Top 5 Must-See Concerts in Phoenix This Week
Circuit of Doom - Wednesday, February 26 - Last Exit Live
When was the last time you heard of a local band (let alone two of 'em) willfully embracing the label of prog rock? It's not that prog hasn't enjoyed periods of mainstream popularity and an eternal cult following. It's just that prog hasn't been cool since Emerson, Lake, & Palmer started thinking they were matinee idols around about 1978. Since then, it's been all "experimental metal" or "mathcore" or whatever. But two long-haired Tempe acts are carrying the torch for proggers and their love for instrumental gymnastics: Sasquanaut and The Rolling Blackouts.
The former hews slightly closer to prog form, mostly because it eschews those distracting vocals for six- and seven-minute guitar workouts, courtesy of Daniel Martinez. Meanwhile, the Rolling Blackouts apply more traditional songcraft to their funk-flavored (and eminently danceable) interpretation of prog, but not without high-flying six-string theatrics lifted straight out of the hair metal days.
Make no mistake, you're more likely to see the guys in these two bands outside kicking hacky-sacks than inside tinkering with vintage analog synths. In other words, what both bands further have in common -- besides impressive chops at each position -- is a knack for seasoning their prog stew with that unmistakable Tempe jam vibe. The show, part of a semi-regular "Circuit of Doom" showcase with The Woodworks and Deadfoxx, is free. -- Jay Bennett