If there's ever been a weekend you don't have to scramble for musical options, this is it. You've got a quadruple threat: Country Thunder in Florence, McDowell Mountain Music Fest in Phoenix, Way Out West Fest in Tucson, and that big party in Indio called Coachella. But are you not feeling the festival vibe? We've hand-picked five non-festival shows you can hit up instead.
Remember the '90s, when all you had to do to sell records was pen an a capella pop song about sitting in Upper West Side diner, waiting for a cup of coffee?
Who knew New York singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega, she of the smash hits "Tom's Diner" and "Luka" (that child abuse pop ditty later covered by Evan Dando), would become an unlikely trip-hop superstar, inspiring Tupac and Weird 'Al' Yankovic to imitate her brilliant blend of folk eclecticism and dance industrialism? --Chandler Levack
Way back when Dim Mak was putting out Miracle Chosuke records, Steve Aoki, Franki Chan and Jason Stewart took the slo-mo Tuesday nights at Cinespace on Hollywood Blvd., added Red Stripe and an increasingly random and intense succession of celebrity presences, and created a legacy--if not a legend. Forever known as Them Jeans, Stewart developed into an electronic producer of growing note and an extremely well-traveled DJ, as well as something of an amateur-trending-toward-pro foodie who apparently hopes to one day open a sandwich shop. New track "Voodoo" (with Annie Lunoe) is sneaking up the Beatport charts, though, so perhaps the po' boys will have to wait. -- Chris Ziegler
Dan Pochoda, the legal director for the Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, has spent the last 45 years fighting for the rights of the underrepresented both inside and outside the court room. It's a feat that deserves to be feted, which is what Pochoda's colleagues in the Arizona ACLU plan to do on Saturday, April 14, when they will honor him at the Rhythm Room. Pochoda's lengthy accomplishments and 70th birthday will be celebrated during the fundraiser. Local blues/R&B group Repeat Offenders will provide the grooves all night long as attendees celebrate, dance the evening away, and help ensure that Arizona has a strong ACLU. --Benjamin Leatherman
If Mike Doughty had played his cards right, his 1990s alt-rock band Soul Coughing would be reuniting at Coachella right about now. At the very least, the New Yorkers would be co-headlining a tour with Blues Traveler or other HORDE Fest alumni.
Songs such as 1996's "Super Bon Bon" won a devout following for the band with an original, quirky sound that fuses jazz with a sample-driven blend of hip-hop, electronica and rock. Soul Coughing reached a degree of mainstream success in the mid-to-late '90s, highlighted by an arena tour with the Dave Matthews Band and gigs with Jeff Buckley. "Circles" climbed as high as No. 8 on Billboard's Modern Rock Chart and was played on alt-rock stations across the country. Even so, arguments over songwriting credits and publishing monies, compounded by Doughty's drug and alcohol addictions, led to the band to call it quits in 2000.
Now sober for 12 years, Doughty is going strong as a solo artist and, in January, released his autobiography, The Book of Drugs, which chronicles his drug-infused days and gives fans an inside look at the dysfunction that was Soul Coughing.
Having released six studio albums, three live albums and two books and conquered both professional demons, Doughty is in a better place, still growing as both an artist and songwriter. The success he's had as a solo artist has been much more rewarding than what he had with Soul Coughing, he says.
"Life is quite amazing. I feel like I'm a better artist than I've ever been; I have more friends," Doughty says. "Everything is much more dynamic, interesting, fascinating and romantic and poetic." -- Daniel Kohn
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Canadian act Comeback Kid has stuck around so long -- marking a full decade this year -- that it's managed to last until a renewed scene interest in more pure hardcore sounds came about. The quartet, despite forming at a time when posthardcore was in its trendy infancy, was never interested in softening up for any kind of scream-singing dynamic.
Instead, the Canadian act has always specialized in an unapologetically tough, loud, fast sound built around scream-along choruses, breakdowns, and no BS. The group recently lost a longtime member, guitarist Casey Hjelmberg, but this is par for the course for most long-running hardcore acts. For this tour, it's got a fill-in from Misery Signals and hopefully some new material -- it's been two years since the group's last full-length for Victory Records, Symptoms + Cures, though it is still touring behind it. --Arielle Castillo