The start of February made it one of the busiest, most exciting months of 2015 in the Valley of the Sun. More than a million extra people crowded into town for the Phoenix Open, the Superbowl, or the fact that they're just snowbirds. Clearly cause for shots of whiskey and heavy metal. Lucky for all us metalheads, the heavy metal scene isn't resting on its laurels, even with all the other heavy excitement, traffic, and rain around town.
Don't let that keep you indoors, though. There are a ton of great shows around town, which is why we compiled a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley during the month of February.
There's local EP release bashes, legends like Napalm Death and Marilyn Manson, and even a show by metal guitarist John 5 on Valentine's Day. I know where I'll be pre-gaming before the strip club.
February 8 - Ella Kaye EP Release Party - Rockbar Local hardcore act Ella Kaye will be taking over the Rockbar for the release of their EP Comas Collide, a collection of five super heavy tracks featuring musicians from blessthefall, From First to Last, The Word Alive, Eyes Set To Kill, and more. If you're a fan of Ella Kaye, or want to discover some new killer local music, don't miss this show. Special guests on the bill include Ded, The Fathers, So Loud and The Hidden Years.
February 12 - 1349, Origin, Abysmal Dawn, Six Million Dead - Joe's Grotto Mosh Pit Army and Locals & Legends Presents Chaos Raid USA Tour 2015, which is truly a night of chaos, full of varying degrees of metal. There's Norwegian black metal band 1349, named for the year black death reached Norway; technical death metal band Origin, also described as "death shred"; black metal thrashers Abysmal Dawn; and local hellraisers Six Million Dead. Rockers Wolvhammer and Willow round out the bill.
February 13 - Marilyn Manson - Marquee Theatre On his Hell Not Hallelujah Tour, Manson is bringing his greatest hits through town, including a set list full of tracks from his newest and ninth studio album, The Pale Emperor. Known for his erratic performances -- one can never know if it'll be over-the-top, awesome energy, or pouty, yawn-worthy antics -- his newest album was a pleasant surprise. It strays from his usual industrial rock sound in favor for a mores tripped down, bluesy rock, and the result is a rare vulnerability not seeing often from Manson; fitting, since it was dedicated to his mother, who died during production.
February 14 - John 5 - Pub Rock This intimate venue is ideal for John 5's first solo touring foray, and it's sure to be packed, since he offers a little something for everyone. He's worked as a guitarist for David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson (I wonder if Marilyn will stay an extra day and make a special appearance?), and currently Rob Zombie, as well as contributed to albums by artists like Meat Loaf, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rob Halford and Ozzy Osbourne. In 2014 he released his eighth solo album, Careful With That Axe, and it's everything his fans have come to know and love about the guitar connoisseur: equal parts wild west country pickin', rock 'n' roll, and flamenco. Plus, he has a killer vintage guitar collection; I could talk to this dude about guitars all day long.
February 21 - Sorrower, Gay Kiss, Unruh, Sea Will Rise and more - Club Red This underrated hardcore band was way ahead of its time, releasing some fantastic metal-infused hardcore jams in the mid-'90s. The rest of the lineup is cause for excitement as well. There's Phoenix-based Gay Kiss, who always seems to fly under the radar, but creates some uniquely paced music with vocals that teeter on the border of screamo and grinding death metal. Sorrower, Sea Will Rise and Cave Dweller also bring varying levels of metal style to the stage.
February 21 - Piratefest - Joe's Grotto Mosh Pit Army brings a night of crazy fun to Joe's Grotto with Piratefest, a pirate rock festival that was such a success in the UK and Ireland that the organizers decided to bring it to the States. There's Alestorm (self-described "Patagonian Pirate Polka"?...), Swashbuckle, The Dread Crew of Oddwood, and one of the most ballsy, unique yet odd acts I've seen on a stage in a long time, Gameboy Rainbowdragoneyes. which features Alestorm, Local acts Adavant, Kvasura and In Peril are also on the bill. Maybe we'll even see a metal cover of "I"m on a Boat?"
Feb 23 - Napalm Death and Voivod - Club Red Napalm Death is one of the ultimate metal acts live. For the past 30 years and 14 albums, the grindcore metal act has been dominating stages with a brand of cookie monster vocals, political and cultural commentary, razor-sharp shredding, and balls-to-the-wall extreme style. Thrash avant-garde metallers Voivod, death metal act Exhumed, hardcore punkers Iron Reagan, Phobia and Black Crowne Initiate round out the bill.
Feb 28 - Sanity's Edge - The Rogue Bar Killdeath Productions always brings some of the best straight metal shows to town, and this one is no exception. Sanity's Edge hails from Denver, and is known for a "harmonic brutality" alongside powerful rhythms. They are playing with Teratoma, Enemy Machine, Storm of Perception, Falling Thru Skies, Ashes of the Dead, Empire of Dezire.
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