Lana Del Ray is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, February 13, at Talking Stick Resort Arena.EXPAND
Lana Del Ray is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, February 13, at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Neil Krug

The 25 Best Concerts in Phoenix This February

Love checking out live music in Phoenix? Then consider February’s packed concert calendar a Valentine of sorts. And it’s addressed to you.

It’s brimming with big shows and performances by famous names and living legends alike, including Robert Plant, Lana Del Ray, Bruce Cockburn, Miranda Lambert, Kid Koala, Fetty Wap, and They Might Be Giants.

February is also the unofficial beginning to the spring music festival season, kicking off with the annual Crush Arizona EDM event at Rawhide.

There’s also a lot more happening around the Valley when it comes to concerts. Don’t believe us? Then check out the following list of the 25 best shows happening in February or hit up Phoenix New Times’ online concert calendar.

Thursday, February 1
The Van Buren

If you think that you haven’t heard a song by STRFKR, there’s a good chance you’re wrong. The electronic pop band’s 2008 banger “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” has been used in everything from Target pharmacy commercials to episodes of The Blacklist and Weeds. Besides commercial appeal, the band has had a reliable 10-year track record of creating solid albums full of light, synth-filled rock.

And they’ve been looking back on the early STRFKR days.

Last year, the band released roundups of rare and unheard tracks as small collections dubbed Vault Vol. 1, Vault Vol. 2, and Vault Vol. 3. The old tracks were allegedly saved from songwriter Josh Hodges’ ailing computer and date back as early as 2007. Now, they’re taking it all on the road. Lindsay Roberts

Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit.EXPAND
Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit.
Courtesy of Sacks & Co.

Passion Pit
Friday, February 2
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Like many bedroom-recording success stories of the past decade, Passion Pit began in 2007 as Michael Angelakos’s unknown, one-off musical project. But the songs he created for a college girlfriend became the EP Chunk of Change, which led to shows, a record deal, and the formation of a full band. Evolving from laptop beats and the childish, chorus-of-voices approach that MGMT made famous, Passion Pit went on to produce commercial-friendly alterna-pop for the masses.

Through a rotating cast of instrumentalists, the act has always remained Angelakos’s affair: He’s the principal songwriter and composer of everything that is Passion Pit. A few years ago, the musician went public with his battle with mental illness, but that action only seemed to strengthen his fan base. Bree Davies

Eric San, better known as Kid Koala.EXPAND
Eric San, better known as Kid Koala.
Courtesy of Billions

Kid Koala
Friday, February 2, to Monday, February 5
Musical Instrument Museum

Nufonia Must Fall was turntablist Kid Koala's 2003 dialogue-free graphic novel that told the story of a headphones-wearing robot that falls in love with an office girl. In 2016, the Montreal DJ brought his vision to life with help from a dozen artists and technicians, led by Oscar-nominated production designer K.K. Barrett (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Lost in Translation, I Heart Huckabees, Her). It's now a touring production, which will spend four nights at the MIM in early February. Puppets are projected on a screen as they re-create each scene from the book on miniature sets. Kid Koala performs a live score along with a classical quartet. Siran Babayan

The Octopus Project: eight arms and plenty of imagination.
The Octopus Project: eight arms and plenty of imagination.
Madeline Allen

The Octopus Project
Saturday, February 3
The Rebel Lounge

Theremins, video games, and film scores — Austin’s the Octopus Project have many projects. A sci-fi quartet of multi-instrumentalists, the band have been releasing a steady string of inventive and hyperactive albums since forming in 1999. The band has become so good at producing their iconic sound that they’re in demand as film and video game composers.

It’s not surprising that they’re sought-after composers. The Octopus Project make music that’s highly visual. Using a mix of electronic and analog equipment, they blur together drum machines, guitars, percussion, keyboard, synths, and theremins to create a sound that’s as pixelated and manic as an old-school arcade game. Yvonne Lambert’s theremin playing is one of the band’s signatures. She uses her instrument’s wobbly UFO sounds to add a kitschy and retro element to the band’s energetic, Devo-inspired songs.

The Octopus Project are also known for putting on sensory overload inducing live shows. Psychedelic lights and projections of original video art and clips from old movies like I Am Cuba take the audience on a disorienting journey through the band’s kaleidoscopic music. Ashley Naftule

Ben Gallaty (left) and Sean Bonnette of AJJ.EXPAND
Ben Gallaty (left) and Sean Bonnette of AJJ.
Erica Lauren

Desert Trash Party feat. AJJ
Saturday, February 3
The Van Buren

Folk-punk band AJJ will return to Phoenix on Saturday, February 3, to present Desert Trash, a party they curated that features a lineup full of “friends and heroes.” This multimedia event will be hosted by Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall fame. Turns out the legendary sketch comedian is a fan of the band, who came up playing the Trunk Space, and sent them a fan letter last year.

Desert Trash's roster of bands predominately comprises Arizona acts. AJJ will share the stage with Xiu Xiu (solo), Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, Chris Farren, Karima Walker, and Sundressed. The list of bands is still being finalized and more acts will be added soon. But we do know that AJJ will perform with the band's lineup, and as the original duo of Bonnette and Ben Gallaty.

In addition to the music and comedy, the party will feature exhibitions curated by local artist J.J. Horner presented throughout the venue, a live screen-printing demonstration from Tucson’s Tanline Printing, and a pop-up skate park courtesy of the folks from Valley-based Cowtown Skateboards. Amy Young

The members of Walk the Moon.EXPAND
The members of Walk the Moon.
Brian Ziff

Walk the Moon
Wednesday, February 7
The Van Buren

Cincinnati pop-rock group Walk The Moon is using this year's Press Restart Tour to do just that: restart and enter a new phase of their existence as a band. The band has been out of the limelight for the last two years as frontman Nicholas Petricca cared for his ailing father.

Walk the Moon’s new album reflects those shifted priorities; it dials the energy back a bit and offers more contemplative lyrics. Even so, the band tore through an appearance on Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve, revving up the crowd and sporting its trademark war paint. Walk the Moon also has big plans for this tour, including a collaboration with creative content maker FragmentNine, which has provided a live-action spaceship and laser lights to the show. Jeff Strowe

Metal band Sabaton.EXPAND
Metal band Sabaton.
Severin Schweiger

Thursday, February 8
The Van Buren

When a band is named after a knight’s foot armor, you can probably bet on two things: It’s either a power metal band, or Swedish. Enter Sabaton. Lyrical content focused on war (particularly WWI and WWII) and historical battles make up the majority of the band’s music. Seven of the band's albums are all about these themes, while the final tracks pay tribute to legendary and influential metal bands.

So it makes sense that, in 2012, almost all the members left to form a band called Civil War, leaving vocalist Joakim Broden and bassist Par Sundstrom to recruit new members for their heavy international tour gigs. The band is still loved worldwide though, and they host an Open Air Sabaton festival, as well as a Sabaton cruise. Lauren Wise

British-born dream pop singer Dua Lipa.EXPAND
British-born dream pop singer Dua Lipa.
Markus Pritzi

Dua Lipa
Friday, February 9
The Van Buren

Dua Lipa has a whirlwind year in 2017. The 22-year-old U.K. pop singer released her debut, self-titled album and instantly saw breakout success with the single “New Rules,” which sailed to No. 1 in the United Kingdom, helping her finish the year as Spotify's most-streamed female artist from the U.K. Stateside, “New Rules” caught fire on YouTube, and American audiences are starting to get hip to the singer’s superstar prowess.

This year is shaping up to be huge for Lipa; she’s teamed up with high-profile producers such as Jack Antonoff, Diplo and Chris Martin and is rumored to have a duet with Ariana Grande on the way. Couple that with recent news that she is the first female artist to receive five Brit Awards nominations— for best album, best female artist, best video, best single, and breakthrough artist of the year — and it looks like 2018 will be just as great. Mikel Galicia

"Trap Queen" rapper Fetty Wap performs in Phoenix in 2016.EXPAND
"Trap Queen" rapper Fetty Wap performs in Phoenix in 2016.
Melina Dellamarggio

Fetty Wap
Friday, February 9
Marquee Theatre

“Overnight success” has been the constant narrative of New Jersey rapper Fetty Wap’s rise to fame. But more than three years after his megahit “Trap Queen” bounced from SoundCloud to the Billboard charts, the glitter-voiced singer-rapper is no longer new to the game.

He’s already shared the stage with Kanye, collaborated with Drake and toured with Chris Brown — but it’s his own Remy Boyz with whom he’s most proud to share the spotlight. The “1738” crew is currently out on the road with the star helping to create the vibe of camaraderie and hometown street cred expressed in his music.

Off-kilter yet melodious and catchy, Fetty’s unique style of warbling has turned the notion of a club banger on its head while ruling the charts with four singles simultaneously — hardly a career move reserved for newcomers. Bree Davies

The members of Blitzen Trapper.EXPAND
The members of Blitzen Trapper.
Tyler Kohlhoff

Blitzen Trapper
Saturday, February 10
The Rebel Lounge

It’s been over a decade since Blitzen Trapper’s breakout album Wild Mountain Nation blew the mustaches off half the country’s hipsters and turned them on to the world of experimental folk/country. The self-released album produced a Top 100 hit and garnered high-ranking reviews from Allmusic, PopMatters and Pitchfork, a virtually unheard-of consensus.

Once Sub Pop picked up the Portland-based band, the deal was sealed, and Blitzen Trapper secured its place at the top of the alt-folk heap. The latest offering, last year’s Wild and Reckless, checks all of the genre’s boxes and is bound to rank up there with the group’s most lauded records when all is said and done.

In a live setting, Blitzen Trapper manages to sound like a much larger ensemble than the five-piece it is. Their upcoming show at The Rebel Lounge will probably be one of the best country-infused concerts you’ll see this year, hands down. Oakland L. Childers

Lana Del Rey is due in the Valley in February.EXPAND
Lana Del Rey is due in the Valley in February.
Neil Krug

Lana Del Rey
Tuesday, February 13
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Lana Del Rey is embarking on an arena tour — a major step for a singer-songwriter who’s been pilloried for her live performances ever since her entry into pop music. Yet Del Rey has not swerved from her gloomy, cinematic vision; it’s the audience that has come around to her talents.

Her biggest breaks into the charts may be the 2013 remix of “Summertime Sadness” and her contribution to the Great Gatsby soundtrack, “Young and Beautiful,” but those songs are defined by a soaring contralto voice and glamorous death drive — which are all Del Rey.

With Lust for Life, her latest album, Del Rey officially moved from cult favorite to year-end best-of lists, garnering a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album. Del Rey will bring her chilly-beach-bingo aesthetic to her new L.A. to the Moon tour, where fans can expect a stripped-down style that resists pop-star expectations. Katie Moulton

Legendary singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn.EXPAND
Legendary singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn.

Bruce Cockburn
Tuesday, February 13
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Bruce Cockburn has to be the most hot-and-cold songwriter operating today. On one hand, there are songs about sunrises, horses running across golden plains, the mysteries of life, and spiritual awakening. And on the other, Cockburn fires off songs about narco-politics, human rights, religious flaws, and environmental degradation, offering such poignant lyrics as "If I had a rocket launcher, some son of a bitch would die."

He is not a man to hold back his feelings, ideas, and thoughts — no matter how unpopular or unusual. In fact, lyrics have always been Cockburn's strong suit, consistently offering striking visual images, thought-provoking nuance, and pointed allegory. His words have drawn the ire of politicos, church leaders, and right-wing leaners and praise from environmentalists, fellow musicians, the hippie set, and those just after a damn good song.

Musically, Cockburn typically meanders though loosely assembled styles and genres that call on Irish brogues, Native American spirits, Middle Eastern Sufis, Southern blues, American folk roots, and idiosyncratic jazz. Cockburn's arrangements are creative and cunning, shifting from numbers interspersed with carefully placed instrumentation or backup vocals and harmonies to stripped-down, barren, and raw orchestrations. He can rock as hard as The Who, shuffle at a whisper, or take on laid-back folk instrumentals à la Leo Kottke. Glenn BurnSilver

Jeff Rosenstock is returning to Phoenix.EXPAND
Jeff Rosenstock is returning to Phoenix.
SideOneDummy Records

Jeff Rosenstock
Thursday, February 15
The Rebel Lounge

“They’re pushing you out in the name of progress and selling your memories to the tourists,” Jeff Rosenstock hollers on “Wave Goodnight to Me.” It’s just one of several songs on his latest album, Worry., which deals with gentrification. In an age when every arts district in America looks like it’s in a race to see who can transform themselves into a luxury condo enclave first, it packs a powerful punch.

While lyrics like “The city don’t care if you live or die / It’s just gonna grow and it doesn’t care why” drip with bitterness, it isn’t reflected in the sound of Rosenstock’s music. The pop-punk and third-wave ska veteran has built up his songwriting and frontman bona fides working with groups like Bomb the Music Industry!, The Arrogant Sons of Bitches, and Kudrow. You can hear his years of experience in Worry. and We Cool? They’re anthemic, enthusiastic records, brimming with passion. He sings his songs as though you already know all the lyrics and he’s just trying to match your volume as you sing them back to him. Ashley Naftule

Friday, February 16
Club Red

Curren$y has spent his career, which spans well over a decade, in the company of hip-hop’s major players like Master P, Lil Wayne, and Wiz Khalifa, each of whom took the rapper under his wing at different times. Because of that, the New Orleans native has been signed to and sought after by numerous major labels

Surprisingly Curren$y’s never achieved much mainstream success. Instead, he’s cemented a longstanding status as an underground legend, selling out massive shows across the country and moving loads of mixtapes and albums via his own Jet Life record imprint, all the while appealing to the smoker’s club. Mikel Galicia

Kimya Dawson performs at The Trunk Space on Saturday, May 6, 2017.EXPAND
Kimya Dawson performs at The Trunk Space on Saturday, May 6, 2017.
Jim Louvau

Kimya Dawson
Saturday, February 17
Trunk Space

It's ironic, of course, that "Kimya" is Swahili for "silent." From the moment we first heard Kimya Dawson, it’s seemed like the prolific antifolk heroine has been destined for her own subversively cutesy sort of stardom. As a member of the Moldy Peaches, she couldn't help but stand out. That King Buzzo–esque shock of frizzled hair belied a small but penetrating voice — a dangerously adorable weapon as likely to deliver a line about true love as one about dancing until a turd drops from one's pants.

Most folks know her work from Juno, via the MP's "Anyone Else but You," but the Olympia, Washington-based Dawson has a sizable catalog of solo albums (title sample: Hidden Vagenda) and odd collaborations, including work with Aesop Rock and Third Eye Blind. She even collaborated with the WWE’s Daniel Bryan once on a song about Captain Lou Albano. Chris Martins

Attendees of last year's Crush Arizona.EXPAND
Attendees of last year's Crush Arizona.
Benjamin Leatherman

Crush Arizona 2018
Saturday, February 17
Rawhide Event Center

As any local EDM kid will tell you, Crush Arizona is one of the biggest and longest-running dance music festivals in the Valley. The annual Valentine’s-themed event, which has been around since 2008, regularly attracts more than 10,000 eager dance music fans, many of whom come dressed as Cupid or in other love-inspired costumes or attire (read: lingerie, humorous T-shirts, and heart-shaped sunglasses).

And they also come to rage and get rowdy amid giant inflatable hearts decorating a ginormous tent-like structure. Needless to say, Crush is one of the more unique EDM events in the Valley. It’s grown tenfold over the last decade, outgrowing its previous venues, and now takes place at Rawhide Event Center in Chandler, and features a slew of top-shelf DJs and dance music artists.

This year’s edition of Crush Arizona, which happens on Saturday, February 18, will feature gigs by Kaskade, Carnage, Getter, Crankdat, Grandtheft, Volac, and others. Benjamin Leatherman

Country singer Miranda Lambert.EXPAND
Country singer Miranda Lambert.
Courtesy of Sony Music Nashville

Miranda Lambert
Saturday, February 17
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Miranda Lambert has struck a delicate balance: Together with kindred artists like Jamey Johnson, she's made country music palatable once again to the sanctimonious scads of big-city, Tea Party-loathing dissenters, infusing the genre with a newfound sense of authenticity missing since the days of her legendary outlaw forefathers.

At the same time, she's managed to write earnest, heartfelt everyman ballads like "The House That Built Me," as well as gritty angst-filled anthems of empowerment like "Gunpowder and Lead" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" that resonate with rank-and-file fans of modern country, affording her truckloads of crossover appeal and street cred — not to mention a serious leg up on her contemporaries. Dave Herrera

Margo Price's star is on the rise.EXPAND
Margo Price's star is on the rise.
Danielle Holbert

Margo Price
Sunday, February 18
Crescent Ballroom

Country music has been embracing women’s voices for quite some time now. Dating back to legends like Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Patsy Cline, country music — which, to be fair, was and remains a fairly male-dominated industry — has never shied away from showcasing its best and brightest, no matter the gender.

Which brings us to Margo Price, who plays the Crescent Ballroom in mid-February. Price has almost become the face of the women’s country renaissance, despite the fact that her first full-length record, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, was released less than two years ago on Jack White’s Third Man Records; a second full-length LP, All-American Made, dropped last October.

Price has risen to fame, despite little commercial radio play, for a number of reasons. For one, she’s immensely talented. Secondly, her slow rise to success — from playing in empty bars and working side jobs to make ends meet — is a good story, one that affords her some credibility in the shiny Nashville scene.

Most importantly, she ranks among the most personal, poignant singer-songwriters in music today. Price’s songs touch on any number of personal topics, from living in poverty to serving jail time to the tragedy that was losing a child via a miscarriage. Clint Hale

Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst of alternative folk duo Shovels & Rope.
Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst of alternative folk duo Shovels & Rope.
Courtesy of All Eyes Media

Shovels & Rope
Monday, February 19
Musical Instrument Museum

The rootsy husband-and-wife duo Shovels & Rope traded their softer, folksy sound for something a little more hard-hitting with their latest album, Little Seeds. Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst first started recording music together in 2008, a year before getting hitched.

Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, Trent and Hearst originally made music as solo artists, but released the self-titled debut album for S&R and realized its potential. They've since won two Americana Music Association awards and are getting plenty of spins on local and national radio. Diamond Victoria

Diego’s Umbrella
Thursday, February 22
Valley Bar

For Diego’s Umbrella, defining the band’s music has always been a frustrating and painful chore. There’s the onslaught of borderline-nonsense hybrid terms — urban gringo mariachi, pirate polka — and descriptions of the band’s typically wild live show, but Diego’s Umbrella is the sort of band you have to see to believe.

“Our go-to is that we play gypsy rock,” says drummer Jake Wood. “We have our slower polkas, we have our punk rock, we have our flamenco sessions, we even have a couple cumbia beats now. It’s all over the map. We’re very greedy eaters of all the different styles of music that are out there. I wouldn’t say we’re capturing things and playing them authentically, it’s more reconstitution it or mangling it with the Diego’s Umbrella blender.”

Since forming in 2001, the San Francisco quintet has drawn comparisons to MarchFourth Marching Band, DeVotchKa, and Gogol Bordello. “We all get excited about different styles of music,” Wood says. “I’m somebody who when I hear something new I can’t wait to learn how to play that, whatever it is, and I want to throw it into whatever I’m working on.” Eric Swedlund

Kev Marcus and Wil B of Black Violin.
Kev Marcus and Wil B of Black Violin.
Colin Brennan

Black Violin
Friday, February 23
Chandler Center for the Arts

Male, classically trained string specialists (you know, guys on violins) are hard to find these days. But the innovative duo Black Violin has managed to flourish in their unique roles as genre-bending bards, even in a region not known for its commitment to orchestral endeavors.

Kev Marcus and Wil B — of the violin and viola, respectively — got their start doing hip-hop covers, but after winning at the Apollo in Harlem, in front of a notoriously demanding crowd, they knew they were developing a winning formula. Their mix of hip-hop and classical caught the ear of Alicia Keys, who invited them to play alongside her at the Billboard Awards.

Marcus and B have also collaborated with Wu-Tang and Linkin Park, all while touring about 200 cities a year. Black Violin even had the honor of playing for the first family at President Obama's second inauguration in 2013. In 2015, the duo released Stereotypes, which explores the limits of their musical tools and promoted social consciousness, ‘cause music is so much better when it has a soul. Style and substance: always a winning combination. Liz Tracy

Black Label Society & Corrosion of Conformity
Saturday, February 24
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Zakk Wylde is best known for delivering bluesy, hard-rock guitar squeals as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist, not to mention co-writing a few different albums with the seemingly immortal metal legend. It’s not Wylde’s only claim to fame, as he’s also had a steady career with his own band, Black Label Society.

Wylde is fronting the four-piece as it tours off its Grimmest Hits collection, which debuted last month to big-time sales. Meanwhile, opening act Corrosion of Conformity is about to release a new LP with returning frontman Pepper Keenan and after years away, it’s good to have him back in the band. Eric Grubbs

The legendary Robert Plant.EXPAND
The legendary Robert Plant.
Mads Perch

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters
Monday, February 26
Symphony Hall

Think of Robert Plant and his decade-plus run with Led Zeppelin, and images of pure hedonism are likely to spring to mind. Flowing hair, open shirts exposing bare chests, metal-heavy riffs, and fables of questionable encounters with fans (even involving shark parts) run rampant.

Plant today is the antithesis of all those excesses, and is every bit the dignified man of the world. He speaks like a high-pitched English gentleman, and despite his long gray hair, he appears well-reformed. Plant also doesn't swear, move incessantly, or otherwise act the badass. In fact, it’s a little hard to reconcile his composed stage presence with the image of an artist who lived life like a William Burroughs drug novel.

He's publicly disavowed his contributions to heavy metal in the past, and delivers a genius collage of foreign and familiar sounds during performances with his current band, the Sensational Space Shifters. What's more, Plant's mom was of Romani origin and he grew up idealizing Welsh and Celtic folklore. With Zeppelin, his fantastical storytelling was unmatched, and with the Sensational Space Shifters, he brings forth every bit of folklore that's influenced him. Eva Raggio

The members of Enter Shikari.
The members of Enter Shikari.
Tom Pullen

Enter Shikari
Tuesday, February 27
Crescent Ballroom

Enter Shikari has been in existence for 14 years, 18 if you include its earlier foray into band life with a project called Hybryd. With each of Enter Shikari's four studio albums, the band has seen the sound noticeably evolve. “Post-hardcore” or “metal-core” start to describe the glorious noise that is produced, but the terms leave gaps. EDM and hip-hop elements are integral to the sound.

On this current tour, Enter Shikari will be performing their debut album, Take to the Skies, in its entirety, an ongoing musical trend at present. It’s particularly weird for these guys, though, a band that doesn’t like to look backwards.

“The first album was quite raw,” Shikari frontman Rou Reynolds says. “It was fairly rushed, only recorded in two weeks. You can really hear every instrument. The guitar, the electronics — everything is in its own little space, and things haven’t congealed together yet. I’ve listened to the album for the first time in about 10 years. There’s probably stuff I’d change now, but it has its place in our history, and it defines that era for us. I look back on it with warmth and happy nostalgia.”

At the end of the day, Enter Shikari is a fascinating, innovative rock band that you either “get” or you don’t. And you really need to have the inclination, the desire, to want to get it. But the effort is worthwhile. Like an onion, each layer peeled away reveals something new. Each ingredient is vital, and the fact that the same members that started the band remain in its ranks is important. Brett Callwood

John Linnell (left) and John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants.
John Linnell (left) and John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants.
Shervin Lainez

They Might Be Giants
Tuesday, February 27
Marquee Theatre

John Flansburgh and John Linnell have been playing as They Might Be Giants since 1982, and they’ve had no reason to stop. More so than any other band, They Might Be Giants’ music has made being into science and history cool.

The band, known equally for its adult and children’s hits, will play the Marquee Theatre in Tempe on Tuesday, February 27. For the setlist, They Might Be Giants have more than 20 albums’ worth of material to choose from, including the recently released I Like Fun. Eric Grubbs

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