In the '60s, if you caught people leaving a rock concert and asked how the show was, they might have answered with something like, "Man, that three-hour version of 'White Rabbit' was totally groovy!" But in the "here today, gone today" world of modern rock and short attention spans, bands tend to stick to their set lists like hemorrhoids on an old man's ass. On Saturday, September 3, L.A.-based "funky groove jam rock band" Seismic will show that audio alchemy is still in vogue if musicians are willing to play outside the three-minute-pop-song paradigm. Seismic's opened for such extemporal acts as Galactic, and Hot Tuna, and kicks out some impromptu rock chops in support of its first album, seismogenic. Local act Gelatinous Groove opens at 9 p.m. at the Sail Inn, 26 South Farmer in Tempe. Admission is $7. Call 480-921-1775. -- Niki D'Andrea
A friend in Nerd
Almost everyone has endured surprise houseguests -- a jobless friend, a sister who just moved to town, or, worst of all, a mother-in-law. In Larry Shue's comedy The Nerd, opening at Grand Canyon University's Ethington Theatre, 3300 West Camelback, at 8 p.m. Friday, September 2, the unexpected visitor is Rick Steadman, an ex-soldier who saved William Cubbert's life in Vietnam. Cubbert is delighted when Rick turns up at his 34th birthday party, until William discovers that his "hero" is a bumbling geek with the social graces of a 2-year-old. The play continues through September 11. Tickets cost $8.50 to $10. Call 602-589-2871. -- Wynter Holden
SSO proudly we hail
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The Scottsdale Symphony Orchestra is often overlooked because it's based in the arts bastion of Scottsdale, but Valley residents should give the SSO a fresh look and listen on Sunday, September 4, when the orchestra offers its "Labor Day Salute to Breadwinners and Families." Music director Irving Fleming wields the baton in a Pops program featuring a sprightly mélange of works, including Bugler's Holiday and Home Stretch by Leroy Anderson, Bigelow's Colonel Bogey March, Richard Hayman's Pops Hoedown, John Philip Sousa's Semper Fidelis, and Fucik's March of the Gladiators. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at Grace Chapel, 8524 East Thomas in Scottsdale. It's free, but donations to the SSO are encouraged. Call 602-540-4501 or visit www.scotsymph.org. -- Clay McNear