Filed under the category of "Everything That's Not Mad Decent Block Party," here are your five best options for live music this week in Phoenix. Be sure to check out our comprehensive concert listings for more options.
There isn't much that Paul Van Dyk hasn't done during his 23-year career. The venerated German electronica all-star has won a Grammy and a slew of other awards, performed for hundred of thousands, traveled the world, collaborated with the likes of David Byrne and Wayne Jackson, and is reportedly one of the richest DJs in the world.
Despite these accomplishments, the Van Dyk isn't content to rest on his absolute wealth of laurels, however, and keeps jetting off to destinations and performances around the globe (hence the reason he's accumulated the second-biggest amount frequent flyer mileage in Lufthansa history). This weekend, the trance music god will descend upon Scottsdale to gift the masses with a nighttime set at Maya Day and Nightclub on Friday. --Benjamin Leatherman
Somewhere outside of Phoenix, in the blistering desert, towering rock 'n' roll legends of the past buried a time capsule containing the key to a long lost sound. Through perseverance, talent and brilliance, The Black Moods from Phoenix seem to have uncovered that capsule and tapped into the secrets of stripped down, in-your-face rock excellence.
Black Moods fans eagerly anticipating the release of the rock band's follow-up to their eclectic self-titled debut album will have to hold their breath a little longer. The trio is tabling their upcoming album for a short time in an effort to strengthen the material, lengthen the album, and fine-tune the details. But fans never know what they might hear at this Saturday's show at the revamped Cactus Jack's in Ahwatukee. --Caleb Haley
These days, it's hard to disappear. Like Sting, the National Security Agency is watching every move you make, while your phone chirps out every movement and banal thought you have, not to mention nothing you delete online ever really gets deleted -- there's always a backup somewhere. With a new album called How To Run Away, few understand the power of intentional anonymity like Slow Magic. Self-described as your "imaginary best friend," the paper fox/cat mask is as much a tribute to Chris Sievey and Deadmau5 as it is a reflection of a society so connected, yet so out of touch. Plus, Slow Magic uses live drums, to better help you focus on what's in front of you. The idea of losing yourself carries into the (mostly) lyric-less yatter -- you can find almost any narrative in this bouncing soul, but whatever identity you discover is certain to be ecstatic. --Troy Farah
Fishtank Ensemble is no group of Gyp-sters come lately. The Balkan folk/worldbeat crew formed a decade ago in Oakland and has seen its fortunes rise on the success of acts like DeVotchka, Gogol Bordello, and the World/Inferno Friendship Society. The core couple of French fiddler Fabrice Martinez and Sacramento singer Ursula Knudson met 11 years ago at Carnival in Venice. When he moved to the States, they formed the band, which grew to a sextet and released a of couple albums -- 2005's Super Raoul , 2007's Samurai Over Serbia -- before paring to a quartet for 2010's Women In Sin . This April saw the release of the band's adventurous fourth studio full-length, , which increasingly digs into Turkish, Greek, and Middle Eastern styles. Knudson's versatile vocals demonstrate with equal ease her percussive foreign vocalizations and sweet, languid English coos. As an all-string group (completed by guitar, cello), the tempos swoon and race more than they would if anchored to a backbeat. They seem to breathe and exhale, particularly on jazzier tunes like the furious instrumental "Goat Dance." The album's too eclectic for its own good, but it's hard to fault the talent -- or the Balkanized/spaghetti Western cover of "Sweet Child o' Mine," complete with theremin. Fishtank Ensemble is planning a significant break from touring to concentrate on recording and career-building. --Chris Parker
Contemplative, neo-traditional country music like Sarah Jarosz's might be the best fit for an acoustically stunning venue like the Musical Instrument Museum Theater. The intricacies of subtly complex banjo and mandolin lines are often lost in boomier venues, but the theater's acoustic accuracy might provide just the right sonic space for the 23-year-old singer-songwriter. Jarosz first entered the spotlight in 2009 as a shockingly poised teenager when she released her first full-length, Song Up In Her Head. Accolades and praise fell on her like water and dust in a desert monsoon, and many had high expectations for her future. She then made a move that, if made by any other person her age, would have been lauded, rather than met with hand-wringing and head-scratching, as it was in Jarosz's case: She went to college. Some worried that her schooling at the New England Conservatory of Music would sand the lovely rough edges of her aesthetic into a generically smooth musical plank, but Jarosz quickly put any doubts to rest. Her subsequent two albums, 2011's Follow Me Down and 2013's Build Me Up From Bones, which she recorded during the final semester of her senior year, only built upon the promise she had shown as a teen. Turns out you can go to a conservatory and not emerge a pretentious, virtuosic prat. --David Accomazzo
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