Top Five Must-See Phoenix Shows This Weekend

It's not that I'm rooting for The Maine to become nationally famous and then commit some terrible faux pas in Western Europe, but I'm halfway through a "Maine in Spain Fails Softly Something Something" headline that I'd really like to sell to the New York Post.

They'll be back in town this weekend, in any case, which is pretty exciting, along with four other shows we think might be neat. (View our complete concert calendar here.)

Matchbox Twenty - Comerica Theatre - Friday, July 26

The week a once-ubiquitous band rolls through town on its comeback tour is a good time to reflect on whether, why, and how much you enjoyed it in the first place. For me and Matchbox Twenty, America's most indestructible post-grunge band, those answers are "yes," "because they're so overproduced," and "much more than I used to be willing to admit," respectively.

Read More: - The Top 10 (Awesomely) Overproduced Matchbox Twenty Moments Ever

No mid-'90s success put the "post" in "post-grunge" quite like Matchbox Twenty; two years after Kurt Cobain's death, they combined alt-rock volume and angst with '80s-rock polish, and four albums later, every song sounds like grunge recorded by Phil Ramone inside an airlock. I'm supposed to dislike that, I think, but I don't -- I want to bounce a quarter off that guitar tone in "If You're Gone," and I will, and I will.

The Maine - Crescent Ballroom - Saturday, July 27

When we spoke to John O'Callaghan of The Maine

a couple of years ago

, things were a little nebulous.


had just been rejected by their major label, and it wasn't clear whether the album marked a temporary or permanent split for the band.

Things cleared up when we talked again back in June, at the start of a summer-long tour promoting this year's Forever Halloween. "The creative freedom we've enjoyed since departing from a major label has been immense," O'Callaghan says. "I think the vision that we do have -- whether it's a little vision or a lot -- I think it's able to be seen through at this point. We don't have to answer to anybody, so I think our mental approach has completely changed."

After a successful tour, The Maine will hit the Crescent Saturday for their homecoming date. Read our full interview about Forever Halloween here.

St Ranger - Trunk Space - Saturday, July 27

I bought St Ranger's cassette rerelease of

Life Coach

recently. I can't vouch for the sound quality, because I haven't owned a Walkman since the late '90s, but it looks very cool standing on my desk while I stream the songs on Bandcamp.

That has almost nothing to do with the band's show at Trunk Space on Saturday, but it's more novel than another round of talking about how much I enjoy the EP (which I do) and how great the harmonies are (very great) and how interesting their connections between indie-baroque and tossed-off pop-punk are (really interesting.) You'll be able to buy your own copy of their cassette while you're at the show, which is their last in Phoenix before they go out for a week-long tour of California.

If you have a Walkman, you can let me know how it sounds.

I Love Industrial - Monarch Theatre - Saturday, July 27

If either Mighty Mike Saga or Alex King seems at all stressed lately, it's to be expected. The pair of rivetheads has spent the past two years preparing to bring Saga's influential dance party I Love Industrial to Phoenix this weekend, and there's still plenty to do before the madness gets unleashed.

Their toil is going to be worth it, Saga says, considering the size of his hard-charging affair, which comes to Monarch Theatre, 122 East Washington Street, on Saturday, July 27. "This event gives fans of the industrial genre exposure to bands and DJs that normally would not come to Arizona," he says.

The lineup also includes Tucson's Plastic Disease and Mike Jenney (both of Club Sanctuary), as well as Mess &* Phetamine, Self.Destrukt, Defense.Mekanizm, and Dark Mark booming dark electro, harsh EBM, and other audio brutality through the Monarch's PK sound system. Saga and King (a.k.a. KILLtheALEX) will also DJ. --Benjamin Leatherman

Cover the Crescent - Crescent Ballroom - Sunday, July 28

The Cover the Crescent series continues Sunday with a "New York Rock Night." If you're not familiar with the conceit, members of Valley bands come together to cover some of their favorite songs/artists, usually along a particular scene.

This edition will get you songs from the Talking Heads, the Velvet Underground, Television, and -- one of these things is marginally different from the others -- Billy Joel, from various permutations of Sweetbleeders, Blues Oblique, and Wooden Indian.

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