Top Five Phoenix Music Stories of the Week
The news waits for no one -- at least that's what we read somewhere -- so it's perfectly understandable that you, the reader, might have missed out on a musical tidbit, breaking news about your favorite venue, or one of our rants.
So enjoy this digest-style sampling of some of our biggest stories from the week of December 3-7.
Who is Bruce Springsteen anyway?
The street rat poet singing about characters straight out of West Side Story? The balladeer casting American youth in B movie glory, Roy Orbison grandeur, and fleets of fast cars? The protest singer, spitting bile at corrupt bankers and politicians? The soul brother, swinging his hips and taking the crowd to church?
Bruce Springsteen, standing in front of the mighty E Street Band, spent time in all of these poses last night as he finished up the Wrecking Ball tour at Jobing.com Arena, reminding the roaring crowd with each song, each shimmy, each sweaty line, that he's one of the greatest performers and songwriters in America.
--Jason P. Woodbury
I base my life and my movements throughout it on quite a few assumptions. These may or may not be accurate, factual, or even realistic. And until they actually prove themselves to be inaccurate, I follow them without question. (Insert silly comment about assuming here.)
Today's rant is centered on one of my previous assumptions regarding one's chosen path. As children, we do things. Sometimes, the things we do are met with accolades from the surrounding huge people. And in chasing more of these overly animated approvals, we begin the long process of repeating and honing the actions praised.
--Maynard James Keenan
Downtown Phoenix is getting a new live music venue early next year and it's one that should be recognizable to many Valley bands and their fans.
Bygone Tempe rock bar Last Exit is being resurrected by its original proprietor Brannon Kleinlein and will once again host the exploits of local acts and musicians --ranging from rock and indie to Americana and reggae -- after it reopens sometime in March. And here's the kicker: Its new home is the old Ruby Room.
According to Kleinlein, who spoke with Up on the Sun via Facebook chat, the venue will now be known as Last Exit Live and is returning from the dead in order to give both bands and music fans another option for live music in downtown.
John Darnielle has recorded under the name "The Mountain Goats" since the early '90s, and in that time his records have gone from crude boombox recordings to polished, sprawling efforts. The fidelity has cleared up, but Darnielle's way with words and flawed-but-noble characters has always been central to the proceedings.
His latest, Transcendental Youth is devoted to spending time in the heads of people in dark places. Amy Winehouse, Judas, Satan, the jonesing junkies of "Lakeside View Apartment Suite" -- Darnielle speaks for these people in uncannily empathic ways.
But the record has an undaunted sense of optimism too, a joyful glee spurred on by the celebratory horn arrangements of Matthew E. White (whose own 2012 release, Big Inner, works as a sort of spiritual counterpoint to Transcendental Youth) and the loping rhythm section of Peter Hughes and Jon Wurster. We spoke with Darnielle about the album, where he catalogs these disparate characters in his head, and becoming a father.
--Jason P. Woodbury
Grateful Dead founding member Bob Weir infrequently provides interviews, but when he does, he goes for it, opening up with honest and insightful answers.
Glenn BurnSilver recently spoke with Weir about his upcoming solo tour (featuring a set with guitarist Jackie Greene), life in the Grateful Dead and post-Grateful Dead bands, including Ratdog and Furthur, carrying on Jerry Garcia's legacy by bringing back his songs, and mountain biking near his home in Marin. The full interview was featured in this week's print edition.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.