Curious what's going on around town this weekend? Need some suggestions as to how to rock, dance, or krump in the Valley of the Sun? Don't fret: These are our Five Shows to See This Weekend.
Friday, May 25, and Saturday, May 26: Lost Leaf Turns Five It's been five years since downtown beer and music club The Lost Leaf opened, and the downtown Phoenix music scene has shifted and evolved in that time. Longstanding clubs like Modified Arts have closed, and Fifth Street has become a busting hub of activity.
During this time, the Leaf has hosted packed gigs from touring and local bands, with genres ranging from jazz to pure rock fury. For free. Owner Eric D explains in a press release: "I've always thought it was fair trade to have amazing local artists represented on our walls -- that's pay enough. In addition, the music scene has been struggling long enough in downtown Phoenix, so cover charges were never considered. All bands are paid from bar sales."
The lounge is celebrating its birthday with two nights of music. Kongos, Sunorus, Bad Cactus Brass Band, and Blackbear Ensemble are scheduled to perform on Friday, May 25, and Knesset, Village Blasting Club, Emby Alexander, Joe Myers, Terra Firma, Nick Villa, and Andrew and His Feisty Felines are scheduled to perform on Saturday, May 26.
Both shows, are free of course, as is a peek at the venue's new beer garden. --Jason P. Woodbury
Read on for more must-see shows.
Friday, May 25: Star Wars Turns 35 Featuring The Mission Creeps @ Rips Ales and Cocktails You don't need a Comicon pass to get into this one because, well, it's about four miles from Phoenix Convention Center. It's not quite a galaxy far, far away, but it might be worth it to make the trek to Rip's to show off your sick Jabba costume. After all, you've been consuming 7,000 calories a day just to fit into it. Locals Manual Sex Drive and Family Secret, along with Tucson's Mission Creeps, hold down the fort. Or should we say ship? No. Too many puns. -- Christina Caldwell
When the proprietors of the Monarch Theatre stated they wanted the downtown Phoenix venue to become one of the premier forums for electronic dance music in the Valley, they weren't screwing around. In the four weeks since the joint debuted, it's featured such top-shelf EDM tastemakers as New York trance god Victor Dinaire and Detroit house music mensch Anthony Attalla. Things will be just as star-studded during the grand opening of the Monarch Theatre, 122 East Washington Street, this weekend. Valley EDM promoters Relentless Beats will then debut their new weekly affair on Saturday, May 25, with a performance by Grammy-nominated electronica songstress Nadia Ali and a spin session by Turner and Heit. -- Benjamin Leatherman
It's damned hard to watch any movie set in the swingin' '60s and not see hear Smokey Robinson & the Miracles on the soundtrack. As one of the last great vintage soul men standing, Robinson has seen and done plenty in his career, and is still creating music and touring. In 2010, he was SXSW's keynote speaker, and performed as part of a soul showcase during the music festival. His newest album, 2009's Time Flies When You Are Having Fun, features guest spots from Joss Stone and Carlos Santana, and he proves on "Love Bath" that he may now be 71 years old, but he will caress that ass down. Make no mistake, Robinson's live shows feature plenty of bedrock Motown hits like "Tracks of My Tears" and "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" while also digging into the solo work he released after the group amicably split in 1972. Robinson invented the "Quiet Storm" -- what else can we say about his soul butteriness? -- Craig Hlavaty