They Might Be Giants, Citizen Cope, Strung Out, Sundown Showdown IV Over the Weekend

Citizen Cope at Marquee Theatre

I've been to more exciting Citizen Cope shows over the past few years, but last night's solo acoustic gig was still a tight show for different reasons than I'm used to. Clarence Greenwood sounds fabulous when he plays with his band, but he held his own without them. He didn't do a whole lot of strumming on the guitar, so the onstage activity was minimal, but it forced us all to pay attention to a facet of his music that can lost amid the funky jamming: his lyrics. Read more.

Sundown Showdown IV at Yucca Tap Room Let's contrast, for a minute: During opening band TOAD's (it's an acronym: Take Over and Destroy) second song, "Midnight Hunger," a few straggling Yucca regulars, a little more keen on country and western than distorted guitars and tasteful blastbeats, headed for the door. But then there was "The Mad Alchemist," a feller old enough to be your grandpa, standing off stage, projecting oil bath visuals behind TOAD, Sleep Money, Destruction Unit, Radio Moscow, and Graveyard (he's on tour with the latter two). Some folks just stick around.

See the full Sundown Showdown slideshow here.

Strung Out at Clubhouse Music Venue, 1/28/12 (VIDEO)

Strung Out plays in Vegas tonight, but that didn't stop the band from having a good time in Phoenix last night. Frontman Jason Cruz showed off Chris Aiken's brand new Fender signature bass and the band took shots to celebrate as they tore through a setlist that was dominated by old material. As much as I hate to admit it, I had low hopes for how the crowd would react to Strung Out. When I first saw the band in 2004 or so at Marquee Theatre, they had a great reception, but every time I have seen the band since, the audience has grown smaller and smaller (with the exception of their opening slot for Face to Face last year). Read more, and watch videos from the show.

They Might Be Giants at The Marquee Theatre

How many F-bombs can you drop in a PG-13 movie? Is it one? Two? However many, last night's They Might Be Giants show certainly earned its 14-and-over "rating," with the "Johns," Flansburgh and Linnell, peppering their set with colorful language. Those only familiar with They Might Be Giants as a whip-smart children's outfit might have found the swearing a little out of place, but TMBG's were in full rock 'n' roll mode at the Marquee.

See the full They Might Be Giants slideshow here.