Manager & Concert Photographer of Burning Hot Events
Photographer, Web Designer & Developer, Video Producer, Graphic Designer, Entrepreneur, Freelancer, concert-junkie, musician, dancer, #1 fan of LOTR & the Spice Girls, cat-lover, & moar!
Scottsdale, Ariz. — Think About It, an alt rock band from Mesa, AZ, brought soul and energy to Scottsdale’s The Rogue Bar late on a Thursday night. Headlining a show with supporting acts Wurmfur, M. Crane, Dwarf, and Brother Cousin; they topped off an evening of impressive performances in Rogue Bar’s intimate atmosphere. Brother Cousin filled in last-minute for the original opener in the line-up, FutureSpeak.
The band’s Facebook page bio describes their sound’s unique blend: “Think About It combines the diverse influences of a rock & soul singer, a blues rock guitarist, a punk bassist, and a metalcore & pop-punk drummer to bring you a unique blend of passion-fueled alternative rock and roll you won’t hear anywhere else.“
The full personal investment of heart into the music from frontman Lee Taggart is visible in his stage presence. Think About It’s intentions are quite clear, as they close out their bio with, “If you’re not thinking about it, you’re not thinking.”
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Gothic rock band The Birthday Massacre, along with supporting acts Army of the Universe and Sumo Cyco, brought their 2017 North American tour to Pub Rock on the verge of releasing their seventh full-length studio album Under Your Spell. The Scottsdale stop was the 15th of 27 tour dates. With a whopping 20-song setlist and tireless energy, The Birthday Massacre brought their signature animated and dark stage presence to a packed crowd on a Monday night.
Fronted by Sever (formerly solo artist Skye Sweetnam), punk metal band Sumo Cyco from Ontario opened the show. Their 2nd album, Opus Mar, was released recently on March 31, 2017. The charismatic front-woman with teal hair, matching bustier, high-waisted shorts, and fishnet stockings easily caught the attention of The Birthday Massacre’s fans. Sumo Cyco’s song “Danger” well-represents the image of the band and it’s lead singer, with lyrics like, “If you want it, we’ll give you danger“, and “I’m young and feisty, so tongue me and try me“. At one point, Sever rode on the shoulders of the guitarist Matt Drake amongst the crowd. With her sex-appeal and aggressive movements, and the band’s lively performance, they drew the crowd in and left them pleased.
The next band to play before the headliner took the stage was an Italian industrial band named Army of the Universe. Vocalist Lord K is also the lead singer of the band Kult of the Skull God. The audience was visibly impressed with the power that the band brought to the stage. Lord K took the stage with ferocity and cocky mannerisms; yelling and thrusting his mic into the faces of audience members, raising up and pumping the mic stand above his head, dripping with sweat and shirtless by the end of the set. While DJ, producer, and band co-founder Trebla primarily focused intently on his synthesizers and laptops; guitarist Davide Tavecchia and drummer Giuseppe Amato wildly played their instruments with their hair flying like they were caught in a storm while donning big smiles and roaring facial expressions. It was clear that the band members were having a blast, which made them equally fun to experience.
Army of the Universe was a fitting choice to set the mood and round-out the audience appeal following Sumo Cyco, with the style of The Birthday Massacre somewhat being a combination of that of the two openers.
The Birthday Massacre’s new album was funded through PledgeMusic, with full-album downloads being sent out on June 1st exclusively to pledgers in advance of the June 9th release. When they hit the stage, they kicked off their set with the first track of the new album, “One”, with instant force.
The Ontario-based band was formed in 1999, and their well-seasoned prowess is clearly evident in their performance. Their fanbase at the venue that night was also a mature crowd, who interacted with the band like loyal, long-time friends. Front-woman Chibi engages with the audience, grabbing hands and emoting delightfully vicious facial expressions throughout the night; while the rest of the band also contorts their faces, violently headbangs, pounds on and swings their instruments around. With such a dynamic, The Birthday Massacre is a band that it would feel off to experience with a substantial distance from the stage; so it’s just as well that Pub Rock has no barricade between the crowd and the stage.
The next two songs the band played were “Red Stars” and “Looking Glass”, the first and second singles from their 2007 album, Walking With Strangers. “Red Stars” is a personal favorite due to it’s raging power-chords. Following, were a couple more songs from their new release, “All of Nothing” and “Counterpane”. Then, a few songs from the Superstition album; “Destroyer”, “Divide”, and “Superstition”.
“Lovers End” from the 2004 Violet album came next, followed by “Happy Birthday” and “Video Kid”. These two songs were originally from 2002’s Nothing and Nowhere, and then appeared again on the Violet album. They next played the new album’s title track “Under Your Spell”, and then “No Tomorrow”.
Chibi exudes such confidence and comfort on stage, it is inspirational and it garners respect. Event when forgetting some of the lyrics, she simply burst into laughter, which caused guitarist Rainbow to crack up too. It was very endearing as they continued through the song, unable to hold back more laughter between them. Temporary mic issues didn’t snuff out the fire of her enthusiasm either. During “Lovers End”, Chibi grabbed a fan’s phone that was recording video, and walked around stage singing into it.
Continuing to give a full-discography sampler, the next two songs performed were “Leaving Tonight” and “Alibis” from Hide and Seek, which was released in 2012. Lastly, from the 2010 Pins and Needles album, “Pins and Needs” and “In the Dark”.
Almost immediately after the band exited the stage before returning for the encore, the enthusiastic fans started chanting, “Ten more songs! Ten more songs!”. While they didn’t get their 10, they seemed to be satiated with the long set and an intense finale, which included “Blue”, “I Think We’re Alone Now”, and “Broken”.
PHOENIX —The No Doubt & AFI hybrid Dreamcar drove into Crescent Ballroom and put on a colorful show! This band was everything fans expected of the union of Davey Havok & the No Doubt instrumentalists, and more! With a new single named “Kill for Candy”, this band of legends is solid and refreshing new ear candy that fans would kill for!
Tucson, Ariz. — The Paper Kites rolled into town from San Diego to perform at the intimate Club Congress inside of the historic Hotel Congress. The 7 year old band of an indie folk-rock genre hails from Melbourne, Australia. The band supported headliner Passenger for this North American tour, however Tucson received the special treat of a show headlined by The Paper Kites.
Opening the night was local songwriter Jess Matsen, who chilled his way through his mellow acoustic set while some in the crowd chattered directly in front of him. In between songs, Matsen spoke to the crowd, stating that he hadn’t anticipated such a large turnout. Despite the noise, there were some attendees that clearly appreciated his performance, and shouted up front to ask for his name. Matsen released The Killing of Our Kind Ofin November of last year, and has also performed with local groups Dream Sick & J.R.M.
The Paper Kites directly followed Matsen with a sound that one fan was overheard describing as “ethereal”, and they brought passersby into the venue with their notable sound. The band’s harmonies are entrancing, particularly their signature duets between lead vocalist Sam Bentley and keyboardist/guitarist Christina Lacy.
In between songs, Bentley took the opportunity to chat with the crowd, commenting that the intimate venue was like playing a house show… except not, because it’s much fancier. He also joked about wishing he could take one of the cacti home, that he saw during the drive to Tucson from California. After he broke out his harmonica, he mused that everyone always gets excited about the instrument.
The venue afforded him the opportunity to interact with the crowd in a way not possible on the other dates of the tour in which they performed grand theaters such as The Wiltern in Los Angeles and Fox Theater in Oakland, CA.
With the lighting that Club Congress offers, it was pleasant to be able to observe every band member clearly. The least visible being bassist/synth player (synthist?) Sam Rasmussen, who was tucked in the back right corner behind the other musicians and instruments.
With impressive mastery of their musicianship and sound, there was nary a difference in sound between hearing The Paper Kites live and listening to one of their albums.
Amidst their set, following the song “Too Late”, came the most intimate segment of all. Bentley asked that the lights be turned off, and the room was then lit only by the faint glow of the exit signs. The next two songs were a unique and meditative period of visual deprivation. The first song in the darkness was “A Silent Cause”, which was fitting considering how silent the crowd felt obligated to become with the lights out.
The second song in the darkness was “Bloom”, which instead had the audience united in a beautiful chorus. Usually while the unison sing-a-longs at concerts are touching, tone-deaf vocals shout-sang by fans are commonplace. (It doesn’t matter, because it’s about the experience and showing love to the artists.) But The Paper Kites’ fans in Tucson have surprisingly good singing voices, as they fell into a delightful harmony.
Before the encore, the band played “Electric Indigo”, followed by “Featherstone” to close the show. Afterward, the band was so kind as to meet fans, autograph merch, and take group photos outside. It was not just a small concert, but truly an experience to be in attendance at The Paper Kites’ gig in Tucson, with such a personal connection both during and after their performance. No doubt fans were grateful for the rare opportunity before the band heads back to Australia.
Watch #iwokeupbadass episode 5 to see how she became a media powerhouse, where her ambitions are leading her, and how her dream is building an artistic community! Katherine is also the Concert Photographer, Owner and Manager of Burning Hot Events.
#iwokeupbadass is a web series featuring the everyday movers and shakers who aim to create and change the world. Brought to you by Endless Dream Pictures, LLC.
PHOENIX — Last night, locals Unagi Usagi performed at The Rhythm Room. They opened the gig with the high-energy “Holy Valkyrie”, which takes the audience by storm without a buildup, and shows them they’re in for something delightfully insane right off the bat.
From start to finish, Unagi Usagi brought constant power and animation from each band member. The vocalist, who goes by Ghostrick Alucard, brings oozing charisma and animation to the stage.
In the midst of their set, “It’s Your Fault I Have Issues… You Stupid Bitch” is a crowd favorite, as all stand together in solidarity for glorious bitterness. The breakdown during the song, which might be their hardest and heaviest instrumentals, unexpectedly blows first-timers away and brings sweet satisfaction to fans.
It’s Your Fault I Have Issues… You Stupid Bitch
Heart In The Graveyard
Unagi Usagi debuted a song called “You Suck”, which is distinguished from their other songs by an infusion of ska. It really rounds out their set list by offering an upbeat sound and comic relief, while retaining their signature angst.
“Heart In The Graveyard” was a fitting closing song, finishing things off with both Big Jake (bassist) and Austang (guitarist) down on the floor, wildly emoting… while, astonishingly, Dead Wesley (drummer) shows no sign of fatigue up to the end.
Every crowd becomes noticeably impressed and intrigued shortly after the band begins playing, and they are always enthusiastically applauding and cheering by the end of the set. Unagi Usagi just keeps getting better and they’re gaining traction in the Phoenix scene, so follow them on Facebook to see what comes next.
PHOENIX — Local “Anime-themed Punk” band Unagi Usagi (Japanese for Eel Bunny) performed at The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix on January 12. Oozing with animated and charismatic stage presence, and energy reminiscent of some of our favorite rock bands from the early 2000s, Unagi Usagi has great potential and persona build a solid following, and mature into a band that will sell a lot of records!
We previously discovered this band during an open mic night at a coffee shop while working on a behind-the-scenes post for Burning Hot Events’ Patreon. Between the folksy acoustic and hiphop lyricism in the background that we tuned out as we worked on our post, Unagi Usagi started up on stage and they were a force to be reckoned with, commanding our attention and sending goosebumps across the surface of our skin. (Become a patron to read the post from when we discovered them: For the Love of Music: Sum 41 and Open Mic Night)
Presumably meant as self-deprecating humor, during the show Unagi Usagi proclaimed themselves as weaboos – people who are overly obsessed with Japanese culture to the point where they become annoying. But the following is a more flattering and clarifying descriptor, taken from their Facebook bio:
Unagi Usagi is a rock band from Chandler, Arizona. Catchy melodies and excellent songwriting are no stranger to this band, as they create the unique blend of Pop Punk, Post-Hardcore, and Japanese Rock Music that’s unique and fresh in the saturated music scene of today. Complemented by an eye catchingly beautiful visual presentation heavily influenced by anime, and joined by an eccentric live performance with plenty of energy, the band is creating a must-see phenomenon that is original, and unique to this group only.
It’s refreshing to have a fresh band in the local scene that garners such enthusiasm. While they have a ways to grow, keep an eye on these guys and do not underestimate them! We hope to see them get into the recording studio sooner than later. With the right support, they will go far!
Photos of local “Sci-Fi driven Punk/Sludgecore” band Quantum Colossus performing at Chopper John’s in Phoenix, Arizona on December 9, 2016. Quantum Colossus really got the bar crowd moving to a high-energy show after midnight!
PHOENIX — Lindsey Stirling, the awe-inspiring dancing violinist, brought her Brave Enough Tour to Comerica Theatre last night. Hailing from Gilbert, Arizona, it’s no surprise that the venue posted low ticket warnings on social media, and a horde of fans came out to see her live.
High production light shows and other grand visual effects are a staple of her concerts, and they make for a truly magical experience. Watching her spirit take flight when she does what she was meant to do, and fought to succeed, sends chills through your body. Lindsey Stirling is a strong inspiration and encouragement for her fans, especially in Arizona, to aspire for great things and persevere.