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A month of music in PHOENIX, ARIZONA

Article and Photos by: Rachael Smith


I was able to experience a handful of great Arizona-based musicians throughout the month of August. The first weekend started the month out right. Ken Koshio, a Japanese taiko drummer, is making huge waves in Arizona with his powerful drumming performances. On August 7th, Ken produced a Hiroshima event that featured speakers, martial artists, and a live performance by him and his taiko drumming group, Koshio Gumi. Their performance created a lot of awe and amazement from the crowd. Ken Koshio has graciously brought back the heartbeat of Phoenix through the unforgettable shows he’s produced during the year.

Collin Reese Smith

The next day, I attended two very different shows. I started the night with Collin Reese Smith who goes by the stage name A Lesson Unlearned. Collin recently returned from Finland and his homecoming performance at Pub Rock Live was short, but sweet. It was just him and his guitar spilling out words about love and heartache. After Collin’s set, I went over to Livewire to shoot and film an up and coming local rapper, Julius King. The crowd waited somewhat patiently for the main act, Lil Durk, who didn’t appear on stage until almost midnight. Thankfully, the local artists provided energetic sets. It was Julius King’s first live performance and he gave all that he has. Not only are his songs catchy, but his lyrics spoke truth about our generation and some of the struggles we face in our daily lives.

Fairy Bones at Crescent Ballroom

During the next weekend of August, I was able to see Fairy Bones for the second time that month. I particularly liked this performance more than the first time I saw them because I was beginning to become familiar with their songs. Even though they played at a smaller venue, they still rocked the place as if they were performing in front of a sold out crowd. They quickly became one of my favorite local bands that night and I understood why they had so many dedicated fans throughout the Valley. I was able to have a talk with their lead singer, Chelsey, and she mentioned how Fairy Bones doesn’t really fit into any one genre and I believe that’s why their fans and I enjoyed them so much. You’d never know what would come next during their set, but what you did know was that these talented locals were going to give you a show that you’d remember.

Whiskey and the Barrels

I don’t believe I’ve ever listened to a Celtic punk band before, but thankfully there’s one in Phoenix called Whiskey and The Barrels. I’m a big fan of Irish music so I was a little hesitant at first to see this band because I wasn’t sure if I’d like the crossover, but I’m sure glad I was able to catch them live at Joe’s Grotto. This six person band was so diverse. They had guitarists who also played the bagpipes, a fiddle, and an accordion and their lead singer played an Irish hand drum from time to time. Their set consisted of drinking, laughing, dancing, and of course a few sing-a-longs—everything you’d expect from Celtic punk band.

Jane N' the Jungle

On the last Tuesday night of the month I caught a show at Crescent Ballroom, the venue I’m most familiar with in Phoenix, and it was by far my favorite night of the month. There were two local artists who played that night and now they are both bands who I will definitely see again in the future. Jane N’ the Jungle started off with a bang. Their songs put me in the dancing mood and their lead singer gave a passionate performance accompanied by the other skilled musicians in the band. A highlight for me was when the guitarist and even the lead singer would stand up on these boxes that illuminated with the beats they would step. I’d never seen those before at a live show so they were a joy to witness.

Korbe Canida 2

The night ended with my favorite performer of the month, Korbe Canida. Korbe is mostly a solo singer-songwriter, but that night was her first time on Crescent Ballroom’s main stage and it was her first time performing with a full band. It’s kind of hard to explain why Korbe’s performance was my favorite. I believe you have to witness her to really understand how she can encapsulate an audience. Not only is she a talented musician, but she has such a presence on stage and a charming personality. I believe this combination is what could make her a true star one day. Korbe announced in the middle of her set that her song, The Siren and the Sailor, was going to be featured in an upcoming James Franco movie. She also just won a competition to record an album with Chesky Records in New York. I believe this is just the beginning of a promising career for Korbe Canida.

Rachael Smith
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