For the second time in a row there's a state fair show among these top five Phoenix shows this week.
Please take it as read that its status as a Must See Show is partially but not entirely dependent on buying your favorite fair food in an enormous basket or bowl, eating it, and then feeling a little guilty about yourself.
The Rascals - Orpheum Theatre - Monday, October 14
Lots of music fans have a cult-favorite band, and lots of those cult members certainly
they'd spend 30 years of their life, on and off, trying to get them back together. E Street Band guitarist and Rascals fan Steven Van Zandt was part of an even smaller subset--a fan with the resources and connections to actually test that devotion.
After a string of R&B hits like "Good Lovin'" and "A Beautiful Morning" and a struggle to evolve in more experimental directions, The Rascals broke up for good in the early '70s. "I was trying to reunite them starting in--1982," Van Zandt says, seeming to count backward from his final, successful attempt. "They weren't ready. So I stayed in touch with them. Every five years, 10 years, you know, 'Are you guys ready yet?' 'No.'"
But after 30 years it would take more than a lack of recognition to phase the band and their most active fan. The solution--the one that ended up on Broadway and is touring through Phoenix this month--is a striking hybrid of stage-show acting, documentary filmmaking, and live performance. If too few people remembered The Rascals, the history would have to come to them.
Haim - Crescent Ballroom - Monday, October 14
For enthusiasts of cutting-edge pop culture, "The Wire" has long solely meant a beloved HBO series about cop/criminal warfare and public/personal servitude in Baltimore. After Haim's recent splash, that phrase is now also connected to the L.A. band's song of that name, and, in turn, another (at least temporarily) well-regarded cultural commodity. Formed in 2006, the four-piece, comprising sisters Danielle, Este and Alana Haim alongside drummer Dash Hutton, specialize in air-conditioner-cool blasts of throwback pop rock. Guitars on "The Wire," in particular, juke and dazzle with the simple charm of a sparkler on Independence Day--right as its smooth-talking lyrics squash a dilapidating relationship. All these moves are made in the footsteps of Fleetwood Mac, Cheap Trick and Michael Jackson.
Making their full-length debut with September's Days Are Gone, Haim have been relishing heaps of public goodwill thanks to receiving choice supporting roles for tours by Florence + the Machine, Phoenix, Rihanna and Vampire Weekend; endorsements from Katy Perry, Jay Z's Roc Nation management group and even British Prime Minister David Cameron; and endless love letters from the press. In another recent move, they upped their relevancy an extra degree by covering "Wrecking Ball" by that chick who made twerking a thing. -- Reyan Ali
Pure Bathing Culture - Rhythm Room - Monday, October 14
As members of Vetiver, Daniel Hindman and Sarah Versprille explored the gauzy textures ofRumours
-era Fleetwood Mac (occasionally recalling the hazy mysticism of the Peter Green era, too.) As Pure Bathing Culture, the duo fast-forwards the Mac clock to Tango in the Night-o'clock. No, really: "Pendulum," which opens their full-length debutMoon Tides
is the best "Little Lies" update Sirius XMU-core has offered up yet. It's pure glide, with steady clap-beats clicking under Hindman's phased electric guitar and Versprille's Stevie Nicks-spins-Hounds of Love
The reference points don't detract from the swooning ambiance of the album, but rather suggest familiar joys, adding to the sense that you've heard perfect tracks like the pulsing "Dream the Dare" and 90s R&B-evoking "Scotty" before. Moon Tides plays like a late night mixtape made by a group of sexy-but-platonic friends, including producer Richard Swift (solo, The Shins, Foxygen, Lætitia Sadier), drummer Brian Wright, and bassist Zach Tillman (brother to J. Tillman, AKA Father John Misty). It's mostly a comforting listen - not unlike Beach House with a little humor - but when Hindman and Versprille strike up "Seven 2 One," there's a sense that the duo doesn't just sound like its influences; they might even share some DNA. - Jason P. Woodbury
Cheap Trick - Memorial Coliseum - Wednesday, October 16
Rick Nielsen's singular focus has always been on playing good rock and roll music to as many people as possible, even from the band's earliest days. "I always thought internationally," he says. "Even if we were playing a little place outside of Rockford (Illinois, where the band formed), or in Iowa, or wherever, I always thought I could play in England or L.A. [Like] this was just a pit-stop I had to make to be able to play all those places."
That attitude paid off when Nielsen and crew did go international, garnering plenty of acclaim from their peers, fans, and the occasional critic. Songs like "Dream Police," "Surrender," "The Flame," and "I Want You To Want Me" helped the band sell out arenas and sell millions of records. Of course there were lean moments, too, when Cheap Trick's sound was funneled into experimental forays in faux-metal, electronica, and pure pop, even though it was the band's garage-rock core that landed them on the charts in the first place. Those diversions were often dictated by the outside suggestion of others.
"Usually the stuff people didn't like was the stuff where managers, producers, and record company people got involved," he says. "The less we had of that going on, the more we were true to ourselves. That's why we keep making records, one by one. A record may have been universally panned, but we don't work with the producer anymore, we don't have that manager anymore, we're not on that label anymore--but we're still working. ... We haven't progressed very far, but there you go." -- Glenn BurnSilver
Apache Lake Music Festival - Friday, October 18
Over the last few years Apache Lake Music Festival has made the just-barely-perceptible leap from curiosity to institution, and it's easy to see why; like most institutions, the core of it is a really simple idea done well: What if you could see a bunch of local bands in a novel, secularly fun setting?
In an interview with College Times Nic Dehaan of Banana Gun explains the appeal pretty well: "It's really remote, as simple as that sounds. Also it's weird because it's like you put the Rogue Bar, Sail Inn, Yucca Tap Room, etc. all in one place with beautiful scenery and all of your friends are there. The evening setting sun back-dropping the bands is pretty great as well."
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Now that the weather's cooperating, it's a cheap--$40 for a weekend pass and the easy-enough drive to Apache Lake Resort--weekend getaway with a bunch of people you already know (and in some cases enjoy listening to.) The complete, very long line-up is available at the official website.