Your patience is about to be rewarded. Now that we're quickly approaching the moment when all the you-know-what begins to fade, life will start getting back to normal in the Valley. And by normal, we mean must-see music events and gigs out the ying-yang.
Over the coming weeks, show both large and small will light up Metro Phoenix venues, including one the biggest concert fests of the fall, Summer Ends Music Festival v.1.
In case you hadn't heard, the three-day festival at Tempe Beach Park will offer up a weekend filled with performances by a horde of rock and pop greats, including The Replacements, Violent Femmes Descendents, Taking Back Sunday, Foster the People, and O.A.R., amongst others.
September's concertgoing options in the Valley are much the same, as we're willing to guarantee that there are at least one or two bands or artists that you're up for watching live, whether it's the rock 'n' roll weirdness of Bob Log III, the utter popdom of Katy Perry, the hip-hop grandeur of Lil Wayne and Drake, or the globe-trotting sounds of such acts as Dengue Fever or Salif Keita.
In fact, there's so much to see (as our constantly updated online concert calendar will demonstrate) that we're highlighting 30 shows worth attending, instead of the normal 25.
Bob Log III is a self-described one-man guitar party who churns out Delta blues on a vintage archtop guitar while playing drums with his feet and singing into an old black telephone handset glued to the glittery silver crash helmet that obscures his face. When the famed lowbrow and lo-fi Tucson rocker starts playing, thumping a bass drum with his right foot and a cymbal and tambourine taped to the floor with his left, the beat threatens to drown out his breakneck slide guitar licks and distorted, blues-howl vocals.
One of Log's most famous numbers is "Boob Scotch," titled as such because it's the one during which he encourages young ladies in the audience to, um...dip their boobs into his Scotch. Another of his most famous numbers is "I Want Your Shit on My Leg" because it's the one during which he invites young ladies to bounce on his knees as he hits his drums. That one tends to cause a ruckus whenever its performed, as multiple women typicall rush the stage to jockeyed for position on Log's shaky knees. -- Andy Hermann
Like fellow genre pioneers The Ruts and The Slits, The Weirdos delighted in defying even what was socially mandated as constituting first-wave punk. Formed in 1976 and currently enjoying the latest in a string of sporadic reunions, these Los Angelenos shun the gritty, often confrontational imagery of their East Coast and British punk peers in favor of a more colorful, satirical aesthetic. The Weirdos' essentially garage-rock sonic signature is distinguished on tracks such as "Destroy All Music" and "We Got the Neutron Bomb" by unusually melodic guitars, absurdly exaggerated drum fills, sardonic hooks and songwriting that comfortably transcends three-chord tricks. -- Paul Rogers
Infected Mushroom has been a huge name in dance music since before EDM was a genre term, let alone en vogue. After more than a decade-and-a-half on the scene, the Israel-bred, Los Angeles-based electronic outfit has traded in giant analog studios for laptops on the road. But the Mushroom crew has also signed to hip L.A. label Dim Mak and launched its most ambitiously produced road trip to date, the Fungusamongus tour.
Most impressive, though, this foursome has remained relevant in one of music's most fickle genres for nearly 16 years. And that begs the question of how. "I think two facts," founding member Duvdev (born Amit Duvdevani) says. "One fact is that we keep on changing, not sticking to one sound, being the same and repeating all over again. And the second is liking the dance floor. We see what works and adapt ourselves to the new generation." -- Kat Bein
Camper Van Beethoven was born to be wild. Formed in the early '80s, the violin-led Bay Area quintet initially was a reaction to hardcore but quickly moved afield stylistically. Like the Talking Heads if they'd dropped acid and grown up on the other coast, there's a goofy, sardonic irreverence at the core of CVB's art-damaged psych-folk. The band's loose, rollicking, eclecticism evokes don't-give-a-damn freedom, but it's never like CVB doesn't care. The group self-destructed in 1990 after five albums in seven years. Singer/guitarist David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman started Cracker afterwards with the understanding that they'd be the core, avoiding Camper's sometimes crippling democracy.
Cracker's self-titled 1992 debut enjoyed immediate success with "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)," accurately presaging Nirvana. The 1994 follow-up Kerosene Hat produced ginormous radio hit "Low." Cracker descended to lower stature while continuing to play its clever, rootsy, alt-pop/rock. Meanwhile Camper's cult appeal persisted, prompting the band to reunite around the millennium to cover Fleetwood Mac's Tusk. Terrific 2004 future dystopia/concept album, New Roman Times, was followed by another hiatus. But the group returned last year with the freaky, chilled-out La Costa Perdida. The harder-charging El Camino Real arrived in June. -- Chris Parker
When MC Frontalot coined the term "nerdcore," which inspired his 2000 single "Nerdcore Hiphop," he wasn't part of a movement. But around then, when artists like YTCracker and MC Hawking became more visible alongside Frontalot and MC Chris, a phenomenon emerged, inspiring two 2008 documentaries: Nerdcore Rising and Nerdcore For Life. The label has come to describe a certain kind of rapping, superficially about nerdy pursuits but containing salient (if surreal) social and political commentary.
As one of the pioneers of a movement, Frontalot hasn't rested on his laurels, and his albums have become increasingly collaborative affairs. Frontalot's new album, Question Bedtime pushes the collaborative element even further. The art of storytelling has long been a part of hip-hop, whether it the use of classic stories or the evocation of a personal or geographical myth. Frontalot decided to go way back and draw from fairy tales as the kinds of stories that seem to make their way, in one form or another, around the world. -- Tom Murphy
The raw, stripped-down simplicity of the duo She Keeps Bees confirms the notion that big things can come in small packages. Relying on little more than drums, gritty minor-chord guitar, and the sultry-to-warbling vocals of Jessica Larrabee, She Keeps Bees is brooding, dark, mysterious, and perfectly chaotic. Shifting from quiet, hushed passages to thrashing outbursts, Larrabee's guitar-playing is full of churning emotion, a perfect foil to her lush vocals and introspective lyrics. Behind her, Andy LaPlant adds the perfect percussive touch, opting for a minimalist approach that allows Larrabee her release. "I think the intensity comes from the fact that we whittle it down so much. We're trying to make something as meaningful as we could, so there's not a lot of fluff," LaPlant says from New York. The band's latest, Eight Houses, shows a heavier side of the band, with louder guitars and vocals and equal emphasis on the drums. Sharon Van Etten adds accompanying vocals on two tracks, while occasional saxophone or synths filter through for added depth. "There's some stuff on there that's a lot different than what we've done in the past," he adds, "but I don't think it's so farfetched that it will turn anyone off." - Glenn BurnSilver
By anyone's definition, Jared Leto is having a great year thus far. There's that whole Oscar thing, not to mention the fact that the actor/director/musician and the rest of 30 Seconds to Mars have been rocking arenas across America along with Linkin Park and AFI.
The three alt-rock heavy hitters are in the midst of a 25-city nationwide late-summer/early-fall road swing dubbed the "Carnivores Tour" (which is a tad ironic, considering both Leto and Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington are both vegetarians) that will hit US Airways Center on September 10. As the English sex kitten narrator states in the YouTube trailer above, it's the first time that all three bands have hit the road together.
And according to concert reports from the tour's previous stops in cities like Miami, Minneapolis, and Denver, all three bands are blowing out arenas with "one helluva show." To wit: A reviewer at out sister publication City Pages in the Twin Cities stated that Leto is "[charming] with his near-flawless vocals" while Linkin Park is performing "like a well-oiled machine." -- Benjamin Leatherman
With an imperial lineage stretching back to the 13th-century founder of the Mali Empire, Salif Keita wasn't supposed to pursue a career in music -- it wasn't considered proper. But he did, and became Afropop royalty. A composer and masterful singer dubbed the Golden Voice of Africa, Keita launched his career with two iconic Malian groups, the Rail Band, whose repertoire was based on traditional Mandinka music, and Les Ambassadeurs, which factored in international pop. As a solo artist, Keita sometimes incorporated major doses of western pop, rock, R&B, and electronics. But his current tour is tagged acoustic (although it isn't exclusively), revisiting classic Keita material with a lean ensemble that emphasizes trad instruments, leaving plenty of room for his fluid, impassioned, sublimely ornamented vocals. -- Rick Mason
Imagine wild organ swirls, rolling surf licks and jazzy party horns coupled with angular and decidedly eastern melodies, plus a sultry singer who shifts between English and her native Cambodian dialect. That's just a fraction of what shapes Dengue Fever's original sound. The band discovered it's calling in Cambodia's 1960s psychedelic Khmer rock, unearthed by band founder and keyboardist Ethan Holtzman on a trip to Southeast Asia. The music also resonated with Holtzman's guitar-playing brother Zac.
The pair formed a band featuring drummer Paul Smith, brass player David Ralicke and bassist Senon Gaius Williams to recreate this exotic sound. Musically assured, the brothers combed Long Beach, California's Cambodian nightclubs for a singer to authenticate the band's sound. Discovering Chhom Nimol, who they later discovered had sung for the king and queen of Cambodia, she needed only to be convinced to join them. She was skeptical, but ultimately a bond was formed. "And when she started singing it was like, 'Oh, there it is,'" Smith says. "It sounded right. We all got chills. The music came alive and we knew we got the answer we were looking for." -- Glenn BurnSilver
Sounding a bit like Coldplay covering M83, Chicagoan Andrew Belle's sophomore album, Black Bear, ditches the wholesome acoustic sound of 2010 debut Ladders in favor of tones far more sleek and synthetic. While occasionally too smooth for their own good, Belle's gentle grooves and dulcet vocals prove irresistible over the long haul, and leave the 29-year-old rising talent well positioned to break big in 2014. -- Rob van Alstyne
If you've been into the EDM thing for more than a few minutes, you've heard about the Mad Decent Block Party the last couple years. Heard about the great performances by the label's regulars like Diplo, Dillon Francis, and Major Lazer. Heard the tales of wild crowds and even wilder debauchery. And probably heard locals bitch about how the block parties only goes to big cities and never hits up places like Phoenix. Well, that particular bit of bitch is about to stop as Mad Decent, the notorious L.A.-based label that promotes the tour will bring it to the Rawhide theme park on September 12. As its name implies, the Mad Decent Block Party features a long lineup of DJs, producers, and EDM artists from the Diplo-founded label, including Big Gigantic, Cashmere Cat, Dillon Francis, Diplo, Flosstradamus, STRFKER, Thurz, and Zeds Dead. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Few bands can boast as impressive a second act as Seattle drone rockers Earth. Led by guitarist Dylan Carlson, the early discography for Sub Pop defined the distorted doom/drone metal sound that inspired Sunn O))) (named in relation to "Earth") and the Southern Lord label.
Following nearly a decade devoted to overcoming addiction and legal problems, Carlson returned with Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method in 2005. It marked a seismic shift in Earth's sound, embracing a distant, sunbaked tone that incorporated elements of country, blues, folk, and jazz. Carlson was afforded sure footing by methodical drummer Adrienne Davies, who's remained a constant since. The band's maintained a steady clip: 2008's The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull was a biblical masterpiece, and Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light Vol. 1 and 2 (released in 2011 and 2012, respectively) brought in elements of funk and English folk rock. -- Jason P. Woodbury
Whether it's through his digital design work or his post-rock music outfit, A Cloud for Climbing (AC4C), Brock Lefferts has one goal in mind: "organically distorting what is perfect." In AC4C, Lefferts flies solo, using audio software Ableton Live to manufacture loops and beats for him to play alongside on acoustic or electric guitar. Crafting layered instrumental ascensions in the same vein as Tycho or Four Tet, the 26-year-old musician builds progressive soundscapes as crisp as they are delicate. -- Troy Farah
The Tubes have serious roots in Arizona. Formed after two Phoenix-based bands, The Beans and Red, White and Blues Band, which eventually moved to San Francisco and combined, The Tubes were remarkably ahead of their time. The group's mix of simulated sex and hard rock landed them some primo opening spots, setting the stage for New York Dolls, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, and Peter Gabriel. Their big hit, "White Punks on Dope," is considered by many to be a proto-punk classic.
The band was inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2007, and have performed countless times on Valley stages, usually by way of their longtime relationship with local concert promoting legend Danny Zelisko, who has been involved with The Tubes for decades. "I wish I could get the word across to young people," Zelisko says of The Tubes ahead-of-the-curve career. "They aren't a punk band, but they are an art band. They have a Warholian weirdness to them." -- Jason P. Woodbury
Texas folksinger Sarah Jarosz has a lovely voice, but she doesn't use her beguiling pipes to paint pretty wallpaper. Instead, she digs deep and serves up starkly moving, deceptively simple love songs, which often are bound in intricate weavings of acoustic bluegrass guitars and countrified violins. "Build me up from bones/Wrap me up in skin," Jarosz begs. "I need to show you how/I can love you better than before," she adds, as a mournful fiddle swoops low and picks her up perfectly at the dip in her voice. Jarosz also has a gift for occasionally reinterpreting Bob Dylan songs, but she has so much to say on her own. -- Falling James
Conjuring up vintage sounds meant to be played on a porch deep in the Smokies, or maybe at a moonshine-fueled hoedown in a rickety barn, Old Crow Medicine Show trades in string-band music, folk, and bluegrass from another era yet informed by the likes of Gram Parsons, the Band, and even a punk ethos. With tight vocal harmonies and well-honed acoustic instrumentation straight out of the mountains, the group's finely detailed original story-songs reveal a subversive contemporary attitude, from the tragic ballad "Genevieve" ("With your love like fire/And your heart like a guillotine") to the galloping breakdown "Sewanee Mountain Catfight," both from their strong 2012 album, Carry Me Back. -- Rick Mason
These are the rudimentary notes I typed while listening to CLPPNG, the debut album from L.A. noise-rap act Clipping. on respected indie rock-leaning imprint Sub Pop: Demons thrashing, Gozer worship, twerk requests, Murder Dog magazine shoutouts, more yells of "bitch" than Jesse Pinkman, percussion that sounds like someone drunkenly pounding on a locked garage door at 4 a.m. Machines vomiting. Rap as scenes from a long-lost Fritz Lang dystopia.
Clipping. is a cryptogram in search of a cheat code. Third-person narratives zigzag with a Zodiac Killer's malevolence. Sheets of white noise hiss add a torrid Greek chorus. But it's not necessarily obscurantist rap. Electrifying cameos also come from rising ratchet queen Cocc Pistol Cree, West Coast legend King Tee and the former first lady of Three 6 Mafia, Gangsta Boo. Somehow, they all reflect elements of Clipping.'s DNA.
"As strange as it is, it's the least pretentious way to make rap music, considering our upbringing, tastes and lifestyle," says Clipping. member Jonathan Snipes. "We made a decision early on to keep personality and ourselves out of it." -- Jeff Weiss
A word of advice: Try to avoid getting anywhere within a few square miles of University of Phoenix Stadium on the evening of September 16, unless you want to get caught up in a teeming tween- and teenaged throng. That's because One Direction will be swinging through town, and, in all likelihood, anyone aged eight to 18 (or Directioners of every age) will be heading straight to the hinterlands of Glendale to fill the entirety of the stadium and see Hazza, Nialler, BooBear, Leeyum, and DJ Malik in the flesh.
And given 1D's record-setting success at moving records (including the recent honor of making the Guinness World Records), amassing a multimillion dollar music empire, becoming arguably the world's biggest boy band, and getting adolescents all twitterpated and screaming their lungs out, it's not much of a shocker that the show will be packed. Its bound to be the biggest. night. evar. for most of the 60,000-plus in attendance, at least until the next big boy band comes along.
Call it the Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle that never quite was: Post-Pixies art-rock wrecking crew strikes cultural gold on second try then unravels into relative, willful obscurity. Last year, the original Breeders' lineup anniversary toured the 1993 alt-touchstone Last Splash, offering long-suffering fans hope for the bombastic, slithering follow-up that never quite was, but while getting crunk to "Iris" and "Cannonball" for the first time in a dog's age. Don't blank on the incidental awesomeness accrued during the Deal sisters' wilderness years. On this short tour, the band will be touring with some new material. -- Raymond Cummings
Blake Mills isn't a household name, but like classic sidemen of lore (David Lindley, Ry Cooder, Leon Russell), he's makes an impact wherever he shows up. As a guitarist in Fiona Apple's band, and for the likes of such musicians as Lucinda Williams, Cass McCombs, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Conor Oberst, Julian Casablancas, and others, Mills has turned heads with his guitar prowess. The songs ought to earn him as much notice. His records - including 2010's Break Mirrors and this year's Heigh Ho - are remarkable, balancing folksy balladry with hard-edged pop, acoustic guitar murmurings against electric guitar ravers. Mills' voice is strong and clear, possessing an ease and confidence that shines on through the songs. -- Jason P. Woodbury
Okay, here's a quick and dirty history of trap music, courtesy of our sister paper, LA Weekly. The music started as a subgenre of hip-hop, named after the slang term "trap," a place where one would go to buy drugs. Atlanta rappers seemed to pioneer what would become called "trap" -- guys like Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy. As the trap sound became popular in hip-hop, electronic music producers began appropriating the sounds into their songs, increasing the mainstream exposure of the music.
In that context, meet Keys N Krates, the world's first "trap band." The Toronto trio formed in 2008 and features a drummer, a synth player, and a DJ, all coming together to produce sounds that seem to have no business coming from an instrumental trio. The band somewhat reluctantly accepts the "trap band" label, saying its influences range from house music to mainstream hip-hop, but the results are aggressive and make for a surprisingly engaging listen. Plus, how can you not be intrigued by a band who makes a music video playing their songs to skeptical Mennonites? -- David Accomazzo
Exactly what caliber of musical success does it take to single-handedly headline the US Airways Center, a massive venue with more then 19,000 seats? It takes someone like Marco Antonio Solis, the Mexican crooner, songwriter and producer, who has enjoyed a gilded stream of mega-stardom since his debut into the Latin music scene back in the '70s with his band, Los Bukis.
A solo star since 1995, he's dominated the Latin music charts, received a start on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, won the judge's competition on Mexico's version of The VoiceGracias Por Estar Aquí, which just seem to automatically release at the number one spot. All in a day's work, right? -- Erin DeWitt
Remember that whole to-do that Madonna got into a few years back over the whole "Molly" thing at Ultra Music Festival in Miami? Well, it was the Cedric Gervais-produced single of the same name that wound up at the center of that particular controversy, as the pop star later claimed that the alleged reference to MDMA was actually a reference to a track. Drama aside, it might be Gervais' biggest claim to fame but it isn't his only one as the 35-year-old has led a storied career on the club circuit. Raised in France and now based in Miami, Cedric Gervais racked up a string of impressive credits while still a teenager. He's more than capable of throwing out his share of festival jams, but his greatest strength is exploring the deep, pulsating house rhythms that make his music a real treat. -- Liz Ohanesian
David Bromberg's eclectic musical expertise is rooted in the sounds of America. Since the 1960s, the singer and guitarist has drawn from a palette of influences, from bluegrass to ragtime, from country blues to New Orleans jazz. Taking lessons from the legendary Reverend Gary Davis as a Columbia student in the 1960s, Bromberg, due in town in late September for a solo gig at the Musical Instrument Museum, went on to create a sound that was both distinctive and familiar. On recordings released during the 1970s, Bromberg combined the familiar elements of roots music with his own fresh take on the genres. -- A.H. Goldstein
The Aquabats are 20 this year. If that sounds crazy to you, imagine what that means to the band members: That's two decades of tights-wearing, gravity-defying, villain-fighting, ska-playing shenanigans onstage. Led by MC Bat Commander and backed by Crash McLarson, Jimmy the Robot, Ricky Fitness and Eagle "Bones" Falconhawk, the superteam never really planned on staying together for this long. And yet here they are, middle-aged men in superhero costumes, entertaining kids and kids at heart everywhere. Guess the old adage is true: Time does fly when you're having fun.
The indefatigable MC Bat Commander (Christian Jacobs to you noobs) -- lover of fast food, sporter of black, obsidian tooth and curly, drawn-on mustache -- is pretty matter-of-fact about it. "We've never had any ambition to be a band; we were just having fun," he says. "It's pretty ridiculous and very absurd that we've been able to do this for 20 years. But...pretty cool, too." -- Lilledeshan Bose
ODESZA is part of a group of Seattle bands leading a small, pretty-sounding revolution against the EDM bangers that have dominated the dance music scene for the past few years. The duo's glitchy electro-pop goes down like candy for breakfast, the type of music you can move to all night long and still come down to in the morning. ODESZA's irresistibly groove-inducing reputation has been selling out shows across the country, so be sure to catch them when they bring their gorgeous sound and light show to the Crescent's main room. -- Harley Oliver Brown
Foxygen make magic as much as they make music, a phenomenon captured on their ferociously charismatic (and aptly titled) 2013 album We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. Somehow, they'd come up with their own take on the Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request, but via Os Mutantes and Nikki Sudden and Jacobites' take on Satanic Majesties. We Are... is one of those records that will weather as much examination as you wanna give it -- sounds sweet on first listen, reveals ever more sophisticated iterations of quantum sweetness as you keep listening. And now Foxygen are teasing a positively acrobatic new double LP called ...And Star Power, which promises Bowie-ian (or Eno-esque) levels of conceptual mind-warping. -- Chris Ziegler
After Jay Z and Beyoncé did not attend Kanye West's wedding to Kim Kardashian, rap fans put forward a theory that Yeezus is articulating his indignation by censoring Jay Z's name from his recent live performances. But weep not; they weren't even the biggest bromance in rap. That title surely belongs to Lil Wayne and Drake. These two are the Pitt and Clooney of the rap world. Moreover, Drake and Lil Wayne are bringing their heavyweight hip-hop hugfest to Phoenix's Ak-Chin Pavillion on September 25 as part of their 31-date jaunt across the United States.
This is no surprise for fans of the rap giants, who have openly and often expressed an admiration for each other. Drake waxes lyrical about Weezy every chance he gets, while you can guarantee that Lil Wayne has every season of Degrassi on box set. On their current tour together, according to a review on Rolling Stone's website, it seems the two get into a staged insult battle onstage. The crowd votes for the triumphant on a Drake-versus-Lil Wayne app. But the show, of course, ends in mutual bromantic accolades. -- Steve Brennan
There are few things catchier than a Katy Perry song. Whether she's your #1 pop icon or you really can get enough of her, she dazzles her audience of millions with that vivacious yet lighthearted voice. Katy Perry has had nine #1 singles on the Hot Top 100 and her songs heard nearly every hour on the hour on FM radio's top stations, setting her above the bar as an iconic pop presence. In all likelihood, the show will 100 percent live up to the amazing, bedazzled, candy-land fantasy...so go live it up and, yes, dance until you die. -- Eleanor Lambert
Like many of y'all, we're of the opinion that the end of the month can't get here fast enough. It's partially due to the weather, of course, but mostly because the final weekend of September offers the chance to see one of the more groundbreaking groups in rock history performing their first Valley gig in many decades: The Replacements. The seminal band, revived by founding members Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson in 2012, influenced the likes of Nirvana, Wilco, Green Day, Against Me!, and helluva lot of others, will headline one of three nights comprising Summers End Music Festival in Tempe.
The fact that you can catch Stinson and Westerberg, who the AV Club aptly dubbed as "one of the greatest songwriters of his generation," performing such unforgettable Replacements tracks as "Unsatisfied" and "I Will Dare" live will arguably be one of the major highlights of Summers End, but it won't be the only one. The festival lineup is replete with a slew of fantastic and influential bands of the alternative, Americana, pop, indie, bluesy, and rock 'n' roll variety, and that's just the local stage, which is loaded up with such homegrown favorites as The Senators, Bogan Via, Playboy Manbaby, Luna Aura, SunDressed, and many others.
The main stage, however, is pretty loaded for bear as well. Besides The Replacements, who perform on Saturday, September 27, the festival will feature indie pop duo Capital Cities, heartland rockers American Authors, classical crossover wunderkind Lindsey Sterling, Something Corporate/Jack's Mannequin vocalist Andrew McMahon, SoCal punk icons Descendants, post-hardcore heroes Taking Back Sunday, synthpop indie act Kitten, and soul singer Allen Stone. Alt-rock veterans Violent Femmes and Luscious Jackson, neo-soul greats Fitz and the Tantrums, and local breakouts KONGOS and The Maine round out the schedule, which can be found online at the Summers End website.
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.
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