click to enlarge NB Ridaz - COURTESY
NB Ridaz

NB Ridaz Reunion Concert: With their Spanglish couplets, headshop chic and unabashed malapropisms, NB Ridaz were an early "talk box" (vocoder) R&B band or a Latino throwback '90s rap act from the swap meets and projects of Avondale, Ariz. They also had subtle, mad skills—first Arizona hip-hoppers to crack the Billboard 100, first hip-hop act granted rights to sample Madonna. And their best songs were written by a pair of 12-year-old boys. The lyrics aren't deep—think Tevin Campbell meets Fresh Prince, hatching from the West Phoenix rap party scene like the crass-ic Phunk Junkeez and their proteges, Chronic Future. But NB's humble aspirations to treat a "pretty lady" to good weed, good lovin' and a long lo-lo ride through the hood ensure at least some of the kids in this crowd were surely conceived to "Forever" and "So Fly." NB Ridaz Reunion Concert: ZigZag, MC Magic, Dos with Frankie J., Lil Rob and Trish Toledo. Friday, Nov. 23, Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Doors at 6, show at 7, $42-$57. All ages. —B.S. Eliot

click to enlarge OTEP - COURTESY

Otep is a kickass nu-metal band and, no, that's no oxymoron. Birthed from the chaos of Y2K, Otep have been hoisting groove-metal fists, freedom-fighting through the socio-political clusterfuck of the Republican Party for nigh two decades. Otep leads this hyper-angry genre with smart wordplay—"I'm a flower in your vision/Was it just a poor decision?"—penned and shot forth by the best frontperson howling metal today—and, oh yeah, and she's a hot lesbian vegan! Otep Shamaya's powerful voice spits her "religion of resistance" on record, on HBO's Def Poetry jams and at the 2008 Democratic Convention. Careful not to commodify herself, Shamaya lets her music and her poetics speak for itself: "Insect language sputtering stuttering every day/I'm the creature you created." Otep sizzles with astute fury that cuts through today's looming tower of babble. All hail. With The World Over, Saturday, Nov. 24, House of Bards, 4915 East Speedway Blvd. Doors at 6, show at 7. Free, 21+. —B.S. Eliot

click to enlarge Steven Page - COURTESY
Steven Page

Steven Page with the Steven Page Trio: A decade after his hit-making machine Barenaked Ladies split, Steven Page is still advertised as "former frontman of ..." But don't let marketing hype sour you—Page solo is more than that. With all the cotton candy-sweet charm of cranial stickies like "It's All Been Done" and "One Week," but with the matured perspective of a man fighting bipolar disorder for the past decade. Evolving past flippant/nonsensical Barenaked lyrics, "Hot like wasabi when I bust rhymes/Big like Leann Rimes/Because I'm all about value," Page's pop hooks are festooned by profound, often political content, "All I can see is what God tells me to see/Now we live in a world that outlawed gravity." Steven Page stepped away from stardom, towards sustainable, fully-realized humanity. Tuesday, Nov. 27, 191 Toole. Doors at 7 p.m. $25-$28, 21+. —B.S. Eliot

click to enlarge Waterparks - COURTESY

Waterparks is aptly monikered—a guilty pleasure, slightly unwholesome hard candy, perfect for sucking after a hard day's night. In the pantheon of post-Dickies chop-shop punk-pop, the band surpasses the songwriting chops of one of their heroes, Blink 182, with self-deprecating and thought-provoking words: "You're playing ring around my head/I wear you like a halo/You're a symphony, I'm just a sour note/I'll take what I can get." An original look at obsessive love, "Stupid for You," won an Alternative Press nod for 2017 song of the year. And the guys in Waterparks have been careful to dodge novelty band accusations by crafting and maintaining their edge: Their most famous "New Wave" video shows lead singer Geoff Wigington tripping acid before goofily losing a triathalon. High and winsome, the vocals soar above dueling guitars to create sugary PG-13 tunage to help to third base. With I Don't Know How But They Found Me, Super Whatevr, Nick Gray and De'Wayne Jackson, Wednesday, Nov. 28. 191 Toole. Doors at 6 p.m. $20, all ages. —B.S. Eliot

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