Plenty to do this weekend, from past-their-prime '80s rockers to up-and-coming locals. Check out our five recommendations, and browse our comprehensive listings for even more options.
Hometown folk punk heroes Andrew Jackson Jihad always have had the right kind of twisted humor, whether it's discussing white privilege, murder, or love in the time of human papillomavirus. The band's fifth full-length album, Christmas Island, is no exception, though the themes are bleak. The main common thread is singer Sean Bonnette reflecting on his grandfather's recent death ("Coffin Dance," "Do, Re, and Me," "Angel of Death"), resulting in some of the group's best songwriting to date. "Temple Grandin" uses the autism activist, Helen Keller, and Stevie Wonder as metaphors for being dumb, deaf, and blind to the bullshit of the world, a theme explored further in the sage conclusion of "Kokopelli Face Tattoo" -- "hating you won't make you suck any less." Christmas Island is full of subtle humor and disgusting imagery ("with eyes as red as a shitting dog's asshole") that comes to a head with the sincere final stanzas of "Angel of Death." The song clues into the meaning behind the album title by contrasting the 1962 nuclear test Operation Dominic with a video clerk professing that Bad Lieutenant 2 is the greatest movie, ever. --Melissa Fossum
Anyone who calls themselves a fan of heavy metal needs to see Slash shred live at least once in their lives. Most probably saw him back in late-'80s/early-'90s with Guns N' Roses, or in the mid-to-late-2000s with Velvet Revolver. But his current solo kick, with his 2010 self-titled, rock star-loaded album, and 2012's Apocalyptic Love, recorded with Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge), Brent Fitz and Todd Kerns, is a solid rock 'n' roll effort as well. After all, Slash has been included on "greatest guitarists" and "best guitar solos" lists by publications such as Time, Rolling Stone, Guitar World and Esquire, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Guns N' Roses, and in 2010 the West Hollywood mayor even declared August 26 "Slash Day." I saw Slash performing with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators at Rock on the Range in 2012, and onstage the group has an amazing chemistry. --Lauren Wise
Instead of describing immensely talented singer-songwriter Jay Brannan's music to you ourselves, we thought we'd let Youtube comments on his videos do the trick for us:
"Touching.... first makes you think about the slight fear in being alone near death."
"This song just rips my heart out."
"Another downer song from Jay Brannan. Who needs that? Can't you be happy just once?"
"I honestly found this song so beautiful...I started crying."
"maybe he could do a miley cyrus cover. just something, just ANYTHING thats not slit your wrist music. his lyrics are definitely a bit depressing"
And that about covers it. --Phoenix New Times
If you're a local Miniature Tigers fan, hopefully you're not still crying about their move from Phoenix to Brooklyn that took place a few years ago. The indie rockers do a healthy amount of touring and seem to hit the Valley on the regular to give both old fans and newbies a fix of their signature mix of their sassy, reflective, dance-y pop rock. This time, the band is touring in support of its latest release, Cruel Runnings, a 10-song offering that delivers the group's signature pop-driven wit, and it sounds as though Mini Ts cranked up the confidence level a few notches. This one is dripping with a fun swagger that says they've always had game but now they intend to use it. The album's cover art is as much a tribute to the '80s as the recording, featuring the band decked out in pastels and preppy attire so crisp and clean that they look like the love children of the Miami Vice cops and the rich kids from a John Hughes movie. Tracks like the synth-y "Oblivious" get stuck on a loop in your head and help foster the retro vibe. --Amy Young
Every now and then you need a little Americana fix to keep your musical circuits firing properly. Mrs. Lincoln fits the bill. The five- or six-piece band, depending on the night, offers a soulful blend of folk, blues, bluegrass and country, perfect for a take-it-easy show on a Sunday night. --Phoenix New Times
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.