Top Five Must-See Shows in Phoenix This Weekend

Who's excited for the Instagram pictures Questlove is going to post of Phoenix this weekend? I sure am. The Roots will be in town on Saturday, March 23, to play as part of McDowell Mountain Music Festival, plus, Questo will be dropping a DJ set at Bar Smith afterward. That's sure to yield some good pics, no? Thought they probably won't wind up on his IG feed, there's lots of other good shows going on in Phoenix this weekend. What shows? Read on, amigos. -- Jason P. Woodbury

Friday, March 22: Dry River Yacht Club @ Last Exit Live

Last Exit Live has been reborn, and this weekend its getting in on the McDowell Mountain Music Festival heat. As we've previously reported, Crescent Ballroom will also be hosting MMMF "after hours" events featuring nationally touring bands like Deer Tick and Orgone. Kleinlein felt like Last Exit Live could get in on the action as well.

The two bands who will get the honor of busting Last Exit Live's concert cherry will be Tempe favorites Dry River Yacht Club (who will appear on Friday, March 22) and Banana Gun (who are scheduled to perform on Saturday, March 23).

Meanwhile, North Carolina funk rock ensemble Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band will appear at Last Exit Live on March 27 and the venue's official bow takes place from April 3-6 during what Kleinlein calls its "grand opening week."

"We didn't really want to pick just one show and call it a grand opening," he says, "So it's kind of like a grand opening week." -- Benjamin Leatherman

Friday, March 22: Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants @ Denim and Diamonds

Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett must have smelled it on the wind: He went Americana, releasing a self-titled album credited to Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants, back in 2010, long before Mumford and Sons, Avett Bros, and The Lumineers charmed mainstream rock audiences with rustic flair.

Of course, Shiflett's background, which found him palm-muting for bands like No Use for a Name, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, and Jackson United, probably accounts for his foresight into the potential glories of a "gone country" approach. Plenty of his peers, including Chuck Ragan of Hot Water Music, Todd Barry of Avail, Frank Turner, and others, have embraced the alt-country path, and like them, the beefy power of his compositions prove that the punk rock convention of short, fast, and to point can be applied to tuneful country rock. Good on ya, Chris. -- Jason P. Woodbury

Saturday, March 23: Source Victoria @ Yucca Tap Room

If you grooved on the uniformity of Source Victoria's debut album's mood (slow, evocative, and kinda glum), you'll notice how Source V lulls you into it's sophomore album, Slow Luck, with happy glockenspiel and sleigh bells of "All That You Taught Me" (featuring pedal steel by Jon Rauhouse) -- more of a closing track to the last album -- then doses you in the face with cold water in the form of stadium anthems like "Nobody Knows Like Me" and "Black Luck, Black Label."

"I really wanted to challenge myself on this record," songwriter Brendan Murphy says, "write songs that were more concrete and less in the air and atmospheric."

Clearly, the band was thinking of vinyl when they sequenced the album and drew large SIDE A and SIDE B dividers on the track listing. A benefit of this demarcation is that Slow Luck is a CD that twice starts and ends strong, a dynamic that led to most of the top 100 titles in any listing of classic albums. Possibly a trait lost on today's listeners, who like to cherry-pick songs and compile rollercoaster playlists.

"That is sort of a bummer, isn't it?" nods Murphy. "We are a band that likes albums, not just tracks. I want an album to make sense as a complete work. It doesn't have to be a concept record, but I love listening to a record and feeling like there are some unifying themes, even if the record has different types of tracks on it -- like a collection of short stories, all different, but you get an overall feeling, a mood, a message. That is what I was going for when writing Slow Luck." -- Serene Dominic

McDowell Mountain Music Festival, Friday, March 22, Saturday, March 23, Sunday, March 24 @ Margret T. Hance Park

When The Compound Grill closed in April, 2012, it set the future of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, which had taken place there since 2010, in uncertain light.

Of course, the festival (winner of our 2012 Best of Phoenix designation) existed for years pre-Compound -- it launched in 2004 -- and thankfully it looks like it will exist post-Compound, too. This year's lineup might be the best yet, featuring The Shins, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Kongos, Ladylike, Balkan Beat Box, Dry River Yacht Club, & Yellow Minute (on March 22); The Roots, Deer Tick, Heartless Bastards, Cousins of the Wize, Iration, Fayuca, The Wiley One, Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special, Mergence, & Banana Gun (on March 23); & Umphrey's McGee, Yonder Mountain String Band, Dr. Dog, JGB Band, Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, Jared and the Mill, Decker, & Future Love Past (on March 24).

See also:

-Heartless Bastards: Songwriter Erika Wennerstorm Aims for "Clint Eastwood-Meets-Nancy Sinatra" Sounds -Questlove of The Roots Is So Much Better at Instagram Than You -Yonder Mountain String Band: Bluegrass for People Who Don't Like Bluegrass -Les Claypool: Eccentric Bassist Would Rather Be Fishing

Sunday, March 25: Anthrax @ Marquee Theatre

Anthrax doesn't get quite as much respect as their brethren in thrash metal's Big Four (a group that also includes Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth). We think that's a damn shame.

There is a stronger sense of fun and levity to Anthrax's brand of thrash than the soberly serious output from those contemporaries, but blistering thrashers such as "Caught in a Mosh" and "I Am the Law" still get us in the mood to storm into the pit and lay waste to motherfuckers left and right.

On this current tour, the group is performing their 1987 masterpiece, Among the Living, in its entirety, and original vocalist Joey Belladonna is firmly back in the fold. Expect this show to be heavy on both first-decade Anthrax material and Belladonna's superb 2011 return, Worship Music. --Jason Roche

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