Top Five Must-See Shows in Phoenix This Weekend: Merle Haggard, Modest Mouse, and More
Of all the things Merle Haggard and Sigur Rós have in common, this is perhaps the most important: They're both playing in Arizona on Friday. But that doesn't guarantee they'll end up in today's Top Five Must-See Shows in Phoenix This Weekend.
Of course, if you're at Country Thunder this weekend, you have a much different list to choose from.
Merle Haggard @ Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler
They don't make 'em like Merle Haggard anymore, but what the hell would they do with 'em if they did? Everything about Haggard is rough: his Bakersfield voice, a scratchy, gnarled thing even in his youth; his trademark accompaniment, the twangy, stinging barbs of Telecaster snaking out of tweed-covered amplifiers; even his nickname, "Hag," which lingers long and ugly in the mouth. These are seeds that wouldn't find purchase in the fertile soil of Top 40 country, populated by "Blakes," "Traces," and "Jasons." They don't make them like Hag anymore, but that's okay. The man's influence is still there.
Here's what makes the Hag special. He's not just the voice of a specific agitator; he's the voice of all of them. He's a poet for the contrarian, the guy looking to flip anyone in charge a mighty bird. Hag's always sung about what he hates, but at the same time, he's always sung about what he loves, too, and it's something both sides of the aisle can get behind: personal freedom. -- Jason P. Woodbury