Grit Parade

Colorado's reigning kings of Americana are amping up the sound that prompted Denver Post readers to vote them the state's "best alt-country band." According to Rainville front man John Common, the group is "heading into an indie-rock-inspired kind of gritty rock 'n' roll territory." Common promises a preview of the band's "more aggressive" new direction when Rainville rolls into Long Wong's this Thursday, May 29. "It's definitely gonna be a different kind of sound," he says. "Way more rock, way less alt-country Americana."

Backed by guitarist Ian Hlatky, bassist Matt Sumner and drummer Larry Joireman, Common has begun to implement keyboards -- and the occasional toy piano -- into the band's live show. New percussive elements also are in the works, as the quartet prepares to bang out its third album this fall, the follow-up to 2002's The Longest Street in America.

Showtime is 9:30 p.m. at Long Wong's, 701 South Mill in Tempe, with a $3 cover charge. Call 480-966-3147 for more information. -- Jill Koch

Hip-Hop Hooray
Getting jiggy with it in Chandler

Classic Image Dance looks to take you Beyond the Imagination on Saturday, May 31, at the Chandler Center for the Arts. The first half of the 7 p.m. performance focuses on a hip-hop interpretation of Alice in Wonderland, followed by a showcase of jazz, ballet, tumble and hip-hop from nearly 300 dancers.

The center is located at 250 North Arizona Avenue in Chandler. Tickets, $10 to $12.50 in advance, start at $12.50 at the door. For details or to purchase, call the box office at 480-782-2680 or log on to -- Eric Schandel

Royal Pains
"To be or not to be?"

Murder, incest, betrayal and revenge. You thought your family had issues. First, Prince Hamlet returns home to find his dad dead and his uncle married to his mom; now, he's seeing ghosts and getting hassled to avenge his father's death. No wonder he's pouty.

And, in true Shakespearean fashion, things are about to get worse.

The Valley's Shakespeare Theatre revives the Bard's tale of melancholy and madness, still fascinating four centuries later. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark opens Thursday, May 29, and runs through June 15 at Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre, on the northeast corner of Central and McDowell. Curtain times are 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Call 602-796-2038 for tickets: $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and military personnel, and $10 for students. -- Jill Koch

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Jill Koch
Contact: Jill Koch
Eric Schandel