Top Five Must-See Shows This Weekend

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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, August 24: David Cassidy @ Talking Stick Resort

"You know, I'm no different from everybody else, I start each day and end each night..." So spoke David Cassidy during a break in the Partridge Family's second hit single "Doesn't Somebody Want to be Wanted." But he is different. Different from you, who's never appeared working alongside Gary Busey on Celebrity Apprentice. Different than other teen idols of his day who can be neatly divided between pretty boys who couldn't sing, pretty boys who couldn't act or sing, and pretty boys whose voice was in varying stages of fluctuation.

Cassidy had the perfect pop voice, clear and emotive. Witness his vocal on "How Can I Be Sure" which simultaneously achieves the same emotional intensity as The Rascals' original and the sultriness of Dusty Springfield's stellar cover version.

"It's been an albatross," he says of the first impressions the words "teen idol" imply. For this reason, he tends to steer the conversation away from any sentence containing the words "teen" and "idol" toward another gander at his resume. And if those four years of red hot hysteria represent what would be the apogee of most people's careers, he stands by the work he did during that time and won't short shrift anyone heading out to a casino looking to hear "I Woke Up in Love This Morning."

He's recently mounted a retrospective tour that covers all his career hits both Partridge Fam and solo, a smattering of those UK hits like "The Last Kiss" (with George Michael), music that has influenced him and no doubt selections from stage shows he's been in from Blood Brothers to FX-- this from a man who has called show his business for over 40 years. -- Serene Dominic

(Read the full David Cassidy interview.)

Friday, August 24: Erratic! Radio Anniversary with Lenguas Largas and More @ Yucca Tap Room

Westley Allen, Phoenix punk rock deejay, bartender, guitarist, and host of KWSS 106.7 FM's Tuesday night punk/noise/shoegaze/whatever program Erratic Radio!, is in celebration mode. Today's his birthday (35, he groans) and he's off to grab a free Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's as soon as he finishes his coffee and a 32 ounces of Miller High Life.

But Allen is extending the party into the weekend, when he'll celebrate the three year anniversary of starting Erratic Radio! on Friday, August 24, hosting Tucson's Lenguas Largas, Man Hands, Radio Crimes, Bobby Nobbit (members of Feeding People, and "raw and creepy," says Allen), and Plainfield Butchers, his rock 'n' roll combo, at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe. -- Jason P. Woodbury

(Read our full Westley Allen interview.)

Saturday, August 25: Captain Squeegee and Friends @ Marquee Theatre

How much cash would you shell out if it meant saving the world from its impending doom? Twelve bucks? How about $10? In case you haven't noticed, there are only 120 days left in the Mayan calendar year so you better start thinking about it.

In the meantime, quirky metaphysical horn-rockers Captain Squeegee, along with friends The Veragroove, Inept Hero, Instructions, Clairevoyant, and Terragaia, are launching a preemptive effort to do what no band has done before -- gather enough psychic energy to save the planet through song, dance, and retro-psychic kinesis.

And we're off!

"It's obvious now that in the Phoenix scene, there are just killer bands ... so the six of us are coming together basically to have this zany, awesome out-of-this world performance that Phoenix doesn't usually get to see," says Squeegee frontman Danny Torgersen. "The whole point is really just to have a cacophony of local bands coming together for a themed, epic, local, huge show."

The event, billed as "2012: Phoenix Saves The World," is scheduled for Saturday, August 25, at the Marquee Theatre and will feature some experimental interactive media, mind-altering graphic projections, and even a pendulum that the audience can control with their mind according to Torgersen. And if that's not enough to get you jazzed about planet saving, the six bands will also be coming together like Voltron to form one super band for a special performance of R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It." -- Anthony Sandoval

(Read Captain Squeegee's plan to save the world.)

Saturday, August 25: Michelle Blades @ Trunk Space

There is a fine distinction between trusting one's intuition and merely surrendering to impulse. Twenty-two-year-old songwriter Michelle Blades has walked this tightrope during her time in the desert, deftly veering from improvised jazz folk to staccato post-punk to full-length impressionistic baroque-pop records, all without a single glance over her shoulder. As she departs Arizona for Paris in pursuit of her next big undertaking, she leaves behind a body of work completed in the Valley that showcases her fearlessly idiosyncratic growth.

"As an artist, you have to be okay with your first draft and your final draft," Blades says over the phone while walking along Miami's South Beach during a visit with family, dodging street vendors and their rumbling Cuban music. It's not just artistic contemplation: Blades means it literally; she continues to post rough song sketches on YouTube, something she's done since the beginning of her musical pursuits.

On her two full-length albums, both produced and released by local label head River Jones, her cinematic folk visions are fully realized. Oh Nostalgia! (2009) was a humble affair, brimming with gentle specters and teakwood pop leanings. On 2011's serene Mariana, Blades took on enhanced production and stark dynamics, her string and percussion arrangements gaining finesse and subtlety. The songs turn on a dime between waltzed meters and classical fluidity, achieving the pleasant disorientation of an acoustic Juana Molina.

The Panama-born Blades is a restless globetrotter, having toured Europe three times with her ukulele in tow, singing French and Spanish songs to audiences of both cultures (not unlike her uncle, famous Panamanian salsa singer Rubén Blades). Her move to Arizona illustrates her impulsive manner: She literally threw a dart at a map. -- Chase Kamp

(Read more about Michelle Blades.)

Sunday, August 26: Jesse Malin @ Pub Rock Jesse Malin has done it all, or most of it at least.

In his barely-teens he was fronting Jersey-based hardcore ensemble Heart Attack, then spent the '90s in glam-punk wreckers D-Generation. In the early 2000s he struck out on his own, crafting a string of heartbroken singer/songwriter records with friends like Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, and Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers.

His dual 2010 releases, Love it to Life (recorded with scrappy combo St. Marks Social) and covers record On Your Sleeve (featuring tunes by The Hold Steady, Jim Croce, Paul Simon, and many more), represent something of a fork in the road, both embracing a more rock 'n' roll approach (the former) and digging in deep to Malin's classicist interpretive skills (the latter).

"...growing up I needed to be like, "I'm into punk, I wear black, I wear a leather jacket. This is all I do, fuck everybody." But that kind of early high school rivalry you do to kind of put your ground down," Malin says of his disparate influences, "but beyond that I also listened to early Elton John and got into Neil Young, acoustic records by Johnny Thunders, and Discharge and the Bad Brains. To me, it's all about the attitude and spirit and heart. If you look past the tie-dye and spikes, you figure out who's real and who isn't, I guess." -- Jason P. Woodbury

(Read the full Jesse Malin interview.)

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