March always brings a packed calendar of events to the Valley of the Sun — we have Spring Training, which brings more than 100 baseball games spread across a dozen fields, lots of outdoor festivals, and the calm before the 100 degree days. The spring also prompts bands out to the road, which is always a good thing for us metalheads.
There’s a lot to choose from, and some honorable mentions gotta go out to Ace Frehley, UFO, and Tesla, but we still got you covered. From legends like Joe Satriani, Cannibal Corpse, the Melvins, and Uli Jon Roth, to a ton of sludge/doom metal shows, to local acts hosting video music shoots and charity shows —your calendar will be jam-packed.
Saturday, March 5 – Joe Satriani -Talking Stick Resort
Joe Satriani is the epitome of the all-American multi-instrumentalist and rock guitarist. From working as a guitar instructor for Steve Vai, Kirk Hammet, and Alex Skolnick (to name a few), to touring with Deep Purple and Mick Jagger, to a solo career that’s garnered him 15 Grammy nominations and more than 10 million albums sold . . . well, he doesn’t need much more of an introduction. While he still tours as the guitarist for supergroup Chickenfoot, he’s constantly honing his soloing skills on tour and in the studio.
Tuesday, March 8 – The Ultimate Guitar Experience: Uli Jon Roth – Joe’s Grotto
I love LOVE when the big names come to smaller, more intimate venues like Joe’s Grotto. And who doesn’t love Uli Roth, a man who has, over four decades, pioneered the world of guitar—and even invented the sky-guitar! Catch him here on The Ultimate Guitar Experience with Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson, Jeff Beck guitarist) & Andy Timmons (Danger Danger, Simon Phillips guitarist). You can expect to hear a combo of all his albums, from the latest, Scorpions Revisited, and Transcendental Sky Guitar, as well as some songs from Electric Sun, which he hasn’t played live for over 30 year (the first Electric Sun album Earthquake is celebrating it’s 35th anniversary). This lineup is rounded out by Ghost 211 and Frankenshred.
Tuesday, March 8 – Born of Osiris – The Nile
Since 2007, Chicago heavy metal quintet Born Of Osiris has represented an interesting dynamic that goes hand-in-hand with their introspective, mythological concept. They’ve played some of the dirtiest, hole-in-the-wall venues, as well as alongside legends like Judas Priest and Rob Zombie. Since their debut, each album has landed in the Top 100, and their fifth, Soul Sphere, is not exception. It’s one of their most cohesive yet, and the 12 tracks examine three tiers originally uncovered in a dream that Joe Buras [clean vocals, synthesizers, keyboards] shared with the group. If you haven’t seen these guys live, this is a show you don’t want to miss.
Friday, March 11 – Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Crptopsy, Abysmal Dawn—Club Red
Cannibal Corpse is probably one of the recognized death metal bands to the mainstream media (cue the mosh pit in Ace Ventura), but it goes without saying that they are truly one of the biggest death metal bands in the world. They’ve consistently hit on the Billboard 200 with their albums, which have been released every few years since 1988. And while the band’s album covers often turn stomachs, after 2014’s A Skeletal Domain release, vocalist George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher told me that the idea isn’t to disgust per se—it’s all in the imagery and reflection of society.
Saturday, March 12 – Metal for the Hungry —Blooze Bar
Help feed the hungry masses while enjoying amazing performances by a range of awesome metal and hard rock bands. Headliners Three Seconds More draws off influences ranging from extreme metal to soul, with melodic vocals, back up female death metal guttural vocals, and heavy riffs. Also expect to see the Jerry Robison Project, Wolves of Winter, Annuvin, and Egregious Acts. Hosted by Chewy Productions, there will also be a 50/50 drawing sometime between mid and 1 am.
Saturday, March 19 – Conan, Serial Hawk, Wovoka, Goya – The Rebel Lounge
This killer lineup features Conan, a UK trio that takes inspiration from retro sorcery movies, video games, and metal to create a sound that wavers between groove metal, heavy fuzziness, and brutal tones. The lineup is rounded out by crushing stoner metallers Serial Hawk, post/sludge metal act Wovoka, and doom metal trio Goya.
Sunday, March 20- Butcher Babies, American Standards, Chivalry is Dead — Pub Rock Live
Butcher Babies are no strangers to Pub Rock Live—this is the fourth or fifth time the band has come to Phoenix in the past year. The band, known for their evolving sound, LA roots, raucous onstage energy, and two gorgeous frontwomen, is still touring off their summer 2015 album Take It Like a Man, which got rave reviews. Phoenix-formed American Standards combines technical hardcore, punk, metal, and classic hardcore to create a high-energy sound—complete with sociopolitical lyrics—that compliments their live show, known for raw intensity and sometimes bloodshed. Better get to the mosh pit. Chivalry is Dead rounds out the bill.
Tuesday, March 22—Weedeater, Author & Punisher, Today is the Day—Club Red
Since ’98, the North Carolina-based band Weedeater has been collecting a loyal underground following of fans who relate to their unique sound, rooted in sludge, doom and stoner metal. Author & Punisher is one of my favorite acts, or act I should say: It’s a one-man band (mechanical engineer/artist Tristan Shone), who plays industrial doom metal on his custom designed drone and dub machines. The lineup is rounded out by Today is the Day, Lord Dying, and special guests.
Thursday, March 24 - Scattered Guts video shoot— Yucca Tap Room
Arizona stoner thrash metallers Scattered Guts take over Yucca to film a video shoot for the song “Beer” off their album No Guts, No Glory. Want to be a part of the fun? Just show up and partake in Yucca’s whiskey bar. The bill will include some other great acts, including Swapmeat, Baptized in Sin, and HyBrasil.
Friday, March 25 – Hemlock – Joe’s Grotto
13th Floor Entertainment presents Hemlock, the well-known Las Vegas act that is currently celebrating 20 years of metal—and creative self promotion. The members combine heavy chugging riffs, groove and melodic metal, positive lyrics, and deep bass tones. The audience has been known to scream along to the catchy hooks, as well as partake in the band’s intense merch booth and help them prove that Hemlock is, indeed, the “Kings of self promotion” as they’ve been called in the industry. Expect to see the bands Ektomorf, Paradiso Fall, Talk to Sheep, Buttonface, and Throttle Head also take the stage.
Friday, March 25 – March Metal Psychosis!—Palo Verde Lounge
Immortalized Productions Presents a show that’s all about promoting the local metal scene (and the people who support it). Malo De Centro, fresh off a new single release, combines the tribal beats of the Southwest with hard-hitting metal riffs and grooves. Tucson-based Sorrows Ruin’s claim is “hybrid metal” because their array of influences is so broad. From their face-paint and apocalyptic battle armor, to a style that pulls from bands like Hatebreed to classical, it’s a band that’s interesting to watch—in fact, their fans even don the facepaint. Twisted Theorem and Absolute Adversary round out the bill.
Saturday, March 26 – Sectas, Concertina and Destructured - Prankster's Too
I couldn’t be more pumped about this lineup; it’s all some of my favorite local acts that are starting to get national attention. While the music is heavy (think early Megadeth meets Rush), Sectas' lyrics center around positivity, drummer Brian Regalado is all about the double-kick, and guitarist Christian Lee has been hailed as one of the top local guitarists, and the band won the Producers Choice Hard Rock Band of the Year at the 2015 L.A. Music Awards. Concertina is in that same boat—even though none of them are even old enough to order a drink. They are managed by the founder of Heavy Metal Television, their influences range from Pantera to The Sword, and they snagged on last year’s Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding show. Destructured came off a hiatus in 2014 to their first gig, playing alongside Hemlock, and have been forging ahead with new material since. Saturday, March 26 – Black Tusk, The Well, Sounds Like Murder, Via Vengeance, Pocket Leaf—Pub Rock Live
Black Tusk is an American sludge metal band from Savannah, Georgia, with members that come from influences that range from crust punk to black metal. Austin power trio The Well combines gigantic riffs with technical melodies, to create a progressive sound that inspires both nostalgia and the thought "I haven’t heard that before!" in a listener. The bill is rounded out by Sounds Like Murder, Via Vengeance, and Pocket Leaf.
Saturday, March 26 – Napalm Death, The Melvins —The Marquee Theatre
When I first saw this lineup, I had to look twice. And a third time. Napalm Death and the Melvins? What?! Talk about the heaviest night of your life. Both Napalm Death and the Melvins bring a full-on assault to the senses, in different ways: Napalm Death with their brand of frenetic death metal, and the Melvins with their metal-meets-punk mentality. As Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne says, “Napalm Death sounds like a gorilla on LSD firing a machine gun… and I mean that in a good way.” Along with Japanese oddball act Melt Banana, this is sure to be a show for the books.