Top Five Must-See Phoenix Shows This Weekend
Courtesy: Writers Guild
Are you on a live album? Not as a performer, I mean -- are you background noise for one of your favorite bands?
If you haven't already earned the opportunity to make your friends scrub through 40 minutes of crowd noise to hear you shouting "My wife!!" during between-songs banter, Zero Zero is offering you the chance. That and more among our five must-see Phoenix shows this week. (Check out our complete concert calendar here.)
Courtesy: Writers Guild
Writers Guild Backpack Drive - Red Owl, Tempe - Friday, August 2
Backpacks are a big deal. I reached peak coolness the first day I went to school, as a kindergartener, with a backpack shaped like a Game Boy in the middle of a game of Tetris. (It was all downhill from there.)
Phoenix hip-hop collective Writers Guild gets that. They also get that not having a backpack is an even bigger deal than worrying about how you'll top your Game Boy one, which is why they're looking to collect 100 backpacks at Friday night's show in Tempe.
If you have a backpack to donate, take it with you and get into this show -- which features a packed bill in addition to Writers Guild -- for free. If you don't, your $10 ticket will go to buy school supplies and support Tumbleweed Learning Center.
You probably loved at least one backpack as much as I did. During Friday's backpack drive you can give another kid a chance to do the same self-identifying.
Mess &* Phetamine
Resurrection's 7 Sermons of Flesh - Club Palazzo - Friday, August 2
Every time industrial dance DJs Self.Destrukt and DJ Defense.Mekanizm throw one of their monthly ResurrectioN affairs, a few things are guaranteed: The soundtrack will be harsh, the vibe will be debaucherous, and the patrons will be freakishly fun. The latter will be especially true during tonight's edition of the goth/industrial dance event at Club Palazzo, 710 North Central Avenue, as its usually kooky coterie of nightcrawlers and characters will be augmented with a slew of unique guests.
ResurrectioN's organizers have given the party a scandalous "7 Sermons* of Flesh" subtitle and are bringing in both fiends and friends alike for the event, including renowned Canadian industrial bands Dym and Fractured, as well as goth dance diva DJ Starr, for a special sets. The members of notorious local industrial DJ collective Sadisco* (a.k.a. Sadistic Disco) -- including Vex, 5arah, //She//, and Blonde N0ize -- will invade the club and stage spin sessions throughout the evening.
The collective's longtime czar, Squalor, who recently has been battling cancer with the assistance of his nearest and dearest, will also perform with his side project Mess &* Phetamine. (A donation jar will also be available at the party for those who want to assist the DJ in his fight and help cover the cost of his treatments.) The party starts at 9 p.m. and runs into the wee hours. Admission is $6. See Facebook for more information. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Zero Zero Live Album Show - Last Exit Live - Saturday, August 3
My one music-writer badge of honor: Peter Frampton once called me an asshole for joking that much of Frampton Comes Alive was overdubbed. I'd rather Zero Zero didn't think I was an asshole, but you'll be able to make sure they're not overdubbing all the talkbox parts on their first live album if you head to Last Exit Live Saturday night -- they're recording it right there, with Bob Hoag of Flying Blanket Studios presiding.
If you're lucky, then, your drunken scream can be the one people will resent on their favorite live album forevermore. Get there before 11:30 to hear Emby Alexander and Vial of Sound. $5 for three excellent bands and a shot at live-album immortality is a solid deal.
Killer Mike and El-P - Crescent Ballroom - Saturday, August 3
"Warm" isn't a word generally applied to Killer Mike or El-P. After all, Run the Jewels -- a new album synergizing the veteran rappers -- hinges on two MCs who pride themselves on thinking five steps ahead of their opponents and writing punchlines that cut with a butcher's precision. On past albums, Mike (a.k.a. Michael Render) has boasted about robbing tourists outside a strip club in his hometown of Atlanta, and Brooklyn's El (a.k.a. Jaime Meline) noted, "I loved the part where you cried / I like nothing else."
But a moment of profound affection unexpectedly emerges on Jewels' "Banana Clipper." "Producer gave me a beat / Said it's the beat of the year," Mike raps. "I said, 'El-P didn't do it / So get the fuck out of here.'" That show of camaraderie makes a whole lot of sense considering each recently has played a fundamental role in energizing the other's reputation. In 2012, El-P wrote and produced his own Cancer 4 Cure (which had Mike in a feature spot) while Killer Mike issued R.A.P. Music, a record whose craggy, hypnotic tunes were masterminded by El. (Of course, El showed up for a vocal cameo, too.)
Both Cancer and R.A.P. were among last year's most on-point hip-hop albums, so it's a very good thing that the pair continues the course of its Batman-meets-Superman routine. --Reyan Ali
Fitz and the Tantrums - Crescent Ballroom - Sunday, August 4
Forming a six-member band without a guitarist is preposterous, but Fitz and the Tantrums make it work. Six is just the right number for the band's larger-than-life Motown-influenced jams -- adding anything else would be overkill. Two vocalists, a saxophone, and a keyboard are just the right mix of tones to create the band's distinct sound, which plays out like a grandparent's fond memories of hearing The Supremes for the first time.
The Tantrums pay homage to the classics without being a copycat band, even though they certainly look the part. Led by Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick, the group usually performs in matching suits, with Noelle Scaggs sporting a chic retro dress. Scaggs has a good voice, but the band defies a typical soul trope by having her sing backup vocals and play tambourine. Fitzpatrick leads with a pop urgency that matches the energy of the rest of the band, making for memorable live performances. This is the second time Fitz and the Tantrums have performed in Phoenix and the show has already sold out, making it a testament to the band's overnight success. -- Melissa Fossum
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