Curious what's going on around town this weekend? Need some suggestions as to how to rock, dance, or krump in the Valley of the Sun? Don't fret: These are our Five Shows to See This Weekend.
You'd never know it if you took their black t-shirts, black hair and, well, black outlook at face value, but metalheads have no problem laughing at their own darkness. Cartoon Network's late night Adult Swim block capitalized on this with Metalocolypse, a show about a cartoon metal band that simultaneously celebrates the genre's fixation on gore and brutal imagery while cleverly taking the piss out of it. In 2007, the network commissioned a video for Athens, Ohio thrashers Skeletonwitch as part of their Metal Swim compilation. The hilarious clip shows the band wailing in earnest during a ridiculous battle royale between hordes of brain-hungry zombies and costumed furries.
Skeletonwitch is a particularly good example of dire heaviness approached with a lack of self-seriousness. The word "workmanlike" comes to mind when describing the band's blackened thrash sound, sans the connotation that the dudes are just phoning it in. Their latest record, Forever Abomination, has no-frills chug riffage without an ounce of guitar god pretense that still sounds anthemic and catchy. The relentless double-kick beats aren't very flashy but also never veer into boneheaded fills. Skeletonwitch hits hard and has a fun absence of pompousness, even as their blood-soaked lyrics ring deadly serious. --Chase Kamp
t used to be no big deal for Phoenix-and-Chicago based folk punks Andrew Jackson Jihad to play the Trunk Space. In fact, it seems like it used to happen a couple times a week. It wasn't the first place I saw the band (that would've been at The Palace of No Malice in Tempe), but it was where I saw the duo of Sean Bonnette (guitar/vocals) and Benjamin Gallaty (bass) become the fully formed force they are today, honing their songs and curiously bleak, humanistic lyrical approach into what it is today (something that fills far larger rooms like Crescent Ballroom or the Troubadour in Los Angeles). AJJ is far from the only band that's come of age in the Trunk Space - and this Friday they are joined by Good Amount, Dogbreth, and Liam and The Ladies in celebration of eight years of Trunk Space shows. Owners JRC and Steph Carrico will be on hand to bask in the glow of their hard work, as fans munch on free Green food and revel in the sounds of a place that has offered Phoenix bands a place to grow, evolved and experiment. That Gallaty and Bonnette are so happy to return to their old stomping grounds speaks volumes about both the band and the space, and the loyalty both seem to inspire. --Jason P. Woodbury
It's a pretty common thing for a song lyric to mean one thing to the audience and a very different thing to the performer. Not sure what Led Zeppelin is babbling about specifically? It's probably something horny and fantastical, while other times those nonsensical lyrics end up illustrating some deep insight. "I Am the Walrus," anyone? The theme of Tempe-based rock 'n' roll band Future Loves Past's latest single, "Seekers," seems glaringly obvious, with its idealistic hippie jam circle vibe, rife with tribal percussive elements, chanting vocals, and sunny perspective. It's what you'd expect from a local band whose success banks on the fact that they don't get too heavy - they just jam. But if you ask composer Eric Palmer, it's a different story all together. "'Seekers' is inspired by a feeling of impending doom for a society that oppresses free thoughts and ideas," Palmer told New Times. A little heady, sure, but can you blame the guy? We can think of more than a few examples of highly publicized free thought oppression from just this year, let alone through the decades. Future Loves Past shows that you can keep it light while talking heavy subjects, even if it doesn't resonate with listeners automatically. They're fighting the power... slowly. --Christina Caldwell
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Resembling a less-dreary Interpol and a more aggressive British Sea Power, the Boxer Rebellion's songs take a fairly familiar drive through the last 10 years of British rock, but they turn corners without hitting the brakes, and the stops along the way aren't exactly to take in beautiful scenery. If a BSP album is like a bike ride through the English countryside, the Boxer Rebellion is a tour of Whitechapel in a rusty MG with a dodgy clutch. There's a certain mix of corrosion and claustrophobia present in their work, but there is also unmitigated triumph -- almost as if the songs are on the verge of becoming black holes and supernovae all at once. They're not really here to regurgitate the last 10 years of British rock, they're here to vandalize it and claim it for themselves. --Pat O'Brien
The classic blues pattern is not technically complicated. The devil is in the details, the nuance. Beginning guitar players often start out with a blues scale, a watered-down version of the American Songbook, and a play-along CD in the background. There's nothing wrong with that -- everyone's gotta start somewhere -- so long as you can recognize that the masters are on a different plane. Unfortunately, some people think anyone can play the blues, and we all know that ain't true. Coco Montoya is an iconic musician because he makes the blues sound deceptively effortless. He's best known for his work with the Bluesbreakers (which featured Eric Clapton almost 20 years before Montoya's involvement), but he's had a successful solo career for the past 15 years. In addition to intense proficiency in the style for which he is so admired, Montoya's notable for the unique way he plays left-handed guitar. Instead of stringing it backwards, as Jimi Hendrix did, he plays a guitar strung for right-handers upside down and backwards, with his left hand. It's one of those subtle things novices fail to notice but that makes an impression on people smart enough to know that not just anyone can do what Coco does.--Sarah Ventre