Top Five Must-See Shows in Phoenix This Weekend

It's the weekend. Oh, yesh. We're pumped to bring your our Top Five Must-See Shows in Phoenix this Weekend.

See also:

-Eight Must-See Concerts Over St. Patrick's Weekend in Metro Phoenix

Friday, March 15: Matt Costa @ Crescent Ballroom

Locating the root of singer/guitarist Matt Costa's passion for folk music means returning to the scene of a most gruesome injury. At age 18, the Orange County-bred Costa was a skateboarder on the verge of going pro. Then, during one skating session, he botched the landing of a staircase jump, leaving him with a rolled ankle and bone jutting out of skin. In one go, both his leg and hopes of skating professionally were shattered.

"Before [the accident], I always was on the move," he says. "When you're laid up, you think about things more. Songs hit me more."

More than a decade after his leg was broken, Costa stands again, now in a very different place. Instead of being a professional skater, he's a professional musician with multiple records, significant tours, and notable song placements under his belt. He retains great affection for the school of sound that scored his post-accident downtime -- evidence of which is found in the fantastically full-sounding Matt Costa.

Costa conceived his fourth and latest record as a moody, melancholy album in the vein of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska or material by Donovan and Nick Drake. After making good on his dream of going to Glasgow to record, Matt Costa producer/engineer Tony Doogan (Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai) successfully talked the musician into skewing the album's style more toward the direction of a spaghetti Western soundtrack.

"I feel like I owe myself to the music," Costsa says, "and there's nothing more I'd rather like to do." -- Reyan Ali

Friday, March 15: Hemoptysis @ Rocky Point Cantina

There's nothing more metal than shooting a music video in 100 degree-plus heat in the Arizona summer.

That's exactly what local metal band Hemoptysis did for their clip "M.O.D.," off their debut full-length album, Misanthropic Slaughter. The video was shot in an abandoned metal warehouse in Vail and was directed by Sean Sinerius and Robert Jaime of Big Shot Studios. It may be a simple performance piece, but it looks crisper, cleaner, and glossier that what you might've expected from a metal band.

"We hope people will be entertained by the video and get a visual idea in their heads behind our audio recording," says singer/guitarist Masaki Murashita. "Our music is a buffet of metal. We have influces in thrash metal, death metal, melodic death metal and black metal. What you see in this video is what you can expect to see from us live, only you probably won't have to bake in an oven like we did for this video."

Murashita says the inspiration behind the song comes from a bad dream he had, in which he was offered everlasting life in exchange for killing someone.

"We hope people get a release of anger from this song," Murashita says. "Everyone has anger, but people deal with it in different ways. Fans of heavy metal usually release their anger by listening to music like this. This is a song about killing, so it should be a natural way to let out some aggression, especially in a mosh pit." -- Nicki Escudero

Saturday, March 16: Muse @ US Airways Center

1999 was a weird year. That June, George W. Bush announced his candidacy for president, people were partying like it was the year in question, and a prevalent fear of the Y2K bug spread like ebola fever. Muse also released its debut album, Showbiz, instantly drawing comparisons to its British contemporaries Radiohead.

That comparison was a stretch, but if there's one band Muse gets likened to these days, it's Queen, especially following the band's latest two albums. Lead singer Matthew Bellamy seems to be going out of his way to emulate Freddie Mercury on everything from Chopin-inspired piano melodies to guitar licks to eerily similar vocal ranges.

Unlike comparisons to Thom Yorke and crew, Muse's Queen similarities are great compliments. Even Queen guitarist Brian May adores the resemblance. Furthermore, Bellamy sounds miles better than Paul Rodgers, who brings to mind an old guy with a midlife crisis singing karaoke.

But one band I haven't heard Muse compared to is Styx -- and the comparison is apt.

My dad took me to a Styx concert when I was a teen, probably the most sugary "best of" display I've ever seen. Notably absent from the set list was "Mr. Roboto" (more on that later) but tears flowed from many faces as "Come Sail Away" and "Show Me the Way" were performed. The stage banter focused mainly on "following your dreams."

Styx is the epitome of arena rock, a band entertaining crowds of middle-aged folks who flock to the concerts to relive the music of their youth and be told, just like they were in the '70s and '80s, to "follow your dreams."-- Troy Farah

Read more about how Muse is the new Styx.

Sunday, March 17: Bogan Via @ Rogue Bar

Almost the same moment Bogan Via started out as a band, they started a relationship. As a duo, Bret Bender and Madeleine Miller possess two distinctly different personalities and voices, and that contrast fits their high-energy synth pop. Often compared as a "sunnier Beach House," the couple splits vocal duties. It represents a healthy duality -- Miller's falsetto complementing Bender's baritone, washed over with subdued hip-hop beats and perky synths.

The name comes from bougainvillea, the bush with paper-thin flowers found all over Phoenix. The band name is purposely misspelled for easier memorization. As did Miller, you may remember these whispy magenta and amber blossoms growing in your backyard. And as natives, Bogan Via are naturally finding their place in Phoenix's music scene, even when it isn't always easy.

"We've made some friends. It just seems like you think you know all the bands in town," Bender says. "And then it's like there's 50,000 bands I've never heard of."

But Miller is quick to list her favorite local acts. "I'm a really big fan of Sareena Dominguez. I love her. She's beautiful. I've really gotten into [Common Wall Media labelmates] Gospel Claws recently 'cuz they have this one song that's really awesome. Every now and then I'll see someone playing at a show . . . and it's just good stuff." -- Troy Farah

Sunday, March 17: Flogging Molly @ Tempe Beach Park

After nearly a decade, Celtic folk punkers Flogging Molly have become a St. Paddy's Day staple in Tempe. The band's anthems -- "What's Left of the Flag," "Devil's Dance Floor," and "Salty Dog" -- pull double duty each year at Tempe Beach Park, serving both the energetic moshers and the waves of bros looking to pound rounds of Guinness and shout at each other.

"It's the best place to be doing that day in the country," says multi-instrumentalist Bob Schmidt on why Flogging Molly keeps coming back to Tempe (this year marks the band's ninth stop). "Just about everywhere else you go, it's freezing cold and nobody's going to congregate outside for more than five minutes."

He goes on: "There's not a lot of places [in the country] you can play an outdoor show and cram in a bunch of people in the middle of March. It works out really well doing it in Phoenix because it's just a great outdoor party and everyone has a good time. You can bring a bunch of bands and have it go all night. The Town Lake is a beautiful area." -- Melissa Fossum

Read the complete Flogging Molly Q&A.

See also:

-Eight Must-See Concerts Over St. Patrick's Weekend in Metro Phoenix-Top 10 Hard Rock Venues in Phoenix -Tucker Woodbury and Charlie Levy Bringing Country Joint The Western to Scottsdale

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