Summer Of Sizzle: An Arizona Indie Review Part I

I have been proclaiming it from the rooftops!  I have been writing about it across platforms!  I have invited my friends to experience what I am seeing and feeling!  Keep the Greasy Side Down launched you into summer with The Runner Up EP Release show, and then, we sweated into July, and the music scene is so dense I feel like I have not stopped!

So, what is the point of The #SummerofSizzle?  The point is to try to keep you in the know of some of the best live music events happening here in Arizona.  If you are new to our state, Welcome!  If you love music, even more so!  You have come to the right place.


This last week I have covered 814 miles on my 2016 Indian Dark Horse Motorcycle.  I have kept the greasy side down all over the great state of Arizona to show you exactly what kind of awesome is right here, all of the time, almost any night of the week.

So… let’s get to it!

Tuesday July 2

The Arizona Arts and Entertainment Rock n Roll Hall of Fame 2019 Induction.  This year, if you were a college adult of the 90s, in Tempe, and find yourself lamenting and reminiscing for one of the best live music eras in the Valley, then this year was for you!  Arizona legends: Dead Hot Workshop, The Pistoleros, and Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers were inducted along with Long Wong’s on Mill Avenue.  It was a night of epic proportions, and definitely THE IT PLACE TO BE to start The Summer of Sizzle.

If you missed any of these articles, you best remedy that immediately.

20 Years of Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers

The 90s Music Scene

The Illusion of a Meaningless Exchange: the Brent Babb Interview

Wednesday July 3

Robin Wilson / Banana Gun/ Dead Hot Workshop at Valley Bar.  It was almost a secret show.  In classic Dead Hot fashion, the event didn’t drop on social media with a whole lot of notice, and although Robin did mention it several times at the induction, that was a rather select group of folks.  So… pulling into Valley Bar for this show almost felt like being in on the down low.  Robin played a beautiful set of deep covers and favorites, with zero focus on Gin Blossoms music.

But, it came across as an evening of sharing old favorites, almost VH1 Storytellers style, and it was very cool.  Banana Gun, even without the antics of their lead guitarist who was recovering from a surgery, brought the party as they always do.  They are one of the very best live acts in town, and any chance to see Banana Gun should be taken.  They were sandwiched by legends, folks… and held their own.  #NuffSaid  Dead Hot Workshop then blew the roof off of a mostly packed house, and fresh off their induction to the Hall of Fame, the night felt like one for the ages!

Thursday July 4

New Chums perform at Flagstaff Summerfest 2019.  I had a three day weekend.  It was a whole lot cooler up the mountain that down in the Valley.  And my chums were playing in the pines!  Seemed likes a great day for a ride.

Matt Lloyd tried out some new arrangements on the guitar for several songs, and the Chums brought some of that feel good vibe to a northern 4th of July celebration!

New Chums will be supporting Jane n the Jungle at their album release at the end of the month!  Do not miss that show!

Friday July 5

Harper & the Moths deliver as they return with Dark Enough to Dance.  I told you so, and man o man was this show lights out fantastic!  First, The Sugar Skulls (an ensemble group from the local School of Rock locations Gilbert, Scottsdale, Awatukee) absolutely blew me away!

These are kids, all of whom graduate from School of Rock when they graduate high school!  Covering Bowie!  I loved it, and the crowd at Crescent Ballroom did too.

Next came New Heat and WHSTLE (the later will be joining New Chums and MRCH to help Jane n the Jungle release their first full length LP “Concrete Jungle” at the end of the month) brought wonderful, energetic performances.  This show showcased a lot of talent from a wide range of artists, to say nothing of Harper surprising everyone in the room with a few of his covers.  It was all around great night, and these two bands brought high energy to a packed party.

Then came El West.  I was mesmerized.  I had heard the band’s music, but seeing it performed, that voice…. that you can see, visually, coming from all the way down in Bryant Powell’s toes as he channels it through his diaphragm and out into the world.  He is operatic.  And it is amazing.

El West will be performing a benefit for Cancer Benefit Concert for Dear Family Member, Kim Trocki this Saturday.  Get there!  It is a great cause, and I guarantee you this band will blow you away! Watch!

Then, the man himself brought his band, and their new music back to Phoenix.  Dark Enough to Dance is one helluva album, as my review shows, but man can this band BRING IT to a live show.

They covered INXS, Miami Sound Machine, almost the entirety of their new album, as well as several awesome deep cuts like Chemicals and Walking Through Fire.  It was all around a magical event, and one you should definitely not have missed!

I am beyond stoked to have them headlining my show for the Ghost Songs Book Release in September.  Harper & the Moths are the real deal, my friends.

Saturday July 6

The Bellwethers made their Spirit Room debut in my special home away from home, the Ghost City, Jerome, Arizona.  First, it should go without saying, but I love Jerome, Arizona.  It is where I go to chase my muse… when the words will not come.  Never underestimate the magical properties of a seemingly ordinary place.

This show was Lights Out!  Kimberly Dangerous was all over the place, ruling the bar, courting the crowd, dragging people in through the open doors!  It was hard for me to not imagine Old Necktie having a killer day slinging the beverages to the apparitions…. just…. almost …. out…. of view.  As The Bellwethers definitively proved they can rule The Spirit Room…. and I am fully looking forward to their next performance there.

Also…. guess who has a brand new, signed vinyl of the new album???  Review…. soon.

Summer of Sizzle Part II PREVIEW !

Thursday July 11

The Dollyrots / The Darts / Shovel at Yucca

Saturday July 13

Kim’s Benefit with El West at Angel’s Trumpet Ale House, Arcadia

Wednesday July 17

Snailmate Tour Kickoff w/ Ghost Cat Attack/ WHSTLE/ The Woodworks at Crescent Ballroom

Thursday July 18

Locals Only Showcase w/ The Real Fakes at Yucca

Saturday July 27

Paper Foxes Vinyl Release Show at The Rebel Lounge

Wednesday July 31

Jane n the Jungle Album Release Show at Crescent Ballroom

GET OUT !!!  SUPPORT some live music !  None of these shows will disappoint… GET THERE !


And Keep the Greasy Side Down !!!  (I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts….)

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