Curious about what's going on around town this weekend? Need some suggestions as to how to rock, dance, or krump in the Valley of the Sun?
Don't fret: These are our Five Shows to See This Weekend.
DJ Dana and Johnny Volume are known for holding court at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe, where their long-running, long respected country night Valley Fever goes down each and every Sunday night. But this Friday finds them packing up the dusty wax and bringing a cadre of local outlaw/country/western/honky-tonk's finest, including the Tony Martinez Band, roots 'n' rolling band Hashknife Outfit, Barefoot & Pregnant, and ole timey string band Pick & Holler to downtown's Crescent Ballroom.
Tempe's Flying Scorpion might still be a young band, but that doesn't mean they're new to music.
They bring years of experience from former and current local bands like Mourning Maxwell, Slowpoke, Meet Corpse, The Smith Family Band, and Saddles. From folk rock to metal, that band's background is certainly diverse. You can hear it, and that's exactly what rhythm guitarist Alex Kling wanted, but not what he expected, when he started the band on his own just over a year ago.
"I didn't expect to end up with the four super stallions I play with now," Kling says. "They all play in other bands... and bring many different aspects to the sound that has become the current Flying Scorpion. At the same time, we are a new band and we are still developing quite a bit, and I'm happy with what we have done but even more excited with what we'll be doing in the near and distant future."
And in the super near future is the release of their first three-song disc. It's not an EP or an LP, though some might call it a "clever way to label a short-ass EP," he says.
Two of the CD's tracks can be heard now, but you'll have to go to the release show to hear the third, "Friendz." You might notice a running theme with the letter "Z."
"Z" is a metal-meets-alternative rocker Kling started writing when he lived in Spain in 2010, and "there is definitely no reflection of the flamenco I was listening to at the time," he jokes. The track melds Chris Elliott's Grohl-inspired lead vocals with impressive guitar riffs. -- Christina Caldwell (Read more about Flying Scorpion.)
If you ever need to get hold of Al Page on a Saturday afternoon, forget about trying to dial up the dope DJ and club promoter. The ringtone probably will get lost in the sweet sounds of whatever funk and soul blend he's brewing up at that particular moment of Swim Social, held by the pool at The Saguaro Hotel, 4000 North Drinkwater Boulevard in Scottsdale. Page sets the soundtrack for the exotic aquatic event, dropping dollops of Motown, moombahton, reggae, and indie rock into the breezy air at the hotel.
Guest selectors also get into the mix every week -- like when DJ Switch stops by on Saturday, August 4, to perform starting at 2 p.m. Drink deals and specialty cocktails also will be available inside the Saguaro at both Old Town Whiskey and Distrito. The music runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the hotel's signature mermaids and synchronized swimmers immediately follow. Admission is $10. Call 480-308-1100. -- Benjamin Leatherman
The idea of Los Angeles and Phoenix performers uniting for a split LP of collaborative love may sound pleasant, but the results are hardly harmonious. Noise bands saddle up alongside experimental synth pop, and interpreters of video-game rock jam alongside glum folkies. There's not one smooth transition here, but that's the point.
Any artist seated next to Funny World's Space Alien Donald ("The World's Oldest Gay Canadian Space Alien"), who raps about how robots give the best blowjobs, is going come off weirder and richer because of it. Treasure MammaL starts things off with a shrill, larynx-shredding (is there another way of humanly singing it?) cover of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On."
Fans of Andrew Jackson Jihad might be disappointed that their breakneck contribution, "Inner City Basehead History Teacher," has a longer title than playing time, but not one of its 44 seconds is wasted. There's plenty more of note: Father's Day's "I Don't Fucking Think So," which pulses with hardcore fury, ROAR's Bruce Johnston-era Beach Boy-ish cover of Treasure MammaL's "Bromance," Captain Ahab's pirating of Michael Jackson "Beat It" samples, and a contribution from Minibosses, who have finally give us a Batman theme with words. Words like "With my utility belt, I'll use my grappling hook!" Smooth flow's overrated, anyway. -- Serene Dominic (Download Space Alien Donald's "Robot Rap.")
The Daughters of Fission are a band in search of an identity. A web search offers mostly misleading information and even features former bassists who doubled on "assorted mumblings" and "screams." "There's a lot of information out there that's outdated," says drummer and lead vocalist Jason Prichard. "We're trying to deal with that."
To update, bassist Sam Lersch has been a member for a few years, guitarist Justin Beemer a few months. Keyboardist Stephanie Dilk and guitarist John Banks still make up the band's core. As for the exact nature of Daughters' current sound, Pritchard seems at a loss to qualify it, as well.
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"We have a more focused sound, I think," he offers. "We'll do quite a bit of genre-hopping, but there are some common threads. But it's more focused, maybe, I guess. I don't know. It's still very big-sounding; very lush and epic soundscapes, I guess, that we create."
Pritchard -- who notes that a new album currently is in the works -- says elements of jazz, reggae, and "Latin styles" are present, and prog rock and metal dominate in a loud and forceful, yet melodic, way. "It's kind of like that," he says. "It's a pretty big sound . . . I think." Yes, that much is true. -- Glenn BurnSilver