Top 5 Must-See Phoenix Shows This Week
Dax Riggs - Rhythm Room - Tuesday, October 29
If you're only going to sing about two topics, you could do far worse than "love" and "blood." Southern songwriter Dax Riggs titled his 2007 solo debut We Sing Only of Blood or Love and he stuck with appropriately romantic apocalypse fantasies on 2010's Say Goodbye to the World. Riggs' junk blues owes plenty to hillbilly forefathers like Roy Orbison and Hasil Adkins, but it also betrays his musical lineage: Riggs fronted the revered metal band Acid Bath in the '90s, a group which grafted grindcore and black metal touches into its Great Unknown-obsessed sludge rock.
He followed up that band with a stint as Dead Boy and Elephantmen, a grooving, swamp rocking blues rock band which featured Riggs fronting a rotating lineup. Riggs has always seemed this close to breaking through the way his contemporaries like the Black Keys and White Stripes have, but there's something too eccentric to his approach to hook the kinda folks who buy their CDs at Starbucks. He's simple too weird, with a willingness to embrace Danzig style goth drama on songs like "Sleeping with the Witch," cover "Heartbreak Hotel" with the same perverse intensity as that one-off Nico/Eno/Ayers/Cale version, or add a dissonant experimentalism to straight ahead rockers like "Gravedirt on My Blue Suede Shoes." The approach works for Riggs; this is some potent voodoo blues gumbo. - Jason P. Woodbury