Check out our concert picks for this week. This time next week, the Super Bowl will be here, bringing with it the two most unlikeable teams in football that, not coincidentally, boast the NFL's two most obnoxious fan bases. Oh joy. Peruse our comprehensive concert calendar for more options.
While Portland, Maine's Cruel Hand has been identified with that strangely durable neo-hardcore style of the last decade, the band's sound stretches a little further, encapsulating the diverse energy and heaviness of Metallica and Bouncing Souls. Vocalist Chris Linkovich leads Cruel Hand with a Black Flag-era Henry Rollins' authority, projecting his scream-talk with an exercised control over jutting guitars and plenty of tempo-fluctuating breakdowns. BREE DAVIES
Korbe Canida was always that loud, obnoxious girl who constantly was singing and who thrived in a musical theater setting, eventually making her way to the K-12 Arizona Conservatory for Arts and Academics. She says her animated nature led to her being bullied as a kid. Now, she is modest and self-deprecating, playing three-hour solo sets of acoustic indie folk rock with her guitar on the patio of 5th and Wine in Old Town Scottsdale. The knockout beauty admits onstage to loving Dungeons & Dragons and other "nerdy things" before announcing, "Forgive me while I bite my nails -- they're too long to play guitar."
She sings about ex-lovers and relationships turned sour, with lyrics more powerful than the trite ones in Top 40 hits. She doesn't just go through the motions and belts about heartbreak, longing, and finding her identity. A New York City-trained actor, her performance chops are striking. She's admittedly still "that shaky girl apologizing for everything," but she's also more confident than ever. NICKI ESCUDERO
When you're feeling saucy, gypsy jazz is the music that soothes the soul. And the only man with suitable credentials to deliver your musical medicine is Grammy-winning guitarist John Jorgenson with his instrumental quintet that includes rhythm guitarist Doug Martin, bassist Simon Planting, jazz violinist Jason Anick, and percussionist Rick Reed. By incorporating elements of Latin, Romanian, classical, rock and Greek traditions into their special blend of music, these pioneers of the gypsy-jazz genre are able to transport you to another world of relaxation and groove. AMANDA PARSONS
Tucson's Human Behavior is in the business of making you feel more uncomfortable while a banjo is playing than you're typically accustomed to feeling. All the elements are there for a typical banjo experience -- close harmonies, light drumming, restrained, quiet peaks. You could assemble a folk-pop crossover band with these parts -- it's just that the end result wouldn't sound right at all, even if you were sure everything was in the right place. In songs like "I'm Sorry You're Saul," everything's a little off-kilter -- the voice is just a little too close to your ears, and the harmonies are somehow discomfiting and euphonious all at once, and the things he's singing about have little to do with, well, banjo topics. (Their new album, called Golgotha, has songs called "Yeshua at 12" and "I'm Sorry, Hosanna," if you'd like a taste of what they talk about instead.) Everyone's voice is just about to crack, but it's not with sadness so much as resignation. They're joined at the Trunk Space by Tristan Jemsek, Where Are All The Buffalo?, and Butter Knifes. DAN MOORE
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Wolfgang Gartner eschews onstage gimmicks typical of electronic music concerts. While there's no shortage of DJs looking to be the center of attention, Gartner prefers to let his skills do the talking, showcasing the candy-colored, sawtoothed synths and glitchy beats that fuel his laptop alchemy. When asked why he avoids such shtick, the electro-house guru says it helps him stand out from his desert-slinging, costume-sporting, hamster ball-surfing EDM brethren.
"I don't throw cake at people. I don't wear a suit or a mask. I don't spray champagne. I don't get on the mic and stand on a table and yell at people to get the fuck out. I play music that I think people should hear and put a lot of organic, physical energy into it without gimmicks," Gartner says. "I feel like I'm one of the few people who has any integrity left in the DJ industry these days because it's all come down to people thinking audiences are so stupid that they're trying to get them anyway that they can--by throwing stuff at them or getting them to [form a] mosh pit. It's gotten to a point where it's ridiculous, and personally, I will never buy into that." Good thing, too, since such things probably wouldn't fly in an intimate Scottsdale danceteria like BLUR Nightclub. NICOLE PAJER