Top Five Must-See Shows This Weekend

Curious about what's going on around town this weekend? Need some suggestions where to rock, dance, or krump in the Valley of the Sun?

Don't fret: These are our Five Shows to See This Weekend.

Friday, December 7: Garland Jeffreys @ Showroom at Talking Stick Resort

When Garland Jeffreys broke onto the New York music scene in the early 1970s -- the same scene that spawned Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and (via New Jersey) Bruce Springsteen -- his songs were a little too close to the reality of the times. Music was supposed to be an escape, not something to remind us of the struggles people endured. Jefferys then still tackles the politics of race, ignorance, and hardship, but also the joy in the world around him, through a compelling blend of rock 'n' roll interspersed with reggae, blues, Latin, and soul.

In 1973, "Wild in the Streets" chronicled both joyous and turbulent life in the Big Apple. "Spanish Town" came in 1977; "R.O.C.K." in 1980, with "Don't Call Me Buckwheat" in 1992. Presently, it's "Coney Island Winter" -- the lead track of Jeffreys' first album in 13 years, The King of In Between -- continuing the gritty streetwise feel and intelligent lyrics that have always given Jeffreys' music its edge and determination. "It only reflects my past as a look back from a moment," he says from his New York home. "It's really about the present and the circumstances of people's lives today. I want to paint that picture." Just like always.--Glenn BurnSilver

Read the full Garland Jeffreys Q&A.

Friday, December 7: La La Land Music Festival @ Phoenix Convention Center

In case you hadn't heard, the bass-heavy hip-hop hybrid of trap music is becoming the flavor of the nanosecond in the EDM world, as big-name producers like Flosstradamus and Baauer (as well as locals like Trapzillas) are pumping its bombastic gravitas through sound systems around the globe.

For Vancouver-born bass terrorist Datsik (pictured), however, its old hat, as he's been mixing hip-hop beats with gory grind of dubstep for a couple of years. The 24-year-old's glitchy, warbling pastiches of Southern rap and low-end thunder are exactly the sort of monstrous big room sound the promoters of the La La Land Music Festival are counting on to fill the, um, big room they've booked at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street, for the eight-hour orgy of electronic dance music debauchery and beat perversion.

Thousands will crowd into the 46,000-square-foot ballroom hosting the indoor EDM/DJ massive on Friday, December 7, and perch in front of any of the three separate stages while getting blasted by the festival's ginormous roster of mad talent. In addition to Datsik, the lineup includes German trance duo Cosmic Gate, Swedish house music king Basshunter, Dutch hardstyle producer duo Noisecontrollers, electro powerhouse Mat Zo, and quirky beatsmiths like Bl3nd, Ed Rush, and Optical. Doors open at 4 p.m. Tickets start at $33.--Benjamin Leatherman Saturday, December 8: Colorstore Memorial Performance @ FilmBar

The news of Mark Erickson's suicide in September hit the Phoenix music community hard. Erickson was a familiar face on stage, performing in local groups including ROAR, Gospel Claws, and Sweetbleeders. But it was Colorstore, the band he fronted for nearly a decade, that most reflects Erickson's commanding, singular vision.

"It wouldn't be Colorstore without Mark," says Colorstore drummer Jef Wright, "Colorstore was his band. He wrote all of the songs and all of the lyrics."

As a tribute to Erickson, Colorstore is prepping for its final show, to be held on Saturday, December 8, at FilmBar. In addition to live performance, the show will serve as a memorial and will see the vinyl release of Colorstore's Afire, released in digital and CD format in April 2012.

"We have not played any shows since Mark passed," Wright says. "The idea for a final show came up fairly early on, I believe, the night of Mark's memorial. It has been therapeutic for us to continue to get together, play the songs, and keep Mark's memory alive through his songs."

Wright says the lineup will feature the remaining members of Colorstore (Robin Vining, Jef Wright, Aaron Burke, Jeremy Randall, and Chris Kennedy), as well as former members Mike Devine, David Marquez, and Ryan Breen. Guest vocalists Abe Gil (Treasure Mammal) and Owen Evans (ROAR) will also perform.

"Pretty much everyone is chipping in on the vocals," Wright says. "Each song will be its own unique representation of what Mark was playing and singing." Wright set up a fund for Erickson's children shortly after his passing (see the band's Facebook page for details regarding donations).

"The outpouring of support for Sophie and Jack has been incredible," Wright says. "The donations are all being put into an investment account managed by Mark's sister so that the funds can grow until Sophie and Jack are young adults. Since Mark's passing, we have donated all of our music sales to the fund for his children and we will continue to do so moving forward. All proceeds from the show on December 8 are being donated to the fund."

Colorstore will utilize FilmBar's innovative setup for visual projections and pictures of Erickson.

"Colorstore played FilmBar in August of 2011 and it was one of Mark's favorite shows that we have ever played," Wright says. "It is very fitting for our final show to be there. We had planned a vinyl release of Afire for quite a while, but it was on hold for a bit. Making sure that it came out on vinyl was very important to us because it would have meant the world to Mark."--Melissa Fossum

Download Colorstore's "My Life as a Beaver" MP3

Saturday, December 8: Alice Cooper's Christmas Pudding @ Comerica Theatre

Johnny Depp is a talented actor, ladykiller, and all-around badass. I don't need to state the obvious, but the guy has played Captain Jack Sparrow, Edward Scissorhands, and Raoul Duke, all characters possessing the rock star mystique. But when he's not gracing the silver screen, the guy likes to act like an actual rock star (see Johnny Depp's 5 coolest rock moments).

That's what he'll be doing at Alice Cooper's Christmas Pudding, where according to Cooper's Solid Rock Facebook page, he'll "join Alice and his band, featuring Orianthi, Don Felder, L.A. Guns, and special guest host John O'Hurley for a night of music, dance, and mayhem!" He's not just gracing the stage with his aloof, good-looking presence, by the way. No, Depp is really going to rock with Cooper, strapping on some undoubtedly expensive ax to shred to the crowd's delight. Depp has rock in his DNA; after all, Keith Richards played his cinematic father in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, and the two paired up for a blues jam at the Rum Diary after-party.

Depp's something of a regular guest at rock shows, popping up at Eddie Vedder, Patti Smith, and Marilyn Manson performances. And he's played with Cooper before, too. The two met at a Rolling Stones show and have since shared the stage a couple of times, grinding out classic Cooper tracks like "I'm Eighteen" and "School's Out."

It's hard to say exactly what Depp will be doing at Cooper's annual holiday concert; if he's known for anything, it's his unpredictability.--Melissa Fossum Sunday, December 9: Abstract Rude @ Club Red

The Project Blowed open-mic series, created in 1994 at L.A.'s Good Life Café, became the hangout for the underground rap scene then and acted as an incubator for the many L.A. MCs who rock mics now.

Lucky us, Project Blowed co-founder Abstract Rude shows and proves his mettle with a special in-town performance.

Project Blowed's emphasis on creative lyrics and improvised rhymes is reflected in Ab's ability to spit fire in an impressive variety of flows as well as a thoughtful perspective on big issues and daily life that's as deep as his voice.--Jose Gonzalez

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Richard Noel
Contact: Richard Noel