Yes, the man behind commercially ubiquitous songs like "Old Time Rock and Roll" and "Like a Rock" is coming to Phoenix this week. Bob Seger's legacy includes 17 studio albums that have gone platinum 20 times, a co-writing credit on the Eagles hit "Heartache Tonight," and countless, mind-boggling numbers of tickets sold through the years. It's tempting to critically dismiss Seger's new album, Ride Out, as a phoned in victory lap, a brass crown more than three decades after his debut album, but frankly, the album is pretty vintage Seger. When the Onion wrote the brilliant story, "Pathetic, Washed-Up Rock Star On Fifth Decade Of Doing Exactly What He Always Wanted," the story was ostensibly about Peter Wolf, but substitute Seger and you get the picture. Seger's hits sounded nostalgic when they were brand new, but he's carved out an admirable career for himself, middle finger extended to the haters and riding the love of his fans all the way to the bank.
Here are our picks this week, and be sure to check out our comprehensive concert calendar for more options.
Dr. Dog is a popular band. Attribute that to the strength of their music, which blends tight vocal harmonies and vintage rock 'n' roll with a Grateful Dead-like softness. But one of the most charming aspects of the band is its seeming disdain for cavernous, impersonal venues. Look at Dr. Dog's touring schedule and you'll see that the band dots its itinerary with multiple-night stays in smaller venues across the country, when it could probably sell out those towns' larger concert halls. Dr. Dog isn't doing two nights in Phoenix, but it's close. The Valley will get an early and a late show from the band, the latter 21-and-over. It's a great opportunity to see why people care so much about this group. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
Something about a jam band's free-form nature allows its members to be lured into the world of electronica. Maybe it's the improvisational aspect and the turns the music takes as DJs adapt to the audience? Maybe it simply is the like-mindedness that a solid dance groove trumps all others? Whatever the reasons, the connection between the two genres is strong, quite notably in Lotus. The group entered the musical landscape strictly as a jam band in 1999, riding heavy prog riffs and sharp tempo changes among noodling guitar lines and funky bottom-end grooves. This was way before EDM but during the techno movement's crossover-to-accessibility period, elements of which seeped in the band's collective consciousness. In time, thee driving beats and purposeful grooves began to overshadow the jammy aspects of the core sound. Wisely, however, Lotus put on the brakes before succumbing to EDM's hallucinogenic temptations and alienating the group's loyal audience. Yet, Lotus haven't quit cold turkey, either, merging the two styles into one progressive sound. Gilded Age, the band's latest, is a 50-50 split, touching on the band's jam roots, as well as its electronic future, with plenty of overlap. The constant: It's all about getting a groove on. GLENN BURNSILVER
f you have neither heard nor heard of Simply Three, you really ought to start paying attention, or, at the very least, give them a listen. Thousands of others certainly have, as the Tempe-based classical crossover trio, comprised of three local string musicians, has gotten a lot of praise in recent months for their fantastic instrumental versions of well-known pop and rock songs.
In the last year alone, Simply Three has earned a ton of attention (and hundreds of thousands if YouTube views) from covering such hitmakers as OneRepublic, Pharrell Williams, and Imagine Dragons, each time transposing pop bombast into joyous string music in artful fashion. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
The light rail bridge that runs over Margaret T. Hance Park of course made the trip from downtown Phoenix to midtown Phoenix far easier. But it also offers one of the best places in town to catch a free acoustic show during the Under the Bridge concerts. The enigmatic Travis James has been a big proponent of these ad hoc acoustic parties, but he isn't the only Phoenician to ever do it. The shows are a fine assembly of the musical fringe, and everyone knows that's where the most interesting stuff happens.
The latest edition of the Under the Bridge series on Wednesday, February 18, will not only feature James's band, the Acrimonious Assembly of Arsonists, but also My Pizza My World, D.G. Scherrer, Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold, Hug of War, Out Past Curfew, and Perfect Laughter. JEFF MOSES
He's been a Michigan garage-band pioneer, an AM rock god and a Chevy pitchman, but Bob Seger is now, simply, a survivor. A new record is rumored to come out next year. Even if it doesn't, the man has earned a victory lap after more than 50 years in the rock 'n' roll business. His live shows inspire Springsteen levels of devotion, and the traits that those two men share -- a blue-collar work ethic, piano-driven rock, plenty of raspy growling -- have long since changed from a young man's angst to an old man's memory. But if "Night Moves" has taught us anything, it's that those memories hold all of our secrets and desires. Even if rock 'n' roll never forgets, it occasionally needs a reminder of who its elder statesmen are. CHRISTIAN SCHAEFFER
A Steve Aoki performance is one of the better, faster, stronger sets in electronic dance music. To a world once dominated by heads-down, booth-enveloped DJs, Aoki has introduced punk-rock antics: He showers crowds with Champagne, voyages into the liquid masses crowd-surfing on an inflatable boat, and even sprained his neck stage-diving last year. The results, somewhat like adding theatrics, molecular gastronomy and television cameras to modern cuisine, have been sensational if not outright controversial. "He's not a guy, like many DJs, who just stands there and stares into his computer," American EDM pioneer Egil Aalvik of Groove Radio says. "He's anything but that." Instead, Aoki is the king of caking -- throwing handfuls of actual birthday cake, topped with the scene's signature "peace, love, unity and respect," or PLUR, at his adoring fans. For all his success, the 37-year-old L.A. resident is an unlikely EDM superstar. He came out of left field in the mid-'00s, playing indie rock and hip-hop, letting the likes of Lindsay Lohan take over his decks, and practically dissing dance-music royalty, telling Billboard's Kerri Mason in 2007: "Paul van Dyk, Erick Morillo, Tiësto -- I have never even heard of half these DJs, or know their music." Aoki has lived to eat those words, gleefully so. He's not only a convert -- he's also American EDM's new prince. The punk who took the piss out of the superstar DJ became the highest-ranked stateside spinner on DJ Magazine's vaunted annual Top 100 DJs poll. Only L.A.'s Skrillex, who's relatively new to DJing and uses a push-button laptop program, ranks higher. DENNIS ROMERO