Want to get in a show this week? There are plenty of concerts over the next five days around Metro Phoenix to choose from, as you can see for yourself by viewing our extensive online concert listings.
And we're fairly certain that there's something for everyone, regardless of your particular tastes.
When most of us were busy trying to transform our gibberish into complete sentences, Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn was immersed in writing songs -- completing her first at age 4. The Pennsylvania singer/songwriter, now based in Brooklyn, has been on the go ever since, including a prize-winning stint on the Nickelodeon kids' show Double Dare at age 12. The show, known for such antics as pie-smashing, earned her enough money to fund a several-week jaunt on the Great Peace March for Global Disarmament.
She started performing live at 18 after moving to Olympia, Washington, and put out her first EP in 1997. In '99, she joined up with one of the Pacific Northwest's premier indie rock labels, K Records. Since then, Mirah's sound has evolved from lo-fi indie rock imbued with quirky, mischievous subtleties to a more mature sound that highlights Mirah's breathy, soulful voice and features light dance beats. The evolution honors her personal growth without betraying her history. She's touring in support of her upcoming release, Changing Light, whose single, the emotional "Oxen Hope," reflects the record's theme of heartbreak with lines like "We thought we knew we wanted what we had / But you busted your side of the yoke." -- Amy Young
For the better part of the past fifteen years, this band from Kalamazoo, Michigan, has toured like it was a life mission. True to its name, its roots are in bluegrass -- but there's also an improvisational side to the music that recalls the more interesting guitar work of Jerry Garcia. On the strength of hundreds of shows, not to mention a mastery of the art form, Greensky Bluegrass won the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition in 2006.
Combining covers of traditional songs with excellent original material, the group is at its best in the live setting, as the All Access series of live albums attest. Greensky's extended improvisations, like some of the best music from the Allman Brothers and the Dead, are more inspired reinterpretation than indulgence. -- Tom Murphy
The Chicago trio's recent LP Memorial is a brontosaurus-heavy rock stomper guaranteed to bum you out in the most righteous ways. Misery: Our ugly times seem to call for it, and there's nothing fancy about the brutal way Russian Circles dole out their dark, unforgiving sonic punishment. Memorial is like the "well, you asked for it" show, and even if you're not sure that you did, you must submit and admit that it's cathartic as hell.
On the other hand, the album is almost perversely rife with gorgeously orchestrated, super-hooky melodies to pair with all the bone-splintering metallic mayhem. The upshot is that this is very heavy rock music veering dangerously close to the overdramatized, but pulled off without a collapse into total corndoggery. -- John Payne
When the aptly named Asses of Evil imploded in 2012, Valley punk rock fans were left eager to see what would come crawling from the wreckage. Stalwart bass thumper Todd Joseph and singer/rhythm guitar maestro Chris JJ Jet quickly formed The Smoke Bombs, enlisting lead guitarist Brandon Meunier and drummer Jason Stone. It's been a little over a year since the band's debut, and the quartet quickly has shown that there's more fire than smoke when it comes to the band's tunes and performances.
For fans of "whoa-oh-oh" choruses, crunchy power chords, and more than a little swagger and attitude, the Smoke Bombs join likeminded pedal-to-the-metal locals Rotten Youth and Vices to the Grave and revved-up Long Beach punks Dime Runner for a high-octane bill better-suited for a Saturday night than a Wednesday. But don't hate the players. Hate the game (and perhaps the tiny hangover you'll be nursing at work on Thursday). -- Tom Reardon
If pressed to come up with the metal version of classical music's "Big Three" (Brahms, Beethoven, and Bach), violinist Rachel Barton Pine, a performer who's well versed in both styles, has got it covered.
"You can't leave off Sabbath, because they were the first metal band from which everything derived, but for me, I'm a thrash girl, so Megadeth, Anthrax, and early Metallica," the violinist laughs. "That's my music."
Though she'll be performing selections by Bach, Mohammed Fairouz, Paganini, and more at her upcoming performance on Thursday, March 13, at the Musical Instrument Museum, she's down to rock, too, recording and touring with Earthern Grave, which draws from doom and thrash metal traditions.
"We have fast parts and slow parts," she says, "which allows our songs to have more scope. Sort of like Sabbath meets Slayer." While the sweeping virtuosity of prog-metal is the clearest indication of metal's relationship with classical music, Barton Pine says the connection goes deeper than just an appreciation for technical skill. -- Jason P. Woodbury
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