Top Five Must-See Shows in Phoenix This Week

It's Monday, and that means that the rotting corpse of the weekend has been trampled on and desecrated by another dadgum work week. But never fear -- the resistance is growing. You can re-create the carefree feelings of the weekend every night this week by attending our Top Five Must-See Shows This Week. Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth!

Monday, March 18: The Sh!t @ Red Owl

It's been a long road, but The Sh!t are ready to live up to its namesake.

The Sh!t is the collaboration of Ianfluence and Sourpuss, who double-team on both production and rhyming. The two are former members of the local group Shortbus, which they say was a passion project started long before they could hit the bar scene. "When we weren't even old enough to go to Blunt Club, we'd mix beats and freestyle all night long," Ianfluence says.

The duo's track, "Ass Dro Not," is a funky combination of backpacker sensibility and outer space antics. The song, from the Earsweat label mixtape available online and at Zia Records, features Ianfluence and Sourpuss talking shit in the cosmos, with sci-fi synths and Wu-Tang trash snares. Throughout the track is a sample from a 1950s cartoon of an announcer making prophetic statements about a heroic cosmonaut.

The Sh!t leans heavy on classic hip-hop approach and old-school pop culture, "Shit people forgot about," Ianfluence says. "We've got stacks of vinyl. I'm a movie person. I dropped out of college, but I took screenwriting classes and film studies. I love old Hitchcock, The Twilight Zone -- just classic pop culture. Today's pop culture is all corny and shit." -- Chase Kamp

Tuesday, March 19: Rampage Fest Night II @ Sail Inn/Meat Market Garment Factory

Following a successful (although not entirely smooth) first night, Rampage Fest, the annual SXSW run-off hosted by Select and Stateside, will pick up where it left off at the Sail Inn, when local rowdy acts like Playboy Manbaby and Rumpringer will join Austin-fresh touring acts like In the Red's The Spits and beer-shotgunning heshers Natural Child, and other garagey rock 'n' rollers in exorcizing any patchouli-oiled vibes lingering around the hippie-friendly Sail Inn.

Then there's the after-party at Meat Market Garment Factory, where Florida's Merchandise will join Wet Hair and Body of Light. It's like SXSW, and you don't even have to pay tribute to the Doritos gods. -- Jason P. Woodbury

Wednesday, March 20: Marianne Dissard & Budo @ Trunk Space

Tucson-based singer/songwriter Marianne Dissard didn't set out to make a dark album when she teamed with bandleader/arranger Sergio Mendoza to craft her new record, The Cat. Not Me, but looking back, she's not surprised. When she returned to Tucson after touring in Berlin last year, she was "spiritually and emotionally exhausted and lost."

Then her cat started piling up dead lizards, birds, and other assorted desert creatures in her home. It was un signe.

"All summer long, my cat kept bringing inside the house dead lizards and birds," she laughs, her native French accent coloring each word. "Pretty gory stuff. I took hundreds of photos of those things, because to me -- being cooped up in Tucson, in the summer, with the album in mind -- it seemed like what the cat was bringing from the outside into my world was a good representation of what the album was about: death and gore coming in from the outside. But, they are gifts. You have to take them for what they are, and face them."

A working knowledge of French isn't required to hear the melancholy in the songs: Opener "Am Letzen" is as spooky as it is sultry; "La Partie De Puzzle Du Jardin A La Francaise" grooves over a skeletal, pulpy noir backdrop; "Je Ne La Savais Pas" explodes, surging with menace. Dissard employing a low growl over cresting crescendos by Mendoza and the crack spaghetti-indie unit he assembled to play on the record.

When it came time to perform the record, Dissard decided against the path of least resistance, teaming with Budo of the Rhymesayers collective to completely reimagine and re-assemble the record -- in a live setting. "It's been absolutely the kind of collaboration I've been searching for," she says. -- Jason P. Woodbury

Read more about Dissard, the restless collaborator.

Thursday, March 21: Masta Killa @ Yucca Tap Room

"I'm a writer, not a rapper," Masta Killa brags on "R U Listening," one of the standout songs from his latest, Selling My Soul. It's a tricky distinction to make, of course, but Killa has a solid case. While none of his fellow Wu-Tang Clan brethren are lyrical slouches, Killa has a densely unique approach.

Over vintage soul samples and beats by producer Inspectah Deck, he paints a vivid scene. "With this piece of steel that I hold so firmly, I conduct you all accordingly." It's an image draped in the kung fu Z-movie mysticism Wu-Tang members have employed since 1993's Enter the Wu-Tang (a record that only features Killa, the last member to join, on one track), but Killa actually maintains an air of mystery that high profile members like Raekwon, Method Man, and GZA has shed as they've pushed into the spotlight with film roles and film scores.

Killa, by comparison, is the quiet one, content to spend plenty of time crafting his work (Selling My Soul was preceded by six years of solo album silence). He's no less dedicated to his trade, just deliberate about it, fitting his zenned out samurai heroes. - Jason P. Woodbury

Thursday, March 21: Mos Def @ Celebrity Theatre

Like Ziggy Stardust before him, Mos Def knows the value of a good stage trick, some moniker-based slight of hand. His decision to shelf the Mos Def name in 2011 in favor of the handle Yasiin Bey may have struck some as a puzzling movie, but it makes sense when you think about it: Mos Def is as much an actor as rapper, known for role on Showtime's homicidal drama Dexter, and parts in films like Be Kind Rewind and Cadillac Records; the name Yasiin Bey is a clean slate.

But Def didn't exactly pull a "Father John Misty;" his fliers, like the one for his upcoming Celebrity Theatre performance, still list "AKA Mos Def" in case anyone is confused. Whether this represents some wavering on the rebranding decision or not is beside the point. Def raps like he acts, embodying characters and ideologies, and last year's "Bey" showcased a brash, nearly punk mentality veering away from his backpacking, "conscious" hip-hop records as Mos Def.

"My black is brighter than the dark," he spits over sputtering synths and hard snare clicks, with a sneer that isn't all unlike that of Kanye West, who signed Def/Bey to G.O.O.D. music last year. Where he goes next is unclear, but he's clearly enjoying the freedom of a new guise.- Jason P. Woodbury

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