Top Five Must-See Shows in Phoenix This Week

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Yeah, yeah, yeah...we get it. Mondays suck (we've read Garfield). But it means the start of a new week, which means a bunch of killer shows in and around Phoenix.

And here are a few of the coolest -- our top five must-see shows this week.

Monday, January 7: Toxic Mondays ft. DJ Circle @ Zuma Grill and Lounge

We're not certain why people dread the start of the workweek so much.

True, the weekend may be over, but that doesn't necessarily mean the feting and festivities have to stop. Such is the thinking at Zuma Grill, 605 South Mill Avenue in Tempe, which extends the weekend party spirit into overtime with Toxic Mondays.

Chase away the blahs while dancing and drinking up a storm, as the night's resident mixmaster DJ Circle is always hell-bent on getting the vibe cranking with a booty-shaking soundtrack of hip-hop, pop, Top 40, and electro tracks. -- Jose GonzalezTuesday

Tuesday, January 8: Cassiopeia @ Trunk Space

Putting a song over 10 minutes long on your debut full-length is masturbatory. Putting three songs that nearly hit the 10-minute mark on the record? That simply doesn't work, because listeners don't need much excuse to roll their eyes and shrug as they head off in more fashionable direction. (See: MGMT's Congratulations.)

It's a different story for Cassiopeia. The Phoenix shoegazers don't specialize in cut-and-dried Death Cab for Cutie-style melodies. Instead, they paint spaced-out soundscapes that capture the imagination. On their debut, Cassiopeia tosses the expected whiny singer and swaps him/her for emotive guitar riffs that tell a story without melodrama.

Maybe the approach led to the band's name, as the upward-gazing rockers clearly are inspired by the constellation named for the self-absorbed queen in Greek mythology. Song titles like "Stargazer," "The Ascension," and "The Highest Step on Earth" aren't exactly surprising, but the music is thoughtful and well-constructed. You could call it "space rock," but Cassiopeia skips the stoned hippie mindset for a more scientific approach. Call it the difference between astrology and astronomy. -- Christina Caldwell

Tuesday, January 8: Gregg Allman @ Talking Stick Resort

On "Just Another Rider," from 2011's Low Country Blues, Gregg Allman's first non-compilation album since 1997, raw emotions well up on this heavy Southern-blues tune as he sings, "Just another rider on that train to nowhere." And nowhere was where the Allman Brothers Band namesake was headed had it not been for a 2010 liver transplant (necessitated by a hepatitis C infection).

The track is strong testament to his songwriting prowess, as Allman subtly instills his own raw, gritty, and soulful edge here and throughout this album mostly comprising songs by the likes of Otis Rush, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Junior Wells, Skip James, Sleepy John Estes, and others. These artists always influenced Allman's work, beginning with the earliest ABB blues jams "Jessica," "Whipping Post," and "Ramblin' Man." And though that bluesy component persisted, Allman's focus indeed rambled from time to time as he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction plus a four-year marriage to Cher (the pair released the universally panned Two the Hard Way).

Now clean, sober, single, and with a new liver, the organist is back on track and at his performance peak again. He's still got the blues, but lately, that's primarily in song alone. -- Glenn BurnSilver

Wednesday, January 9: The Morning Infidelity SXSW Showcase Fund Raiser @ Crescent Ballroom

Lest you think that "Mill" in Jared and The Mill is an ironic reference to the Valley's '90s alt-rock heyday, tune in to "The Returning Half," in which the mostly rootsy combo cranks up the amps and the intensity, breaking off a dusty chunk of desert jangle rock that sounds like it could've fit in quite nicely on the mythic Mill Ave circuit.

The band doesn't get as rowdy elsewhere; instead, songwriter Jared Kolesar and his boys recall the influences noted in the band's Facebook bio: Mumford and Sons, Trampled by Turtles, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Ryan Adams.

Sure, the band's "Brave Young Man," with its references to "pockets full of dust" and "going south on a northbound train" might seem a little too on the nose, but the band's headed to South by Southwest this year, and that sort of folksy bravado ought to come in handy as the band crams its way into a festival featuring thousands of like-minded revival acts. You've got to be loud to be heard above the acoustic din -- and when Jared and the Mill plugs in, Kolesar seems capable of making the necessary noise. -- Jason P. Woodbury

Thursday, January 10: Warren G @ Martini Ranch

[Note: This Show Has Been Postponed]

Sounds like a Yoda quote, but it ain't: "Party We Will Throw Now!" is a 2012 single by Warren G, featuring the dearly-departed Nate Dogg and The Game, and it starts with these lines: "As I travel/This lonely gangsta road/Just me and my Negroes/We still got bomb hydro."

It's silly, yeah, but over the same kind of plush G-funk the trio sounds passable, and occasionally -- during Game's verse -- pretty heavy. It's a necessary reminder of why the dude's vital -- it was sort of easy to forget how smooth and potent "Regulate" was as Warren has spend the past couple years peddling male enhancement pills and slimming down on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club. But just hit play on "Regulate," with that velvety sample of Michael McDonald's deep groove "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)."

It's a mission statement as much as it's a hit, a sort of national album for the soulful, funky hip-hop style that "Party We Will Throw Now!" strives for. "Big girls put on small clothes," Warren sings, "A party we will throw." If his upcoming release nears the heights of the single, it might even be a party with showing up for. - Jason P. Woodbury

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