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Spring training has ensued once again in Arizona. C3 Presents has continued to offer music and baseball in the sixth annual Innings Music Festival with big name entertainers and baseball stars in Tempe. The weather was perfectly temperate and the musical acts were scorching.The attendence on Friday was packed, while Saturday left room to move around with ease. 

The festival happened to open at the same time as Arizona’s Cactus League Spring training. Fans were able to see MLB legends Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Luis Gonzalez practicing. Ultimately, it was a win-win for players and fans alike.

Here is some of the best of the best musical acts of the first weekend.

Day One

Red Hot Chili Peppers headlined opening day with a crowd-pleasing finish to the first day. Drummer Chad Smith set the tone for the set as he banged a gong to get the party started. The set was filled with hits as returning lead guitarist John Frusciante, bassist Flee, and lead singer Anthony Kiedis graced the stage. Frusciante fulfilled his reputation as one of the best guitarists in the business as he played electrifying instrumental jams throughout the set. “Snow (Hey Oh)” was a fine example.

Photo Credit: Mary Andrews
Photo Credit: Mary Andrews
Photo Credit: Mary Andrews
Photo Credit: Mary Andrews

Flea leaped through the air in his purple shirt with musical chops that added to the intensity of the band’s performance. Flea and Frusciante were playing head to head several times during the set seemingly challenging each other with  grooves. Kiedis had his own swagger with his commanding vocals as the crowds joined in singing their familiar songs.

Photo Credit: Mary Andrews
Photo Credit: Mary Andrews

Even though Greta Van Fleet has matured as the years have passed, the group still presents a fresh sound to the rock genre. Josh Kiszka’s vocals are as fiery as ever and the bands draws a younger crowd to any festival that they play.

Photo Credit: Mary Andrews
Photo Credit: Mary Andrews

311 had the fans singing their faces off as they danced in place when lead singer Nick Hexum hit the stage with “Beautiful Disaster.” The set was hot in more ways than one.

Photo Credit: Mary Andrews

The Beaches, an all girl alternative rock band, was a pleasant surprise in the afternoon set. Bassist Jordan Miller had a perfect voice to expose their music to the crowd with harmonies presented by the rest of the band. Highlights included “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Paranoid” and”Everything Is Boring.” They are presently on their ‘Blame My Ex’ tour. 

Photo Credit: Mary Andrews

Phantogram gave fans a splendid set in the afternoon. The show is led by Sarah Barthel doing vocals, guitars, keyboards, and synthesizers. Barthel takes command of the stage from start to finish. Electronic rock never had so much energy. The singer dances, spins and throws her hair back as she sang the songs “Don’t Move,” “Mouthfull of Diamonds,” and “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore.” The set left the crowd wanting more. 

Photo Credit: Mary Andrews

Day Two

Macklemore was the highlight of Saturday’s fare and always one of our favorite artists to catch live. His present tour is dubbed the ‘Ben’ tour. That happens to be the title of his latest album. Five minutes late, the rapper ran on the stage singing “Chant” from his latest album with a cavacade of support performers including background singers, dancers and musicians. 

Photo Credit: Mary Andrews
Photo Credit: Mary Andrews

His energy was infectious and the crowd was thrilled to experience Macklemore. “Thrift Shop,” “No Bad Days” and “White Walls” followed. Fans were eager to sing along. Maclemore informed the crowd he and his family had been in the Phoenix area for the entire week and took in some of the local sights. He also discussed struggling with addition in the past and mentioning that the fans with addition problems were not alone. There seemed to be a true connection Macklemore had with such a huge crowd.

Photo Credit: Mary Andrews

This was the second appearance for Young the Giant at the Innings Festival and again they were a welcome sight. The first song of the set was “Wake Up” and was a crowd pleaser. Sameer Gadhia, the band’s lead singer. guided the band through songs from their latest album “American Bollywood.” Fan favorites like “Cough Syryp” were also performed.

Photo Credit: Mary Andrews
Photo Credit: Mary Andrews
Photo Credit: Mary Andrews

Hozier was Saturday’s headlining act. He is on his ‘Unreal, Unearth’ World Tour promoting his new album of the same name. He stepped out on a blue darkened stage and started performing “DeSelby (Part 1) and (Part 2).” Then he slid into the more familiar “Jackie and Wilson.” Hozier has a commanding stage presence and fans stay captivated singing along with every word. Other songs included tracks from his three studio albums. “Cherry Wine” and “Take Me to Church” were among the songs included in the set. Hozier is adorned with incredible vocals, stage presence, and musical talent. Well worth attending.

Fans can come back for more this weekend for Extra Innings Festival.

Music and words by Mary Andrews

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