Local Wire

Sundown Showdown IV @ Palo Verde Lounge and Yucca Tap Room

Even if you don't go, it's fun to read people's bitchy reactions to each year's Coachella lineup. Said lineup could feature a resurrected John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Ian Curtis, and Keith Moon jamming Leadbelly covers on the main stage and, still, someone would complain. ("It's not as good as last year, when I met some hot hippie girl and made out in the grass during DeadMau5's epic set.") In its fourth year, the three-day Sundown Showdown festival hasn't had to endure such barbs, but that's mostly because most folks haven't even heard of the psych, punk, metal, and experimental bands that fill up three nights at the Palo Verde Lounge and Yucca Tap Room. This year's lineup leans toward the heavy, with big names like Sweden's Graveyard (retro metal that tilts as much toward rock 'n' roll get-down as Tony Iommi fuzz) and Iowa's Radio Moscow, who play a rarefied blend of choogle and far-out guitar rock. Local scuzz rockers like Otro Mundo, Acid Dawgz, and Avon Ladies round out the bills, all playing harder junk than even the most art-damaged electro act Coachella can offer. Oh, yeah, and unlike other festivals (like that big one) in California, the Sundown Showdown is free.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.