Tempe, AZ – On April 15th, Nightwish enchanted the Marquee Theatre with their music, and also delighted fans with a free two-disc CD of their Decades album featuring an archive of songs from 1996-2015 to celebrate their “DECADES: WORLD TOUR 2018”. For those unaware of Nightwish, they are a symphonic metal band from Finland. The band was formed by keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, and former lead singer Tarja Turunen in 1996. In 2005, Nightwish said goodbye to Turunen. In 2012, Nightwish had to say goodbye to a second lead singer,Anette Olzon, but former Revamp singer Floor Jansen graciously filled in to finish the North American tour that year. Since then, Jansen became the lead vocalist for Nightwish’s album Endless Forms Most Beautiful and continues to tour with the band.
It was a cool night in Tempe, fans entered the venue and filled the entire floor. Everyone patiently waited for the music to begin. Nightwish greeted the fans with an audio recording, asking fans to go back to simpler times when they would not use phones to take pictures and videos during the show. They wanted everyone to enjoy the moment. Many phones went dark, but some fans couldn’t resist the urge to take a few shots of their favorite band. After that message, a one minute countdown began. As the seconds dropped to single digits, the crowd began to shout as each second decreased. Once it hit zero, the screen changed to gears, and one by one, the members of Nightwish took the stage, greeted by cheers.
Being Nightwish’s “Decades” tour, they picked their greatest hits from all eight of their studio albums. Nightwish didn’t achieve popularity in the United States until their 2004 album Once, and it sold more than one million copies. The biggest hit single from Once, “Wish I Had an Angel”, received MTV airplay and was the second song on their set list that night. As the first chords played, the crowd clapped and screamed. One fan held his hands to his face, in awe of the live performance he beheld. As Jansen sang, the video board had the well-known angel statue from the album cover seen through a gate, as if we were entering a cemetery.
As the first four songs played, fans mouthed the words and jumped to the beat. The video screen went perfectly with each song. For “10th Man Down”, the video soared over gravestones. For “The Kinslayer”, the video showed red candles as crimson light illuminated the band.
Before starting their fifth song, “Gethsemane” from the album Oceanborn, Jansen spoke to the fans, welcoming everyone to the “Decades” tour. She said she spotted some familiar faces in the crowd. The last time Nightwish visited the Marquee was May 2, 2015 for their “Endless Forms Most Beautiful Tour”. Jansen then asked who was seeing them for the first time. Hands all around the venue went up. Jansen smiled and said, “Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
The band grew quiet for a moment as Jansen addressed the crowd before going into the beloved song “I Want My Tears Back”, from the album Imaginaerum; she said “Tempe is already warm, but let’s make it hot!” During the uilleann pipes solo midway through the song, Jansen urged the crowd to dance and throw their fists in the air. Jansen herself danced on stage and then said, “Tempe! Turn this place into a volcano!” After the song concluded, Jansen spoke again, “It is hard to dance in a volcano. You did a good job though. Thank you!”
It was vocalist and bass/acoustic guitarist Marco Hietala’s turn to address the crowd. He had a smile a mile wide as he asked, “How are you doing?” The crowd cheered and people put up devil horns to show their excitement. Hietala laughed and said again, “I’m not quite sure yet. How are you doing?” The crowd screamed louder. “Sounds like we’re having fun. Ready to rock!” Hietala replied as the song “Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean” from the album Oceanborn filled the air.
“What a night. It’s good to be back,” Jansen said later, “This one’s for the dreamers.” Just then, the instrumental of “Slaying the Dreamer”, from the album Century Child, swelled into the room.
Nightwish had an incredible nineteen-song set, and the fans were full of joy for every single note and lyric. After Nightwish finished their last song for the night, “Ghost Love Score” from the album Once, they left the stage, and in the darkness fans cried out for more. The band members came back to take a final bow and toss some lucky fans guitar picks and drum sticks. Nightwish had done it again — amazed another crowd and filled their hearts with beautiful music.
Tempe, AZ — February 24th, 2018, shortly a month after Zakk Wylde’s 50th birthday, he put on a great show at the Marquee Theatre with Black Label Society, showing that he’s definitely at a different level musically and also in showmanship. Opener EyeHateGod, a band that has been playing since 1988 showed great energy, starting what was about to be a great night of rock. Corrosion of Conformity, who I remember watching their music video “Dance of the Dead” when I lived in Chile, only raised the bar and rocked the house, closing with their most popular song, “Clean My Wounds”.
Then the show became the kind of show you’d expect to see at a full stadium, opening with pyrotechnics and a classic curtain drop, to the excitement of the fans that had filled up the venue to what seemed to be absolutely max capacity. This was my first time seeing Black Label Society live, and I could not have been more pleased, as their sound and showmanship was definitely beyond what you normally see at small venues like the Marquee Theatre.
Photos by Rodrigo Izquierdo
Black Label Society, Corrosion Of Conformity, & EyeHateGod – Marquee Theatre 2-24-18
TEMPE, AZ – Lights, along with special guests Chase Atlantic and DCF, illuminated Marquee Theatre last Thursday. This eclectic mix of musicians magnetized a diverse crowd to The Marquee’s doors, and together, the entire venue celebrated a night of pure joy and musical euphoria. Fans of all ages blissfully enjoyed the great sound, atmosphere, and company of each band, but Lights certainly shone brightest of all — fans were dazzled by their otherworldly sounds and gorgeous visuals on stage, and it is clear for any outside observer to understand why they command an army of such devoted fans.
For those who know and love Lights already, they’re aware that this is certainly not Lights’ first rodeo — they’ve been to Phoenix many times since 2008, but as lead singer Lights Valerie Poxleitner put it, they come back stronger every time. From The Nile to Warped Tour, Lights certainly know how to command a stage of any size and location, and their attention to detail certainly transfixes audiences on multiple levels. As Poxleitner is an artist in more ways than one, it is no surprise that Lights’ live performances are as much visual spectacle as they are aural extravaganza. It’s no wonder that Lights has recently received nominations for the Pop Album of the Year and Artist of the Year categories in the 2018 JUNO Awards.
The first performance of the evening was DCF, an artist who is a compelling example of contemporary pop, alternative, and indie music styles. His was a solo act, yet he projected enough energy and personality to decently command the entire stage and crowd. Concert-goers, in fact, were somewhat devastated when it came time for Prince DCF to exit the stage after an acoustic version of “Misery Business” by Paramore, letting out an audible sigh as he departed.
DCF’s interesting style, mix of genres, and unique take on what is considered pop music all went well with what could only have been a Napoleonic-era Royal Navy Admiral’s Coat. Together with his stylish hairstyle and glasses, DCF exudes confidence and mirth as he DJs, sings, cracks jokes, and finds any other way to entertain a crowd. His performance was certainly a great ice breaker for the evening, though it did end on a relatively anticlimactic note.
Next up was Chase Atlantic, a wonderful group visiting all the way from Australia; they likely chased the Pacific in this case, but everyone at The Marquee was certainly happy to see them. They instantly took over the stage and crowd, carrying the momentum over from DCF and further building fans up for Lights later in the evening. Their high energy was contagious, and they also shared a unique take on contemporary music, just as DCF had done before them. It would be difficult to say exactly what they sound like, but all alternative musicians seem to be elusive when it comes to absolute definition.
Due to their eclectic mix of sounds, it was easy for everyone in the crowd to join in on the fun. Lead singer Mitchel Cave, who first got his big start on the world stage by performing on X-Factor Australia, must have chugged several energy drinks prior to coming out, because he was moving at the speed of light all over the stage. He also seemed to love having the audience join him in the adventure, jumping down to join them briefly, before hopping back up on stage to hype everyone up even further. Chase Atlantic was definitely a great act to follow DCF with, and these boys made the transition into Lights’ scintillating performance a flawless one.
Though the performances of Chase Atlantic and DCF were fantastic, some fans simply could not contain their excitement for the main act of the evening — Lights; in fact, one young fan was spotted running all over The Marquee, seemingly unable to contain her excitement. It was clear this was likely not her first time seeing Lights, and her excitement proved to be quite the harbinger of the incredible musical and visual adventure ahead.
Lights came out on stage after quite the setup time, but the wait was certainly well worth it. Immediately, fans were greeted by lead vocalist Lights Valerie Poxleitner’s silhouette in front of a massive screen; the bright, neon lights behind her perfectly symbolized the band’s name, and the hype and tension felt throughout the crowd instantly reached a breaking point. The buildup to her full visual reveal was palpable, and her glamorous, vogue-like poses as she sang in her spectral, ethereal form brought out the best fashion week vibes. Finally, she emerged from the darkness and into the light to a feverish sea of fans.
We Were Here Tour – Issue One
Lights performed in 3 major acts throughout the evening. During the first act, Poxleitner kept the energy from Chase Atlantic going, with some of their most exciting, upbeat songs. During this portion of the show, she asked the audience if anyone here has seen them live before. There was a resounding, screaming yes, with the majority of hands within the crowd immediately shooting up as high as they could go. She continued, clearly pleased by this reaction, explaining that they love coming back to Phoenix, and that their first time here was at The Nile (Nile Theater) over in Mesa, AZ back in 2008, where they performed with Copeland. They’ve been back many times, including to Warped Tour, and she stated, “Year after year, we keep coming back stronger.” For fans who missed out on this tour, I think it is safe to assume that Lights will surely be back soon.
As the mood seemed to chill out a bit, Poxleitner began a new discussion: “I wrote this song when I was going through a shitty time. Who’s been through a shitty time?” The oddly enthusiastic screams from the crowd were certainly clear answer enough; “We’ve all been through shitty times. Do you know what helps get us through it? Friendship, a little bit of wine, and music.” The crowd loved this strategy, and prior to performing “Face Up,” Poxleitner gave them further inspiration: “Your weaknesses become your strengths.” This phrase would certainly make a great tattoo.
“Your weaknesses become your strengths” – Lights
We Were Here Tour – Issue Two
After “Face Up,” Lights retreated off stage for a brief respite. During this time, Poxleitner displayed some of her artwork on the huge screen on stage. Since she is an artist and illustrator, it only made sense — we got to see some of her characters and settings from her Skin & Earth comic series, synonymous with Lights’ new album of the same name, which currently has 6 issues out for purchase. The images and scenes shown were quite similar to the trailer for Skin & Earth, which can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/FnbL7ZE4hmo
During this phase of the performance, Lights returned to the stage with a more somber attitude. The setup had changed during this short intermission as well — suddenly, there was a piano with lots of candles on top, helping to relax the mood even further. It was time for some calm, more acoustic songs. Poxleitner was back on stage in a new outfit, sporting an acoustic guitar. It was a pleasant change of pace, and it certainly kept the vibes fresh for the evening. It also made the grand finale that much more powerful.
We Were Here Tour – Issue Three
After another quick break and some more stunning illustrations on the big screen, Lights was back on stage, and Poxleitner was sporting a third and final outfit. They brought back the high energy with a vengeance this time around, and Poxleitner joined the band with her own electric guitar. This guitar, she explained, represented her second character in her comic books, and it sported the beautiful Skin & Earth logo seen on stage, on the cover of her books, and all over her website and social media accounts — not to mention she also has it tattooed on her arm. She transitioned into her song “Running with the Boys” after this interesting discussion.
A highlight from this phase of the show was the video clips of Sailor Moon’s transformation and Street Fighter’s Chun Li pronouncing, “I am the strongest woman in the world!” playing in the background, which perfectly complemented the power behind Lights’ performance. Towards the end of this third act, Poxleitner brought up her song “We Were Here,” asking everyone, “When the song starts, do you hear waves or a storm?” The majority seemed to scream, “WAVES!” Poxleitner replied with, “Fuck. I always hear a storm.” She continued to discuss the music video for “We Were Here,” saying that she doesn’t recommend burning a bus, but that it was definitely a lot of fun: “Full disclosure — a pyrotech got to do it. But I got to throw the lighter.”
Bonus Issue – The Encore
Once more unto the breach, Lights came back on stage for a quick encore. They weren’t off stage long, likely because the crowd’s chants, screams, and claps were so demanding. Poxleitner picked the mic back up and asked, “Do you guys wanna hear another song?” Everyone, of course, responded with a loud “YES!” She replied, “Alright, so be it, but you guys gotta dance, and you gotta sing,” and the crowd certainly complied. To reward fans, Poxleitner jumped down into the crowd for a bit to give most people up front the best high-fives ever before jumping back on stage for a special surprise for Poxleitner’s sister.
Poxleitner pulled out her phone near the very end of the show and told everyone that it was her sister’s birthday. She wanted to get a video of herself singing “Happy Birthday” with everyone in the audience, so the lights lit the house up, and everyone sang along while she recorded. “I’ve never done one of these before!” she exclaimed after. Her sister certainly got the best little gift from that moment.
Overall, the Phoenix stop of Lights’ We Were Here Tour was an exhilarating experience for everyone, and it was clear the entire band had just as great of a time as the crowd. In fact, Poxleitner may have had the most fun of all — she truly seems to love what she does, and this shines through in her incredible displays of creativity. From the life-sized cardboard cutouts of her comic book character illustrations out in the lobby to the strange vegan pizza box introduction to some synthy song intro tunes, her contagious enthusiasm spread throughout Marquee Theatre and well beyond. This went well with her aura of power her music, and she herself exudes, in addition to her uplifting spirit. She is an inspiration in many ways — a true Renaissance Woman.
Prior to heading out for the evening, Poxleitner explained that Lights is part of Plus 1, a movement and organization that ensures $1 from every ticket sold for participating shows and artists goes to causes they believe in. Lights decided on GRID Alternatives, an organization that helps to bring solar power to places across the states. Poxleitner closed by stating we all need to “protect this little planet that we have… it’s all we got.” They left the stage to resounding cheers of joy, leaving everyone to their evenings with a little positive thinking and a lot of great memories.
PHOENIX — In the brisk evening air of December 1st, fans waited outside the Marquee Theatre in eager anticipation. It was Friday night and fans were ready to throw their weekday woes away and get ready to listen to the raw sounds awaiting them. On tonight’s agenda: long established metal bands Arch Enemy and Trivium.
Fit for an Autopsy & While She Sleeps
The night opened with New Jersey’s Fit for an Autopsy whose bass lines seemed to tremble right through the floor into your very breath. The stage splashed with red and blue light as they worked up the crowd. Next up was While She Sleeps, all the way from Sheffield, England. Lead vocalist Lawrence Taylor was a whirlwind of energy headbanging and even crowd surfing. Calling to the audience, he challenged them to “meet him” by crowd surfing all the way to the pit. Needless to say, many met his challenge. Taylor was all over the stage, even standing atop the drum set. After their set, the crowd was definitely ready for Arch Enemy.
As equipment was set up and sound checks were made, more and more people crowded into the room, shouldering and squeezing into their own perfect spot. A backdrop reflecting hell itself stared back at the audience, with twisted demons and a red glowing reflection. As the music started, a laser show of lights flooded the stage and members of the Swedish band Arch Enemy descended. Vocalist Alissa White-Gluz dominated the stage with her powerful voice and energy. She was a force to behold in her skeletal ripped bodysuit and wild blue hair. Alongside her, guitarists Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis did amazing fingerwork and left the crowd screaming after their amazing guitar duo.
Arch Enemy promoted their new album Will to Power, showcasing some amazing songs such as “The World is Yours” and “The Eagle Flies Alone.” In one moment, Alissa called to the audience, before the song “Will to Power”, to shine a light – and her will was done as the audience swayed their phones in the air. She closed off the set with one of her favorite songs, “Payday.” It’s safe to assume many who came to see Trivium that night left an Arch Enemy fan as well.
After a short break for set changes, Trivium was about to take the stage. In the dim lights, the audience got so excitedly impatient that they started chanting the band’s name: “Trivium!… Trivium!…” Their chants were met with red and white flashing lights, and Trivium took the stage. The backdrop was the same as the cover of their new album, The Sin and the Sentence. Blanketing the wall was solid black with clean gold lines and iconic images, a great reflection of the band.
Lead vocalist Matt Heafy’s passionate and clean vocals were accented by the raw enraged voices of guitarist Corey Beaulieu and bassist Paolo Gregoletto. While Trivium’s sound has changed over the years, the audience was in full agreement that they sounded amazing! Many fans sang along with the lyrics, Heafy’s clear and thought provoking words making this an easy task. Songs like “The Heart from Your Hate” and “The Sin and the Sentence” are surprisingly addictive, with their fast paced melodies and powerful lyrics.
The show was five straight hours of metal. There is something about metal that is cathartic, raw, and enticing; this show was no exception. Arch Enemy and Trivium helped take the week’s stress, ball it up, grind it into the ground and just let loose in the music, allowing everyone to start their weekend refreshed.
Photographer: Dale Hurt
Trivium, Arch Enemy, & More – Marquee Theatre 12-1-17
TEMPE, Ariz. — For a few hours on March 22nd, current and former orchestra geeks got to feel like the epitome of cool for one more night as Yellowcard wound down their 20 year career to a sold out crowd at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
After an acoustic opening set from former bassist Sean O’Donnell and a brief audio message humorously decrying the use of cell phones during the set, the house lights dimmed and Yellowcard exploded onto the stage with a fiery performance of Ocean Avenue lead off song “Way Away”. Despite setting the bar high with such a high-octane classic track, the band showed no signs of fatigue as they powered through a massive 24-song setlist featuring tracks from most of their 10-album catalogue.
While the band chose to spend the majority of their stage time blasting from song to song with scarcely enough time to breath between tracks, the few pauses afforded to the crowd were rife with a welcome wistfulness from lead singer Ryan Key as he reminisced on the band’s trajectory leading up to that night. Whether he was explaining how early shows at the Nile Theater in Mesa served to help the band cultivate their first true out-of-state fanbase, or pridefully detailing the various emotions surrounding each album, Key spoke from a place of true sincerity and love for the band which has encompassed the majority of his life.
An unassuming viewer could be easily forgiven for not realizing that Yellowcard’s performance that evening was their third to final show. Every member of the band was visibly having a great time flying around the stage with abandon as they effortlessly nailed every note. Violinist Sean Mackin in particular seemed to visibly buzz with energy as he leaped across the stage and even nailed his signature backflip from the bass cab with seemingly minimal effort. Lead guitarist Ryan Mendez was visibly having a great time playing the old songs as he added discords and dive bombs not present in the album versions, smiling ear to ear as the audience bounced up and down to the tempo.
For Yellowcard these final shows were clearly a celebration of a two-decade career still capable of churning out fantastic material, not the death toll of aging rockers far past their prime. Having loved Yellowcard since they played my junior high auditorium (seriously), it was definitely difficult to watch such an amazing set realizing it would be the last time I could do so.
However, the beauty of a band leaving on the power of their own strengths was a truly amazing site to behold, and one that every attendee will likely never forget for as long as they live.
Highlights: Despite being familiar with much more than Ocean Avenue, I truly have overlooked a great deal of Yellowcard’s albums from the middle section of their career. The sheer energy of this show has definitely lead me to further explore their discography with a newfound appreciation.
Low Points: For the first time in a long while, there truly aren’t any moments I can recall from this show that were anything other than ideal.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Energy coursed through the crowd as Dashboard Confessional fans spewed through the doors of Tempe’s Marquee Theatre Wednesday night, anxiously awaiting the return of frontman Chris Carrabba’s sweet-sounding lyrical prowess.
Following a charismatic opening performance by acoustic duo This Wild Life, Vinyl Theatre took the stage with a magnetic energy that immediately caught our eye. Each track appeared to pulsate through them, elegantly rocking out between heavy drop-beats, vivacious keyboard riffs and catchy lyrics which boasted a similar rawness to that which Dashboard Confessional is known for. Vinyl Theatre closed out their set with a commanding performance of newly released track “Built by New Machines,” which explores universal ideas on human existence and our current world state.
The Dashboard Confessional crew wasted no time setting stage. In fact they even made time to whisp what appeared to be Palo Santo smoke around each instrument, also positioning a small Himalayan salt lamp at the foot of guitarist Armon Jay. Minutes later, Carrabba stepped center stage immediately kicking things off with timeless track “The Good Fight” off Dashboard Confessional’s sophomore album The Places You Have Come to Fear Most, followed by longtime favorites “Saints and Sailors,” “The Sharp Hint of New Tears,” “As Lovers Go,” and “Remember to Breathe.”
Beneath a glaze of violet light, Carrabba’s voice settled as he began to address the crowd, “I’ve been thinking lately. You know, because the world went to shit these past three weeks.” The audience responded in overwhelming applause. Carrabba went on to speak on the current social tensions revolving around topics like sexual orientation, race and religious differences. “What the fuck does it matter?”, he said. Before going into the next song he finished his thoughts with a message for the audience, “Go out into the world and try to talk to as many people with opposing views as you can. Find out why they believe what they do and learn from that.” As Carrabba stepped back for another quick guitar switch, the audience was able to catch a closer look at drummer Ben Homola’s t-shirt, which read “Equal Is Equal. No Matter The People.”
Next up was “We Fight” off the group’s latest unreleased album which Carrabba has been steadily building anticipation for since co-headlining with Third Eye Blind in the summer of 2016. The new track merges Dashboard Confessional’s classic emo-core sound with a montage of wildhearted lyrics and heavy-handed guitar that suggest a revitalized perspective on the free-spirited determination needed to find fulfillment as an artist. Making for the ultimate crescendo moment, Carrabba then announced the band’s performance of newly released track “Heart Beat Here” would be recorded live for possible inclusion on the their highly anticipated upcoming album. As the crowd sang along, Carrabba appeared visibly moved by the fans response, commenting moments later on the sweet sound of our voices in harmony together.
The setlist was fitting considering Carrabba’s plans to welcome singer-songwriter Trevor Hedges of local band, Sundressed to the stage following Dashboard’s hit track “Stolen.” Hedges stepped into the spotlight and instantly captivated the crowd with his intense vocal diversity and passionate lyricism. Although it was a single-track performance, it quickly became clear Hedges possesses a vocal dexterity reminiscent of archetypal groups like Taking Back Sunday, The Starting Line, 30 Seconds to Mars, The Used and of course Dashboard Confessional. It was an impressive performance to say the least, but the night wasn’t over yet!
Dashboard Confessional finished out the night with three additional tracks, including “Screaming Infidelities,” “Vindicated” and “Hands Down.” Conclusively, it was a night of truly stellar performers. The Burning Hot Events team is patiently awaiting the release of Carrabba’s latest material, but in the meantime we’ll be jamming out to newly discovered favorites Vinyl Theatre and This Wild Life.
A photo posted by Dashboard Confessional (@dashboardconfessional) on
Want to know more about Sundressed?
They’ve just announced pre-orders for their upcoming LP A Little Less Put Together which is set for release on March 24th (2017). Click here to check it out! We have a feeling you’ll be seeing them alongside Dashboard Confessional very soon.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Swedish indie group The Sounds rocked the house at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre Saturday night with their 10th anniversary performance of sophomore album, Dying to Say This to You. Following energetic sets by spirited openers Zipper Club and My Jerusalem The Sounds guitarist, Felix Rodriguez took over the stage beneath a vibrant purple cloud of light. As soon as the first few notes of “Song With a Mission” dropped, the crowd went wild. Although it wasn’t a full house, there was a clear sense of communal nostalgia that seemed to supercharge the audience.
Next up on the set list was crowd favorite, “Queen of Apology” which kicked off with a signature Maja-esque display of her gives-no-fucks attitude, backed by airtight guitar and a stagelight-shift which illuminated fans as they sang along to every word. Hit after hit, The Sounds proved that ten years hasn’t slowed them down a bit, boasting a stage presence that could rival some of Rock and Roll’s most iconic female-fronted acts.
“Arizona, I love you… We’re back, baby. We’re fucking back!” Maja yelled, igniting an outburst of claps and shouts throughout the venue. Maja’s pop-rock sound has been countlessly compared to that of Blondie and Missing Persons, and rightfully so! Personally, I also picked up on some similarities in tone between her and The Submarines’ vocalist, Blake Hazard.
The Sounds finished out their live revival of “Dying to Say This to You” with a gritty, electrified reproduction of “Running Out of Turbo” before topping off their forty-five minute tribute with an additional 9 tracks including everything from classics like “Living in America” (from their debut album) to the group’s recent single “Thrill” which features an impressive display of Maja’s vocal diversity in addition to fast-paced drum beats, a reverberant dual guitar solo and some subtle synth-heavy, 80’s era keyboard.
It was truly a night to be remembered, especially considering the intimate audience size and Maja’s up-close-and-personal stage persona. By the show’s end, each track was visually pulsating through the audience as they fist-bumped, clapped and headbanged to the final songs of the night, “Rock N Roll” and “Hope You’re Happy Now” which Maja energetically concluded with one middle finger to the sky, and a cigarette in her other.
As the Burning Hot Events team exited the venue, we happened upon a couple who had actually travelled all the way from Kansas to see The Sounds in Tempe that night. It was a powerful reminder of just how impactful music can be, especially with a group like The Sounds who have an unbelievable, authentic connection to their fans.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Fans of Scottish synthpop / indietronica band CHVRCHES have been saving their tickets since the April show, when Martin Doherty charismatically fronted three songs before the trio had to cut their performance short unexpectedly. The group returned with an overwhelming response this past Thursday, selling out their second show at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre within six months. Frontwoman Lauren Mayberry announced last minute openers Thursday afternoon, adding local indie-electronic duo MRCH to the lineup.
MRCH took the stage at 8 p.m sharp, greeting fans through a haze of vibrant blue-green lights. “We are very excited to be here!” vocalist Mickey announced. “My last time at the Marquee was to see Bone Thugs-N-Harmony,” she added through smiles. Mickey radiated an energy similar to that of Debbie Harry while energetically serenading the audience with romantic, electronically-infused vocals — although the synth and percussion were a bit overpowering, making the quality of her performance difficult to hear at times. Towards the end of their set, MRCH won over the crowd with an effervescent performance of Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass,’ showcasing Mickey’s unique, vintage pop sound.
CHVRCHES wasted no time getting started, drenching the audience in a mesmerizing, strobe-like display of geometric white light and signature esoteric beats. The crowd erupted as silhouettes of Iain Cook, Martin and Lauren marched across the stage, kicking off their performance with a throwback to the April show — “Never Ending Circles,” the first track from their latest album Every Open Eye. The group immediately engaged listeners with a few fast-tempo favorites and of course, Iain’s electrifying dance moves behind the keyboard.
As the audience sang along Lauren’s voice cut in, “We return to the scene of the crime!” The audience responded in applause once again. “Thank you for coming back to see CHVRCHES! I know many of you came to see us many months ago, but things didn’t go as planned,” she continued, struggling to untangle a mic cord at her feet. “Much like this,” she joked. “But this — this I can deal with.”
She went on to give an electrifying performance before handing the mic over to bandmate Martin for “High Enough To Carry You Over” and “Under The Tide,” a nostalgic selection considering the band’s courageous performance last April, in which they continued without Lauren in order to satisfy their fans. Lauren did re-appear at the end of their shortened set during the April show, fighting extreme illness in order to give fans one final song.
The band’s dedication to their fans was not lost on the people of Phoenix. Lauren’s hypnotic stage presence combined with an impeccable sixteen track set list Thursday night colluded seamlessly with the crowd’s energy, truly making this heightened performance one for the books. CHVRCHES left the stage on a high note, leaving the audience excited and hungry for more. Spectators spottily chanted “One more song! One more song,” lingering to see if the band might continue.
Suddenly Lauren took the stage once again, stepping forward to address the crowd. “I’m not trying to make you guys jealous,” she said coyly, “but I am going to see Beyonce tomorrow and I’ve got to make it all the way back to the east coast. So, we are going to play you a couple more songs.” The crowd exploded in ecstasy once again, vibrating the floor of the venue as they began to fist pump along to “Afterglow.”
At this point, the group had now performed more than double their set list from last April, and continued to pour their souls into each track making for an unforgettable display of commitment to their fans. Lauren paused, holding Martin’s drumsticks in a crisscross formation above her head as the crowd roared, begging to hear the final song of the night. CHVRCHES then concluded things with their timeless hit, “The Mother We Share” from album The Bones of What You Believe, drawing on the communal energy exhibited during the April show one last time.
Their show Thursday night was more than high enough to carry us over. In fact, we think it’s safe to say this was one of CHVRCHES’ most impressive performances to date.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Lacuna Coil played at the Marquee Theatre Monday, May 9, as the third stop on their Delirium tour. The Italian metal band from Milan was preceded by Painted Wives, 9Electric, and label-mate Butcher Babies, who gave an over-the-top performance that left concert-goers in a frenzy before Lacuna Coil took the stage.
Finally, the introduction to “Nothing Stands in Our Way,” a track from Broken Crown Halo (2014), foreshadowed the headliner’s imminent appearance. And like true (Gothic) rock stars, the members of Lacuna Coil stepped out of the wings in their best psych ward escapee couture to screams and cheers.
Without a word and without missing a beat they launched into the song and followed it up with “Die & Rise” from the same album and “Kill the Light” from Dark Adrenaline (2012). After indulging fans for the first three songs, vocalist Cristina Scabbia addressed the audience for the first time. “This one is for everyone who tries to make this world a better place,” she said before playing “Victims.”
The show included a good mix of the group’s older and newer songs, like “Spellbound” from their 2009 album Shallow Life. After “Spellbound,” they announced their new album, Delirium, which drops on May 27, and played the newly released track, “The House of Shame.” That’s when Scabbia demonstrated why she has been called one of the most influential women in metal. Her voice dominated the room into silent awe at the song’s climax. After that they returned to another classic, “Heaven’s a Lie,” from their 2002 breakout album, Comalies.
After playing “To the Edge” from Karmacode (2006), vocalist Andrea Ferro admitted that the group was a bit jet-lagged after their recent return from Asia, though you wouldn’t have known it from their performance. “This is such a great welcome back to the United States,” Ferrero told fans. That’s when Scabbia introduced the band’s new guitarist, Diego Cavallotti.
“We’d like to introduce you to Diego, who joined us and is family now,” Scabbia announced warmly. Cavallotti replaced the group’s former guitarist, Marco “Maus” Biazzi, after it was revealed in January that he would be leaving the group. Biazzi played with Lacuna Coil for more than 17 years before retiring to pursue other projects.
Although the core members–Scabbia, Ferrero, and bassist Marco Coti Zelati–are still together, Lacuna Coil also saw the loss of guitarist Cristiano “Pizza” Migliore and drummer Cristiano “CriZ” Mozzati when, tired of touring, the two decided to retire from the group in 2014. Since then, Ryan Folden has joined as the group’s drummer.
Nevertheless, Lacuna Coil delivered a seamless performance, with nothing to evidence Cavallotti and Folden hadn’t been part of the band all along. Other songs in the night’s setlist included “Upsidedown”, “Swamped,” “Fire,” “Cybersleep” and “Delirium” from the group’s forthcoming release.
Toward the end of the show, Scabbia and Ferrero wanted concert-goers to sing along with them to one more song. “Have you heard of Depeche Mode?” Scabbia asked. “I’m totally sure you will know this one,” she promised before they played their popular cover of “Enjoy the Silence” with concert-goers singing along. Then, midway through the song, Scabbia enticed the audience to do better. “That was very good, but I’m sure we can sing louder!” she taunted to enthusiastic response.
#1 Nothing Stands in Our Way
#2 Die & Rise
#3 Kill the Light
#6 The House of Shame
#7 Heaven’s a Lie
#10 To the Edge
#14 Enjoy the Silence–Encore–
#15 Trip the Darkness
#17 Our Truth
Before their encore performance, Scabbia made a quick costume change into a short white dress with “DELIRIUM,” “LEAVE ME ALONE” and “TAKE ME HOME NOW” scrawled across the front in large, black print, in keeping with their psych ward theme. For the encore, they played “Trip the Darkness,” followed by “Zombies,” and “Our Truth.”
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to perform for you here tonight,” Scabbia told concert-goers at the conclusion of the show and let fans know the band would be signing autographs at the merchandise booth. With no word on when the European metal group might return to Arizona, a line formed in front of the booth almost immediately, full of fans anxious for one last encounter with Lacuna Coil.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Butcher Babies wouldn’t have been an easy act for anyone to follow Monday night. The heavy metal band from Los Angeles was the final opener for Lacuna Coil, taking the stage right after 9Electric at the Marquee Theatre. And if synchronized hair tossing and head banging were an Olympic sport, frontwomen Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey would have taken the gold.
Butcher Babies’ set was short but memorable, especially when, at one point, Shepherd decided that security would help them play a game with concert-goers. “You ready to catch some bodies?” she asked before announcing that during the next song she wanted to see how many high-fives they could collect from fans crowd-surfing to the front of the stage. And they received a lot more high-fives than one might expect from the modest number of concert-goers that attended the show.
Watching Butcher Babies play to a crowd is akin to watching parents dropping their kids off with two favorite aunts who then spend the weekend spoiling their nieces and nephews—deliberately getting them wound up and hyped full of sugar before letting them return home to terrorize their parents. By the time they demanded concert-goers start a circle pit in front of the stage, the audience was already wild with adrenaline and excitement.
The band itself was a sight to behold on the stage. They brought an immense amount of energy and enthusiasm to the show, every member dancing and head banging in time with the music. Harvey was even seen cartwheeling mid-song. And crowd participation wasn’t just an option, it was a requirement.
“We absolutely will not start this song without you… I want them to hear us in Utah!” Shepherd shouted. “Let me hear you scream!” she roared as they launched into “Magnolia Blvd.” from their self-titled album.
Toward the end of their set, while singing, Shepherd made her way down from the stage into the center of the circle pit with a member of the security staff shining a flashlight on her as a makeshift spotlight. She then finished the song from the center of the pit while the moshers flung themselves about recklessly around her. Lacuna Coil couldn’t have asked for a better opening act.
Butcher Babies will play with Painted Wives, 9Electric, and label-mate Lacuna Coil during the first leg of their North American tour to promote Lacuna Coil’s upcoming album, “Delirium”, which hits record stores on May 27.