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Top Five Must-See Shows in Phoenix This Weekend

Mergence is scheduled to perform Saturday, January 12 at Salty Senorita.
Mergence is scheduled to perform Saturday, January 12 at Salty Senorita.

Curious about what's going on around town this weekend? Need some suggestions where to rock, dance, or krump in the Valley of the Sun?

Don't fret: These are our Five Shows to See This Weekend.

Friday, January 11: Rough Tough Dynamite @ Trunk Space

There are plenty of ways to show someone that you think they're sexy. Some methods are subtler than others, but Rod Stewart wants ladies to be direct and just reach out and touch him.

Tempe rockers Rough Tough Dynamite take a culinary approach with their synthed out surf cover of "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?," which they did exclusively for Up On The Sun.

"Maybe baked goods like cupcakes," bassist Corey Dillier says, on how fans should show their appreciation of Rough Tough Dynamite. Band members listed things like candy, chocolate, Fruit Roll Ups, and bread with ranch, but ultimately singer and synth player Alex Benson says, "We're not picky."

The band tried to come up with a few covers, but Rod Stewart was a good fit.

"This is an exclusive. We haven't played it live yet, hopefully we'll add it to the set very soon, but this is the first time we've gotten it out there," Dillier says.

"We're really curious what people think of us as far as how attractive we are. It's a way to ask and just be like 'oh, we didn't really want you to answer' if the answer's a bad one. No, we're just singing the song. But if the answers are good, then that works. We can get some self-esteem, finally," Benson says with a laugh. -- Melissa Fossum  

Top Five Must-See Shows in Phoenix This Weekend

Friday, January 11: Whisperlights @ Yucca Tap Room

It's almost hard to characterize The Whisperlights as a local band, with members of the eight-piece group living in Phoenix and on both coasts. The band makes it work, utilizing a smaller lineup for Valley gigs while touring with the full band.

A true product of the digital age, The Whisperlights' songs are written through long e-mail exchanges, a process sure to come in handy as its members jet off to Bangladesh and Palestine.

"We have an affinity for the city even if we're not going to live here anymore. It's where we found each other. It's where we formed. It all makes sense," says drummer Wasef El-Kharouf. The bands latest record, Surfaces, an upbeat, guitar-driven effort that demonstrates the band's world-minded scope. Some of the songs aren't even in English. -- Melissa Fossum  

Saturday, January 12: DJ Mat Zo @ Axis/Radius

If you aren't already envious of Matan Zohar, who performs as Mat Zo, you've got every right to be nothing but helly jelly.

At the tender age of 22, the London-born trance and house producer already has collaborated with Porter Robinson (on last year's epic progressive track "Easy") as well as tagged along with the superstar on his Language world tour last summer, in addition to be having been personally recruited by Tiësto and Tritonal to remix their stuff and listed as one of the top 100 mixing fiends in the world by DJ Magazine.

EDM kingmakers Above & Beyond also have heaped plenty of praise upon the wunderkind and even signed him to their vaunted Anjunabeats label. Plus, he pulls down more scrilla for a single gig than you make in an entire year. While he's mostly famous for his dreamy, electro-drenched trance leanings, Zohar is well known for his drum 'n' bass trickery as MRSA and has a proclivity for releases two-hour mixes filled with pulverizing low-end artistry. All of the aforementioned genres are likely to make up his headlining set at Axis/Radius. -- Benjamin Leatherman   Saturday, January 12: Mergence @ Salty Señorita

Mergence is one of those Phoenix bands that garners incredible local hype for its talents while simultaneously admitting that such popularity would be considerably less likely in New York or Los Angeles.

While the plaudits of the critics generally are a bit over the top, the band really does have a good thing going on. Featuring Adam Bruce on vocals, guitar, and keyboards, guitarist Yod Paul, bassist Brandon Shupe, and drummer Jason Roedl, Mergence members have "merged" (ahem, cough cough) their collective talents into a cohesive unit that follows the new anything-goes jam band model (without actually being a jam band) in venturing into blues, soul, vintage hard rock, and modern rock with a touch of psychedelia.

It makes for wild, mood-swing-inducing concerts, but it's also this stylistic variety that makes the band sparkle in the all-too-often dumbed-down world of commercialized music. This is a band that lives for its music, one that religiously believes in the power of live sound. That much is clear on stage -- easily unearthed on the well-produced Live at the Crescent Ballroom -- and on the recorded-live-in-the studio debut, Those Vibrant Young People Are Dead. Over-hyped, maybe. Worth enjoying and deciding for yourself? Absolutely. -- Glenn BurnSilver  

Sunday, January 13: Valley Fever @ Yucca Tap Room

When we heard about Yucca Tap Room's Valley Fever on Sunday Nights, we were intrigued -- and not just because it shares its name with our news blog. Valley Fever's resident DJ Dana Armstrong spins old country records between live bands' sets. Meanwhile, country and western acts from around the state of Arizona perform onstage.

The main part of Yucca is filled with classic country fans of all ages and backgrounds who aren't afraid to shuffle and spin around the dance floor. The occasional hipster on his way to the bathroom from the other half of the bar will get sucked in to check out the country scene and bands. Dust off your cowboy boots and throw on your favorite denim. This place is where rolled up jeans and plaid shirts aren't some hip trend, but real down-home classics. -- Ryan Wold


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