Ding, dong, the witch is dead. (The witch is the heat, here; bear with me.)
Supposedly. It might be September, but it's still 106 degrees, but out-of-towners don't know that. So with the turning over of the calendar comes a slew of great bands coming to Phoenix and a revitalization of the entertainment calendar. Here's a taste of the many musical offerings this month, and check out our picks for all of September here. But don't just take our word for it. Check out our comprehensive concert listings to see everything Phoenix has to offer this week.
Catch local four-piece punk act Man Hands before they set off on a short tour that will take them out of the local rotation for awhile. While the headliners are good, it's the supporting acts that really make this show a worthy First Friday after-party, including the exciting Numb Bats and the stately Father Figures.
Bob Log III is a self-described one-man guitar party who churns out Delta blues on a vintage archtop guitar while playing drums with his feet and singing into an old black telephone handset glued to the glittery silver crash helmet that obscures his face. When the famed lowbrow and lo-fi Tucson rocker starts playing, thumping a bass drum with his right foot and a cymbal and tambourine taped to the floor with his left, the beat threatens to drown out his breakneck slide guitar licks and distorted, blues-howl vocals.
One of Log's most famous numbers is "Boob Scotch," titled as such because it's the one during which he encourages young ladies in the audience to, um...dip their boobs into his Scotch. Another of his most famous numbers is "I Want Your Shit on My Leg" because it's the one during which he invites young ladies to bounce on his knees as he hits his drums. That one tends to cause a ruckus whenever its performed, as multiple women typicall rush the stage to jockeyed for position on Log's shaky knees. -- Andy Hermann
Like fellow genre pioneers The Ruts and The Slits, The Weirdos delighted in defying even what was socially mandated as constituting first-wave punk. Formed in 1976 and currently enjoying the latest in a string of sporadic reunions, these Los Angelenos shun the gritty, often confrontational imagery of their East Coast and British punk peers in favor of a more colorful, satirical aesthetic. The Weirdos' essentially garage-rock sonic signature is distinguished on tracks such as "Destroy All Music" and "We Got the Neutron Bomb" by unusually melodic guitars, absurdly exaggerated drum fills, sardonic hooks and songwriting that comfortably transcends three-chord tricks. -- Paul Rogers
Infected Mushroom - Saturday, September 6 - Monarch Theatre
Infected Mushroom has been a huge name in dance music since before EDM was a genre term, let alone en vogue. After more than a decade-and-a-half on the scene, the Israel-bred, Los Angeles-based electronic outfit has traded in giant analog studios for laptops on the road. But the Mushroom crew has also signed to hip L.A. label Dim Mak and launched its most ambitiously produced road trip to date, the Fungusamongus tour.
Most impressive, though, this foursome has remained relevant in one of music's most fickle genres for nearly 16 years. And that begs the question of how. "I think two facts," founding member Duvdev (born Amit Duvdevani) says. "One fact is that we keep on changing, not sticking to one sound, being the same and repeating all over again. And the second is liking the dance floor. We see what works and adapt ourselves to the new generation." -- Kat Bein
Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven - Saturday, September 6 - Crescent Ballroom
Camper Van Beethoven was born to be wild. Formed in the early '80s, the violin-led Bay Area quintet initially was a reaction to hardcore but quickly moved afield stylistically. Like the Talking Heads if they'd dropped acid and grown up on the other coast, there's a goofy, sardonic irreverence at the core of CVB's art-damaged psych-folk. The band's loose, rollicking, eclecticism evokes don't-give-a-damn freedom, but it's never like CVB doesn't care. The group self-destructed in 1990 after five albums in seven years. Singer/guitarist David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman started Cracker afterwards with the understanding that they'd be the core, avoiding Camper's sometimes crippling democracy.
Cracker's self-titled 1992 debut enjoyed immediate success with "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)," accurately presaging Nirvana. The 1994 follow-up Kerosene Hat produced ginormous radio hit "Low." Cracker descended to lower stature while continuing to play its clever, rootsy, alt-pop/rock. Meanwhile Camper's cult appeal persisted, prompting the band to reunite around the millennium to cover Fleetwood Mac's Tusk. Terrific 2004 future dystopia/concept album, New Roman Times, was followed by another hiatus. But the group returned last year with the freaky, chilled-out La Costa Perdida. The harder-charging El Camino Real arrived in June. -- Chris Parker
MC Frontalot - Sunday, September 7 - Club Red
When MC Frontalot coined the term "nerdcore," which inspired his 2000 single "Nerdcore Hiphop," he wasn't part of a movement. But around then, when artists like YTCracker and MC Hawking became more visible alongside Frontalot and MC Chris, a phenomenon emerged, inspiring two 2008 documentaries: Nerdcore Rising and Nerdcore For Life. The label has come to describe a certain kind of rapping, superficially about nerdy pursuits but containing salient (if surreal) social and political commentary.
As one of the pioneers of a movement, Frontalot hasn't rested on his laurels, and his albums have become increasingly collaborative affairs. Frontalot's new album, Question Bedtime pushes the collaborative element even further. The art of storytelling has long been a part of hip-hop, whether it the use of classic stories or the evocation of a personal or geographical myth. Frontalot decided to go way back and draw from fairy tales as the kinds of stories that seem to make their way, in one form or another, around the world. -- Tom Murphy
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Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.