Is it a little surprising to see Keith Urban and Depeche Mode headlining the same venues in the United States in 2013? Well, yes.
Is it a pleasant surprise? Well, also yes, even though parking is somewhat less than ideal. (View our complete concert calendar here.)
Sister Lip - Long Wong's - Monday, October 7
Sister Lip brings the spirit of jazz to the rock scene, and local rock fans are feeling the music. And the year-old band (the current lineup has been together since April) is starting to land coveted slots on high-profile bills.
For instance, on Saturday, October 19, the local quartet will take its jazz-infused soul/rock sounds to the annual Apache Lake Music Festival to perform with Kongos, Future Loves Past, The Sugar Thieves, and more than 30 local acts. "Being the baby on there will definitely help us for next year," says lead singer and guitarist Cassidy Hilgers, who says the band has high hopes for the coming year, including an East Coast tour.
Plans aside, Sister Lip must fight more of an uphill battle than the average local band. Being an all-female group with an average age of 20 -- 23-year-old pianist Jenny Rebecca is the elder statesman -- is both a blessing and curse. It makes the act unique in the Phoenix scene, but it also occasions some passive aggression. -- Jeff Moses
Read the rest of our Sister Lip feature.
Depeche Mode - Ak-Chin Pavilion - Tuesday, October 8
Depeche Mode has always been just a little too weird to fully take part in the '80s nostalgia bonanza. It's not that they aren't a huge deal, or don't sound like the '80s; few bands soundmore
like the '80s. It's just that songs like "Strangelove" and "Personal Jesus" weren't generic or representative enough of that decade to get them into that Bowling for Soup song. They aren't '80s songs, they're just Depeche Mode songs.
Of course, it's not like Depeche Mode would want to join in if they had the chance. One of the few bands of their generation still operating as something more than a nostalgia act--their last album, Delta Machine, came out in March--this prototypical bigger-in-Europe pop act is headlining a tour at one of the biggest venues in town. It's not the state fair circuit, or a Breakfast Club-themed cruise, but it's a living.
Legendary Pink Dots - Crescent Ballroom - Tuesday, October 8
On an episode ofRoderick on the Line
, Long Winters frontman and titular line-holder John Roderick explains that one of his earlier bands, the Bun Family Players, was so named specifically because they wanted no one to take them as seriously and solemnly as they had their grunge heroes.
"Legendary Pink Dots" is that kind of a name, except it didn't come as a twee reaction to sludge and flannel--LPD has been around for something like 30 years, playing a kind of stiflingly interconnected, constantly shifting chamber-pop that oscillates sometimes between the sounds of 1970 and 1270. This is a weird band, and you'll feel weird after you hear them. In that sense, Legendary Pink Dots is much more evocative than it initially seems.
Kepi Ghoulie - Trunk Space - Tuesday, October 8
In 2007 divorce did what 20 years of lineup changes couldn't, ending the bubblegum pop-punk career of the Groovie Ghoulies, history's least intimidating horror-themed band. Before you get too broken up about it, though, listen to the solo work frontman Kepi Ghoulie has produced in the years since.
2011's I Bleed Rock 'n Roll is as immediate and catchy as--well, as any other Ghoulies album. 2012's Kepi for Kids makes it clear that said catchy, immediate pop-punk was much closer to childrens' music already than any of us had a right to guess. Even when he's gone acoustic it hasn't thrown his straightforward melodicism for a loop.
Decker. - The Rogue Bar, Scottsdale - Wednesday, October 9
If you picked up decker.'s Slider when the album came out in March, you might've been surprised by the band's choice of "Shadow Days" -- a long, eerie track built around a determined bassline and a guitar that wavers like a far-off police siren -- for its new video, directed by Trevvor Riley. It's far from the most radio-friendly track on the album; in the MTV days, it might have gotten a verse hacked out to make more room for the VJ.
But Brandon Decker tells us that the radio-unfriendly choice was partly by design. "The song's so damn long," he says, laughing.
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"It's probably one of my favorites on the album, but it never lent itself to radio at all. It's an option to get a different audience to hear it and experience it. I think having a video allows us to reach a group of people we otherwise wouldn't have."