Top Five Must-See Shows In Phoenix This Weekend

On Saturday, you're going to have to make some very difficult choices. In one corner: the first That Damn Show in a decade, featuring Bad Religion and an impressive cast of local and touring bands. In another: The Real Coachella, featuring The Real Wu-Tang Clan and The Real Grimes. In another: Record Store Day, featuring in-store performances and deals all over the Valley. And in one more (that's right, these corners actually do make a square): all manner of 4/20 Day festivities, featuring come-on-you-know.

Here to help you make an informed decision: The Top Five Must-See Shows in Phoenix This Weekend.

Saturday, April 20: That Damn Show @ Mesa Amphitheatre, Mesa

The roster of touring acts of That Damn Show gives the festival the appearance of something that happened a decade ago. I remember being stoked to see acts like Bad Religion, Face to Face, and Fenix Tx for the first time in the early Aughts -- and, in some cases, at Mesa Amphitheatre. Wasn't Bad Religion, Less Than Jake and Authority Zero an unlikely but fun show? That Damn Show 2013, with its punk/reggae lineup, seems like the long-awaited sequel. -- Melissa Fossum

(Full disclosure: New Times is co-promoting That Damn Show. Buy tickets here.)

Saturday, April 20: The Real Coachella @ Trunk Space

The annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California is attended by thousands of music lovers who pilgrimage to the mountains each year for their fill of live performances from emerging and established acts, including Grimes, the Wu-Tang Clan, and Local Natives.

The Real Coachella is a local music festival mocking Coachella, and it celebrates its ninth anniversary this weekend. Here you won't see tables and tents with hordes of people trying to get their latest indie record signed. And although the event's flyer says Grimes, Wu-Tang Clan, and Local Natives are performing, it couldn't be farther from the truth.

Unless the truth is that the Wu-Tang Clan plays "surf rock," Grimes is "looping to the extreme," and Local Natives are "experimental for the meme generation." -- Yezmin Villarreal

Saturday, April 20: Wavves @ Crescent Ballroom

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Nathan Williams always had a good thing going with Wavves, whose string of buzzy, snotty pop-punk records has thrilled certain members of the blogosphere since 2009. The formula is clear: scuzzy guitars, crunchy drums, and an abundance of California slacker cool.

But there's always been a nagging question lingering about Wavves: "Is Nathan Williams as good as he could be?" With 2013's Afraid of Heights, the dude finally has obliterated the doubts. Paired with producer John Hill (Rihanna, Pink, Shakira), Williams hasn't cleaned up his sound so much as he's refined it. "Sail to the Sun" is a classic sunny-pop anthem; "Cop" paints a scene straight out of a homoerotic crime novel, both tender and brutal. Then there's the album's centerpiece, the beatific "Demon to Lean On," which sounds like it could be the best post-Pinkerton Weezer song ever, with crushing Blue Album-era distortion and lyrics that ooze punk nihilism and pop naivete.

"Holding a gun to my head, so send me an angel," Williams croons, sounding like Rivers Cuomo and Tom DeLonge's most talented love child, at once insouciant and dedicated. If anyone's wondering whether Williams has got it the way we always suspected he might, wonder no more. --Jason P. Woodbury

Saturday, April 20: DMC Phoenix Regional DJ Battle @ Monarch Theatre

Excuse our local beat-juggler boosterism for a moment, but there are some turntablists in town whose skills are so unearthly we reckon they might just have brokered their everlastings soul to Lucifer in trade for prodigious abilities.

And if they haven't, they might want to consider the deal.

Every extra mojo that any local scratch kings can muster when participating in the DMC Phoenix Regional DJ Battle on Saturday, April 18, at the Monarch Theatre, 122 East Washington Street, is gonna come in handy if they want to smite the competition and reign supreme.

The pressure will be unreal, but so is the prize: The one that prevails earns a berth at the DMC World Championships, arguably the most biggest battle in the DJ world, in NYC this summer and a shot at the gold-plated Rane mixer that serves as the trophy.

DJ Tricky T, Akshen, Rholi Rho, D-Styles, and Quest will also judge, and the latter three will perform showcase sessions after the battling is through. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $10 in advance, $15 on the day of the 18-plus event. --Benjamin Leatherman

Dinosaur Jr. @ Crescent Ballroom

Listen, man, guys don't like talking with other hombres about emotions and feelings and self-doubt and all that. I read about it in a men's magazine, in an article written by a male human solely for dude perusal, all right?

J Mascis and Lou Barlow, the two songwriters behind legendary indie rock band Dinosaur Jr., broke up in 1989 after years of passive aggressive headbutting, with Mascis forging ahead in Dino for three more records while Barlow performed as Sebadoh and trashed his former bandmate onstage.

Thankfully, there was a happy third act. Apparently, all it took to get Dino back together was Mascis' showing up to Sebadoh gigs, where Barlow eventually realized things were cool between them. No big. Since then, the band's stellar post-reunion output, most recently last year's I Bet on Sky, has been a consistent return to blissfully distorted form. Even the slower, more introspective numbers that dot these releases bring the fuzz down only to an even simmer, easily fitting Mascis' yearning croon into a pained whisper-wailing.

It goes to show: Just say what's on your mind, bro. --Chase Kamp

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