Happy Valentine's Day weekend. Here are seven shows, with varying degrees of hearts and chocolates, to enjoy this weekend.
Riff Raff is an endlessly quotable, sui generis pop culture figure, a bona fide celebrity who pals around with Drake and Justin Bieber. His YouTube videos get millions of views. Despite some extremely catchy songs, he's had no chart success to speak of, and many folks paying attention to him don't necessarily find his music compelling. They just want to know if he's serious.
Onlookers argue over his merit and his intentions, and detractors include both well-known rappers and commenters on white-power message boards. (One called him a "race traitor.") There's something polarizing about him; depending upon your point of view, Riff Raff seems either to embody the worst racial stereotypes or to transcend them. He peppers his rhymes about money, cars and women with surrealist humor that's crass but often hilarious -- on his recent single "Dolce & Gabbana" he rhymes, "Your bitch playing strip poker/I'm outside eatin' fried okra/(With who?) With Oprah!" BEN WESTHOFF
As Marilyn Manson approaches 50 years old, the world no longer is afraid of him. It's just not sure what to do with him, either. At times, it seems Manson doesn't know what to do with himself, but one thing he loves to do keep himself entertained. As we speak, I remind him that in an earlier conversation with me, he referred to Phoenix as the methamphetamine capital of the United States, to which he tells me, "That would make you a meth-matician."
It's been more than 15 years since Manson was shocking the world, scaring parents, and taking heat for the Columbine High School massacre. He was the perfect replacement as poster boy for the goth community after his mentor, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, disappeared from the limelight as the pressure of writing the follow-up to 1994's The Downward Spiral became too much. It was Reznor who discovered Manson in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and took him under his wing, signing the band to his Interscope imprint, Nothing Records. Reznor remixed and revamped the band's debut record, Portrait of an American Family, before producing Manson's masterpiece, Antichrist Superstar. JIM LOUVAU
While Mix 96.9's Broken Hearts Ball on Friday, February 13, is admittedly aimed at singles who'd like to mingle, couples are also welcome to attend and swoon along with everyone else as headlining performers and heartthrobs Mat Kearney, Dayweather, and Christian Burghardt perform their poppy love songs. DJ Aaron Taylor will also be in the mix, should you want to get close on the dance floor. Doors are at 8 p.m. PHOENIX NEW TIMES
Over the past few years, the Red Bull Thre3style DJ Championship has become the premier DJ Battle in the U.S., with competitors entering from all over the country. It divides the country into four regions with preliminary battles in different cities. The winners of each (judged by past winners and other industry veterans) continue on to compete in Los Angeles. Winning the national or even regional competition would be a huge step forward in any DJ's career.
In an industry where so much of your success or failure is influenced by things like your image, marketing, industry connections, money, location, and other factors, it's nice to enter a competition that is based strictly on your performance. All you have is your 15 minutes, your equipment, creativity, song selection, technical ability, and gift to make an impression. In a world where success is clearly not based on merit alone, theoretically everyone entering the battle has the same chance for success.
Red Bull Thre3style returns to Phoenix on February 14 and will feature a slew of DJs from Phoenix and around the southwest, including previous winner M2, as well as DJ Akshen, DJ Javin, Jeff Metcalf, Albuquerque's DJ OHM, and Blaze from Las Vegas. ADAM FOSTER
Wooden Indian's music is psychedelic, and not because drugs are a necessary accompaniment to hearing it -- it's that, as frontman Wally Boudway hopes, listening to it is a trip. With a seven-piece band, it sometimes is difficult to tell which instrument is making which sound. According to Boudway, that is exactly how the band wants it.
Wooden Indian hasn't played a concert for awhile, as Boudway was touring Europe with Califone. So this show is a homecoming of sorts. PHOENIX NEW TIMES
Don't beat yourself up if you missed psychedelic rockers the Myrrors' debut, Burning Circles in the Sky, way back in 2008. The album was released in scant quantities around Phoenix -- a run of about 50 hand-burned CD-Rs exist -- but the young band showed promise, enough so that in 2013, long after leader Nik Rayne had relocated to Tucson to study writing and mostly disbanded the group, Germany's Merlin's Nose and the UK-based imprint Fuzz Club, ended up reissuing the debut.
The interest reignited the Myrrors, leading to Arena Negra, a brand new full-length from the reconstituted band. The record moves light years beyond the Black Angels-indebted indie psych of the debut, exploring elements of free jazz, the minimalism of avant-garde composer La Monte Young, Turkish Sufi ensembles, Balinese gamelan, the jazz fusion of trumpeter Don Cherry, and the progressive rock of Swedish band Träd Gräs och Stenar.
The Myrrors are joined by Destruction Unit, Cherie Cherie, The Night Collectors, & Draa at the concert. JASON P. WOODBURY
Tracing buoyant dream pop through sardonic poetry scrapbooks, Springtime Carnivore's debut self-titled album assumes many different poses, whether it's doubtfully exploring past lives on "Name on a Matchbook" or comparing lovers' battle wounds on "Two Scars."
Frontwoman Greta Morgan seems fixated on desert landscapes -- it's where she vaguely claims to be from. When we speak to her, she says she's rented a house for a month in Joshua Tree, California. She's working on the soundtrack for a motion picture, directed by boyfriend Eddie O'Keefe, about two lovers who escape a mental hospital and set out to kill Elvis. TROY FARAH
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.