Tag Archives: Arizona

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah / Living Room Show, Phoenix, AZ / March 2, 2015

When you are invited into somebody’s living room to watch one of your favorite artists perform an intimate show in front of about 35 people, it almost feels wrong to publicly talk about it.

It’s almost like you don’t want to break the intimate trust between the audience and artist in such a close setting.

But when the performer is as good as Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, you gotta tell everybody.

For the second year in a row, Ounsworth paid a visit to a host family in north Phoenix to play a 75-minute show that spanned the band’s four-album career.  Ounsworth took questions from the audience, played requests — and even Tom Petty’s “Yer So Bad” — and generally pleased the group of lucky fans who scored a ticket.

Highlights included acoustic versions of “Is It Love” and “Satan Says Dance,” the later of which was a request. Ounsworth says he doesn’t play “Satan” too much acoustically but he pulled it off spectacularly.

Ounsworth injected his normal friendly humor during the show. He talked about driving through a snowstorm on the way to Phoenix that almost forced trouble with his Prius. He says New Orleans is a tough place to play a concert, and revealed he has been listening to a lot of The Smiths’ Meat is Murder (see Top Albums of 1985) while driving through America to the next living room.

Photos or videos were not allowed during the show, and I didn’t want to risk it. So it will forever be left in my head.

Hopefully, Alec will be back again next winter for another show. I’d pay 20 bucks every year to sit in a living room and listen to him play.

But how about it be my living room next year!

Here is a clip of CYHSY from 2006 on David Letterman.

Is This Love?

Concert Review: Lily & Madeleine / Shannon Hayden / 76th Street / Crescent Ballroom / Feb. 10, 2015

It wasn’t exactly the 1990s Lilith Fair festival for Tuesday night’s triple bill at the Crescent Ballroom, but there certainly was no shortage of girl power.

“This is an all-woman evening,” Madeleine Jurkiewicz declared halfway through Lily & Madeleine’s headlining set at the downtown Phoenix venue to a round of cheers from the small but attentive crowd.

Lily & Madeleine were supported by two other female acts, Shannon Hayden, and the local duo 76th Street, to bring three hours of beautiful music that should have been seen by more people — because those not there missed out.

A week into their tour for their gorgeous 2014 album Fumes, Lily & Madeleine performed an hour-long set of songs mixed in from their two albums and EP — and they played them to perfection.

The mix of the sisters’ voices sounds just as divine as it does on record. Sometimes you want a band to mix up the sound a little when played live, but not with these ladies.

They started the show playing my favorite section from the new album, which is the transition between the opener “Fumes” and the second track, “Rabbit.” It was a little more extended and dramatic live, which pleased me to no end with how they started the show.

Other highlights included “The Wolf Is Free,” their best song; and “Devil We Know,” the second track from their eponymous titled first album. The latter was spiced up with Shannon Hayden’s brilliant mandolin work, and it sounded even better than on the album.

And, let’s not forget to mention, “Blue Blades,” a song the pair said was their favorite to play, and ends both the new album and their live performance.

The only disappointment was their setlist had possible encores “Sea of Love” and “Back to the River” listed, but we didn’t get to hear them. Minor, minor detail.


Fumes / Rabbit / Spirited Away / Devil We Know / The Wolf Is Free / In the Middle /And Tonight / Can’t Admit It / Paradise / Hold Onto Now / Come To Me / You Got Out / Blue Blades

Shannon Hayden

IMG_3234.JPGShannon is a local friend of Lily & Madeleine from Bloomington, Indiana. She plays on their album and does a set of amazing cello work before they come on, then joins L&M on stage to fill out their sound.

She played  mostly new songs, as only two of her eight selections were from her 2012 album Solid State Cello.

I have to admit I had never really been exposed to a cello that up front like that but it was a perfect middle to the performers that started and ended the show.

It appears Shannon can play just about anything. I had to buy the CD after the show and can’t wait to put it on at night.


Silver Superstar / Same / Starshine Agenda / Baggage / Accelerator / Angel Machine / Vanished / Building Not Burning

76th Street

Which brings me to the openers, a pair of best friends from Arizona State University, who played songs from their EP and new single that was just recorded the day before.

Haley Gold and Spencer Bryant have known each other since they were 10, and now as college roommates they are playing music that is very much in the Lily & Madeleine vein.  Even their arrangement of Haley on keyboards and Spencer on guitar — with both sharing vocal duties — is similar.

Where they are a little different is in the lyrics, which are a little darker than Lilly & Madeleine’s more ethereal subject matter.

The highlight to me was the next-to-last song “You and I,” the one the pair recorded the day before. It had a little bit of an Indigo Girls feel to it with the building choruses of pain that made me say out loud “this is their best song” about three minutes into it.

I bought a copy of the fresh-off-the presses song after the show and listened it all day. You can hear it here!

(See this week’s Song of the Week for more on this song!)


Talking to the Wind / Saving Grace / Listen / Mess of Me / Alive / You and I / Midnight Sky

IMG_3248.JPG    IMG_3246.JPG IMG_3244.JPG IMG_3245.JPG

Foxygen / Crescent Ballroom / Sept. 24, 2014

by Jason Stone

Sam France is a rock singer, but he also could be a boxer.

When you see all the battle scars on him from his antics on the stage, it’s hard to tell he’s not getting thrown around in the ring every night.

Instead as lead singer of Foxygen, a two-piece band out of California, France throws himself all over the stage — and off of it — for complete entertaining effect.

Let’s get one thing straight: Foxygen’s stage show and charisma on stage is better than their actual music. This show at the Crescent Ballroom was probably one of top ten shows I have seen — ever! And that’s with them playing mostly an album (… And Star Power) that wouldn’t have even cracked my top 20 albums just of last year alone.

(The album before, however, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Love, is a classic.)

IMG_3163France is worth the price of admission alone. He wore a brace on his wrist (no doubt from some stage injury in the past) and had been only a year removed from breaking his leg diving off a stage during a show in Minneapolis. At one point two-thirds of the way through the show at the Crescent, France hurled himself off the stage. That’s all and good except nobody in the crowd caught him and he fell right to the floor made up of sticky dry beer.

After about 15 seconds of not moving, you didn’t know whether to help him out, nudge him politely with your foot or check his pulse. Of course it was part of his whole act. Let’s face it: Most of it is pretty contrived, but entertaining nonetheless.  France begins the show in a woman’s pant suit (a Hillary Clinton fan perhaps?) and makeup. But it isn’t long before the coat is tossed so France can show off all his stage battle scars all over his arms the chest, torso and back.


It does make you appreciate a performer who will give his all to only a few hundred people who didn’t pay too much to see the band in the first place. They finally made their first U.S. late night TV appearance on David Letterman last month, but it’s too early to say if they’ll break nationally and have staying power.

If France’s stage antics are any indication, it may not last long. And that’s a shame because anybody who isn’t catching them now may be missing out forever.

concert review

Retro Futura Tour with Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, Midge Ure, China Crisis, Katrina Leskanich / Marquee Theatre, Tempe, AZ / Sept. 3, 2014

by Jason Stone

The ’80s are roaring back! At least for one night at the Marquee Theatre.
The “Retro Futura Tour” — featuring Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, Howard Jones, Midge Ure, China Crisis and Katrina from, oddly enough, Katrina and the Waves — made a swing through Arizona.
It reminded fans that not all music from the Eighties was bad.

Tom BaileyIMG_1427

The frontman of the Thompson Twins didn’t disappoint, playing most of the band’s hits, and updating them a little bit with today’s technology and electronic music trends. He seems to still love what he’s doing.
We Are Detective/In the Name of Love/Lies/Sister of Mercy/You Take Me Up/If You Were Here/Love on Your Side/Doctor! Doctor!/ENCORE: King for a Day/Hold Me Now

Howard JonesIMG_1417

I’ve seen Howard Jones many times throughout the years, and he still remains one of my favorites live. Despite playing a majority of music pre-programmed, he is still showing a close connection to fans with his constant stage movement, using a wireless headset. So glad he is still at it with high energy.
The Human Touch/Like to Get to Know  You Well/Everlasting Love/No One is to Blame/The Prisoner/What Is Love?/Things Can Only Get Better/New Song

Midge Ure

The former Ultravox frontman played probably his five most essential songs. And, no, none of them were “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (He co-wrote that you know.)
Hymn/Fade to Grey/Vienna/If I Was/Dancing with Tears in My Eyes

China Crisis

Believe it or not, I had never head of these guys until prepping for the show the week before. Now, I can’t believe I never heard of them. After a week of listening to a lot of their best stuff it feels like I’ve known it for years.
Arizona Sky/African and White/Black Man Ray/Wishful Thinking/King in a Catholic Style

Yep, Miss “Walking on Sunshine” herself opened the bill with a six-song set of her infectious pop-punk stylings. Actually not as bad as you’d think, and I hate to admit I still kind of like “Walking on Sunshine” despite hearing it one-million times too many over the last 30 years.
Rock n Roll Girl/Red Wine and Wisky/Going Down to Liverpool/Every Step/Do You Want Crying/Walking on Sunshine

Williams Field eliminates Liberty


Gilbert Williams Field has not been mentioned much as a possible contender for a Division III state championship.

It will be now.

Williams Field used a dominating second half performance to eliminate Peoria Liberty in the quarterfinals again, 53-30, Friday night.

Williams Field will face No.1 seed Goodyear Desert Edge next Saturday at Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor in the semifinals.

“We stepped up to make plays in the second half, which we didn’t do in the first half,” Williams Field coach Steve Campbell said.

Williams Field (11-1), the No. 5 seed, put up 33 straight points after trailing by a point at halftime. It scored on defense and special teams and neutralized fourth-seeded Liberty’s high-powered offense.

Liberty (10-2) turned the ball over four times and was held on downs on two other possessions as it lost in the quarterfinals for the third straight year. The school has never reached the semifinals.

It looked like Liberty was poised to finally reach the final four when it drove 80 yards on the game’s opening drive for a quick 7-0 lead.

But Williams Field kept the pressure on Liberty’s star quarterback Tyler Rogers, intercepting him twice, including one that Terrance Payne II returned 40 yards for a touchdown. That score in the fourth quarter put Williams Field up 46-14 and sealed the win.

“Our defense played its butt off,” Campbell said.

Williams Field also got another big game from running back Sean Schweichler. The senior rushed for 137 yards and returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter that started the second half rout.

The teams combined for 44 points in the fourth quarter. Until it scored two touchdowns in eight seconds late in the game, Liberty had only put up 14 despite coming in averaging 49.

Published at azcentral.com • Nov. 9, 2012
Published at USAToday.com • Nov. 10, 2012