Top 5 Must-See Phoenix Shows This Weekend
One of these men is a member of the version of Herman's Hermits coming through town this weekend.
The others are not even hermits at all. (View our complete concert calendar here.)
Black Bottom Lighters - Joe's Grotto - Friday, January 10
Black Bottom Lighters are the biggest thing on the Valley reggae scene since white guys learned how to dreadlock their hair. The six-piece Glendale-based desert reggae crew has been jamming together for more than two years in their current form, and that's all it's taken to grab the ear of many of the Valley's reggae fans. BBL has already opened for Celtic punk icons Flogging Molly, toured in support of their self-titled EP, and headlined the Marquee Theatre.
More recently, Reverbnation named them their featured artist of the month for September, a testament to their meteoric rise. "I just never expected it to go this far," says drummer Ryan McPhatter of a year that saw them play the inaugural True Music Festival as well as Jacksonville, Florida's Big Ticket Fest. "It's funny how this worked out. It's like a paper airplane; you just throw it and see where it's going to go." Wherever it goes, though, BBL is determined to hold it down for their home state; in Jacksonville they were part of a bona fide Arizona invasion. "Coming out of Arizona--playing with the Stone Temple Pilots, Chester [Bennington] is their lead singer, and he's from AZ," says lyricist Ryan "Stilly" Stillwell, "and Jimmy Eat World is out of AZ too. It just proves there's room for Arizona music." -- Jeff Moses
Wooden Indian - Crescent Ballroom - Friday, January 10
Wally Boudway of Wooden Indian isn't sure about the word psychedelic. "I don't like it when people call our music psychedelic because I don't like the idea of making music to do drugs to. It's the opposite of what I'm trying to do. I like to make music that gives you the same sensory bliss and curiosity that drugs can, but without the drugs."
But as the band prepares to release Moan Info in early spring, that reluctance is something that Boudway may have to get over -- at least if the band is able to make the leap from the local stalwart it currently is to the national presence it hopes to be.
The music is psychedelic, and not because drugs are a necessary accompaniment to hearing it -- it's that, as Boudway hopes, listening to it is a trip. With a seven-piece band, it sometimes is difficult to tell which instrument is making which sound. According to Boudway, that is exactly how the band wants it.
Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone - Higley Center for the Performing Arts - Saturday, January 11
You're looking at Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone, in case you were wondering--there are two currently on the road, each of them starring one original member of the band. The rest of Peter Noone's brigade of English Beat heroes joined the band between 1999 and 2009. Barry Whitwam partisans are probably out there, but this one gets you the original Herman himself for second-tier British Invasion hits like "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter" and "I'm Henry VII, I Am."
Herman's Hermits were never going to inspire college courses or life-changing epiphanies or crazed assassins, but the good news about their relatively low ambitions here in 2014 is that Noone is still more than capable of hitting all the more-English-than-English notes in the songs you remember. (He still looks strikingly like Herman, too.) They were never going to give you "A Day In The Life," but even if they did they wouldn't be able to sing it after they hit 70 anyway. Plus Herman's Hermits Starring Barry Whitwam are spending January touring Germany, so this is pretty much your only shot. -- Dan Moore
The Whisperlights - Crescent Ballroom - Saturday, January 11
After five years of fun, memorable shows, The Whisperlights are calling it quits. Like most people in long-distance relationships, the band members tried to make it work by getting together once a year or so and rekindling the magic, but they had the added problem of trying to get eight people together. With members living on both coasts, it became more and more difficult.
Saturday, this energetic chamber-pop band will perform its final show back home, at Crescent Ballroom. We can't say we're not surprised; The Whisperlights hadn't been regular faces in the Phoenix crowd for a while, but their Los Dias de la Crescent performance was a wonderful weekend retreat for the band and its fans. Now, the band is making a clean break, and we'll have to respect that.
"We want to have a party and play our favorites one more time before everyone moves too far away to come back for shows easily," says singer/guitarist Ilya Riske. "We're playing all rockers at this show. Well, maybe one slow jam." -- Melissa Fossum
EyeHateGod - Joe's Grotto - Saturday, January 11
"I think there's a big misconception of EyeHateGod," says Jimmy Bower. "People see the name, think, maybe these guys are Satanists, maybe they're just stupid."
I first heard EyeHateGod back in 1992 when In the Name of Suffering came out. Admittedly, I was as enthused by their name as much as their music -- I was always looking for bands whose very name was offensive. But with that record I ended up quite pleased by the music that came out of my super-cool Park 'n Swap speakers. I was immediately a fan.
Eight years later, I was fortunate enough to have timing on my side when a Halloween trip to New Orleans coincided with EyeHateGod's playing a show in its hometown. My traveling companions were not super-hip to shelling out the dough and wasting precious time outside the French Quarter to see doom metal -- there's that name again -- but they were all glad they did afterward.
Feedback loving fans of heavy, ugly, kick-you-in-the-face sludge-metal will be handsomely rewarded for doing the same on Saturday, when 13th Floor Entertainment brings them to Joe's Grotto. -- Tom Reardon
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