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Future Shock: Sarah Brightman, Ice Cube, The Mars Volta, and more

By Niki D’Andrea

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

Sarah Brightman Sunday, December 21, 8 p.m. Arena in Glendale $34.80-$234.80 (

Classical crossover artist Sarah Brightman makes lots of thing go “pop,” whether producers are layering synthesizers over a guitar hook based on the Portugese fado tradition, or blending her soprano voice with Middle Eastern music-themed electronica. Brightman’s latest album, Symphony, employs more gothic music influences than her previous records. An alternate of one of the bonus tracks on the album, “I Will Be with You,” was used as the theme for the tenth Pokemon film, The Rise of Darkrai.

Random band fact: Brightman was married to famed British composer Andrew Lloyd Weber for six years.

Below: The original video for Sarah Brightman’s “Deliver Me”:

Chubby Checker Sunday, August 10, 2 and 6 p.m. The Ballroom at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino in Maricopa $27.50 (

Chubby Checker had a huge hit in 1960 with his song “The Twist,” and has been synonymous with it ever since: “Let’s Twist Again” followed in 1961, then “Slow Twistin” in 1962, and in 1987, he recorded a new version of “The Twist” with rap group Fat Boys. Checker’s also known for 1962’s “Limbo Rock” and a handful of other golden oldie dance hits, but we expect “The Twist” to be the gist when Checker plays the Valley.

Random band fact: Chubby Checker was born Ernest Evans, and takes his stage name from a suggestion from longtime American Bandstand host Dick Clark.

Below: The original video for Checker’s “Let’s Twist Again.”

Ice Cube Wednesday, September 3, 6:30 p.m. Marquee Theatre in Tempe $36 (

Hip-hop pioneer Ice Cube has lyrical genius, acting talent, and (thankfully) a sense of humor, too. One of the original gangsta rappers in seminal Compton group N.W.A., Ice Cube’s ninth solo record, Raw Footage (scheduled for release August 19) pokes at his own legend – the first single is called “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It.” But word is that Raw Footage carries some political vitriol, too.

Random band fact: Ice Cube will play the lead role in an upcoming film version of the ‘70s TV show Welcome Back Kotter (Cube Vision/Dimension Films).

Below: The uncensored video for Ice Cube’s “Gangsta Rap made Me Do It”.

The Mars Volta Wednesday, October 1, 7:30 p.m. Dodge Theatre $29-$34 (

“Progressive” rock doesn’t get anymore atmospheric or manic than The Mars Volta -- when the Long Beach, CA band isn’t racking our brains with schizophonic concept albums like Frances the Mute (which chronicles an adopted child’s search for his birth parents) or this year’s Bedlam in Goliath (which serves as a sonic battle between the band and a malicious entity called “The Soothsayer”), The Mars Volta is performing high-energy, wildly conceptual stage shows with oodles of props and improv.

Random band fact: Mars Volta members Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez were in post-hardcore band At the Drive-In.

Below: The Mars Volta performing on The David Letterman Show.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea