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10 Must-See Performances at Summer Ends Music Festival

September 23, 2014 in Concert Recap, Events


By Zachary Kaczmarek

Choices, choices, and more choices. Summer Ends Music Festival may not rip your heart out with simultaneous performances or dreaded conflicts, but there certainly is the issue of resting, grabbing a beer, and trying to make it to the final set each night. Unless you’re inhuman or some kind of masochist, alternating between the main and local stages to catch every single performance in 90 degree heat is not the best strategy. But luckily for you we’ve combed through the diverse 3 day lineup and this is the list of can’t miss sets that you should consider.


The Replacements (Saturday, 10:40 pm)


For fans of: The Clash, Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr., Titus Andronicus

Based on your musical preference, this set by the recently united Minneapolis rock group could alter the fabric of your life as you currently know it or could be better spent on Mill or maybe even at home recouping for Sunday. History however, says being anywhere else but the main stage during The Replacements set would be a tragic mistake. Since reuniting last year to play their first performances since 1991, remaining members Tommy Stinson and Paul Westerberg have fulfilled the dreams of lifelong fans and taught the fresh faces of Millenials a thing or two about immortal rock songs along the way. Many who saw the writing on the wall decades ago considered The Replacements to be one of the best groups who never reached the top, and their recent festival performances at Coachella and a triumphant homecoming solo performance in Minneapolis support such claims. Few bands have had the audacity to get banned from SNL and possessed the chops to write an iconic record, and the ones who did don’t tour anymore.


Descendents (Saturday, 8:55 pm)


For fans of: Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains

As if watching The Replacements close out Saturday night wasn’t enough punk bliss, the Descendents, one of the great hardcore acts in history, will thrash around to breakneck rhythms as the sub headliner and will surely incite the kind of joyous chaos that legendary performances are built upon. Not only has the group maintained the same lineup since 1987, but the enraged fury of their riffs and the riotous vocals of Milo Aukerman are powerful as ever. The style and philosophy of the Descendents isn’t complex  or pretentious and the same can be said about enjoying their set; prepare to be swept away in a sea of animated head banging and moshing or stand back and admire from afar. Their sparse tour dates (one off festival shows) would indicate that if you miss them this time around, you may not get another chance within state lines.


Bogan Via (Sunday, 8:00 pm)


For fans of: Beach House, Cults, Toro y Moi

The dream-pop genre is incredibly crowded these days, with every copycat aiming to sound mysterious and cloudy. But as Bogan Via knows, sometimes you have to get a little ominous and soulful to break the mold. Using pop as a vehicle the duo construct heavy layered melodies and choruses through an orchestra of electronics that can be beautiful and warming, but also a tad spooky and mesmerizing when necessary. Their low key harmonized vocals – perhaps the best and most unique aspect of their sound – clash in the best way possible and pave a road for the infectious rhythms to take hold. When it comes to finding that moment during the festival which is uplifting and ethereal, Bogan Via has you covered.


Lucious Jackson (Saturday, 3:55 pm)



For fans of: The Breeders, Veruca Salt, Dum Dum Girls

Continuing the trend of rare performances, Saturday marks the first performance by Luscious Jackson in the desert since 1998 (back when Ak-Chun Pavilion was Blockbuster Desert Sky Pavilion!). Their style of boundless rock, pop, understated R&B and everything in between makes for the ultimate afternoon performance. If there’s a set this coming weekend that has the potential to captivate people of all creeds, musical tastes, and ages, this would be it. The endless barrage of hooks and riffs that blend together on any given track defy most genres and yet, Luscious Jackson manages to pull it off with ease, transitioning strange bass lines into pop choruses and funk verses into lo-fi hip hop drum beats. And as their 2013 comeback album Magic Hour showed us, they’re still very ambitious and not content to simply make the rounds playing a set list of greatest hits. The even mixture of a veteran presence and innovation is sure to translate into one of the more dance-inducing and enjoyable sets of the weekend for even the most casual fan or first-time listener.


Dry River Yacht Club (Friday, 8:55 pm)


For fans of: Music (Too many influences to count, read description)

It’s easy to look at the all the elements of Dry River Yacht Club and pinpoint their potential influences, but an exercise in futility to box them in or label them as another clone of “[insert semi-famous band]”. They masterfully combine bits and pieces of jazz, Spanish rock, folk, and orchestral undertones to create an intricate weaving of intrigue. What they do, they do well, but even as diverse and eclectic as are, the core of DRYC is expert musicianship and haunting siren-like vocals, something for which there truly is no substitute. You’d be hard pressed to find another act on the lineup – or anywhere else for that matter – who can match DRYC in terms of versatility, and you’d also be foolish to blow off their performance. Trust me, beer breaks can wait.


Playboy Manbaby (Saturday, 6:50 pm)



For fans of: Cloud Nothings, The Hives, Against Me

Riding a wave of hellish yells spread over rowdy distortion and smooth hints of brass, Playboy Manbaby aren’t your typical punk band. In a live setting they have ability to not only overwhelm and impress with an abundance of energy, but get the masses grooving. They’re not solely ska and playing aggressive riffs isn’t exactly their specialty either. Although they bring the ruckus in a similar fashion to band like Cloud Nothings or The Hives, they possess another dimension that places them in a unique category that goes beyond punk. Overpowering listeners with pure adrenaline alone is a skill in itself, but to do it in style? Well, that’s Playboy Manbaby for you.


Kongos (Sunday, 5:05 pm)


For fans of: Cage the Elephant, Awolnation,

Until recently the idea of Arizona-based, larger than life arena rock was nothing more than a pipe dream, a fantasy that has been long laid to rest. But if “Come With Me Now” is any indication Kongos have as good of a shot as any band to reach those heights – at least in terms of sounding so irresistiblly colossal. And yet, their debut Lunatic featured its share of softer melodies and delicate orchestration that suggests they’re far more than just one hit song. They may be slated to take the stage a little before sundown, but it’s certain to be a headliner-worthy spectacle.

                                                                                                                                               Luna Aura (Sunday, 4:45 pm)


For fans of: MØ, Banks

Staying afloat in the constantly evolving world of pop is no easy task and as a quick glance at the current fickleness of the Billboard charts shows, staying ahead of the curve and finding the trend before it happens is everything. Melding R&B, trap high hats and bass, and a penchant for great hooks, Luna Aura is standing at the crossroads of charting pop music and the influences that subtly impact the mainstream from below. Her self-titled EP showcases ballads, moments where she boldly lays down slick rhymes, and transcendent celestial pop that will have you wondering how she isn’t a household name yet.


Violent Femmes (Sunday, 3:30)


For fans of: Pixies, Meat Puppets, Vampire Weekend

Whenever there’s a conversation regarding the most influential acts of weird awe inspiring rock , the Violent Femmes are shoe-in. The number of bands that would cease to exist or be relevant if it were not for the Femmes umbrella of influence is impossible to quantify, but easy to spot in the work of contemporary acts. Reforming back in 2013 was not vain as they recaptured the zany spirit of their golden years and reeled through hit after hit.  This is the sort of no-brainer performance that will either draw you in or it won’t. Expect nothing less than their best and prepare to enter a realm of nostalgic delight.


Kitten (Sunday, 1:00 pm)


For fans of: Haim, Sky Ferreira, Charli XCX

At the risk of being flamed for pointing out the obvious, the 80’s pop renaissance is still on the upswing; the funktastic slappin’ of bass, retro synth, and overly romantic lyrics are possibly stronger than ever. It’s nice to look back to a decade which without a doubt what was a mixed bag of music, but it’s even better to hear a group like Kitten resurrect and update classic sounds without all the cheese and embarrassments. Not to be lumped in with similar 80s inspired groups or singers, Kitten reaches past the sounds of the 80s deep into funk, disco, glam pop, and even face melting shoegaze-inspired power ballads. What’s not to love about Kitten?


Concert Recap: The Electric Fall Ball at the Sail Inn (Photo Gallery)

September 23, 2013 in Events

All photos by Zachary Kaczmarek

Fairy Bones 

Bears of Manitou




Zero Zero



Embry Alexander


Midnight Vitals


Bogan Via

Must See Concerts: The Features at Last Exit Live, Sept. 12th

July 18, 2013 in Events


 By Zachary Kaczmarek

In September the southern indie rock act known as The Features will embark on a summer tour that spans numerous west coast states, which includes the a show in the great state of Arizona at Last Exit Live on September 12th. For those wondering why this show meets the criteria for a “must see”, just take a listen to their latest single “This Disorder”. It shows the progressions from the band’s southern tinged indie rock sound to a post-punk influenced style that is just as catchy and irresistible as it is profound. It’s not every day that you get the chance to see a band like The Features live, but if the subtle funk and undeniable talent of that one song isn’t enough proof that The Features are a band at their peak, take a listen to their newest studio effort.


Their latest self-titled album is an odd amalgam of sounds that is comparable to a blend of their southern roots and moody bass line driven rock like Interpol, complete with all sorts of fantastic sounding riffs and synthesizers. The album was recorded in just a matter of a month in Vancouver, after they had only spent two weeks back in their home of Nashville, forming rough compositions of each track. One would think that the final product would sound sloppy or rushed, but the unconventional timetable for the recording process opened up new channels of creativity that allow the album to go in so many diverse directions.

Much of the record weaves in between their natural musical habitat and unlikely outside influences. One moment they will be creating a serene moment with echoing synthesizers and dream-like guitar melodies, as they do on the track “With Every Beat”, and the next they’re using fuzzy jangly bass lines to create a heavy dance rock atmosphere, like on the track “The New Romantic”. There’s no doubt that hearing the album live would be twice as enjoyable, and hearing past hits like “Lions” and “How It Starts” would make it a complete musical experience. If the idea of hearing a veteran band that cannot be confined to one genre in an intimate venue doesn’t excite you, then you may need to check your pulse.


Which Summer Music Festival is Worth a Road Trip?

July 8, 2013 in Events

By Zachary Kaczmarek

Whether it be among friends or just colleagues who share a deep rooted interest in music, there has always been a debate about which festivals offer the most complete experience while still maintaining an affordable price. Although Coachella and Bonaroo have come and gone, there are still a few great festival experiences to be had. But the question is, which one offers the most memorable experience in exchange for the high cost of admission and travel? Well the answer lies in San Francisco where the Outside Lands Music Festival is held August 9th-11th. If you were to go simply by history and reputation, Lollapalooza seems like the clear cut winner, and if you were to make a decision by which one is the cheapest, Pitchfork Music Festival wins by a landslide. But when factoring in travel costs, 3-day ticket costs, hotel costs, and a complete lineup, Outside Lands meets all the qualifications.

The Cost

Compared to Lollapalooza and Pitchfork Music Festival, which are both held in Chicago, Outside Lands offers the convenience of driving from Phoenix to San Francisco without taking a whole week to get there, which is the economic choice, at a cost of $224 round trip, assuming your vehicle gets at least 25 mpg, according to Compare that to spending in the ballpark of $400+ to fly to Chicago round trip. But even if flying is more to your liking, a round trip flight to San Francisco averages around $340, which is nearly $80 dollars less on average than flying round trip to Chicago. Hotel costs in both cities average about the same, ranging anywhere from $222/night to $500+/night, according to Lastly, but definitely not least, Outside Lands charges $249 for 3-day passes, compared to Lollapalooza 3-day passes, which already sold out earlier this year and are now being resold on Stubhub for a whopping $365.

The Lineup & Experience

The main reason, aside from travel costs, that makes Outside Lands the most appealing choice is the fact that its lineup features a combination of headliners and mid tier acts that have been featured at Coachella, Bonnaroo, and a few that will be playing at Lollapalooza. OSL features Paul McCartney, who recently headlined Bonnaroo, Nine Inch Nails, who will also be headlining Lollapalooza, as well as Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, The National, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jurassic 5, and Grizzly Bear. On top of great headliners and sub headliners, there are also great mid tier acts and newcomers like Surfer Blood, Deap Vally, Gary Clark Jr, Wild Belle, Smith Westerns, Youth Lagoon, The Tallest Man On Earth, and Jessie Ware. OSL also features a huge wine tasting tent and a beer tasting tent, and numerous live art events taking place over the 3 days. Not to mention this 3 day festival takes place in welcoming San Francisco weather which looks to be in the high 60s, low 70s in August, a nice getaway from the scorching Arizona heat.

The bottom line on this festival debate is that Outside Lands brings together heavy hitters like McCartney and NIN, which not many festivals this year can boast about, a bevy of other great bands, visual art experiences, wine and beer tastings, and all for an affordable price in a great city. If you’re looking to combine your summer vacation with a memorable, but reasonably priced festival experience, Outside Lands wins hands down.

Cuatro De Mayo

May 2, 2013 in Events, LIVE ON KWSS 106.7FM

This Saturday at Salty Senorita on the West Side TMi will be bringing you one of the hottest local music events of 2013.

This TMI music festival features Mergence, The Veragroove, Future Loves Past, Banana Gun, Snake! Snake! Snakes!, Jared and The Mill, Sara Robinson and The Midnight Special, Mouse Powell, Bob Domestic, The Wiley One, Ruca, Bad Lucy, Marc Norman, ANdrew Duncan Brown, and Taylor Oulette. There is a $500 Cash Prize for the Volleyball Tournament Bikini Contest, as well as Ticket Give Aways and Drink specials.

Festival Recap: Best Sets at Coachella 2013, Weekend 2

April 24, 2013 in COACHELLA, Events

By Zachary Kaczmarek

Friday, Day 1




The Shouting Matches

 The weekend started off with a throwback type of bang, when Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon’s side project took the stage in the Gobi tent Friday afternoon. Most fans who know Vernon’s music with Bon Iver were in for quite a different experience when the band ripped into their first song of their bluesy and gritty set. Vernon left his soft folk style vocals at home and favored a more energized rock n roll approach. It was quite a treat for any fan of Bon Iver, and even for folks who appreciated the genuine sound of old time blues rock.

Johnny Marr

Every year fans who attend Coachella have high hopes that The Smiths will reunite one last time to headline, and every year it never comes close to becoming a reality. But after the band turned down 5 million dollars this past year to headline both weekends, crazed fans were willing to settle for former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. Before the set even started older fans who grew up listening to The Smiths, and even a good chunk of younger attendees, crowded around the stage in the Mojave to get a good view of Marr. When he finally walked on stage with a rose in his mouth the entire tent erupted with screaming and applause for the old Brit rocker. His style and sound was more 60s British Invasion, which provided a high energy set, as opposed to the 80s style that The Smiths were known for. Midway through his set he gave the fans what they wanted, playing The Smiths “Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before”, before later playing one of their bigger hits, “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”, and finally closing his set with the well known track “How Soon Is Now?” Fans in the crowd could have closed their eyes and imagined it was Morrisey singing because his vocals were so sharp. It was the perfect ending to a legendary performance by Marr, who proved that hes still a rock star, with or without his dramatic counterpart.


One of Friday’s most energetic sets, courtesy of the Canadian rock duo Japandroids, had people in the crowd moshing and headbanging like there was no tomorrow. During their 50 minute set they held nothing back, thrashing around as they played newer songs from their sophomore album and older tracks that the die hard fans were shouting out. Their punk garage rock style was fresh and kept the packed Gobi tent engaged throughout. It was a sight that had to be witnessed to be believed, as the duo never showed signs of exhaustion from exerting so much energy and played just as intense to close out the show as they had when it began.  During the final song a true punk moment took place as guitarist Brian King climbed up on an amp next to drummer David Prowse’s drum kit, as the two put every ounce of energy into finishing with a fierce exclamation point.


Considering all the hype and attention that the British indie rock act has received over the past year, its no surprise that the crowd for Alt-J was spilling out of the Mojave tent on all sides as some fans even resorted to standing in the warm sun, watching from afar. They brought a very entertaining level of energy that got the entire audience moving around and swaying back and forth, as they played tracks off their debut album. It was a quite a feat that the band was able to reproduce their sound live, with all the complex harmonized vocals and layers of instrumentation. Their execution was so crisp and in sync, especially during “Breezeblocks” with the harmonious singing of the line “please don’t go please don’t go, I love you so I love you so”. Alt-J’s performance lived up to the praise that they have received as their live amazing studio recordings were even more breathtaking in person.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs didn’t disappoint on the main stage Friday night, putting on a show that was filled with dramatic antics from Karen O. and top notch musicianship from guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase. During their set they broke out all the essential songs from different points throughout their career, such as “Gold Lion”, “Zero”, and some new songs like”Mosquito”. But the moment that will forever remain in the minds of those who watched was when the band played their timeless hit from a decade ago, “Maps”. Before Karen O. started singing she got a little bit choked up and said “this is going to be very emotional”. When she sang the chorus line “wait, they don’t love you like I love you”, a large portion of the crowd sang along and others simply looked on in awe. To close out their set they went out in a blaze of glory with the electro rock anthem, “Off With Your Head”, during which giant eyeballs were released into the crowd and everyone in the audience for a moment “danced till they were dead”, as the song goes.

How to Destroy Angels

One of the final sets on Friday night, which took place in the Mojave tent, belonged to Trent Reznor and his new side project that he formed with his wife Mariqueen Maandig. The visual setup, which was composed of curtains of clear fiber strand that colors were projected onto, concealed the band and offered nothing more than a sillhoute when the set first started. As the show progressed some light was shed on the faces of Reznor and Maandig, and the curtains rotated before parting and revealing all members of the group. Maandigs vocals were beautiful and very eerie, as were Reznor’s when the two would harmonize. Halfway through their performance blinding strobes that were behind the group flashes an array of different colors, as the group really got into an industrial inspired groove. As they played one of their final songs, “The Loop Closes”, the curtains of light closed and the stage went dark, before Reznor and the gang thanked everyone for showing up.

Saturday, Day 2

Trash Talk

Not many acts displayed the level of pure rage and ferociousness that Trash Talk unleashed during their noon set on Saturday. Their fast paced dingy style of hardcore thrash provided a nice change a pace, and one of the more intense mosh pits for the hardcore fans to take part in. Singer Lee Spielman immediately engaged the crowd by climbing off the stage and doing most of his screaming and flailing around in the middle of the crowd. There was even a star sighting, as Blake Anderson of the Comedy Central show Workaholics, left the vip area during the final three songs to get involved in the mosh pit. For their finale, Spielman demanded that the as many people as possible hop the railing and climb into the railed off vip area in front of the stage. A massive storm of fans moshing around then ensued, and when the band had finally finished all who had gotten up early and dealt with the melting heat were satisfied with what they had just witnessed.


El-P was just one of the many underground rappers at Coachella this year, who bring a different style that isn’t found on the radio or talked about in the mainstream. The energy and intensity that he brought engaged fans and also those who showed up to see what all the buzz was about. The fact that he had a complete supporting band behind him made the experience much more interesting than most rappers who simply have a DJ press play. MIdway through his set he blew everyone away with a politically charged freestyle acapella, that was nearly two minutes long, which showcased his ability to spit out rhymes without a beat to back him up. Soon after that fellow rapper Danny Brown made an appearance for a song and the crowd gave a great deal of applause to their chemistry to trade rhymes back and forth. At the end of his set El-P had impressed many of his die hard fans who camped out in front of the stage as well as newcomers that will surely become fans in the future.


A couple hours after the sun had gone down, Jason Pierce took his spacey soul rock group on stage and put on one of the most memorable performances of weekend 2. The music combined with amazing visual displays of looped videos like outer space or the ocean on the screen behind him made it more of a complete experience, than just another concert. The two singers that he brought to back him up during certain choruses and verses added another layer of depth, especially to older songs that didn’t originally have that type of harmonization. By the end of his set Pierce had taken the crowd on a rock n roll journey that they won’t soon forget.

The xx

The xx were one of the more highly anticipated sets of this years festival, and they had a lot to prove to those who didn’t think that the band was deserving of a main stage sub headliner slot. Although they didn’t employ expensive or mind blowing lights, their performance was captivating. They provided deeply emotional songs with Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim trading lyrics back and forth, almost like a conversation between two individuals. The real x factor that gave Croft and Sim a groove to work with was the third member of the group, DJ Jamie xx. His samples, beats and percussion lifted the songs to another level and allowed such powerful songs to function as subtle pop songs. Towards the end of their set Croft acknowledged that this was a big step for the band, having played Coachella three years ago, and making a giant leap from an afternoon slot on the Outdoor stage to set on the main right before Saturday’s headliner Phoenix in just a matter of two album releases. The slot was deserved for the trio, and they did not squander their opportunity, delivering a performance that not many other bands topped over the course of the weekend.

Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros, the Icelandic post-rock group, had high expectations this year, receiving a lot of attention for their loud, but yet beautiful performances. When they took the Outdoor stage to close out the night fans were not disappointed, as the band had it all figured out. There was a screen behind the band projecting eerie and fascinating videos, a full orchestra complete with violins and horns, and frontman Jonsi Birgisson was on key with his otherworldly falsetto and his impressive guitar playing style with his cello bow. The transitions from slow and soft to a chaotic storm of emotion during all their songs was flawless. They put this ability to bring a quiet intro to a loud crashing halt to close out their set, before drummer Orri Dyrason knocked his drum kit over as the band walked off the stage. But they returned one last time for a humble bow before the crowd, which really spoke volumes about their commitment to putting on a fantastic show.

Sunday, Day 3

Deap Vally

The muddy blues rock duo known as Deap Vally took the stage at noon of the final day, and they brought their A-game for all the loyal fans of old school rock n roll who showed up. Guitarist and singer Lindsey Troy was fierce with howls that could go toe to toe with any of the legendary vocalists in rock n roll, and riffs that were so gritty and laden with fuzz. Drummer Julie Edwards was hitting all her drum fills like she had a grudge against her drum kit, making it look easy to display that much passion. The duo played a shorter set than most acts, but it was a set that felt peeled out right from the start and never slowed down to let the crowd catch their breath.


One of the most power packed, artsy, and well executed sets during the course of the three days in the desert, was held in a tightly packed shoulder to shoulder Gobi tent by the one woman indie pop act, Claire Boucher, better known as Grimes. During her hour set she put on display every talent that she possesses  whether it was creating and looping her own synth and beats, to dancing around on stage, or hitting an unbelievably angelic falsetto, Grimes did it all. She drew on industrial samples for older tracks from her first two albums, and played her most recent songs like “Oblivion” and “Genesis”, which were dark dream pop jams that had the entire tent dancing. She even elevated the show to another level by having dancers who were dressed up move around on stage, and during a few tracks she let out some wild screams into the mic before adding echo and delay effects over them. It was an astonishing performance that was equal parts dj set, pop show, and ethereal art performance.

Dinosaur Jr.

The old school noise rockers known as Dinosaur Jr. rocked the Outdoor stage to fans of all ages. They played nearly every essential song that chronicled their long and successful career. Frontman J. Mascis blew the crowd away with his squeally fuzz tone solos that he has perfected over the past three decades. It was a performance that may have felt like just another jam session to the three men rocking on stage, but from a crowd perspective it was something that takes years of experience to excel at.


 Not many sets possessed the “once in a lifetime” atmosphere that Rodriguez’s performance had as the sun went down on the final day. His career that never seemed to take off back in the 70s, received the proper recognition from fans who packed the Gobi to see the psych folk rocker. Rodriguez’s stage presence was one of a legendary artist who was born to play concerts, and his vocals and guitar work seemed to have never left his side during the years in which he stopped making music. It was like watching a mystical timeless figure display his craft, as the 70 year old commanded the audience with his rough around the edges songs packed with emotion from a lifetime of wisdom. When he had wrapped up the set, he took not one bow, but three, and the crowd gave him a lifetime worth of applause as he was helped off the stage.

Vampire Weekend

The quirky indie prep rock group has finally arrived after five years of wowing fans with their off beat timings and uptempo, slightly punk edge. Their main stage set had quite an elegant feel to it, with a giant mirror hanging above, surrounded by three white pillars one each side. Over the course of their set they played every essential tune that has gained them such a large following, from both of their previous acclaimed albums, and a few brand new songs that fans were delighted to hear. Ezra Koenig had such charisma while he was up on stage hitting notes of octaves high and low. After their show had come to an end, they played the classic song “Walcott” which was fitting as Koenig pointed out, because its a song about getting out of town, which they would soon do after leaving the crowd wanting more.

Wu Tang Clan

The famous Wu Tang Clan have had a lot of ups and downs since they burst onto the scene in the early 90s, but they have persevered and they left a new memory for all the fans who would have given anything to see a fully reunited lineup which included RZA, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Red Man, Raekwon, and GZA. Their timing in delivering rhymes was just like it was when they were at the pinnacle of rap, as they performed the best of their tracks from the classic album, Enter the Wu Tang: 36 Chambers, which turned 20 years old this year. The entire crowd was enjoying the performance and it had the ultimate party vibe no matter where you looked. There were even Wu Tang beach balls thrown into the crowd during the middle of the set. As the night was coming to a close for the historic rap group, they did a really touching tribute to the late Old Dirty Bastard. It was a performance that had everything a fan of Wu Tang or rap could ask for.

Until Next year!

Sahara tent, Sunday night during Eric Prydz DJ set.

Concert Recap – The Postal Service at Comerica Theatre

April 22, 2013 in Concert Recap, Events

Photo by Joe Abbruscato

By Devon Adams

Nostalgia is not dead. We all have regrets, lost loves, and memories both sorrowful and joyful. There’s a soundtrack for our lives. Those songs remind us of late summer nights a decade before or return that smell of dad’s old Chevy to our nostrils. For 5,000 attendees to Comerica Theatre last Thursday evening that soundtrack featured The Postal Service; a band who released a single record a decade ago, hasn’t toured in years, and had never performed together in Arizona until last week. Comprised of Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, producer Jimmy Tamborello (aka Dntel), Jenny Lewis, formerly of Rilo Kiley, and Laura Burhenn who previously toured with Bright Eyes, The Postal Service has recorded two new songs, released a 10th Anniversary “Give Up” album, and recently rocked through Phoenix.

The opening act, YACHT, danced their way through a surreal post-electronica indie set and succeeded to power through vocal mic issues from the soundboard before The Postal Service took the stage. I had seen Death Cab for Cutie two years ago on this very stage and immediately recognized Gibbard’s frenetic, passionate dancing as he played guitar or keys while singing lead vocals. The pit immediately went wild with some of the people around me waiting half of their lives to see this live performance. Gibbard immediately reminded us that he’s “a visitor here” through a fabulous introduction featuring “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight.” During the second song, Lewis set down her guitar and danced across the stage with her salmon colored dress mere shades darker than her own ginger hair. She kicked up her black and white wing tipped shoes while Gibbard bounced back to an off center drum kit where he beat through the second half of “We Will Become Silhouettes,” a song that everyone in the theatre seemingly knew. By the fourth song, Burhenn’s backing female vox were featured on “Turn Around,” one of the newest tracks by the band. The energy between Gibbard and Lewis exuded a playful whimsy on “Nothing Better” that hinted at a romanticism the media has wondered continuously over the past decade. These two smiled and danced across the stage together and obviously enjoyed working together on this tour. While Lewis returned to stage right where her guitar sat near her keys and sang into two separate mics (one was autotuned), Gibbard surprisingly danced and played across the front of the stage through “Recycled Air.” Tamborello, positioned on a raised back center stage producing the entire show and having a damn good time of it, finished off the last few lyrics of this song before bringing a melodica to his mouth for “Be Still My Heart.” The light show, impressive to this point, suddenly grew in awesomeness until light beams rolled up behind Tamborello and out into the audience far towards the rear of the theatre. Lyrics like “brand new start” and “wake me up, and you’re still here” reminded the audience not only of the universality of The Postal Service’s message but also hints at a future sophomore undertaking.

Photo by Joe Abbruscato

As Gibbard started playing the opening notes to “Clark Gable,” a fan near me yelled “this keeps getting better and better!” The pit chanted the opening lines to the song and Gibbard could not stop smiling as he moved back to the drum kit once again. Clapping and singing in unison, the fans danced through the catchy song before, in a surprising move, Lewis left her post to also play drums (does anyone in the band not play the drums?). Gibbard announced they’d be performing a cover of Beat Happening’s “Our Secret,” and I caught Behrenn playing a xylophone shrouded in dark cloths while Gibbard took the solo vocals on the number.

Photo by Joe Abbruscato

Gibbard, a true gentleman, thanked YACHT for opening before introducing “This Place is a Prison” while the bright golden lights dropped down to a dark red that accentuated Lewis’ onstage costume. Tamborello returned to a mellow melodica playing a lower, somber register, and we all swayed as one. I am aware The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” was on the Garden State soundtrack, but realized during this number that the entire album could easily be a soundtrack for a generation through hopes, loves, losses and memory.

Photo by Joe Abbruscato

When asked what makes this band so special to its fan, one fan, Lindsey, told me “Everyone I talk to mentions The Postal Service with nostalgia. I remember the first time I heard the album. I was in college. We drove to the beach at midnight. From Portland to Seaside, Oregon. We listened to this album as I fell in love. With the girl and the music. And then it was over. No more albums, no more girl. The album brings me back to a moment I lost.”

After “This Place is a Prison” and its mellifluousness, the band broke into what I can only conclude was a jam instrumental, which seems odd for The Postal Service but here it worked. The heavily instrumental “There’s Never Enough Time” felt three times longer than its album length. Afterward they shifted into a huge, rocking light show with “A Tattered Line of String”, one of two absolutely new songs on GIve Up (Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition). The inclusion of “String” and “Turn Around” are what makes the “reissue” deluxe. Two great songs that hint at a musical future together that Gibbard alludes to when he called out to the audience, “We’ll see you real soon.”

The momentum continued as Tamborello queued the opening notes to “Such Great Heights.” The crowd went wild, people began clapping, singing, and lifting cell phones to shoot shoddy video. Those not shooting closed their eyes and sang along happily before the band segued smoothly into “Natural Anthem” to close the night. Lewis jammed on her guitar with her teeth and played a cassette player into her microphone while strobes flashed across the stage. Nearby a fan shouted “Come back to Phoenix soon, Ben!” Gibbard and crew thanked the 5,000 clapping fans as the song faded out and walked off stage. After a few minutes Jimmy, Ben, Jenny and Laura waved their way back onto stage as we all yelled, “Thank you! Encore!”

Gibbard introduced the band at this point, and moved into a now classic Dntel tune “(This is) the Dream of Evan and Chan.” It was an unexpected, awesome addition to the night that added to the excitement of finally seeing The Postal Service in Arizona. The fervor of Tamborello and Gibbard’s serendipitously creative coupling over a decade ago have changed the way music is made. A local music engineer and fan, Glen, argued that “aside from somewhat piloting a new method of music production, I feel their music kind of made it more ok for mainstream artists to use electronic sounds. Of course there was music already that utilized synthesizers, etc… but not really in mainstream music.”

The Postal Service finished out the evening with “Brand New Colony” with lines that include “everything will change.” These lyrics hint at past nostalgias and allude to a future of not only Postal Service music but also a return to a touring circuit that they left a decade ago.

Set List from Comerica Theatre – April 18, 2013

1. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

2. We Will Become Silhouettes

3. Sleeping In

4. Turn Around

5. Nothing Better

6. Recycled Air

7. Be Still My Heart

8. Clark Gable

9. Our Secret (cover from Beat Happening)

10. This Place is a Prison

11. There’s Never Enough Time

12. A Tattered Line of String

13. Such Great Heights

14. Natural Anthem


15. (This is) the Dream of Evan and Chan

16. Brand New Colony

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Concert Recap – Phoenix at the Marquee

April 9, 2013 in Concert Recap, Events

By Zachary Kaczmarek

From the moment the French alternative rock act Phoenix stepped on stage at the Marquee Theatre Monday night the crowd never seemed to simmer down or fizzle, giving the concert a certain vibe that the venue was indeed “the place to be”. The set kicked off with the lead single “Entertainment” as the sold out venue was like a live wire with fans jumping around, singing and yelling hysterically in disbelief. The band then worked their way into older grooves like “Lasso”, “Lisztomania”, and “Long Distance Call” to which the crowd responded even louder. It never appeared at any given moment that the guys from France were not in complete command with their impressive stage presence, a stage presence of a veteran act that makes it look so easy in the process.

The most impressive part of the show was the perfect execution and timing for nearly every song that was played. Singer Thomas Mars took full control as he bopped around the stage and hit every note to perfection, while guitarist Christian Mallazai smiled at fans while enthusiastically strumming out his chords, and drummer Thomas Hedlund kept perfect time as he hit all his drum fills in an intense manner like Animal from The Muppets.  Its this level of passion that made their set more than a concert, but an experience. One of the key moments that transcended the entire show was the mind blowing synth driven mashup of their tracks “Sunset” and “Bankrupt”, courtesy of bass player and keyboardist Deck ‘dArcy (featured below), which was accompanied by earth rattling bass tones that you could feel in your chest and rapidly flashing lights of all colors, before eventually evolving into a full on jam session (which can be seen in this video directly below).


Phoenix – “Sunskrupt”

After what could only be described as an entrancing moment that was pleasing to the eyes and ears, the show carried on with new upbeat 80s inspired tracks, “Drakkar Noir” and “Chloroform”. The final track of the main set, “1901″, the bands most well known song, got the entire venue singing along to the chorus line, “Fallin, fallin, fallin, falling”, and dancing like there was no tomorrow. When the song ended the band members thanked the crowd and walked off the stage, as the entire audience shouted at the top of their lungs to receive an encore. The encore set was everything and more, as the band played the clean guitar ballad, “Countdown”, and then the song “Rome”. The true “down to earth moment” which took place after “Rome”, was singer Mars walking all the way through the middle of the crowd to the very back of the venue, greeting fans before they finally hoisted him up like a king.

When his connection with the fans finished he walked back on stage as the band jammed out with the melody from “Entertainment”, which really connected the set from start to finish as a whole by opening and closing their set with the same melody. At the end of the night it was apparent that Phoenix has matured into a band that feels confident playing in multiple styles, and has ascended to the level of a “headliner” act.

35 Must-See Acts at Coachella 2013

April 8, 2013 in COACHELLA, Events


 By Zachary Kaczmarek

For Coachella Vets and newcomers alike, the dilemma that takes much planning if a good time is to be had is the scheduling of a personal lineup that will entertain for an entire 3 days. Although many festival goers judge a lineup based on headliners, the majority of time spent at any festival will be listening to under card acts and sub headliners. Ordinarily Coachella has featured marquee headliners that have typically been at their peak or household legends with a legacy. This year is quite the opposite as Red Hot Chili Peppers is one of the few household names. But a lack of star studded artists doesn’t mean this is a down year, as the lineup is loaded with more talented mid tier acts, indie rock legends, and up and coming artists than past years. This is an extensive guide that breaks down all the important sets from acts that are listed high on the lineup poster, to bands on the verge of hitting big. The only thing this guide can’t help you with is the numerous conflicts that will occur each day.

(In Alphabetical Order)


This up and coming British indie rock act has grabbed the attention of the masses within the last year thanks to their Mercury Prize winning debut An Awesome Wave. They combine unique vocals and catchy guitar riffs with a variety of sounds and surprising tempo changes on the drums. Its safe to say that their set is one of the most hyped in recent memory for a new band, but its fitting the year they had in 2012.



Bat for Lashes

Bat for Lashes is the stage name for multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Natasha Khan. Since she burst onto the scene she has gained notoriety with her pop style that channels PJ Harvey and Bjork. She has received two Mercury Prize nominations, the highest musical award in the UK, and is sure to provide an exciting experience with a large sound that uses a countless number of instruments, as well as a few emotional moments with a piano ballad or two.


Beach House

Beach House had a huge 2012 with their fourth album release, Bloom, getting attention from critics and fans alike. Their music is one of the more soothing acts on the lineup with their soft guitar melodies and echoing synthesizers which will make for a nice afternoon or evening set. This dream pop duo will surely put on a one of a kind performance bringing their serene sounds to the desert in Indio.


Dead Can Dance

It’s not very often that a world fusion group like Dead Can Dance reaches the pinnacle of music alongside pop and rock acts, but that’s exactly the scenario that is playing out here. They have been composing beautiful music since the early 80s and they are still going strong with new tracks. The group uses a plethora of percussion and strings such as cellos, violins, the timpani, and a collective of other instruments to create a musically extravagant show. They don’t exactly schedule massive US tours or play in a city like Phoenix, so an opportunity to see them play should not be squandered.


Deap Vally

There’s always a void to fill in different genres of music with various bands breaking up and the need for another to fill their shoes. After the White Stripes called it quits the world turned to the Black Keys for their muddy blues rock, but the upstart girl duo Deap Vally is sure going to give them a run for their money as the best bluesy garage rock duo. They combine Zeppelin with the White Stripes and once they start playing there is nothing held back. Watching them will without a doubt be a great chance to see the next big thing in rock.


Dinosaur Jr.

When fuzz driven noise rock was blowing up back in the 80s Dinosaur Jr. was leading the charge and shaping the landscape alongside acts like Sonic Youth. Kurt Cobain was even a huge fan and their messy yet organized approach was something many bands incorporated into their sound. A few decades later and Dinosaur Jr. is still standing as one of the more dynamic rock groups, with one of the greatest men to play a guitar, front man J. Mascis. Their brand of stoner fuzz rock will be a spectacle that is a must see.



It seems like in 2013 Coachella has made a priority to  represent some of the best old school punk acts from past decades as well as new faces like Trash Talk. The Descendents represent that old school generation and despite the fact that they have been off and on as a band since their inception in 1978, the genuine attitude and passion towards their music has not declined one bit. A great opportunity to see an act that helped to shape the genre of punk rock and chance to feel like one of the rebellious fans from that era.



Coachella always includes a few great rap acts each year, some more historical than others, (ie. Dre and Snoop with Tupac hologram) but this year there are plenty of great lesser known rappers such as El-P that bring an old school approach to the stage. EL-P is based out of NYC and his lyrics present an anti establishment no nonsense style that is very raw and cuts to the chase. His set is sure to be packed with fans and loud with his buzzing synthesizers and thumping beats.



Many groups today don’t just rely on one genre to form a new sound, and Foals is one of those groups that draw from so many diverse sounds of music. At time they sounds like a funky dance rock act and at other times they draw on a spacey funk rock. This performance is guaranteed to get the crowd moving.



If there is such a title as “Queen of Indie Pop” then Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, wins hands down. Her DIY approach to music, with her old school Casio synth lines and spacey samples, is unlike most other solo pop acts as everything is done without any backing musicians. Her Bjork-like falsetto is so captivating and her set is bound to be one of the more talked about sets over the course of the two weekends.


Hot Chip

This British electronic dance rock act makes their third appearance at Coachella as they tour to promote their latest album, In Our Heads, which received primarily positive reviews. Their performances are even better than the studio versions and this year’s set is destined to be an uplifting performance.


How to Destroy Angels

HTDA is the latest electronic side project from Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor, in which his wife Mariqueen Maandig does vocals. Their sets at this year’s Coachella will be the group’s official debut, but don’t expect a set that resembles anything Trent would have constructed in his NIN days, as most of the tracks are softer and more experimental. But in the end the presence of Reznor should be more than enough to draw a large crowd for HTDA when you consider that Reznor has not played a gig of any kind in 4 years.


Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae is truly a jack of all trades as she combines funk, soul, R &B, and electronic dance. This year’s talent for female performers is very deep and she is one of the prime examples. Her stage presence is one of the best in music and her set will not disappoint.



Its not often that a band who doesn’t initially make a big splash with their debut gets noticed down the road. But the Canadian rock duo known as Japandroids did just that. On the verge of calling it quits and getting real jobs, their song “I Quit Girls” blew up on youtube, which led to much hype surrounding their sophomore album in 2012, which exceeded expectations. They have poetic sentiment and emotion of a softer band, and the brash intensity and distorted guitars of old school punk acts like Husker Du and Black Flag. They are sure to impress many folks and gain an even bigger following after they tear it up on stage.


Jessie Ware

Ware is another outstanding solo performer that blends new electronic sounds with R & B bass lines and beats. Her voice has been compared to R & B greats like Lauryn Hill and Mary J. Blige. Her set has all the makings for an original and memorable performance.


Johnny Marr

When the Smiths were at their peak back in the 80s Marr was renowned as one of more innovative and groundbreaking guitarists. Today his legacy continues to grow as he prepares to play his newly released solo material. A chance to see a rock and guitar legend such as Marr is an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up.


Kurt Vile

Vile is part of the recent movement in independent music to reignite the folk rock style of the Bob Dylan era. Vile and his backing group the Violators, bring back that old spirit of acoustic folk rock with Viles impeccable guitar playing and quiet demeanor. His performance should be a nice time to unwind and a change a pace from the more noisy acts.


La Roux

The British pop singer/songwriter Elly Jackson, also known as La Roux, whose debut album in 2009 received a lot of attention due to tracks like “In For the Kill” and “Bulletproof”, has been on somewhat of a stagnant hiatus in the past few years. She was booked to play at last year’s Coachella but dropped out due to personal reasons. Jackson should end up with a late evening set on the last day of the festival and her performance would be a great close for the weekend.


Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Cave and company have been writing seedy dark dastardly rock since the 80s, and although their lineup aside from Cave has changed multiple times, the music has been a constant. With Caves classic vocals every performance to do is instantly a spectacle. Their sound is unlike most other bands on the lineup and their main stage set at the end of Day 3 should be at the top of your list.



The French Indie rock group Phoenix has been shaping the scene since they formed back in ’99 and recently gained a great deal of popularity with their album release Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix back in 2009. This is their first major festival that they have headlined and they will certainly prove that they are indeed headliner material with a solid performance to close out Day 2. And who knows, there may even be a surprise performance of “If I Ever Feel Better” with fellow French duo Daft Punk, as robot duo did show up on stage unannounced in 2010 when Phoenix headlined a show at Madison Square Garden in New York. It could be the Tupac hologram moment for 2013. There’s no shame in dreaming big is there?


Postal Service

The electronic experimental side project of Death Cab for Cutie front man Ben Gibbard has reunited in 2013 after releasing only one album a decade ago and disbanding. This is another one of those monumental “once in a life time” reunion sets that will surely live up to the hype.


Purity Ring

Purity Ring plays a melancholy and slightly dubstep influenced brand of dream pop. The Canadian duo has been praised within the past year for their debut Shrines, and their set is sure to be one of the more talked about performances of the festival.



Coachella 2013 seems to be the year of reunions and side projects, with Tool front man Maynard James Keenan bringing his side project Puscifer to the desert. Their tracks don’t share anything with Tool, but the gritty industrial influenced experimental sound definitely embodies the spirit that everyone has come to expect from Maynard and anything he involves himself with.



If you haven’t see the acclaimed award winning documentary Searching for Sugarman that was released last year here’s the short version of Rodriguez’ story: He was an aspiring musician out of Detroit who wrote about gritty real life stories of people he saw on the street in a weird style of psych-folk during the late 60s, early 70s that never seemed to take off. But during the Apartheid years in South Africa occurred where his songs were anthems for a revolution against racism, and where he had more popularity than Elvis. It was assumed that he had committed suicide years ago, but during the 90s a few avid fans went on a search and found that he was alive and doing demolition work in Detroit. They then got him to play massive sold out shows in South Africa, and the recent documentary of the search has led to Rodriguez being booked for multiple festivals like Coachella. He has drawn a lot of comparisons to Bob Dylan, which makes it’s hard to understand why the world wasn’t ready for his unique style back then in the 60s. The good news is that he still sounds just like he did on his recordings all those years ago, he is without a doubt the most unique story of any act on the lineup this year.


Sigur Ros

This Icelandic ambient rock group has been producing beautiful and well composed pieces of music that take a long drawn out symphonic approach for nearly two decades. Sigur Ros brings a different style than most and as a result the enjoyment is all based on the bigger picture rather than a series of hits that energize the fans. The crowd may not be electric and dancing around, but this just may be one of the best sets this year.



Spiritualized is essentially musical genius Jason Pierce and a constantly revolving band of musicians. He has been writing innovative and experimental spacey soul rock since the early 90s with influential albums like Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space. His most recent creation, Sweet Heart Sweet Light, drew universal acclaim and will be worth seeing live.


Tame Impala

Psychedelic rock that was prevalent throughout the 60s and 70s has seen resurgence within the last decade or so and the Australian Tame Impala appears to be the leader of pack. Their debut really put them on the map, and last year’s Lonerism solidified their status as the premiere artist in the genre.


Tegan and Sara

The sister duo Tegan and Sara has been crafting songs for more than a decade now that range from indie pop to rock and even folk. They combine all these sounds to create live shows that have unbelievable moments of high energy and slow ballads. Their on stage chemistry is sure to make one of the more unique and special moments.


The Stone Roses

This Britpop band that formed in the 80s has shaped a lot of the Britpop scene that such bands as Oasis, Day 1 co-headliner Blur, and The Verve came out of during the 90s. Although they don’t have the typical level of popularity for a headliner, their set during Day 1 of both weekends will truly be a marvel. The group has not performed in the US since the mid-90s and this could be one of those memorable, “reunion sets” that Coachella has been known for in the past.


The xx/Jamie xx

Since their debut album in 2009, The xx have been on the rise thanks to their soothing vocals and melodic layered guitar riffs. Their sophomore effort, Coexist, which was released last year showed a solid progression and growth from their first album. Their performance is one that should be witnessed, as well as Jamie xx’s solo dj set. His beats and samples that he uses as the backdrop for the bands sound has been praised by many, and his solo material which sounds very tribal is intriguing as well.




With the EDM (electronic dance music) scene constantly evolving there are always new sub genres that pop up and gain momentum. TNGHT brings the latest style to emerge, which sounds like dance music mixed with hip hop. The duo of Hudson Mohawke and Lunice employ hard hitting beats and booming bass that one would find in a lot of rap music, particular the sub genre known as “trap music”, and combine them with energized synth loops and samples. There is also the potential of a Kanye collaboration on stage, as he did show up to do a remix of his track “Cold” last year at one of their shows in New York. But thats not a guarantee.



Vampire Weekend

The NYC based indie act has gained a huge following with their first two album releases that features a sound comprised of off balance guitar melodies and synthesizers. Not to mention that Ezra Koenig has one of the more unique voices in music today. Their set is guaranteed to draw a huge crowd.


Violent Femmes

The Violent Femmes had a huge role in shaping indie rock back in the 80s and early 90s, and reunite in 2013, like many other acts, to put on a few amazing sets in Indio. Their strange but appealing folkish punk sound that spawned hits like “Blister in the Sun” and “Gone Daddy Gone” is sure to attract many when they hit the stage.


Wu-Tang Clan

The praise and accolades for the great rap group could go on forever, but the one title that relates to Coachella is the “best rap” act on this year’s lineup. Although Ol Dirty Bastard is resting in peace and the remaining members have all been developing solo careers, they still have the chemistry that made them the fiercest rap group of the 90s and one that is not be messed with, if their lyrics are to be taken literally.


Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been rocking stages since they were playing small gigs in NYC back in the early 2000s and bring a noisy, but at times beautifully melodic garage rock sound to fans. On their last few releases they have shown a softer more artsy side, while becoming one of the more well-rounded acts in music. Their live performances rarely disappoint and the energy that front woman Karen O. brings is unlike most other singers today. Plus if their latest single, “Sacrilege” is any indicator, which includes amazing vocals from a gospel choir, then their new material that they’ll be playing will make it more than worthwhile.

TMI Thursdays w/ The Polaroid Bear 4/11

April 8, 2013 in Events, LIVE ON KWSS 106.7FM

NEW MUSIC: THE POLAROID BEAR from California is bringing his expirimental solo performance to Phoenix. You can get his entire new album on Bandcamp for a “Name Your Price” type of deal. We hope to see you all this Thursday at Last Exit Live 717 S. Central Ave Phoenix, AZ 85004

April 11, 8pm $5 717 S. Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Doors: 8pm
Show Starts: 9pm

The Lions Club:
The Polaroid Club:

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