All posts by Clarice Wziatek

Professionally trained journalist with a BA from the Walter Cronkite school at ASU and a International Journalism MA from DCU (Ireland). Every year I make it a point to travel to a new destination. I've been to 14 countries and counting. Bring on the coffee and red wine. Interests include collecting vinyl, sewing clothing/costumes, and I'm a fan of the Oxford comma.

REVIEW: Dorothy’s Phoenix Show – A Flawless Night in the Valley 7-15-18

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PHOENIX –  Dorothy took the stage at the Crescent Ballroom last Sunday night, infusing the summer air with earthy incense and the vibes of psychedelic hard rock. The band, originally from Los Angeles, is currently on their “Freedom Tour 2018,” promoting their second album, 28 Days in the Valley. Dorothy is named after front woman and vocal powerhouse Dorothy Martin. Her vocal style can be compared closest to Grace Slick, but her energetic stage presence can be compared to Janis Joplin.

When Dorothy took the stage, all that could be seen was their faintly lit silhouettes. In the dark, with her back to the audience, Martin lit a huge incense stick to fill the ballroom with its sweet aroma. She held on to it, waiving the incense over the stage as the flame grew and the band started the intro to the song “White Butterfly.” The band was then illuminated by the stage lights.

Dorothy - Photography: Mark Greenawalt
Dorothy Martin (Vocalist), Dorothy
Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved.

Martin was decked out in black lace bell bottoms and a burgundy, burnout velvet, kimono jacket; she had a mat placed at the base of her microphone to protect her feet as she performed barefoot. Fans that pointed at the stage kept the band cool, and blew Martin’s hair away from her face, adding to her carefree appearance.

Dorothy - Photography: Mark Greenawalt
Dorothy Martin (Vocalist), Dorothy
Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved.

As the band smoothly transitioned into their second song, “Naked Eye,” Martin picked up her tambourine. She played while the incense and fog machines worked overtime, pouring a thick haze around the band, and transporting the audience to what felt like Dorothy’s basement jam session in the 1970s.

During “Ain’t Our Time to Die,” the quiet cymbals mixed with Martin’s vibrato really mirrored Janis Joplin’s vocal style as she exclaimed, “You’ve got to believe baby, it ain’t our time to die!”

Dorothy performed many tracks off their first album, ROCKISDEAD; such as “Raise Hell,” “Down To The Bottom,” and rock anthem “Wicked Ones.” In the middle of performing “Wicked Ones,” Martin left the stage, and guitarists Nick Perri and Leroy Wulfmeier rocked out, taking the audience on an auditory journey down the rabbit hole as the stage lights flashed pink, purple, and blue.

Dorothy - Photography: Mark Greenawalt
Dorothy
Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved.

When they played their tenth song of the night, “Who Do You Love?”, Martin dropped to her knees and reached her arms to the ceiling while bellowing the song’s lyrics, “Hey I’m your reason for lying! Hey, I’m your reason for dying! Hey, I’m your reason to live! Who do you love when your love’s a-run dry?”

Dorothy filled their 90-minute set with soulful vocals, gritty guitar playing, and all original songs off both of their full albums. Martin’s easy-going and genuine personality was apparent as she spoke to the crowd like friends. She jokingly said that if she wasn’t out performing, she’d just be at home with her cat watching X-files. At the end of the show she hugged her mic stand while smiling into the crowd, almost as if she were trying to metaphorically hug the audience for showing her band love.

Dorothy - Photography: Mark Greenawalt
Dorothy Martin (Vocalist) & Leroy Wulfmeier (Guitarist), Dorothy
Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved.

For Dorothy’s final song, everyone left the stage, aside from Martin and Wulfmeier. Wulfmeier, in his Homburg hat and perfect mustache, sidled up to Martin and they performed an acoustic rendition of the love song, “Shelter.” Martin finalized the night by yelling to the crowd, “Go make love to your wife!”

Opening Act: Charming Liars

Charming Liars, a London-based band that relocated to Los Angeles in 2013, opened the set for Dorothy. This is their fifth time performing in Arizona, according to guitarist Karnig Manoukian.

Charming Liars - Photography: Mark Greenawalt
Kiliyan Maguire (Vocalist), Charming Liars
Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved.

Charming Liars’ set was filled with punchy, punctuated drums and dreamy guitar chords, which was pronounced in “Insomnia,” “Outta My Head,” and “Closer.”  Their style leans toward very danceable, club-like rock songs. Vocalist Kiliyan Maguire has strong vocals and the ability to produce an amazing falsetto. His passion and energy got the crowd excited, especially when they played new material such as the song “Time to Start,” which was only the fourth time it has been performed by them, according to Maguire. The Charming Liars website states that the band had been endorsed by Sir Elton John when he featured their songs on his Apple Music “Rocket Hour” radio show.

The phenomenal performances of both bands at Crescent Ballroom that night showcased their original music, thought provoking lyrics, and solidified their potential to rise up to the top. And, if there was one message conveyed through the music that evening, a message we can apply to everyday living, it must be; love fiercely, but take no shit.

Catch both bands on the “Freedom Tour 2018” until August 26.

Photo Gallery

Photographer: Mark Greenawalt

Dorothy – Crescent Ballroom 7-15-18

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Photography © Mark Greenawalt. All Rights Reserved

REVIEW: Vixen Revs Up BLK Live with 80s Glam Rock 6-16-18

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Scottsdale, Ariz. –  The all-female band Vixen brought 80s glam-rock back to BLK Live in Scottsdale, AZ on June 16, 2018. The band, according to the Vixen website, is the only all-female 80s band to reach platinum status and have six #1 videos on MTV. Vixen, which disbanded in the early 90s, reunited in 2014 with three of the original members, and has been performing since. 

Vixen - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt
Britt Lightning (Guitarist), Vixen
Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved.

Vixen performed a selection of hits from their first self-titled album Vixen, released in 1988; their Rev It Up album, released in 1990; and a few covers from other rock legends such as The Beatles, Deep Purple and Humble Pie. Vixen’s lead vocalist, Janet Gardner, gave a strong, high energy performance, opening the show with “Rev It Up” from the band’s 1990 album Rev It Up. During the second song, “How Much Love,” newcomer and lead guitarist, Britt Lightning, shredded an incredible guitar solo. Lightning joined Vixen in 2017, replacing Gina Stile.

Throughout the show, Gardner had amazing stage presence and worked the crowd. She shouted from the stage, “Scottsdale, let’s get a lil’ rowdy!” before she performed “One Night Alone.” Then, as she performed the song “Cryin’”, she came down from the stage and walked through the crowd, high-fiving and greeting fans.

Vixen - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt
Janet Gardner (Vocalist, Guitarist), Vixen
Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved.

When back on stage, she proposed a contest for a free Vixen t-shirt for the first person to jump into BLK Live’s swimming pool. There were a few people sitting on the edge with their feet in the water, but they weren’t fast enough. A single guy at the front of the stage jumped right in fully clothed, holding his beer above his head. Gardner was a bit disappointed her contest didn’t start a pool party frenzy, but she wasn’t going to let that hold her back. As she started into their fifth song “Cruisin’,” Gardner executed a perfect high-kick into the air.

Vixen - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt
Roxy Petrucci (Drummer), Vixen
Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved.

Drummer Roxy Petrucci kept a beat going as they transitioned from one song to the next, keeping the crowd pumped. Her facial expressions complimented the lyrics for each song, as she twirled her drumsticks on the off-beat. She was at the back of the stage, but she did not fade into the background. During the song, “Love Is A Killer,” Petrucci stood up and performed a perfectly executed chime segment on the symbols for the melancholy rock ballad.

Vixen - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt
Sharon Ross, née Pedersen (Bassist), Vixen
Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved.

There was one song the crowd waited with anticipation to hear, and it was well worth the wait. After they performed a 90-minute set, the ladies left the stage before returning for their encore number, “Edge of a Broken Heart.” This song was written by Richard Marx and Fee Waybill, and was one of two songs to make it into the Top 40 for Vixen in 1988. To make this hit, and the other songs played, sound true to their original tracks, Vixen had Tyson Leslie, the only male on stage, performing on the keyboard.

When Vixen finished their last number, the crowd was wild with excitement. From the set performed by Vixen, to the opening act, the crowd got what they came for; a night filled with 80s rock and strong female vocals.

Dierdre

Arizona local band Dierdre, fronted by female rocker Dierdre Evans, opened the show with a stellar night of rock n’ roll; performing original songs off their album I’ve Come to Life and two cover songs – “Black Dog” by Led Zepplin, and “Down to the Bottom” by Dorothy.  

Dierdre - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt
Dierdre Evans (Vocalist), Vixen
Photography:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved.

Evans opened the set for Dierdre with the femme fatale track, “Black Widow.” The song featured Evans’ rock-opera vocals, punchy drums played by Dwain Miller, and fast metal riffs played by Michael Arms and Jimmy Caterine on guitars.

Their third song, “Between the Lines,” featured rhythmic guitar and a steady drum beat, which allowed Evans’ voice to carry the songs melody before it entered the gritty chorus. The lyrics entice the listener and ask them, “You know you want it; don’t you?”

Evans’ vocal range stands out and brings distinction to each song. The song “I’ve Come To Life” starts out with her vocals breathless and low, and she sensually raises her vocals until her voice literally ‘comes to life’ when performing the chorus and refrain.

Evans writes all of her own music, and even though she sings the song “Suffer” like a rock and roll angel, it is a badass reminder to whomever inspired this song; she is not taking you back, and will gladly watch you suffer.

Evans mentioned after the show that the band Dierdre has been together for approximately 3 years, and have really enjoyed opening for other bands in the rock genre. Prior to opening for Vixen, Evans said that in just the last six months, Dierdre opened for big-name bands such as Warrant, Quiet Riot, and Candlebox.

Vixen is currently touring, and soon heading overseas to Europe this summer, according to their website. If you need your new Vixen fix, Gardner mentioned the band has a live album being released on July 6th via Rat Pack Records.

Photo Gallery

Photographer: Mark Greenawalt

Vixen – BLK Live 6-16-18

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Photography © Mark Greenawalt. All Rights Reserved

REVIEW: Stabbing Westward’s 30th Reunion at Club Red, ft. Swindy, Amnestic, There Is No Us and Paranova 1-12-18

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Mesa, Ariz. — Stabbing Westward has been rocking out for more than 30 years, but the energy they brought to the intimate Club Red was dynamic, like they were fledglings on their first tour. They brought 90s rock nostalgia to the crowd gathered inside the dark brick walls of the venue after their 14 year hiatus. This performance was part of their 30th Reunion show, which featured local openers; Paranova, There Is No Us, Amnestic and Swindy, who all performed with stamina and grit to wow the crowd.

Stabbing Westward

Stabbing Westward keyboardist Walter Flakus and drummer Johnny Haro prepared for their set by carrying up multiple 12-packs of Coronas to the stage, and vocalist Christopher Hall walked out on stage during the sound check to record footage of the excited crowd for social media.

Photography: Russ Broty © All Rights Reserved.

When Stabbing Westward took the stage, the crowd’s energy rose even more, with Hall embracing the space of the stage to engage the crowd during the opening song, “Drugstore.” During the second song, “Falls Apart,” guitarist Mark Eliopulos was playing so aggressively, pushing his guitar against the mic stand like a capo, that he broke his bottom E-string. When Hall asked him if he needed a break to replace it, Eliopulos replied, “…it was the one at the bottom, you know, the one no one uses,” and he played the rest of the show on only five strings.

Stabbing Westward - Photography: Russ Broty
Carlton Bost (Bassist), Stabbing Westward (View Band Photo Album)
Photography:
Russ Broty © All Rights Reserved

They played “Lies” and “Nothing” off their 1994 Ungod album; “What Do I Have To Do?” and “Shame” off their 1996 album Wither, Blister, Burn & Peel; “Sometimes It Hurts” and “Save Yourself” off the 1998 Darkest Days album, in addition to six other songs from their expansive career. In between the songs, Hall poked fun at himself and his bandmates telling the crowd “old people” jokes and attributing it to their current lifestyle. However, with the way Hall strutted his stuff all over the stage and jumped down into the crowd, one could have guessed him only 25-years-old. Hall closed out the show with a proper drop-mic after announcing to the crowd, “We are Stabbing Westward bitches! Good night!

Stabbing Westward - Photography: Russ Broty
Christopher Hall (Vocalist), Stabbing Westward (View Band Photo Album)
Photography: Russ Broty © All Rights Reserved

Prior to headliner act Stabbing Westward, four local bands played opening sets to amp up the crowd. Each band brought diversity to the stage with their original songs and performance styles filled with vigor and moxie. The bands provided an eclectic, yet complimentary sampling of folk goth, industrial, metal and alt-rock styles.

Swindy

Swindy was on first playing their ethereal folk goth and industrial-rock inspired songs. They started out with “Synergy” followed by the electro-tech “iBegin,” and a new song, “Animal.”

Lead vocalist Randall Swindell’s stage presence oozed sex appeal in his black, wet-look tee shirt and ripped, black denim skinny jeans, and even more when he stopped playing guitar mid-song to run his hands through his cheek-length blond hair.

Swindy - Photography: Russ Broty
Randall Swindell (Vocalist, Guitarist), Swindy (View Band Photo Album)
Photography:
Russ Broty © All Rights Reserved

During the show, it was announced that this would be vocalist Alyson Precie’s last show for a while as she recently enlisted in the Navy. Her strong voice and harmonizing vocals will be missed. Swindy also consists of members Tamara Jenney on keyboard, Mike Jenney on bass, and drummer Steven Escalante.

Swindy - Photography: Russ Broty
Alyson Precie (Vocalist), Swindy (View Band Photo Album)
Photography:
Russ Broty © All Rights Reserved.

Swindell’s passion really came through with the song “Reflection,” as he opened his arms to metaphorically embrace the crowd and pull them in. They finished the set with “Just Don’t Like It,” and “Ignite My Love” from their self-titled EP Swindy.

Amnestic

Amnestic took the stage with their industrial electro-hard rock, which they self-describe as “angry robot noises.” Vocalist Brook Thomas’ growlesque screams set the tone for a post-apocalyptic robot revolt. Amnestic comprises two other members, keyboardist Sarah Elizabeth and guitarist Aaron Coldblood. The dark stage and bold red lighting cast a demonic glow over the band intensifying the message of their music. The trio played “Harbringer,” “Desensitization,” “Discipline,” and “Absent Affect” from their current album Future; as well as “Nervous System” from their album Real Bad Day.

Amnestic - Photography: Russ Broty
Amnestic (View Band Photo Album)
Photography:
Russ Broty © All Rights Reserved

There Is No Us

The third band to play, There Is No Us, came at the crowd no holds barred with their opening song, “Chemical Murder,” followed up by “Farewell to Humanity,” which is interspersed with snippets from tragic news broadcasts. Vocalist Jim Louvau’s aggressive vocals are a good representation of the societal angst reflected in their political lyrics.

There Is No Us - Photography: Russ Broty
Jim Lovau (Vocalist) & Andy Gerold (Guitarist), There Is No Us (View Band Photo Album)
Photography:
Russ Broty © All Rights Reserved

The five person band consists of Andy Gerold (former guitarist for Marilyn Manson) and Jared Bakin on guitar, Eddie Lopez on bass and PHEET on drums. They played “Kings & Queens,” and  “Angels Face with Devils Hands,” which Louvau described as a love song. Louvau finished out the set screaming at the crowd to throw their fists in the air for “In Violence We Trust,” getting the crowd pumped for the headlining band.

Paranova

Right before Stabbing Westward, Paranova took the stage. Vocalist Owen Doheny walked on with an instrument one does not usually see at a rock or metal concert, a saxophone. They opened with the song “Lazarus,” and guitarist Dylan Ewing executed a flawless guitar solo. The band followed with “Hyperhollow” and “Sanctuary.” Bass player Erin Sperduti’s intense bass lines and drummer Logan Dolezal’s punchy drumming really bring their sound full circle.

Paranova - Photography: Russ Broty
Owen Doheny (Vocalist), Paranova (View Band Photo Album)
Photography:
Russ Broty © All Rights Reserved

The band covered NIN’s “March of the Pigs,” then finished out with their original songs “Enfilade,” and “Headline.” During the last song, Doheny pulled out the sax and gave it a short-lived appearance playing it for 15 seconds right at the end of the song. All songs, except the cover of NIN’s “March of the Pigs,” are on their album Hyperhollow.

In Closing

The entire show was a high energy rock fest for the mid-size Club Red. Each opening band brought their original style and sound to the stage to work up the anticipation for Stabbing Westward’s performance. Thirty years together, they know how to put on one hell of a show. They’ve kept fans satiated, and gained new fans, as The Dreaming for 17 years. It’s unknown how long the guys will continue to tour as Stabbing Westward since their 2016 reunion kicked off, but it was a pleasure to have them back in Arizona playing the 90s rock that made them famous.

Photo Gallery

Photographer: Russ Broty

Stabbing Westward, Swindy, Amnestic, There Is No Us, Paranova – Club Red 1-12-18

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Photography © Looking at You Too
All Rights Reserved

REVIEW: Lita Ford Brings 80s Glam Metal to BLK Live 12-16-17

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Scottsdale, Ariz.Lita Ford and her band performed their last show of 2017 in Scottsdale at BLK Live on Saturday, December 16. Closing out the night after two opening acts, Dead West and Shadow and the Thrill.

Ford still has it,
because she never lost it.

Lita Ford - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt, Burning Hot Events
Lita Ford (Vocalist, Guitarist)
Photo Credit:
Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

Dressed to impress and complement her polished red guitar, Ford took the stage like a rock and roll queen of hearts in her silver studded, red and white ensemble. Ford sported a red velour coat with ruffled bell sleeves and a glorious train. Underneath was a red and white bustier with studs and matching flare jeans. The ruffles and bows were a gorgeous juxtaposition to her aggressively shredding metal guitar riffs in her opening song, “Gotta Let Go.”

Ford and her band followed with songs; “Larger Than Life,” “Relentless,” “Living like a Runaway,” “The Bitch is Back” (written by Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin), “Hungry for Your Sex,” and “Play with Fire” from her Dangerous Curves album.

To amp up the energy on stage, Ford invited Micki Free, a friend of Ford’s since age 18, onstage to play guest guitar for “Can’t Catch Me”, a song co-written by the late Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead. During this song, Ford’s drummer, Bobby Rock, relished being the center of attention; pausing to take a video of the crowd, and take a selfie from the stage during his drum solo. Bass player Marty O’Brien and lead guitarist Patrick Kennison, not wanting to be outdone, stood back-to-back playing their instruments above their heads.

Micki Free & Lita Ford - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt, Burning Hot Events
Micki Free (Guitarist)  & Lita Ford (Vocalist, Guitarist)
Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

Ford followed up the intensity that was “Can’t Catch Me” with two slower-paced metal ballads, “Falling In and Out of Love,” co-written by Nikki Six of Mötley Crüe, and the somberly romantic “If I Close My Eyes Forever,” originally performed by Ozzy Osbourne, in which Kennison performed in his stead.

To bring the energy back, Ford played the title track “Out for Blood” off her first album. This album was her first release after The Runaways disbanded, and the song speaks to how Ford’s personal style developed in the 80s glam metal scene.

Ford went out with a bang, playing two great hits, “Cherry Bomb” on the original guitar she used when performing with The Runaways; and “Kiss Me Deadly” off her 1988 album Lita, using a pearl white, multi-neck guitar.

Patrick Kennison (Lead Guitarist), Lita Ford (Vocalist, Guitarist), & Marty O'Brien (Bassist) - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt
Patrick Kennison (Lead Guitarist), Lita Ford (Vocalist, Guitarist), & Marty O’Brien (Bassist)
Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

Opening bands were Dead West and Shadow and the Thrill. Both acts complemented the musical style and energy of Ford’s performance.

Dead West - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt
Matt Peterson (Guitarist), Vinny Sky (Vocalist), & Connor Sutton (Lead Guitarist), Dead West
Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

Dead West is an Arizona local band formed in 2014 that performs in a mash-up style of what can only be described as cowboy metal and blues-rock. They played a lineup of original songs, and debut their newest song “Helldorado!”

Shadow and the Thrill - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt
Tony Cardenas-Montana (Vocalist, Guitarist), Shadow and the Thrill
Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

Shadow and the Thrill played original songs with a mix of classic to modern covers such as “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals and “Crazy” by Cee Lo Green. Their sound is a mash-up of blues, metal, and classic rock.

The lead singer, Tony Cardenas-Montana, has roots in Arizona. He talked fondly of visiting his grandparents who resided in Bisbee. He then played his original song, “Tombstone Shuffle” as homage to the Wild West town he would visit as a child.

All three bands performed a high-energy show from start to finish. Ford said she plans to perform another show in Arizona come 2018. No dates have been announced, but our guess is she will be back sooner rather than later!

Photo Gallery

Photographer: Mark Greenawalt

Lita Ford – BLK Live 12-16-17

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Photography © Mark Greenawalt. All Rights Reserved