This is officially the last week where of the year where you're allowed to believe you have authority over the Christmas-music-listening habits of others, and I hope to god you don't waste it.
When you're done yelling at the guy in the gift department at Macy's for playing Wonderful Christmastime on Wednesday, consider checking out these must-see Phoenix shows, although I can't make any firm guarantees about their setlist. (View our complete concert calendar here.)
St. Mary's Food Bank Benefit - Crescent Ballroom - Wednesday, November 27Boosters of Arizona's biggest breakthrough on the national scene, a little more than 20 years ago, take note: Dead Hot Workshop, the Sand Rubies, and the Zubia Brothers are all on the bill for this week's St. Mary's Food Bank benefit at Crescent Ballroom, and the price to get your pop jangled is doing something nice for people who don't have enough to eat.
A non-perishable food item or $3 will get you in the door, and a lot of memorable '90s pop will keep you there.
The Black Moods - Last Exit Live - Wednesday, November 27Watching certain bands it becomes obvious that they've put every dollar they earn back into their career. It's a slow investment, and a risky one, but Tempe's Black Moods, recently back from a national tour, have as good a chance as any band of seeing it pay off. And that payoff can be huge when musicians devote as much time and energy toward their art as singer and guitarist Josh Kennedy, bassist Ryan Prier, and drummer Danny "Chico" Diaz have done. Rock and roll enthusiasts, they keep crowds on their feet and the air full of cheers when they take the stage night after night.
Their wailing guitar work, combined with pounding percussion and rhythmic bass, sync up seamlessly with their sharp vocal range and catchy hooks. Their reputation continues to expand with every appearance; the band has recently been selected as one of a few local Phoenix acts to play at the inaugural True Music Festival in December. Before that, though--and after a string of shows and charity events up and down I-10-- they'll make an appearance at one of their favorite stop-offs in Phoenix, Last Exit Live. -- Caleb Haley
Capsula - Rogue Bar, Scottsdale - Friday, November 29Heaps of folks adore David Bowie, but your Aladdin Sane game has to live on a higher level to compete with Capsula's kind of worship. The Argentina natives and Bilbao, Spain residents took inspiration for their Spanish-language name from "capsule" because the English word appears in Bowie's 1969 classic "Space Oddity." They partially credit the group's 1998 formation to the man, too: Guitarist/singer Martin Guevera was once deeply smitten with Bowie's The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and bassist/vocalist Coni Duchess with Lou Reed's Transformer when, as Duchess recalled, "the influence of those albums made us meet and fall in love." In 2011, the group performed the entirety of Ziggy Stardust in Spain. Even Solar Secrets, Capsula's latest full-length, was made with the aid of Bowie producer Tony Visconti.
All this said, Solar Secrets houses scruffy, psychedelicized garage rock that's traditionally more in tune with Iggy Pop than David Bowie. Quick-tempo rock 'n' roll scorchers like "Blind" and "Dark Age" share space with the woozy dive into tie-dyed distortion that is "Birds of Woods." If Solar Secrets' existence truly attests to anything, it's the continuing interest in creating garage rock worldwide, as Capsula have joined the ranks of Los Monstruos (from Mexico), Monotonix (Israel) and The Clean (New Zealand.) -- Reyan Ali
X - Crescent Ballroom - Friday, November 29Of all the stars of the '80s punk scene, only one band is still having impact some 35 years after forming: X. Mixing driving punk energy with rockabilly riffs, staccato rhythms, unexpected dual vocal drive, and socially conscious lyrics, X was a defining voice in the punk movement. Their uncompromising ability to defy perceptions and expectations keeps the band going today.
Founding vocalist and songwriter Exene Cervenka isn't surprised X--bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer D.J. Bonebrake--still commands a strong following.
"We're still the original band, but it's incredibly hard to keep three or four people together on the same wavelength. Your mood changes, your ideas change, your personality changes. You start out all happy and then it gets more miserable and bitter and you decide you can't stand someone any more and you split up," Cervenka says. "We're lucky, we just like doing it. And I'm grateful to be doing it because the last time could be next week." -- Glenn BurnSilver
Josh Landau can't stop moving -- mostly because he doesn't allow himself to. He's the vocalist for Venice Beach-based The Shrine, along with band members Court Murphy and Jeff Murray, he manages Eliminator, his own skateboarding and clothing company, and the band's about to embark on a series of continent-crossing tours over the next six months. Landau is a busy dude, and The Shrine's squealing feedback and furious riffing is just as unsettled as the Dogtown do-it-yourself era that took place down the street from his childhood home, the sonic manifestation of shotgunned beers and skating as fast as you can through city traffic.
"What we're doing is kind of a neighborhood thing, as far as how we operate on our own terms," Landau says. "No one is really running our shit for us -- we're pretty heavily influenced by a lot of the stuff that went down in Los Angeles, both music and skating. Now there's people all over the world writing in and being interested in it."
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