Top Five Must-See Phoenix Shows This Week
When I was a small boy, I was relatively certain "The Safety Dance" was about a dance, possibly the one they were doing in the video. When I was a slightly larger boy, someone said, "No, it's about nuclear war, possibly the one at the end of the video," which was a little distressing. When I was as large a boy as I was going to get, someone told me, "No, it's about [giggles] sex," which was very distressing, and a little gross. (Probably because of the giggling.)
As it turns out, Wikipedia tells me it's just about a dance, or maybe dancing. But you'll be able to ask the lead Man Without Hat at Joe's Grotto this week. (View our complete concert calendar here.)
Human Behavior - Trunk Space - Monday, August 26
Tucson's Human Behavior is in the business of making you feel more uncomfortable while a banjo is playing than you're typically accustomed to feeling. All the elements are there for a more typical banjo experience -- close harmonies, light drumming, restrained, quiet peaks.
You could assemble a folk-pop crossover band with these parts -- it's just that the end result wouldn't sound right at all, even if you were sure everything was in the right place. In songs like "I'm Sorry You're Saul" everything's a little off-kilter -- the voice is just a little too close to your ears, and the harmonies are somehow discomfiting and euphonious all at once, and the things he's singing about have little to do with, well, banjo topics. (Their new album, called Golgotha, has songs called "Yeshua at 12" and "I'm Sorry, Hosanna," if you'd like a taste of what they talk about instead.)
Everyone's voice is just about to crack, but it's not with sadness so much as resignation. They're joined at the Trunk Space by Phoenix's Empire of the Bear, who on Big Size deploy a less unusual combination of loud, distorted guitars and a similar, if slightly less creepy resignation.