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Local Acts It goes without saying that summers are a big deal in Arizona. People become reclusive or flee the desert as a foul mood settles over everyone hibernating in their air-conditioned Netflix bunkers. Folks just get pissy without regular vitamin D intake. But Summer Ends is here to shake off the summertime sadness haze and collectively cheer as the rest of the world already starts to frost over. Suckers!
A total of 31 bands make up the eclectic lineup, and with KWSS 93.9 FM hosting the local stage, the real action might be with some of the bands we also call neighbors. Friday will feature driving bar rock from Tempe's Carol Pacey & The Honeyshakers; local gypsy folk faves Dry River Yacht Club, which just released its newest album, El Tigre, earlier this year and always draws big crowds; The Senators, who may dress and sound somewhat akin to Mumford and Sons but lack the latter's whiny moodiness; and the bouncy Americana of Murrieta.
Saturday will showcase Latin-flavored rock and reggae from Fayuca (who penned the theme song to the Robert Rodiguez-directed TV show Matador); pure insanity from Playboy Manbaby, whose music falls somewhere between ska and garage punk; "desert soul" from Black Carl; pop punk from Never Let This Go; Tempe funk and blues fusionists Katastro; and the strained indie rock sensibilities of Sundressed. Finally, Sunday will include Banana Gun's slick, sax-driven alt rock; Luna Aura, the Valley's space alien pop starlet; Bogan Via, the synth-pop duo that fell in love after starting their band and is best known for the single "Kanye"; and Tempe's Mouse Powell, host of the Blunt Club and self-described as the "world's most reluctant rapper." Powell will be the festival's only bona fide hip-hop artist, so let's hope he isn't too hesitant to perform.
But depending who you ask, the highlight of the entire festival might be Kongos. And they might be local, but (along with Stirling), they will grace the festival's main stage, not the local one. Before the rhythm-heavy quartet called Phoenix home, they originated in South Africa -- and to put it lightly, Kongos is blowing shit up. That's the simple way of saying their single "Come With Me Now" went platinum. So whether you became a fan when you knew them as neighbors or after hearing them over and over on the radio, this is a great opportunity to see them.
Though you probably can see many of these bands at a dive bar down the street, you probably won't be seeing them as large or loud as this again. Plus, it's great that a festival is giving so much space to local acts. --Troy Farah
Click to the next page for the full festival schedule.