Looking for a great concert to check out this weekend?
Look no further. We’ve got the lowdown on 10 “can’t-miss” shows that are worthy of your time and money happening over the next few nights at venues across the Valley. For even more live music options, hit up our extensively updated online concert calendar.
ETC! ETC! – Friday, August 5 – Maya Day & Nightclub
The electronic dance music world has always had its fair share of masked performers, each rocking their own colorful variety of headgear. There’s the legendary Deadmau5, of course, as well as such duos as The Bloody Beetroots, 2 Faced Funks, DJs From Mars, and the members of Daft Punk. The costumed electronic dance music performer known as ETC! ETC! also falls into this category as well, as the enigmatic L.A.-based DJ and producer sports a quirky helmet inspired by toy robots from the 1950s. And while common sense dictates that he’s probably a carbon-based lifeform instead of an actual automaton, given his precise and highly calculated mixes – which cover such genres as electro-house, moombahton, glitch hop, and dubstep – its certainly within the realm of possibility. Get a closer look and decide for yourself when ETC! ETC! takes over Maya in Scottsdale, on Friday, August 5. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Earthless – Friday, August 5 – Crescent Ballroom
The members of San Diego instrumental psych-rock trio Earthless are not concerned with showing you how many notes they can play. They simply want to rock out and rock out for a long time, and for everyone to have a good trip while they’re doing it. While albums such as 2013’s From the Ages are epic studio journeys that take the listener through many psychedelic hills and valleys, the band really shines when they can jam out in a live environment, as heard on 2008’s Live at Roadburn. The trio’s epic stoner jams — which at times can last through an entire 60-minute set with no respite — can hypnotize, and sometimes result in a rock-overload hangover once the power of the riff finally dissipates. JASON ROCHE
The Wailers – Friday, August 5 – Livewire
As the backing band for Bob Marley during the years that the great man wrote the music that catapulted him to international fame, the Wailers may not have been direct contributors to the reggae giant's vision of a better world, but they certainly created the sound that made that vision so appealing and accessible. After Marley's death, in 1981, the band ultimately came to be led by bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett, who still leads the Wailers today. Barrett, a pioneer of reggae bass playing, was also a member of Lee "Scratch" Perry's house band, the Upsetters. Rather than depend solely on the material they wrote during their time playing with Marley, the Wailers have put out numerous albums over the past 35 years and continue to tour and remind people that reggae is not just a commodity. TOM MURPHY
John and June Benefit – Friday, August 5 – Rockbar Inc.
A broken hand and a layoff led to John and June, two Arizona residents, not the famous musical couple — being homeless. For them, that's all it took. Yes, that's really the couple's real name, and on August 5, a few Arizona musicians and one Phoenix-based business owner will try to get them back on their feet. What was initially just a show for Tucson-based country artist Drew Cooper has blossomed into much more, as Phoenix's own Laura Walsh has gotten on board for a special night at Rockbar in which John and June, musicians themselves, will open for Cooper and Walsh.
After Robert Thornton, of Paper Clouds Apparel and Cloud Covered Streets, met John and June during one of his homeless outreach efforts, he knew something had to be done. He raised enough money to purchase a Fender acoustic guitar to give to John, as the musician of 35 years has been without an instrument for the duration of his homelessness. What was supposed to be just two weeks without a home has now been almost two years and counting. While they will be performing their own original tunes, with John on guitar and vocals and June harmonizing, the night's goal is to raise enough money to rent the couple an apartment and provide them with clothing, food, and public-transportation passes. This is a country show for a cause — it's always a beautiful thing when the Arizona musical community bands together. K.C. LIBMAN
Galactic – Saturday, August 6 – Marquee Theatre
If there's one thing that Galactic should never be ashamed of, it's their remarkable ability to evolve and simultaneously remain true to their roots. Formed in 1994 by Mercurio and guitarist Jeff Raines, the New Orleans funk-jazz sextet has spent the past 20 years entertaining audiences with a relentless touring schedule, an eclectic breadth of genres, and a collection of all-star guest features. The six-piece of Raines, Mercurio, drummer Stanton Moore, organist Rich Vogel, producer/saxophonist Ben Ellman, and Corey Henry on trombone has typically followed many of the traditions of its Big Easy heroes, namely the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Meters. But its endlessly creative, jam-band mentality has led it to thoroughly explore nearly every other musical flavor on the planet; blues, electronic, hip-hop, rock, and soul have all sprung up at various points over the course of a career that spans 11 records, including 2015's Into the Deep. ANGEL MELENDEZ
BJ the Chicago Kid – Saturday, August 6 – Pub Rock
In February, BJ the Chicago Kid released his Motown debut, In My Mind, to stellar reviews. The album captures the raw spirit of his signature hip-hop-tinged soul music and showcases his gospel background; the singer is the son of two choir directors from the local church back home in Chicago. The standout tracks “Church” and “Wait Til the Morning” touch on one of the many real-life themes in the album, as the 31-year-old singer shares the experience of a young man torn between temptation and religious values.
And compared with his previous projects, there was a bigger budget and a bigger phone book, thanks to the major-label push. The 15-track album isn’t shy on features, with strong verses by Big K.R.I.T., Chance the Rapper, Buddy and frequent West Coast collaborator Kendrick Lamar. Each rapper adds to BJ’s soulful storytelling without taking away from the main attraction. “I don’t like to ride with guys just because they’re hot,” the Grammy-nominated singer explains. “I just listen to what the music tells me and that’s how I pretty much decide. If they work, they work. If it doesn’t work, we’re still friends. I don’t force the music.” JANICE LLAMOCA
Flotsam and Jetsam – August 6 – Joe’s Grotto
This show will be one for the books, considering its weekend date, major headliner, killer supporting lineup, and intimate venue. Thrash metallers Flotsam and Jetsam have been melting faces since the early '80s in Phoenix and around the world, and are currently celebrating their 12th studio album release, May 2016’s Flotsam and Jetsam. Fun fact: Drummer Jason Bittner and bassist Michael Spencer just opened a cannabis dispensary in California. Brought to you by 13th Floor Entertainment, this lineup also includes Footer, Bleed the Fifth, Paradiso Falls, Deathgrip, and Empire of Dezire. LAUREN WISE
The Rhythm, The Rebel feat. Black Milk – Saturday, August 6 – The Rebel Lounge
Tricky T is no stranger to underground hip-hop in the slightest. In fact, the renowned Valley turntablist and selector has been spinning a lot of jams by artists such as Immortal Technique, the Living Legends, Brother Ali, and similar artists over the course of his extensive DJing career. Ditto for his friend and fellow turntablist David “Fact135” Dimmick. So it seems like a good fit for the pair to team up to run an underground hip-hop night, which they do every month during The Rhythm, The Rebel. The off-the-chain affair, which will be hosted by local rapper RoQ'y TyRaiD and feature live art by The Blunt Club’s Dumperfoo, involves Tricky and Dimmick working the ones and twos along with guest DJs inside The Rebel Lounge with a performance by renowned underground hip-hop artists and acts headlining each edition. This month, it’s Detroit-born MC and producer Black Milk. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Alabama Shakes – Sunday, August 7 – Comerica Theatre
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Alabama Shakes' passionate and charismatic lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard is a focused performer, even when she cannot see what is in front of her. The Grammy-winning band was one of the headliners during Milwaukee's Summerfest last month. According to reports, the formidable frontwoman was so wrapped up in her dexterous guitar solo during the quartet's performance of the sexy slow-burner "Gemini," one of the tracks off their sophomore album, Sound and Color, that she didn't notice that her glasses fell off her head. Howard, ever the professional, pressed on despite her lack of visual acuity. The band played a few more songs for the audience. Eventually, her spectacles were recovered. Their ability to keep cool under pressure mixed with a tendency towards the spontaneous makes Alabama Shakes an exciting band both onstage and in the studio. Afraid of being pigeonholed as a blues rock band after their debut full-length album, Boys and Girls, took the world by storm, Sound and Color spun their sound in a more psychedelic direction. The emotion that made the band so relatable and the heartbreak behind Howard's eyes is the glue that holds it all together. JASON KEIL
Plum – Sunday, August 7 – Rhythm Room
Plum garnered a lot of early buzz following its formation in 2014, and justifiably so: Melodic, psychedelic pop is hardly groundbreaking in 2015, but this group’s first recordings displayed strong songwriting skills and an ability to create broad soundscapes within a rock context. The “Hello, Miss Yellow” single could have come from any modern psych band, borrowing heavily as it did from the harder-edged sound of late-era Cream — but Plum weaves in enough trippy strangeness to make it worth repeated listens. The band’s debut EP, Light Years, Dark Years, reveals an act in command of its already impressive dynamics while hinting at where the resulting sound might go in its next phase. TOM MURPHY