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