Tag Archives: Phoenix

Donald Trump unveils immigration plan in AZ

Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump was here and he brought out Phoenix’s finest to his rally on August 31.

Here are highlights from the speech, which included visits by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Vice President Nominee Mike Pence.

The rally came hours after Trump visited Mexico and 69 days until the 2016 election.

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

concert preview

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

When: Tuesday, Feb. 10
Where: Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ
Tickets: Only $10
Why you should go: Lily & Madeleine are a duo who make music for late at night. These sisters take you on a beautiful folk-pop journey to warm your soul and keep your brain in balance. I think of these songs as adult lullabies — and I mean that in the best way possible. Check out “The Wolf Is Free,” from their 2014 album Fumes. Cellist Shannon Hayden and local Arizona State University duo 76th Street open the show.

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.