The ten best concerts this weekend: Nov. 16-18
Wovenhand's show tonight at the Oriental Theater is one of the weekend's ten best concerts.
Aw yeah! It's Friday! TGIF and all that. Ready to rock and pop the top of a few colds ones? Too early to start thinking about cold ones? You just barely finished your coffee? Pffth! In the words of Mr. Jackson, it's five o'clock somewhere. Anyhow, yeah, the weekend. Brace yourself, amigos. There's an unreal amount of choice music to soundtrack your downtime. If you're a completist with proclivity for planning your own itinerary, we've got a comprehensive list of all the shows in our concert calendar. If you'd prefer a more curated approach, however, we've put together a list of the ten best concerts this weekend. Keep reading to get the full rundown.
While Reverend Peyton is a big dude with a booming voice, his band really isn't that big in numbers. There's the Rev himself, who plays a mean slide on his resonator guitar; his wife, Washboard Breezy, who scrapes the hell out of a washboard; and Aaron "Cuz" Persinger chugging away on a stripped-down drum kit. You get these three together, though, and they make some big damn music. Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band rips through backwoods Mississippi Delta blues with the fervor and the fury of the Ramones, getting crowds stomping and hollering all over the world.
Inspired by the first wave of punk in the U.K., the Beat combined the social critique of punk with the broader emotional and sonic palette of reggae. Formed in 1978, the English Beat (so named when the band made its way across the Atlantic) released three classic albums before Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger moved on to form General Public, where they realized great commercial success. The two eventually parted ways to front their own versions of their original band.
Reno Divorce (kicking off Herman's Hideaway's two-night 30th Anniversary celebration) began in the middle '90s when frontman and guitarist Brent Loveday founded the outfit while still living in Orlando, Florida. Some early, glowing press came the way of the band's 7-inch. But it wasn't until Loveday relocated to Denver and discovered a place he felt like he could live that things began rolling. Since then, the guys have been on a handful of tours and shared the stage with many of their heroes. The band's surprisingly earnest, but never pretentious, combination of melodic punk and roots rock, peppered with something a little more aggressive, has resonated with fans across a relatively broad spectrum of musical taste.
Since its first performance at Cervantes' in 2005, this annual show has become something of a Thanksgiving week tradition, and without fail it usually turns out to be among the most enjoyable outings of the year. Seven years ago, the members of Polytoxic tapped a bunch of their friends and deftly set about recreating The Last Waltz -- the Band's 1976 swan song, which took place on Thanksgiving Day that same year at the Winterland Ballroom and was immortalized by Martin Scorsese -- in its entirety. The three-hour show is magical whether you're a fan of the Band or just want to see some of the finest local players losing themselves in the music and having the time of their lives. (A performance of the Last Waltz Revisited is also slated for Wednesday, November 21 at the Ogden Theatre.)
The Maine formed in 2007 in Tempe and garnered significant 'tween attention with a pair of EPs, Stay Up, Get Down and The Way We Talk (the latter featuring an Akon cover), before signing with pop-punk label Fearless Records (Blessthefall, At the Drive In, Plain White T's) for the release of its debut full-length, Can't Stop, Won't Stop. The record sold well, and the band stepped up to the majors with 2010's Black & White, which was issued by Warner Bros Records. In an odd turn of events, the band recorded its follow-up, Pioneer, on its own without informing the label, and the sessions yielded nine songs, which the band presented to an indifferent A&R staff at the label. Frustrated by their indifference, the band fought to release the album. Eventually, Warner Bros agreed, but under the unusual condition that the band would self-release the record and that it would not count toward the seven records contractually owed to the label. (Our sister paper, Phoenix New Times has the full story on the entire saga)
In the early part of the last decade, just after the mainstream success of their single "Seein' Red," this Poway, California band was asked to record an episode of VH1's Music in High Places. (In case you forgot, it was a show where musicians were taken to picturesque natural settings to perform. It was referred to as, "National Geographic for the MTV and VH1 generation.") The network had actually meant to enlist Jimmy Eat World but somehow instead got in touch with Unwritten Law. The outfit's performance from Yellowstone National Park was then released as an album and DVD, and the track "Rest of My Life" got serious radio play. (Unwritten Law is also due at the Aggie Theater on Sunday, April 18.)
Gramatik used to be an MC who rapped with his buddies over his beats. He grew up in Slovenia listening to DJ Premier, Guru, RZA, Dre, and an arsenal of hip-hop and break beats fill his catalog of sample options. Now, after dropping an album that topped the charts shortly after its release on Beatport and joining forces with Derek Vincent Smith on his Pretty Lights Music label, he's steadily making a name for himself.
Since 2006, Vancouver's Japandroids have been purveyors of a raw post-punk. Not the kind that became de rigueur in New York at the turn of the century, but rather the sort that is more sonically resonant, with the spiky, urgent melodies of Hüsker Dü and the free-flowing catharsis of the Minutemen. The band's aesthetic comes from a place further back than any modern trend, and even its album art is reminiscent of the kind of simple yet stylized images that graced the albums of early hardcore bands and acts from the first wave of post-punk. Touring in support of its latest release, Celebration Rock, this duo puts on a visceral live show that is worthy of its most obvious influences.
Over the past decade, Wovenhand has delivered many an intense show as a trio fronted by David Eugene Edwards. While some of the band's previous six recorded efforts wrangle with a fair amount of that visceral energy, none come as close to capturing it as The Laughing Stalk, the act's heaviest release to date. As a threesome, Edwards and company had no trouble creating muscular music fueled by Ordy Garrison's Native American tom beats, but with a new lineup, which includes guitarist Chuck French of Git Some, bassist Gregory Garcia and organist Jeffery Linsenmeier, the sound is fuller and more dense, particularly on the opener, "Long Horn," and on powerful cuts such as "In the Temple" and "King O King."
Nas and Lauryn Hill on tour together has to be the hip-hop equivalent of the sentiments expressed by the first person to ever combine chocolate and peanut butter: How did this not already exist? Each a legend in his/her own right -- Nas' Illmatic and Ms. Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill are classics of the highest order -- the duo are co-headlining the Life is Good/Black Rage Tour, which takes its name, respectively, from Nas's most recent record and a new song/spoken word piece by Hill, respectively. Missing from the music world for a number of years, Hill has been performing more regularly of late and debuting some new material this year. Nas, meanwhile, drops a new album every two years with flows as sharp and focused as ever. If seeing both of them sharing a bill wasn't enough already, their sets will be backed by a full band.
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