August has begun, and with it, the countdown to the end of summer. (And there's non-literal meaning to that as well -- the Summer Ends Music Festival, which happens just after fall begins at the end of September in Tempe.) Blessed are the rains down in Phoenix this past weekend, allowing us a brief respite from triple digit highs and upper-90s lows. It's gonna get hot again this week, so distract yourself with these shows and distract yourself from the tough questions in life, such as, "why do people live in the desert?" and "is the existence of Phoenix a testament to man's conquest of nature or a disastrous symbol of man's doomed desire to master it?"
Check out our comprehensive concert listings for more options.
Due to a variety of difficulties, mainly being in Croatia, and assorted Internet issues that defeated even Skype, Steve Morse, Deep Purple's longest-serving guitar god, was recently unable to speak as planned with New Times. Still, Deep Purple's got plenty to share -- especially considering it's been around nearly 50 years. Beginning as a British psych blues acts in 1968, the sound coming off such classic albums as Shades of Deep Purple (featuring "Hush") and The Book of Taliesyn was simply stunning -- swirling, driven guitar lines hovering around primal blues structures and aggressive vocals. Today's DP is, well, different, though the recent Now What? recalls early-1970s Purple and the stomping power chord-fueled Burn and Machine Head. This era produced such mega-hits as "Smoke on the Water," "Highway Star," and "Woman from Tokyo." Live from Japan cemented the band's live intensity. Lineup changes -- notably guitarists Ritchie Blackmore, Tommy Bolin, and even Joe Satriani -- diminished the band's strength. Yet, thanks to drummer Ian Paice, early bassist Roger Glover, and the return of original vocalist Ian Gillan, the band has carried on as more than a band "covering" itself. Deep Purple remains vital and has lost none of its edge in concert. --Glenn BurnSilverAmos Lee - Monday, August 4 - Mesa Arts Center
Signed to jazz-heavy Blue Note records, former elementary-school teacher Amos Lee is the Norah Jones of the folk world. And instead of rocking the piano-heavy torch songs, he falls back on stringed instruments such as guitars and ukulele. His sound is reminiscent of folkies such as Richard Swift or Elliott Smith--but with a little more warmth and a little less edge. Perfectly geared toward the 30-something set. --Brandon Ferguson
Show Low's Gorky and the band's new single, "#Datass," suggest a psych-revival act attempting some vintage Morris Day. That's probably not a coincidence -- the quintet has toured with the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and songwriter Jesse Valencia currently is writing a biography of the longrunning Bay Area nut jobs. Despite its silly title, "#Datass" is much more fun than exploitative and shows the band leaping beyond the still impressive High in the Low LP, released in 2010. Valencia has described the song as "Prince and Dr. Dre raiding a pirate carnival." If that's some kind of euphemism, well, then your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps a more fitting comparison would be that the track is a commentary on what people who visit a mountainous tourist attraction look like to the people who actually live there, though perhaps that's a ridiculous overanalyzation. Either way, Gorky is an eccentrically ingratiating band whose Crescent Ballroom appearance will double as a video shoot for -- you guessed it -- "#Datass." Band acquaintance Travis Mills of Running Wild Films will shoot the footage, returning the favor for Valencia's appearance in Mills' adaptation of James Joyce's Eveline, which was part of Running Wild's ambitious 52 Films in 52 weeks project. Gorky personally has requested that all audience members dress up, get crazy, and shake hashtag you-know-what. --Joshua Levine
In explaining the Hooten Hallers, it's best to begin with what this three-piece is not. The band, despite frequent media references to the contrary, is not a hillbilly band. It is from Missouri, not Appalachia.
"You know, I don't know," says drummer Andy Rehm by phone from a roadside pullout west of Kansas City. "We are from a section of rural America, but I don't think any of us really identifies with the term hillbilly all that much. It's not a shameful term, but we were not raised in a traditional rural setting. More specifically, in an Appalachian setting, which is where the term, I think, comes from. The hillbilly word is strangely used."
If anything, the Hooten Hallers' sound begins with Delta blues and builds upon that foundation, adding elements of everything from folk, country, and rock to soul, jazz, and marches to create a distinctly flamboyant sound. The music can be dark and lonely, wild and raucous, or just as easily breezy and carefree. --Glenn BurnSilver
Counting Crows first made their mark on the music industry in 1993 with their hit album August and Everything After, pumping airwaves with a thick dose of the addictive "Mr. Jones." Over the next two decades and beyond, that song continues to get radio play; the band has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide and is still going strong, with live performances that surpass expectations.
Somewhere Under Wonderland is the band's first new studio album since 2008 and is expected out on Capitol Records this fall. But Counting Crows hit the road with a national tour that kicked off in Tampa and hits Comerica Theatre on Thursday. --Ashley Zimmerman
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