Top 5 Must-See Phoenix Shows This Weekend

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Hear that? It's the clock counting down the hours until your weekend begins and it's nearing the magic moment known as quitting time. To help the time pass more quickly, you might consider what it is you'll actually be doing during the next couple days and nights of work-free bliss.

Luckily, if you're in the mood to get in a live show or two, there's more than a few options to choose from over the next 72 hours (eyeball our extensive online concert calendar for proof of such). And then there are the must-see shows this weekend, which run the gamut from explosive EDM to exotic world must and beyond.

The Aristocrats - Pub Rock - Friday

Society is obsessed with culture clash. Stories of different countries making love and starting wars, cuisine fusions and foreign customs -- people eat it up, day after day. But what else society is craving nowadays? A rowdy new democracy.

And the music industry wants the same.

Enter The Aristocrats, three musicians who craft intricate, layered music with the unpredictable walk of jazz and the energy of classic rock, along with a peppering of fusion metal and a twinge of the blues, inspired by a love of their influences: Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, and Led Zeppelin.

When asked what three words he would use to describe the band, though, bassist Bryan Beller uses those three words: "Rowdy new democracy." Beller, known for his work with Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, James LaBrie of Dream Theater, Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa), and Dethklok, garners influence from bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and one of music's most controversial acts, Rage Against the Machine, so his statement makes sense. He chose the most obnoxious instrument he could find -- the upright bass -- when his parents wanted him to be in orchestra as a child. -- Lauren Wise

Read our entire story about how The Aristocrats delve into genre-bending fusion

DakhaBrakha - Musical Instrument Museum - Friday

Move over, Gogol Bordello, a new "ethnic chaos" band is gathering the attention of American ears. Hailing from Ukraine, Kiev's DakhaBrakha offers a high level of musical and visual stimulation, turning a world-based palette of regional folk music into hypnotic, trance-inducing mystic revelations. The percussion-heavy quartet formed in 2004 at the Kyiv Center of Contemporary Art (DAKH) through avant-garde theater director Vladyslav Troitskiy, leading to ornate costumes featuring tall hats, long braids, and bangles extending to the colorfully patterned drums and instruments.

Intoxicating, yes, but it's the music -- the triple harmonies and cross-cut vocals of Iryna Kovalenko (djembe, bass drums, accordion, percussion, bugay, zgaleyka, piano), Olena Tsibulska (bass drums, percussion, garmoshka) and Nina Garenetska (cello, bass drum), bolstered by Marko Halanevych's impassioned singing with darbuka, tabla, didjeridoo, accordion, and trombone accompaniment -- that truly captivates.

DakhaBrakha means "give/take" in the old Ukrainian language, which also provides the act's lyrical base. A fitting name, as the music starts on a platform of traditional Ukrainian melodies before incorporating African, Asian, Eastern European and Middle Eastern aspects into the mix. Add creative usage of effects pedals, and the resulting juxtaposition of styles and textures proves that what was once old can thrive as something new, fresh, and moving. -- Glenn BurnSilver

Yellowcard - Nile Theatre - Mesa

For those who came of age after Y2K, the heady days of heart-on-sleeve pop-punk, as defined by bands like Fall Out Boy, Cartel, and Panic! at the Disco, brought radio-ready acts that were as relatable and open-hearted as they were kitschy. Few records encapsulated this timeframe with the honesty of Yellowcard's Ocean Avenue.

The 2003 Capitol release was the record that thrust Yellowcard into the Top 40 spotlight and defined wide-eyed wonder for a generation of teenagers. Now, with a 17-year career under its belt, Yellowcard has gracefully managed the pitfalls that come with being a longstanding pop-rock band.

The band is one of the last vestiges of the Total Request Live generation, when bands peppered the early '00s with the pop punk that's etched into the after-school memories of millennials. When Yellowcard plays Mesa's Nile Theater, it'll bring along some of those early glory days as the band tours behind last year's acoustic treatment of its breakthrough release. -- Kristian C. Libman

Read our entire feature story covering the ups and downs of Yellowcard

Planet of the Drums - Monarch Theatre - Saturday

The owners of the Monarch Theatre would be wise to make sure their much-heralded PK sound system is finely tuned, since that baby's about to get a major workout this weekend. It's likely to be put through its paces on Saturday, January 18, when 30,000 watts of warped bass blasts and unyielding shockwaves of lightning-fast breakbeats flare through the club's speakers during Planet of the Drums. It's been a while since the EDM event, which has been around since 2000 and focuses strictly on drum 'n' bass, swung through Metro Phoenix, but it's just as much a rager as ever.

The self-described collective of like-minded d'n'b stalwarts features the same lineup as in previous years and includes Dieselboy, AK1200, DJ Dara, and MC Messinian. Local drum 'n' bass practitioners Sens1, Travelah, and DanjaOne also are scheduled to drop the thunder. Doors open at 9 p.m. General admission tickets are $15.

Styx - Talking Stick Resort - Saturday

The key to any band's longevity is the ability to maintain a core sound while changing to lure new generations of fans. The Rolling Stones are the quintessential example, having survived 50 years on gritty rock 'n' roll licks that receive fresh infusions of timely sound forms (from country to disco) to keep the band in popular focus.

Other long-running bands find the challenge of remaining vital enough to avoid the county fair circuit a bit more daunting. After changing a few members over the years or taking a long hiatus, the task can seem insurmountable. Styx is one band that has managed to stay relevant despite those obstacles -- by updating its sound on new albums but also by reworking and re-recording the classic hits that made the band one of the biggest acts of the '70s and '80s. -- Glenn BurnSilver

Read our entire story on how Styx is still collecting fans 15 Years into its second act

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