Top Five Must-See Phoenix Shows This Weekend
Look, this could go either way: It could be that all the broken, empty-hearted Breaking Bad fans who've spent a month of weekends in their houses, talking about Breaking Bad with each other, decide to get some fresh air and see a show, and you'll be able to see some of your friends for the first time since they activated their free Netflix trial and started asking around about Sudafed.
It could also turn out that they aren't yet over their permanent separation from Walter White and company, and you'll only see them after they invite you over to read Norm MacDonald's startlingly erudite Twitter feed and discuss his he-died-in-the-car theory with their small group.
Either way, you can get out of the house. (View our complete concert calendar here.)
West Water Outlaws
West Water Outlaws - Last Exit Live - Friday, October 4
If you haven't heard West Water Outlaws playing through your speakers or on a stage, you're missing out on a refreshing gust of raw blues and classic rock. Fans of the Black Keys, Led Zeppelin and White Stripes will love this Boulder-based act, which has already shared the stage with the likes of The Stone Foxes and Dick Dale. West Water Outlaw's open writing dynamic and vintage sound layers elements like organ and lap steel over rhythm guitar, high-energy vocals, and a chugging rhythm section. The single, "Real Killer," is an unfiltered and adrenaline-soaked love-letter to the music of the '50s and '70s.
In 2010, vocalist Blake Rooker accidentally walked into the wrong statistics class and ended up reconnecting with a friend from his freshman year, guitarist Will Buck. They bonded over a love of blues and gritty rock and roll, and West Water Outlaws was born. The band began playing parties in Rooker's basement, a reinvigorating turn from the emerging DJ trend, which brought them into Boulder bars and local clubs in exchange for food and beer. Now they're rocking more than 150 shows across the country in 2013, bringing their brand of roadhouse jams to new audiences. With plans to release their first full-length this fall, West Water Outlaws is bringing visions of rock 'n roll's past to the future. -- Lauren Wise
Rick Springfield is watching you with those eyes.
Rick Springfield - Ovations Live!, Chandler - Saturday, October 5
Okay, five reasons "Jessie's Girl" is a perfect pop-rock song: 1. The slow build. I can't vouch for how it sounded in 1981, but in 2013 the first verse has a kind of built-in swagger to it that makes this a perfect wedding reception song--you know it's "Jessie's Girl," and Rick Springfield knows it's "Jessie's Girl," but you're still going to cut that first chorus short and go back into the quiet, desperate verses. 2. The guitar tone, which marks the moment before that clean '80s tone tipped over into the kind of hyperbaric self-parody that only makes sense over gated snares. 3. The subject matter, which is weirdly self-loathing for a bright, unstoppable pop song and doesn't exactly cast Rick Springfield as the hero of the love triangle. 4. The barely-there synth riff in the chorus. 5. The solo, which has to compete with an enormously recognizable verse and chorus melody and still inspires air-guitaring. Honorable Mention: The completely ridiculous Working Class Dog album art--literally a dog in work clothes, with a glamour shot of Rick Springfield in his front pocket--showing up every time you play it on iTunes.
Rick Springfield has other hits, and he will be playing them Saturday, but "Jessie's Girl" is probably enough. -- Dan Moore
Pelvic Meatloaf, mostly.
Pelvic Meatloaf - Club Red - Saturday, October 5
There's something to be said for a local band having the gall to throw a CD-release party in 1995. "Before that," laughs Rich Fourmey, "everything was a tape-release party. So we said, to hell with it. We're gonna shell out thousands of dollars and have a CD." It's the kind of stunt that's hard to forget. So is the name of the band that pulled it: Pelvic Meatloaf, which has been around ever since.
That longevity isn't the result of an unshakeable name or longtime independence or the supporting slots they've played with metal legends across the country. What it comes down to is the machine-gun double bass, violent mosh pits, and brutal instrumentals. Pelvic Meatloaf's music recalls the days of '80s thrash metal: dirty, fast-paced groove metal, and, of course, Penthouse forum letters.
"We had some time off because I did some prison time, and then we just decided to get together to do a reunion show when I got out," says Fourmy. "We played a show and it went over really well, so we thought we might as well start writing new music."
The Stronger Than You release party is set for Saturday, October 5, at Club Red alongside an array of bands that usually spend the weekends headlining their own shows -- [Sic]monic, Virulent, Killing Sprees, Vivicide, and more. -- Lauren Wise
Read our complete feature on Pelvic Meatloaf and Stronger Than You.
Roger McGuinn - MIM Music Theater - Saturday, October 5
Though he wanted to be a rock 'n' roll star -- and was for many years -- The Byrds' Roger McGuinn eventually grew weary of the effort, and decided to return to his original love, folk music. Folk Den is central to his goal of familiarizing today's acoustic guitar dreamers with the classic songs of that golden era. A series of free downloads at first, with a CD box set coming later, the project is what McGuinn calls his "labor of love."
"It dawned on me that I wasn't hearing a lot of traditional music from folk singers," he says of the project, which he kicked off in 1995. "There are people now who play acoustic instruments and call themselves folk singers, but they aren't playing folk songs -- they're playing songs they made up themselves, because Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell and people after that became singer-songwriters when the trend was to move away from traditional folk. The idea was that if you weren't writing it yourself it wasn't valid. I thought, 'What was going to happen to these great traditional songs if nobody plays them?'"
McGuinn plays them and also models his concerts after the Pete Seeger performances he attended in the 1960s, switching between a handful of instruments. "Pete Seeger had been a strong influence on me playing solo," he says. "I didn't imagine him being able to pull it off as a solo artist, but I was amazed."
McGuinn attempts the same trick, rotating between banjo and several guitars -- including his trademark Rickenbacker 12-string -- on solo cuts, traditional folk, and Byrds' classics, including "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Turn, Turn, Turn," "Feel a Whole Lot Better," and, of course, "Eight Miles High."
"It's a lot of fun, and somehow I cobble together a set," he says with a laugh. "I really prefer . . . being a troubadour now." -- Glenn BurnSilver
Wet Electric - Big Surf Waterpark, Tempe - Saturday, October 5
Just because Mother Nature's dialed down the blast furnace and summertime is officially over doesn't mean that the pool party season is done quite yet. Nope, it turns out that there's one final water-wing wingding to enjoy before hanging up your swimsuit to dry. The promoters and EDM fiends behind Wet Electric, which also took place in late April, are bringing the daylong waterpark extravaganza for a second round this year to bookend the summer and transform Big Surf, 1500 North McClintock Drive in Tempe, into dance party writ large on Saturday, October 5.
Its lineup will be just as packed, with world-renowned beatsmiths and beat-jugglers alike, including many influential cats who have crafted the sort of high-energy audio that's caused your ass to shake in recent years. To wit: British-born dubstep-slinger Flux Pavilion, the man behind such club hits as "I Can't Stop" and "Do or Die," will co-headline the event along with Chuckie -- creator of the oft-sampled 2011 track "Who Is Ready to Jump?" -- and electro-house kingpins Arty, Clockwork, and MAKJ. Gates open at noon. General admission is $65, VIP access is $115. -- Benjamin Leatherman
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