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.
Fridays used to be one of the pimpest nights of the week at Central Avenue danceteria DWNTWN, even dating back its days as Crowbar more than a decade ago. The crowds were huge, the DJs were top-notch, and the beats were hot. Then proprietors pulled the plug on Fridays, preferring to focus on the club's hugely popular Latin Ladies night on Saturday instead. The cats of AZEDMDJs, however, will flip the script this weekend and make Fridays at DWNTWN, 702 North Central Avenue, fierce once again. Their new dance night, Frequency Fridays, kicks off this weekend and will offer an array of local EDM artists and DJs spinning in the wee hours on the first and third Fridays every month. For instance, the debut edition, on Friday, June 1, will feature a lineup that includes DJ Louder, Babel, Type-R, Kilsek, Allieg8r, and a half-dozen other DJs. --Benjamin Leatherman
Though it seems most of the indie bands of the '80s disappeared for a while (perhaps waiting for Coachella to offer them a stack of cash to reunite), plenty of rock acts -- especially those working during the big hair/power-ballad-as-the-second-single era -- have stuck around, playing smaller venues, cruise ships, and off-highway casinos. Stryper, however, was never your average '80s rock act, considering they threw Bibles out to their concert audiences during their heyday and had an album titled To Hell With the Devil. They made the mistake of downplaying the Christian stuff on their first album of the '90s, omitting references to God, getting rid of the yellow and black theme, and having the gall to cover a secular soul hit (Earth Wind & Fire's "Shining Star"), release a greatest hits collection, and and let lead singer Michael Sweet leave the band. But it's hard to ignore the call of the rock: Stryper reunited in 2000 and is on the third album (The Covering) of its second run, taking on songs by Zeppelin and Sabbath and, uh, Boston (featuring an appearance by that band's Tom Scholz). It's far less shocking now to hear bands in the mainstream proclaiming a connection to Jesus as their Lord and savior, but Stryper was there first, freaking out the Christian establishment with its glitzy looks and bare chests, and providing MTV viewers a reason to look up Isaiah 53:5 in their family Bibles.-- Dan Gibson
In a rather controversial concert review last December, New Times contributor Nicole Smith wrote of the indie sailor-pop band Tennis' singer, Alaina Moore, "I generally hate chick singers who don't have anything spectacular to offer." Sure, it's tough to paint 50 percent of the human population with one brush stroke, but it's inescapable -- in rock 'n' roll, women are always going to be judged. Openly. Even by fellow women, who, in this example, judge them even harder than their male counterparts, based on the fact that they have a cabinet full of, ahem, "beaver dams." Unfair? Totally, but it's easy to find examples of impressive female vocalists, even locally. Give me a run-of-the-mill local male vocalist and I'll give you an Emma Pew, the soul-laden powerhouse behind one of the Valley's greatest local bands, blues rockers Black Carl. The band does minimalist indie soul with aplomb and style, and Pew can't help stealing the show. She doesn't just drive her lyrics home -- she shoves them down your throat, force feeding you every word with an attitude that says, "Got it? Good." The fact that she could go head-to-head with any contestant on The Voice contestant is apparent, but she doesn't, and she doesn't need to. She has the skill to impress any reviewer or judge, but she sings with a "fuck you" sneer anyway. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call rock 'n' roll -- penis or no penis. -- Christina Caldwell
It's high praise for a band to get compared to '80s pop punks Descendents, and fellow Los Angeles County melodic-punk vets Toys That Kill share a similar backstory. Todd Congelliere previously fronted F.Y.P., a hardcore band with a rotating lineup. F.Y.P. followed a strategy employed by Descendents: changing the band's name to the title of its final album released under the band's former name (see: All). In Congelliere and F.YP.'s case, the title/name in question was ToysThatKill. "F.Y.P. was always so sloppy. It didn't matter who or how bad the drummer is -- let's just go on tour and he can leave," says Congelliere, explaining his preference for Toys That Kill. "That's the main thing, and I just like the songs better. They're a lot funner to play." Again following the example of Descendents,ToysThat Killtook an unofficial six-year break while its members focused on full-time work, school, and side projects. Descendents singer Milo Aukerman went to college, and Toys That Kill guitarist Sean went to culinary school, inspiring some of each group's best material. Congelliere set up a DIY studio in his garage to record TTK's fourth album, Fambly 42. "If we did a record three years ago, it would have been really bad. I know that for a fact. Instead of just rushing everything, we just took our time and we're really happy with it," says Congelliere. -- Melissa Fossum
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It was a year of landmarks when rock en español pioneers Caifanes released their self-titled debut. The Washington Redskins were crowned Super Bowl champions, then-presidential candidate George Bush made "read my lips" a catchphrase, and the hottest woman on the planet was a cartoon character named Jessica Rabbit. That year, 1988, was when the Mexican trio made waves in the Latin music scene by combining The Cure's gloomy brand of synth pop and flair with traditional Caribbean rhythms and Latin percussions. Songs like "La Bestia Humana" and "Mátenme Porque Me Muero" exemplified their sound, but it was a cover of Cuban folk song "La Negra Tomasa" that made them a household name. It's impossible these days to go a Mexican wedding, baptism, first communion, quinceañera, or any other celebration without hearing the familiar cumbia beat and haunting vocals of Saúl Hernández, a familiar sound if you've ever been to a Latin pachanga. The group disbanded in 1995 after Hernández and lead guitarist Alejandro Marcovich stumbled upon the "creative differences" epidemic that's claimed so many legendary acts. The split prompted Hernández to found another epic band, Jaguares. Fortunately for us, the original members made peace in time for 2011's Coachella Festival and are now continuing the feel-good reunion tour. -- Anthony Sandoval