Top Five Phoenix Music Stories of the Week

Categories: Up on the Sun

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The news waits for no one -- at least that's what we read somewhere -- so it's perfectly understandable that you, the reader, might have missed out on a musical tidbit, breaking news about your favorite venue, or one of our rants.

So enjoy this digest-style sampling of some of our biggest stories from the week of January 14-18, 2013.

Benjamin Leatherman
Phife Dawg performing at Club Red in Tempe.
Five Favorite Live Hip-Hop Venues in Metro Phoenix

Musicians traditionally get all of the glory, but what about the venues that house them? Arizona hip-hop artists are regularly lauded for their lyrical lexicon and dazzling deliveries, but they couldn't be heard if popping music houses didn't provide the dark digs, microphones, stages, and booming sound systems.

There's nothing more innocuous than a strip mall, and it just so happens that the Valley is littered with them. These sidewalk shopping plazas are usually replete with an eatery -- something quaint like a Waffle House -- or maybe a friendly neighborhood yerberia.

And every so often there's a hidden gem known by few, but automatically appreciated once stumbled upon. Here's our look at our five favorite venues for live hip-hop in Phoenix.

--Anthony Sandoval

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Logan "DJ Element" Howard
DJ Element Performing One Final Gig at The Blunt Club in Late February

We once asked local turntablism guru Logan Howard to approximate how many gigs he's performed over the course of his 16-year stint as DJ Element. While he wasn't able to answer the question exactly -- which you can't fault him for, considering the staggering length of his career -- he estimated it was "somewhere in the thousands."

On February 28, you can add one more performance to that hazy total, and it's probably one of the biggest of the bunch, since it will be Howard's swan song as DJ Element.

Howard, who has decided to turn in his turntables and call it a career when he announced his retirement last month, will provide one final performance behind the decks during a special edition of The Blunt Club on Thursday, February 28, at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe.

--Benjamin Leatherman

Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie" Reminds Us Why We've Missed Him So Much

Six years is a long time for a musician to be absent from the field.

Unless you've reach "legendary" status, making a comeback after such a long period of dormancy is nearly impossible. With that said, Justin Timberlake's last album, FutureSex/ LoveSounds, is one of the greatest R&B albums of the last generation. Perhaps the now married, 31-year-old crooner-turned-actor felt that he didn't need to release any new music after putting out such an incredible album.

But a lot has changed in the world since he left. Things were very different in 2006: Twitter had just got off the ground, the iPhone didn't even exist, the term "swag" hadn't been abused into oblivion, George "Dubya" Bush was still in office, Lindsay Lohan was making seven million dollars a movie, and Lady Gaga wasn't even a thought.

See the full review of Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie."

--Jaron Ikner

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