Five Must-See Shows This Weekend

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.

Saturday, May 12: Right to Marry to Stage Benefit Show @ Trunk Space

It's been a big week for the cause of gay marriage, with President Obama coming out fully in support of allowing same-sex unions to be recognized by the federal government. Alicia Porter of Right to Marry probably wasn't expecting an announcement of such magnitude when she gathered local art-rockers Sleep Money, garage combo The Chandails, music/sound collective Sunsang, and classic rockers Treasurefruit to perform at the Trunk Space to benefit Right to Marry, but, hey, good fortune is good fortune when you're fighting the good fight.

"I think that art and music have always gone hand in hand with many forms of activism over the decades. Art is a great equalizer," Porter says. "Everyone can find something in art or music that inspires them or they can connect to. It's a good way to bring together people that have diverse points of view. And once you have them connecting on one point -- art or music they agree on -- you can bring them into a space where they start having real conversations about things they disagree on. It's a good way to listen to each other."

Read more, and visit Porter's PayPal site to donate.

Friday, May 11: Guitar Shorty @ Rhythm Room

Guitar Shorty is in his 70s, yet the bluesman can still rock a mean blues guitar better than most youngsters. Shorty has been in the music industry for five decades, breaking into the business as a fixture in Ray Charles' band after working as an auto mechanic. He's also worked with Little Richard, Sam Cook, and Big Joe Turner and has been credited with influencing Jimi Hendrix. He's not just a legacy act, either. Bare Knuckle, his latest disc, was released in March and hit number three on the Billboard Blues chart. It's also received some mainstream airplay nationwide. According to some critics, it's his most rockin' album to date. "Most people that I've talked to, so far, have told me this is the best one yet," Shorty (real name: David William Kearney) told an interviewer recently. "I know that I can't satisfy everybody, but I try." Shorty says that after all of these years in the music biz, he knows where he's coming from now more than ever as a musician. "Life is wonderful," he's said. "And if you turn it around, life is a bitch. With the dues you have to pay to stay on this planet, that's why I say it's a bitch. So you stay and fight. And enjoy some of the things you can enjoy." Amen to that. -- Kelly Wilson

Friday, May 11: Sydney Blue @ Wild Knight

It's no small feat coming up in the cutthroat international DJ game, especially if you're a woman. But Miami-via-Toronto DJ Sydney Blu has defied the odds, becoming one of the biggest-selling artists in electronic music as well as the veritable queen of Miami's South Beach clubland.

"I have gotten where I have gotten as a woman because I never looked at myself as a woman. And I never played that card," she says. "If you work hard, people will take you seriously. I hope that maybe some women will follow in my footsteps and get in the studio. It's not about DJing anymore; it's about writing music. I wish more girls would get into that. I think slowly but surely they are."

And already, incredibly, Ms. Blu is promising to go bigger in 2012. -- Sean Levisman

Dirty Disco @ Cowtown

Although it usually takes an hourlong drive to drag your ass all the way up to the Cowtown Event Venue in the Northwest Valley, EDM fans from across the PHX will want to make such a lengthy trek. That's only because DJ Sam Groove and the members of Hades Entertainment will be throwing the hellacious hootenanny known as Dirty Disco on Saturday, May 12, at the outdoor facility, which is located at 10402 West Carefree Highway in Peoria. Warbling dance tracks and energetic electronica will fill the air for twelve hours straight as DJs and EDM artists keep things going from dusk until dawn. The lineup includes a headlining appearance by San Francisco dubstepper iNexus (a.k.a. Tiago Nunez), as well as lengthy performances from Groove, techno fiend Brook B., psytrance mastermind Nick Synergy, drum 'n' bass whiz Matt Dunn, and others. House duo Turner and Heit will also cap things off with a special sunrise set. -- Benjamin Leatherman

Portland Cello Project @ Crescent Ballroom

If you're bored and have access to the Interwebs, go to Amazon and type "string tribute to" in the search field and prepare to be blown away. Did you know there's a string version of James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" (because the original is too threatening)? How about Tool? How about Sum-freaking- 41? And that's just the first page. Turns out the process of reducing pop and rock tunes to classical versions of pop and rock tunes is a lucrative business, if not a particularly exciting one.

Enter the Portland Cello Project, a group of cellists, percussionists, and horn players who take the whole thing to a much more exciting, enjoyable conclusion by tackling such works as OutKast's "Hey Ya," Pantera's "Mouth for War," Britney Spears' "Toxic," and, most impressively, Kanye West and Jay-Z's "That's My Bitch." The latter sounds not like a novelty but a subtle, incisive examination of Q-Tip's original beat and curiously complex melodic structure. The Project teams up with vocalists, too, like Thao of the Get Down Stay Down, and hasn't shied away from difficult crowds, supporting Buckethead on his first tour and winning over skeptics. Even IFC's Portlandia blog crowned them winners (and who skewers the Pacific Northwest's penchant for absurdity better than those folks?). The band's latest, Homage, ends up being a rare thing -- a "string tribute" that isn't insipid.

Of course, we don't blame you for checking out "A String Tribute to Incubus." Someone has to. -- Jason P. Woodbury

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