Hear that? It's the clock counting down the hours until your weekend begins and it's nearing the magic moment known as quitting time. To help the time pass more quickly, you might consider what it is you'll actually be doing during the next couple days and nights of work-free bliss.
Luckily, if you're in the mood to get in a live show or two, there are more than a few options to choose from over the next 72 hours (check out our extensive online concert calendar for proof of such). In the meantime, here are five of the best concerts in Metro Phoenix this weekend.
Califone - Friday, March 21 - Icehouse
The Icehouse, so-called because it's an...um, former icehouse dating back to 1920 is well known for its cool art and music offerings. And on Friday, its going to get much cooler when Chicago's Califone, Tempe's Destruction Unit, and Phoenix's Wooden Indian join forces for an all-ages evening eclectic rock inside the venue's roofless Cathedral Room.
Headlining band Califone, known for its silky smooth moody sound that's just this side of Iron and Wine, is an L.A.-based trio that offers the kind of breathy indie rock perfect for Hollywood. Makes sense that frontman Tim Rutili spent time working on soundtracks for films such as The Lost, Interkosmos and the bull-riding documentary Rank. Meanwhile, Destruction Unit, which features Ryan Rousseau (formerly of the Reatards), produce a clattering of mind-bending noise that has gained love from Pitchfork and Noisey.
Wooden Indian, which is organizing the event, create gentle, hallucinogenic rabbit holes of psych folk. The night will also feature performances by Cherie Cherie, North Brother Island, and Los Puchos. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is free. -- Troy Farah
London Grammar - Friday, March 21 - Crescent Ballroom
You are going to want to keep your eyes and ears glued to London Grammar in the foreseeable future. Recently nominated for a 2014 Brit Award for British Breakthrough Act, this English trip-hop trio has taken the UK, Europe, and Australia by storm with its debut full-length album, If You Wait, which is set for U.S. release on March 25. Led by singer/pianist Hannah Reid, whose vocals combine the huskiness of Fiona Apple and the haunting beauty of Florence Welch, London Grammar has crafted an album filled with an intoxicating dreamy quality.
The ambient feel and echoing guitar on the group's hit single, "Strong," are perfect for the soundtrack to a night drive, while the throbbing beats that come out on "Wasting My Young Years" -- a song about an ex-boyfriend of Reid's -- make it a solid number for dancing your cares away. "Stay Away" effectively mixes Reid's plaintive piano with a fast, muted drum track as she sings about unfortunately being someone's object of desire, while on "Metal & Dust" she sings too knowingly about priorities that are out of focus. London Grammar recently appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and is building quite a buzz in the United States. -- Derek Askey
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Friday, March 21 - Heritage Square
Last year fans of soul music were given some horrible news: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings would be delaying their latest album and tour because the brassy singer was being treated for pancreatic cancer. However, those familiar with Jones' work know from both her history as a correctional officer on Riker's Island and her potent lyrics that she is a born fighter.
Earlier this year the world was finally graced with the group's finest work to date, Give The People What They Want, a collection of 10 songs that may sound like vintage blues and funk to the casual listener, but this collective of musicians has had a hand in the soul revival that has taken place over the last decade.
They gave the rhythm to Amy Winehouse's hit song "Rehab" and collaborated with artists as diverse as Prince, David Byrne, and Lou Reed. They even managed to rival the great Shirley Bassey with their cover of the "Goldfinger" theme for the "The Wolf of Wall Street" soundtrack. The new album's title should be a good indication of what awaits the audience at Heritage Square. Horns and groove will rain down from the stage and you will not stay still for very long. -- Jason Keil
Phoenix Festival De España - Saturday, March 22 - Phoenix Center for the Arts
A flamenco performance is just as captivating visually as it is sonically. While singers transmit passionate tales of love and strife to listeners in Spanish, dancers in flowing dresses and colorful get-ups twirl and stomp on stage, paying homage to a genre that's more than two centuries old and still holds a significant place in Spanish culture. Local flamenco troupe Flamenco por la Vida reveres the art form and accurately portrays it to local masses, precisely executing intricate body movements to perfectly complement the intensity behind the songs.
"Flamenco is the beauty of raw emotion personified, and a rollercoaster of feeling to the viewer," says FPLV dancer Carlos Montufar. "The community not only has an opportunity to learn about Spanish culture, but to witness for themselves a way of Gypsy life and an expression that was once only experienced within the walls of a cave."
The troupe hosts Phoenix Festival de España with the Phoenix Center for the Arts, which includes Spanish dance and music performances all day, along with lectures, flamenco workshops for both kids and adults, art exhibits, and a beer and wine garden. The event's finale, "Noche de Flamenco," brings flamenco performers from around the world (including Spain) together to show off why the art form still endures today -- outside caves. -- Nicki Escudero
The Sword - Saturday, March 22 - Crescent Ballroom
Austin metal quartet The Sword is keeping it simple. In 2010, the band had its greatest commercial success to date with the dazzling Warp Riders, a high-concept album that was the metal equivalent to a sci-fi novel. For Apocryphon, the band's most recent release for indie label Razor and Tie, singer/guitarist JD Cronise says the biggest challenge wasn't following up on the deep themes of Warp Riders or integrating new drummer Jimmy Vela III; it was keeping up with recording deadlines. "That's the nature of being a professional musician," Cronise says, "having to be creative, which is something that is supposed to have no constraints, and having to work with a bunch of constraints while pretending they're not there."
The result is a focused album of 10 scorching tracks like "The Veil of Isis," a combination of Sleep-style chugging and pinched Sabbath leads. However, the stoner metal tag has grown too vague for Cronise. "It's just rock music," he says simply. "I think heavy metal and dance music seem to be the bigger sinners of over-categorization; there's so many subgenres it gets confusing." In fact, Cronise has a rather sturdy theory about the genesis of the stoner metal label. "Quite honestly, I think it's all because Black Sabbath wrote a song called 'Sweet Leaf.'" -- Chase Kamp
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