PHOTOS: Wes Williams Band – Last Exit Live 9-11-16

Photos of Wes Williams Band performing at Last Exit Live in Phoenix, Arizona on September 11, 2016.

Wes Williams Band – Last Exit Live 9-11-16

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Photography by Katherine Vega, © Kataklizmic Design
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REVIEW: No Rain Check for Marilyn Manson Show 8-20-16

PHOENIX — There’s nothing quite like seeing a show at an outdoor venue in the middle of Arizona’s monsoon season. Preceded by a torrential downpour and accompanying thunder and lightning, Marilyn Manson played at Ak-Chin Pavilion on Saturday, August 20, opening for headliner Slipknot.

The deluge started shortly after metalcore band Of Mice & Men took the stage to get the show rolling. Fans seated in the lawn area at the back of the venue probably weren’t expecting to need a towel, nor did they care. Front man Austin Carlile incited the crowd to cheers and shouts as the rain fell harder.

However, after Of Mice & Men finished their set, the show took a disappointing turn. An announcement came over the pavilion loudspeakers asking concert-goers to exit the venue and seek shelter. Due to the presence of rain and lightning, the show was being postponed until the storm passed. The announcement, unsurprisingly, was met with boos and fans chanting “Fuck that shit,” later changing their chants to “Rain or shine.”

It’s not surprising that concert-goers were disappointed. The show had already been postponed by more than a month due to Corey Taylor’s unexpected surgery after the Slipknot vocalist broke his neck without realizing it.

Many of the people in the back lawn left the venue or waited in their cars for the storm to pass. Others crowded into the walkways and stairways under the pavilion to take shelter. It wasn’t until just after 8 p.m. that the loudspeaker finally announced that the worst of the storm had passed and the show would go on. Fans filed back onto the lawn and into their seats in droves after waiting nearly one and a half hours for Manson’s set to begin.

With curtains up, “Bitch Better Have My Money” by Rihanna played over the speakers. Then when the curtains dropped, Manson was standing on the stage in a suit and tie, wearing his iconic gothic makeup. He opened the show with “Angel with the Scabbed Wings” from his 1996 album Antichrist Superstar.

Marilyn Manson - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Marilyn Manson © Kataklizmic Design

“Technically, I may have caused that,” Manson joked about the rain. “You guys fucked with a fucking thunderstorm to be here. Thank you,” he said after playing “Disposable Teens.” “How many times does it rain in Phoenix? I’m just saying,” he continued. “Sometimes when you bring the sun, you get caught in the thunder.”

Marilyn Manson - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Marilyn Manson © Kataklizmic Design

Manson followed up “Disposable Teens” with “No Reflection.” Then after joking that he was glad he was able to make the rain stop, he sang part of the chorus to David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.” Manson, who is an avid fan of Bowie’s music, wrote a touching tribute to the iconic singer songwriter for Rolling Stone after the announcement of Bowie’s death earlier this year.

Manson then sang “mOBSCENE” from his 2003 album The Golden Age of Grotesque, followed by “Cupid Carries a Gun” from his latest album, The Pale Emperor, singing the lyrics “pound me the witch drums” as he pounded his mic on the stage. “I’m sorry to make you all wait,” Manson told concert-goers, referencing the lightening again. “But now we can all say what we wanted to say—we love hate,” he said as he launched into “Irresponsible Hate Anthem.”

“Do that again,” he told drummer Gil Sharone, making him re-play the drum solo at the very end of “Irresponsible Hate Anthem.” “I know. I know. Cocaine is a powerful drug,” he said before playing “The Dope Show,” changing the lyrics to, “drugs, they say, are made in fucking Phoenix.” Afterward, Manson came back on the stage in stilts and arm braces to sing his cover of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”

Marilyn Manson - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Marilyn Manson © Kataklizmic Design

The highlight of the performance came when a huge podium was added to the stage during a set change. Manson stepped up to it and began his sermon. “And behold, there was a great red dragon, and its name was Phoenix,” he preached before launching into “Antichrist Superstar.” During the song, he set a Bible on fire before tossing it aside, with huge plumes of hell-lit smoke bursting from the front of the stage every time he screamed “Repent!”

Marilyn Manson - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Marilyn Manson © Kataklizmic Design

Manson wound down the show with an emotional performance of “Coma White”—one of the most controversial tracks off the Mechanical Animals album—ending the song by letting the mic fall over as he stepped back off the stage. Then he wrapped it up with, perhaps his most well-known song, “The Beautiful People.”

By the time the show ended, the night skies were clear and not a drop of rain was falling. No rain checks required.

PHOTO ALBUM by Katherine Amy Vega

Marilyn Manson – Ak-Chin Pavilion 8-20-16

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REVIEW: The Piano Guys Strike Chords in Phoenix 8-5-16

PHOENIX — YouTube sensation The Piano Guys shined with the power of their unique piano and cello arrangements of popular music to an audience of 3,500 at Comerica Theatre. The Piano Guys not only create orchestral versions, but they also create hybrids of classical music and pop songs; such as “Hello / Lacrimosa“, bridging Adele and Mozart, and “melting together” Disney’s Frozen and Vivialdi with their rendition of “Let it Go“. Something that is to be truly appreciated is how they manage to keep classical music relevant for new generations.

Jon Schmidt, The Piano Guys - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Jon Schmidt, The Piano Guys
© Kataklizmic Design
Steven Sharp Nelson, The Piano Guys - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Steven Sharp Nelson, The Piano Guys
© Kataklizmic Design

The Piano Guys consistd of Jon Schmidt, Steven Sharp Nelson, Paul Anderson, and Al van der Beek. The majority of the concert featured Schmidt (pianist) and Nelson (cellist). Al van der Beek joined the duo for vocal performances of “Father’s Eyes”, and “OKAY”, their debut to an upcoming release. Paul Anderson joined them for a couple of epic jams featuring all 4 of them, “Ants Marching/Ode To Joy” and “What Makes You Beautiful“.

The Piano Guys - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
The Piano Guys © Kataklizmic Design

They had a couple of delightful surprises for Phoenix when they were joined with guest performers from Chandler School of Fine Arts and Phoenix Youth Symphony for “Beethoven’s 5 Secrets“, and Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band for “This is Your Fight Song“. The young performers on the strings moved me to tears, and the climactic energy of the bagpipers gave me goosebumps.

Guest Youth on Strings - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Guest Youth on Strings
© Kataklizmic Design

Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson have great senses of humor, taking jabs at each other and interacting with the audience. They also engaged the audience with funny, entertaining and inspirational stories about things like how they started and became what they are today, getting a piano on the great wall of China, Nelson’s sneaky goal behind “Cello Wars“, and much more. At one point Schmidt got up from his piano and did an unanticipated and highly animated dance that, combined with Nelson’s hilarious reaction, had the audience cracking up.

Jon Schmidt, The Piano Guys - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Jon Schmidt, The Piano Guys
© Kataklizmic Design

Seeing The Piano Guys live is definitely something you want to add to your bucket list. You might be pleasantly surprised and how much a concert featuring the piano and cello will rock your world.

The Piano Guys' Setlist – Comerica Theatre
The Piano Guys’ Setlist – Comerica Theatre
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PHOTO ALBUM by Katherine Amy Vega

The Piano Guys – Comerica Theatre 8-5-16

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Photography by Katherine Amy Vega, © Kataklizmic Design
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PHOTOS: Brand New – Comerica Theatre 7-25-16

 3 Demos, Reworked - Album Cover
3 Demos, Reworked (Album Art)

PHOENIX — Brand New came to Comerica Theatre alongside Modest Mouse for their co-headlining 2016 tour. The show came very shortly after the July releases of a 10″ EP called 3 Demos, Reworked, and a 7″ single of Mene. The band started touring on June 1 in Vancouver, and will finish on July 31 in Portland.

The young crowd of Phoenicians might have had viral case of “the Mondays” spreading amongst them, or perhaps all of Brand New’s die-hard fans from the early 2000s were stuck “adulting”; because as Brand New took took the dark stage guided by flashlights, the audience’s hush with an occasional lackluster “WOO!”  was equivalent to that of a crowd at a local pub who weren’t quite sure what they were in for. But without a hint of concern or scolding, the band went along with in it good humor by sushing the sparse cheers. Frontman Jesse Lacey whispered their introduction and title of the first song.

With their signature sound and high energy accompanied by strobe lights, Brand New woke them up and rocked their socks off. The audience was transfixed during their moody downtempo songs, and they showed their love for the rest of the show!

PHOTO ALBUM by Katherine Vega

Brand New – Comerica Theatre 7-25-16

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Photography by Katherine Vega, © Kataklizmic Design
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REVIEW: Phoenix Gets a ‘Taste of Chaos’ 7-14-16

PHOENIX — The Rockstar Energy Drink Taste of Chaos Tour landed in the Comerica Theatre on Thursday July 14, bringing with it a night of nostalgia for Phoenix’s 30-somethings.

Ace Enders, The Early November
Ace Enders, The Early November
© Kataklizmic Design
Click Image for The Early November Photo Album

The show opened with performances from The Early November and SAOSIN and concluded with headliners Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional.

SAOSIN lead vocalist Anthony Green could hardly contain his enthusiasm between songs. “We’re SAOSIN and we came here to fucking dance!” Green told fans at the beginning of the set. Later, he said that in his youth, going to a concert like this was the one place where he felt like he could truly let go, be himself, and not care about how others saw him and encouraged the audience to do the same.

SAOSIN’s set included songs from their new album, Along the Shadow, which was released on May 20. It was their first studio album since releasing In Search of Solid Ground in 2009. The new album features vocals from Green, who returned to SAOSIN in 2014, nearly a decade after his 2004 departure.

Phil Sgrosso, SAOSIN
Phil Sgrosso, SAOSIN © Kataklizmic Design
Click Image for SAOSIN Photo Album

By the time Taking Back Sunday took the stage, Comerica Theatre was packed with fans excited to hear the music of their youth. The group opened with “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team),” “Liar (It Takes One to Know One),” and “Flicker, Fade.” Their set also included other favorites from their hit albums Tell All Your Friends, Louder Now, and Happiness Is, including “A Decade Under the Influence,” “You’re So Last Summer,” and “Timberwolves at New Jersey.”

Adam Lazzara, Taking Back Sunday
Adam Lazzara, Taking Back Sunday © Kataklizmic Design
Click Image to View Taking Back Sunday Photo Album

Taking Back Sunday played in front of the backdrop of an American flag, with an impressively colorful light show. Between songs, lead vocalist Adam Lazzara said that Rockstar Energy Drink was paying him $30 every time he said “Rockstar Energy Drink Taste of Chaos Tour” and joked that he would be saying it as many times as he could (and he did).

“I understand a lot of you are here tonight for nostalgic purposes, and that’s okay. People say ridiculous things like, ‘my 16-year-old self’ or ‘my 18-year-old self’. Is that not still a part of yourself that you are today?” Lazzara asked concert-goers. “I was there when you got your driver’s license. I was there when you were exploring your bodies in the back of your dad’s car” he continued, “I was there when you went to college or when you didn’t go to college,” Lazzara said. And Taking Back Sunday is still here today.

Later, Lazzara introduced the audience to “Holy Water” from the band’s upcoming album, Tidal Wave, due to hit record stores later this year on September 16. They played the song “Tidal Wave” as well. “I’m just killing time because I don’t want the night to be over,” Lazzara confessed toward the end of the set. “Let’s go out with a bang,” he said before finishing the performance with “MakeDamnSure.”

Chris Carrabba, Dashboard Confessional
Chris Carrabba, Dashboard Confessional © Kataklizmic Design
Click Image to View Dashboard Confessional Photo Album

Dashboard Confessional, the final headliner, opened their set with “Vindicated,” “The Sharp Hint of New Tears,” and “The Good Fight.” They had an equally impressive light show and stage display, which included footage projected onto a large screen above the stage. By request, front man Chris Carrabba also played “The Moon Is Down,” a song by Further Is Forever, another band he performs vocals for.

Chris Carrabba, Dashboard Confessional
Chris Carrabba, Dashboard Confessional
© Kataklizmic Design
Click Image to View Dashboard Confessional
Photo Album

Carrabba was impressed with the “soft and sweet” singing of concert-goers. “Phoenix, can we sing this one together?” he asked as the group began to play “Remember to Breathe.” “You guys sing beautifully,” he told the audience. Later in the show, he asked fans to sing the chorus of his new song “Heart Beat Here,” because he wanted to see how it would sound recorded with the crowd singing along.

“I’m really proud of the records we’ve made, but I genuinely like the old shit better,” Carrabba said at one point. Dashboard Confessional’s set also included “The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most,” from the album of the same name, “Am I Missing,” “Don’t Wait,” “The Best Deceptions,” and “Screaming Infidelities.” Carrabba also covered “Fix You” by Coldplay before wrapping up with “Stolen” from Dusk and Summer.

Chris Carrabba, Dashboard Confessional
Chris Carrabba, Dashboard Confessional © Kataklizmic Design
Click Image to View Dashboard Confessional Photo Album

When Carrabba returned to the stage for Dashboard Confessional’s encore performance, he had one last message he wanted to impart to concert-goers. “I just want to point out one thing. All lives matter. Things have gotten crazy out of hand,” he continued “There isn’t a color of life that doesn’t matter. It’s all fantastic. It’s all beautiful. So can we all just try to take care of each other?” With that, Carrabba closed out the show on a high note, with “Hands Down,” a song about “the best day of his life.”

PHOTO ALBUM by Katherine Vega
(Click images above for separate band albums with additional photos.)

Taste Of Chaos – Comerica Theatre 7-14-16

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Photography by Katherine Vega, © Kataklizmic Design
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PHOTOS: Rooney – Pub Rock Live 7-9-16

SCOTTSDALE Ariz. — Equipped with a new lineup after a six-year hiatus, Cali power-pop band Rooney’s first gig of their tour had the crowd sh-sh-shakin’ every moment of their performance!  The dimly-lit concert at Pub Rock was opened with local Americana/Pop band Luxxe, followed by Cheeto-tossing G-punk band New Beat Fund from Los Angeles.

The tour follows the release of Rooney’s new album “Washed Away“; and the first single from the album is “My Heart Beats 4 U”.

Rooney Album Art - Washed Away
Washed Away (Album Art)

“Rooney is my baby and I really love it and I miss it.  I came to a place where I felt creatively ready to make new Rooney music.  On Washed Away, I wrote, produced, engineered, mixed and performed all of the songs which, I hope, will serve as a direct line from me to you.  I hope you enjoy it.” – Robert Schwartzman, lead singer. (Source: RooneyMusic.com)

The majority of the crowd appeared to consist of young new fans , which is great for the future of Rooney! Robert gave a heartfelt thank you to those that have been loyal to the band from the very beginning.

Check out our photos (below) of Rooney performing at Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale, Arizona on July 9, 2016:

PHOTO ALBUM by Katherine Vega

Rooney – Pub Rock Live 7-9-16

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Photography by Katherine Vega, © Kataklizmic Design
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REVIEW: No ‘Wasted Tears’ at Haley Reinhart Show 6-9-16

PHOENIX — Haley Reinhart played at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix on Thursday as part of her latest tour to promote her new album, Better, which hit record stores on April 29 of this year. The show opened with melodic vocals and soft acoustic guitar tunes from Miller James followed by a hybrid mix of soul and R&B songs by Jacob Luttrell who’s also Reinhart’s keyboardist. By the time Reinhart took the stage, the intimate venue was packed.

Jacob Luttrell © Kataklizmic Design
Jacob Luttrell © Kataklizmic Design

Reinhart started the night with “Talkin’ About” from her new album. “It’s a party in here tonight. I can feel it,” she said before continuing with “Behave.” With little persuasion, Reinhart had the room swaying and clapping to the beat. Reinhart followed it up with “Keep Coming Back” from her 2012 debut album, Listen Up!

Haley Reinhart © Kataklizmic Design
Haley Reinhart – Crescent Ballroom

Reinhart and the band had a great energy together. When the song didn’t end, Reinhart turned to Luttrell, “You just don’t want to quit this one, do you?” she smiled, then got the audience to dance with her while the band just kept jamming. “We’re having so much fun with you guys that we’re just making stuff up,” Reinhart laughed when the song finally ended. Afterward, she sang “Wasted Tears,” dedicating it to all the ladies in the house.

“It was so nice to meet a lot of you earlier,” Reinhart said during the concert. The former American Idol star seemed to genuinely enjoy engaging with her audience. She even held a meet and greet session with fans before the show. “She was really down-to-earth,” one delighted fan commented about the experience. When she finally sang the title track of her new album, “Better,” she changed opening lyrics to “Now I’m right where I want to be, out on the road to Arizona.” At one point, she brought a hula-hoop up onto the stage that had been given to her by a fan and hula-hooped while the band played.

Haley Reinhart © Kataklizmic Design
Haley Reinhart © Kataklizmic DEsign

Before singing “Love Is Worth Fighting For,” Reinhart spoke to the audience about having the courage to chase their dreams, something that you could say Reinhart has spent her whole life doing. “Channel whatever you’re feeling in life and follow that,” she told concert-goers. Despite being dropped by major record label Interscope Records in 2012 after the disappointing reception of her debut album, Reinhart has continued to pursue her musical career. Since then, she has expanded her agreement with her music publisher, Ole, and in March of 2016, Reinhart also signed with ICM Partners.

Haley Reinhart © Kataklizmic Design
Haley Reinhart © Kataklizmic Design

The playful and fun mood of the show lasted the whole night. When the room started to get uncomfortably warm, Reinhart and the band spontaneously broke into an interpretation of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” for a couple minutes at one concert-goer’s suggestion. Reinhart also covered “Black Hole Sun” in her unique jazzy style, performing it as a duet with Luttrell. After singing “Bad Light,” a delighted Reinhart accepted a flower from a fan at the front of the stage and placed it in her hair. “If it falls out, just know that it falls out with love,” she said while she secured the purple daisy in her hair.

Other songs Reinhart performed included “Good or Bad,” “Check Please,” and “I Belong to You.” “It was like I was entranced,” Reinhart said of writing “I Belong to You.” “I felt all the kinds of emotions you feel when you’re falling in love,” she said before delivering a passionate performance of the new track. She finished with “My Cake,” ending the song by introducing the band, each with their own solo.

When Reinhart returned to the stage for an encore, she gave concert-goers just what they had been waiting for. “I have a question for you. Have you ever seen an Extra gum commercial that made you cry?” she asked before singing her cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Reinhart initially recorded the cover for a Wrigley’s Extra gum commercial, which exploded on YouTube, garnering over seven million YouTube views and more than 78 million Facebook views within a week of its digital release. By the time the song ended, there was hardly a dry eye in the house.

Haley Reinhart's Setlist - Crescent Ballroom
Haley Reinhart’s Setlist – Crescent Ballroom
Click to Enlarge

Fortunately, Reinhart didn’t end the night with sniffles. “We’ve got one more song for you, and it’s kind of important too. We live on a beautiful planet, don’t we?” Reinhart asked. “It’s up to all of us to protect it. We’re all in this together,” she said before singing, “Listen.” The upbeat rhythm had the room dancing and swaying one last time before the night was over. Afterward, Reinhart stood arm in arm with the rest of the band on the stage and bowed to thunderous applause.

PHOTO ALBUM by Katherine Vega

Haley Reinhart & Jacob Luttrell – Crescent Ballroom 6-9-16

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Photography by Katherine Vega, © Kataklizmic Design
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PHOTOS: We, Beloved – Shady Park 5-28-16

Photos of We, Beloved performing at Shady Park in Tempe, Arizona on May 28, 2016. We, Beloved was the first opening band for Jane N’ The Jungle at their music video premiere and concert.  (Check out our photo albums of second opener Korbe in the Moment, and headliner Jane N’ The Jungle!)

We, Beloved – Shady Park 5-28-16

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Photography by Katherine Vega, © Kataklizmic Design
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PHOTOS: Korbe in the Moment – Shady Park 5-28-16

Photos of Korbe in the Moment (Korbe Canida) performing at Shady Park in Tempe, Arizona on May 28, 2016. Korbe in the Moment was the second opening band for Jane N’ The Jungle at their music video premiere and concert. Coming next: Photos of the first opening band We, Beloved!

Korbe In The Moment – Shady Park 5-28-16

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Photography by Katherine Vega, © Kataklizmic Design
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REVIEW: Jane N’ The Jungle ‘Shakes Out’ New Video

TEMPE Ariz. — Jane N’ The Jungle announced the official worldwide release of their new music video, “Shake Me Out,” on Tuesday, May 31. The announcement came just days after the band’s successful premier of the video at Shady Park in Tempe on May 28.

Created by Rachael Smith of Ray Squared Photography, the video features vocalist Jordan White, guitarist Brian Dellis, bass guitarist Leah Brooks, and drummer Tommy Acedo rocking out in a graffitied underground garage. The video also features performances from ballet artist Samantha Kelly of Terpsicore Dance Company (TDC) Studios.

The group initially wanted to film at their rehearsal site, Bombshelter Studios, until building manager Adam Marr showed them something different. “We thought that the underground graffiti area was the perfect location,” White said in an email. When inquiring about dancers, Marr also proposed using a ballerina in the video. “We loved the idea,” White said.

The video’s technical crew, Max Gruber and Bryce White, were responsible for the vivid lighting and fog effects seen in the video. While filming, the crew had to be mindful of preventing the fog from setting off fire sprinklers. And while the dusty location combined with the blowing fans to create other challenges, everyone involved had fun during the shoot.

Jane N’ The Jungle is now working on finishing up their debut album. “We really wanted to take our time with this record and want to push out a finished product that feels right and represents the music the best we could,” White said. The group expects to announce the much-anticipated release date of the album within the next couple months.

While the record won’t be out in time for the Jane N’ The Jungle’s summer tour, they’re excited to be hitting the road with Painted Bones, another Arizona local band. The group will also be playing shows in

Las Vegas, Nevada, and Hollywood, California, with KM, a Long Beach indie pop band and friend of the group. “We are looking forward most to hitting the pavement and meeting new friends and fans,” White said.

Jane N’ The Jungle also announced that Smith would be accompanying them this summer and promises plenty of surprises are in store. The group will be documenting the tour so that fans can keep up with the ins and outs. “We’ve got some exciting shows happening in August and look forward to spending more time at high schools, middle schools, colleges and inspiring teens/preteens with music,” White said.

The members of Jane N’ The Jungle are excited to be on the verge of debuting their first record and hope that it won’t be the last. “The Phoenix music scene and all the fans have really inspired JNTJ and are the backbone to why we play so many shows, and we appreciate everyone’s love and support,” White said.

With a full summer calendar ahead, fans will still have plenty of opportunities to catch Jane N’ The Jungle playing in Phoenix. Fans can also find out more information about upcoming shows and announcements through the band’s website and Facebook page.

Check out our photos of Jane N’ The Jungle’s concert!
PHOTOS: Jane N’ The Jungle – Shady Park 5-28-16

Jordan White, Jane N' The Jungle - Shady Park
Jordan White, Jane N’ The Jungle © Kataklizmic Design

News & Reviews from the Fiery Mosh Pits of Arizona