Viva PHX

Viva PHX: A Look Back at the Downtown Phoenix Music Festival

Downtown Phoenix definitely came alive this past weekend. The various sidewalks were packed with people, activity, and -- most importantly -- the sound of live music wafting from more than a dozen different venues, nightspots, and locations that comprised the Viva PHX music festival on Friday night.

Music lovers, scenesters, urbanites, and downtown denizens made their way around to any of the 15 different stages scattered within blocks of each other to partake in the feast of sounds that was served up by the lineup of more than 65 different bands and artists both touring and local.

There was a heaping helping of hip-hop outside of the Crescent Ballroom, for instance, as rap legend Sir Mix-A-Lot shared a stage with hip-hop gurus Blackalicious and Murs, as well as scratch king and Z-Trip. Meanwhile, the ever-quirky YACHT performed inside the venue along with fellow indie/pop acts Nite Jewel, Painted Palms, and Bogan Via.

Elsewhere, The Neighbourhood was making 'em scream at CityScape, garage rockers and punkers like Petty Things and Wolvves were going all out in an alleyway, and PigPen Theatre Co. was plucking up a storm at the Hotel San Carlos.

The scribes and photographers of Up on the Sun were all over downtown during the festival captured as much of the activity of the festival as possible. Check out our rundown of what we witnessed, as well as our video recap above, of the night that was Viva PHX.

The Neighbourhood, Pinback, Kitten, The Technicolors at CityScape

While it was expected to be one of the most diverse lineups of any stage at Friday night's Viva Phoenix Festival, the CityScape main stage offered up rock performance after rock performance. Local darlings The Technicolors, L.A. showstoppers Kitten, indie mainstays Pinback and the princes of the evening in The Neighbourhood trudged through technical difficulties while each put their spin on a riotous live show...Read More

Sir Mix-A-Lot, Blackalicious, MURS, Z-Trip at Crescent Ballroom's Outdoor Stage

Crescent Ballroom's outdoor stage at the first-ever Viva PHX festival featured traditional hip-hop sounds, an energetic audience and a show stopping set by hometown hero Z-Trip. With the liquor flowing and hundreds of people thirsting for quality hip-hop, the strong lineup full of icons and legends aimed to please...Read More.

YACHT, Nite Jewel, Painted Palms, Bogan Via at Crescent Ballroom

If you've ever been to SxSW, you know it's far more about industry contacts and bookings, looking cool, and finding the "next big thing" than it is about the music or art. What Viva PHX had going for it was a decent amount of venues open, collaborating, and catering to one idea -- having a good fucking time. And from what I saw inside Crescent Ballroom last night, it worked splendidly...Read More

PigPen Theatre Co., Prowling Kind, Dry River Yacht Club at Hotel San Carlos

True to Hotel San Carlos' history as a schoolhouse the Viva PHX lineup schooled the audience in the art of drama (and banjos, but we'll get to that later). There were a few surprises throughout the night, and a few issues during sound checks, but overall it was a good time with a Phoenix-dominated lineup of bands...Read More

Gap Dream, GRMLN, Wolvves, Petty Things at Viva PHX Alley Stage

Although it was definitely one of the more smaller of the outdoor stages at the Viva PHX last night, I'd be willing to bet the PHX Alley Stage offered, by far, the highest energy and most raucous crowd out of the entire music festival. This shouldn't come as a surprise, seeing as it sort of became the unofficial Rubber Brother Records stage with three bands from the cassette-spewing and popular DIY label bringing garage punk excitement . . .Read More

David D'Alessio, Brian Marquis, Dylan Pratt at One Coffee Co.

While rock, pop, and hip-hop respectively blared from other Viva PHX venues around downtown Phoenix on Friday night, the scene at One Coffee Co. was a bit more subdued. Folk artists, acoustic guitarists, and troubadours from both the local scene and across the country dominated this particular stage, each offering their take on the singer/songwriter genre. And while the music may not have been as bombastic or thunderous as what was taking place at other stages, it had a certain emotional power of its own...Read More

Check out more coverage of Viva PHX

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.