Six months of 2017 are officially on the books. What better time to reflect on the spectacular year it's been for music in metro Phoenix? Here they are: the best festivals, CD release shows, DJ sets, music videos, and cover songs we've seen and heard so far this year.
Viva PHX 2017
Viva’s lineup featured more bands than it was possible to see, and an extra dose of craziness. Twenty venues hosted around 100 bands, including The Drums, American Football, and headliners Girl Talk and The Maine. Girl Talk’s headlining performance stole the show at Comerica with folks joining on stage and toilet paper being shot into the crowd. Lindsay Roberts
How many times have I mindlessly listened to the Gin Blossoms' "Hey Jealousy"? Who knows. When Lawrence Zubia played a bare-bones version of Doug Hopkins' song at Brian Smith's Spent Saints book-signing, it was different. Chills crept up my arms. The lyrics got stuck in my throat. It was devastating. Becky Bartkowski
A Little Less Put Together by Sundressed
Animal Style Records
In a time when emo nostalgia feels like it’s at an all-time high, it’s important to take note of the new class of heartstring-pullers. Sundressed’s polished debut is chock-full of soulful, driving melodies. It's perfect for those times when you just want to air-drum your feelings. Ashley Harris
DJs and Vibes
Walter Productions hosts a seasonal series of weekly yoga classes at their downtown Phoenix office/party space called Walter Yoga. It's definitely a “yoga experience,” with a DJ spinning atop of their art car Kalliope. Instructors put on a sort-of instructional performance with a theme for the class equipped with scripted words, costumes, laser lights, dozens of disco balls, and spotlights. There's really nothing else like it around town. Amanda Savage
Quadraphoenix Single Release Showcase March 24
This unique show featured four bands — The Hourglass Cats, Sunset Voodoo, The Sink or Swim, and The Real Fits — releasing singles on a special compilation CD given out that night. All four bands were awesome and the place was rocking all night, complete with a signature Cori Rios howl. Henri Benard
Treasure Mammal Opening for Peelander-Z
Opening for a band as dynamic as Peelander-Z is a tough gig. If any local had a chance of topping them, it's Treasure Mammal. Setting up inflatable snowmen and Christmas trees, Abe and his backup dancers brought the audience onstage for a freaky dance party that brought the house down. Ashley Naftule
Bear Ghost perform at The Rebel Lounge.
Bear Ghost Covering Queen
The Rebel Lounge
Unless you are Adam Lambert, you should not cover Queen. Bear Ghost proved me wrong with a spot-on cover of the quartet’s hit “Don’t Stop Me Now” at our Phinal Phour show at The Rebel Lounge. Their bravery for pulling it off won them a place in my heart. Jason Keil
RIOT! Women’s Pride Dance Night
Palo Verde Lounge
The monthly RIOT! Women’s Dance Night is hosted at the Palo Verde Lounge by a micro-organization of mostly female DJs called MUTINY! ????????! Tempe. And it is always good-weird. Its April date coincided with Pride Festival, which had participants in a way more imaginative zone, vogueing to everything from Blondie to La Roux. Lauren Cusimano
Steff and the Articles' “Keep You Around” Video
As the debut single from the forthcoming album, Timekeeper, "Keep You Around" doesn’t waste any time hooking you in with a bright chorus, laced with a sprightly string section. The video is just as bold, featuring singer Steff Koeppen dancing through her lover’s quirks to find her joy in him. Ashley Harris
Lost Lake Festival's Lineup
Announced April 18
Steele Indian School Park
When Superfly, the company behind Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, dropped the lineup for the inaugural Lost Lake Festival, our jaws dropped. Chance, Pixies, Run the Jewels, HAIM, Calexico, and Huey Lewis? Yeah, we're down for that — and we can't wait for the fest to take over Steele Indian School Park in October. Becky Bartkowski
Read on for more of the best things we've heard so far this year.
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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Ashley Harris is a longtime professional fangirl. You can usually find her out at concerts, movies, and live theatre, or glued to the latest Netflix revival.