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Stonefield – AUS rockers at Viva Phoenix

Australian rock group Stonefield performed at Viva Phoenix on 3/12/16. Coming all the way from Victoria, AUS, the group of four sisters (Amy, Hannah, Sarah, and Holly Findlay) took the stage at Punk Rock Alley for their first ever Phoenix, Az show (and only 3rd ever in the US). On their way to SXSW, the Findlay sisters had a great audience in attendance, and Amy (lead singer) knew how to play off them extremely well, stalking the stage, dancing along to extended and well executed instrumental breaks, and singing to those pressing themselves against the stage. Stonefields mix of 70s classic rock  styling’s mixed with punk sensibilities won them the Triple J Unearthed High contest in 2010, so while they may be relatively unknown here in the States, they have been charting in their AUS for the better part of five years. After seeing their performance, and witnessing their expert musicianship first hand, I doubt they will be unknown here in the US  for long.

Check the full-size images by clicking on the thumbnail.

Partybaby live at Viva Phoenix

Partybaby (20 of 28)

Viva Phoenix, a festival featuring 80 bands and 17 stages, took over the entirety of Downtown Phoenix this past weekend, and Partybaby  set off the festivities in the Punk Rock Alley with a short fuse and a ton of kerosene soaked dynamite. Each of their songs was nonstop tour de force’s, driving the listeners heavily in one direction before switching gears and heading into uncharted territory. Menacing and powerful drums would take a sharp turn into break down of crowd catching heartfelt chorus, only to switch gears yet again into ripping, grungy guitars. By the end of their set, featuring their first two singles Your Old Man and Everything’s All Right, those in the packed alley were the living embodiment of the Maxell ‘Blown Away Guy’.

Partybaby has a SXSW showcase at HypeHotel on 3/15/16, and they are posed not to drop the gauntlet for all others appearing, but to beat SXSW sonically-senseless with it and then mischievously hand it over politely to whoever is brave enough to follow them.

You can listen to their songs “Your Old Man” and “Everything’s All Right” here. Catch the full photo set below!

 

Them Guns on the Road to SXSW

Them Guns (2) Los Angeles based dance rockers Them Guns kicked off their journey to South By Southwest Music Festival yesterday with a stop off at Club Red in Mesa, Arizona. To say it was an intimate show would be an understatement: Navarone Garibaldi (vocals/guitar), Kyle Hamood (keys/synth), Chuck Holiday (bass), and Chris Hudson (drums) took the stage in front of a sparsely filled venue, with a mere handful in attendance (too be fair, however, Phoenicians are notorious for not coming out in droves on weeknights). Them Guns were unfazed, and the select few there provided an incredibly warm welcome. Prior to taking the stage, I overheard Holiday bantering with a staff member that one of the band’s goals is to have fun, and this was ever-present. Garibaldi, Hamood, Holiday, and Hudson don’t interact with each other as if they are solely individuals who play in a band together; the camaraderie shared by these guys is one of legitimate brotherhood, which fuels their playing and infuses their stage presence with a livelihood not exhibited by many other acts.

Them Guns’ set was one that was fun, upbeat, and, well, danceable. By the time Garibaldi and crew had finished their first song, drinks and phones were abandoned at tables and the majority of attendees took to the floor, dancing along. They brought a life brought to the venue and the audience that I’ve not seen those playing to packed houses bring. Saying Them Guns were a magnetic force on stage isn’t exactly accurate; they had a charismatic aura about them that was irresistible to the point where it simply felt right to be close to the stage and moving with the music.
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Adelita’s Way Live at Pub Rock Live

Adelitas Way (16 of 24)

Adelitas Way kicked off their recent tour in support of their new album Getaway at Pub Rock Live, in Scottsdale, Az. Starting The Bad Reputation tour off strong, Rick DeJesus and the band packed the small venue to it’s limits; from wall to wall it was a sea of bodies crammed in shoulder to shoulder. Tearing through fan favorites off each of their previous albums (“Invincible” off of Adelitas Way, “Sick” off of  Home School Valedictorian, “Dog on a Leash” off of Stuck each had the entire crowd screaming along, drowning out Rick DeJesus more often than not), Adelitas Way brought out some new material from Getaway. With Getaway not having been released at the time of the show, Pub Rock was barely able to contain the excited vibrations emanating off of each attendee when DeJesus announced they would be playing “Bad Reputation”, which had only recently been debuted a few short weeks prior on Loudwire. While Adelitas Way’s tour recently came to a conclusion, you can catch them playing up in Spokane, WA this coming April at the Knitting Factory.  Catch the photos from their Pub Rock Live date below.

 

 

Echo Black Interview and Live Photos

Echo Black-19Doom Magazine got to sit down with Echo Black on their first big tour, playing opening support for CombiChrist and the Birthday Massacre. Based out of New York, Echo Black is made up of Danny Blu (vocals), Rob Gnarly (bass), Felix Skiver (guitar), and Billy Long (drums). After they got off stage at The Nile Theater in Mesa, Az, the guys took some time to talk to us about the new direction of the band, some hilariously unfortunate tour moments, and more. Catch the interview after the break, followed by a full set of live photos below!

Doom Magazine: You’ve recently re-branded yourself as Echo Black, how has that changed the creative process and your writing process?

Danny Blu: That was what actually sparked the change, the creative process and the writing process because we started writing all together and be more individually involved in the band as a whole. That lended itself more to being called a band, a named band, because of the process

DM: Before you rebranded as Echo Black, your song “Set me On Fire” drew a lot of praise from the LGBTQ communities. How is that openness and connection to those communities going to translate into the upcoming work from Echo Black?

DB: I think it is going to carry right on over. We don’t make a specific thing that we talk about; we are a band, I think, that speaks for anyone who feels outcasted, or who feels they don’t belong somewhere. I think that is the message as a whole when it comes to the LGBTQ community. It is pretty much what we are all dealing with in that community. SO I think we speak for anyone who feels they don’t have a place, and that is how it translates over.

Rob Gnarly: The black sheep of this world.

DM: Echo Black gets billed as a Pop/Rock/Industrial band. Industrial music. Insudatrial has it’s own strong core of listeners, however it’s general popularity nationwide has taken a nose from where it once was in the 90’s and early 2000’s. What direction do you see the industrial scene heading? *Danny makes crashing airplane gesture with his hands, everyone chuckles*

DB: Yeah, I can talk about the direction we’re going. I don’t know where Industrial is going. It feels, it seems, that Industrial is dying. So that’s that.

Billy Long: You know, I don’t know if I would say that Industrial as a genre is dying. I think what you’re seeing here is people are taking aspects of it and they’re morphing it into different versions, they’re using it in other projects and other ways. They’re taking the aspects of it they found most appealing and using it in their own kind of music. It’s kind of like what we’re doing. So I don’t think it’s necessarily dead, it’s always going to be there somewhere.

RG: I think it’s more-so that we’re going to have to wait and see what the next big reincarnation of it is going to be. Like any musical genre, it comes in waves and we’ll have to see what the next wave of Industrial holds for everyone.

DB: Like people thought that House Music was dying in the late 90’s, and now all Top 40 is based off of House Music. So we don’t know. The core of Industrial music is drum driven, repetitive, dancey, so if you’re taking aspects of it, that’s a lot of music. So people need to widen their gaze a little bit.

DM: You’ve been on multiple tours now, as Danny Blu and now as Echo Black. Was there any one tour or show that you played where you noticed marked difference in yourself as performers before and after?

DB: Before and after the show?

DM: Or before and after the tour.

RG: I’d say the first show of this tour, because it was the first time we were playing to much larger crowds. Weeks, months leading up to it you really psyche yourself out about it. It’s like “Oh, man, there’s going to be a lot more people than we’re used to playing to.” And then about 5 minutes on stage, everything fell right in place, and we’re all “Alright, we’re ready for this! This is where we need to be.”

DB: Well, what was the first show that went really well this tour?

RG: Pittsburgh, I think.

DB: Whichever show that wound up being, we finally realized what we needed to do to get the thing done. I felt like that, I mean I can’t speak for anyone else, but I felt we knew what we knew what we were now going to do from here on out. We’re coming to this as a band who hasn’t really done a tour on this scale before. We don’t have roadies, we don’t have drivers, we don’t have any of that stuff, and we’re running out own sound. When that show ended, and we all got off stage the right way, and we had that process, we all fell into a routine.

BL: I think it’s finding there are a lot of different jobs in this one gig that we do. There’s the roadie, there’s the business aspect of it, there’s the composition and the artistic part, there’s, well, the being sociable {everyone laughs} and reading a room. There are all these different jobs that you do, and it’s trying to find how to get the best out of yourself in all of those different jobs. Because, well, you HAVE to. Otherwise you’re going to let people down, or you know, let yourselves down, or compromise yourself. So it’s been figuring that out, working on it all of the time.

DM: In the opposite direction of this, was there there any show where the bottom completely dropped out? I been told that a show doesn’t go well until something goes wrong.

DB: RIGHT?!

RG: That like when I always have to pee RIGHT before I have to get on stage. That could be the one thing that went wrong, so hopefully it’ll be a good show.

DB: But really, Baltimore. The first show we had, Baltimore was pretty rough. I think all of the bands were getting into their groove of sound check, who and where we’re loading in to, figureing who who was doing what, and things ran super late, so we got almost zero sound check. We were still figuring out how to get all our shit on stage, where our cables were going to run to, etc. Everything was pushed, so they cut a song off our set to start with. Then when we’re on stage, his [points to Felix] guitar goes out, and then apparently we couldn’t do the last song we were going to play, so our set was like 12 ½ minutes long. We start the song, and look to my right, and the dude’s are all like “you gotta stop.” I was all “But you told me one more song”. He was all “Nope, you gotta stop”, so I turned to the audience and said “Well, have a good night!”, in the middle of the fucking song!

BL: It was like 7 bars into the song.

DB: So people know it’s a new song. You do that, get off stage, and then you have to get back ON stage to unload your shit yourself. RG: You just feel like, well, a douchebag.

BL: It kind of just rips your heart out, because then you just hear “Booooo!” Because your in the middle of a song.

DB: And your leaving.

RG: You get them phsyced up, and you’re like “Heh! Just kidding!

BL: You come back out, and you’re like “No, it wasn’t us”. There was nothing we could do about it.

RG: It’s like the first time using in ear moniters, and I forgot to turn off my bodypack, so I could hear them all boo’ing in my ears as I was walking off the stage. It was, yea, it was rough. It was the soundtrack of discouragement.

DB: And it was the first show of the tour.

BL/RG: It was brutal/Great, this is the benchmark!

DM: Coincidentally, are there any that you love which you just don’t seem to get to play?

[Everyone laughs]

DB: YES!

RG [trying to speak while laughing]: Of Course! We haven’t played ….*editors note: name of song completely incomprehensible due to everyone laughing*

DB: We can’t play a ballad, well, not that we can’t play a ballad on this tour, but we only have 30 minutes, and our job on this tour is to psyche every body up for the next bands. It would be weird to a ballad.

BL: If we even have 30 minutes. Our set have been 20-25 minutes on average. So to throw a ballad, a slow song, in there, it would be kind of tough. We wrote a song on one of our old projects, it was a piano and two violins and vocals, and that’s my favorite song, but we can’t play it, because logistically at this point….

RG: Maybe at one point.

BL: It’s not feasible.

RG: Felix, what’s your favorite song

Felix Skiver: I….have no idea. I like ALL of our songs, because all of our songs are amazing and great. And you should all check them out.

DM: Certainly will, and finally what stage are you most looking forward to playing that you haven’t yet had the chance?

[Everyone starts speaking excitedly at once]

DB: On this tour, or regardless?

BL: O2 in London!

RG: The Garden.

DB: Yeah, the Garden

RG: Anywhere in Japan.

FS: Tokyo Dome.

All: Yeah. Tokyo Dome.

DB: if you would have asked us a couple of weeks or days ago, it would have been the Whiskey. That we just did.

RG: It was amazing.

DB: Sold out show.

RG: PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey. Hometown

BL: Starland Ballroom would be a real good one.

RG: Oh, yeah, because of the amount of shows I’ve seen there, when growing up.

BL: That was our venue. It was where you went.

RG: I think the Electric Factory in Philly would be a bit of a more realistic goal for the short term, at least.

 

Gemini Syndrome Photos – Live at Pubrock Live

Gemini Syndrome performs @ Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale, AZ – © 2015 Joseph Abbruscato/MrAnathema

Gemini Syndrome performs @ Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale, AZ – © 2015 Joseph Abbruscato/MrAnathema

Gemini Syndrome rolled through Arizona at the tail end of their last tour of 2015. Pub Rock Live was their last stop, and they pulled no punches despite being on the road for touring most of year, including almost the entire previous two months. Catch their photos below, and stay tuned for our interview with lead singer Aaron Nordstrom!

Davey Suicide Live at Club Red

Davey Suicide June (28 of 54)

About three months ago, I was out covering Kissing Candice and, having some extra time after their set, I found myself hanging around the venue. I wasn’t covering any other bands on the bill, so I floated around Marquee theater for a bit when I heard Davey Suicide take the stage. Wandering inside, I was immediately blown away by their presence. The moment they were in front of the audience, every single persons in the venue’s attention was drawn to thestage. To say they were magnetic would be understatement; the crowd, as one, seemed compelled to witness their set. Attention captured, Davey Suicide didn’t let a single person down. After their set, I made my way out of the venue and home, knowing that no one else on the tour could have held a candle to them. I was hooked, and immediately set out to find when they would be in town again next. To my luck, they would be playing Club Red in a mere matter of weeks.

Fast forward to June, and the day of their show at Club Red. I had been anticipating this show for weeks, and only day-of realized they were playing the same night In This Moment were playing in Scottsdale, and Warped Tour was taking over Mesa. With each show just a few miles away from Club Red, I figured that there wouldn’t be many people there, and upon showing up, my suspicions were confirmed. Club Red is far from the largest venue in Arizona (500-800 cap if I’m not mistaken), and upon arrival I knew it was no where near full. That didn’t matter, however, as yet again, when Davey Suicide took the stage, they pulled every warm body at the venue tight up against the pit barricade. Davey Suicide, Niko Gemini, Derrick Obscura, and Drayven Davidson, hailing from “Unholywood, Killifornia,” set about to systemically tear down the rafters song by song.

Davey Suicide June (35 of 54)Davey Suicide have a very unique sound, mixing industrial, metal, and hair band, and god damn it, absurd as it should be, it works. There influences (Marilyn Manson, NIN, White/Rob Zombie, Guns and Roses, etc) come through clearly, but never does it come across derivative. They have perfected the art of mixing disparate genres into something new, something everyone in the venue can relate to, something just crazily over-the-top-enough to work. Their performances are dynamic, with Niko and Derek switching sides of the stage with ease, meeting in the middle to jam together and play back to back, before continuing on and losing themselves in the music. Meanwhile, Davey’s stark white dreadlocked mane commands from center stage, standing on risers while belting out the vocals, leaning in to sing with his fellow musicians, or donning gigantic horned wide brimmed hat, all the meanwhile Drayven’s pounding away on his kit, sometimes standing, sometimes sitting, always ripping through the beats with a controlled near-reckless abandon. Standout songs from the evening were “Unholywood, Killifornia”, “Generation F*ck Star,” and “Kids of America,” and each of these tracks perfectly epitomizes their sound. At any given moment of their set, someone was interacting with each other or with the audience.

For Davey Sucide, it didn’t matter Club Red wasn’t a packed house. I’m sure that any band going up against festivals would be worried about the crowd, but when the doors open, and they took the stage, people were there, and Davey Suicide were there to rock each and every one of them the living hell out. Their performance left no doubt in my mind: anyone who went to In This Moment or Warped Tour missed the best 45 minutes of music played in Arizona that night, and those that did come out were given a show they’d be talking about for months. I know I am.

Catch their new music video, directed and shot by Drayven himself, here, and check out the photos from their set below the break!

Photos copyright Joe Abbruscato/MrAnathema Photography 2015

Kissing Candice Live at Marquee Theater

Kissing Candice performs at the Marquee Theater in Arizona,  © 2015 Joseph Abbruscato/MrAnathema

Kissing Candice performs at the Marquee Theater in Tempe, Arizona – © 2015 Joseph Abbruscato/MrAnathema

Being opening act for a national tour can do great things for a band. It brings in a captive audience,coverage by media outlets nationwide, and the networking and connections which cannot be made by playing solely to home crowds. Contingent on all of this, of course, is being on the right tour. Kissing Candice, up and coming horror-themed hardcore darlings, attempted to bring their New York hardcore/metal/industrial sound to the Arizona desert as opening act of Twiztid’s “The Darkness Tour.” Wearing horror-genre-based costumes, Joey Simpson (vocals), Tommy Sciro (guitar), Marco Caruso (drums), Mike Grippo (bass), and Walter Dicristina(Guitar), did their damnedest to captivate the audience. Unfortunately, having a captive audience doesn’t necessarily mean that those in attendance at Marquee Theater were the correct crowd. The crowd wasn’t hostile. No, far worse, they were indifferent.

It wasn’t for Kissing Candice’s lack of trying. Simpson and the rest of the band kept an absurd amount of energy throughout their entire set, particularly while playing selections off their most recent EP, Conjured, which was released this past December. No matter how much fun they were having on stage, how loudly and intensely they played (particularly on their most recent single, Ghosted), the crowd remained apathetic. The dark and contrasty back-lighting, driving drums and guitars, and strong vocals imbued with their take on slasher films weren’t enough to lift faces off cell phone screens. When you’re touring as support for a main act backed by, and aesthetically identical to, Insane Clown Posse, playing any music other than their highly particular style is going to be, in short, ignored. The kiss of death for Kissing Candice was simply being themselves while playing to an impossible crowd.

Kissing Candice’s luck and reception should be changing fairly quickly, however. Victory Records recently announced that Kissing Candice will be performing on the Rockstar Mayhem Festival this summer. This alone should help get their goremetal sound into the ears of those more open it: metal heads. Kissing Candice also has their new album, Blind Until We Burn, dropping this coming June, which happens to fall during their stint on Mayhem. Touring Mayhem with a new LP, Kissing Candice has a very promising summer ahead of them. They have a unique look and an interesting take on a genre that is packed with acts, so I am interested in seeing them perform again when Mayhem rolls through Phoenix in July.

Check out the full photo gallery (click for hi-res) below the break!

Lydia Loveless Live at The Rhythm Room

Lydia Loveless performs at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix, AZ ©2015 Joseph Abbruscato/MrAnathema

Lydia Loveless performs at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix, AZ ©2015 Joseph Abbruscato/MrAnathema

Lydia Loveless, decked out in a white lace, off-the-shoulder dress, cowboy boots, and pink bandana knotted around her calf, does not like Wednesdays. In fact, according to her when she and her band took the stage, whiskey shots, beer cans, and instruments in hand, no one fucking likes Wednesdays. Wednesdays were made for forgetting that it’s Wednesday, that life is messy, and music, reveling, and drinking help this forgetting get along, goddamn it. Every soul packed into Phoenix’s The Rhythm Room agreed wholeheartedly, judging by the raucous cheering, drinks clinking, and “fuck no!’”’s yelled in response. Taking advantage of the momentary distraction to savor the whiskey burn as her shot made it’s way down her throat, Loveless grabbed her guitar, set the mic, and led her band into a rip roaring hour and a half set.

While pulling from multiple albums throughout the evening, Loveless’s most recent album, Somewhere Else, released last year through Bloodshot Records, took center stage. Crooning through a stripped down version of “Verlaine Shot Rimbaud”, not only did Loveless demonstrate her ability to carry a decidedly country crowd through references to the fatalistic romance of two French poets, but that through powerful musicianship, references to French poets are as home in country music as Ford trucks and empty bottles of booze. “Head” and “Chris Isaak brought the audience out of the lovelorn blues, though, showcasing her blunt personality and sense of humor; I cannot imagine the difficulty of keeping a straight face while singing about blow jobs and shoving your head up a guy’s ass, but Loveless does so fantastically. While she was tearing up the microphone and emptying shot glasses, the rest of the band did their best to ensure the stage was stomped into the ground. Bassist-slash-husband Ben Lamb spent most of the night throwing a full-sized upright around the stage, and considering he towers well over 6ft (not including his giant curly mane), this made for one hell of a spectacle to witness. Guitarist Todd May commanded the opposite side of the stage like a man on fire, jumping, bending, and contorting into positions I’ve never seen attempted nor played in. There seldom was a moment when the whole stage was at a standstill until the end of the set when Loveless stepped front and center and took the spotlight by herself for a 15 minute solo performance, allowing her band-mates to exit and reconvene outside on the patio to continue their revelry.

Lydia Loveless performs at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix, AZ ©2015 Joseph Abbruscato/MrAnathema

Lydia Loveless performs at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix, AZ ©2015 Joseph Abbruscato/MrAnathema

 

 

I would be remiss in saying that every note, on every song, was hit perfectly. That would be a blatant lie, and if there is one thing to be learned from Somewhere Else, it’s that blatant honesty burns harsher than cheap whiskey but is vital to surviving in this world. Some lyrics were missed and at times the guitars seemed slurred and stumbled over, just as a person’s stumble through life is rarely done smoothly or perfectly. It was obvious the multiple “band meetings” (read: toasting each other and downing whatever drink was closest) began to pull influence on everyone as the set went on. No one cared about the missteps, though. Hell, the audience joined in on many of the “band meetings.” Everyone in the venue was hanging on each word and note to come stampeding out of the amplifiers. Perfection isn’t plausible; perfection isn’t what Wednesday nights are about. As Loveless pointed out at the beginning of the set, Wednesday-fucking-nights were made for the honesty of drinking and forgetting and reveling, and that’s exactly what we did.

You can currently catch Lydia Loveless live on tour, both in the US and in Europe. For upcoming tour dates, click here.

 

Lydia Loveless Preview & Album Review

Lydia Loveless will be playing at The Rhythm Room on 4/22/2015. Bending Country music to her will, she bears her soul on her latest album, Somewhere Else.

Next week, Lydia Loveless stops at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix, AZ. Having been born and raised in New York, country was the furthest thing from my radio dial; I was raised on a healthy diet of punk, alternative, and classic rock. I figured that giving her new album, Somewhere Else, a listen-to before the show would be a good idea. To be completely honest I had no idea in the least as to what to expect, so I put in my due diligence and jumped to my phone to see what others thought (because the best way to listen to a new album is to do so as unbiased as possible, right?). What I found is as follows:

1)                   Rolling Stone named her as one of the 10 Artists You Need To Know in 2014, claiming that she sounded like “Loretta Lynn and Patti Smith slamming shots at a Midwestern dive bar while cowboys and punks brawl out back” (which certainly grabbed my attention, though punks have no need to step outside for a good ol’ fight).

2)                   SPIN claimed her talent was akin to “Stevie Nicks singing lead on Born to Run ” (any invocation of The Boss is high praise).

3)                   NPR featured her on their Tiny Desk Concert series, so she is pulling in the cool kids cred.

Now I was more confused than ever: references to punk brawls, Springsteen, and public radio broadcasts don’t typically get thrown around when referring to a country singer. And let’s face it, NPR, SPIN, and Rolling Stone all agreeing on something is a relative rarity these days.  So I finally put the album on and just listened for myself.

What I found and was not expecting, is that Somewhere Else is a 10 track long, genre-bending album upon which Loveless cuts her chest open and bares her heart. All at once her lyrics are frank and honest (“I just like it so much better when we’re coming to blows”), bitingly witty and self-deprecating (“When I was 17 I’d follow men around with my head jammed way in their ass/Oh, what I wouldn’t give to still be able to conjure up energy like that”) and, at times, explicitly, overtly sexual (she compares her despair-cum-desire to the slang term for oral sex on the track Head). On first listen, it was obvious that Loveless is not afraid to bluntly lay her soul down for the world to look upon, with no secrets hidden and no candy-coated bullshit flaunted about. While the album firmly is rooted in country (the twang of some songs and warbliness of the Loveless’ vocals unabashedly scream “Nashville!”), on more tracks than not, there are moments where the “country” completely drops away, leaving ripping guitar solo’s and run-away drums to take center stage and fill in the void when words simply fail. Over the entirety of Somewhere Else, Lydia Loveless isn’t seeking approval of her choices, but rather brashfully presenting her experiences with them to the listener, for better or worse, replete with battle scars, blow jobs, and bottomless glasses of whiskey.

Lydia Loveless will be performing at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix, AZ, on 4/22/15, and I am greatly looking forward to seeing her live. Tickets are on sale now and at the door, and can be purchased via Ticketfly here. To hear Loveless’s cover of Princes’ “I Would Die for You,” follow this link over to NPR.