Despite what you may have heard, this weekend's Liquid Sol Music Festival isn't just some alt-rock revival of throwback bands. Yes, more than a few favorites from the '80s (BoDeans, Lovehammers), '90s (Blind Melon, Fuel), and '00s (Buckcherry, Train) are on the lineup of the daylong event on Saturday, March 15, at Sportsman's Park in Glendale. But, if you take a deeper look at the schedule, it's more than just radio-friendly tunemakers and unit-shifters to be had.
In fact, you can also hear punk of both the pop and skate variety at the event, as well as Americana practitioners, country crooners, and flat-out rock 'n' rollers.
Here are seven bands we're interested in checking out at Liquid Sol.
All-American Rejects Like rap music, pop-punk has demonstrated an evergreen quality as far as popularity is concerned. And few pop-punk bands experience the sort of popularity the All American Rejects have. Hailing from Oklahoma, they've recorded four albums, the most recent being this year's The Kids in the Street. You may remember their 2002 video for the song "Swing Swing," which highlighted singer Tyson Ritter's wildly cracking voice and dreamy blue eyes. Punk rock never looked, or sounded so attractive. -- Brandon Ferguson
Authority Zero As an alumnus of the late-'90s, early Warped Tour-type scene, Authority Zero is one of the few acts of its ilk not only surviving but thriving on the underground circuit. The group has long specialized in fast, no-frills skate punk blended with reggae and a little ska. It's nowhere near as poppy as, say, a 311, but the band's alternately chilled-out and amped-up jams similarly appeal to a broad cross section of live-music fans. Onstage, in fact, is where the group is particularly beloved. -- Arielle Castillo
Everclear Albums such as Sparkle and Fade and So Much for the Afterglow made Everclear regular names in CD collections (and songs like "Heroin Girl" made more than a few appearances on some choice mix-tapes), but like nearly all acts, their sparkle eventually began to fade and the next set of albums barely cracked the charts. In 2009, the group (now with some lineup changes) released In a Different Light, an acoustic re-imaging of some of their best songs -- and then in 2011, Everclear dolled up their old tracks once again with Return to Santa Monica, this time with some covers sprinkled in. Finally, though, Everclear decided to record some new work, and released their first original album in six years, Invisible Stars, this summer, which sees the band return to their urgent, distorted, hard rock form. -- Erin DeWitt
Tonic At the height of the post-grunge, alt-rock movement of the mid-1990s, heavy guitar-driven bands with catchy hooks ruled the charts. While those sounds eventually gave way to electronic pop and hip-hop, inevitably, many of the '90s rock outfits fell by the wayside. However, the Los Angeles-based group Tonic soldiers on. Known for their relentless tour schedule, the band recently celebrated a twentieth anniversary (which includes a four-year break from 2004 through 2007) and still features the majority of their original members. With two Grammy nominations and a monster hit in "If You Could Only See" to their credit, the Tonic's place in pop culture history is set and they continue to tour behind their greatest hits, which for fans, is the perfect drink. -- Daniel Kohn
Gin Blossoms Back in the time of grunge, there was this adorable band called Gin Blossoms. It was a scrappy band with a jangly tambourine and Teenage Fanclub-like harmonies, but overexposure on the radio made Gin Blossoms feel like a sweet little brother of a band that you just couldn't shake. It was the kind of band you didn't mind too much, but you wished it would stop following you around so that you could go do big-kid stuff. But now you're all grown up, and when you look back at that hazy memory you see Gin Blossoms for what it really was: a sweet little brother of a band that you probably should have spent more time with and appreciated more. -- Jaime Lees
The White Buffalo With his long brown hair, an intimidating beard and his don't-fuck-with-me look, the White Buffalo -- who was born into this world as Jake Smith -- is a throwback to a time when rough-and-tumble, hard-drinking artists (à la Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart) resonated with audiences more than manufactured, über-produced pop stars. But Smith connects with a range of audiences in a very contemporary way and has a catalog that spans not only heartfelt ballads, but also raucous bar songs. -- Daniel Kohn
Cracker Whether taking the helm of iconic ironic rockers Camper Van Beethoven, the sardonic janglers of Cracker or a smarty-pants solo project, David Lowery has consistently dug up the twisted roots of American music, always with dark humor and twangy intonations intact. If "alternative rock" ever had any meaning, it was defined by the energy of Lowery's withering social and sexual parodies and celebratory self-loathings. Ubiquitous hits such as "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)," "Take the Skinheads Bowling" and "Euro-Trash Girl" were principally political even as they made a mockery of the possibility of postmodern principles at all. -- Roy Kasten
The Liquid Sol Music Festival takes place on Saturday, March 15, at Sportsman Park in Glendale. General admission is $59.
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.
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