The Offspring >> Smash 20th Anniversary [Mesa Amphitheatre]

The Offspring >> first released their iconic Smash album 20 years ago and in 2014 they're celebrating the anniversary headlining a nationwide tour with fellow legends of punk Bad Religion and Pennywise. This weekend Dexter Holland and the boys visited the desert and played a shreddingly brilliant show at Mesa Amphitheatre.

Offspring >> Mesa Amphitheatre

In 1994 I got my first ever CD player along with my first 3 compact discs: Dookie by Green Day, II by Boys II Men and of course, Smash by Offspring. My state of the art bookshelf jukebox was a 6-disc changer by JVC that took a few more months of allowance in order to fill up the rest of those trays with more 1994 gems but then I discovered BMG and fucking Columbia House so 20 CD's for a goddamn penny? Sold. Anyone else remember those hustle moves?

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Anyway, Smash could certainly be attributed to the birth of my punk persona so it was quite an anticipated nostalgia-induced show at Mesa Amp the other night. Dexter, Noodles and the rest of the squad walked on stage as the album's 'Time To Relax' intro sounded and once in their proper positions 'Nitro' and the dozen other bangers on the album went down in sequential order, although they played 'Gotta Get Away' only once instead of on repeat 25 times in a row like it did on my JVC when I was in 8th grade. They also saved 'Self Esteem' for the end which ignited the most uproarious crowd I have ever seen at this particular venue. While these guys are damn near 50 years old they can certainly still shred and their product still gets people going fucking nuts.

What I can really appreciate is at the end of all the Smash songs, the band began to walk off stage and Dexter said they'd be back in a few minutes. Today's standard unplanned-but-planned encore from every other artist is bullshit so although subtle, is was refreshing for Offspring to call their intended intermission before their second mini-set. As promised they came back out and played sprinkled hits from forth released albums but mostly Americana. I was a little butthurt not to hear 'Gone Away' from Ixnay On The Hombre but just a slight damper to an otherwise perfect night of punk-fucking-rock to the max.

Setlist: Nitro [Youth Energy] * Bad Habit * Gotta Get Away * Genocide * Something To Believe In * Come Out And Play * It'll Be A Long Time * Killboy Powerhead * What Happened To You? * So Alone * Not The One * Smash * Self Esteem * ENCORE: Americana * All I Want * [Can't Get My] Head Around You * Why Don't You Get A Job? You're Gonna Go Far, Kid * Pretty Fly [For A White Guy] * The Kids Aren't Alright



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Pepper >> Getting Spicy in San Francisco [The Warfield]

Pepper >> The only fog in San Francisco on August 19th was the haze of glaucoma medicine billowing through The Warfield on Tuesday night. Pepper and The Dirty Heads were in town for the last stop of their summer tour and they both put on quite a show.

Pepper >> The Warfield

Both bands treated the last concert of the tour like it was the last day of school and gave zero fucks. I'm pretty sure both tour buses were emptied of all adult beverages and herbal remedies by the end of the show.

Having seen Pepper before I knew what I was in for, and they did not disappoint. Even though it seems like these guys have been around forever [they have, first album in 1997], they still bring it and bring it hard. The best protection on the market.

The rockers hail from Kona, Hawaii though they look more like they should have just hopped out of a raised black truck at the Huntington Beach Pier. Normally, dudes who bro out this hard are giant douche nozzles and I want to punch them in their throats but they had me singing along like everyone else at the sold out show for over an hour and a half. There were times where they talked to the crowd too much as they've been known to do frequently. I had the urge to yell ‘SHUT UP AND ROCK!’, but I knew it would be drowned out by the shrieks of women ages 18 to 80 and the sound of panties hitting the ground. Whether you dig their music or not you have to respect how much fun these guys have on stage and how crazy girls go for them. Ladies just love them some Pepper.

Pepper >> The Warfield

After a brief intermission, The Dirty Heads rolled out and kept the party rocking. I had not seen them before and I was kind of shocked how rock and roll they were. Their trendy radio hits like ‘Lay Me Down’, ‘Stand Tall’ or ‘Dance All Night’ are all pop summer feel good hits, but they brought a lot more to the table. Although their beachy vibe still comes through there are strong Hip-Hop and old school Rock and Roll undertones in their music. Their lead singer - who looks like a cross between a hipster Jesus and a manly version of Jared Leto - had a powerful voice and awesome range and frankly he just kind of rocked. The Dirty Heads had me thinking of them as a surf town version of Limp Bizkit, but in a good way. Like in a, you know you had the CD in 1998 type way.

You can call these bands surf rock, reggae, alternative, call them anything you want. I just call them a good time and was happy I could attend their last day of school Tuesday night at the Warfield!



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Black Kids >> Partie Traumatic in Phoenix [Rhythm Room]

Black Kids >> graced us with a visit back to the valley this past Wednesday night for a killer show at Rhythm Room in Phoenix.

Black Kids >> Rhythm Room

It was hot as a furnace fan as it seemingly always is when a trip uptown is required but not enough to stop the 50 or so heads in the house ready to partie to the max. This show was a testament to the Rhythm Room's ability to deliver some of the most intimate shows in the desert and what better way to experience such than a band back from the dead, the dirty South's own Black Kids.

[related: Parallels >> Electrimotion in Phoenix]

It seems like only yesterday when it was 2008 and Partie Traumatic hit record stores and iPods everywhere. The debut studio release was fucking brilliant and seemingly a game-changer. In 2009, the kids hit Tempe on their album tour and rocked the Clubhouse [R.I.P. beloved fallen venue] when they opened for Mates of State. Black Kids were on the up and up practically overnight with bigger things on the horizon.

Unfortunately, that rendezvous would be the last tour for a long while and not a full album since. The band didn't break up but their collective lives moved in 5 different directions. It was obvious the other night that many a fan including myself was incredibly ecstatic to see Reggie Youngblood & Co. back on stage.

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Most of the setlist was comprised of Partie Traumatic and no one in the joint could have been happier. The first notes of the opener was the flux capacitor that activated and took me immediately back to 2008. All of a sudden I was hopping around like a strung out kangaroo and singing fucking every word like I was a Black Kid. I'm much older now but it's shows like these that get me bananas and happy to stay out late on a school night because it's all worth it when fun memories get stirred up and new ones are formed - ok mainly only new ones are formed because I accidentally blacked out their last show per the whiskey.

Black Kids are now on the front half of their nationwide summer tour so try to catch them when they hit your city. Trust me, you'll want to get after this shit. Also, stay tuned for when I post my interview with the frontman himself, Reggie Youngblood.

Setlist: Listen To Your Body Tonight * Look At Me [When I Rock Wichoo] * Hit The Heartbrakes * Origami * I've Underestimated My Charm [Again] * You Only Call Me When You're Crying * Power In The Blood * Partie Traumatic * I Wanna Be Your Limousine * Clocks * First Song Ever Wrote * Love Me Already * I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You * ENCORE: I'm Making Eyes At You * Hurricane Jane



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311 >> Offbeat Bare Ass in Tucson [Rialto Theatre]

311 >> is continuing on their nationwide Stereolithic album tour and found their way back to the desert this weekend, this time in Tucson, AZ. They headlined a masterfully magnificent show at a historical gem, The Rialto Theatre.

311 >> Rialto Theatre

The show in AZ's dirty south came just 5 weeks after 311's show at the Talking Stick pool at the end of June. Having just covered that 'Showdown' in Scottsdale and this being my 17th time seeing them, let's 'Purpose' this post on the venue itself since this was my first 'Visit'. See what I did there? Moving on.

[related: 311 >> Down in Scottsdale]

Normally I would avoid Tucson like the plague but the opportunity to see one of my favorite bands of all time at a vintage venue that I've always been curious about was not something I could pass up.

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The Rialto Theatre is over 100 years old and although it wasn't always a music venue, in recent years it has established itself as a staple in the concert community as well as an official historical registrant in the United States, meaning the site is worthy of preservation. Thus, I'll allow it. Okay.

Rialto Theatre

Rialto's interior is very similar to Marquee Theatre in Tempe with its dark walls and gloomy, industrial feel. The design is practically identical as well but more so prior to Marquee's recent renovation and demolition of the main room's entrance and balcony. If Rialto ever decides to renovate, hopefully they preserve some of the subtly vintage charm that was so great about Marquee which is now gone and replaced with cheesy art, ultra lounge light fixtures and technologically inferior live feed cameras and video screens. I do love the efficiency and seemingly increased capacity at Marquee but the character was demolished along with the walls. Nonetheless, it's still one of my favorite venues in the valley okay, Lucky Man?

[related: Shiny Toy Guns >> Alive In This Ghost Town of Tucson]

Anyway, Rialto sounded great and although there was an apparent weird smell about it, the weird crowd and weird town outside made for a very interesting and very fun Saturday night. Tucson still ranks high on the armpit turd town list but it definitely got some points for this weekend's experience. Smell you later, Tucson.

Setlist: Beautiful Disaster * Don't Stay Home * Showdown * Sand Dollars * Sunset In July * Do You Right * All Mixed Up * Boom Shanka * Purpose * Applied Science * Lovesong * First Dimension * Hive * Made In The Shade * Come Original * The Great Divide * Amber * Offbeat Bare Ass * Friday Afternoon * Creatures [For A While] * ENCORE: Tranquility * Down



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Say Anything >> Alive with the Glory of Love in Tempe [Marquee Theatre]

Say Anything >> made another trip to Tempe this weekend to wrap up this summer's tour with The Front Bottoms. Fresh off last month's release of their Hebrews album, the set list was chocked full of said LP's punk rock pop hymns with a nice sprinkle of rad throwbacks from the past 15 years.

Say Anything >> Marquee Theatre

It's difficult to fathom the fact Say Anything has been around for this long. They've been pumping out the jams consistently every year and some in double-disc fashion. Sunday's nearly 2-hour show at the Marquee Theatre on Mill Avenue is a testament to this and their ever-growing catalog of fun.

It was nice to hear so many great songs from Say Anything's best albums, ...Is A Real Boy and their self-titled LP like 'Spider Song' and 'Do Better' to name a few. But the best part was when frontman Max Bemis came back onstage solo for the encore with just his guitar pressed against his sweaty, beer-drenched tank top that probably belonged to his little brother.

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First, before performing an acoustic cover of a song by Saves The Day, Max proceeded to inform us that Say Anything and Saves The Day will tour together later this year to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of ...Is A Real Boy. I assume the Bemis and Conley fronted band Two Tongues will be part of the bill too. Super splendid news but one thing was missing from a near-perfect night.

I knew at any minute the rest of the band would come back out to fulfill my long-awaited wish of experiencing 'Alive With The Glory Of Love'. No dice though. This motherfucker keeps coffee talking to the audience and now he's taking requests!!? Damn it. All the youngens up front are in Max's ear yelling shit from Anarchy, My Dear and obviously not what I wanted to hear because they were still shitting their pants in kindergarten when that shit dropped.

But somehow over all the commotion and disorganized chatter I heard an angel's voice in clear sophomore syntax belt out that song that turned me into a Say Anything super fan 10 years ago. As if Max was waiting for her to chime in that entire time, he immediately started strumming those magical chords and began playing the shit out of it.

Although it was an acoustic version and Max even messed up the lyrics in the 2nd verse, I was really happy to hear it. It brought me back to a time when life was carefree and ...Is A Real Boy was the soundtrack. It's amazing what certain songs can do to make me grin from ear to ear. That's just the essence of live music I suppose and I hope that power will never fade away.



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Lindsay Lowend >> Alley Party in Flagstaff [The Green Room]

Lindsay Lowend >> I had a wild adventure up in Flagstaff this weekend to check out Lindsay Lowend [not Lohan] bring the fire to the Green Room. Friday immediately after work I headed to the wilderness north of the desert to take part in a gathering of friends, new and old, to unintentionally have an epic moment in time.

Lindsay Lowend >> Flagstaff

Rolling like 15 deep I ended up stopping by a house party with pretty much the entire audience for Lowend.  With our faces painted, our heady gear and even 2 of the 100 Polish Ambassador jumpsuits we made our way to the show.

We strolled merrily through the Flagstaff streets, eager to reach our long anticipated destination only to run into a problem that could have ruined the night for us.  Due to a new law in Arizona, bars and venues will no longer be accepting vertical IDs for anyone 21 and over, they must have a horizontal ID.  Unfortunately the majority of our friends had vertical IDs and were not allowed access or refunds.

With the dark clouds literally forming over us we had to think of something quick so the night wasn't a complete bust.  I believe the saying about making lemonade when life gives you lemons applies appropriately to what proceeded. Because we couldn't party in the venue we took the party to the alleyway on the side of the venue.  I know how it sounds but it's wasnt a typical creepy, dark alleyway. The venue has a roll-up gate and open windows so you can see clearly inside and what's going on if you were to pass by or party in the alleyway.  After about 30 minutes of getting down to the opening act they closed their shutters and windows so we could only hear what was going on inside.  Of course, that didn't stop us so we continued to do our thing.

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It ended up being a really awesome party where strangers and attendees would come and join us in our alley party.  Thankfully the cops were not called but I feel it was a break the semi-cut us, it would have been decent of then to let us enjoy the view from the outside.

About 3 hours into alley-partying our group decided to split and the remaining of us that could get in went inside.  It was definitely a guilty pleasure but not the same without the others but that didn't stop me from enjoying an amazing performance.

The Lindsay Lowend that I've heard is very mixed compilation of baby making slow jams to 8-bit juke style that gets you dancing no matter what.  Last night, however, he played some unreal mixes and style that I was not expecting and truly blew me away.  The only way I can really describe it was it sounded and felt like pulsating lasers.  I guess you had to be there to understand.  For a $10 dollar show I was absolutely ecstatic, it couldn't have gone any better.  I highly recommend checking this guy out and I can't wait until he comes back around. 10 out of 10 straight perfect night.

After everything I experienced this weekend I realize why I do this, why I go to shows.  A majority of it is for the music, but it's that little part, the memories and moments I will have and continue to have with my friends and what brings us all together which is really amazing music.

This one goes out to the alleyway party and anyone who has gone to an extreme to enjoy what we love.



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Slightly Stoopid + Cypress Hill >> Summer Sessions in the Desert [Mesa Amphitheatre]

Summer Sessions >> stormed into the desert on Thursday at Mesa Amphitheatre where the temperatures hit 115 degrees and the extreme heat wasn't the only thing blazing. The tour featuring Slightly Stoopid, Cypress Hill and Stephen Marley, sparked up at 5pm and it was nonstop Reggae and Hip-Hop until 10 o'clock on the dot, thanks to Mesa's strict, party-pooping noise ordinance.

Slightly Stoopid >> Mesa Amphitheatre

This was Slightly Stoopid's 3rd dead-of-summer session at Mesa Amphitheatre in as many years. Last year they headlined the Kickin Up Dust Tour and in 2012 they played an even hotter slot opening for 311 on the Unity Tour. July in the desert is no fucking joke and Slightly Stoopid certainly knows its brutality by now.

[related: Slightly Stoopid >> Kickin Up Dust in the Desert]

Mondo kudos to the San Diegans for weathering the heat storm year after year, demonstrating they're working hard to give us a good show. Mad propers to the attendees as well, out there for 5 hours immersed between neighborly body heat in addition.

Slightly Stoopid was actually here earlier this spring to play the McDowell Mountain Music Festival and come to think of it they have been touring for the better part of the last decade. They may be on the road more than at home, if such a place even exists. I mean right? Okay.

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One has to appreciate a band that knows the importance of their live performance and how to stay connected to their audience. It's been a few years since Slightly Stoopid have dropped a new album but I'd much rather have a perpetually connected band that doesn't allow us to miss them over one that lives in the studio, cranking out dull and meaningless releases because they have no relationship with their fans.

Not surprisingly, it was a Stoopidly fantastic show comprised of a dozen heads on stage aligned and pouring everything into a great performance. The added percussion and full horn section always make for a wonderfully thick sound and although this was my 9th time seeing them do it live, it never gets old and it's a different experience every time.

[related: Slightly Stoopid >> Phoenix Open Birds Nest]

Oh and Cypress Hill on the bill too? That was the shit! It's been about 12 years since I've seen B-Real and Sen Dog get after it and it was great to hear all those high school weed jams live and direct once again. There was a cool bongo vs. turntable battle later on in the set and DJ Muggs even put it down with nonstop mixing and scratching along with some clever re-edits to classic Cypress Hill songs like 'Hits From The Bong' and 'Dr. Greenthumb'. Nice to see the homies still have it and hopefully they keep it going for another 20 years so my kids can get high to this shit in high school.

Cypress Hill >> Mesa Amphitheatre



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