If it ain't one apocalypse, it's another, right? First December 21 rolls on by with nary an earthquake or a giant dragon emerging from the sky and burning us all to death with his flaming volcano mouth, and now we're perched on the edge of the dreaded fiscal cliff.
But chances are things will probably be pretty normal on January 1, 2013: you'll wake up with a wicked hangover (or just really tired), and try to remember how much fun you had the night before (which, if you go to any of these events, will be a lot).
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If Wolfgang Gartner were to compile a list of his biggest moments of 2012, the 30-year-old electro and progressive house producer would have plenty of fodder from which to pick. He not only collaborated with such EDM heavy-hitters as Deadmau5 (on the spectacular club banger "Animal Rights") and Tiësto (co-producing "We Own the Night," which scorched both the UK and Beatport charts), he also was ranked seventh on the annual "America's Best DJ" poll, beating out the likes of Mad Decent founder Diplo and Duck Sauce's A-Trak.
And then there's the fact that Gartner got to perform at the Spike network's recent Video Game Awards, where he not only was suspended above the audience on an aerial stage (all while being strapped into a testicle-crushing body harness) but also got a pimp introduction from Mace Windu himself, ceremony host Samuel L. Jackson. It's not the only quasi-Star Wars connection Gartner's got going on recently, however.
During last month's high-profile HARD LA festival at the legendary Hollywood Palladium, he provided a showstopping set from atop a custom-made globe-shaped and LED-covered DJ booth that he dubbed "The Death Star." And with all the bank that Gartner -- a lifelong Star Wars fanatic -- has been pulling down these days, we wouldn't be shocked if he somehow owns an actual Imperial Shuttle. It definitely would come in handy getting him betwixt the pair of gigs he's scheduled to work on New Year's Eve in different states, first in Denver and then, a few hours later, at the Last Dance affair in Scottsdale. Hope there ain't any delays at the spaceport, er, airport. May the force be with him. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Maybe it's just us, but New Year's Eve soirees can sometime be a bit milquetoast. Set aside all the fireworks and midnight countdowns, and i's just another party or club night. The thing that really sets the best and brightest Auld Lang Syne affairs apart from most other champagne-soaked shindigs is the sort of interesting activities and entertainment that takes place in addition to all the bottle-popping. Like, say, all the artsy and offbeat shenanigans that will ensue at Maybe 2013 Will Be Better, the annual New Year's Eve extravaganza happening at The Compound, 805 South Farmer Avenue in Tempe, on Monday, December 31.
Besides various live-art displays and a gigunda collection of work from more than 50 creatives -- including such local standouts as painter Jason Rudolph Peña, the Molton Brothers, and mural king Lalo Cota -- the indoor/outdoor event will feature spin gigs by four different DJs, each with their own unique sound. For instance, the always-eclectic Djentrification is likely to break out a diverse array of both rare and discovered vinyl and weird obscura during his set. Meanwhile, Pickster One (who recently returned to the Valley after his whirlwind jaunt through Europe) will be popping off with plenty of his signature moombahton and old school hip-hop mixes, Dalmation Disco will rain down rock 'n' roll debauchery, and Just Chris will serve up plenty of indie dance. The party starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $10. -- Benjamin Leatherman
By day, Suzy Homewrecker is the supervisor of a local laboratory that studies pathology and immunohistochemistry. At night or on the weekends, however, the 30-year-old crimson-haired vixen becomes a tough-as-nails roller derby queen, a gothy go-go dancer, or industrial music DJ known as Defense.Mekanizm. It all depends on her particular mood or whatever event she's planning on performing at calls for, like the monthly Cupcake! fetish night parties at the Rogue that she performs at along with cohort/fiance DJ Self.Destrukt.
This coming Tuesday, Homewrecker and her equally bizarre-looking beau will reign over the kooky crowd and spin up industrial, electro, and other hard-edged sounds at the New Year's Eve edition of Cupcake!, which has been subtitled "Berserk! Cirque!" They're hoping the fetishistic fiesta will provide an more interesting Auld Lang Syne alternative for fellow freaks or any one else interested in avoiding otherwise boring New Year's Eve experience. -- Benjamin LeathermanLove Me Nots @ Yucca Tap Room
Though they spent most of 2012 moonlighting with their synth rawk combo Zero Zero, Nicole Laurenne and guitarist/husband Michael Johnny Walker are known worldwide for their amped up garage pop band, The Love Me Nots.
The band's 2011 release, The Demon & the Devotee , pairs vintage Sunset Strip strut with chiming Byrds melodies and shredding Farfisa organ, and while Zero Zero's Mayday (a record we like a whole lot) certainly has its many charms, plenty of fans will be happy to groove to the band's classic sound at the Yucca Tap Room on Monday, December 31. They'll be joined by Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Dead Eyes of London, and The Sex. -- Jason P. Woodbury
The Dirty Heads' latest album, Cabin by the Sea, fuses punk, hip-hop, and reggae, not unlike legendary stoner band Sublime (Matisyahu and The Dirty Heads have both toured with Sublime with Rome).
"[Cabin by the Sea] was an idea that came out of a guitar part that Duddy [guitarist Dustin Bushnell] wrote, a lullaby for his daughter," vocalist Jared Watson, a.k.a Dirty J, says. "We wrote it so you could just hit play and it would transfer you to a different place that people can listen to when they are at the beach, or camping in the mountains."
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Though The Dirty Heads have only two albums, the band formed in 1996, building a steady following by endlessly touring. Their 2008 debut, Any Port in Storm, was a hit, and though the band was eager to begin crafting a followup, the lure of the road kept them on the touring circuit. When the band finally got back into the studio, they had a vision for the record, one that was melodic but loose.
"We're in a better place musically, and we've honed our chops," Watson says. "At the same time, it's more about the feel of the music than how good we are. You know, we're really not that good. Like, we couldn't do American Idol. We'd get laughed at. It's like the Black Keys, you know? They've kind of perfected imperfection." -- Lauren Wise