Here are our picks for this weekend. Be sure to check out our comprehensive concert calendar for more options.
As rappers go, Immortal Technique is one of the more baffling. He's perhaps most famous for "Dance With The Devil," a 2001 song about a wannabe thug whose desire to be hard blows up in his face in the most cringeworthy and shocking way possible. The song traveled like wildfire around college campuses at the turn of the century, creating a fiercely loyal fanbase that latched onto the MC's other songs, which dealt with political injustice, racial politics, the drug war, and other causes embraced by the liberal arts college crowd. In the decade-plus since the release of his best-known song, Technique has maintained his fiery political side but has taken an unfortunate detour into conspiracy theories, dropping references to masons and 9/11 being an inside job into his political verses. On the other hand, he's accomplished some very real, quality projects, like helping fund and build an orphanage in Afghanistan. These days, it's tough to tell just what is going on in Technique's head, but he's still impressive some pretty tough-to-please people: joining him on tour is none other than legendary MC Talib Kweli. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
It's easy to imagine Robert DeLong working furiously into the night at the cramped production space inside the garage attached to his house in Mt. Washington. He's got a savant quality to him, and talks quickly and decisively with the matter of fact authority of someone who just always knew they were going to be successful making music.
The 26-year-old Seattle native moved to L.A. when he was 18, studying drums at Azusa Pacific University and playing in various groups around town after that while also working on his own material. DeLong didn't anticipate becoming a solo artist, but says it was logistically easier to not have to coordinate schedules or interface with bandmates. And this way, he could work as late as he wanted to.
A musician since childhood, DeLong started on percussion via his drummer father and taught himself how to play piano and guitar along the way. He's always been a singer. In high school, DeLong played in pop punk bands, ("we weren't any good"), and after college he taught drum lessons while gaining inspiration via the L.A. underground electronic scene he found at parties.
"I had always been into more atmospheric and glitch electronic music like Boards of Canada," he says, "but when I started going to electronic festivals everything kind of came together. I'm a product of the times as much as anybody." KATIE BAIN
The Hourglass Cats music is almost completely unrecognizable from when they first began playing desert reggae in 2011. Their sound is bolder, more worldly, easier to dance to, and way more rock 'n' roll. The lineup has shifted at least half a dozen times, but frontman Cori Rios and sax man Chaz Fertal have remained stalwart members of THC, propelling the band forward through sheer force of will and really leveling up every year. First they dropped their EP 432; then they leveraged that into their first appearance at Apache Lake Music Festival. The following March they made their debut appearance on the local stage at McDowell Mountain Music Festival, and a year later their big level up is stepping up from the local stage to take a slot on the main stage at MMMF, the opening slot. The Hourglass Cats will be the first band to take the stage at Phoenix's own Bonnaroo opening up the festivities for acts like Passion Pit, Portugal The Man, and STRFKR. JEFF MOSES
Burning Bush existed from 1987 to 1993 and consisted of Thomascyne Ryther (guitar, vocals), Denise Tanguay (bass, vocals), and Audrey Creed (drums). And in fact it was social media that brought them back together. When Kevin Daly posted a picture of his '80s band Hellfire on Facebook and mused about bringing them back together for a show, Denise Tanguay texted him that if he was going to do that, there ought to be a Burning Bush reunion as well. SERENE DOMINIC
Yup, the Beach Boys are coming. This isn't like the 2012 tour, where Brian Wilson and Mike Love reunited with a bunch of original members and played 50 songs a night. Nope, besides Love and Bruce Johnston (the guy who may have been the first person to play Pet Sounds for John Lennon and Paul McCartney), there aren't any other original members -- yup, Wilson is not included here. So be prepared for a strong helping of surf and car songs, minus the piercing self-reflection of Wilson's more intimate Beach Boys tunes. PHOENIX NEW TIMES
You may not immediately recognize the name Paul Williams, but the singer-songwriter and actor left a huge footprint on popular culture. He wrote "Rainy Days and Mondays" for The Carpenters and "Evergreen," the Academy Award winning theme to the Barbara Streisand film A Star Is Born, and starred as Little Enos in Smokey and the Bandit. Most famously, he co-wrote the songs for the classic film The Muppet Movie.
"The Rainbow Connection" has allowed the multi-hyphenate to influence and endure across generations, but it was his performance as the evil music producer Swan in the Brian DePalma film Phantom of the Paradise that won him fanboy cred and led to interesting collaborations in recent years, including co-writing the song "Touch" on 2013's Random Access Memories and accepting the Grammy for duo Daft Punk. He is also working on a musical version of the film Pan's Labyrinth with Guillermo Del Toro (He signed the film director's copy of the Phantom's Oscar nominated soundtrack years ago.).
Williams has a plethora of stories he's sharing to accompany his stellar catalog in addition to promoting his latest work, the self-help book Gratitude and Trust with screenwriter Tracey Jackson. JASON KEIL
Better known for fronting the electropopfunk band Black Moth Super Rainbow, Tobacco has gone from underground, Pittsburgh-area dude making music on CDRs in his bedroom, to having his songs in the Emmys. Born Thomas Fec, he's toured with Flaming Lips, sold out venues, recorded with Beck, and had his music featured on Nickelodeon (sort of).
His 2014 release, Ultima II Massage, is more hip-hop than what he was doing before. The beats feel sleazy and funky, as if created for intergalactic porn. "I was trying to make my own contemporary soundtrack to the '90s hotline commercials," he explains, referencing those 1-900 numbers you could call back in the day for anything from Nintendo tips to jokes. JAKE MCGEE
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