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Top Five Must-See Shows This Week

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Yeah, yeah, yeah...we get it. Mondays suck (we've read Garfield). But it means the start of a new week, which means a bunch of killer shows in and around Phoenix.

And here are a few of the coolest -- our top five must-see shows this week.

Monday, November 12: Joe Brooks @ Rhythm Room

The 23-year-old British pop-rock wunderkind (who's been called everything from a "singer-songwriter sensation" to "the next John Mayer" bring his guitar and soulful voice to the Valley for an appearance at the Rhythm Room. --Benjamin Leatherman

Tuesday, November 13: DJ Tranzit @ Smashboxx

As the old saying goes, what do you get the man who has everything? Or more specifically, what sort of gift could you possibly buy a cat like Steven Chung (a.k.a. DJ Tranzit) in honor of his 32nd birthday this weekend, given that he already owns a pimp ride, a cache of top-shelf audio equipment, and a closet full of expensive clothing? A bunch of brand new turntable cartridges and needle, for starters, since all the selectors scheduled to perform at DJ Tranzit's Birthday Bash on Tuesday, November 13, at Smashboxx, 7419 East Indian Plaza Drive in Scottsdale, will be spinning nothing but vinyl.

"No computers, no CD-Js, just 12-inch vinyl records and two turntables," Chung says when describing the party. "We are going to do a classic hip-hop-versus-house approach for the night. [It's] not really a battle, but just a night of nothing but classic dance music and hip-hop. Basically all the stuff that influenced me to become a DJ." Chung and eight other regulars to the Scottsdale club scene -- including Decipha, Freddy "Circle" Krems, Lujan, and Soloman -- will dig through their vinyl collections for some primo wax to spin during the bash. A turntable autographed by Chung and all the other DJs involved also will be raffled off, with the proceeds benefiting St. Mary's Food Bank. -- Benjamin Leatherman

Tuesday, November 13: Icky Blossoms @ Crescent Ballroom

In dance-punk, momentum tends not to shift kaleidoscopically. The pacing is fraught but gradual. The pressure cooker heats slowly, over 7 or 8 minutes, all the while broiling in its juices. The guitars tick upright, marching in consolidation. The rhythm begins with a single, nervous twiddling of the thumbs and hardens into a muscular backbone. Seconds drag as if they're encased in cinder-block.

(To quote Hot Chip's "I Feel Better": "This is the longest night.") The room turns airless and soon you're assuming the James Brown position in search of a vent through which to breathe. When the payoff comes, you're too winded to celebrate, yet you dance because muscle memory won't allow otherwise. Omaha's Icky Blossoms work under these ropy constraints. They are flower children from soybean country-lots of Deadhead flannel at their shows-but they never play at enlightenment.

Their Saddle Creek debut is propulsive and chokingly physical, roughhousing over breakneck rhythmic triggers. "Cycle" is even lit in the nervous, hand-held, voyeuristic manner of James Murphy's flick The Comedy. Like Murphy's defunct LCD Soundsystem, the Icky Blossoms turn repetition into a birdsong, but don't expect to dance yourself clean. Enter their filthy fantasia at own risk. -- M.T. Richards

Wednesday, November 14: Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band @ Crescent Ballroom

It's not clear whether Reverend Peyton actually is an ordained minister or just likes the moniker, but his Delta-blues-meets-moonshine-fired-hillbilly songs are undeniably sermon-like, with an all-or-nothing fire-and-brimstone delivery. Then again, all that hootin' and hollerin' also makes him sound like a man possessed. In any case, it's the spirit of music that moves this Big Damn Band from Brown County, Indiana, on their new album, Between the Ditches.

The band runs through a gamut of styles made more "authentic" (in the way the music is a sort of time warp to a distant era) via a slew of vintage amps, guitars, and mics, tackling fuzzy North Mississippi hill-country rants (à la R.L. Burnside) to Robert Johnson-styled low-down acoustic blues; from back-porch Appalachian chanteys to revved-up hillbilly shakedowns. And though the music gets you moving -- and in concert, the band is as incendiary as it gets -- the lyrics that encapsulate everyday life from an all-too-real rural perspective get you smiling.

"The money goes . . . up her nose," "It's too dang hot and the bugs are too dang mean," and "I've been everywhere . . . I broke down there" just tell it like it is -- somewhere else, anyway. -- Glenn BurnSilver

Thursday, November 15th: Jake Shimibukuro @ MIM

A native of Honolulu, ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro beats down all barriers with jazz-, funk-, pop- and rock-infused rhythms and complex finger styling.

As a member of the group Pure Heart and later Colon, Shimabukuro made big waves on the island state by winning five Na Hoku Hanohano awards (the Hawaiian counterpart to the Grammys). Flying solo since 2002, the eclectic experimentalist has nine albums under his belt and played alongside Bette Midler in 2009 at the Royal Variety Performance for the British Royal Family.

Don't miss this one-night performance by an artfully agile chordophonist at the top of his game.-- Stacy Davies

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