Top Five Must-See Shows in Phoenix This Weekend

Hey ya, the weekend is here. So get off the couch and get to some shows, Phoenix. Maybe these shows: Our Top Five Must-See Shows in Phoenix This Weekend.

Friday, March 29: Lost Rock Revolution Presents: Graceful Degradation,The Bittersweet Way, Tell Me About the Rabbits, GOMI, and Tracey Rappa and the Heat @ Donna Jean's Libations

It's not your fault if you don't immediately think of the West Valley when you think of the Valley music scene, but that's not for lack of trying by the Lost Rock Revolution, a loose collective comprising rock groups Graceful Degradation, The Bittersweet Way, Tell Me About the Rabbits, GOMI, and Tracey Rappa and the Heat, which sought to make a splash in the city's western quadrant.

"As so many drunken impulses go, the Lost Rock Revolution mostly fizzled," states the press release announcing tonight's gig at Donna Jean's Libations, which unites the five original Lost Rock Revolution bands. "The differing approaches and styles became more hindrance than help. Bands broke up. Lineups changed. Friendships remained, and all of the bands continued to support each other in varying capacities. It may not be a Revolution any more, but the Lost Rock still lives."

Last fall, Anthony Lopiccolo, the bass player for Tell Me About The Rabbits, found out he had cancer. He fought it off, but his insurance dropped him and he's facing a mountain of medical bills. So the Lost Rockers had a cause, and they've united to raise money for Lopiccolo, hosting a show at the very bar where they hatched their idea. All proceeds from the door will go to helping Lopiccolo defray the costs of his medical expenses, and there will be a raffle and for a guitar and amplifier. -- Jason P. Woodbury

Friday, March 29: Blackalicious @ Crescent Ballroom

Sacramento, California-based hip-hop duo Blackalicious has released three full-length records in the two decades it's been in action: 1999's Nia, 2002's Blazing Arrow, and 2005's The Craft.

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But don't dismiss Gift of Gab (Timothy Parker) and DJ/producer Chief Xcel (Xavier Mosley) as slackers. Though they might not appear to be a prolific outfit, Gift of Gab crams more rhymes into his three-or-four minute songs than most rappers manage on half an album. He's dizzying on tracks like "Rhythm Sticks" and "Alphabet Aerobics," the latter of which finds him demonstrating a masterful command of the English alphabet. But it's not all about speed: On the "Fall and Rise of Elliot Brown," Gab starts off quick and gets quicker, before the bottom falls out of his warp-speed flow and he eases into a populist anthem boosted by Xcel's jazzy funk bedding.

"Police be throwin' you a vibe even from a young age," he raps, describing an all-too-typical scenario -- kid gets caught up in bad shit and goes to jail for it. But it doesn't end there. Elliot Brown transcends a system set against him. "Looking within, not without, got honest," Gab raps, the character figuring out that he's royalty, not garbage. It's the sort of story that might lose its message at a brisk blur, but Blackalicious knows its timing. They'll follow up the record when they're ready to, and it'll be worth the wait. -- Jason P. Woodbury

Saturday, March 30: Angry Samoans @ Hollywood Alley

First wave punk rockers everywhere are alive and kicking.

Just look at the Angry Samoans, hailing from Los Angeles, they've been doing their thing since the late '70s. And since their inception, they've made a career out of being offensive. Rumor has it their song "Get Off the Air" was a direct jab at legendary KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, who reportedly used his influence to blacklist the band around the Hollywood scene in the early '80s.

Though the current lineup's only original members are singer Mike Saunders and drummer Bill Vockeroth, they continue to delight with their full-throttle punk sound. --Brandon Ferguson

Saturday, March 30: Soulfly @ Marquee Theatre

Max Cavalera of Soulfly is a very mellow speaker. His Brazilian accent is thick, and there's a lilting quality to the way he punctuates his sentences with phrases like "You know?" or "It's killer, man." He's buzzing about a lake house in unincorporated Phoenix, a second home in addition to his other Phoenix abode: "It's great, man -- on the lake with the mountains and the trees. It's killer, man."

But for all his laid-back cadence and family man warmth, Cavalera is exceedingly busy: He's currently on the road supporting Enslaved, his most recent record with Soulfly; he's just about finished with an autobiography called A Boy from Brazil; he's prepping to head into the studio to record for an unnamed project with Troy Sanders of Mastodon, Greg Puciato of Dillinger Escape Plan, and former Mars Volta drummer Dave Eltich. (Cavalera describes the material as melodic and says the band's having trouble coming up with a name because Google search results indicate "all the good ones are taken.") Then there's tentative talk of doing a dubstep/reggae/EDM remix record of Cavalera Conspiracy songs, an idea his brother Igor, with whom he formed the famed thrash combo Sepultura, is especially keen on. All in good time, the singer/guitarist laughs.

"I'm going to be really busy -- I won't have time for Cavalera [Conspiracy] this year," he says, citing immediate plans to record a followup to the Enslaved with producer Terry Date "as soon as this tour is finished." It would seem the Enslaved -- recorded with famed heavy producer Zeuss (Shadows Fall, Hatebreed) has got him pumped on Soulfly material. Following the hardcore punk-influenced Blunt Force Trauma, released by Cavalera Conspiracy in 2011, Enslaved found Max getting in touch with his most extreme tastes.

"Blunt Force Trauma has more of a thrash feeling to it; Enslaved is more extreme," he says. "It's definitely influenced by deathcore, death metal, and everything from old bands I listened to [like] Entombed, Napalm Death, Carcass, to new bands like I Declare War, Molotov Solution, Impending Doom . . . Because I like a lot of these new bands, too." -- Jason P. Woodbury

Read more about Max Cavalera's ever-busy year.

Sunday, March 31: Al Foul @ Yucca Tap Room

Mammoth, Arizona-based Al Foul's website proudly proclaims the rockabilly singer as the "One, the Only Al Foul." It's more than just an accurate boast: The duder performs solo, snarling over a fat Gretsch guitar and stomping on a bass drum.

But his songs aren't rowdy BBQ Show/Bob Log-style tirades. No, there's a lowdown elegance to songs like "Sugar Me and the Boy" and "Maybe Tonight," a restrained noir element that's as in keeping with Jarmusch's black-and-white films as it is with Sun Records' heyday. "Maybe tonight I'll freeze to death," he belts over a "Tequila"-style strum, a sturdy hiccup in his voice and a steady beat pounded out by his foot.

If the one-man-band routine is the standup comedy of musical idioms, call him a Louie C.K. -- the kind of guy willing to bare his heart in order to make you laugh or break your heart. -- Jason P. Woodbury

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