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The 30 Best Concerts in October

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The Arizona State Fair kicks off next weekend, for instance, and arguably boasts one of its best concert lineups ever. Meanwhile, the various arts centers and cultural institutions around the Valley are starting their fall season this month and are loaded up with talented musicians and instrumentalists from around the globe. The Desert Botanical Garden and other outdoor venues are once again holding gigs, and all the usual high-profile music spots and concert halls throughout Metro Phoenix have great gigs practically every night.

Admittedly, it made it difficult to narrow down this surfeit of shows down to a selection of the best options for your concertgoing dollars. But narrow it down we did into the following choices for our monthly concert guide for October.

PHX Ska Punk Bowling - Friday, October 3/Saturday, October 4 - Pub Rock/Club Red

Maybe its because both are lowbrow pursuits with a fondness for cheap beer, gaudy apparel, and making a racket, but bowling and punk rock seem to fit together as naturally as your fingers in the holes of a 12-pound Brunswick ball. The two have been pin pals for a couple of decades or more, as evidenced by such bands as Bowling For Soup or the rowdy shows held at rundown alleys like Chicago's famed Fireside Bowl from '94 onward. (Here in the Valley, the bygone Tempe Bowl was infamously the site of many a wild show in that era.) And, of course, there's the renowned Punk Rock Bowling festival that brings thousands to Vegas every summer.

It helped to partly inspire a homegrown takeoff of the event, Phoenix Ska/Punk Bowling, which launched last October at a few bars in and around Tempe and proved popular enough to bring back for a second frame this year. The two-day fest, which was born from a desire to create something in the Valley that rivals Punk Rock Bowling and other big-name punk events nationwide, even mimics the larger event's multi-venue format, sponsorship by Pabst Blue Ribbon, and tons of bands on the schedule. That's where most of the comparisons end, however, since Phoenix Ska/Punk Bowling adds its own bit of English, however, by adding some skank-inducing music of a two-tone and third wave variety into the mix at both Pub Rock in Scottsdale and Club Red in Mesa.

The loaded lineup rolls down the different lanes of punk, ska, and either genre's many subsidiaries, such as hardcore (NYC's Reagan Youth, Boston's OC 45), folk-punk (Black Mountain Moonshine), thrash (Skull Drug), Oi! (Yuma's Working Mutts), hardcore ska (Denver's Rotten Blue Menace), reggae-inspired jams (California's Two Tone Boners) and flat-out punk (The Linecutters, No Gimmick, Screaming At Deaf Kids). Actual bowling will also take place during the weekend during an afternoon tournament on Saturday at AMF Tempe Village Lanes, although you should refrain from slam dancing in the alleys like they did at Tempe Bowl back in the day. -- Benjamin Leatherman

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Saturday, October 4 - Last Exit Live

"Cymbals eat out guitars" is how Lou Reed once described the Velvet Underground's sound. While imagining a Zildjian going down on a Les Paul is only erotic in some Rule 34 sense, dropping the "out" to make Cymbals Eat Guitars evokes the musical equivalent to the "Why was six afraid of seven?" joke. It's abstract, mathematical violence, sorta fitting for the Staten Island indie rock group, as it has its crashing tantrums comparable to Cursive or At the Drive-In. The minced vocals and themes of "not quite grammatically correct" obscure references (see tracks like "Another Tunguska" or "Like Blood Does") only add to the hazy sea. But what really ties Cymbals together are the precarious moments of beauty, influences derived from the likes of Spiritualized and Titus Andronicus. The tangle of mood swings will keep you on your toes and maybe even leave you breathless at moments. -- Troy Farah

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