PHOENIX — Visibly and audibly enthusiastic for their homecoming, and impressed by the new The Van Buren music venue, The Maine put on a show that was both charged and endearing for their close-knit fans. They are a great example of a local band that made it big, not changing who they are and their beliefs in the ever-evolving industry. The five-piece band native to Tempe, consisting of John O’Callaghan (Lead Vocalist/Guitarist), Kennedy Brock (Guitarist), Pat Kirch (Drummer), Jared Monaco (Guitarist), and Garrett Nickelsen (Bassist), rocked out with a packed crowd Wednesday night. Following opening bands Night Riots and DREAMERS, they tore it up with their two newest albums Lovely Little Lonely (2017) and American Candy (2015) in full, back-to-back.
The show began with alternative rock band Night Riots, who got the crowd excited with the powerful voice of lead singer Travis Hawley. During their set, the band played “Free Fallin” as a tribute to the late Tom Petty. Hawley said, “Holy sh*t that sounds good,” after the crowd sang the words “free fallin”.
The band engaged the crowd and hyped them up for the rest of the show. At one point in the band’s set, a person in the crowd was seen clapping with their shoe, which had neon lights at the bottom. Such innovation! It really added to the unique atmosphere of the show, which seemed to say that for one night, surrounded by strangers, everyone could be themselves and not care what anyone thinks. (View Photo Album)
Rock trio DREAMERS came on next, and the crowd exuded excitement as they danced and sang along. The band brought their name to life on stage as Nick Wold (Vocalist/Guitarist), had a dream catcher hung on his mic stand. They performed their hits “Painkiller” and “Sweet Disaster” to an eager crowd that danced and sang along. They also covered “Zombie” by the Cranberries, which segued into their own song “Drugs”.
Night Riots and DREAMERS were the perfect opening acts. Their energy and the way they commanded the stage, captivated the audience, making it an all-around solid line-up. They amped up the crowd and proved that you never want to miss the openers at shows. Night Riots’ stage presence showcased a seasoned band, while DREAMERS proved a rock trio can be just as compelling on stage as a traditional band setup. (View Photo Album)
The Van Buren did not seem full at the beginning of the show. However, as The Maine’s set approached, the venue began to fill up and one could feel the anticipation for the hometown success-story.
The Maine started off with “Don’t Come Down” from their latest album Lovely Little Lonely, and their all white suits fit the aesthetic of the album. Hit singles “Bad Behavior” and “Black Butterflies and DéJà Vu” were played with immense reactions from the crowd.
This album portrays a sense of “oneness,” and that was felt in the room. It came off as if The Maine put everything they had into making that album for anyone who has felt different or alone. For a period of time, while they played through every track of the album, it appeared that everyone in the room felt the words being sung as if they were sung for them.
During “How Do You Feel,” the line, “You are alive, but are you living?,” was met with the crowd singing back passionately as they jumped along to the beat of the song.
Amidst the first half of the set, O’Callaghan said, “Thanks for letting us make this album right here.” Passion exuded from the band, and it was evident how much The Maine cares about their music and fans.
After finishing Lovely Little Lonely, there was a brief intermission, and before the band came back on, a man in a Christmas suit came out to declare that American Candy was next. When the band came back on stage, they surprised fans by having changed into dark blue jackets to fit the aesthetic of American Candy.
“24 Floors” and “(Un)Lost” have a similar vibe to the songs off of Lovely Little Lonely. The lyrics seemed to be aimed at those going through a tough time. They give off a feeling that in the end, everything will turn out fine.
During this portion of the set, the band’s heavier sound became prominent, with songs such as the album’s title track “American Candy,” as well as the song “Diet Soda Society.”
While gazing out into the crowd in the beginning half of the second album O’Callaghan proclaimed to the audience, “I want to remember this one, I don’t want to remember Anaheim.”
This show had a special feeling to it, where the fans and the band had a connection that could be felt. The Maine and their fans have a one-of-a-kind relationship, and every lyric sung, felt personal, as if directed to everyone individually and collectively.
O’Callaghan reminded the crowd, “Remember to tell the people that you love, that you f****ing love them.” He also thanked the fans on behalf of the band for, “making us feel less lonely.”
A highlight for the show was during “Am I Pretty” when O’Callaghan got the crowd to crouch to the floor. The crowd was together in this moment and listened carefully to O’Callaghan’s words. It’s moving to watch as a band can get a room full of strangers to bond with their words and music.
The show ended perfectly with the ever-nostalgic “Another Night On Mars”. The lyrics, “this one goes out to my closest friends, the ones who make me feel less alien,” showcase the importance of friendship and how friends allow us to be ourselves.
“With friends like ours, anywhere is home,” insinuates that everyone in the room that night, was each other’s friends, and that you don’t physically have to be at home to feel “home”.
The Maine is one of those bands that if you listen to them live, it sounds just like the album. They truly are a talented band, with a unique relationship with their fans. After each show, they make the effort to meet their fans and give them the meet-and-greet experience for FREE.
The Maine has been a band for 10 years now, and in that decade, they have grown, and made sure their fans were on the journey alongside with them. With this special relationship with their supporters, and their devotion to their music, it seems The Maine will definitely be around for a long time – and Burning Hot Events is proud to call them part of Phoenix’s artistic community! Check out our interview with them to find out about their Modern Nostalgia Tour, growing up in the band, their band culture and MORE!
Since Burning Hot Events reviewed Jane N’ The Jungle’s“Shake Me Out” music video in June 2016, immediately following our photo shoot of their music video premiere show, the band has grown by leaps and bounds. It is evident that Jane N’ The Jungle has tenaciously pursued the growth of their visibility, and the quality of their media and productions shows they are not cutting corners. The band is standing out both in image, and in sound, and they just recently released their latest music video, for the track “Wild Side”.
Our interview with Jordan White taps into not only what has helped her band Jane N’ The Jungle to transcend the boundaries of Arizona, but also the personal experiences and growth process for White and her bandmates…
Jane N’ The Jungle has certainly become a recognizable name and sound in the Phoenix music market. Yet, some fans may not realize your growing base outside of your hometown. What do you think has been key for your reach outside of your local area?
Social media has been the biggest part of our growing fanbase outside of our hometown. We’ve been getting radio spins nationally, and our music videos featured on music television channels in the US and Canada that have also helped with our growing fanbase. Spotify is another great way fans have been able to listen to our music and connect through related artists they like.
This current music video “Wild Side” was partially filmed at the Whiskey A Go Go. Was that the first time you had played there?
I played at the Whisky A Go Go twice before with another band I formed out in LA. This was the first time Jane N’ The Junkgle has taken the stage at the legendary venue and opened for The Iron Maidens. It was a blast!!
Was the vision for its charm and neon character of humor thought about as the song was written, or did the vision come about afterwards for the video?
The humor came after writing the song trying to lighten the vibe and keep it fun. We released “Killed Someone” a few months before that, [which] has a very heavy message relating to sexual abuse before the #metoo went viral. We wanted the next video to be lighthearted.
Where does inspiration come from for your songwriting? How personal is it?
Songwriting is my therapy. The words spill out of my mind like a journal and it’s very personal. I appreciate Brian for all his patience during the writing process. I have song melodies constantly going through my head pretty much all the time, so it’s nice trying to focus and narrow down on one thought and theme. I oftentimes don’t even notice I’m singing and humming at work, or at the store, or even when I speak with people; I have songs running in my head it’s hard to shut it out. Maybe one day that will stop, but for now it’s always been my musical inspiration for songwriting with words spilling from my gut at the very moment. Brian has his own inspirations, and with that combined, [it] has formed our music.
Every band has a ‘formula’, so to speak, that they follow in creating their music. Is Jane N The Jungle’s songwriting process lyrics-first, or second?
Our writing process is very organic, and lyrics typically happen the same time as the music, both inspired by the story we are trying to tell musically and lyrically. We have songs that have been written [in] all different ways. When there’s an idea or a spark, you go with it.
The band seems very comfortable on stage and with performing. Was it always that way for each band member, or has being up front in the spotlight taken time to adjust to?
I had horrible stage fright as a child. It took me years to not freeze up and turn ghostly white. I was extremely shy. Overcoming that obstacle inspired my passion for performance. It takes time developing chemistry with each musician on stage. Performance is a very personal space, and the more connected you are with each other and the music the easier it becomes.
The directive the band has taken is really key to success nowadays in the industry – releasing singles with a music video. How many have you done so in 2017, and how has the pace been to keep up with?
We’ve released 4 music videos this year. It’s been a lot of fun working on each one. If you make the work about the music, it quickly doesn’t feel like work, and that has helped with the quick pace of our videos. Music is number one.
Can you give us a glimpse into Jane N The Jungle and 2018?
We are currently working on preproduction for our upcoming EP and can’t wait to share some of the details soon!
It takes a great deal of tenacity, creativity, business savviness, drive and vision in today’s world of entrepreneurship. The music industry is well acquainted with these core elements being a must for artists to obtain their goals.
The fascinating thing, though, is the variety of paths musicians/artists/bands take along the way to find the groove that fits them best. As Randell Swindell moved along his journey, it seems to have brought him full circle to his creative project, his band Swindy.
Musician Randall Swindell tells us about Swindy in a Q & A with Burning Hot Events…
Talk a bit about Swindy and how this idea came about, as the Arizona scene knows your name Randall Swindell for the band Ensphere.
Swindy spontaneously spawned out of ENSPHERE. When ENSPHERE got back together after a few years’ break, we were preparing our old material to perform again. I had a ton of new material that I was bringing to the table – complete songs and a whole bunch of seeds – and my new sound had a much heavier pop influence than the rest of the band was used to hearing from me. I wanted to steer ENSPHERE in a more mainstream and pop-influenced direction, and I gathered that other members of the band had different ideas of where ENSPHERE should go.
The very moment Swindy began was when ENSPHERE was offered an opening slot for Lethal Injektion at the Rialto theater in Tucson. I wanted to say yes to that show, but the rest of the band differed. I decided to say yes to the show offer and throw together a solo act. While I had originally intended on performing ENSPHERE music live with backing tracks, I just went full on with all of my new music. My plan was to go out there solo with my laptop, play my backing tracks, and sing and play guitar by myself. When asked what name I would be performing under, I thought quickly… Swindy, Just call me Swindy.
When I started practicing for this show, I was hanging out with Jeff Sargent of 51 Peg. I convinced him to learn some of the guitar parts and perform with me. He suggested that I reach out to Mike Jenney from Alter Der Ruine and pull him in as a live drummer – and that’s just what I did. We were all excited about the project, and before I knew it we had assembled a new band. From there, we kept getting show offers, and I kept saying yes to them. It felt really good to move at the speed I wanted to. With all the catching up I had to do, it felt good to just say yes.
It has been cited that pop music came heavily into play between the two bands you are affiliated with. How did that influence come about?
When ENSPHERE broke up in 2012, I was devastated. I tried to keep the project going by myself but I could not. Emotionally hurt and feeling a little lost, I stopped caring about what my goals were with ENSPHERE. I was hanging out with different people and I began allowing myself to just listen to the pop music that they were listening to. I opened up to a whole new world of sound, and it felt good – I started singing along with Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Kesha, Lady Gaga, and David Guetta on the radio. These songs sounded so rich and uplifting… I guess I just needed that music in my life at the time. It told me that everything doesn’t always have to be doom and gloom.
Eventually, as I started writing music again, I wanted to see if I could create pop and Electronic dance music – and so I started teaching myself how with my computer. I trained myself to create pop music for a few years from 2012 to 2015. Ultimately what ended up happening was sort of a fusion with my pop attempts and my rock/industrial ROOTS coming together. I just really wanted to broadcast a positive message. I feel strongly that this world needs as much positive energy as possible.
With Swindy coming together and your first music video, “Reflection,” really creating quite a storm nationally in the press – what role has your good friend Mike Jenney (Assemblage 23) played in Swindy?
Mike was there with me from the beginning of Swindy‘s live debut. He is a musician/producer who I have always admired. Our bands played together in the past, and I think there is a mutual respect for one another. Once we started jamming together, we felt the synergy. He began advising me on how to program my live shows, he taught me a lot about electronic music, he showed me the ropes of how to successfully combine backing tracks with live musicians. I learned a ton from him very quickly. We played about 20 shows together and then started writing new music. As it turns out, he and I have a symbiotic relationship when it comes to writing. We complement each other’s strengths, and we developed a process that allows us to quickly generate new songs.
There is a great flow when the two of us are in the studio together. Mike Jenney is a very gifted producer. He will play a beat he came up with, I play guitar for 20 minutes, then we listen back. He cuts up all my guitar lines and starts looping different things in different places. All of the sudden this whole song structure starts coming out. He has a great sense of arrangement and some incredible tools in his bag. Once we realized the chemistry we had together in the studio, we prioritized the writing process. We are currently working together to write as much music as possible. And it is flowing big time – there is just this explosion of new songs coming out right now. And thankfully we have a great process in place to capture it all. At this point, Swindy has evolved into less of a solo project and more of a band. Mike Jenney is absolutely an equal part co-writer in the new music we have coming out in 2018.
Moving forward will there be a building of a relationship between you and Mike?
Yes, we are conceptualizing many different possibilities right now. I will continue with Swindy always. I am super thankful to have started the project, but we may be needing to launch yet another band in the near future! I say that with utter excitement! I will still release solo music as Swindy. I have a ton of unreleased music in my own repertoire. But We are all on to something that needs to come out.
How about other musicians who have become a part of your sound for Swindy?
Jeff Sargent was the original guitarist for Swindy. As momentum picked up, Jeff realized that he was not going to be able to commit full-time, as he is the lead singer of 51 Peg, East Coast industrial band. I brought in Jonathan Russell as a second guitarist for a few shows, but mostly I have just been playing guitar on every song when it comes to the live performances. Mike Jenney started out as a drummer in the band, but he has moved over to the synthesizer position, and he is kicking ass there. Matt Lundgren joined the band as a live drummer early on as well. He performed many of our first shows with us. Matt is a great drummer, and he is still considered part of the band. Steven Escalante joined the band in spring of 2017 and has performed every show with us since his first show. Steven’s hip-hop and drum and bass roots are perfect for the sound I am going for. And he has locked in with everybody in the band. The live band has always had an open policy, and a rotating lineup strategy and members have come and gone frequently. Everybody is invited, nobody is excluded. We had our first live bass player, Matt, join us for a few shows recently.
Last but not least, I met Alyson Precie at a Swindy show in August of 2016. She was singing songs from The Fifth Element. I immediately recognized that she was a talented vocalist. Soon thereafter, Alyson joined me in the recording studio while I was laying down vocals for a cover song we do, “I See Right Through to You” by DJ Encore. She started singing harmonies with me, and the engineer and I were both like “wow! You need to get in the vocal booth right now and lay those vocals down!” She did without hesitation and she nailed it. I got chills listening to her, and I invited her to perform that song with us on stage for the next show. She did and got a great audience response. From that point on Alyson has been a live vocalist with the band, and eventually learned every song. She has such a strong voice and a great live presence on stage. She has expanded Swindy when it comes to the live performances. She also writes her own music, what I would call Goth Folk. Needless to say, Alyson was so amazing I fell in love with her immediately, and now we are married. She continues to assist me with vocal melodies and lyrics. Mike, Steven, Alyson, and I are the core of Swindy right now. We are looking for that perfect bass player.
“Reflection” certainly has a strong emotive side to it. Lyrically and video wise we can relate. Do you like creating strong emotions for fans to interpret or do you like to draw them a clear picture of what you create?
Mostly I like to leave things open to interpretation. For whatever reason with Reflection, it seemed like a really clear picture. When I wrote it, it was just one of those songs that came through on its own. I was trying to put words to my feelings, and the song just wrote itself as I did that. That happens from time to time. Otherwise I mostly just enjoy writing lyrics that kind of describe the feeling of the music, and trying to interpret what it means. Sometimes I bring the lyrics through a refinement process and they tell a story eventually. Sometimes I apply already written lyrics to a new song. Most of the time I want to leave things open to interpretation. I like creating universal music; I like creating things that everybody can interpret and relate to.
Where was “Reflection” filmed?
“Reflection” was filmed in several locations – Texas Canyon, Dragoon AZ; Sweetwater Trail Tucson AZ; “A mountain” in Tucson; and at the Originate Designs studio.
A little comparison if you would from the Tucson music market to the Phoenix market. How are they the same/different?
Tucson and Phoenix are the two biggest cities in Arizona, they both have fairly thriving music scenes. Tucson is the underdog as I see it – less industry, a bit more culture, some cool underground clubs and a hugely eclectic sound that comes from the city. There’s all kinds of music in Tucson – rock, metal, hip-hop, Folk, Avant-garde, Indie, orchestral, electronic, industrial, etc. etc. Tucson is a great place to incubate your musical seeds and a great place to test out projects for larger markets.
When it comes to Phoenix, I see it as the way out of Arizona. Phoenix has the industry, Phoenix has a ton of talent and the connections that musicians need to thrive in the music industry – something that Tucson lacks a little bit. Phoenix is a great city to take those seeds that have been incubating in Tucson and put them full-fledged in the garden where they can grow to their full potential. Phoenix sprouts and grows its own seeds as well, and there is a movement of music coming out of Phoenix that is pretty cool. I see a lot of industrial, metal, rock, and punk rock coming out of Phoenix lately, as well as some more eclectic stuff. Phoenix has some really cool clubs and great theaters and amphitheaters, a much more up-to-date arena, and stadiums. Phoenix is where you need to go if you want to make it out of Arizona.
I don’t necessarily think Phoenix is the best city to live in – it’s a lot of new construction and a lot of cars, but it’s definitely a place to get great work done! Tucson is a great place to be creative. I think those two cities go hand in hand when it comes to the state of Arizona. Phoenix and Tucson work together. Tucson should feed Phoenix, and Phoenix should eat Tucson. Tucson has great food and probably tastes delicious.
What is Swindy looking to create as you drive this sound/movement towards and on into 2018?
We are going to an industrial dance-rock fusion sound – you know, pop, rock, and EDM all in one. Our live set up is definitely specified for festivals right now. We want to hit the festival circuit, to continue building our following – we want to be part of the future. “The future sound of America”. What will that be? Look at what has happened in music over the last hundred years, and look at where it is headed… We are going that way. And it looks really exciting! Technology is continuing to push the envelope in the music industry. We are a part of that, our sound is a reflection of that, our fans are a product of that. We just want to create the best art we possibly can and be as authentic as we can. We are artists, and art and technology have always gone hand-in-hand. I can tell you exactly what our live show would look like if we had a $200 million budget! But that is a conversation for another interview. We work towards that vision every day.
MRCH is releasing their debut album Reactions on October 12. The duo consists of Mickey Pangburn (Vocalist/Guitarist/Synth), and drummer Jesse Pangburn. Many of their songs have been featured in television shows, such as The Vampire Diaries and Famous in Love.
To celebrate the release of their album, the duo is having an album release show (also their first headline show) at Valley Bar on October 14. Come and party with the indie electronic duo!
Mickey Pangburn tells us more about the duo, their music, plans for a tour, and more in their email interview below…
Tell us about your band name, MRCH… How did you come up with it? Does it have any special meaning?
It’s pronounced like ‘march’. When people march, they have purpose. When people march together, they have a common goal. They step together. We wanted a name that showed we were in music for the long haul. For better or for worse, on the same page. We dropped the “A” because people kept coming across ‘marching bands’ when they’d do a google search of us!
What did you most enjoy about the process of making your new album, Reactions?
The playing. We had no one to answer to, so we could just try out whatever we wanted. The hardest part is calling something ‘done’… We’re already writing more though, so it’s become a vicious cycle.
When you aren’t making music or performing, what do you both enjoy doing in your free time?
Jesse likes eating street tacos. I like hanging with my cats.
Are there any plans for MRCH to embark on a tour following the album release party at Valley Bar on October 14?
LA is next up. Details coming soon on that. Then, yes – touring! We probably shouldn’t hold our breath for Bleachers to invite us along with them… So, we’ll be booking DIY. Dates coming soon, hopefully up through the spring.
Have either of you toured before?
Do you know or speak any other languages?
We wish… I like to dream of being fluent in French.
MRCH formed in 2015, and the two of you were previously members of a local band named The Prowling Kind. What was the motivation to go from a five piece band, to a duo?
Scheduling and goals. It’s hard to wrangle 5 different people/opinions/lives – into sharing a common goal and agreeing on a means of reaching said goal. We kinda had to re-set, so everyone could do what was best for them. MRCH is a totally different animal than TPK musically speaking too.
Did your previous experience in the local music scene boost your success in MRCH, or did it feel like a clean slate?
We felt like we learned so much playing with TPK. Jesse and I went to school for music, but felt like Prowling Kind was kind of like an internship. We booked our first tours, got introduced to the local scene, dealt with the business side of things. So there was a lot we were grateful for from that season. However, MRCH is so different in both sound and vibe that the crossover was minimal. We never made it a goal to ‘take’ Prowling Kind fans. We hoped they’d like MRCH too, but it was a mixed bag of responses. MRCH really felt like starting over. It felt like a clean slate.
Have the Phoenix music and art communities influenced your music and image?
The Phoenix music scene has been really supportive. The thing we appreciate most about it, is really how little they influence our sound or image. There’s such an eclectic and diverse spectrum of artists, we don’t feel inclined to be much like anybody else. We never feel like we’re expected to fit in a particularly Phoenix mold. There’s room to explore here. There’s a lot of freedom.
Name some of your favorite local bands or artists:
There are a bunch, but some are : PAO, Bogan Via, Harper and the Moths,The Technicolors, The Darts, Hex Marrow & House of Stairs.
How has the exposure of your songs on multiple television series helped promote your music?
There’s definitely a broader audience. Showtime, ABC & Netflix have completely different demographics – which is cool. Mostly, it’s allowed us to pursue music more full-time, which is huge. We’re super grateful for this avenue of music in film and television. Someday, it’d be a dream to score something. *sigh*
Anything else you want us to know?
We’re so excited to be playing. Especially this release show! It’s our very first time headlining and we’re working hard to make it extra special.
Do you have a message for your fans coming to the release show?
Come ready to dance!
News & Reviews from the Fiery Mosh Pits of Arizona