Sure, the pickings are a little slim this weekend for live music. But there's still some great stuff around town, so check out our selections if you need a little help choosing what to do. And if you want a more comprehensive list, be sure to visit our full concert listings.
If corporate rock of the '70s and '80s has a modern contemporary, it's Rascal Flatts. While, granted, there's far more twang accompanying this Nashville outfit's ballads, the group trades in the kind of earnest, rubber-stamped sentimentality that once propelled bands like Toto and Journey on songs like "Without Your Love" and "Send Her My Love," where every matter of the heart is conveyed via bittersweet melodies and harmonies. Yeah, critics hate this stuff. Fans, however, love it: When frontman Gary LeVox sings of the voice mail on a cell phone "that he don't dare erase/She ended with 'I love you'/He saves it just in case...it might still be true,' he's singing about their lives, and he's doing so with an air of believability. This isn't matters of the art, but, in fact, matters of the heart. -- Dave Herrera
Typically held in August, the D-Low show is a double-edged sword for many of us. It is both celebration and painful reminder wrapped in a tremendous rock 'n' roll show that Dana "D-Low" Wells, son (and stepson) of Gloria and Max Cavalera would have loved.
For the uninitiated, Dana was killed in an extremely questionable traffic accident on August 16, 1996, at the age of 21, which is where the painful reminder kicks in because, to many of us, Dana was a little brother, either by blood or by love for music, or both. His story has been well documented, and the question of what actually happened during those fateful early morning hours remains a mystery to this day. Regardless of the circumstances, though, the fact remains that the "tribe" to which Dana belonged comes together on a yearly basis to celebrate his memory with what is always one of the best metal shows of the year.
This year's show is the 18th annual show and is always a family affair. Local metal shredders Soulfly, which of course is led by Wells' enigmatic step-father Max Cavalera, but also features his younger brother Zyon on drums this year, is the perpetual headlining act, but the additions of brother Richie's up-and-coming band, Incite, as well as Lody Kong, which features both Zyon and Igor Cavalera, truly makes this D-Low memorial special. --Tom Reardon
I can't be the only one whose first exposure to Peter Frampton was during the Hullabalooza Simpsons episode, can I? Sure, Frampton's the man behind "Show Me The Way" and "Baby, I Love Your Way," but the image that will forever represent him to me is that of an animated Frampton shouting "Do you feel... I said DO YOU FEEL?!" while stomping on a pedal the should have released an inflatable pig into the air. Regardless, Frampton's smooth tunes have aged well, and this show should prove worth the price of admission. --David Accomazzo
The band has done all its records with Bob Hoag, starting with 2011's Rotten Tide EP and continuing with 2013's full-length Endless Night, and on to the band's newest album Vacant Face, which finds the band dropping the acronymic version of its name, TOAD. The records have been received tremendously: Blogs including Stereogum, Lambgoat, and Metal Sucks have lauded the band, and Pitchfork's Kim Kelly praised the band, singling out the "strong groove coursing within their veins." The band's toured with Swedish doom outfit Agrimonia and opened local dates for Ghost B.C. and Dillinger Escape Plan. This year, the band is part of the three-day Southwest Terror Fest in Tucson, where it's billed alongside the Atlas Moth, Pelican, the Body, Neurosis, Sunn O))), and dozens more.
Vacant Face features plenty of experiments. Acoustic guitar lines drift over ambient noise on the title track; dramatic synths open "Glance Away"; layers of sweeping Mellotron, vibraphones, celeste, timpani, and tubular bells add psychedelic touches. The band sounds tight but unrestrained, given to widescreen guitar solos and heaving breakdowns. Andrew Leemont's vocals alternate between gothy dread and scorched-earth screams. The album features his finest moment, "Where Seasons Lay," which tempers some of the band's ferocity to invoke post-punk textures to great effect. --Jason P. Woodbury
With loud, layered drums accompanied by lush, softer vocals (something Vice described as sounding like "pure joy") akin to Tame Impala or MGMT, Thumpers is the kind of summer music perfect for giant outdoor concerts. Plus, there are plenty of sing-alongs, and that's something Pepperell says they love to court.
John Hamson Jr. (drums, vocals, bass) and Pepperell (vocals, guitar, keys) have been friends since they were 11, playing in bands together ever since. Their debut album, Galore, tends to deal with first and formative experiences -- in other words, growing up. --Troy Farah
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