I love that Dinner and a Suit tours with a piano. That’s a really nice touch to see in any small local venue, and it definitely made their tracks sound richer in the intimate venue. Though the crowd was meager, I was impressed with the group’s rapport with the audience – they truly seemed appreciative and excited to be playing Scottsdale, and I wish more people knew about them.
Whether you have a teenage niece or know someone who’s a fan of bands such as Lifehouse and Switchfoot, you should tell them to check out Dinner and a Suit. One of their newer tracks, “Ghosts,” was a real stand-out of the show, so I’m excited to hear more of their new material once it’s released, as well.
For more info on the band, go here, and check out the band when they come back to town Friday, May 3 at Pub Rock.
The synth-heavy group reminded me of the female version of an Adam Lambert show — there were lots of Broadway-style notes belted from talented singer Natalie Ferraro, plus a whole lot of sparkle. Ferraro and her bandmate Bethany Weber both donned oh-so-awesome unicorn outfits while on-stage, and Ferraro passed out glow-in-the-dark props for the audience to wave around during the songs.
It was just as much fun as a show from local band Peachcake, and Ferraro’s vocals sound great recorded, too. For more info on the band, go here.
Local female-fronted group Treasurefruit threw down some funky bluesy tunes, too, and singer/bassist Anamieke Quinn is really impressive with a powerful, soulful voice that got audience members in the groove. Check out videos from their performance below, and for more info on the band, go here.
Wow, tonight was an absolute blast from the past as Ryan Cabrera, Teddy Geiger and Tyler Hilton sang their sweet, sweet melodies up on the Crescent Ballroom stage. Not surprisingly, the audience was probably 95 percent female, with most ladies looking in their mid-to-late-20′s, like me, who probably spent their college years watching Cabrera on The Ashlee Simpson Show (yes, he was a reality star before The Hills) or Hilton on One Tree Hill. I’ve met Cabrera and Hilton and saw Geiger live while in the audience of TRL (all more than 6 years ago), so I was interested to see what the trio was up to these days.
I was pretty shocked that Hilton closed the show, and not Cabrera, who was actually the second act (after opener Spencer Simmons.) Cabrera still has that happy-go-lucky attitude, despite not having released an album in nearly 5 years (his last was under his ex Ashlee’s dad Joe’s label, Papa Joe Records.) He told a story about how Atlantic Records threatened to drop him if he didn’t shave his head, so he decided to grow his hair long and sport a beard. It sounds like he was just dropped, but at least he has a sense of humor about it.
My favorite song he sang all night was one of his newer songs, which actually had emotion and wasn’t just fluffy acoustic guitar pop. It was gorgeous and soulful, and I’m going to guess it was about his ex, Audrina Patridge.
He said he’ll be releasing a new album this year, so stay tuned for that.
Teddy Geiger also peaked about 7 years ago, but he’s actually released a lot of new music since his full-length debut, released in 2006 when he was only 17. He’s since been dropped from his major label, too, but it’s a shame because this piano-playing hunk really has solid talent. He’s a great songwriter and said fans can expect to hear his new album by February, which he’s releasing through a crowdfunding campaign now.
I’ve never been a super-fan of Hilton, but I will say that tonight, he looked better than I’ve ever seen him before. If you like Philip Philips’ voice and bland pop rock music, you might like Hilton.
It was neat to see all four acts of the night strip down their sets and play acoustically, and rumor has it Geiger is playing a secret show in Prescott some time tomorrow. Check out more videos from the show, including a great “Joleen”/Taylor Swift “Trouble” mash-up cover by Simmons, below.
Last night, I saw my favorite band I’ve fanned in 2012, Walk the Moon. The pop rock band has one of the most amazing videos ever in “Anna Sun,” and it was amazing to see the Cincinnati, Ohio-bred group perform live at their sold-out Crescent Ballroom show. Check out videos of some of my favorite songs of theirs, including “Anna Sun,” “I Can Lift a Car” and “Jenny,” below.
You may think record labels only exist in places such as New York City and Los Angeles, but Phoenix is full of them, too — Sundawg Records, River Jones Music and Desert Sky Records are just a few Valley music tastemakers. Last night, I headed to another great locally based label, Fervor Records, to check out a listening party that also included an interview on local KWSS radio station. It was neat to see so many locals who are passionate about the Phoenix music scene, including local producer Jack Howell, who owns recording/production house WilloDisc in Phoenix, and Fervor Records co-owner Jeff Freundlich, pictured with me below.
Fervor, with the help of their marketing guru and musician herself, Anamieke Quinn, puts on monthly listening parties showcasing their artists in their studio space. I got to tour both of Fervor Records’ recording studios, which have captured the sounds of great local artists such as Super Stereo, Tarik NuClothes and Fayuca. The venues are really warm and inviting spaces, and if I were in a band myself, I know I’d feel like I was in great hands if I recorded there!
Fervor’s main business is licensing music for films and television. One of their tracks, “Welk’s Waltz,” was recently featured on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. For more information on the label, go here.
The Meiko show at Martini Ranch last night was divine. The poppy singer-songwriter-guitarist truly sounds just as great live as she does in recordings, and her humble attitude was refreshing to watch on-stage. I even got to meet her and say hi, and she’s definitely one of my favorite musicians right now.
I just got back from a trip to San Diego, where I went to see fun. at Open Air Theatre after I missed their sold-out show here in the Valley. I had a blast at the show, both because the outdoor venue didn’t have a bad seat in the house, and because the band put on a show that was both musically on point as well as visually.
If you’re ever in the San Diego area, try to check out a concert at this venue. It reminded me of a mix between Mesa Amphitheatre and Gammage, with assigned seating but all outdoors smack in the middle of the San Diego State University campus. The outdoor atmosphere sort of made me wish I had been a student at the school myself. Fun. lead singer Nate Ruess, whom I last interviewed last year here, told the crowd the audience was the largest the band had ever played for, which made the night that much cooler.
The group played songs off both their Aim and Ignite and Some Nights albums, with a cool stage show that included some neat lighting effects and lots of running around the stage by all the members. The energy was high the whole night, and I had a blast at the show. Find remaining tour dates here, and check out some videos from the show below.
Currant is really pretty and makes me think of something I might find in France – a black-and-white motif and an uber-cute patio overlooking downtown that’s lined with flowers and twinkly lights. The American menu has a ton of stand-out items, and you should try it if you head to S.D., especially for their bottomless mimosa brunch on weekends (only $8 for unlimited mimosas!) and for their stellar happy hour from 4-7 p.m. and after 9 p.m. nightly with so many drink and food specials, you’ll feel like you’re stealing from the restaurant.
Start with the cheese board ($14.95), which will come with lavender chevre, mozzarella and goat cheese along with vegetables and bread and olive oil. It’s a really filling appetizer, and all the cheeses are scrumptious.
For my meal, I had the tomato heirloom salad ($10.95), which was also really filling and is great if you love greens, since it’s packed with a hefty portion of arugula.
I paired it with a side of garlic and chive tots ($7.95 regularly, $4.75 during happy hour), which was another huge portion meant to be shared. The tots were thicker than any I’d ever had, and the spicy habanero ketchup is my new favorite dipping sauce.
Just in case you didn’t know, Patrick Stump does indeed have a personality.
For years, music fans have seen the Fall Out Boy frontman shy away from the spotlight despite being center stage, passing off banter and songwriting duties to bassist Pete Wentz. But when Stump came through town to Old Town Scottsdale‘s Martini Ranch for a preview of his new solo album, Soul Punk, due out October 18, he had to rely on his own charisma and music to win over the crowd.
He had the dance moves, swiveling his hips like a maniac to his funk-infused pop. He had the look, shedding a ton of weight, losing the hat and looking spiffy in a bowtie (why he was wearing leather gloves, I have no idea). And he actually talked to fans a lot, commenting on the Valley heat and telling stories about how his bus driver experienced a generator explosion on his hand.
But sadly, the music seemed to be lost on much of the mostly teenage crowd. It’s a huge departure from the catchy hooks of Fall Out Boy. The sound was too loud to make his lyrics discernable, but much of the music seemed disjointed and, at times, downright boring. It was fun to watch him play trumpet, keyboards, guitar and drums, but that wasn’t enough to make me stop longing for a song as fun as Fall Out Boy’s have been. At times, it seemed Stump was desperately screaming for the audience to accept his turn as a “soul punk” musician, especially when fans were just sort of standing there looking confused by the new direction.
There were a couple stand-outs in the set. I really loved the tracks “I Breathe the Underground” and “Explode,” but I can’t say I’d invest money in purchasing the whole album. In fact, one of the best moments of the night was during the encore, when Stump started a string of cover songs on the drums beginning with “This Is How We Do It.” I’d almost rather have watched him sing popular covers with that smooth, buttery voice than play his new original tracks that left me bored at times.
It was still nice to see Stump appear happier than ever, finally comfortable in his skin and genuinely smile while singing. He does have a magnetic, engaging personality, and it translated well on-stage. I just hope he brings that with him when (hopefully) Fall Out Boy reunites. Check out a video of him below.
Gordon’s voice was beautiful, and her dance pop songs were just the kind that would fit in nicely on Top 40 radio. I can’t wait to purchase her EP, With the Music I Die. Check out a video of her performance here.
The uber-talented mixmaster, whose real name is Greg Gillis, mashes up classic hip-hop and pop songs, and his show was way more of a spectacle than you’d see in any nightclub.
When he came on-stage, he had a slew of hyped-up fans with him to dance and boogie the night away. He played lots of tracks from his two albums while adding some improvisational touches and new songs into the mix.
The show sort of reminded me of seeing the Blue Man Group in Vegas—there were toilet paper shooters, a ton of confetti, massive balloons and a giant balloon drop at the end.
There were also really cool lighting effects, and several times, Gillis jumped up on his turntables to gety the sold-out crowd even more excited.
It was a huge, sweaty dance party that was a blast to be a part of. I named his most recent album, All Day, one of my top 10 albums of 2010 in the Phoenix New Times, so I highly recommend you check it out now if you haven’t yet.
I had the freaking best time this past weekend at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It’s a PGA golf tournament, and I chose an awesome year for my first time out–my favorite pro golfer, Rickie Fowler, was playing. He was decked out in head-to-toe bright green glory on Saturday when I went, and the 22-year-old had one of the best days out of all the golfers in the tournament that day.
I only got into playing golf around the past year and a half, and it was so amazing to be able to walk the course with professional golfers throughout the day. I basically just followed Fowler and his threesome, and I wasn’t alone–like Phil Mickelson, he had a huge following of fans who cheered for him along the way (including me!)
This was my first time watching a live golf competition at all, so I really had no idea what to expect. I thought I’d be stuck behind masses of people at one hole just trying to get a glimpse of people hitting. Instead, it was fairly easy to walk alongside whomever you were following and see all their shots. It was so much fun to be that close to such awesome players, and Fowler didn’t disappoint with his playing, finishing off the day tied for fifth place out of dozens of competitors.
Saturday was also “green day”, where athletes and fans were encouraged to don green fashions on the course. I was surprised to see so many ladies in high heels, but they weren’t really the ones walking, anyway. The fashions I saw were really cool, including brightly patterned golf pants and preppy argyle sweaters. The crowd was almost as fun to watch as the players!
If you’re not really a golf fan, the WMPO would still be a blast to attend. There are lots of food and drink areas and plenty of seats around the course so you can just take in the madness and party. This was also my first year checking out the Birds Nest, the after-party spot of the WMPO. Thursday night, I saw O.A.R., which jammed out Dave Matthews Band-style. I’m not really a huge fan of their music, but the members played enthusiastically and made for a fun show.
Back on the course, for fans of the actual sport, there are huge screens on the holes making it easy to keep track of standings and find your favorite players. It’s a great opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with professional athletes, and following around Fowler was almost as fun as actually playing. Hopefully he’ll be back next year, and I can’t wait to see what he wears!