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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Life Is Beautiful Festival >> Lineup Additions: Little Dragon | Baauer | Kimbra | Bear Hands | Echosmith

Life Is Beautiful >> 2014 just got a lot more beautiful with the additions to an already stacked festival lineup in fabulous downtown Las Vegas. The extra boost comes in the form of electro-pop group Little Dragon, mega-DJ Baauer, songstress Kimbra, Nahko and Medicine for the People, breakout band Echosmith and experimental indie rock group Bear Hands.

Life Is Beautiful

In its second year, LIB has already morphed into a 3-day festival to rival fellow multi-genre massives like Coachella and Lollapalooza. Thus, lucky festival goers will get another full day to enjoy magnificent art in many forms, delectable to the max cuisine and of course, a mondo killer bill that includes The Foo Fighters, Outkast, Lionel Richie and Yeezus himself, Kanye West.

[related: Life Is Beautiful 2013 >> in Downtown Las Vegas]

Some other artists to get excited about aside from the aforementioned: Girl Talk, Panic! At The Disco, Matt & Kim, Phantogram, Fitz & The Tantrums, Broken Bells and Holy Ghost! Stay tuned over the next few months as the zB crew and I break down the lineup by day, provide sound advice to navigate the grounds and optimize your festival experience!

Life Is Beautiful >> Lineup



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Tropkillaz >> Twerkin Late in Trap City, San Francisco [Regency Ballroom]

Tropkillaz >> I turned 33 yesterday. I spent my birthday being old and tired, watching Dr. Who on Netflix while eating a box of Macaroons my girlfriend got me with my legs wrapped up in a Macaroon crumb covered blanket. So what the fuck am I doing at Trap City tonight?

Tropkillaz >> Regency Ballroom, San Francisco

What am I doing in a dark room, fragrant with weed smoke and spilled beer, surrounded by young bodies twerking and dancing like some strange African Anteater Ritual? I'll tell you what I'm doing....I am being fucking awesome. I am letting the 808 driven sub-bass and machine gun ticks of the hi-hat in this strange trap/twerk/hip-hop/electronica set move my body and make my face all scrunched up, like this shit hurts in all of the best ways possible.

I didn't really know what to expect when I walked in. I went to this show because I was familiar with a few of Tropkillaz tracks, their work with M.I.A and Major Lazer remixes; but primarily I went because it was at the Regency, which is a couple blocks away from my house and I’m too lazy to go anywhere else. Despite my laziness, despite being that much further away from my 20's, I knew I had made the right choice as soon I stepped through the foyer. I let my body take over and quickly found myself brushing off my Timberlands and c-walking all the way into the main ballroom with a confused look on my face as if I had no idea where my ankles were taking me.

I, personally, am a fan of the dance art of…twerking. I feel it is indicative of modern youthful aggression, feminism and anti-classism expressed positively through provocative gyrating. This was especially true as all manner of females, from chicks that were clearly ratchet all-stars to nice parochial Asian girls wearing glasses, rhythmically vibrated their hips to near subsonic speeds. Who better than Tropkillaz to provide the soundtrack for this feminist uprising? It was a beautiful sight to see so many strong, proud, independent women, embrace their sexuality, unafraid of the stigma it might impose, and majestically do a handstand against the wall and flap their lady parts to DJ Zegon and Laudz Brazilian electronica inspired take on southern Hip-Hop. Although I only recognized their track ‘Assets’, they had the best set of the four DJ acts that took the stage.

On stage, each act was accompanied by a rotating cadre of twerk professionals. As their butt cheeks crashed up and down, I found my self caught in a hypnotic gaze, as if I was staring deep into Svengali’s butthole. The pro’s clearly put the twerking audience to shame with unparalleled skill and hip flexors primed to oscillate with the speed of a paint mixer, and when the black dancers came out…ooh lordy! I am sure the building was in danger of collapsing in on itself and I doubt anyone in the audience would have cared if a smothering death was the price of admission to this spectacle we were all witnesses to.

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The music was full of energy, easy to dance to, easy to get excited about. It appears this genre of DJ music has also adopted the ‘buildup to drop/chorus’ arrangement of their sets, but instead of a raucous explosion of frenetic bass during their ‘drops’, instead came a thick syrupy slowdown that drenched the Regency Ballroom and force-fed us Lean in musical form. The reversal of the tempo that is normally expected was very fun. Tracks went from frantic, hyper speed dancing, with booties coming at you in every direction, to steady pulsing buildups, usually accompanied by repeating snap of a snare drum lifting you higher and higher into the air. Finally the beat drops and the room is moving in slow motion, through purple quicksand and almost backwards in time.

I doubt Thom Yorke and Kraftwerk would meet for coffee to discuss the nuances of textures and time signatures regarding this kind of music. Much of the sets of the other acts at Trap city were, in large, forgettable. Nonetheless, every track played tonight was danceable and most importantly, I [2 years away from 5 years away from being 40] had a great fucking time. So find a Trap City near you if you like dancing, booties, sippin’ on sizzurp and fighting the urge to feel and be old.



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