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Downtown Comes Alive with Viva PHX!

Photography co-shot and Review co-written by Emma Sounart and Kiya Gaskin

Viva PHX hit Downtown Phoenix for its fourth annual run on March 11, 2017.

Walking into Downtown Phoenix during Viva PHX, there were swarms of people and stages lit up from CityScape all the way down past Comerica Theatre and Crescent Ballroom to a little studio called The Pueblo.

The stages were divided by genres. Grungier music got the edgier stages like Punk Rock Alley and national acts were given the larger, less intimate performance grounds.

Downtown Phoenix can get pretty packed with the amount of concerts and sporting events held in venues such as Talking Stick Resort Arena, not to mention the large crowds brought in for cultural events like First Fridays that happens the first Friday of every month.

However, Viva PHX brought these crowd sizes to new numbers. For just $30 fans had access to entry into 20 different venues and could chose between 100 bands. (Although attendees under 21 were restricted access to certain stages).


Being one of the first performers of the entire festival, Injury Reserve drew a rather large crowd to the City Scape stage.

Injury Reserve is an Alternative Hip Hop group consisting of Ritchie With a T, Stepa J Groggs, and Parker Corey. They have a new album out called Floss.

From the photos on their Facebook page, it is hard to believe that these three are in a Hip Hop group. They do not fit the stereotypes in any way. But that's not a bad thing, they put up a fresh new take on the original Hip Hop sound.

Because they are so different, they attracted a large audience of very different people. CityScape was one of the most prominent stages, so people of all music tastes passed through and most definitely people stayed around to hear the great music. As their performance continued, the crowd had nearly tripled in size. The hyped up energy and catchy lyrical flow drew people in, and they were amazed. Hip Hop needed to be revamped, and Injury Reserve took it upon themselves to demolish the music scene's foundation and rebuild it with a twist. Injury Reserve was one of Viva PHX's most unique acts and they were phenomenal way to kick off the festival.

Follow the band on social media!

Injury Reserve

Facebook: @injuryreserve

Instagram: @injuryreserve


One of the venues that seemed to get the most crowd flow was Comerica Theatre. Fans would rush in and out, hoping to catch the last or the first few songs of some of their favorites between hopping venues.

The Drums served up a sort of Psychedelic Indie performance on the stage of Comerica Theatre.

The Drums was started from the creative mind of Jonny Pierce. He and his backing band are signed to Anti-Records in the United States.

The Drums were one of the most creative acts of the festival. Each song was carefully crafted with positivity and pure joy. While The Drums are heavily Pop influenced, it was not cookie cutter and expected. They had that Indie flait that made it possible to not want to listen to. Their songs were catchy, but had purpose. They were there to do more than entertain; they were there to lift people up and educate their audience. What was so great about their performance was that they spread the messages of peace and acceptance. The Drums redefined the meaning of Pop with their performance, and they proved that it is not all bubblegum and rainbows. The Drums blew people away with their positively stellar performance.

YouTube | Blood Under My Belt – The Drums (Audio Video)

Follow the band on social media!

The Drums

Facebook: @wearethedrums


One of the many acts to take the stage at Comerica Theater was Arizona natives The Maine. The Maine is signed by Fearless Records and consists of band members John O'Callaghan (lead vocals/piano/guitar), Jared Monaco (lead guitar), Garrett Nickelsen (bass/occasional backing vocals), Patrick Kirch (drums/percussion), and Kennedy Brock (rhythm guitar/backing vocals).

The Maine originally started back in 2007 in Tempe, Arizona. The band always puts on quite a show for its local fans.

The Maine had incredible energy and kept it from the beginning to the end of its set. All of the band members used the stage space really well and the stage lights added a lot to the energy of the set.

O'Callaghan interacted with the crowd a lot, which they ate up and went crazy for. He held out the microphone for fans to sing in and even brought a fan onto the stage at one point.

The crowd was clapping, dancing, and pulsing its arms for both the band’s old and new songs.

O'Callaghan talked about the band’s new record coming out in April and played a few tracks off it, including “Bad Behavior.”

Fan were jumping like crazy and The Maine put on a light and energetic set for the fans at Viva PHX.

You can look for The Maine’s new record and check out the band’s tour dates here or listen to its music on Spotify.

Photo by Kiya Gaskin

YouTube | Bad Behavior – The Maine

Follow the band on social media!

The Maine

Facebook: @themaine

Instagram: @themaineband

Twitter: @themaine


Overall, Viva PHX brought people into the city and gave them great entertainment. Downtown Phoenix can be a lonely and vacant place; not many people choose to travel to the inner city. But Viva PHX rectified that, even if was only for one night. It was nice to see the city alive with bustling streets and wandering people. There was something for everyone: from Pop to Hip Hop, Rock to Indie. People got a chance to listen to their favorite local music and experience new bands.

Hopefully, people will not limit their trips to the beautiful downtown area just for Viva PHX. This neglected city is full of hidden gems for those who are willing to visit and take a look.

For those who missed Viva PHX this past year, stay glued to their website to hear about next year's festival. If it is anything like this year's, it is sure to be a big hit.

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