Prince will not be playing anywhere this weekend. He's surprised me before, but I'm willing to make the call now and just be wrong if he shows up at "Rock the Purple," which is not what you think it is, probably.
In his stead: Lydia comes home in support of their first album post-hiatus, iamwe actually does rock the purple, and Bell Biv DeVoe doubles our existing regional supply of sampled drum hits.
Lydia - Crescent Ballroom - May 3
It is maybe difficult to be the other nationally recognized, emo-tinged band to come out of Arizona in the aughts, but so far the pressure hasn't cracked Lydia, who return to Arizona Friday night on one of their infrequent visits back home.
After a 2011 hiatus, the band--minus founding member Steve McGraw, who left shortly before their farewell tour--is touring on their self-released fifth album, Devil, which came out in March. From Indian Lakes, Sweet.Talker, and Murrieta will open.
Read More: - The New Lydia, plus four more local bands we'd like to see back together. - Arizona's Lydia does it for the fans.
UFIESTA - Quail Run Park, Mesa - May 4
Hard rock fans of a certain age--or just with a certain Spotify playlist--will pick up exactly what KUPD is putting down at UFIESTA, this year's opportunistically titled UFEST.
Read more: Stone Sour's Corey Taylor on Dave Grohl and new music from Slipknot.
Do you like really loud guitars? Do you like yelling? Then rest assured this is still the UFEST you're familiar with; all the Latin flavor's in the name. What you'll get at Quail Run Park Saturday is the likes of Stone Sour, Chevelle, Trapt, and Powerman 5000, along with Christian hard rock band Skillet and other touring acts.
In our rush to define the sounds of the '80s and the '90s as monolithically and nostalgically as possible--synths and androgyny! grunge and gangster rap! Al Capone flagpole-sitting!--pity the poor pioneers of New Jack Swing, which sounds like nothing so much as 1988 to 1991.
Those sampled drums and compressed trumpet hits don't belong enough to any one decade to earn themselves a Time-Life compilation, but seeing Bell Biv DeVoe live is probably the next best thing; with three albums, two of them released before 1994, and Bell, Biv[ins], and DeVoe all in tow, you should be able to get the full Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis experience.
Note: If you're going to wear your 8-Ball jacket, find some place to put it before people start doing the running man. It's going to get sweaty in there.
Two Valley next-pretty-big-things for the price of one are on the docket at Last Exit Live Friday, along with decker., Sedona's most punctuated folk band, whose new album Slider came out in February.
They're not on major labels anymore, but the positive take on that is that you won't have your reverie interrupted by A&R guys muttering "jangle" and "Tempe Sound" to themselves. Get there early and go home with a split CD with songs from each band.
There are a lot of colors, and from what I can tell every single one of them is trying to get you to become aware of a very pressing issue or cause. (Purple has plenty of them.) Rock the Purple is a concert series benefiting the Purple Ribbon Council, and proceeds apparently go to domestic violence prevention.
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So the $12 this show is set to run you will go to a good cause. Almost as pressingly, it'll get you in to see echoey, pensive locals iamwe.
Read more: iamwe packs Crescent Ballroom for the release of Run Wild.
Also on the slate: Tractor Pull Divas; Her & Gold, the lush solo project from Maria Sais de Sicilia of Bears of Manitou; and teenaged singer-songwriter Kenny Holland. So even if you forget just what it is you're supporting, you probably won't regret supporting it.