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, September 7: Nancy Whang @ Bar Smith

Indie diehards cried into their PBRs when Nancy Whang and the other members of LCD Soundsystem went their separate ways last spring, bringing one of the most lauded and influential dance-punk acts of the Aughts to an unfortunate end.

Thing is, Whang probably didn't return the favor and shed any tears after the Pitchfork darlings called it quits, as the quiet-voiced keyboard queen and vocalist seemingly is satisfied with working on new material with DFA labelmates Holy Ghost! and The Juan MacLean or DJing at chic clubs and hip after-parties in NYC and other cities around the world. Case in point: She will perform a headlining DJ set at this weekend's Sticky Fingers at Bar Smith, 130 East Washington Street, on Friday, September 7, when you're likely to hear tracks from the DFA catalog and some of her own material, as well as possibly some post-punk, nu-disco, proto-house, and other hyphenated subgenres.

Britain noise artist Blak Nite also will make a guest appearance, and Tempe synth-pop trio Vial of Sound will perform a live set. -- Benjamin Leatherman

Friday, September 7: Sleepwalker @ Yucca Tap Room

Forget showering for a week -- that's one luxury local rock band Sleepwalker can go without when it means hitting the road (like they did earlier this year when they joined the Vans Warped Tour). The band lives by a DIY work ethic, which includes completely renovating a van the guitarist's dad purchased for $500 and a gun in a trade. With their limited budget, hotel stays aren't a priority -- connecting with new fans is.

"We're going into it with optimism and a good attitude," says singer Brian Blevins, 24. "If it means we're broke, smelly, and tired all day, we'll deal with it with a smile on our faces."

Their week-long Warped Tour jaunt, earned by winning the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands last year, began last week in Las Vegas and culminates in Phoenix. While they played the Phoenix date last year, this year's tour is the band's most extensive touring experience. Expect songs from their debut album, New Age Inertia, which was released in March and includes some socially charged themes.

"It's about people being aware of everything around them as a person and as a citizen," Blevins says. "It talks about recognizing you do have a voice and an opinion and can be smarter than society would think you are, just in recognizing what's going on and having deeper thought going into your surroundings."

Beyond spreading their music to the masses, the band has been showing off its hometown pride, both in conversations with new admirers and in on-stage apparel.

"I went to Buffalo Exchange and bought a Phoenix Suns shirt to wear while I'm playing," Blevins says. "Plus, Arizona's got a really eclectic, hard-working music scene, so just walking the walk most of us talk about playing locally will show how hard-working the Phoenix bands are. We want to not only promote ourselves but also a lot of our talented friends."

And they learned some important lessons from their Warped Tour date last year for their show today.

"Last year, the Arizona date was notoriously one of the hottest," Blevins says. "It was tough because we hadn't played in that climate before, and it was really tiring. We were surprised how much it took out of us. This year we're going to be a little smarter about it, bringing extra water, taking it easy, not getting too pumped up and burning ourselves out before we play our set."-- Nicki Escudero

Saturday, September 8: John Hiatt @ Crescent Ballroom

Don't worry if the name "John Hiatt" doesn't immediately ring a bell for you. You've no doubt heard the man's tunes, especially the ubiquitous "Have a Little Faith in Me," which has been belted by everyone from Mandy Moore to Jon Bon Jovi. Hiatt's something of a songwriter's songwriter, penning tunes that have been performed by Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Urban, Chaka Khan, Three Dog Night, and more.

The lineup of artists who have (literally) sung his praises is testament to his catholic delivery: Hiatt writes songs that transcend genre boundaries and party lines. His late-'70s and early-'80s discography shows off the same New Wave flirtations that earned Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello their hits, but like those two, he's a roots man at heart.

His latest, 2011's Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns, is every bit as blue-collar American as you'd imagine, with the rusty screed "Damn This Town" opening the record, romantic odes like "Don't Wanna Leave You Now" sweetening the deal, and the defiant and proud "Detroit Made," which pulls off the classic trick of singing about a girl and a car at the same time. Hiatt's songs are boldly populist, and his grasp on soul, R&B, folk, and country grooves has earned him a rep as one of the best songwriters in the biz, while his solid live performances sell him as a fine performer, too.-- Jason P. Woodbury

Saturday, September 8: Brazilian Day Arizona 2012 @ 910 Live

The rhythm grabs you by the knees, starts bending them on every second and fourth beat, and before you know it, your head's bobbing uncontrollably to deep, downbeat surdo drums; the sharp snap of caixa snare drums; and the steady clapping of hands. This is the infectious rhythm of Brazilian music, and Phoenix-based DJ Seduce is obsessed with spreading it across the Valley.

Born Miguel Ivery, DJ Seduce stared playing saxophone when he was 7, drums when he was 14, and bass when he was 20. In the past 11 years, DJ Seduce has become one of the most prominent advocates of Brazilian music, founding Afro:Baile Records, which exclusively showcases up-and-coming Brazilian artists and is the only independent Brazilian label in the United States. Last year, he traveled to Brazil to meet some of his artists.

Afro:Baile focuses exclusively on promoting Brazilian artists in the States and around the world. Ivery says he looks solely for up-and-coming artists because labels in Brazil tend to reissue classic albums or promote new albums by already-established artists, and he wanted to be a catalyst for underground artists to get their voices heard. "I care about the music. I care about the people. I care about the culture," Ivery says. "A lot of people want the Top 40 hit, but that doesn't matter to me." -- Nick Escudero

Sunday, September 9: Katatonia, Devin Townsend @ Marquee Theatre

Talk about a stacked lineup. Devin Townsend has calmed down since his days fronting angry industrial thrash titans Strapping Young Lad, but he still fucking rocks in the live solo setting.

Swedish melodic doomsters Katatonia were the first metal band referenced in the Skyrim video game series, and Gothic doom pioneers Paradise Lost are coming off an album considered something of a return to form after their patience-testing experiments in synthrock around the turn of the century.--Jason Roach

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