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Billy Corgan performs "Space Oddity."
Billy Corgan performs "Space Oddity."
Kelsee Becker

The Most Popular Phoenix Music Stories of 2018

This year, big changes came to the Phoenix music scene. Phoenix New Times readers got excited about big acts and local musicians, while some cherished parts of the Valley's musical fabric were tragically cut away. Your most-read stories of 2018 were listicles, essays, festival announcements and cancellations, and through it all, we were happy to serve as your guide to the sounds of the city.

Here are your most-read New Times music stories of 2018.

Pitbull performed on October 17 at the Arizona State Fair.
Pitbull performed on October 17 at the Arizona State Fair.
Courtesy of RCA Records

Arizona State Fair 2018 Concert Lineup

As any fairgoer worth his or her weight in ride tickets can tell you, there are also tons of big performances that happen during the annual monthlong extravaganza. As a matter of fact, its one of the fair's most popular attractions.

Acts and artists like rock band The Flaming Lips, rapper Pitbull, metal gods Anthrax, Latin singer, Paulina Rubio, Americana/folk group Nate Rateliff and the Night Sweats, and alternative act The Wallflowers are all scheduled to perform during this year’s fair.

Local cosplayers get their game on at Cobra Arcade Bar.EXPAND
Local cosplayers get their game on at Cobra Arcade Bar.
Benjamin Leatherman

The 10 Best Game Bars in Phoenix

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In recent years, arcade games, pinball machines, Skee-Ball, and even old-school consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System or Sega Genesis have proven increasingly popular, owing to the nostalgia of throwback thrills or vintage video games. While it's true that most drinkeries and dives have boasted quarter-munching contraptions for decades, there’s been a growing emphasis on games, ranging from high-tech systems to lo-fi options like board games.

Hence, the rise of the arcade and bar hybrids that have sprung up in major cities like New York and L.A. or chic drinkeries where you can play Sonic the Hedgehog while sampling craft beers.

Phoenix has its fair share of such joints, including any of the following bars that feature video games in abundance (such as Cobra Arcade Bar and The Grid in Mesa) or old-school distractions made new again like Skee-Ball, which can be found at places like the Little Woody.

Odesza fans at Lost Lake.EXPAND
Odesza fans at Lost Lake.
Melissa Fossum

Lost Lake Festival 2018 Has Been Cancelled

No explanation was given as to why Lost Lake was nixed, however.

According to Billboard, which first reported news of the cancellation on Friday morning, it was “likely because of poor ticket sales.”

It isn't the only high-profile music festival that's been canceled in recent weeks; the annual FYF Fest in Los Angeles was axed last month due to poor ticket sales.

Lost Lake debuted last fall and drew more than 45,000 people to Steele Indian School Park for a three-day festival that included sets by Chance the Rapper, Run the Jewels, The Killers, Major Lazer, Huey Lewis and the News, Odesza, The Roots, and Pixies.

Fans were rockin' and chill despite all the Phoenix heat.EXPAND
Fans were rockin' and chill despite all the Phoenix heat.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Vans Warped Tour 2018 Lineup

Get your goodbyes ready. As you've probably heard, Vans Warped Tour will mount its final cross-country festival this summer. So when the 2018 Warped Tour, presented by Journeys, comes to Phoenix's Ak-Chin Pavilion on June 28, it's likely to be a rager.

That's because the lineup will include local rockers Doll Skin and The Maine, Buffalo scream rock darlings Every Time I Die, and party ska legends Reel Big Fish.

After that, it's not clear what will happen with the event. But it's a big deal that it's ending. Warped Tour has been going strong since its founding in 1995 by Kevin Lyman. "I truly am happy to get the chance to travel around the country one more time to thank you for your support, and bring you another best day ever," Lyman says in a press release.

It's like the Louvre, but horrible.
It's like the Louvre, but horrible.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Most Uncomfortable Moments

The Sex Pistols (2006): When Johnny Rotten and the boys refused their induction, it was left to Hall gatekeeper Jann Wenner (the guy all you Monkees fans send your petitions to each year) to read a fax from Johnny Lydon explaining all that was really Rotten about the proceedings. "Next to the Sex Pistols, rock and roll and that Hall of Fame are a piss stain. Urine is wine. We're not coming. You're not paying attention. Outside there's a shitstorm that's a real sex pistol." All that was missing to make it a bona fide punk rock moment was Steve Jones calling Jann "a dirty ol' fucker."

Remembering Phoenix Musician Devin Fleenor

Fleenor worked for more than two decades in art and technology.

In 2013, Fleenor co-founded an interactive lighting design company called Epik FX, which creates light shows for concerts, music videos, and art events.

"I make art because there is no better way to connect with and inspire human beings," he told Phoenix New Times in 2014.

Drizzy was the subject of one of our top stories of the year.EXPAND
Drizzy was the subject of one of our top stories of the year.
Alexandra Gaspar

Why Drake's Scorpion Has No Sting

Out everything that’s happened in Drake’s world this year, even the recent, somewhat creepy revelation that the 31-year-old is dating an 18-year-old model and texted teen actress Millie Bobby Brown, if anything kills his career, it will be the fact that he keeps releasing albums that are as long as a July day in the Arizona desert and just as barren of quality. People will like any artist as long as the music’s good, no matter what they do, but Drake is reaching the tipping point where his work can’t make up for the shitty things he does.

Stevie Nicks already shares a star with her famous band, Fleetwood Mac, received in 1979. Nicks, who was born in Phoenix and lived in Paradise Valley from 1981-2007, has been nominated for a star in her own right as part of the museum's Class of 2019.EXPAND
Stevie Nicks already shares a star with her famous band, Fleetwood Mac, received in 1979. Nicks, who was born in Phoenix and lived in Paradise Valley from 1981-2007, has been nominated for a star in her own right as part of the museum's Class of 2019.
Melissa Fossum

Dadrock No More: The Millennial Love Affair with Fleetwood Mac

Online, people write about their heartbreak and sadness, leaving it all on the table for the world to see, much in the same way Fleetwood Mac metaphorically cut themselves open and let the world take a peek into their pain. The older generation is often astounded by the things young people are willing to share from the safety of a computer screen. Fleetwood Mac let us into parts of their lives that were uncomfortable, saying things that many people would keep to themselves.

Smashing Pumpkins is back in town for another show.
Smashing Pumpkins is back in town for another show.
Olivia Bee

With Their Reunion Tour, Smashing Pumpkins Win Another Pyrrhic Victory

The Shiny and Oh So Bright Tour was supposed to be a victory lap, an opportunity for the original core lineup of Corgan, drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, guitarist James Iha, and bassist D’arcy Wretzky to play sets packed with fan favorites (i.e. nothing that’s been recorded post-Machina). While it may be the kind of naked cash grab anniversary tour that Corgan used to bemoan (in 2010, Corgan compared Pavement’s reunion shows to “New Orleans-type funerals … they represent the death of the alternative dream”), it was still an exciting prospect: the chance to see an iconic ’90s band go back to doing what they do best. And then the ol’ Corgan Luck kicked in.

Corgan became embroiled in a he said/she said spate with Wretzky, who opted out of the tour. The tour announcement was overshadowed by band drama and reports of underwhelming ticket sales. Thanks to their dispute, the one major selling point of the tour as an Original Lineup Reunion was gone. And with Jack Bates drafted in to play bass instead of OG D’arcy replacement Melissa Auf der Maur, Corgan also closed the door on making this tour a Smashing Pumpkins circa Machina reunion.

It shouldn’t be this way. A classic Pumpkins tour should be a ticker-tape parade, not a smoking train wreck.

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