Earlier in May, Justin Timberlake announced he would be coming through Phoenix on his enormous solo tour, which set off a concert-excitement bomb the likes of which hadn't been seen since -- well, since those Prince shows, I guess, even earlier in May. More recently, the Backstreet Boys announced they'd be playing a concert in September. It was not quite such a big deal, which has to be rough for all the people out there who touted Millennium over No Strings Attached.
More Phoenix and Phoenix-area show announcements -- including some early State Fair news -- after the jump:
Backstreet Boys - Comerica Theatre - September 5
With Jesse McCartney this time, and not New Kids on the Block, in case you were wondering. The Backstreet Boys have now been back together -- since 2005 -- for longer than they were releasing albums in the first place (1996-2000.)
So the bloom is probably off the rose, a little; most of the people who wanted to see The Backstreet Boys because they screamed at TRL for two years in the late '90s have seen The Backstreet Boys.
Only the superfans remain, but the good news is that there are at least enough of them to fill Comerica Theatre. The Backstreet Boys aren't Justin Timberlake's equal anymore, but they have crossed the gap between reunion-show band and nostalgia show band. Which takes some doing.
The Crystal Method - Monarch Theatre - July 13
It's been called dance music for people who like rock, but the tag's too reductive. While The Crystal Method's "big beat" sound has often featured a rock roar (including guitarists Wes Borland from Limp Bizkit and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello), it also accompanies layered loops of pop, soul and hip-hop over effervescent breakbeats.
Their 1997 debut, Vegas, came hot on the heels of the Chemical Brothers' huge Dig Your Own Hole album, and with its similarly rock-inspired vibe, took off, going platinum. Since then, The Crystal Method has remained dedicated to its rangy sound. -- Chris Parker
After the jump: State Fair announcements. ZZ Top, you guys.
State Fair Announcements
ZZ Top - October 13
There aren't a lot of people out there complaining about the way, say, Robert Palmer is always reduced to his music videos. ZZ Top, though? If you treat them like an '80s novelty band you will get letters.
They are a technically competent, blues-heavy, fantastically self-aware rock band who just happens to play spinning guitars with huge beards and drive a car filled with girls called The Eliminator.
Fans of both sides of ZZ Top will probably get their due at the fair. It might also help to familiarize yourself with La Futura, their last album (as produced by Rick Rubin.) It features "I Gotsta Get Paid," which features some tropes you're probably going to recognize.
Alabama Shakes - October 24
It's a lot harder to see the path a rock band could take to big state fair shows than it used to be, if only because bands that look like ZZ Top do not often find themselves on MTV anymore.
Alabama Shakes, formed in 2009, wisely cut out the '80s fame-and-fortune portion of the journey by instantly appealing to both country and non-country fans of guitar music. Since then they've been all over the place--only in part because there are like five popular rock bands that all the national outlets have to share now.
After the jump: Two more shows coming in July.
Superhumanoids - Crescent Ballroom - July 1
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LA-based Superhumanoids make pop music for you to argue over what "chillwave" means by.
Blitzen Trapper - Crescent Ballroom - July 14
There's a rollicking charm to Blitzen Trapper's blend of folk and classic rock that suggests a summer day. Perhaps it's the bright, sunny '60s melodies or the way guitars alternate between the crackle of country-fried distortion and jangling acoustics, vacillating between Neil Young and Jerry Garcia like a picnic featuring football and Frisbee. Or maybe it's just how frontman Eric Earley's thoughtful songs sound perfect tooling down the highway with the windows down, his meditations teased out over the rolling asphalt.
That's what makes American Goldwing an ideal title for Blitzen Trapper's sixth album, a nostalgic release that captures that same feeling of moving forward while sitting still. Like the titular road motorcycle, it's about what happens while you're covering that wide-open expanse. -- Chris Parker