Provided you've digested all the Christmas goose and recovered from a wicked eggnog-induced hangover, there's a whole slew of live music options happening in Phoenix this weekend. So un-deck the halls and put away your Christmas albums, and get ready to enjoy the Phoenix music scene as it shakes off the dust and prepares for New Year's Eve. Here are our six top picks for concerts this weekend, and browse our comprehensive concert calendar for even more selections.
If you haven't heard of Amber Giles yet, then you obviously haven't been following either the dance music blogosphere or the local scene too closely. Don't worry, however, since you'll soon be well-informed of the DJ and producing wunderkind known as Mija, her music, and her exploits in the near future, probably in connection with rocking some swank party in L.A. or dropping another scintillating track via OWSLA.
That's because Giles and her magnificent mixes of house, bass, and other sounds both trippy and funky have earned the lass much attention (including being dubbed "dance music's newest bad bitch on the block" by one blog) and made her one of the biggest stars to come out of Phoenix in recent memory. After all, how many local DJs or producers do you know that worked a sunrise set alongside Skrillex at Bonnaroo (atop locally built party bus Kalliope, no less), or have been signed to his label? Yeah, we thought so.
Giles has riden a wave of success over the last year that's taken her from performing at Quincy Ross' underground parties to the stages of TomorrowWorld and other big-name festivals. It also helped hasten her relocation earlier this year to El Lay, where she's likely to blow up even bigger.
But that doesn't mean she won't come back for a visit now and again. Just in time for the holiday season, Giles is making a return to her old stomping ground for a headlining gig at Maya Day and Nightclub on Friday, December 26. Locals DJ Soloman, DJ Hemmesphere, and Joey Williams will be the openers. Doors open at 9 p.m. and admission is $10. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Since the '90s, when Clyne's first band, the Refreshments, signed to a major label and scored a radio hit with "Banditos," his music has straddled the line between Southwest mythologizing and frat-friendly party songs about drinking tequila.
The former music helped lionize him as a hometown hero, and while the latter tunes have contributed to an infectiously fun reputation that has characterized his band's shows since the Refreshments days, they've also brought him detractors.
Known by some of them as the "Jimmy Buffett of Arizona," Clyne's been dismissed as an over-aged bro with a tequila problem.
But they miss the fact that after the Refreshments dissolved, Clyne's songwriting matured and (in the lyrical sense, if not the alcoholic one) sobered up. He's tackled themes of age, death, and existentialism, in addition to honoring life's celebratory moments. He and his bands, the Refreshments and Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, have put out nine full-length albums.
RCPM knows how to put on a great show, and what better way to spend your Christmas loot than a concert at a casino? DAVID ACCOMAZZO
Nothing like a trio of lady-fronted rock bands to blow your Trunk Space socks off on a weekend. The lineup for this show includes Moon Hag, a Canadian throwback psych-rock group, The Darling Sounds, an adorable garage rock band, Mesa pop-punkers Dwarf, and the all-instrumental Lady Cop, from Washington D.C. PHOENIX NEW TIMES
One More Time does a spot-on imitation of Daft Punk in concert and does it well. Phenomenally well, even, from the identical version of the iconic helmets and jumpsuits of the Grammy-winning and quasi-robotic French electronica duo (including neon versions inspired by Tron: Legacy) to the pyramid-like staging that's straight outta the act's landmark Alive 1997 tour. One More Time has Daft Punk down so well that it even mimics its flair for anonymity, asking that we keep the duo's real names on the down-low.
In recent years, the Phoenix-based tribute act went from performing at local hip club nights in 2010 to wowing crowds in L.A. and San Diego with its hour-long set of mixing, editing, and playing Daft Punk tracks. "That's when we realized we were onto something that could potentially be big, bigger than a bunch of guys in helmets playing hipster parties," they told us. They ain't lying, as they've been going harder, faster, stronger while touring venues across the United States in the wake of Daft Punk's success with Random Access Memories and multiple Grammy wins. So there's at least one way One More Time differs from its source material, since Daft Punk still hasn't announced when it's gonna tour again. PHOENIX NEW TIMES
When you're born into the Ronstadt clan, chances are good you're going to pursue a career in entertainment, given the sheer amount of musical savvy that flows through the family's blood. It's something that Bob Simon of NPR brought up earlier this year when interviewing vocalist Marisa Ronstadt, the family's latest prodigy, asking if everyone with her last name has to try their hand at music, like her renowned older cousin Linda. "Not necessarily," she replied. "There are many [Ronstadts]." True, but it surely would be a waste, which is why we're glad she's been honing her considerable chops for most of her life. Weaned on Latin music, funk, '60s pop, and Motown (in addition to her father's penchant for social activism), Marisa spent a portion of her childhood performing with bilingual youth ensemble called The Amigos. During post-adolescence, she toured with Tucson indie bands before moving to Los Angeles and collaborating with the Chicano rockers of Quetzal and Latin alternative band Monte Carlo 76. Ronstadt's latest album, Blueberry Moon, blends her many influences in its hybrid of indie pop, R&B, soul, and funk, which is just as genre-spanning as Linda's was back in the day. And Marisa is gifted with a voice just as golden, and it soars in songs like "Sweetest Melody," "Save Me," and "Freedom." The apple, it seems, doesn't fall very far from this family tree. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
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People used to focus mainly on Courtney Marie Andrews' age. The Valley product did release her second album, Painter's Hands and a Seventh Son, when she was still just 18, an age when most people are just thrilled they can buy cigarettes legally. But now, music fans know Andrews for her summery voice and palatable folk brushstrokes. She may have moved to Seattle, but the country coffee shop charmer will always be a local mainstay. She still says she's from the Valley, but, really, she's somewhat of a nomad -- as she sings on "Woman of Many Colors": "Yes, my mind is never made / So I'll travel this land like a canvas 'till I'm out of paint." After five full-length albums, plus this year's Leuven Letters EP, which was recorded in Belgium, Andrews has only sharpened her intuition. The imagery she paints -- be it Northwestern or Southwestern -- demonstrates mature, intimate emotions that are beautiful and arresting. TROY FARAH