Goin' South

Seven local bands head to SXSW for a week of industry excess

Who's in town: This is one of those rare weeks when there are so many worthy bands hitting the Valley that some tough choices will be involved. Possibly foremost among them is The Negro Problem, a kaleidoscopic Southern California quartet that gets great ironic mileage out of its singer being a black man besotted with Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach. Song titles like "Doubting Uncle Tom" and "Ghetto Godot" merely hint at the way the band twists racial stereotypes. It's often overly verbose and too ambitious for its own good, but it doesn't lack for ideas. And you've got to have a soft spot for any band that covers "MacArthur Park" and turns the line "Someone left their cake out in the rain" into "Someone left their crack out in the rain." The Negro Problem will be at Hollywood Alley in Mesa on Saturday, March 21.

Los Straitjackets, one of the undisputed contemporary giants of instrumental surf-rock, return to the Valley this week. Opening for the masked marvels from Nashville will be Phoenix guitar legend Al Casey, playing a rare surf-only set in honor of the occasion. Los Straitjackets and Al Casey will be at the Rhythm Room on Thursday, March 19.

Connoisseurs of great, Farfisa-fueled garage soul won't want to miss The Delta 72, who'll be at Stinkweeds Record Exchange in Tempe on Monday, March 23, along with Thundercats. Another show worth catching is a Sunday, March 22, performance at Nita's Hideaway in Tempe by Princess Superstar. At least on record, this white hip-hop quartet from New York's East Village sounds like a canny, sample-heavy mix of the Beastie Boys and Luscious Jackson.

--Gilbert Garcia

Contact Gilbert Garcia at his online address: ggarcia@newtimes.com

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