If you want to see the Refreshments, who haven't played together as a band since 1998, now might be a good time to figure out whether you're legally allowed to go to Mexico.
I don't mean to spoil this week's Must-See Phoenix Shows This Weekend, but it might take you a little time to figure that out, and I wanted to give you a head start. If you're stuck stateside, there's still plenty to tide you over until the Refreshments play again in 2028.
Prehab - Martini Ranch, Scottsdale - June 7
Prehab wears its Mill Ave. connections on its sleeve--they were called The Bedspins during the Gin Blossoms administration, and their drummer, Philip Rhodes, was a Gin Blossom during the Gin Blossoms administration--and that's probably for the best; that unmistakeable mix of polished Marshall Crenshaw hooks and down-and-out benders would give it away if their press releases didn't.
It's been 20 years, though, and with most of their contemporaries broken up or yoked to the sound they made famous, Prehab is in the strange position of evolving a sound that others have left for dead. The harder-edged, knowing sound they bring to songs like "False Horizon" will definitely make you think of the scene they came from. But it'll also convince you that there are some new tricks left in those bright guitars and sad melodies.
Read More: - Prehab - One Is Too Many (A Thousand Is Never Enough)
Jeff Gonzales - Yucca Tap Room, Tempe - June 7
Mesa-based songwriter Jeff Gonzales, formerly of Skybox, knows how to write a love song. Midway through his debut solo EP, the six-song The Lights Just Went Out. . ., he drops an openhearted doozy, the lilting country shuffle "Midday Epilogue."
"Well, I gave up my family for you," he croons, a light drawl over a gently rocking country backbeat. "Love and real friendship, too / Countless jobs along the way / Scholastic dreams I had, now they're dead / I gave up quite a bit for you." It's like "Just Because I Really Love" by Jerry Butler or "He Hit Me (and It Felt Like a Kiss)" by the Crystals, a dark ballad detailing a terribly one-sided romance, one that will, eventually but surely, destroy one half of the couple involved. It's got a guitar solo, too, one that sounds like it was yanked from some obscure rockabilly record.
"It's about a love addiction to heroin," Gonzales says bluntly, describing his past battles with addiction and how the song was born one night in Kiwanis Park in Tempe, written in the passenger seat of his car. After a few minutes speaking with Gonzales, his openness becomes striking -- almost alarming.
Gonzales finds sympathetic backing in guitarist Matt Banister, drummer Shane Kennedy, and especially in Aaron Ott, the multi-instrumentalist who co-produced the album with Gonzales at his Phoenix studio, Rare Currency. Ott's contributions, the steady bass and gorgeous organ work, help color the album, adding muted washes of color to Gonzales' stark black-and-white. -- Jason P. Woodbury
The Refreshments - Circus Mexicus, Puerto Peñasco - June 8
The Refreshments are back. The fizzy, fuzzy, big, and buzzy '90s band behind the hit "Banditos" is scheduled to reunite for one show only -- but not in their home state or even their home country. The good news is that the gig is only as far away as Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, as part of Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers' Circus Mexicus festival.
Clyne began Circus Mexicus in Rocky Point about 14 years ago, and in the years since, it's grown from a single night of music into a four-day extravaganza of bands, soccer, jam sessions, charitable events, and private-label tequila. It's fitting that the Refreshments' reunion is the festival highlight, since Clyne says all he really wanted to do when the Refreshments were a hit-making band was play music on the beach. (Read the full interview.)
For a while, it looked like a reunion could never happen. Too much bad blood was spilled. "It was definitely not an amicable split when everything went down," [Guitarist Brian] Blush says. "I was a difficult guy to deal with at the time, for sure."
Then Blush and Clyne met up in a Midwest club (Clyne thinks it was Michigan, Blush says Indiana) and resolved their differences.
Fans had best get their passports in order. -- Glenn BurnSilver
P.S.: Yes, there's a Tumblr called 90s Band GIFs.
Jewel - Ovations Live!, Chandler - June 8
It's been 10 years now since Jewel released 0304 and loosed the sell-out police on herself, trading in hyper-earnest folk for a dance-pop single in which she declared herself "a simple girl / in a high-tech digital world." It was all knowing and wink-wink -- at least theoretically -- but it was exactly the kind of thing Jewel's hyper-earnest Pieces of You fans would have trouble with.
Since then, she's returned to her old sound (2006's Goodbye Alice in Wonderland), made the inevitable country turn (2008's Perfectly Clear), and released a children's album (Lullaby, 2009). So which is the real Jewel? The country version is the one you're most likely to see; she went back to it for her last album, in 2010, and re-recorded "You Were Meant for Me" with Miranda Lambert and the Pistol Annies for her Greatest Hits record earlier this year.
But the real Jewel, if her discography is any indication, is all and none of those personas: She's just somebody who writes wordy, sometimes hooky, pop songs and has never quite known where to put them. 0304 wasn't a sell-out move so much as another unsuccessful attempt at finding a genre where she felt at home. So if you like the songs, then go watch her play them -- just be prepared for whichever style she ends up playing them in.
Zeds Dead - El Santo Cantina, Scottsdale - June 8
Dubstep might have exceeded its expiration date, if the statements by a few prominent EDM bigwigs are to be believed. Last month, influential dubstep early-adopter Skream mentioned in a UK tabloid that the once-groundbreaking genre has become meaningless and that "the movement is over," essentially echoing like-minded statements by such cats as Pinch and even Deadmau5 to a degree.
Such feelings seem to matter little to Dylan "DC" Mamid and Zach "Hooks" Rapp-Rovan, better known as the Canadian DJ/producer duo Zeds Dead. Despite all the naysaying, the pair of club-conquering Canucks have kept on blending heavy dollops of dubstep with other thrum-heavy sounds like drum 'n' bass into their warped sonic creations, including their recent Hot Sauce EP. You'll likely hear cuts from the album when Zeds Dead headlines a special "Night Swim" edition of Relentless Beach on Saturday, June 8, at El Santo Cantina, 7301 East Butherus Drive in Scottsdale.
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Fellow bass lovers J. Paul of HavocNdeeD fame and Sam Groove, recently seen tearing up the decks at Dirty Disco, will fire up the crowd during the opening sets. The party begins at 9 p.m. General admission is $15, VIP access is $40. -- Benjamin Leatherman