The Monkees and the Jonas Brothers are both playing the Valley this week, which is a think piece someone else is going to have to write -- only one of them made our list of five Phoenix shows to see this week.
Find out which one it is after the jump! (And view our complete concert calendar here.)
(It's the Monkees.)
Wolvves, Miss Massive Snowflake - Trunk Space - Monday, August 5
One of the Trunk Space's many public services: It is basically an enormous magnet that strange bands you don't know about yet find themselves drawn to, possibly against their will. Miss Massive Snowflake is that kind of band -- Portland natives who I never would have had any reason to hear if they hadn't shown up on our concert calendar. OnLike a Book
, their latest, there's all kind of stuff that reads as "weird pop" -- talky vocals, rhythms designed to confuse your legs, odd noises that carry melodies to other odd noises--in an arrangement that's new to me, at least.
They're joining Wolvves, who came up in our story about Rubber Brother Records. (I mention that only because I'm not sure if it meant we fulfilled any part of their five tips for music bloggers.) Kicking off the bill is Creosote Mantra, whose hyperactive "Sending Regards" is a good fit with Miss Massive Snowflake but who, so far as we know, don't have any tips for music bloggers at all.
The All Stars Tour - Nile Theater, Mesa - Monday, August 5
"I'm just looking for a sign." Keith Buckley, vocalist for establish metalcore act Every Time I Die, is a composed character, having fronted one of the most beloved metal acts of the past 16 years. He's conducted symphonies of straight-edge moshers meeting in the pit with hardcore veterans and beer-swilling stage divers, from the festival circuit to tightly packed Japanese bars.
So it's interesting that when asked about the next direction for such a storied, hard-to-categorize act, Buckley's aware of an uncertain future. It's safe to say, however, that whatever approach Every Time I Die has taken thus far has worked.
They're an exercise in dynamics, melding neck-snapping time signature changes with lyrics that can border on the intensely academic since their formation in 1997. Like their contemporaries in difference Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge, Every Time I Die's unclassifiable nature is itself their classification. It's why they can take the stage alongside acts like Fall Out Boy and Warped Tour newcomers to heavyweights like Terror and Chelsea Grin on this month's All Stars Tour.
"There is really something that we make very available and comfortable for both sides of the spectrum, for the tailgaters that are drinking since noon for an Every Time I Die show to the people that are studying English or philosophy," Buckley says. "I'm blessed in the fact that sometimes one message comes out, sometimes another comes out and they both play well off each other." -- K.C. Libman
Good Vibes Summer Tour - Mesa Amphitheatre - Thursday, August 8
It's called the "Good Vibes Summer Tour," it's going to feature performances by a band called Rebelution and a guy named Collie Buddz, and Matisyahu's there. This is a show so perfectly fitted into its niche that it really obviates the need for a preview -- either that sounds like something you're into or it doesn't. Rebelution's last album, 12 impossibly laid-back you-can't-make-me-hate anthems brought together as Peace of Mind, comes in separate acoustic and dub versions.
Collie Buddz is a little more crossed-over and a little more aggressive -- his current single is a breakup track called "Payback's a B**ch" (his asterisks). Matisyahu has shaved off his beard and renounced orthodoxy since the last time he reached the broader culture, but it hasn't had an especially noticeable effect on his musical worldview. This is reggae-as-college-lifestyle-choice reggae, which isn't inherently a bad thing; chasing oneness with the universe is probably the best possible thing you could decide to do while high. (And the best possible thing you could decide to do in college, if getting an engineering degree is out of the question.)
The Monkees - Mesa Arts Center - Friday, August 9
The Monkees have survived so many backlashes and so many revivals that Micky Dolenz can answer most of your questions before you even consider asking them. Just say "TV show" or "actors" or "instruments," by way of priming the pump, and he'll generate an interview that touches on every important piece of the band's strange history and successful revival.
He'll tell you about their formation and their reunions and the way each new generation discovers their TV show and their music. He'll explain how a meta-band in a sitcom transformed, thanks to their own skills and a top-notch songwriting team, into a real band playing fictional versions of themselves. He'll go over the backlash and the backlash against the backlash.
While he's at it, he'll also express his gratitude for the band's lasting popularity; as unflappable as Dolenz is by now, it's still clear that he appreciates pop culture's most recent pro-Monkees swing.
Sebadoh - Crescent Ballroom - Friday, August 9
Chances are, if you worked at a record store during the '90s (remember those places you used to be able to sell your used CDs for actual cash money?) you probably had a discussion with a fellow music geek about which Lou Barlow band was better: Dinosaur Jr. or Sebadoh.
It wasn't uncommon for these debates to occur back before the Internet existed. What else were you going to do, besides debate whether Melrose Place or Beverly Hills 90210 was a better show? These types of arguments are silly, and ultimately a matter of preference. (Also, everyone knows it was Beverly Hills 90210.) In the case of Dinosaur Jr. versus Sebadoh, regardless of which side of the fence you fell on, it's hard to deny that both groups were vital in shaping the alt-rock scene of the '90s.
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But just in case you're Team Sebadoh, now's your chance to relive the argument live. -- Michael Escoto