Music News

Future Shock: Mike Ness, Flo Rida, Nevermind, and more

By Niki D'Andrea

Here's a handful of shows that were just announced this week.

Mike Ness With Horton Brothers Saturday, June 28, 7 p.m. Marquee Theatre in Tempe $30 (

No one can question Mike Ness’ punk rock badge, with him being the sole remaining original member of seminal rockabilly punks Social Distortion and having survived an addiction to heroin. And while some may question the authenticity of Ness’ solo work -- which is markedly less “punk” and more straight-ahead country/Americana/acoustic rockabilly -- anyone who’s heard his two 1999 solo albums, Cheating at Solitaire and Under the Influences can’t help but be reminded of the brooding rebel vibe of Johnny Cash. And hearing Ness play live with his super-solid band -- which includes of two members of Social D (bassist Brent Harding and guitarist Johnny Wickersham) -- only provides further proof that Ness means business, and his solo work isn’t some fly-by-night foray into another genre.

Random band fact: While recovering from drug addiction in the 1980s, Mike Ness briefly worked as a house painter.

Below: Mike Ness performs “Making Believe” at the House of Blues in Orange County

Flo Rida, and Rick Ross With Pitbull Friday, July 25, 8:30 p.m. Celebrity Theatre $50-$350 (

What a bill! First, there’s Pitbull, one of the artists who helped push reggaeton into the national spotlight in 2006, merging dancehall beats with rap and working with everybody from Lil’ Jon to Stevie B. Then there’s Flo Rida, who’s riding a wave of interest in his first solo album following a #1 hit (“Low,” featuring T-Pain) on the Billboard Hot 100 in January of this year. And last -- but certainly not least -- there’s Slip-N-Slide/Def Jam rapper Rick Ross, whose second and latest album, this year’s Trilla, was certified gold by the RIAA less than two months after its release, largely due to the boost of a #1 single (“The Boss,” also featuring T-Pain). All in all, great package for hip-hop heads.

Random band fact: All three artists come from Miami.

Below: The video for Rick Ross’ “Street Money” featuring Flo Rida

Nevermind: A Tribute to Nirvana With Vanity Tweak, and Last Kiss Friday, June 20, 7 p.m. Marquee Theatre in Tempe $15 (

There are some bands that you just can’t jock, and there can be a fine line between playing in a “tribute” band and slaughtering a proverbial sacred cow -- especially if you’re in a Nirvana tribute band. Hardcore Nirvana purists would probably throw up in their mouths a bit watching Nevermind, the three-piece Nirvana tribute band from Chicago, Illinois. The trio of brothers actually sound pretty solid as a band, but they don’t sound like Nirvana, even if they are pulling around 70 songs from the vaunted band’s catalogue (and guitarist/vocalist J. Veldman plays right-handed, which Kurt Cobain never did). But we’ll give credit where credit is due -- at least this isn’t a band that jumped on the posthumous, nostalgia bandwagon to try and make money off fans who can no longer see the real deal. Nevermind began performing in 1991, the very year that Nirvana’s Nevermind album exploded, so they score brownie points for foresight and longevity, even if they fall short on authenticity.

Random band fact: The Veldman brothers also have a band called PLASMA, where they play their own, original music.

Below: The video promo for Nevermind’s tour

One Night of Queen Sunday, March 1, 2009, 7 p.m. Chandler Center for the Arts $36-$48 (

Speaking of sacred cows, here’s a tribute to Queen, a band that had one of the most flamboyant showmen in entertainment history. If a singer can pull off a vocal emulation of Freddie Mercury, that’s impressive enough, but Gary Mullen not only nails the sonic histrionics of Mr. Mercury, but the costumes, dance moves, stage presence, and flash as well. Like the original Queen, “One Night of Queen” is an entertainment extravaganza, utlizing state-of-the-art sound, lighting, and special effects to recapture the magic of one of the bands that helped create and define “arena rock.”

Random band fact: In 2000, prior to creating One Night of Queen, Mullen won the finals of the hit UK TV show Stars In Their Eyes, as Freddie Mercury.

Below: A clip of One Night of Queen performing a medley

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea