Viva PHX

10 Sleeper Bands to Catch at Viva PHX

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Lonna Kelley - Grace Chapel - 8 p.m.

You're probably not planning to be at the Grace Chapel (Monroe between Third and Fourth Avenue) at 8 p.m., which is a shame. Lonna Kelley is a truly talented singer/songwriter and a local gal to boot. She's worked with Giant Sand (also appearing at Viva PHX), as well as the Reluctant Messiahs (who featured a Valley favorite, the late Kevin Pate on bass, as well as Jeremy Randall from the previously mentioned No Volcano, and drummer Shane Kennedy). Kelley's unique blend of rootsy charm and dreamy pop chanteuse is mesmerizing and while you listen to her, it is easy to forget she's just another Phoenician doing her thing. We're not sure exactly what she's planning for the big night, but we're certain she'll have something pretty cool up her sleeve for her performance.

2:54 - ALAC - 11 p.m.

London, England's 2:54 are finishing up its North American tour playing for us at Viva PHX, and we couldn't be more excited, even if the average festival goer might think of their name as more of a length of time than a band. Started by sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow, their band name refers to one of their favorite points in a song by the Melvins (Washington's sludge purveyors who have influenced many bands over the years) which may be one of the coolest inspirations for a band name ever. 2:54's cool style, like a cool shoegazer-ish indie dreamsicle, reminds us of a cross between Garbage and Chavez, and this is a wonderful thing. The band takes the stage at ALAC at 11 p.m., and you have to love gals who dig the Melvins.

Fishbone - Monroe Street Stage - 11 p.m.

We're championing Fishbone, the 36-year-old ska/funk/punk godfathers, as a sleeper band at the festival this year because we fear they might get swept up in the mix due to their set time. While there is some very deserving competition at the 11 p.m. time slot (some of which will also be championed as a "sleeper" band), we know what a great show the LA band has been putting on for decades now, and we can't help but feel strongly about making sure you know it. Led by founding members Angelo "Dr. Madd Vibe" Moore (vocal/saxophone/theremin), John Norwood Fisher (bass/vocals), and "Dirty" Walter Kibby II (trumpet/vocals), Fishbone soldiers on with a host of new members. They are no stranger to Phoenix, having performed here many times over their career, but if you haven't seen them, do yourself a favor and head over the Monroe Street Stage (Monroe and Third Avenue) and do some skanking.

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Tom Reardon has written for Phoenix New Times since 2013. He's been in several notable bands over the last 25 years including Hillbilly Devilspeak, North Side Kings, and the Father Figures.
Contact: Tom Reardon