6 Best Concerts to See in Phoenix This Week - 7/28 to 7/31
The step-sisters of Skating Polly bring a sound that's mature without being precocious.
Courtesy of Skating Polly
We bring you the finest musical offerings the Valley of the Sun has to offer you this week. Check out our comprehensive concert listings for more options.
If nothing else, that's exactly what Foxy Shazam is: They're an unapologetic, brash, over-the-top rock band in an era in which the term "rock band" alone is enough to cause niche-based, hyper-hyphenated genre splitting, at best. and elicit cringing at its worst. On their latest release, Gonzo, the band's scaled back their approach to a degree, letting songwriting show through rather than just showmanship. Having worked on the record with Steve Albini, of Big Black and Nirvana-producing fame, there's a new side of Foxy Shazam that Nauth and his bandmates have unearthed, yielding surprising results and a fresh future for the band. --KC Libman
As this Internet meme of days past so adeptly illustrates, there is a big difference between what a touring band actually does, and what society and the band members' mothers and lovers think that they do.
Some members of society may be even more prone to projecting fantasies onto a band named Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band. No doubt, they are living the fun life, right? Right.
Also, though, they are working their asses off. "There is a little bit of a myth that being in a band on tour has all this glamor to it," says saxophonist Greg Hollowell. In reality, says Hollowell and the meme, the band spends lots of time doing stuff other than playing music, which is the activity that keeps their personal wheels rolling down the road.
"I can definitely speak for everybody," Hollowell continued, "when I say that we really love performing, playing music. We love interacting in that way with each other and our audiences."
Funk musicians make an especially friendly offering as they perform. There is something inherent to that particular style of music that wants everybody it touches to loosen up, let go, and have fun. There is something healing about that.
"People have stress in their lives," says Hollowell, "I have stress in my life. It's cool to just get together and let loose. You know, that kind of thing." --Travis Newbill
Five years after their eponymous debut album put them on the musical map, the Tontons are back on tour in support of a brand-new record, one that showcases a group having truly hit its stride. It's atmospheric, comfortable, infectious and soulful.
The Houston-born quartet will perform at Last Exit Live on Tuesday, touting Make Out King and Other Stories of Love, which has already received rave reviews from the likes of the Village Voice, Rolling Stone and Spin magazine. --Matthew Keever
Lady Gaga concerts aren't just about the music -- they're psychedelic displays of outrageous costumes, massive sets, and carefully orchestrated dance numbers accented by Gaga's inspirational speeches about having no fear of being the person you want to be. Even her tour names are elaborate: Expect her ArtRAVE: The Artpop Ball tour to provide a feast of eye candy for devout Little Monsters and others in attendance. Costumes include feathered wings, Fraggle Rock-tinged garb, and an octopus dress, each of which may just make you forget she hasn't quite regained the musical relevance she enjoyed after her 2008 debut. The show is divided into four acts plus an intro, and set lists reveal she'll be playing all her hits, plus some of the better songs off her current album, Artpop, like "G.U.Y." and "Do What U Want." Think of the show as one extremely trippy party where you can be exactly who you were born to be. --Nicki Escudero
The music of a "girl group," as Numb Bats drummer Mo Neuharth sees it, more often than not boils down to pretty songs with catchy melodies and angsty lyrics about dudes.
Numb Bats more recently has resembled psych-revivalist acts like Brian Jonestown Massacre with a strong dose of surf and grunge in the mix. Add Opich's catchy bass lines and Neuharth's don't-give-a-fuck style of drumming and you have something that, at moments, is reminiscent of Pixies. When the trio sings in unison, it's hard not to think of bands like Vivian Girls -- because the droning, harmonic vocals share similarities, not because those acts also comprise women. --Heather Hoch
The term "girlish" is a fitting description for certain female voices, but how many times has it been used to describe the voice of a girl, not a woman? When talking about Skating Polly, a lo-fi grunge duo from Oklahoma that somehow recalls both Bikini Kill and Beat Happening, the term is almost inescapable. That's because here the term is literal. When stepsisters Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse started playing music together in 2009, they were 9 and 14, respectively. With four-plus years of touring and songwriting behind them, the duo, now at the ripe old ages of 14 and 19, Skating Polly is three albums deep into its recording career and boasts a better musical résumé than 90 percent of bands their elder. They've opened for Mike Watt, Deerhoof, and Band of Horses and received ringing endorsements from Roseanne Cash and Viggo Mortensen, the latter of whom called Skating Polly "little geniuses." Bighorse's voice is a haunting, maturing alto, while Mayo's is light and childish, and the band's music works best when the two play with the contrasting sounds, as they do on "Van Gogh," from February's Fuzz Steilacoom, and "Blue Obvious," from 2013's Lost Wonderfuls. --David Accomazzo
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