2014's winner for Best Festival, Viva PHX is back for round two and this year it is even bigger. Bigger headliners, more touring acts, more local acts, more venues involved, more activated spaces, and lucha libre wrestling. The only thing that Stateside is leaving out is the kitchen sink ... though you could wash your dishes in a Smallpool ... I try.
But anyway, at a show like Viva it is just completely impossible to catch everything even with perfect prior planning. But with the right game plan going into the show you can optimize your festival time. For me that means packing my Viva schedule full of Phoenix locals and catching them playing at as many of the different venues and activated spaces as possible.
5 p.m.:The evening obviously starts at The Vig Fillmore with Brian Chartrand. He's the first act of the night, and for anyone really trying to pack their night with local music and different venues you got to catch the only two acts who are playing this activated space.
Then since you caught Chartrand you gotta stick around for Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold, they're an acoustic duo who play classic folk songs mixed in with their own folky originals, and they play 'em fast and hard, so their set will probably only be about half an hour long.
6:30 p.m.: If you head out from Mudd and Gold around 6:30 p.m. there should be no problem making it by bike or pedicab over to the Central Avenue stage to catch a good chunk of Rebel Disco's set. Before heading over to ALAC to catch the end of No Volcano who go on at 7.
7:45 (optional): It will be tough to catch anything else between 7 and 8 but a determined music lover could conceivably leave ALAC at about 7:45 and catch the end of Tobie Milford at Grace Chapel or The Chris Light Group, who go on at 7:15, in the Orpheum Theatre basement.
8 p.m.:From there it has to be the Monroe Street Stage for local heroes Andrew Jackson Jihad. Their set shouldn't be hugely long because folk punks don't play long and then go from there to the Orpheum Basement for the Kelso Brothers Quintet starting at 8:45 p.m.
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9 p.m.: After catching a little of the Kelso Brothers the next step has to be the traditional flamenco dancers Flamenco Por La Vida. They are fabulous performers and they are at the rarely activated Grace Chapel at 9 p.m. After that, rush over to One Coffee for the end of Tina Estes.
This will also be a great time to take a seat and grab some fuel for the rest of the evening.
10 p.m.: It's gotta be Jim Adkins (solo) inside of the Masonic Temple, because I feel like that's a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a platinum -elling local legend in a venue that as far as I know is being activated for this sort of event for the first time.
11 p.m.: If you cut out on Jim early there should be no problem catching the back end of Fayuca at the Monarch theater and then you're just two blocks away from the punk rock alley stage at 11 p.m. to catch Playboy Manbaby.
The Manbabies rock pretty hard and will most likely on play for half an hour to forty minutes so when they finish getting over to the Monroe Mercado by 11:40 or just a tad late for the wrestling match between Alex Sinister and Hammerstone should be synch.
Then once they are done kicking the shit out of each other for your entertainment the move has got to be over to Film Bar for Gospel Claws. Before heading back to the mothership, the Crescent Ballroom, to catch Sean Watson followed by Klu and Pablo Gomez on the Space Station Kalliope.
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