Curious 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.
If you've attended a major music festival, club night, or dance party within the past 12 months, it's almost certain that you've heard "Spaceman" being blasting over the sound system. The otherworldly six-minute track, crafted by Dutch-house wunderkind Hardwell (pictured) earlier this year, has pretty much become the new "Levels," as its insanely popular and is bordering on overexposure due to its inclusion in countless DJ mixes.
"Spaceman" has even been blended with any number of pop tracks (most famously with Gotye's "Someone I Used to Know") and is guaranteed to be a part of Hardwell's set at Mesa Amphitheatre, when he swings through the Valley on Friday, October 26, as a part of the Bounce Music Festival.
The 24-year-old is co-headlining the touring music festival with Eurodance ace Martin Solveig, who has a big-time club banger of his own ("The Night Out"). Turkish-born DJ/producer Deniz Koyu and Dutch remix king Dyro also are scheduled to perform at the six-hour EDM extravaganza. -- Benjamin LeathermanFriday, October 26: Band of Horses @ The Marquee Theatre
As indie rock has steadily gained popularity over the past few years, Band of Horses emerged as a flagship act, spring-boarding toward a certain kind of hushed stardom. Actually, it's not so quiet anymore -- TV appearances, a song on the soundtrack of a Twilight flick, and a Billboard charting for a previous record Infinite Arms, reveal just how much mainstream acceptance the group has.
The fans who have been around since their debut may want to believe that the band is still some personal secret, but it's a lost cause. The musical landscape has changed, and Band of Horses have changed alongside it, moving towards alt-country twangin' and pluckin', but the band's ear for broad pop hooks and massive arrangements has been present the entire time. The major-label-mandated coat of gloss on their more recent material is largely unnecessary, but it's part and parcel of the rock star treatment, and there's no more use in denying that Band of Horses are now rock stars. -- Ian Traas
When you spend as much time on the road as blues artist Shawn Pittman, you come to savor places like the Czech Stop on I-35 in West Texas.
"It's this little gas station and has all these great Czech pastries and sandwiches and stuff," he says during a phone interview. "It's where all the blues musicians stop."
Pittman may have his favorite sandwich shop down cold, but it's taken nearly a dozen years to nail down exactly what he wants to do musically. Blues has always been the basis of his work, but narrowing his focus took time. The difficulty began with his first couple of albums, recorded in the late 1990s at the height of the young blues gunslinger craze generated by Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Pittman signed the first record deal he was offered, and the label attempted to make him something he wasn't.
"The first couple records? I hate listening to those," he says wistfully. "I was a little too naive to know what people were trying to do with me. They wanted me to compete with [Lang and Shepherd], so my material early on was more toward that guitar hero/Stevie Ray Vaughan void everyone wanted to fill. In a way, I sort of allowed that to happen."--Glenn BurnsilverSaturday, October 27: Korn @ Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
The year is 1993. A crowd is gathered outside Underground Chicken Sound Studios in Huntington Beach, California, curious about the noises reverberating from inside. There's something about the sounds that is different.
The band is Korn, and it was just the start. Within years, the band would be headlining festivals and breaking through to mainstream audiences. They'd earn two Grammys, crank out 10 studio albums, and sell nearly 50 million copies.
The band served as a gateway band to young fans -- dominating Total Request Live on MTV the same time that boy bands and pre-fab pop outfits topped the charts. There's nothing like segueing from an 'N Sync tune to the music of Korn: Frontman Jonathan Davis' voice is capable of melodic emoting but also shredding screams, and the downtuned seven-string guitars of James "Munky" Schaffer and Brian "Head" Welch, combined with the rhythm section of bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu and drummer David Silveria, made for something new, a sound aided by hip-hop's rhythmic nimbleness and metal's crushing weight.
The band was, and still is, indescribably heavy compared to the glossy pop sounds of the day, and it led a generation of young kids down the path of heavy metal. Though most bands start mellowing after nearly 20 years and several lineup changes (Head left the band in 2005; Silveria departed in 2006 and was replaced by current drummer Ray Luzier), Korn has taken the opposite tack, releasing in 2011 its most divisive album, The Path of Totality.
"I think what we did was very bold and took a lot of balls, basing an album off dubstep," says Schaffer of the group's decision to incorporate modern electronic music into its sludge-y makeup. "It was our 10th record, and we just felt like it needed something . . . else."
The move in new directions was inspired by the members' outside activities: Davis' J-Devil guise, which finds him remixing and performing dubstep at grimy parties, helped introduce new sounds. Arvizu plays guitar in the band StillWell and is working on an instrumental jazz/funk solo album. Schaffer's side project, Fear and the Nervous System, explores melodic alt-rock in the vein of Smashing Pumpkins.
"I don't want to say that it's a complete 180, but it doesn't have the dubstep element," Schaffer says of his solo work. "We're utilizing many interesting recording techniques. It will be heavy, with more aggressive, in-your-face-guitars and melodic at the same time."
The shifts in focus helped to breath new life into the Korn template, as well as providing the creative release the band's obligations sometimes doesn't.
"I'm glad that we all have something other than Korn to focus on. It keeps us involved and ideas fresh for when Korn comes together," says Schaffer. "But all of our side projects are so different, as are our personalities."
It could be that the freedom afforded by embracing the eccentricities and unique approaches of each of those personalities is the key to Korn's lasting success, but to hear Schaffer tell the story, there's another key component:
Almost the same moment Bogan Via started out as a band, they started a relationship. As a duo, Bret Bender and Madeleine Miller possess two distinctly different personalities and voices, and that contrast fits their high-energy synth pop. Often compared as a "sunnier Beach House," the couple splits vocal duties. It represents a healthy duality -- Miller's falsetto complementing Bender's baritone, washed over with subdued hip-hop beats and perky synths.
The name comes from bougainvillea, the bush with paper-thin flowers found all over Phoenix. The band name is purposely misspelled for easier memorization. As did Miller, you may remember these whispy magenta and amber blossoms growing in your backyard. And as natives, Bogan Via are naturally finding their place in Phoenix's music scene, even when it isn't always easy.
"We've made some friends. It just seems like you think you know all the bands in town," Bender says. "And then it's like there's 50,000 bands I've never heard of."
But Miller is quick to list her favorite local acts. "I'm a really big fan of Sareena Dominguez. I love her. She's beautiful. I've really gotten into [Common Wall Media labelmates] Gospel Claws recently 'cuz they have this one song that's really awesome. Every now and then I'll see someone playing at a show . . . and it's just good stuff."--Troy Farah
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