Phoenix Bands at Los Dias de la Crescent at Civic Space Park Draw Thousands

Categories: Last Weekend

Jeremiah Toller
Dias del la Crescent. Full slideshow here.

Dias de la Crescent at Civic Space Park was an overwhelming success in many ways. But the most impressive might be that the main draw for the estimated 3,500 people who attended the festivities were local bands.

Locals playing the park included Phoenix heavyweights Black Carl and Dry River Yacht Club, as well as Tucson's Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, who play Phoenix so often they should probably invest in real estate here. During the festival's equally popping second half, which took place at night in Crescent Ballroom, Tempe's Gospel Claws took the stage, flanked by Tuscon's Gabriel Sullivan and Phoenix's iamwe.

If anyone ever doubted the health of Phoenix's music scene, shove this festival down their throats.

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Slayer, Exodus, Suicidal Tendencies - Comerica Theatre - 11/15/2014

Categories: Last Weekend

Melina Dellamarggio
Slayer took the reins at Comerica Theatre Saturday night. Full slideshow here.

In true Slayer fashion, there was no sanctuary for anyone within earshot when the band came through town for a killer show along with Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus this past Saturday night.

Yes, some might only assume that Comerica Theatre was overrun with fighting and headbanging boozers and lowlifes. Others may only hear "rawr rawr rawr" -- double bass, double bass -- "rawr rawr rawr." And, yes, there was plenty of that. To be honest, the soundtrack of killer heavy metal had a completely separate soundtrack of its own: fistfights, incessant shouting ("SLAAAAYYEEERR!!"), and the constant click of lighters behind cigarettes and joints.

But this was a lineup that was not to be missed by anyone who has truly been a fan of heavy metal. First off, all three bands collectively have 100 years of writing, recording, performing, and influencing the genre. Secondly, the array of hits that spans across these acts are enough to get anyone headbanging. Hell, my neck is still sore.

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Video: Linkin Park Raises $500,000 for Mesa's Cardon Medical Center

Categories: Last Weekend

Valley native Chester Bennington is known globally for the being in one of biggest rock bands in the world. Locally, he's become known for more than the rock anthems he creates with Linkin Park. The singer has a soft spot for children who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses and youngsters recovering from injuries. He has spent the past half-decade raising money for Mesa's Cardon Medical Center with his annual Stars of the Season charity event at Montelucia in Paradise Valley.

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Arctic Monkeys - Comerica Theatre - 10/25/2014

Categories: Last Weekend

Ben Garcia
Arctic Monkeys. Full slideshow here.

The crowd at Arctic Monkeys ranged from late teens up into the late 40s; however, since I was in the pit of the theater, the crowd there was mostly teens, 20-somethings, and drinkers with these massive cups of beer. Anytime someone walked past me with one of those things, I feared for my life and my clothes. While the pit remained halfway full, the seats were completely packed, all the way to the top.

The Arctic Monkeys started their set with "Do I Wanna Know?" which ended up sounding just like the album track. The audience thoroughly enjoyed this song as they lift their hands and moved them back and forth to the downbeat, while others were swaying back and forth with their gigantic beers. During "Arabella," Alex Turner took the microphone off the stand and played around with the audience in the pit.

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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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8 Things We Learned at Summer Ends Music Festival

Melissa Fossum
Foster the People performed at the Marquee Theatre on Sunday.

It was a weird, wild, and wet weekend. We're talking about Summer Ends Music Festival, Lucky Man Concerts' three-day extravaganza scheduled for Tempe Beach Park. But Mother Nature had other plans, and after the second huge rainstorm to hit the Valley in a month dumped more than an inch of rain, the city of Tempe shut down Tempe Beach Park, forcing organizer Tom LaPenna to scramble to find a backup venue for his festival.

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

Categories: Last Weekend

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

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

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

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

Blake Shelton, The Band Perry and Neal McCoy
Ak-Chin Pavilion

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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