We've got concert picks galore this weekend, and check out our comprehensive calendar for more options.
So the Tempe music scene is dying, you say? Think again. Granted, it's gone through a major upheaval in the last two years as beloved rock bars have either moved (Club Red, Big Fish Pub) or closed outright (Sail Inn, Long Wong's, Parliament), but its still alive and kicking at both the remaining spots like the Yucca Tap Room or places that have sprung up recently to help fill the void.
Case in point: the burgeoning success of C.A.S.A. as a live destination. The two-part drinkery and nightspot (consisting of the outdoor "Sunba" and the indoor lounge) on Sixth Street just off Mill Avenue has been hosting an increasing number of live shows over the past year. And then there are the various street parties that are thrown by the bar and are typically loaded up with gigs by local bands, such as the C.A.S.A. Music Festival Block Party on Friday, November 21. The event will include a host of Tempe favorites, such as Dry River Yacht Club, Banana Gun, Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special, and Old Jack City. Best of all, admission is free. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN5
Dom Kennedy can't sell his Get Home Safely LP exclusively at Best Buy without a major label backing him ...
If you buy that one, then I would like to discuss an igloo property investment opportunity in Nevada that is sure to be prosperous. It comes with its own polar bear.
Of course, the former statement isn't that far off the mark, considering an independent artist's project being sold at a big-box chain without major distribution backing was unprecedented.
But Kennedy, the Los Angeles Dodgers hat-wearing 29-year-old born Dominic Hunn, pulled it off, getting his album on Best Buy's shelves and selling 10,000 copies of Get Home Safely in its first week. LEE CASTRO
Downtown Tempe is in no danger of running low on electronic dance music or off-the-chain dance parties anytime soon, what with the clubs of Mill Avenue pumping out four-on-the-floor jams and killer drops most nights. The clamor of beats and bass coming from Tempe is going to get even louder this weekend when the Global Dance Festival, one of the region's biggest up-and-coming dance events, rolls into town boasting EDM thrills and plenty of opportunities to rage. The tour, which originated in Colorado in 1999 as a one-off called Rave on the Rocks, has become a multi-city electronic wonderland and rage fest that's not only making its debut in Arizona but will be the first-ever dance music massive staged at Tempe Beach Park. Befitting its name, the GDF will feature a few dance music practitioners from around the world, including Montreal-based dubstep/electro-house duo Adventure Club and Australian-born singer and vocal trance performer Emma Hewitt, who has topped charts both in her native land and Europe and recently appeared on Cosmic Gate's hit track "Going Home." The festival's Tempe stop also will feature crunkstep king Crizzly, Grammy-nominated progressive house practitioner Morgan Page, and L.A. hipster party prince Steve Aoki, who may (or may not) debut some of the new deep house tracks that he's been reportedly working but probably will douse the crowd with champagne, as he's wont to do. Good thing it's being held outside. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Tucson's Shooda Shook It are, well, a little weird. But the relatively new group is the kind of weird that is both an entertaining spectacle and a solidly funky dance band. Fronted by twins Kee Kopps and Dawn Copps, the group has been playing live for only a couple of months while working on songs as Shooda Shook It for over a year. If you've lived in the area awhile -- say, over a decade -- you might remember the twins from Sugarbush, though they've also played with guitarist and bassist Jason Milici in other bands. Along with drummer Lucas Moseley, Milici says he enjoys playing with the sisters because they all have "similar sensibilities" musically, which he describes as "hard-hitting upbeat disco funk." You can catch their first Phoenix performance at Trunk Space, and be prepared to shake it. HEATHER HOCH
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It's official! Hot Buttered Rum, a five-piece bluegrass band from San Francisco (of all places), is now more popular than the après-ski cocktail of the same name. At least, the group finally shows up above the beverage in Google searches. "We've arrived!" guitarist Nat Keefe says with a laugh from his San Francisco home. "That's certainly cool." Cool has certainly changed these days, and so has bluegrass. Hot Buttered Rum is clearly new school -- a progressive fusion of old-time music, traditional bluegrass, rock, jazz, and even a little EDM. The group released its fourth LP this summer, a self-titled affair chock-full of rich harmonies, tight picking, and certifiably danceable songs that capture an old-time spirit as well as life in the great outdoors. It epitomizes what HBR does best, which gets even better when considering the band's live appeal. HBR also has released four live albums, all loose, grooving, and relaxed with improvisational flurries and telepathic interplay -- a groove the band locks into at every venue. "Frankly, we're much better doing live shows then we are albums," Keefe attests. "We do 150 shows a year, and we know how to put together three hours of music -- we've refined that." GLENN BURNSILVER
In 2014, the world is a weird place. Grown men want to become living dolls, Shia LaBeouf is very sorry, and bands have to spell their names with v's so they can be found on Google. Like Chvrches, Wolvves, and others before them, Alvvays (duh, the two v's are a w) wants you be able to find its Bandcamp page among searches for Always® Feminine Products and Always, the 1989 Steven Spielberg movie about a daredevil pilot and his gal. And lucky for you if you do find Alvvays' music -- the Toronto indie-pop quintet's self-titled debut has been described as a perfect melancholy summer soundtrack. If you're into the graceful malaise of Cults or Best Coast, catchy tunes like "Party Police" will linger with you, while "Archie, Marry Me" will make you wish singer Molly Rankin were down on one knee for you. TROY FARAH