The Donkeys - Friday, September 4 - Valley Bar Yes - Friday, September 4 - Talking Stick Resort
Here are our concert picks for this weekend. For more options, visit our comprehensive concert calendar.
The Donkeys, not to be confused with the late-’70s power pop band from West Yorkshire or the Japanese noise rock outfit, have a solid fan base in Phoenix, prompting these Californians to visit about once a year. The Donkeys often get pegged as an alt-country or blues rock band, but this oversimplifies the San Diego band’s more full-bodied, psychedelic influences and their pop melodies. After all, multi-instrumentalist Jessie Gulati learned sitar in India, the third-eye twang appearing on tracks like “East Coast Raga” and “Imperial Beach.” Ride the Black Wave (2014) further expanded The Donkeys’ sound with more surf rock and Caribbean influences, but still retains some of their Neil Young nods on “Shines” and “I Heart Alabama.” “Black Wave” even has some Black Moth Super Rainbow influences on it. All this makes for a much more eclectic, yet immersive sound that has the ability to extract so many good vibes at once. TROY FARAH
When a band loses its last original member, it’s typically the signal for the remaining members to call it quits. In the case of Yes, which began in 1968, the musical legacy outshines the sums of its part. Yes is a band that was always destined to continue despite Phoenix resident and founding bassist Chris Squire’s passing from leukemia in June. Squire’s desire that Yes “keep it moving on,” was made easier by the fact that guitarist Steve Howe has mostly been with the band since 1970, and drummer Alan White has been a constant force since 1972. “It will never be the same, but we’re trying to move on because Chris wanted us to move it on,” White says. While the band hit its peak in the 1970s, it such timeless songs as “Close to Edge,” “Yours is No Disgrace,” “Roundabout,” “And You and I” and “Heart of the Sunrise,” among others, have kept the band touring regularly through the decades. It has “gone the way of classical music, like Bach or Beethoven. It’s just something people remember.” The August 2014 Mesa Arts Center performance was memorable enough, White says, to be recently released on CD. GLENN BURNSILVER
The Donkeys - Friday, September 4 - Valley Bar
Yes - Friday, September 4 - Talking Stick Resort
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Okilly Dokilly - Saturday, September 5 - Trunk Space
It started as a joke. It became real. Then it went viral. Okilly Dokilly is simply a juxtaposition of something harmless (Ned Flanders) with something sinister (metal), but something about the band — and its incredible press photo of five dudes wearing sweaters with varying degrees of cookie-dusters — struck at something dormant in the zeitgeist, drawing interest from all over the globe. Saturday night is the big night; it's the night when the band makes its formal live debut, where they will (presumably) debut songs in addition to the four originally released as part of the band's inception. The band has all sorts of plans for the evening, including a dark carnival of Springfield-related events. The band has gone through a lot of trouble to up the novelty of the show, so get there early — doors open at 7 p.m., but thousands of people have signed up on Facebook to attend the show. The capacity is only 150. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
Mega Ran - Saturday, September 5 - Crescent Ballroom
Raheem Jarbo has been living with split personalities since 2007. That’s when he started releasing hip-hop as Random, a socially conscious rapper trying to spit his version of truth to power, and Mega Ran, his video game rap- and nerdcore-based alter ego. With Jarbo’s newest record, RNDM, dropping on September 5, he will be exploring the multiple-personality concept (as well as other ideas in the alt/gamer rapper’s head) for all his fans to hear. Jarbo’s pre-rap teaching career is actually one of the larger overarching social themes running through RNDM. In “Revisions,” Random unloads his frustration with the American educational system, saying teachers aren’t paid enough, which forces good teachers to become administrators and that administrators don’t actually care whether students pass or fail. He even says that his own students’ grades were changed by administrators from failing to passing grades just to push the children on to the next grade level. JEFF MOSES
Headhunterz - Sunday, September 6 - Maya Day and Nightclub
This past year, hardstyle has become one of the biggest subgenres of EDM, with more and more new artists playing it and more festivals booking it. Headhunterz is one of the artists that pioneered hardstyle’s success. He’s got his own podcast, “HARDwithSTYLE”, where he’s been dropping long mixes and featuring new artists since 2011. From there, he launched a record label of the same name, making him the de facto king of hardstyle, dropping monstrous bass nonstop at every show. SARAH PURKRABEK