Top Five Must-See Shows in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

Curious about what's going on around town this weekend? Need some suggestions where to rock, dance, or krump in the Valley of the Sun?

Don't fret: These are our Five Shows to See This Weekend.

Friday, January 4: Manny's Birthday Party @ Rogue Bar

Manny Tripodis -- owner of popular Scottsdale rock joint The Rogue Bar -- is about to add another candle to his birthday cake this weekend.

So many of the local indie bands that frequently grace the venue's stage are putting on a massive show in his honor. The lineup includes the likes of Doctor Bones, Snake! Snake! Snakes!, The Deer Leader, The Ice Waters, and The Woodworks, as well as Prague, Ruca, Field Tripp, and Sun Ghost, will each take turns performing and covering some of the affable Tripodis' favorite songs.

Plenty of bad-ass tunes to be performed at the affair, as well as Manny happy returns. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) -- Benjamin Leatherman

Real Radio Mix Show Sept 27, 2012 DJ Kim E. Fresh

Friday, January 4: Valley Fever Downtown Edition @ Crescent Ballroom

"On the blue side of evening / When the darkness takes control / You start looking for a reason / To take your lonesome down the road."

These forlorn lyrics, cribbed from honkytonk hitmaker Steve Earle's 1986 ditty "Down the Road," might have been rolling through the heads of DJs Johnny Volume and Dana Armstrong when they decided to amble on to downtown Phoenix and bring their popular outlaw country Valley Fever night to Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, on Friday, January 4, for a special appearance.

The one-off event, which has been dubbed "Valley Fever Downtown Edition", promises to be even more of a hellacious hootenanny as its regular Sunday night shift at the Yucca Tap Room because it will feature triple the amount of local roots, Americana, and y'allternative acts, including the likes of the Tony Martinez Band, Hashknife Outfit, Mario Moreno and the Ramblers, and Grave Danger frontman Kevin Daly's side project Chicken and Waffles. As always, Volume and Armstrong will spin vintage country and Western tunes on vinyl. Cowboy hats are optional. Tears start falling into beers at 8 p.m-- Benjamin Leatherman

Saturday, January 5: The Growlers @ Crescent Ballroom

Go ahead and call The Growlers "beach goth." It's not only an apt term that hints at the Orange County band's sound -- dark psychedelic rock with a slacker, surfer edge -- but when The Growlers put together a big homecoming show in October, they called it a "beach goth party" themselves.

Like fellow road warriors Dr. Dog, The Growlers find a way to take a rock-history lesson's worth of influences and spit out something unique. That's on record. Live, the band is a bunch of costumed firecrackers, plugged into some weird cosmic energy. The band's third album, Hung at Heart, will be released January 22 on Everloving Records. At 15 songs and 50 minutes, it's a sprawling statement of inclusiveness for The Growlers, but the songs of Brooks Nielsen and Matt Taylor always maintain some core of poppy magnetism.

"Someday" and "Pet Shop Eyes" are hum-alongs that start with a bit of country, while "One Million Lovers" sounds like a long-lost Kinks tune. The Growlers' label calls them a "band of merry menacers," which is certainly true. But those menacers have already hit the stages at Coachella and Lollapalooza and are poised to be one of the early breakout bands of 2013. -- Eric Swedlund

Sunday, January 6: Aristeia @ Nile Theater

San Fernando Valley-based heavy metal act Aristeia is all about grandeur -- and the band doesn't try to hide it. On 2011's Era of the Omnipotent, the quartet juxtaposes guttural screams against high-pitched ones (don't worry, you won't find any angular-haired boys singing pretty here), but the group sounds best when opening up to explore widescreen vistas.

Second track "Anamnesis" has lots of deathcore, claustrophobia-writhing-in-a-tiny-space angst but truly connects well past the three-minute mark, when Hugo Vasquez and Tyler Lozano show off atmospheric, gauzy soundscapes and spiraling prog-rock histrionics. Certainly, the polyrhythmic breakdowns of the title track (on which vocalist Jordan "Kirby" Ibarra growls about society and stuff) will serve the purposes of those coming to mosh, but the instrumental closing track, "Green Dream," aims for the moon, thrashing between crunchy double-bass drum smash sections and Joe Satriani/Steve Vai fretboard excursions. That Aristeia sounds as much like Surfing with the Alien as The Red Chord speaks to the band's future Guitar World status. -- Jason P. Woodbury

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