Sidepony Express Music Festival in Bisbee shows off Phoenix talent (VIDEO)

This past weekend, I went to one of the coolest Arizona music events I’ve ever experienced: the Sidepony Express Music Festival in Bisbee, Arizona.

I had never been to Bisbee, which is a little more than three hours away from Phoenix. The artsy town has a population of around 6,000 people, with an Old Bisbee historic center featuring art galleries galore, independent restaurants, and historic ghost-filled hotels. I stayed at the Copper Queen Hotel, which was super-charming, and (sadly) I have no ghost encounters to report.

The Sidepony Express Music Festival featured more than 60 musical acts in more than a dozen venues, ranging from a coffeehouse, to a dive bar, to a tiny single room in one of those historic hotels. It provided an opportunity for Phoenix music lovers to check out impressive acts from the state and beyond in super-intimate settings, and the fact the festival was free should make it an annual destination to put on your calendars now.

Festival organizer Anamieke Quinn, whom you can learn more about here on Phoenix People, played in several acts, from the band she fronts, Treasurefruit, to playing in Scattered Melodies and Sara McAllister Duo, pictured below.

SaraMcAllisterDuo

Check out videos from all three of those bands below:

I was really impressed with Melissa Reaves, a singer-songwriter who came all the way from North Carolina to perform. See a couple of her performances below:

WuT from Phoenix was also a lot of fun to watch.

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He was soulful and had really meaningful lyrics, including a touching song dedicated to his mother. See a video of his performance below:

Here’s a clip of indie band Where Are All the Buffalo?:

And one of Paper Foxes:

And finally, an artist who brought me to tears when I heard her perform, the uber-amazing Korbe Canida.

Korbe Canida at the Sidepony Express Music Festival

Her songwriting is better than famous pop stars, and her voice is angelic. Check out a clip of her here:

Besides taking in all the great music, walking around Bisbee was a trip in itself. The town is the quirkiest I’ve ever experienced. Shops commemorate the ban of plastic bags in the area by adding them to the doorway:

Bisbee, AZ

A free store is in the middle of town, where people can drop off unwanted goods and pick up ones they need, surrounded by resident-art-covered walls like these:

Bisbee, AZ

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Empty storefronts retain life, by keeping things like these in their windows:

Bisbee, AZ

People dance in the streets. A lot of the people you encounter seem a little high — or, at least, like they used to get really high at some point in their lives.

I loved the galleries in Bisbee. I purchased a print of In the Club by Howard Kline, whose bright and colorful watercolors are incredibly appealing to me. I love that he integrates his musician history into his paintings by showing off musical themes in a lot of his works.

'In the Club,' by Howard Kline in Bisbee, AZ

I also loved Vixen Fine Art Metal Gallery, run by, indeed a vixen, Breanna Curry. Curry creates striking, colorful metal art, including really cute mirrors using reclaimed bottles. One of her works is pictured below, and you can learn more about her here.

Vixen Fine Art Metal Gallery in Bisbee, AZ

I am so happy I finally checked out Bisbee and would highly recommend it for a fun get-out-of-town trip. Fine more things to do in the town here.

The Airborne Toxic Event and In the Valley Below rock Marquee Theatre (VIDEO)

Last night at Marquee Theatre in Tempe, The Airborne Toxic Event and openers In the Valley Below put on a really energizing, fun show. There was anthemic rock, catchy grooves and dance-y melodies that had the crowd clapping and singing along all night.

In the Valley Below at Marquee Theatre in Tempe, ArizonaI was really impressed with The Airborne Toxic Event’s new song, “Wrong.” It was powerful and beautiful and made me instantly fall in love.

The Airborne Toxic Event at Marquee Theatre in Tempe, ArizonaCheck out videos from both bands below — it’s easy to become a fan.

Arizona Pro Arte a beautiful orchestra/dance pairing

Orchestral music + ballet-infused modern dance = awesome. That describes the latest show by Arizona Pro Arte, a local orchestra that combines classical and modern works with visual art. I checked them out last night at Tempe Center for the Arts, where they performed with their own AZ Pro Arte Dance Ensemble for some of the works.

Arizona Pro ArteThe 40-piece orchestra’s Apotheosis of the Dance concert featured Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, along with two modern composers’ works, Michael-Thomas Foumai’s The Divine Comedy: Paradiso, and Aharon Harlap’s Sinfonia Breve. Every year, Arizona Pro Arte conducts a Call for Scores competition, where composers from around the world may enter to have their piece performed for the Arizona masses – these were two of the winners from that competition.

Arizona Pro ArteLike all of their performances, the ensemble played beautifully, entrancing audience members with their deftness and passion while playing. The dancers in the second act were a really fun touch. They went through several costume changes and performed a variety of dance styles, and the fact the choreography was specialized just for these new, innovative orchestral works was really neat.

Arizona Pro Arte is gearing up to kick off their summer season, Saturday, July 5, with a patriotic music-themed show paired with singer/actor/comedian Hector Coris. Learn more about Arizona Pro Arte founder Timothy Verville here on Phoenix People, and find out more details about shows here.

Harper and the Moths puts on amazing show at Yucca Tap Room (VIDEO)

Wow — see Harper and the Moths, and you’ll be left wishing every show that intimate felt that invigorating. I’ve seen them twice now, at Pub Rock Live and at Friday’s Yucca Tap Room show, and both times, I wished the sets had never ended.

Harper and the MothsThe music is uber-catchy rock that’s delivered by a powerful, soulful voice in singer/songwriter Harper Lines. Lines wrote the songs for the band’s album, Love Songs for the Damned, The Postal Service-style with guitarist Shaun Schulman while Lines was living in Seattle. It’s a cool way to write a record, and the result turned out better than you might imagine when the collaborators aren’t in the same room together.

Live, the duo, along with bassist David Campbell and drummer Nick Ramirez (who, with Schulman, are Phoenix-based,) bring a lot of energy to the stage. See them in a small bar, and you’ll be lucky. They’re already planning a small spring tour along the West coast and definitely have potential to gain ground beyond the Arizona scene.

Check out a video of one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Into the Ocean,” below, and check out the band here.