Sufjan Stevens, Air Sex Championships, Independents Bowl, and Other Events Over the Weekend

Independents Bowl at Let It Roll Bowl:
The annual charity bowling event featuring Phoenix scenesters rolling for the benefit of Local First Arizona took place on Sunday, October 24, featuring a veritable "who's who" amongst the Valley's music scene. Members of such bands as Captain Squeegee, Scorpion vs. Tarantula, Snake! Snake! Snakes!, Gospel Claws, and other groups all competed.

Bret Michaels at Arizona State Fair:
Saturday night's Bret Michaels concert came with a fair amount of trepidation. What were fans to expect? Was Michaels going to play a show full his newer, solo material with his aptly-namned Bret Michaels Band? Or would he play a greatest hits collection of some of his more beloved songs from his bygone Poison days?

World Air Sex Championships at Madcap Theatre:

Remember that imaginary friend you use to play with when you were little? Well, he/she has grown up and is ready to be played with again. The World Air Sex Championships thrusted its way into Tempe's Madcap Theaters on Saturday and left the audience satisfied and in need of an imaginary cigarette.

Steamcroween at Red Hot Robot: Steam Crow (a.k.a. Daniel and Dawna Davis) did some serious Halloween celebrating on Saturday. Think live art, monster talks and crazy costumes. Steam Crow, of course, invited fellow monster and robot lovers to Red Hot Robot to join in on the festivities.

Sufjan Stevens at Mesa Arts Center:
It didn't take Sufjan Stevens long to bust out the banjo at his sold-out Mesa Arts Center show. The Detroit-bred, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter picked up the instrument just after taking stage, opening with the title track from Seven Swans, which is both his most parred-down and most conspicuously Christian album.

Jónsi at Marquee Theatre:
Even when he sings in English, I have absolutely no idea what Jónsi is saying. But at last night's show at the Marquee Theatre, that didn't matter at all. His music transcended language barriers, and was understood as a profoundly moving performance, which I would even go so far as to call "performance art," rather than simply a concert. Everything from the sound to the lighting to the animation projected onto the stage backdrop came together to make something more than a rock show.

Ra Ra Riot at Clubhouse:
I was sure the Ra Ra Riot show would sell out, but I was so very wrong. Maybe it was because Sufjan Stevens was playing his own sold-out show, or maybe it was because people had never heard of Ra Ra Riot, but whatever the reason, I have never seen the Clubhouse so empty.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.