TOP TEN SHOWS WE SAW IN 2019December 20, 2019
It’s that time of year again…to look back on all the awesome concerts we got to see in 2019! Not only do we see great shows year-round on our own stage, but our staff also tries to see as many awesome shows around town (and the country) as we can. Here are our Top Ten Shows We Saw In 2019!
Stephen Chilton – Owner / Talent Buyer
January 19 – 8123 Fest with The Maine – Civic Space Park
It is amazing to see the community The Maine has built. This was one of the most rewarding events I have been a part of. People traveled from all over the world to come and be part of this very special event. I have been working with The Maine since they were in high school. Several times now, a show I booked with them ends up being the largest event I had produced at that point in time. That was true with this 8123 Fest too. Some of the best people to work with.
January 26 – Phoenix Rock Lottery – Crescent Ballroom
It is safe to say that this show will be on my list again next year. Every year this is one of my favorite nights because it is the best coming together of local talent you will see all year. It amazes me every year that so much great music is created in such a short amount of time, and equally surprising is that so many people come out and embrace music that they have never even heard. If anyone doubts the talent in Phoenix, they need to come to see this show.
February 14 – Jimmy Eat World – The Rebel Lounge
Best Valentine’s Day ever! I didn’t get to see Jimmy Eat World’s first show, but seeing the 25th anniversary of it at Rebel was great. They played a bunch of songs I had not seen them play in years. It was super funny watching Zach and Jim argue on stage about whether they had ever played the Mason Jar as Jimmy Eat World before (Zach was right, they had). This show was so secret, one of my brothers is still mad I didn’t tell him.
March 9 – Billy Joel – Chase Field
I never go to large shows with heritage acts like this. But this show was a lot of fun. You forget how many monster hits Billy Joel has. So many great sing-alongs. I still want to know who started that fire.
April 5 – Still Corners – Omni Space (Beijing)
What made this show so special was seeing it in Beijing. I missed them when they were at The Rebel Lounge, so I had to go to Beijing to see them. Well, I didn’t really go to see them, but it was a great bonus that it worked out at the same time.
July 16 – Sad Summer – Pier 17 (New York City)
It was almost like 8123 Fest all over again, except I didn’t have to do any work. I just got to enjoy the show. The Maine, State Champs, Mayday Parade, Mom Jeans and more. The setting was amazing; Brooklyn Bridge was the backdrop behind the stage. Too bad this tour didn’t make it to Phoenix this year.
July 20 – Snail Mail – Thalia Hall (Chicago)
This was a Pitchfork Festival afterparty. The Fest itself was great. Mavis Staples was amazing, so was Robyn, and The Isley Brothers… but Snail Mail after at Thalia Hall was the best part for me. Great set. At the end, Lindsey Jordan brought out Soccer Mommy’s Sophie Allison and the two sang “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls. It was pretty special.
September 22 – The Regrettes – Crescent Ballroom
I love these guys. They are becoming just a truly great band. So fun. Lydia, the frontwoman, is a true star in the making. They are really nice kids and could be huge.
September 29 – Breakup Shoes – The Rebel Lounge
Favorite part of what I do is watching local acts become great. This year was about Breakup Shoes. Can’t count how many sold out shows we had them on (actually I could, just too lazy to do so, and too lazy to ask Devan to do it). This band is great. They are going to do great things. This was their record release show, and was the most rewarding of all the sold out shows we had them on this year.
November 11 – Limbeck and Astoria – The Troubadour (Los Angeles)
Limbeck and Astoria was the first show I ever booked with touring artists, before that show I had only done local acts. Everyone at that show became some of my great lifetime friends. This show was bittersweet; the show was a memorial for our dear friend David Del Fonzo of Astoria who died too young earlier this year. But could not have been a more fitting tribute.
Jeff Taylor – Marketing / Assistant Talent Buyer
January 28 – Duster – Soda Bar
I ended 2018 with a couple of Duster shows on the East coast, then I got to see them a few more times early this year in CA and AZ. San Diego was probably my favorite of these shows – the room was the smallest I saw them in, it wasn’t as packed as the other shows, and everything sounded great.
March 15 – Nanami Ozone – Gracie’s Tax Bar
I was fortunate enough to open up for Nanami Ozone at their record release show in March at Gracie’s, and this was one of the coolest shows I’ve ever played. The stage was set up in the parking lot behind the bar and was a really cool scene.
March 26 – Her’s – The Rebel Lounge
Early this year I got really hooked on Her’s and was so excited to see them play, especially at Rebel and with The Undercover Dream Lovers opening. The show sold out, Her’s put on a great show, and the vibe in the room was awesome – and I got to spend some great time with the band and my friend Justin, shooting photos in the parking lot after the fans had cleared out. Little did we know this would be the last time the band was photographed before they were in a tragic car accident that night. RIP Stephen Fitzpatrick, Audun Laading & Trevor Engelbrekston.
April 11 – Parcels – Crescent Ballroom
Parcels was the best show I worked without having a clue what to expect in quite a while. I hadn’t listened to this band before seeing them play at Crescent, and I was blown away by their performance. Super tight, groovy songs – a very fun show.
May 12 – Omni – Club Congress
Omni is one of my favorite bands recently, and it has been a treat to see them in AZ so many times recently. My buddy Josh and I drove down to Tucson to see them this spring ahead of their new record releasing on Sub Pop this year, and they were great as always.
July 15 – Deerhunter – Valley Bar
I was so stoked to see Deerhunter get announced in such a small room here, just a few weeks before the show this summer. I have been wanting to see this band for a while, and their show at Valley Bar was the best show I had seen in a very long time. Great performance, the sound was on point, and they played a great mix of tunes from their catalog.
October 11-13 – Desert Daze – Moreno Beach
This was my second time going to Desert Daze – it’s such a great festival. Saw a ton of awesome bands, but the highlights were Parquet Courts, DIIV, Khruangbin (+ Wu Tang!), Wand, Metz, Animal Collective, Alvvays, and Automatic.
October 14 – Loving – Trunk Space
I came home from Desert Daze on this day, exhausted but not deterred from seeing Loving live. I spent a lot of time listening to this band this year, and it was cool seeing them at Trunk Space with a pretty modest audience. Loving played one of the gentlest sets I’ve seen and sounded great with minimal sonic reinforcement in that humble space.
November 6 – Guerilla Toss – Tucson
I was also lucky enough to open for Guerilla Toss a couple of times this year – another band I spent a ton of time listening to over the past year or two, but had not had the opportunity to see live yet. Getting to see them at Rhythm Room in Phoenix was great, but following them down to Tucson the next day was even more fun. Their super high energy performance in a small record store setting was really fun – and it was a treat getting to spend some time over the couple days with such a nice group of musicians.
December 7 – Daughters – Pressroom
Earlier this year we had Daughters at Rebel and they were great – but the show was pretty busy, and I was working it, so I was looking forward to seeing them again when I could just be a spectator. The record they released last year is a really incredible and intense album, and seeing them perform that material live was amazing.
Devan Hash – Admin
January 15 – Bayside (Acoustic) – Crescent Ballroom
I have an 11-year-old who’s been a huge Bayside fan since he was 6 (that’s a long-time commitment for a little guy), and we got to go to this show together. He had never seen an acoustic act before, and he was super blown away by the whole experience. Nothing makes a mom (who works in music) happier than seeing their kiddo connect with a band in such a special way.
February 14 – Jimmy Eat World – The Rebel Lounge
We’re talking about Jimmy Eat World in a 300 cap room. This show being on this list is a no-brainer!
February 18 – Smoking Popes – The Rebel Lounge
Smoking Popes have been one of my favs for a long time – I even have a whole story about finding old show posters and getting them signed 10 years later. I really LOVE this band. I was working a show at a venue down the street from Rebel and bounced back and forth between the two to catch Smoking Popes set. It was well worth the extra work to hear them play “Megan.”
February 20 – Cypress Hill / Hollywood Undead – The Van Buren
This line-up was crazy. Opening the night was my good friend Demrick, followed by Xzibit, followed by Hollywood Undead and finishing the night off with the legendary Cypress Hill! The line-up was diverse but it all meshed together really well and you couldn’t help but feel like you were witnessing something really special.
April 28 – John Mellancamp – Tucson Music Hall
My mom bought us tickets to see this show together and I got to surprise her in a really big way at the show. This will be one of those nights I think about while I’m on my deathbed, I’m sure of it.
April 29 – Show Me The Body – Lunchbox
This show was rowdy as hell (in a good way, not the people-getting-hurt way), you should have been there.
May 5 – Dizzy Wright – Club Red
Dizzy is the homie. The year he stops doing shows is the year he stops being in my Top 10.
June 11 – Together Pangea – The Rebel Lounge
I’ve become weirdly obsessed with this band since seeing them at The Rebel Lounge for the first time last year. They have a great catalog, they have amazing stage presence, and their shows are very high energy. Check ’em out because I’m sure we’ll be bringing them back to the Valley soon. They’re too good not to.
July 12 & 13 – Authority Zero – The Rebel Lounge
I’ve been doing shows with Authority Zero for a lot of years now. I never get tired of seeing them live and was so stoked to be a part of their 25-year anniversary shows.
September 6 – Why? – Crescent Ballroom
I love Yoni Wolf. Period.
Shannon Harden – Graphic Designer
February 14 – Jimmy Eat World – The Rebel Lounge
I didn’t really grow up on Jimmy Eat World the way a lot of Phoenix people had–I mostly knew them as “that band that plays ‘The Middle’.” Seeing them play at Rebel to a 300-cap room full of superfans who had to sit at their computer clicking refresh the moment tickets went on sale, I finally understood the hype. I am now a Jimmy Eat World fan.
February 22 – Slothrust – Valley Bar
I’ve been trying to see Slothrust live for years and never got the opportunity, which was always devastating. This time around, I bought tickets the day they went on sale and requested off work because there was no way I was going to miss them again. When they released their most recent album, I listened to nothing else on repeat for weeks. Not to be dramatic, but I would throw myself in front of an oncoming light rail train for Leah. This show did not disappoint.
April 17 – John Vanderslice – Valley Bar
John Vanderslice is an actual literal angel. He opened this show with my favorite song of his. I stuck around after to talk to him and bought a map (currently hanging over my desk!) and he gave me a pin, too. I love him.
June 5 – The Never Rad Miscellany – The Rebel Lounge
So here’s a weird one–this is not a show at all, but a series of live audio science fiction podcast recordings. I had no idea what to expect when I worked Volume One of this series, but I wound up laughing my ass off and loving every minute of it, and I now make a point to make to go to every show so I don’t miss a single installment of “Peaceful Digiternia.”
August 28 – Mal Blum – The Rebel Lounge
Mal Blum is another artist who put out a new album this year that I listened to pretty much exclusively for over a week when it came out, and the only artist on this list that made both my top shows of 2018 and my top shows of 2019. Safe to say, I really love them, and getting to see them with a full band this year (instead of solo like last year) was an incredible experience. If you haven’t heard their album Pity Boy, go check it out ASAP.
October 11 – Tiny Bird – The Rebel Lounge
Twin Ponies is a great band who put on a great show, and this was technically their album release show, but the real reason this particular show made my list was opening act Tiny Bird from Flagstaff. I was working box office for this show and my security guy had to keep tapping me on the shoulder any time a patron came in during their set because I was so engrossed by this band. I have never had a band so quickly catapult to the top five list of my favorite bands of all time, but here we are, and I’m obsessed.
October 29 – The Spill Canvas – The Rebel Lounge
This show was dope. I love The Spill Canvas, and The Juliana Theory (who baby teenage Shannon absolutely loved) opened with an acoustic set. My heart. My soul. My earholes. All filled with the warm comfort of nostalgia. Good stuff.
November 8-10 – Sidepony Express Music Festival in Bisbee, Arizona
This was the eighth year I’ve helped put on Sidepony, and it was our biggest year yet – 140+ bands in 12 venues across the tiny mountain town of Bisbee. Sidepony is always a blast, and this year I had the good fortune of seeing tons of friends and music-family, as well as several bands I had never heard before. Shoutout to The Ateliers and previously-mentioned-on-this-list Tiny Bird, both of whom gave me CDs that have been the only thing in my car’s CD player since then.
November 16 – Max Bemis – The Rebel Lounge
I love Say Anything. Like, love them. So, of course, I made a point to come into Rebel on my day off to catch Max Bemis (the lead singer) play a solo set. Not only did he play all of my favorite Say Anything songs, but he also did several duets with his wife, which was adorable. Plus, I snagged an …Is a Real Boy 10-year anniversary jersey for five bucks. Excellent evening, 10/10, would do again.
December 11 – The Number Twelve Looks Like You – The Rebel Lounge
I do not listen to mathcore. This band is nothing like anything else on this list because they’re not the kind of music I listen to. I came to this show exclusively because a close friend of mine had talked them up incessantly a few days prior, and I had nothing better going on. Spoiler alert: it’s extremely important to get out of your musical comfort zone sometimes, because oh my god. This was easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Any time you get me up from the back end of the bar and to the front of the crowd, you know you’ve done something special. My mind was blown by this show. I was yelling about it for hours after, and when I ran into my friend who recommended it the next day, I continued yelling. Shows like this make me remember why I love music.
Sarah Sullivan – Assistant Talent Buyer
May 7 – Liz Cooper and The Stampede – The Rebel Lounge
This was one of the first shows I worked, and I was already a huge fan of them, so I was starstruck. Briston Maroney opened and since then has blown up. It was a cool experience seeing them both at The Rebel Lounge!
June 6 – Ezra Bell / Pablo Dylan – Last Exit Live
This show was just harmonious; all of the interesting instruments and beautiful vocals coming together really made me love my job. Super nice group of musicians as well!
July 28 – The Technicolors – Crescent Ballroom
I love The Technicolors. I also love Crescent Ballroom. This was a killer show, and I can’t wait to see them again!
July 19 – Mike Krol – Valley Bar
I didn’t really know Mike Krol before this show, but he blew me away with his rock and roll stage presence. You don’t expect it at all, and then he just goes crazy. It was awesome.
August 17 – Summer Salt – Crescent Ballroom
What a perfect summer show. Each band playing: Summer Salt, Dante Elephante, Motel Radio, Breakup Shoes – they were all different but equally amazing. I was smiling the whole show.
September 17 – Sad Girl – Pub Rock
This band was like a time machine – I absolutely loved their look and the way they brought together modern music and that vintage style we all fawn over.
October 8 – Parlor Mob – Pub Rock
THIS BAND. Their guitar riffs and killer vocals are hard to match. I still listen to them all the time after this show.
October 19 – Mergence – Apache Lake Music Festival
Mergence was always my favorite local band, but they stopped playing shows before I turned 21 and I could go see them. Seeing them play a reunion at Apache Lake with all of my friends that know every word just like I do was a night I’ll never forget!
October 26 – Andrew Bird – The Van Buren
Andrew Bird is easily one of the most talented musicians out there. I think I cried during this show – he’s just that good.
October 28 – Heart Bones – The Lunchbox
Dude. You won’t see a more energetic show than Heart Bones. I was waiting for this show to happen for months and it did not disappoint!
Quinsey Sablan – Marketing
March 14 – Sir Sly – South by Southwest – Austin, TX
This was day two of two at the StubHub stage, it wasn’t the biggest stage or space for a show, but everyone was so engaged with the show. Sir Sly played “High” three times and I don’t think a single person was complaining.
June 28 – LANY – The Shrine – Los Angeles, CA
LANY was doing two nights in LA and had just played a sold-out show at The Greek the night before. The energy was unmatched and the crowd responded so loud, singing every single lyric at the top of their lungs (me included in that, of course) and absolutely rocking The Shrine.
July 22 – The Head and The Heart and Hippo Campus – Comerica Theater
You really can’t beat the combination of The Head and The Heart and Hippo Campus. This show was nothing but a feel-good fest and it filled my heart with so much happiness.
August 10 – Childish Gambino – Outsidelands – San Francisco, CA
90,000 people in a park in San Francisco. This experience was surreal. First of all, Childish Gambino is an incredible performer – tying in music, movement, and crowd engagement. Then to top it off, it was the largest crowd the festival had ever seen and every single person was captivated by the performance.
September 22 – Post Malone – Life is Beautiful – Las Vegas, NV
Posty at my favorite music festival with my camera in hand? YES. This one was a dream come true and I don’t think I’ll ever truly comprehend that it actually happened.
October 23 – Lizzo at The Van Buren
Lizzo is an absolute queen.
October 24 – The Weeks, Future Thieves, H.A.R.D. – The Rebel Lounge
Because of the little snippets of The Weeks’ stuff that I’d hear sharing info about this show, I knew I wanted to check out this show. Turned out to be the best decision. H.A.R.D., Future Thieves, and The Weeks are incredible, and this show felt like a big party with all of my friends.
November 3 – Twenty One Pilots – Honda Center – Anaheim, CA
I’ve seen these two guys too many times to count. They’re one of my all-time favorite bands and in my mind, their live show is unmatched. However, the production of this tour was insane. This album cycle included a car on stage and on fire, a light curtain around B-stage, insane video content, and lighting that fills the arena, among so much else. Every moment was orchestrated so perfectly, which made it one to remember.
November 18 – Reagan Capaci – The Rebel Lounge
Aside from just knowing Reagan personally and being a huge supporter of everything she’s doing, this show was an absolute blast. Even if you didn’t know a single lyric, the energy of the room brought you into the community around her. For a release show for a young artist, it was a dream.
December 3 – The 1975 – The Chelsea – Las Vegas, NV
The Chelsea is on the third floor of the Cosmo and is built to handle crowds of people jumping up and down, so when it happens, the floor shakes with the movements. It’s a different type of connection to the crowd around you. The 1975 put on an amazing show, as always, and the new songs were a dream to see live.