The 9 Best Female Fronted Bands in Phoenix in 2017

Mariachi Pasion
Mariachi Pasion
Courtesy of Mariachi Pasion

4. Mariachi Pasion
What was born in a music class at ASU more than a decade ago has evolved into an all-female, 15-member band, or more like a tour de force, of mariachi music. Clad in traditional garb and armed with the keenest of musical skills, from captivating vocals to the blend of instruments that include guitar, trumpet, flute, and vihuela, for a magical mix. These ladies showcase all the beautifully complex layers of the mariachi sound, which can range from fun and whimsical, to sweeping and dramatic, reflecting the fluidity of life.

3. Fairy Bones
Fairy Bones have been the recipients of much praise over the last few years. We gave them the Best Local Band crown back in 2015, and plenty of other media outlets have also penned the ways that they’ve been dazzled by the band. Led by Chelsey Louise Richard, who sings and plays the keys, it’s always solid rock with this band, whether they’re blending in facets of glam or punk, or getting a little artsy with the whole shebang. Richard’s pipes are powerful, never not oozing with strength in whichever direction she takes them. You don’t question whether she means business; you either get on board or get out of the way.

2. House of Stairs
Not every band can blend genres and maintain consistently cohesive and intriguing results. House of Stairs can, though, and does with maximum proficiency. The group, which is Holly Pyle on vocals, Shea Marshall on saxophone/bass clarinet/synth, Garrison Jones on keys, and Stephen Avalos on drums, often gets plopped in the jazz category, and while they’ve embraced jazz, there is so much more to their sound: soul, for one thing, and enough of it to keep your skin tingling, and funk, for another. And that’s not all; they get digital with it, adding looping and digital instrumentation to the mix. They conjure up the spirit of acts like Morcheeba and Portishead as much as they do classic jazz. Focus on Pyle’s drug-like, stirring voice, and it will lull you into the beyond.

1. Scorpion vs. Tarantula
You could sum up a Scorpion vs. Tarantula show like this: Band walks into a bar, band destroys bar with blistering show of punk rock-and-roll led by a throaty, wrecking ball of a woman named L. Hotshot. In fact, if you used that summary every single time, you wouldn’t be wrong. While Hotshot rips through the crowd, mic in hand, fists pumping and singing her glorious guts out, the band – Jay Bennett on guitar, Tana Satana on bass, and Michael “Cappy” Renfroe on drums – is busy providing a ferocious backdrop that keeps the crowd in full fever mode until the last note is rung.

Editor's note: This list originally contained 10 bands, including JJCnV. After publication, we became aware that the author of this piece, Amy Young, is in a side project, Sturdy Ladies, with JJCnV frontwoman Dana Stern. While JJCnV is a storied Phoenix band well deserving of a spot on this list, we've removed it in order to avoid an appearance of conflict of interest.

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