2014 was a hell of a year. Phoenix residents got a taste of a wide variety of awesome concerts, and our photographers were hard at work capturing the action. Here are our 20 favorite concert photos we took in 2014. Check out more than 100 more here.
The Carnivores Tour featuring Linkin Park, 30 Seconds to Mars, and AFI hit the US Airways Center last night in downtown Phoenix.The evening included some of the best angst-driven rock anthems of the past 15 years -- well, from at least two of the acts.
The night began with a very solid 40-minute opening set from AFI, who, like Linkin Park, has evolved musically since their heyday. While they still may be labeled as punk, newer tracks like "I Hope You Suffer" from their latest record Burials are far from the punk roots from which they came. Older tracks from their breakout record 2003's Sing the Sorrow dominated most of their short set. JIM LOUVAU
The crowd at Arctic Monkeys ranged from late teens up into the late 40s; however, since I was in the pit of the theater, the crowd there was mostly teens, 20-somethings, and drinkers with these massive cups of beer. Anytime someone walked past me with one of those things, I feared for my life and my clothes. While the pit remained halfway full, the seats were completely packed, all the way to the top.
The Arctic Monkeys started their set with "Do I Wanna Know?" which ended up sounding just like the album track. The audience thoroughly enjoyed this song as they lift their hands and moved them back and forth to the downbeat, while others were swaying back and forth with their gigantic beers. During "Arabella," Alex Turner took the microphone off the stand and played around with the audience in the pit. MANDI KIMES
I fully expected to hear a night filled with mumbling and complaining. A gin and tonic costs $8 at the Orpheum Theatre, and, after a long, hot summer, I think we all were really excited to go outside, watch some music at Civic Space Park, and actually enjoy ourselves. After both the Crescent Road Trip to Arcosanti and the bulk of Summer Ends Music Festival programming were rained out and moved indoors, we could have all been really grumpy and shitty about last night's venue change, but you try being sad while Belle & Sebastian are playing "Piazza, New York Catcher."
The group played what frontman Stuart Murdoch described as a "smattering of Belle & Sebastian throughout the ages." For a band that's been making solid indie pop for nearly two decades, that might mean you didn't get to hear your absolute favorite B&S song last night (cough, "Step Into My Office, Baby", cough), but they did play a pretty solid representation of the band's discography. HEATHER HOCH
The Black Keys came on stage at US Airways Center last night in front of a light blue curtain with red, velvet stage drapes with gold trim on either side. After the fourth song, during a tension-building burst of distorted guitar noise, the curtains dramatically dropped, and the band launched into the opening guitar riff of "Same Old Thing." Behind the band were a series of screens that shifted and moved on unseen tracks and featured various visuals and projections of the performance.
It wasn't anything new -- the first time I personally saw the whole "screens moving around and coming together to create trippy visuals" thing was at Radiohead's King of Limbs tour stop in Colorado in 2012. But the way the Black Keys' set incorporated these screens, squares that would drift apart and then occasionally move together to form one giant square and so on, was absolutely spellbinding, much more so than Radiohead's use of it a few years earlier.
In a way, that's a perfect analog for the Black Keys in general. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
Most Tempe residents flocked to Tempe Beach Park to watch fireworks on Fourth of July, which is a shame, because they missed out on a massive party at Yucca Tap Room. BroLoaf returned for its 5th annual Fourth of July Party and fought terrorists, won a wrestling tournament, and partied with Hillary Clinton and Captain America. Better yet, there was free "cocaine" and enough Pabst Blue Ribbon for everyone!
A BroLoaf show is performance art. You'll hear roughly an hour of fast punk songs about partying, Scottsdale culture, and douchey behavior, but that's the fun of it. Listening to a BroLoaf song on its own sounds like a humble brag (see "your girlfriend comes home with me" in "Champions on Parade"), but it all comes together in the live show, which is kind of like a play, only you're going to go home drenched in beer and sweat. There's really no "safe" place at a BroLoaf show, you're going to go home needing a shower, period. MELISSA FOSSUM
The 2014 Uproar Tour hit Comerica Theatre last night in downtown Phoenix. Radio rockers Godsmack, Seether, and Skillet performed to a crowd packed full of 30-somethings.
As expected all three bands stuck mostly singles during their short sets to keep the crowds attention though Godsmack did debut a couple of new tracks. The show was yet another clear indication that rock n' roll needs a shot in the arm as the show was originally scheduled to be at the much larger Ak-Chin Pavilion but dismal ticket sales caused the show to be moved. JIM LOUVAU
Alternative rock hitmakers Imagine Dragons came to US Airways Center in Phoenix last night and were greeted by a lively Arizona crowd. The concert opened with "Fallen" as a faux moon rose above the stage.
Lead singer Dan Reynolds told the near-sellout US Airways Center crowd to forget their school or work responsibilities before launching into "Hear Me" and "It's Time." CHELSEA HOUGH
If having a packed house from start to finish is the benchmark for a great show, then Dilated Peoples and Jurassic 5 had a great one July 19. The Marquee Theatre was full of hip-hop heads throughout the evening, from M.C. Supernatural's opening freestyles all the way through J5's encore.
Many notable Phoenix hip-hop acts and promoters were present, too -- Dumper Foo of Drunken Immortals, Bronze Candidate and Liaison of Shining Soul, and M.C. Optimal were in attendance, among others. JEFF MOSES
Wednesday's concert contained a huge range of age groups, but the most amusing of them is what I like to call the "dad-rock" group. Dad-rock isn't a negative phrase and will surely be the genre I enjoy in in the decades to come. Here, I'm using the term to refer to those who grew up with the metal and rock icons onstage last night. AUSTIN PAETOW
It was a night of active rock radio hits, pyro, and more of what we've come to know from the best traveling hard rock music festival out there, as the 7th annual Rockstar Mayhem Festival made its way through Ak-Chin Pavilion on Friday. Nu metal pioneers Korn and Avenged Sevenfold co-healined the main stage with up-and-comers Asking Alexandria and Trivium.
While fans were still trickling in during Trivium's short opening set with temperatures scorching well above 100 degrees in the pavilion, the band blasted through a quick seven-song, 35-minute opening set. English metalcore act Asking Alexandria followed, to the delight of their younger fan base, which showed up early enough to catch their set while the older guys stood in the back. JIM LOUVAU
Given the way the 17-year-old songstress' debut album, Pure Heroine, dominated the latter half of 2013, and given her lyrics -- coolly defiant celebrations of suburbia, rejections of pop culture excesses -- you can see why the dominant narrative (and by that I mean a 17-year-old wary of the spotlight her expert songwriting propelled her into) surrounding her is so pervasive. Her biggest hit, "Royals," an inescapable song of the summer, contains lyrics famously derisive of the wealthy lifestyle music stars love to brag about -- "I've never seen a diamond in the flesh," "We'll never be royals / It don't run in our blood." In the same song, she offers an alternative. "Let me be your ruler / You can call me Queen Bee."
But to call her precocious -- she is 17, after all -- would be demeaning. She's mature, and she carries herself like someone who knows exactly what she's doing. It was clear throughout the night that she was the one in charge; her creative vision dominated the night. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
Concertgoers walked in to see multi-colored balloons hanging from the ceiling and covering giant fixtures throughout US Airways Center. The smell of marijuana permeated the air around the mostly high school-aged crowd (gasp). Trippy Dalí-esque animation and Ren & Stimpy-like cartoons played in the background during the show. And, of course, Cyrus donned a sparkly green ganja leaf onesie, complete with pot bling and a marijuana necklace she proceeded to wring between her legs.
Judging from one of Cyrus' fans, maybe a high school freshman, wearing a sparkly pot bra in a section near the front, it was just what the audience wanted. Good thing not many parents showed up to the concert, which has come under fire for its raunchiness since its debut. NICKI ESCUDERO
The Monumentour was an apt name for bringing together pop-punk behemoths Paramore and Fall Out Boy for a mega-co-headlining concert. The veteran bands, both more than 10 years old, showed off their greatest hits for an audience who had mostly grown up with them at Friday's Ak-Chin Pavilion show.
Considering the dominant radio success Paramore has seen in recent years compared to Fall Out Boy, it was surprising the band took the stage first. Also surprising, their set, while fun and energetic, didn't win out against FOB. Paramore singer Hayley Williams may have worn knee pads and an ultra-cute boxing outfit on stage, but this round went to Fall Out Boy. NICKI ESCUDERO
Queens of the Stone Age began its set a little after 7 p.m. at the Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fair. To get there, you have to spend time winding through the fairgrounds, past the hordes of children tugging their parents' hands, begging for tickets to games and rides. There's a giant livestock show that delights kids of all ages, and bright, flashing lights enthrall the eye in every which direction.
The family-friendly, funnel cake-pushing atmosphere of the Arizona State Fair lent a hilarious air to the concert last night, such as during the band's second song, "Feel Good Hit of the Summer," in which frontman Josh Homme croons all the drugs the band took while recording their second album, Rated R: "Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy, and alcohol, c-c-c-c-c-cocaine!" DAVID ACCOMAZZO
>Former Guns N' Roses/Velvet Revolver axeman Slash brought plenty of nostalgia to Talking Stick Resort Friday night, visiting the Valley for a one-off date in the middle of his North American Tour with Aerosmith. The 49-year-old still looks almost identical to how he looked in the '80s, still sporting his signature top hat and Gold Burst Gibson Les Paul. Another thing that hasn't changed is his history of having some of the best rock singers fronting his band, and Myles Kennedy is no exception, which was unquestionable from the opening lines of opener "You're a Lie."
The GNR classic "Nightrain" sounded great with Slash jumping around the stage with one foot just like he did back in the day. "Halo," from 2012's Apocalyptic Love, followed and didn't get as much rise from the crowd. JIM LOUVAU
Downtown Phoenix's Orpheum Theatre is kind of a surreal place, as the stunning concert hall blends both the past and present in grand fashion. And St. Vincent deserved to perform at no other venue in town, as her show on Tuesday evening was steeped in both classical and modern elements.
After Noveller -- a one-woman guitar surgeon from Brooklyn who uses loop pedals to create an orchestral sound -- opened, a robotic voice politely asked the audience to refrain from recording the event digitally. And surprisingly, the crowd actually listened and everyone wound up standing in their seats and danced, spending the evening in the moment, instead of wondering what people online would think.
Annie Clark, better known to the music world as St. Vincent, opened with "Rattlesnake," the opening track on her self-titled fourth album. She quivered across the stage, her legs always stiff as she attacked her guitar with butcher knife precision. She followed with "Digital Witness," a song that mocks the addiction to talking about oneself online, like those who feel that if you can't tweet it, Instagram it, or Facebook it, it's like it never happened. TROY FARAH
There is a difference between a "rock star" and a "superstar," and Justin Timberlake is a superstar. He'd been a rock star since his years with 'N Sync touring the world and selling millions of albums. But now, in his early 30s, with decades experience performing his own catalog of self-written hit songs, and the swagger that goes along with all that, he is quite obviously in his prime.
The second stop of his 20/20 Experience World Tour went through Glendale's Jobing.com Arena on Saturday night, and he demonstrated what a superstar in their prime is capable of by putting on two-hour musical spectacular complete with choreographed dance numbers, lasers, and a 15-piece band, The Tennessee Kids. He also showed that being a superstar in 2014 is hard work. JEFF MOSES
Rob Zombie's set started around 9:15, and it was super stripped down compared to his usual show. Gigantic black and white photos of vintage horror icons, like Frankenstein and werewolf, provided the entire backdrop, along with his signature purple, red and green lights and some light fog. There was none of his usual projector screens, movie clips, or gigantic mechanical monsters. The main theatrics of the show came from the band member's wardrobe changes, as well as Rob's laid-back demeanor and dance moves that were a mixture of line dancing, bedroom moves, and head banging. On that note, I must say that I think the frontman's moves were much more sexual than usual.
He came out in a killer fringed jacket and floppy hat, kicking of the set with "Teenage Nosferatu Pussy." John 5 -- who is one of my favorite guitarists -- came out in his metal monster mask, and throughout the night he pretty much utilized a different guitar for each song, ranging from his signature J5 Telecaster to his light-up lava Fender. LAUREN WISE
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.