Memorial Day is when we, as a nation, proudly get together and celebrate the men and women of the armed services who have died in order to give us an extra day off.
Bad joke. But the reality is so damned depressing it's hard to think of anything else. It might have vanished from our country's collective consciousness, but the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 is still happening. The one we started in Iraq two years later has wound down, but the U.S. still has soldiers in the Afghanistan, and the cost has been heavy. "As of Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at least 2,181 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan," the Associated Press reported. One estimate put the number dead at more than 14,000. More than 900,000 soldiers have been injured in both Afghanistan and Iraq. And Afghani civilians? More than 14,000 have died since the invasion started.
So when you're kicking back on Monday (should you be lucky enough to have it off), try to remember that the American military conflicts this holiday remembers aren't past tense. Think about the soldiers overseas -- your brothers, sisters, friends, family and casual acquaintances, your fellow Americans -- that are still putting themselves into harm's way, and hope that they come home safely, as soon as logistically possible.
That said, distract yourself from the Treasury-draining, life-taking war going on a half-world away with these concerts happening in Metro Phoenix this weekend. And if you don't see anything you like here, be sure to check out our comprehensive concert listings for a bevy of more options.
Snake! Snake! Snakes! - Crescent Ballroom - Friday, May 23
At their best, Snake! Snake! Snakes! recall a cross between early U2 and The Stills, with a hint of the commercial appeal of the first Killers album, the one you had in your car stereo for weeks but wouldn't admit to owning. Treasure MammaL, Cherie Cherie, and Wanda Junes join the indie-pop band on the bill.--Jason Woodbury
Trey Songz - Celebrity Theater - Saturday, May 24
Even though smooth crooner Trey Songz likes to ohh-ohh about the facial expressions people make during sexual intercourse and orgasms that feel like a "Heart Attack," he's really just a hopeless romantic with a head full of deep thoughts. Let's try to love and respect each other, people. --S. Pajot