Future Shock: Black Crowes, Flobots, and more

By Niki D’Andrea

Here’s a handful of shows that were just announced this week.

The Black Crowes With Howlin’ Rain Tuesday, Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m. Mesa Arts Center $42

We could be like that poor hack sap from Maxim -- who had to admit he hadn’t even heard the Crowes’ new album, Warpaint, before panning it -- and write a review of this show that hasn’t even happened yet, but we try to be objective and not live in a parallel universe around here. The Black Crowes have been the heirs apparent to the Rolling Stones’ throne since their breakthrough, multi-platinum Shake Your Money Maker album in 1990, and while sales of subsequent albums never matched the success of their debut, Warpaint is the first Crowes album to crack the Billboard top five since 1992’s The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. The show should contain plenty of the new songs, but expect the band to mine its earlier albums and play classics like “She Talks to Angels” and “Jealous Again,” too.

Random band fact: The Black Crowes were kicked off the opening spot for ZZ Top’s 1990 tour after Crowes singer Chris Robinson criticized corporate sponsorship from the stage.

Below: The Black Crowes perform a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35" at the 1991 Monsters of Rock Festival in Moscow.

Flobots With Doomtree, and P.O.S. Wednesday, July 9, 7 p.m. The Clubhouse Music Venue in Tempe $12

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    308 N. 2nd Avenue, Phoenix AZ 85003

This politically-and-socially conscious hip-hop collective from Denver, CO hit big in April with their song “Handlebars,” off their second album, Fight with Tools. The tune tackles topics like gas-guzzling SUVs, corporate greed, and nuclear holocausts within the framework of a melody that could’ve been cribbed from playground sing-alongs. The rest of Fight with Tools is similarly informed and eloquent, with strings lifting songs like “Mayday!!!” and infectious bass lines boosting optimistic spoken word grooves like “We Are Winning.”

Random band fact: The Flobots made their first-ever television appearance on Last Call with Carson Daly on May 20, 2008.

Below: The Flobots perform “Handlebars” at Denver’s Gothic Theatre in September, 2007.

Vince Gill Tuesday, October 21, 8 p.m. Mesa Arts Center $52-$67

Vince Gill is one of country music’s big superstars, having first achieved recognition as a member of Pure Prairie League in the 1970s. Since going solo in 1983, he’s released more than 20 albums, won 18 Country Music Awards and 19 Grammy Awards, and been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. And thankfully, he’s never been a Garth Brooks/Chris Gaines attempt at changing his name and going straight-up rock. Gill is country, through and through.

Random band fact: When Gill was in high school, his band, Mountain Grass, opened for Pure Prairie League, the band Gill was later to join.

Below: Vince Gill performs “I Will Always Love You” with Dolly Parton at the 1995 Country Music Awards.

k.d. lang Tuesday, November 11, 7:30 p.m. Mesa Arts Center $52-$67

Kathryn Dawn (k.d.) Lang has always straddled the lines of country music, rock music, and folk, and her latest album, Watershed is probably her most low-key ever, with lang’s trademark croon meandering through quiet instrumentation. But devout fans will flock to her show anyway, especially if “Constant Craving” is on the set list. Personally, we’re hoping to hear lang’s live rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” too.

Random band fact: k.d. lang joined pro-Tibet protestors in Canberra, Australia, as the 2008 Olympic Torch was coming through.

Below: k.d. lang performs “Hallelujah” at the 2005 Juno awards in Winnipeg.

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