Tag Archives: concert photography

REVIEW: MRCH Was Something Beautiful for Their “Reactions” Album Release Party at Valley Bar 10-14-17

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PHOENIXElectronic indie pop duo MRCH did not disappoint as they rocked out with the crowd at their album release party at Valley Bar on Saturday night. MRCH (pronounced “march”) filled the venue with aesthetically pleasing visuals and entrancing music. Drummer Jesse Pangburn’s, sparkly silver drum kit and Vocalist/Guitarist/Synthist Mickey Pangburn’s black sparkly dress added to the October atmosphere and the band’s image.

MRCH,  Photo Credit: Dale Hurt © All Rights Reserved

Mickey Pangburn gave off Stevie Nicks vibes with her 70s inspired outfit which incorporated red velvet boots. At one point, she took off her boots, showing how comfortable she was with the crowd.

Heavy drums and synthesizer are the duo’s signature sound. One might consider some of their sound to be like a cross of Phoenix locals Vial of Sound, and The Birthday Massacre. Jesse Pangburn played the drums with seemingly effortless power and precision. Many times during the set, Mickey would ask the sound person to ease up on the drums due to the strong beats.

Jesse Pangburn (Drummer) – MRCH, Photo Credit: Dale Hurt © All Rights Reserved

One of their songs “Spooky”, the title lived up to its name, had a strong bass feel that even made the ground shake. Mickey’s vocals were fittingly haunting, and the song would’ve made an excellent soundtrack for those donning costumes for early Halloween celebrations outside the venue in downtown Phoenix.

Mickey incorporated guitar into some songs, often playing catchy riffs such as those in “Spin” and “Dark Days + Disco”.

Mickey Pangburn (Vocalist/Guitarist/Synthist) – MRCH
Photo Credit: Dale Hurt © All Rights Reserved

The duo paid a lot of attention to details in organizing the whole concert experience. They focused not only on their music, but also on the lighting and visuals. Green, blue, red, purple, pink and white lights cast over a background of white sheets added extra effect to their show setting the mood for the song.

Mickey Pangburn (Vocalist/Guitarist/Synthist) – MRCH
Photo Credit:
Dale Hurt © All Rights Reserved

Their visuals were just as amazing as their stage presence and musicianship. With a geometric theme, triangles and lines differed in shapes and colors varied per each song. Just as with lighting, their visuals helped make their songs and added to their meaning.

Mickey’s vocals were truly enchanting and transported the audience to another time in such songs as “Something Beautiful”,  “Spin” and “We Are the Strange Ones”.

Mickey Pangburn (Vocalist/Guitarist/Synthist) – MRCH
Photo Credit:
Dale Hurt © All Rights Reserved

Mickey also really engaged with the crowd, making silly jokes during stage banter. At one point a girl in the crowd asked for her number, and Mickey playfully asked if she was referring to her favorite number. The crowd was completely invested into the duo as they danced and enjoyed themselves as the night went on. Mickey was also having fun and dancing while singing and moving across the stage when she wasn’t playing guitar or her synthesizer.

MRCH’s cover of Metric’s “Black Sheep” from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was clearly a crowd-pleaser; amping up the power with strong vocals and crashing drums.

At the end of the set, if fans had a wristband, they received a free CD of their new album Reactions. This was a kind gesture from MRCH that seemed to be their ‘thank you’ for supporting them, and the audience was grateful to the band in return.

MRCH is certainly a local band in Phoenix who you won’t want to miss! Follow them on their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to find out more about their future tour plans.

Also check out our interview with the duo to find out more about MRCH!

Photo Album

Photographer: Dale Hurt

MRCH “Reactions” Album Release – Valley Bar 10-14-17

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Photography © Dale Hurt. All Rights Reserved

REVIEW: Halestorm Brings the Mayhem to Rock the Coliseum at the Arizona State Fair 10-12-17

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PHOENIX The city’s weather was perfect on Thursday, October 12th as it enthusiastically welcomed Halestorm to the stage. People of all ages swarmed the Arizona State Fairgrounds for one of two reasons; fun rides and fried food, or heading to the Coliseum for a show that would allow them to experience rock at its pure essence.

Lzzy (Elizabeth) Hale is and has been the lead vocalist since the band came into existence in 1997. Anyone who has been to a Halestorm show can confirm that she posses a stage presence unlike any other female artist in the industry. From the moment she stepped up to the mic, there was a fierce connection between her and the crowd that remained throughout the entire show.

Halestorm - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt
Lzzy Hale, Vocalist – Halestorm
Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

Even as the music shifted from fast-paced, bass pumping rhythms to slower, more haunting ballads and back again, her passion for their music poured from her. Literally and figuratively in this case, as sweat dripped from every pore, whether she was dancing around the stage during “I Am the Fire” or aggressively playing her piano for her more emotional ballad “Dear Daughter.” One would think she would steal any show completely, but with this band that is simply not the case.

Joe Hottinger, Guitarist &
Lzzy Hale, Vocalist – Halestorm

Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt
© All Rights Reserved

Midway through their set she did something often seen at a concert by pausing midway through one of their main hits titled “I Like it Heavy”, from their third album Into the Wild Life, to introduce Arejay Hale, who is her little brother and Halestorm’s drummer. He is also an original member of the band, asking his sister over breakfast, at 10 years old, if he could play drums for her when she was telling her parents about wanting to start a band. Without returning to the song, Arejay instead spent the next six minutes in an intense, heart-pounding drum solo that shook the Coliseum walls and drove the crowd insane. “WHAT’S UP PHOENIX?!”, he yelled into his mic as he brought the solo to an end. He then took out chopsticks and proceeded to prove his pure talent as he effortlessly played the drums with them as if used them everyday. People cheered loudly, and it was obvious this bit is a crowd favorite. Still not finished, he pulled out broomsticks next and successfully played the same beat he just had with much smaller sticks. The crowd was losing their minds with amazement at this point, so Lzzy Hale took the stage once more to finally bring the song they had started playing nearly fifteen minutes before to an end. It was truly a unique transition of focus and made for an unforgettable introduction.

Halestorm - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt
Arejay Hale, Drummer – Halestorm
Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved.

One other thing Halestorm always makes clear when they perform is the love they have for their fans. After spending a good portion of the last half of the show playing upbeat, intense songs, Lzzy took a moment to toast the crowd with these words; “Thank you Phoenix for having us. Here’s to Rock and Roll, here’s to us being excellent to one another, and here’s to Arizona!”, which received thunderous applause and exuberant screams that were quickly drowned out as she launched into the beginning chords of “Here’s to Us.” This song brought out more emotion in the crowd than any song had yet. There were people pumping their fists and they sang back the lyrics they knew so well next to people hugging one another as they also sang along.

Halestorm - Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt
Halestorm at Veterans Memorial Coliseum – AZ State Fair
Photo Credit: Mark Greenawalt © All Rights Reserved

This band really knows how to evoke emotions from a crowd. Even as they closed their set with the ever popular “I Miss the Misery” everyone was out of their seat, head-banging along to the beat and dancing with their hands in the air. The band didn’t give on their end either, wrapping up their final song with so much intensity from the music and the light show you could feel it at your core. “Thank you so much Arizona, we fucking love you!”, Lzzy said, which was met with roaring applause and a room full of metal horns.

The band bowed together as one and exited the stage. As the lights came on and everyone began to file out of the Coliseum, various chatter had already started about the show and how unforgettable it was. For never meeting a majority of their fans, they have a way of making every one of them feel like family. So it’s only natural that Phoenix will anxiously await the next time Halestorm returns to rock this city, and our hearts.

PHOTO ALBUM

Photographer: Mark Greenawalt

Halestorm – AZ State Fair 10-12-17

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Photography © Mark Greenawalt. All Rights Reserved

PHOTOS: The Movielife & The Early November with Racquet Club at The Rebel Lounge 10-3-17

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PHOENIX — While genre-bending musician & DJ Bonobo was electrifying The Van Buren downtown, The Rebel Lounge was being taken over by post-hardcore, indie, and alternative rock.  On the bill were co-headlining classic Drive-Thru Records artists The Movielife & The Early November, along with Racquet Club, & locals Daylight Heist.

Racquet Club - Photography: Russ Broty
Blair Shehan (Vocalist, Guitarist), Racquet Club
Photography: Russ Broty, Photo Editor: Katherine Amy Vega
© All Rights Reserved

Racquet Club

Phoenix was the first night that Racquet Club joined this tour, and they will continue through to the last show on October 14. Racquet Club features members of Knapsack, The Jealous Sound, and Samiam. They released their debut self-titled album on September 29, just 4 days before this Phoenix show. Fans of local legends The Format, whose lead vocalist was Nate Ruess, may have recognized vocalist Blair Shehan from The Jealous Sound when they performed together in 2003 along with Limbeck and The Like.

The Early November

The Early November played their debut album, The Room’s Too Cold, in it’s entirety, to the delight of the crowd that sang 3/4 of the songs. The band took a break from 2007 to 2011, and has been active up until the present, with their fifth studio album Fifteen Years released in January of this year. The Early November performed as part of the Taste of Chaos line-up at Comerica Theatre in July of 2016; alongside Saosin, Taking Back Sunday, & Dashboard Confessional. (View our review & photos here.)

The Early November - Photography: Russ Broty
Arthur “Ace” Enders (Vocalist, Guitarist), The Early November
Photography: Russ Broty, Photo Editor: Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

The Movielife

The Movielife released their first new album in 14 years, Cities in Search of A Heart, on September 22. Their 2014 reunion was a dream come true for fans who didn’t expect their return 11 years after their 2003 break-up, those who never had a chance to see them before, and for Phoenix fans who didn’t expect the band to play outside of New York.

Vinnie Caruana (Vocalist), The Movielife
Photography: Russ Broty, Photo Editor: Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Daylight Heist

Daylight Heist, who were on after The Movielife, are the official resident DJs of EmoNightPHX, which has been taking place at The Rebel Lounge, but will next be at The Van Buren on October 21. You can check them out, along with out all-emo cover band Hands Down, and other special guests (TBA) that night. Some of the special guest DJs that EmoNightPHX has had this year include: Buddy Neilsen of Senses Fail (9/27), Ryan Key of Yellowcard (7/20), and JT Woodruff of Hawthorne Heights (6/22).

PHOTO ALBUM

Photographer: Russ Broty | Photo Editor: Katherine Amy Vega

The Movielife & The Early November With Racquet Club – The Rebel Lounge 10-3-17

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

Photography © Looking at You Too
All Rights Reserved

REVIEW: Soaring to New Heights at the Ben Folds Paper Airplane Tour at Marquee Theatre 9-22-17

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Tempe, Ariz. — Even before a band took the stage there was a sense of friendship and camaraderie sweeping the room at the Marquee Theatre that Friday, September 22.  Ben Folds’ Paper Airplane tour had come to town, and the audience smiled and laughed as they waited excitedly for the show to start.

Tall Heights

Tim Harrington and Paul Wright of the duo Tall Heights sauntered on stage, carrying their instruments: a guitar and a cello.  The electrofolk group from Boston serenaded with haunting harmonies that lulled back and forth as an ocean’s tide, pulling the audience in and releasing them once again.  Their emotive lyrics of songs like “Spirit Cold” and “Iron in the Fire” weighed on hearts and the duo used creative sounds like cell phone feedback to accompany the song Cross my Mind. The spell was eventually broken as their set came to an end, signalling to the crowd to usher forward for the main event, Ben Folds.  

Tall Heights - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Tall Heights
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

Ben Folds

Ben Folds - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Ben Folds
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

After holding the audience in eager anticipation Ben Folds entered the stage and seated himself at the piano, gave a short wave and sheepish grin to the crowd, then immediately slammed fingers to keys, playing “Annie Waits.  Arms slipped over shoulders and the audience sang along.  It was as though everyone was invited to an intimate house party, every song a precious memory as it poured over the audience, friendly reminders of days now past.  

Ben Folds warmly shared stories, talking about his father as a construction worker and being cornered by his Uncle Walter who talked about what he would do if he were president.  Occasionally Ben Folds would stop singing and just listen to the audience sing instead.  He stood and happily conducted the crowd in a five part harmony singing “Not the Same”.  Tall Heights came back to the stage joining Ben Folds to sing “Still Fighting It.

Ben Folds & Tall Heights - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Ben Folds featuring Tall Heights
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

 For the grand finale of the first half of his set he started playing a drum while walking across the stage and continued playing an amazing drum solo as they set up the remaining set around him. The stunned audience continued to watch intently, impressed into silence broken intermittently by hoots and screams.  When it was over, a brief intermission began, but there was a catch.  

Ben Folds - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Ben Folds
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

The audience was instructed to go into the lobby and get a piece of paper.  Write a request on it and fold it into a paper airplane to be sailed across the Marquee landing gently on the stage, where Ben Folds would take it and play what was written on it.   People rushed to get their paper and pushed their way close to the stage, hoping that their paper would make it, and more importantly, that their paper would be chosen.  It was none other than Arizona’s own Alice Cooper who came on to the stage, swinging red lights and wearing his signature black hat, who initiated the count down. The crowd chanted “10, 9, 8…” and at 0 the entire audience sailed airplanes towards the stage.  The planes that didn’t make it were picked up by strangers and thrown again, everyone helping to get all the paper planes to the stage.

Alice Cooper with Paper Airplanes in the air - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Alice Cooper at Ben Folds Concert
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

Ben Folds did explain he might not be able to sing every song, or occasionally a song wasn’t even written on the paper, making it impossible to play.  However, the highlight of the second half of the set was when just that happened.  He started to play a song that no one recognized, and went on to completely ad-lib a song based off what was written on the airplane, which was “Rock this B***h, Omaha Symphony 2017.”  In the song Ben Folds told a story about how he acquired his favorite piano, his Frank LLoyd Wright piano for only $8000, singing that the guy who sold it “thought that was a lot.”  The audience laughed over and over at the witty story set to music, all in the guise of a request written on an airplane.  

Ben Folds - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Ben Folds
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

Songs kept coming and wrists flung in the air to the beat of “Kate” while bodies moved back and forth to the sweet piano chords.  Abruptly, Ben stood and bowed the audience, thanking them for coming out and left the stage.  The audience continued to cheer and scream, knowing an encore had to be in store. In a few minutes he returned and played “Zak and Sarafor a rejoicing audience.

Then it really was over, the house lights came on and the crowd started to head to the doors.  Their faces full of smiles, holding the hands of loved ones and already reminiscing about their favorite part of the concert. It was as though they were leaving a friend’s party who had come to town unexpectedly, hyped up and already awaiting the next chance they get to see each other.  The next time Ben Folds comes to town, they’ll be ready.

PHOTO ALBUM

by Katherine Amy Vega

Ben Folds & Tall Heights – Marquee Theatre 9-22-17

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All Content © Kataklizmic Design.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No Stealing

REVIEW: Nothing Stood in the Way of Epica, Lacuna Coil, Insomnium, & Elantris at Marquee Theatre 9-17-17

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Phoenix —  A long of line of dark figures stood waiting outside the Marquee Theatre on September 17th. Even on a Sunday night, fans gathered together under the setting sun, bonding over their shared excitement of the night to come. The Dutch symphonic metal band Epica was joining the Italian gothfathers Lacuna Coil in a show that was sure to not be forgotten.

Elantris & Insomnium

As the stage glowed an ominous red the opening band Elantris, a female-fronted symphonic metal band, perched on the edge of the stage amping up the crowd.  The melodic voice of Lindsay Victoria Ketchum mixed with the gravelly screams of Thomas Ullom made for a beautiful contrast and got hearts pumping, Thomas even joined the crowd for moshing. After Elantris, Insomnium took the stage, bringing the crowd to new heights with their super charged energy and in-sync head banging. All the way from Finland, they were excited to be celebrating their 7th album Winter’s Gate.

Lacuna Coil

It was now time for Lacuna Coil to take the stage and the crowd pushed forward, the room thick and dripping with anticipation. One-by-one, the band members took to the stage, adorned in their sanitorium costumes.  Straight jackets stained red and band members’ faces painted white and red to look like sadistic clowns.

Lacuna Coil - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Marco Coti Zelati (Bassist), Lacuna CoilBand Photo Album
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design />All Rights Reserved.

Only the vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro stood with unpainted faces, their clothes scrawled with lyrics such as “Leave me Alone” in erratic black marker. It was a sight to behold.  They immediately launched into song and the crowd’s cheering filled the theatre.

Lacuna Coil - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Christina Scabbia (Vocalist), Lacuna Coil
Band Photo Album
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
© Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

They started off the night with some of their new songs from their latest album, Delirium which was released May, 2016.  Songs such as “Delirium” as well as “House of Shame” and “Blood, Tears, Dust” all shook the theatre to the core.  In between each song, vocalist Cristina Scabbia would address the crowd and make connections on a personal level.  She told the audience to “Leave your problems at the door, because everyone is welcome in the sanatorium!”; and made them cheer as she told them, “We know where we are, and we are headed towards our destiny!”

Midway through their set, Cristina challenged the audience to raise the bar as she burst into their hit song “Swamped” the audience went wild, moshing and throwing their hands in the air.  After singing “Come to Me” and “My Demons” Lacuna Coil brought it down a notch, asking the crowd to get out their lighters and cell phones and keep loved ones alive in their hearts as they sang “Downfall.”

Lacuna Coil - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Lacuna CoilBand Photo Album
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

Towards the end of their set Lacuna Coil announced a new project for their 20 year anniversary.  They will be releasing a book entitled “We Fear Nothing” in 2018, which will document the band’s journey from beginning to their current platform.  It should be an amazing and vivid illustration full of their accomplishments and past concerts. They finished their set with “Nothing Stands in Our Way” emphasizing that they believe in destiny!  Even as the band members left stage, the audience was soaking in their message of love, acceptance, and strength.  But the night wasn’t over.

Epica

The last band to take the stage was another female-fronted symphonic metal band, Epica.  On their Ultimate Principle Tour, Epica promoted their newest album The Holographic Principle.

Epica - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Simone Simons (Vocalist), EpicaBand Photo Album
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

The band members took the stage as the eager crowd cheered them on. Vocalist Simone Simons appeared last, in a tight-fitting black leather like dress, flipping her iconic long red hair.  Her operatic vocals filled the theatre as guitarists Mark Jansen and Isaac Dela haye wowed the crowd with their fingering skills, parading back and forth.  Even the keyboardist Coen Janssen got into it, spinning his keyboard around and headbanging with his bandmates, even with his shaved head!  

Epica - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Mark Jansen (Guitarist), EpicaBand Photo Album
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

Green light emanated from behind them as though the audience was transported to a different world, as alternating lights flickered and flashed.  Belting out the songs “Our Destiny” and “The Essence of Silence” the audience was electrified as though in a trance. It was the best way to end the night.

Afterwards, it was hard not to dwell on the lyrics and messages of the bands.  It felt as though you could take on the world with a newfound passion and strength. With the words echoing in your head, “We Fear Nothing!”, it was time to tackle Monday.

PHOTO ALBUM

by Katherine Amy Vega

Lacuna Coil & Epica – Marquee Theatre 9-17-17

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

All Content © Kataklizmic Design.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No Stealing

PHOTOS: Dead Cross at Marquee Theatre 8-12-17

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Dead Cross LP

Tempe, Ariz. — Dead Cross, the band comprised of Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Mike Patton (Faith No More/Tomahawk), Justin Pearson (Retox/The Locust) and Michael Crain (Retox), stopped at Marquee Theatre on their first national tour, supporting their self-titled debut album.

Rolling Stone said the release is chock full of “head-spinning ragers.”

PHOTO ALBUM
by Jim “Fury” Hesterman

Dead Cross – Marquee Theatre 8-12-17

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

Photography © Jim Hesterman
All Rights Reserved

PHOTOS: Think About It at Rogue Bar 8-10-17

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Think About It concert flyerScottsdale, 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.

PHOTO ALBUM
by Katherine Amy Vega

Think About It – The Rogue Bar 8-10-17

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All Content © Kataklizmic Design.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO STEALING

REVIEW: Sedona’s Michelle Branch Returns to AZ to Serenade Fans at Crescent Ballroom 07-26-17

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PHOENIX — Even the intense July heat could not exhaust the bubbling excitement surrounding the sold out Crescent Ballroom last Wednesday night as fans of all ages poured into the venue, ready to watch Michelle Branch take the stage. It was almost as if the city itself knew that one of it’s own had come home. Once inside, people gathered in little bundles or nestled themselves in corners and around tables in the bar, loudly chattering with excitement for Michelle’s set to begin.

In the concert area, the opener HAERTS had just begun, guiding the audience into a mellow atmosphere that would last throughout their set. As the songs continued, it was apparent that the crowd was not going to do this band justice. Side conversation and constant movement drowned out the soulful lyrics vocalist Nini Fabi sang. However, the fans closest to the stage were completely entranced by her beautiful words, and could be seen swaying back and forth.

As soon as HAERTS took their leave from the stage, everyone in the room gathered close and waited in anticipation for Michelle to come on. She was met with rousing applause and cheers as she came from backstage, and without a word strapped on her guitar, and went right into her first song, “Last Night.” Like most of her set, the first song and the two that followed came from her brand new album Hopeless Romantic, which was released back in April of this year.

Michelle Branch - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Michelle Branch
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
© Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

People who listened to her music before know Michelle Branch to have more of a pop/country vibe to her music. However, this time she has completely revamped her musical style, and it showed as she went effortlessly from one song to the next, dancing around the stage or making subtle hand movements around the mic as she sang. The crowd was loving it, especially during the third song “You Get Me” when she suddenly exclaimed “Phoenix how you guys doing tonight?! It’s so good to be home, even if it is too hot to go outside!” This was met with loud, amused cheering. Along with their excitement came a moment of uncertainty however, as to how to respond to her new style of music. There were various people moving back and forth or clapping lightly to the beat. Some were even singing along or just cheering the entire time. It took until she played “All You Wanted” for the crowd to really get into it. She took a different approach to the old crowd favorite, slowing down the tempo and singing in a lower pitch, but that didn’t stop everyone in the room from singing along joyously to the lyrics they had come to know and love.

Once the thunderous applause died down from our first moment of nostalgia that evening, she took a moment to talk about her new album and the steps that it took her to produce it. After that she took a moment to introduce us to her “family from the road”, including her drummer and now fiance Patrick Carney who also happens to be the drummer for The Black Keys. When the introductions concluded, the lights dimmed as Michelle and her female band mates gathered around a microphone and prepared to “bring a little Nashville to Phoenix” with their rendition of “Leave the Pieces” from Michelle’s 2006 album Stand Still, Look Pretty, which she produced as part of the band The Wreckers.

She then continued our trip down memory lane with a slow tempoed, almost seductive version of “Game of Love,” written and produced with Santana. She rounded out this part of her set with the ever popular “Breathe” which produced the biggest crowd response of any song so far. Everyone was up and dancing, jumping up and down to the beat, and singing loudly to the words, threatening to drown her out completely. Even the band moved around the stage as they played, giving off the exact vibe expected to come from her show.

Wanting to bring the focus back to her current album, she finished out the show playing more upbeat songs, not stopping as she effortlessly navigated through “City”, “Fault Line” and “Living in a Lie.” The energy from these songs was enough to keep the crowd fully drawn in, even when she had to pause a time or two in between songs to tune her different guitars. She brought the set to a close with one last oldie but goodie “Are You Happy Now?” Following her flow from earlier on in the show, she slowed this one down as well, singing very closely to the mic while keeping her eyes closed. The vibe around the whole room was warm and satisfied as they gently swayed in unison to the lyrics in the dim lighting. She was met with a resounding applause as she stated a simple, “Thank you Phoenix”, and left the stage with her bad in tow.

Michelle Branch - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Michelle Branch
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

She didn’t make it far before the crowd exuberantly began yelling “Encore!!”. This went on for about a minute before Michelle and her band returned to the stage. She began by thanking Haerts for playing with her that evening, explaining, “I listened to Haerts a lot while writing this new album.”. Then, she went on to remind us one more time, “It is so nice to be home! I cannot believe I’m playing here again.”, giving us all a sense of pride to share our hometown with her.

The Birthday Massacre setlist Phoenix 7-26-17
Michelle Branch setlist
Crescent Ballroom 7-26-17
(Click to Enlarge)

She finished her set by singing two more old favorites; the soulful “Goodbye to You” and an unexpected solo version of “Everywhere.” Before starting her final song, she made a promise to the crowd that. “it won’t ever be this long ever again” in terms of her producing new music. Almost as if she didn’t want the show to end, she beautifully sang the lyrics of her biggest hit in a sensual, almost haunting manner, keeping the crowd entranced up until the last note.

Thank you again Phoenix”, were her parting words as she waved at everyone as she exited the stage, hugging people along the sides as she went. As the crowd left the concert area, there was a feeling of content in the air knowing that everyone got exactly what they wanted from this show, and that it will not be another decade before we welcome Michelle home once more.

REVIEW: Post Animal Right at Home at Valley Bar 7-23-17

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PHOENIX — Valley Bar’s retro interior design was the perfect setting for psychedelic rock band Post Animal’s entrancing show on Sunday, July 23. Their music and the atmosphere of the rain outside were the perfect combination for a show that made the crowd exude happiness and dance throughout the entire set.

Post Animal on retro couch
Post Animal
Photo Credit: Jim Hesterman, Burning Hot Events © All Rights Reserved

The show was opened by Femny and Stef Chura. Stef Chura had a female lead singer /guitarist, as well as a female bassist. Their music echoed underground vibes, and it had a reminiscent sound of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

When Post Animal came on stage, they began their set with an electrifying new song. The crowd was quickly out of their seats to dance, and filled up the previously barren space by the stage. “Swamp Fruit”, the next song, brought ambiance that made for the perfect transition.

Post Animal live at Valley Bar
Post Animal
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

Jake Hirshland (Guitarist/Keyboardist/Vocalist) bolstered the crowd as he complimented their presence saying, “Beautiful, Phoenix, Arizona!”. There’s always something special about hearing a band say the name of your hometown.

Jake Hirshland, Guitarist Keyboardist, Post Animal
Jake Hirshland (Guitarist/Keyboardist/Vocalist), Post Animal
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

The entrancing guitar in the following song, “Alabaster”, took you somewhere else; it’s truly a psychedelic must-hear! The crowd was feeling the band’s energy, and head banging was in full swing.

Dalton Allison holding bass with hair flying
Dalton Allison (Vocalist/Bassist), Post Animal
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
© Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

The band played fan favorites, including “When I Get Home”. After Hirshland let the crowd know they had nowhere to sleep that night and were looking to crash at someone’s place, Javi Reyes (Guitarist) said, “Let’s talk!”.

Javi Reyes smiling
Javi Reyes (Guitarist), Post Animal
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
© Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

They ended their set with another new song. You could feel the high energy of the crowd the from beginning to the end of Post Animal’s set.

Wes Toledo drummer Post Animal
Wes Toledo (Drums), Post Animal
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
© Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

Post Animal brings a modern touch to classic psychedelic rock with heavy drums and powerful guitar solos. Each member plays their role perfectly as they synchronize with each other. Their music is just as good live as it is on their records, with the added bonus of an impressive energy worth the experience. Undeniably, they are a band you will want to listen to and make sure to come out to see next time they are in Phoenix!

Check out our interview with Vocalist/Bassist, Dalton Allison, for interesting facts and trivia about Post Animal and their background!

PHOTO ALBUM

by Katherine Amy Vega

Post Animal – Valley Bar 7-23-17

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REVIEW: Phoenix Lassoed in the Marquee Theatre Crowd with Their Electrifying Performance 6-13-17

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Marquee Theatre was heated up by Phoenix’s electric performance on June 13th. Just four days earlier, Phoenix released their sixth studio album Ti Amo and played a few songs from it. It was an unusually cool night (well, as cool as Arizona in June can get), and everyone was lining up to enter into the venue. The atmosphere was filled with excitement as the Marquee was quickly filling up, and looked to be a nearly sold out show.

The venue seemed to be filled with mostly ages 21 and over, as many people had a drink in their hand as they watched the opening act, The Lemon Twigs, perform. The Lemon Twigs owned the stage with their vintage style and sound. Brothers Michael (Lead Vocalist/Guitarist) and Brian (Drummer/Backing Vocalist) D’Addario front the band; with Megan Zeankowski on bass, and Danny Ayala on keyboards/backing vocals. Michael D’Addario commanded the stage with his flare pants and teal shaggy hair. He did numerous high kicks into the air and had a reminiscent look and presence of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards combined. They played a song “Bay Baby”, which gave a 70s feel-good heartbreak vibe. The Lemon Twigs are about to take the music industry by storm, so make sure to check them out!

After a long anticipated wait, Phoenix walked onto stage and the crowd roared with excitement. They started with “Ti Amo”, the title-track of their newly released album Ti Amo. Next came “Lasso” which was met by a pleased crowd that cheered after hearing the first few seconds of the song.

Thomas Mars, Phoenix - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Thomas Mars (Vocalist), Phoenix
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

Phoenix played “Entertainment”, and were immersed in an incredible light show during parts of the song. White lights created a curtain cover and our concert photographer, Katherine Amy Vega, described it as being like a holographic effect. The lighting really complemented the electric rock sound. Strobe lights of white, red, blue and yellow filled their set. During some songs, there was a rainbow lighting effect, which may have hinted to Phoenix’s support of the LGBTQ community during Pride Month.

Phoenix - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Phoenix
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

Phoenix seemed to have one of those awe-struck moments as the band paused after playing “Lisztomania”, and smiled at the crowd. During most of the set, balloons with a heart and “Ti Amo” printed on floated through the air amongst the crowd. The whole band put on an energized performance and played their part in creating a music loving atmosphere.

Christian Mazzalai (Guitarist), Phoenix - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Christian Mazzalai (Guitarist), Phoenix
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
© Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

One of the most amazing intimate moments of the show was during the encore when Thomas Mars (Lead Vocalist), climbed off the stage and came to the barricade while singing a stripped-down version of “Countdown” to the crowd as guitarist Christian Mazzalai played on stage.

Phoenix played many fan favorites including “1901” and “Fior Di Latte”. The band took over the stage and created an exhilarating atmosphere. Constant dancing, singing along, cheering and pure happiness filled the venue. It was a concert where you couldn’t help but feel joy because the band projected their happiness and love for music onto the crowd.

Laurent Brancowitz (Guitarist), Phoenix - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Laurent Brancowitz (Guitarist), Phoenix
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
© Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

To end the show, in the BEST way, Thomas Mars came off stage and joined the crowd in the final song “Ti Amo Di Piu”. He walked through the full crowd with his microphone connected to a glowing red cable that the crowd held up; and he said “Thank you!” over and over again, showing his gratitude to the loving fans. At one point he seemed to be hoistered on someone’s shoulders, possibly a fan, and said “Thank you!” again; followed by crowdsurfing back up to the stage . It was truly a moment no one will forget!

Phoenix put on an amazing performance that rocked the Marquee. Fans will definitely be awaiting the next time they come to Arizona!

PHOTO ALBUM
by Katherine Amy Vega

Phoenix (The Band) – Marquee Theatre 6-13-17

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All Content © Kataklizmic Design.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No Stealing