Here's the problem: I'd really like to open this Top 5 Must-See Phoenix Shows This Weekend with an animated GIF of Dick Van Dyke and his a cappella group just kind of dancing around and having a good time.
But that's on their official website, and not designated a press image. So we'll have to settle for Ratt. I'm sorry.
Ratt - Ovations Live! Chandler - Friday, January 24
Stephen Pearcy of Ratt once told MTV that the band didn't see the rest of their genre as competition -- that their real peers were bands like Led Zeppelin and The Beatles.
We all know that was crazy talk, in hindsight, coming from a band whose enduring catchphrase is Ratt and Roll. All pretentiousness aside, Pearcy and the band not only brought the party from the '80s with them last time they were in town (with Dokken at the Celebrity Theatre), they also sounded incredible.
The band comprised all its original members, save for the deceased Robbin Crosby, who has since been replaced by Quiet Riot guitarist Carlos Cavazo. Warren DeMartini's lead guitar tone made you feel like you were on the Sunset Strip, and their setlist gave fans exactly what they wanted -- hits like "Way Cool Jr.", "Lay It Down", "You're in Love," and set closer "Round and Round." -- Jim Louvau
Phil Anselmo - Pub Rock Live - Friday, January 24
Phil Anselmo has been a pioneering metal vocalist ever since coming on board with Pantera in 1987. Since then, he's contributed vocals to more than three dozen acts -- most notably as the frontman of Down and Superjoint Ritual -- and has been involved in twice as many other projects, including voicing Satan in 2003's "The Manson Family" film, and founding Housecore Records, which reps several underground bands and hosted the first Housecore Horror Film Festival last year. In 2013 he released the brutal and rawWalk Through Exits Only
, his first solo album with his band Philip Anselmo & The Illegals, and 2014 holds endless touring kicked off by an appearance at Metal Masters 5, a jam session with industry heavyweights.
It's a productive career by any reasonable measure. But the one thing Phil Anselmo says he can't stand about himself is his laziness. "I get annoyed by my laziness, and it's definitely well documented on Walk Through Exits Only, especially the 'Bedridden' video. It's a very realistic peek in to my life." Read More.
Sugar Thieves - Rhythm Room - Friday, January 24
The Sugar Thieves, considered by many the best dance-blues band in Phoenix, have been busy for a while now, playing a regular gig every Wednesday at Copper Blues, touring across the state, and working toward getting an album out in 2014.
Oh, yeah, and band members Mikel Lander and Meredith Moore recently were married in Moore's home state of Nebraska. And you can guess who played at their wedding.
The Sugar Thieves, who won the Arizona Blues Challenge last year, have been performing the blues at Copper Blues for two years. The Arizona Lindy Hop Society, which promotes swing music, also gets folks dancing to the Sugar Thieves' tunes.
They've have been together for six years now. "Mikel and I started as a duo, but we're all family now," Moore says. "We have a great work dynamic, and the caliber of the musicians is awesome." -- Stan Bindell
Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix - Chandler Arts Center - Saturday, January 25
Look, I don't know how good Dick Van Dyke sounds right now. I don't know who any of The Vantastix are. I listened to their album just now, and you know what? It's just fine. I like it.
I submit that that is totally irrelevant to whether you should see Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix at the Chandler Arts Center. You just should, because Dick Van Dyke is delightful. He was delightful in the '60s, as the star of one of the best sitcoms ever made, and he is delightful now, as an inexplicably active 88-year-old. Dick Van Dyke is on Vine. He got into 3D modeling in his seventies, just because.
Go see Dick Van Dyke, and figure out how to steal some of his essential Dick Van Dykeness. It is the only way you could ever hope to marry Laura Petrie.
Charo - Wild Horse Pass, Chandler - Saturday, January 25
At the height of her career in the 1970s María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza was a regular on the couch next to Johnny Carson. Though something of a TV and film star, it's clear Carson wasn't interested in her singing from her funky disco albums backed by the Salsoul Orchestra. Nope, her boobs bulging out of her always-provocative outfits were the attention getter. Oh, you might know her better as Charo. Her, uh, assets served her quite well in selling records too, appearing prominently on her album covers, most notably the wet T-shirt cover of her debut release,Cuchi-Cuchi
, and the partial-nude for the pink vinyl edition ofOle, Ole
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All that aside, the woman that put the phrase on the map still commands an audience, now as much for her brilliant flamenco-style guitar playing (Andrés Segovia was an early guitar teacher) as her still-dynamite figure, dancing prowess and quick wit. Though she mangles the English language, Charo's actually can sing, shifting easily from traditional Spanish folklorica to Tina Turner-like growls to falsetto highs. 2005's Charo and Guitar is a reminder of her musical skills, but either way, there's no escaping the "Cuchi-Cuchi" onslaught each concert brings. -- Glenn BurnSilver