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Top Five Must-See Shows This Weekend in Phoenix

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It's finally the weekend, and you're ready to cut loose, aren't you? You're ready to toss a few back and really party. Us too. There's a lot of chatter on the message boards re: rumors that Disney's upcoming stand-alone Star Wars films will concern the adventures of Yoda, Boba Fett, and a young Han Solo, and the account of JacenSoloFan1138 ain't going to start flame wars itself, is it?

Course, you might want to actually step away from the computer, and if that's the case these shows, featuring one of Phoenix's best grindcore acts, some fancy western swing, doom metal from down south, and a certain DJ-slash-"time-traveling, speed-reading, fortune-telling, machine-gunning, Gypsy-loving, scuba-diving, multitasking, poker-playing fan of life," ought to do the trick. Enjoy -- it's our Top Five Must-See Shows This Weekend in Phoenix.

Friday, February 8: Godhunter @ Rocky Point Cantina

Godhunter plays the kind of metal I have a soft spot for, the sludgy and sleazy kind with excessively repetitive heavy riffs and vocalists growling about smoking weed and not caring about anything.

There's a kind of energy here that a lot of similar bands don't have. Less of the "I ate one too many brownies and now I feel like I am sinking into the couch" kind of vibe you get when you listen to Electric Wizard or something, but more like you took a hit of some Tucson dirt weed and feel loose enough to throw up the horns and headbang with your metal brothers and sisters.

You get this kind of vibe from the band's recently released video for "Wolves of the North" from the band's latest record, Wolves, which features the band and a bunch of Tucson metalheads getting crazy and overindulgent at a practice space show and later at some dive bar. There's this sort of endearing small town narrative to the video that I like. I like to imagine that metal is the escape that a lot of these jean-jacketed misfits have from the banality of living in Tucson.

For Godhunter, metal is something that will literally help them escape Tucson for a bit: The band has planned tour dates for the next few months covering the Southwestern part of the United States, including shows at South by Southwest, as well as some dates in Louisiana (one of the sludgiest states in the Union, naturally).-- Mike Bogumill

Friday, February 8: That 1 Guy @ Crescent Ballroom

Think one man band: cymbals on the elbows, drum on the back, horns under the arms, and tambourines on the knees creating a cacophony of sound designed to annoy passers-by. Now, try to envision That 1 Guy, a.k.a Mike Silverman, as he takes the one-man band concept to a whole new level with the wide-ranging sounds created on his homemade Magic Pipe.

In fact, this 1 Guy sounds like a handful as he drifts through prog-rock overtures, funk dance grooves, avant-classical passages, and mind-melting free jazz expressionism. While Silverman does have set songs, his background practically dictates a need for improvisation and "going off on sonic adventures."

"The idea of being a one man band was always in the back of my mind," Silverman says. "When it finally became time to give it a try it was basically me just figuring out how I could do it as a bass. I had a very percussive style on the upright bass beyond what the instrument was normally capable of. I pushed the boundaries of the instrument itself, but I wasn't satisfied with the sonic range I was getting out of it. I wished I could build an instrument that covered more ground and allowed me to be more dynamic and have a greater sonic range."

He continues:

"It's rock, but experimental. It's contemporary classical; it' s jazz. And even saying that doesn't help because it's all over the place. The best gigs are when people are so confused they don't even try to worry about it but just enjoy the music. That's when it really works." --Glenn BurnSilver

Read more about That 1 Guy.

Saturday, February 9: Sorrower @ Yucca Tap Room

The year saw a flurry of excellent records and downloads come from the Valley's hardcore, metal, and punk underbelly. Leading the charge was Sorrower, whose split 7-inch with Portland's Violence of Humanity ended up on New Times' music blog Up on the Sun's year-end list of Valley heavy music efforts.

With good reason, too. The slab of wax contained angry, tightly written metal- and punk-influenced grindcore songs that, while short, were satisfyingly fleshed out. Sorrower makes the kind of intense music that defies trends while freaking out normal people. It's a style that Arizona increasingly is becoming known for, with bands Sorrower, Gay Kiss, and Rituals attracting national attention.

But Sorrower didn't come out of nowhere -- and the long, steady climb is evident in the band's music.

"Me, Adam [Senter, original singer], and Josh [Bodnar, drummer] were in a grindcore band called Sunyata," bassist and vocalist Tim Callaway says. "We actually quit [that] band at a show. My guitar player was pissing me off, so we just decided to start a new band right there on the spot."

Leaving behind the disagreeable guitarist and picking up Billy Jacoby a few months later, the band quickly got to work, booking multiple tours and dropping a self-titled 7-inch in 2010. In 2012, Senter left the band, leaving Callaway to take up vocal duties as well as more control over the band's direction. Sorrower's sound began to transition from the grind-influenced early material into something less genre-specific, drawing on many facets of underground heavy music. --Mike Bogumill

Read more about Sorrower.

Saturday, February 9: Steve Aoki @ Axis/Radius

Maybe "two turntables and a microphone" used to be where it was at. But that was in 1996, when Beck released his iconic "Where It's At," with a chorus calling out the basic DJ setup. These days, thanks in no small part to people like Steve Aoki, DJs have become the new rock stars, rabid fans moshing and kowtowing before their laptops like devotees at a 1971 Zeppelin show.

But Aoki, whose Wikipedia entry refers to him as an "electro-house musician, record producer, and the founder of Dim Mak Records," is more than a DJ. For those keeping track, he earned the number-three spot in Mixmag's DJs of 2012, between Swedish House Mafia and Armin Van Buuren.

If that means nothing to you, here's this: Aoki's dad founded the ubiquitous Japanese steak house/entertainment chain Benihana. And one of his half-siblings is comely multiculti model/actress Devon Aoki.

But Steve Aoki is his own man, and he is rapidly becoming his own brand. In addition to his solo work, his brainchild, Dim Mak Records, finds him at the forefront of the electronic scene.

"I'm a time-traveling, speed-reading, fortune-telling, machine-gunning, Gypsy-loving, scuba-diving, multitasking, poker-playing fan of life," Aoki says. -- Katherine Turman

Read more about Steve Aoki

Sunday, February 10: 13 to the Gallows @ Rhythm Room

While so many local bands do their best to sound like some buzzy indie outfit from Brooklyn or Portland, local shit kickers 13 to the Gallows sound resolutely Sonoran, dunking each dusty rockabilly/country ballad with enough Spaghetti Western ambiance and countrypolitan twang to give Quentin Tarantino a semi.

Tracks like "Boots and Blood" pair psychedelic Pink Floyd space rock with punk edge, while the gravely "Who Am I" could appeal to fans of more esoteric and offbeat types: 16 Horsepower, Slim Cessna's Autoclub, or even Deadbolt. The combination -- displayed on the songs loaded on the band's ReverbNation profile -- works well, and the band promises more material soon. -- Jason P. Woodbury

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