The Supersuckers back in the day.
Courtesy of Sub Pop
Saturday, December 2
The Supersuckers started when, as a boy in Tucson, lead singer and bassist Eddie Spaghetti heard "My Sharona" by The Knack, which hooked him on rock 'n' roll. He formed the Supersuckers with a group of friends in the late '80s. "I was more interested in forming a band with guys I liked to hang out with than looking for guitar virtuosos, so I found a ragtag group of drunks."
That motley crew relocated to Seattle right when the grunge movement exploded to national attention. "That was super-cool," Spaghetti says. "Moving to Seattle was like that moment in The Wizard of Oz
when everything goes from black and white to color. There was Nirvana, Mudhoney, and Soundgarden all playing. It was amazing."
They signed to Sub Pop (the same record label Nirvana was on) but weren't easy to typecast into the super-serious, woe-is-me scene America came to associate with Seattle. The Supersuckers had a lighter tone and embraced the ridiculous, right down to Spaghetti's trademark cowboy hat. The band would eventually find its voice and build a two-decadelong career touring around the country. David Rolland
Riva Starr & Mat.Joe
EDM producer Riva Starr.
Courtesy of Relentless Beats
Saturday, December 2
Widely known for his tongue-in-cheek hit with Fatboy Slim, “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat,” Riva Starr doesn’t have one sound, and he doesn’t want one. He’s unchained to genres or trends, instead turning to his own mind for creative inspiration that varies wildly over his song-making history.
A sort of mad genius of dance music, Starr has been called cheeky, intriguing, and all around awesome. He’s touched techno, acid house, deep house, indie house, and more. His genre is, in fact, all things electronic. And we like it.
This weekend, he’ll be joined by Berlin-based tech house/deep house duo Mat.Joe during a gig in the Monarch Theatre’s second-floor Scarlet Lounge. Doors open at 10 p.m. and admission is $20. Sarah Purkrabek
The Dear Hunter
Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter.
Courtesy of ADA Music
Sunday, December 3
The Dear Hunter was a side project launched in 2005 while Casey Crescenzo was touring with his now-former band, the Receiving End of Sirens. He had been writing songs on his laptop and recording them in his spare time; his first collection was dubbed the Dear Ms. Leading
demos, and only ten copies were distributed, to friends and family. Crescenzo eventually devoted full-time attention to his solo album, which was released by Triple Crown Records.
Stunningly prolific, Crescenzo has cultivated quite a catalog, with three concept albums providing a fictional account of the Dear Hunter's evolution (Act I
, Act II
, and Act III
), followed by nine conceptual EPs — filled with songs penned to match specific hues, the best of which appear on an album titled The Color Spectrum
— and 2013's Migrant, was surprisingly, not a concept record.
A ten-song live album with string quartet and Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise
both dropped in 2015, followed in 2016 with Act V. The Dear Hunter’s latest release, a six-song EP entitled All Is As All Should Be
debuted in September, just in time for the band’s fall tour with The Family Crest and Vava. Lee Zimmerman
Dirtybird Records co-founder Justin Martin
Courtesy of Infamous PR
Sunday, December 3
Shady Park in Tempe
Justin Martin’s DJ sets turn dance floors into raucous bacchanals of animalistic joy. The co-founder of influential imprint Dirtybird Records, he’s often either the weirdest act at the EDM show or the rowdiest act at the house show, but his production work is an entirely more subtle and sensitive affair.
Tracks like his breakout “The Sad Piano,” the feels-dance classic “Don’t Go,” and his remix of Henry Krinkle’s “Stay” are more likely to soundtrack a tender deflowering than a booty-bass blowout. This delicate dichotomy is proving to be a hallmark of Justin Martin’s 20-year career. Ghettos and Gardens
, released in 2012, startled the dance community with its depth and moments of quietude amidst the squelchy basses, roaring low end and wonky glitches.
Martin’s sophomore album, Hello Clouds
, continues in this vein as a narrative built through songwriting, rather than a collection of dance-floor tunes rammed together. You know, like an actual album — something even the most renowned dance-music producers are often incapable of crafting. Jemayel Khawaja
A scene from a typical Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert.
Sunday, December 3
Gila River Arena in Glendale
If thoughts of Santa with his sleigh zooming around the world in one night get your heart racing, stand back when the Trans-Siberian Orchestra rolls into the Valley this weekend. In an extravaganza of lights, lasers, and pyrotechnics, where fist-pumping rock 'n' roll and stinging heavy metal collides with an orchestral string section head-on, TSO crushes any notion of silent night.
"It's not a heavy metal concert," TSO co-founder Al Pitrelli clarifies. "There are elements of that in it, but it is a non-genre-specific musical event. There's choral music, symphonic, blues, jazz, classical. It's basically nailing everything we all grew up with and rolling it into this one behemoth called the Trans-Siberian Orchestra."
That behemoth is loaded with crunchy guitars and lightning fills, tinkling keyboards, and a propulsive string section that drives the sleigh but doesn't mute the bells. A vocal choir adds plenty of heavenly lift, though the male lead singer's powerful shouts and billowing vocals add a sense of forceful determination that classic holiday songs shouldn't be limited to frosty porches or firesides but rather should remain fully open to interpretation and imagination.
TSO will serve up two performances inside Gila River Arena in Glendale on Sunday, December 3. A matinee show takes place at 3:30 p.m. followed by the evening performance at 8 p.m. Tickets are $37.50-$72.25. Glenn BurnSilver