Don't be fooled by the naysayers. Those who say Phoenix doesn't have live music options in the summer are either lying or basing their statements off of the dark days before engineers mastered central air conditioning. There's enough music going on this weekend to keep Bomont barn-dancing for years.
Here's a list of runners-up we could have easily picked for this weekend's recommendations: Dark Time Sunshine/Open Mike Eagle at Club Red, Sugar Thieves at Rhythm Room, Japhy's Descent/Ghetto Cowgirl/The Sundowners/Tiptoe Gloryhole at Yucca Tap Room, Air Traffic Controller at Electric Ballroom, Le Butcherettes at Crescent Ballroom, Tedeschi Trucks Band at Talking Stick Casino.
And there are tons more options in our comprehensive concert listings as well.
The Father Figures started with a 50th birthday party, which is either the least or most punk thing ever.
Traditional agitated punk wisdom would suggest that guitarist/vocalist Michael Cornelius, bassist/vocalist Tom Reardon (a frequent Up on the Sun contributor), and drummer Bobby Lerma lead pretty square lives: All three are married with children (Cornelius and Reardon are actually grandfathers), gainfully employed, and happily settled into middle age. Picking kids up from school and punching the clock doesn't leave much time for smashing the state.
But that domestic reality masks the fact that all three have been regulars in the Valley punk scene for decades. The three still have time and passion enough to gig regularly around the valley and are becoming somewhat prolific -- the band is hosting a release party for its excellent new album, Steps and Processes, tonight at Crescent Ballroom, less than two years after the release of their previous album. The music is intense and jarring, and what it lacks in youthful vitality it more than makes up for in finely aged punk wisdom and know-how. --Phoenix New Times
With its touchy feely subject matter and sometimes-cheesy visual aesthetic, trance music is sometimes mocked. Still, it boasts a devoted worldwide following. DJ Markus Schulz is one of the genre's marquee names. Based in Miami, he's been on the international circuit for more than a decade, performing a harder, more aggressive style of trance, which is often quite fluffy. (His sound has earned him the nickname "the unicorn slayer.") Perhaps most impressive? His extended sets, which can last anywhere from 10 to 12 hours. He doesn't even stop to go to the bathroom. True story. "I don't drink alcohol while I'm playing. I just have some water or some iced tea, and I don't go to the bathroom at all. I sweat it all out," Schulz says. "If you don't drink alcohol it makes it easier to not have to go to the bathroom. It's a physical and mental endurance test." -- Katie Bain
It's amazing how quickly things can change for the better. Consider the relationship between Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala. These are two guys who were musically attached at the hip for something like 17 years who suddenly found themselves not even on speaking terms last year. Yet, here they are a little over a year later with a new band and new songs, looking like they're having the time of their life onstage. Yes, yes, everyone knows about At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta and all the classic music they've put out, but their current gigs aren't about the past or the future. It's about Antemasque and the present. The present is pretty freaking rocking.
If all you know of Omar is the talented but quiet guy off to the side on all those ATDI reunion shows, that dude has been replaced by a beast wearing a guitar. Something about these new songs has lit a fire under him, and watching him shred in person with Antemasque will be a sight to see. Cedric holds up his end of the bargain, sounding pretty solid for a guy who spent the better part of his younger years screaming his lungs out. He still knows how to command an audience, still has those funky dance moves and still knows when to stop and let the crowd sing their hearts out. -- Cory Garcia
Believe it or not, Phoenix has a storied history of experimentalism. For Sir Richard Bishop (co-founder of the legendary Sun City Girls) and W David Oliphant, that history began in 1981, when Bishop saw Oliphant and immediately considered him to be "the leading exponent" of that scene.
Fast-forward nearly 35 years, and Oliphant has brought Bishop back from his travels, if only for a week, in order to rehearse and record their second collaborative album. For just four days, August 5-8, the duo will work in Oliphant's home studio, culminating in a collaborative performance this Saturday, August 9 at one of Phoenix's most formative art spaces, the Icehouse.
Though the two have known each other and collaborated live for multiple decades, it wasn't until late 2011 that the two finally recorded together, resulting in the Chopda Media full-length Beyond All Defects, all recorded and written in one take with no overdubs. Thanks to the two's lifelong musical bonafides, the record received acclaim from Michael Gira of Swans, and Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))), two experimental heavyweights in their own right. -- Connor Descheemaker
Justin Timberlake doesn't really need that "Suit & Tie." He brought sexy back without the help of either, and he did so before anyone even knew that sexy had left, which makes it totally OK that he keeps reminding us of said sexy saving. But his designer dapper duds don't hurt, and neither does the growth of the soul-searching melodies and baby-making grooves that are now entered in his dynamic discography. Released after a six-year hiatus, JT's two-part re-return, The 20-20 Experience, proves his vision is endlessly charming, if not always quite as far-sighted as its title. Now 32, married and more gelled back than ever, the suave singer is four albums and a billion SNL appearances into a solo career as entertaining as it is definitive proof that you can take the man out of the boy band and take the boy band out of the man. -- Kelsey Whipple
Everything about Futuristic moves fast. The rapper's got a smooth-as-butter flow and a high-horsepower delivery, revving up from Devin the Dude to Tech N9ne speeds at will. In the five years since he's been performing, he's already shifted from playing with a live band to just performing with a DJ and is about to make the shift back to a live band again. He dropped his latest album, Traveling Local, in early June. It was mid-July when the rapper talked with New Times; he said he had already recorded 20 songs since then.
He's an agile lyricist, and though Traveling Local mostly deals with the frustration of being at the bottom of the bill while on tour, he doesn't take himself seriously all the time. Sure, there's a song called "Let It Go," in which the rapper implores a friend to not let a sexual assault define her life, but there's also a turn-up song called "Why Not." The video for said song starts with the rapper saying, "Yo, on this album I was talking about doing a whole bunch of real shit," and his friend responds, "Man, you gotta say some stupid shit."
"Why not?" responds Futuristic, and he goes into the song, dropping lines like "I see what niggas is doing, so fuck it I'm doing it better / They taking what's hot, duplicate and drop it / They flow be the same but, they changing their letters / And then they got one line, in one verse and one song that people remember that's clever."
He's moving to L.A. soon to chase his dream of making it big, so catch at Club Red. It might be the last time you can see him as a "local" rapper. --David Accomazzo
It's easy to get the wrong idea about art-rock group Xiu Xiu. Most of the group's 2010 album Dear God, I Hate Myself was written on a Nintendo DS. The video for that album's title track consists of multi-instrumentalist Angela Seo sticking her finger down her throat to spew for three minutes as her bandmate, founder Jamie Stewart, eats a chocolate bar. The video ends with Seo throwing up on Stewart's left sleeve. The pair's latest album, Angel Guts: Red Classroom, shares a title with a '70s Japanese erotic film and contains songs with titles like "Black Dick." The finale of that song consists of Stewart shouting the second half of the title repeatedly over screeching electronica beats. You can allow yourself to be shocked by the antics of Stewart's post-punk brainchild, but the melodic extrovert is one of the most fearless and experimental songwriters in the past decade. He's inspired equally by film and his response to his environment, including the Los Angeles neighborhood where he currently resides. It's Stewart's focus on instrumentation and his willingness to be open with himself that makes Xiu Xiu's body of work consistently daring, clever, and resonant. --Jason Keil
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Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.