Author Archives: Jacob Leffel

TVD Live Shots: Colter Wall with Vincent Neil Emerson at the Arizona Financial Theatre, 2/14

PHOENIX, AZ | Colter Wall and the Little Songs Tour made its fifth stop at the Arizona Financial Theatre in downtown Phoenix. Playing alongside was special guest Vincent Neil Emerson; the night was a country fan’s dream.

Taking a break from his ranch duties in Canada, Wall carved some time out for his recent album Little Songs and the tour. The Saskatchewan native has already played eleven shows in 2024, and is scheduled to play five more on the current tour.

The show was opened by Texas native Vincent Neil Emerson. With support from the Red Horse Band, the group rocked out with a classic, southern rock sound that resonated with the southwest Phoenix crowd. Vincent has been releasing music since 2019, and his most recent album is The Golden Crystal Kingdom. Vincent considers himself a songwriter first, and he’s had a lot of success with his music in the few years he has released songs since the pandemic.

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TVD Live Shots: Portugal. The Man
with Snacktime at the Marquee Theatre, 2/4

TEMPE, AZ | Portugal. The Man brought their “Winter of Summer of Luv” tour to Tempe playing alongside Snacktime. Sunday, February 4th, the band took to the Marquee Theatre stage to share the breadth of their discography.

The Alaskan natives have been playing music together since 2004, originally founded by John Gourley, Joe Simon, Dewey Halpaus, Nick Simon, and Zach Carothers. It’s hard to sum up Portgual’s sound in just a few words, but they are described by many as alternative rock. Their name comes from the idea of something larger than life, and they bring that message to each show. They begin every show by bringing out members of indigenous community to share a song and express the importance of giving back to the earth. February is rare disease month, and this show was played in support of members John Gourley and Zoe Manville’s daughter Frances.

The show was kicked off by SNACKTIME, the Philadelphia based band. Pulling from a multitude of genres, SNACKTIME redefines brass and woodwind instruments. The seven-piece group brings the energy, performing tunes with soul, jazz, and R&B influences. SNACKTIME started playing together during the pandemic and combined their love of music and food playing in their local Rittenhouse Square Park. Quickly gathering a large crowd in the public spot, the band became a glimmer of hope in a dark time to the locals. They have quickly gained traction since then and have a big year in store for 2024.

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TVD Live Shots:
Dreamy Draw Music Festival, 11/4

SCOTTSDALE, AZ | Day two of the inaugural Dreamy Draw Festival kicked off at 1:00 PM on Saturday November 4th. The two day Americana festival took place at the newly renovated Scottsdale Civic Center. With a lineup full of new and veteran artists, the entire bill was something special. From bands touring for decades, to artists who found their fame within the last year, the festival promotes a very unique mix of genres including rock & roll, country, Americana, folk, and blue-grass to name a few. 

1:00 PM: Taylor Glasheen and her pedal steel player took to the Stampede Stage. Taylor released her first album in 2022, and notably since the pandemic has dove into music. Taylor has a beautiful voice and an old school folk sound that everyone can connect with. Taylor is a local artist, who started finding her sound in venues across the Phoenix area.

2:00 PM: American Hustler is a band of true musicians. Their lead guitar player absolutely shreds his solos, and the entire band plays with enough sound to fill a stadium. They’re a band with a bright future. Speaking of bright futures, Corey Harper is quite the talent as well. Similar to many artists on this bill, Corey found his start during the pandemic releasing his first album in 2020. The Saint Louis native has released an album in each of the last three years and most recently a single on October 13th of this year. The festival day was off to an incredible start.

3:00 PM: Steely Dead is a musical combination of the Grateful Dead and Steely Dan. A very interesting combo, the band has a ton of fun on stage and is definitely a music experience.

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TVD Live Shots:
Dreamy Draw Music Festival, 11/3

SCOTTSDALE, AZ | The inaugural Dreamy Draw Music Festival kicked off on Friday in Scottsdale, Arizona. The highly anticipated festival took to the newly renovated Scottsdale Civic Center, and utilized three stages spread out with food and vendor stands. The Civic Center Amphitheater on the east side of the grounds acted as the headline stage, the Bronco Stage. The smaller stage in the center portion acted as the alternate stand alone stage, the Stampede Stage, and opposite the Stampede Stage was the Poncho Stage, utilizing the open concrete slab for performances. Arizona’s newest music festival promotes a focus on music of the American Southwest. Featuring a very unique mix of genres including rock & roll, country, Americana, folk, and blue-grass to name a few, the lineup was something special.

1:00 PM: The festival kicked off with The Senators on the Stampede Stage. A local Phoenix band, The Senators, brought out a calm folk vibe for everyone to enjoy as the day began.

2:00 PM: The lineup was set to alternate stages, so the band that played Stampede was the only band performing, and when they wrapped up, a band would begin at both the Bronco Stage, and the Poncho Stage. At 2PM, The Kruse Brothers hit Bronco Stage, and Matt Fariss played the Poncho Stage. The local brothers are new to the scene and have not released music yet, but they have a powerful sound and an incredible stage presence that will take them far, along with their incredible family harmonies.

3:00 PM: Texas natives, Grady Spencer and The Work played the Stampede Stage, bringing a mix of their decade long discography. The ever so talented band sounds just the way they do on their recordings. With tons of energy, they played for a crowd just warming up to the festival.

4:30 PM: Logan Crosby played the Poncho stage bringing his country rock sound to the festival. Another artist that is newer to the scene, he has been touring with Megan Moroney, opening on her “Lucky Tour.” Logan has a lot to look forward to in the industry, and will have a lot of opportunities ahead of him.

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TVD Live Shots:
Teddy Swims at the
Van Buren, 10/17

I have seen the Van Buren in Phoenix sold out, and then I went to a Teddy Swims concert. Plenty of folks were in the building, but I am pretty sure you could have heard Teddy Swims four blocks away. The pure talent is remarkable, let alone the spirit he performs with. The “I’ve Tried Everything but Therapy” tour made its 14th stop in Phoenix with Teddy playing alongside Zinadelphia.

Despite the name of the tour, there were only two songs performed from I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy. From that album he played “Lose Control,” his number one song on Spotify, and “Goodbye’s Been Good to You.” Instead he uses his opportunity on the bigger stages to play from his entire discography.

He came out to “911,” a feature from his 2022 EP “Tough Love.” He followed “911” up by an unbelievable cover of “Don’t Stop Believing”—a tribute to Journey. Swims then got his groove on and performed “Til I Change Your Mind,” a soulful track from the 2021 EP “Unlearning.” A few songs later, he poured his heart out into—my personal favorite—”Devil in a Dress,” a feature from the 2022 EP “Sleep is Exhausting.”

If you’re sensing any themes from Teddy’s song names or albums, you can piece together that he has had some low points. He uses his platform to discuss real topics such as “you should love everyone despite the color of their skin,” and before performing “Evergreen” telling the audience it’s a tune about learning that you deserve to be loved.

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TVD Live Shots: Shinedown at Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre, 10/12

PHOENIX, AZ | Shinedown and the Revolutions tour stopped at Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre alongside Papa Roach for a sold out crowd in Phoenix, Arizona. The group brought their unique mix of rock, grunge, and pop-metal to the 23rd stop on this 2023 fall tour.

The Florida natives began their set with “Diamond Eyes,” a tune from their 2008 album The Sound of Madness. Accompanied by pyrotechnics, the band brought the heat literally and figuratively. The band followed the opener with “Dead Don’t Die” and “I’ll Follow You.

Coming onto the scene in 2001, the band has shown they have a healthier endurance than just about anyone still touring and releasing music into the early 2020s. Playing songs from their entire career, a band like this is what brings generations together. One could possibly surmise the average age of the audience, but you can be sure everyone was on their feet the entire time.

The revolutions tour and the 17 song setlist brings everyone on a two decade journey. The band plays as if it’s their last show, and plays for their only boss—all while fire and lights go wild. The show is an absolute blast from start to finish.

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TVD Live Shots: The
All American Rejects, New Found Glory, Motion City Soundtrack, The Get Up Kids at Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre, 10/7

PHOENIX, AZ | The All American Rejects and the Wet Hot All-American summer tour made their Phoenix stop playing at the Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre. Along with them, the Rejects brought three bands playing what felt like a mini festival—kicked off by The Get Up Kids, followed by Motion City Soundtrack, and then New Found Glory all before the Rejects even took the stage.

The Oklahoma natives came out swinging, literally by performing their 2002 hit song “Swing, Swing.” After the song a graphic on all the screens displaying what looked like a time warp. All American Rejects lead singer Tyson Ritter announced that we were taking a little trip to the early two thousands. Being thrown back into a time warp, the nostalgia kicked in immediately. Just like that, we were back at the height of All American Rejects releasing music. It wouldn’t look like it because of the dancing and energy on stage, but elements of the show definitely pulled on the heartstrings a bit, reminding us all of the good old days, the entire lineup hit home.

According to an article in Vogue, “The band achieved mainstream success with their debut self-titled studio album The All-American Rejects released in 2003 by Dreamworks Records.” Since then, the band has toured the entire world alongside some of the biggest names from Blink-182 to Bon Jovi. All American Rejects will always be known for their unique pop-punk sound and lyrics that helped shape pop-rock music through the early two thousands.

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TVD Live Shots: Zach Bryan with Charles Wesley Godwin at Desert Diamond Arena, 8/25

GLENDALE, AZ | Zach Bryan and The Burn, Burn, Burn Tour made its 25th stop in Glendale, Arizona at the Desert Diamond Arena. The arena can hold 20,000 people, and that night it welcomed just that and then some.

One of the most attended events in Arena history, it was abundantly clear Glendale, AZ was ready for Zach Bryan. As luck would have it, Zach Bryan was extra ready for AZ. What made this stop different from the prior 24 is that Bryan dropped a new album the day of the show. The fourth album in Bryan’s discography, the release came at the perfect time for the Glendale fans.

It has been a banner year for Bryan, selling out every leg of his stadium tour. Perfecting the art of performing in the round, Bryan makes sure he plays to everyone in the room. The gravity is not lost on him though—he let everyone know how much his life has changed this year and how grateful he is. Zach was immensely appreciative all night, thanking the crowd for coming out multiple times and the audience showed their love right back by singing along to all 22 songs.

The night kicked off with Charles Wesley Godwin and his band The Allegheny High. The West Virginia native and crew got the ball rolling quickly. The band has been playing together for quite some time, and it is entirely evident the amount of energy they perform with. Not only do they play great music, it’s clear how much they love what they do. Desert Diamond Arena is a pretty large space, but everyone in that building could feel the spirit of the opening set. In the theme of evolving genres, CWG plays Country with influences of Americana and folk. A perfect intro to Zach Bryans set, CWG delivers a powerful opening set.

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