmosphere. I'm pretty sure it's the earliest the band has ever played. The bass reverberated through the crowd as the band launched into "Invade, Destroy, Repeat" to a sluggish crowd.

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Man Hands, Father Figures, Numb Bats, and More - Yucca Tap Room - 9/5/2014

Categories: Last Weekend

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Photos by Troy Farah
Man Hands

With all the city's venue closings, Yucca Tap Room remains one of the few reasons to visit Tempe for live music. There are all the house shows, of course, but with Parliament and Long Wong's gone, Yucca stands out the most. And Friday, it hosted a mini-showcase of the Valley's aggressive punk scene.


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Blake Shelton, The Band Perry and Neal McCoy - Ak-Chin Pavilion - 9/5/14

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All photos by Maria Vassett. Full slideshow here.
Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton, The Band Perry and Neal McCoy
Ak-Chin Pavilion
9/5/14

It's the beginning of September, and it's still more than 100 degrees after dark. Everyone within a seven-row radius is fanning themselves or buying water bottles to roll on themselves. All musicians, by the end of their sets, looked as if they had just gone pool-hopping. No one seemed to give a damn, because this is a country show, and when you go to see Blake Shelton, The Band Perry and Neal McCoy, you hitch up your bootstraps, stop complaining and strap in.

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Ed Sheeran - Jobing.com Arena - 8/31/2014

Categories: Last Weekend

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Jeremy Berini
Ed Sheeran

When the lights went down, the screams inside Jobing.com Arena were ear-shattering. It wasn't quite the level of Beatlemania, but it still caught me by surprise. Arena shows are known to be big with its lights, sounds, stage setup, etc. Sheeran entered the stage with just his guitar, and it became clear that this wasn't going to be an overly-produced show.

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Tony Bennett Wows 'Em With Charm, Style, and Standards at Mesa Arts Center

Categories: Last Weekend

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All photos by Melina Dellamarggio
Tony Bennett at Ikeda Theatre in Mesa. Full slideshow here.

Has Tony Bennett ever played a bad show? It would be hard to find anyone who attended such a mediocre performance in the 50-plus years the man has been recording, let alone have it documented in print. Truthfully, it doesn't seem possible.

The 88-year-old legend came out dressed to the nines in a cream-colored jacket and a smile that never left his face. The joy and optimism he exuded was immediately contagious to the sold-out crowd inside Ikeda Theatre at Mesa Arts Center and was introduced by none other than his friend from across the Hudson River, Frank Sinatra.

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Justin Timberlake - Jobing.com Arena - 8/9/2014

Categories: Last Weekend

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Jim Louvau
Justin Timberlake was all business at Jobing.com Arena last Friday. Full slideshow here.

There is a difference between a "rock star" and a "superstar," and Justin Timberlake is a superstar. He'd been a rock star since his years with 'N Sync touring the world and selling millions of albums. But now, in his early 30s, with decades experience performing his own catalog of self-written hit songs, and the swagger that goes along with all that, he is quite obviously in his prime.

The second stop of his 20/20 Experience World Tour went through Glendale's Jobing.com Arena on Saturday night, and he demonstrated what a superstar in their prime is capable of by putting on two-hour musical spectacular complete with choreographed dance numbers, lasers, and a 15-piece band, The Tennessee Kids. He also showed that being a superstar in 2014 is hard work.

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Slash - Talking Stick Resort - 8/1/2014

Categories: Last Weekend

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Jim Louvau
Slash at Talking Stick Resort. Full slideshow here.

Former Guns N' Roses/Velvet Revolver axeman Slash brought plenty of nostalgia to Talking Stick Resort Friday night, visiting the Valley for a one-off date in the middle of his North American Tour with Aerosmith. The 49-year-old still looks almost identical to how he looked in the '80s, still sporting his signature top hat and Gold Burst Gibson Les Paul. Another thing that hasn't changed is his history of having some of the best rock singers fronting his band, and Myles Kennedy is no exception, which was unquestionable from the opening lines of opener "You're a Lie."

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Tori Amos - Ikeda Theatre at Mesa Arts Center - 7/25/2014

Categories: Last Weekend

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Melissa Fossum
Tori Amos

Tori Amos, wearing leather pants underneath a long flowing dress, straddled herself on the piano bench in a position that would seem uncomfortable to anyone who played the 88 keys on a regular basis. She played "Parasol" from the 2005 album The Beekeeper with her right hand on a keyboard and her left on a grand piano, gyrating like a metronome.

Everyone in the intimate Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center knew that they weren't seeing a typical singer-songwriter like Carole King. The red-haired, porcelain-skinned beauty, wearing horn-rimmed glasses like a alluring church organist, was going to sing of sex, fantasy, and religion in way that is personal and confrontational.


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The Last Concert at a Storied Phoenix Underground Venue Canned by Cops, 7/26/14

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Stressors' lead singer.

Well, it was bound to happen anyway. As one Facebook commenter put it, "They were responding to a call they got in the goddamn '90s." I'm talking about W___ S____, a South Phoenix storage unit turned underground show space that's been hosting shows for nearly two decades -- and was finally broken up by the police on its final night.

Maybe we can mention the venue name anyway, since it's not really much of a secret at this point (thanks, Google) and of course, the cops are keen now. But I'd rather not, just because this "venue" tends to get passed down like a DIY-scene heirloom, and I respect the few shreds of anonymity we're allowed in this post-Snowden era. Saturday night was supposed to be the venue's final night, unless someone else took it over. When I asked one of the organizers what was next, that person shrugged, saying, "No one knows yet."


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