25 Best Concerts in June in Phoenix
Purity Ring is scheduled to perform on Monday, June 22, at Crescent Ballroom.
One of the biggest tropes about living in the Valley of the Sun is that once summertime arrives, there’s little to do that’s truly worth doing, save for waiting out the heat or maybe getting the heck outta Dodge. Like with most tropes, however, there’s a certain degree of truth involved, but you don’t necessarily need to be beholden to it. In fact, those who might be a bit daring can completely ignore it altogether.
In other words, there are loads of worthwhile events taking place in Metro Phoenix over the summer, especially those in the live music vein. To wit: any of the following 25 memorable concerts taking place in the month of June both inside air-conditioned venues like the Crescent Ballroom and the newly opened Valley Bar or at such outdoor spots as Ak-Chin Pavilion after sundown.
So will you wind up cowering inside your house from now until October? Or will you brave the scorch in order to be in the crowd at concerts by rock legends Aerosmith, country superstar Tim McGraw, indie favorites Purity Ring, or Americana heroes like Bela Fleck? The choice is yours.
And, if our picks for the best concerts in June, isn't up your alley, feel free to peruse our online concert calendar for more choices.
Bogan Via (EP Release) - Friday, June 5 - Crescent Ballroom
Recently, Phoenix synth-pop duo Bogan Via relocated to Los Angeles, the global-domination capital of the world. Surely, you know this happens to every successful band that curries favor in Europe and Canada, so hopefully you've been prepared for the notion that they're seeing other people now. And besides, the group's William Bender and Madeline Miller are leaving you with some lovely parting gifts to fill the gap between visits — namely, a show at Crescent Ballroom with Griswold and Luna Aura and a just-released EP called Madly.
Unlike on past recorded efforts, where their Euro-synth sounds were submerged beneath hip-hop beats and indie-folk stylings, the polyphonic pair seem to have done a Daft Punk and fully embraced the '80s. You have the infectious title track, in which Miller offers Electric Light Orchestra-esque rejoinders to the Cocteau Twin-ish "Runnin" and, finally, "Feeling Alright," which, if you wanna relive '80s excess at full tilt, has two radical different remixes by Holy Coast and Database.
As for finally being ready for the Reagan decade, Bender says, "We feel like the '80s have been bubbling under the surface for all music lately. More and more artists are embracing synths and that poppy electronic sound, which takes the music to that wonderful '80s vibe. This EP is completely synthesized compared to [the band's 2012 EP] Wait Up, which thrived on more of a 50-50 acoustic-to-synth ratio.
It certainly wasn't intentional, but I think in the back of our minds we wanted to make songs that people could dance to and get excited about at shows." SERENE DOMINIC
Wynonna Judd - Friday, June 5 - Celebrity Theatre
Wynonna Judd has accomplished more than she probably ever dreamed of as a 15-year-old girl traveling the nation with her mother, Naomi, singing catchy, down-home songs in 1979. The list of accolades is staggering, and Rolling Stone has even compared her to Patsy Cline. As part of The Judds (with her mom) or as a solo artist, Wynonna has showed off her powerful voice during the past 35 years and sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 million records.
Currently, the force of nature is putting the wraps on her latest solo record and touring the country sharing her newest songs with a stripped-down band and mission to accomplish. Judd, along with husband Cactus Moser (of Highway 101) on drums, makes her way back to the Valley after a stint on Dancing with the Stars, writing a bestseller, and putting out her own line of shoes called, interestingly enough, Got Soul. The talented songwriter no longer cares about “being Miss America,” as she stated during a short conversation, but looks to connect with her fans through the power of her music and being true to herself. TOM REARDON
rePLAY: A Video Game Symphony of Heroes - Saturday, June 6 - Symphony Hall
Countless video games have been created since the medium was invented some 50 years ago, and almost every one of ’‘em one essentially boils down to a single M.O. — the hero’s journey. Whether it’s Mario or Link rescuing a princess, Sonic the Hedgehog collecting rings at warp speed, or Master Chief pwning hordes of Covenant forces with a gravity hammer, gaming invariably is about guiding a protagonist on a quest. And every good hero needs his or her own stirring leitmotif to accompany the journey, something famed game music composers Koji Kondo, Martin O’Donnell, and Masato Nakamura have been providing for decades. Just as graphics, play control, and A.I. has continued to level up, video game music has evolved from bleeps and bloops to orchestral arrangements worthy of a Hollywood production or a concert hall. Hence, rePLAY: A Video Game Symphony of Heroes.
The touring showcase of some of the most rousing game soundtracks as performed by local orchestras and ensembles (in this case, the Phoenix Symphony) accompanied by stunning visuals and game footage projected onto a wall-size screen. The revue follows the theme of the hero’s quest across multiple chapters and features the works of such composers as Garry Schyman (BioShock), Inon Zur (Dragon Age), Mike Morasky (Portal), and Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy). And, no, the conductor won’t be using an Xbox Kinect instead of a baton. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
July Talk - Sunday, July 7 - Rebel Lounge
If you don’t get a Tom Waits vibe when you hear July Talk echoing in your ear holes, you probably don’t know who Tom Waits is. But to say July Talk has only one point of reference does its style of neo-blue-eyed soul injustice. Thanks to the dual male/female vocal stylings of Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay, you have a She and Him approach to modern alternative blues, á la The Black Keys, maybe with a little Screaming Trees thrown in. In fact, the Toronto band’s self-titled debut is so varied and all over the place, it simultaneously feels like there’s something for everyone and a reach for a major record deal. If that’s the case, good luck to them. The world could use more creatively structured songs like “Summer Dress” or “Come Down Champion” if it means less room for Bruno Mars or Maroon 5. As Dreimanis told Culturefly, “I think that every decade or so, a band needs to come around and remind everyone that rock ’n’ roll is alive and well and we don’t need to constantly swallow the over-produced, recycled live shows with layers and layers of backing tracks.” It’s refreshing that July Talk is trying to meet that standard. TROY FARAH
Preservation Hall Jazz Band - Sunday, June 7 - Musical Instrument Museum
In 1961, Allan and Sandra Jaffe founded Preservation Hall in New Orleans, where they held nightly concerts of traditional jazz music played by those who had seen jazz being born. Defying decades of Jim Crow laws, they integrated blacks and whites in their audiences and even in their band. All the current players hail from New Orleans, with some the offspring of the original band members, including Allan's son, Ben, who like his father plays tuba and leads the group. The younger Jaffe has astutely infused healthy doses of hip into the band, booking appearances on the Grammy Awards, Austin City Limits, Kimmel and Fallon, and associating with the likes of Tom Waits, Andrew Bird and Foo Fighters. Yet for all the hype, they understand the music of New Orleans on a profound, familial level, making them the realest deal of all. GARY FUKUSHIMA
Ivan & Alyosha - Monday, June 8 - Valley Bar
Seattle indie-folk band Ivan & Alyosha grew from a duo to a quintet (still without an Ivan or an Alyosha among them) on their sophomore album, with a new sound that leans toward fuller arrangements and poppier songs. Started by Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary (and named for two characters in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov), the band’s 2013 debut, All the Times We Had, was an endlessly listenable collection of folk-pop songs full of soaring harmonies. To follow up, the duo recruited Tim’s brother Pete on bass, Tim Kim on guitar, and Cole Mauro on drums and spent a year writing songs, a natural eclecticism developing as a result of the new band members.
It’s All Just Pretend, released in May, adds more rock muscle, making the most of the new band members. The opening “Something Is Wrong” is reminiscent of the National, swelling toward its chorus with an urgency that the band didn’t have before. “All This Wandering Around,” the first single, is insistent guitar rock, while “Oh This Love” adds some horns to its infectious chorus and “Don’t Lose Your Love” closes the album with a acoustic ballad. It’s a bolder album from a band still finding its voice, but effectively keeping the strengths from their first album as they expand in exciting new directions. ERIC SWEDLUND
The Kinky Fingers - Tuesday, June 9 - Trunk Space
Instead of opting for the dirty sound favored by many musicians who draw inspiration from '60s surf and garage rock, Denver's Kinky Fingers have gone for cleaner, clearer melodies. The group's desert-haunted songs might cause listeners to mistake the Fingers for yet another latter-day psychedelic act — but while it's true that the guitar work is possessed of an open-skies sound akin to that of bands like Spindrift, the songwriting owes much more to older artists such as Dick Dale and Roy Orbison. There's a soulfulness to the band's music that sets it apart from that of its peers. The Kinky Fingers, scheduled to appear at indie rock hub Trunk Space with locals The Wavelengths and Numb Bats, match hushed emotional intensity with elegant execution. TOM MURPHY
Clap Your Hands - Tuesday, June 9 - Crescent Ballroom
A decade ago, bassist Tyler Sargent began mailing out copies of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's self-titled debut from his home in Pennsylvania. It wasn't long before the indie pop band caught the attention of Pitchfork, which bestowed CYHSY with a coveted "Best New Music" label. After people saw David Bowie and David Byrne at CYHSY shows, demand for the album was so high that the band had to do another pressing. It's not hard to see why it caught on. The 2005 album has many of the indie staples of the era, including elements of Bell X1 and Modest Mouse and a distinct earnestness in moody lyrics about suicide ("Gimme Some Salt"), foreign wars ("Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood"), and self-loathing ("Is This Love?").
In 2009, NPR claimed the album was one of the most important recordings of the decade, alongside classics like Arcade Fire's Funeral and LCD Soundsystem's Sound of Silver. Given that the record was one of the first to gain notoriety through the Internet alone, the honor truly has merit. To this day, CYHSY prefers to self-release its music, as the group continued to do last year with its fourth album, Only Run. We asked Alec Ounsworth, CYHSY's frontman and guitarist,about the 10-year anniversary of his band and what guidelines, if any, he might have for fledgling musicians. "I don't know if I have too much advice anymore," he says. "I think everything's a little bit too topsy-turvy at the moment. For anybody that's starting off, you do it the way it's always been done. You play as many shows as you possibly can and you make an album. And you hope that it takes and something catches with the general public. TROY FARAH
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn - Wednesday, June 10 - Musical Instrument Museum
Banjo hero Bela Fleck has long been ahead of the curve when it comes to the often misunderstood stringed instrument that's now a practical necessity to forming an indie hipster band. In the 1970s and even into the 1980s, Fleck was a country guy. As a member of the New Grass Revival, Fleck flirted with mainstream country success with bandmates such as Sam Bush and John Cowan, two artists who are also now rootsy all-stars in their own right. As the 1990s rolled in, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones seemed to noodle their way into the jam-band world's graces. Such inclusion was thanks to their piano- and harmonica-intensive instrumental jams, which blended a wealth of world music influences with an ability to keep a groove going as long as any other act on the road. It didn't hurt that Fleck became the go-to banjo expert for the Dave Matthews Band at their commercial zenith, either.
After the Flecktones went into different directions, the new millennium would witness Fleck really spreading his musical wings globally. Fleck's love of the banjo and roots music from nations other than America led to the creation of the widely acclaimed Throw Down Your Heart Africa sessions series, which netted Fleck a Grammy and even more affirmation that he's simply one of the world's true visionaries. These days, he's touring with his wife, Abigail Washburn, a pretty darn good banjo plucker herself. KELLY DEARMORE
DJ Quik - Friday, June 12 - Celebrity Theatre
A couple of years ago, West Coast production legend and hip-hop innovator DJ Quik tweeted that he was selling all of his musical equipment. In a 2013 interview, however, Quik made it clear that he wasn't retiring, just focusing on his own work: "I get paid for engineering and mixing people's records, and there used to be a king's ransom in that back in the day. Now, there is so little that it's not important." Quik defined the early '90s with party classics such as "Tonite" and "Jus Lyke Compton." His signature, synth-laden production style can be heard on many a hip-hop classic, including Tupac's All Eyez on Me and Jay Z's The Black Album. Last fall, Quik released the chorus-less, funk-infused single "Pet Semetery" (named for the Stephen King novel), one of 16 tracks on his lastest studio album, The Midnight Life, which he's supporting on his current tour with Warren G. that swing through Celebrity Theatre later this month. JACQUELINE MICHAEL WHATLEY
Aerosmith - Saturday, June 13 - Gila River
In their prime, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry's Boston bad boys not only lived up to the hype as America's Rolling Stones, but on immortal mid-'70s LPs Toys In the Attic and Rocks, managed to out-raunch Mick and Keef themselves. One decade-long trip off the deep end later, they came roaring back to be one of the biggest bands of the late '80s and early '90s with the killer one-two combo of Permanent Vacation and Pump. Despite various hiatuses, a certain Armageddon ballad and Tyler's American Idol stint, Aerosmith has remained a top concert draw to this day, due mostly to hit-studded shows where the Toxic Twins step to the fore in all their bloozy glory. Hard rock/alt-metal icons Living Colour will open for Aerosmith during their stop at Gila River Arena. CHRIS GRAY
Hamilton Leithauser - Monday, June 15 - Crescent Ballroom
Hamilton Leithauser once hollered angrily into a microphone about a former love on “The Rat,” The Walkmen’s signature track. Now he’s sporting a shiny grin for the cover of his first solo album. Leithauser jokes, “I look like a politician on the cover. I just wanted a smiling picture because the name of the album is Black Hours, so if it looked grim it would look like I was about to commit suicide or something.” Could it have something to do with the fact that after a decade and a half of being in other accomplished bands the musician’s true self can come out? Maybe, but he’d been working on Black Hours before The Walkmen’s extended hiatus. Now he’s touring on an album that’s inspired by not only New Jersey’s favorite crooner Frank Sinatra but also distinctive 70’s singer-songwriters with layered arrangements. He’s donning a fine-tailored suit to go with that big smile, and his goal is to create standards soaked in sadness and booze for a new generation.
Leithauser describes, “I wasn’t trying to imitate [Sinatra] at all. I would be much closer to someone like Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman. Tom Waits would be closer to what I was doing. It’s a rock and roll record. I really love that [composer] Gordon Jenkins stuff, the dramatic strings that are all over “September Of My Years.” That was definitely the inspiration for my song “5am,” but that’s where I think the [Sinatra] parallels would stop.” He’s enlisted talent from other bands, including Morgan Henderson from Fleet Foxes (who is joining him on tour) and Vampire Weekend’s Rostan Batmanglij, who co-wrote a track on the album. “I was really lucky I got a great team and it made it all the more fun,” Leithauser says, “It was the first time I had worked with people from other bands so it was kind of weird to put parts in other people’s hands who you don’t know. You write a song alone in your apartment for six months and then go into the studio with someone who you don’t really know that well or never really played with and suddenly you hand it over to them. It can be a little scary, but you bring them in for a reason. You can trust them to put their little spin on it.” JASON KEIL
E-40 - Wednesday, June 17 – Marquee Theatre
E-40 was on the money when he said that his career defies logic: Since his start with the Click way back in 1990, E-40 independently rose to prominence thanks to his hustler sensibility and wholly distinct style. With a gigantic backlog of underground classics and mainstream successes, he's done the opposite of slow down as he approaches the wrong end of 40 years old. Since 2010's excellent pair of Revenue Retrievin' albums, which dropped simultaneously, he's continued that trend and even upped the ante to a dumbfounding five full-length albums in 2012 — two with long-time co-consiprator and fellow West Coast ambassador Too $hort. JACK SPENCER
Tim McGraw - Thursday, June 18 - Ak-Chin Pavilion
Tim McGraw has swag, as well he should. He's got a great country voice, he's handsome, he's built like a MMA fighter, he's married to one of the other biggest names in country music (Faith Hill) and he has a staggering amount of hit songs. He's also insanely, mind-blowingly popular. Most shows, no matter how popular the artist, you hit that stretch were the crowd simmers down while they wait for the hits to return. Not so with Mr. McGraw. Fans flock to his shows to sing their asses off, and do so to every single one of his hits, like "I Like It, I Love It," "Live Like You Were Dying," “Meanwhile Back at Mama's,” "Don't Take The Girl,” “Highway Don't Care,” or “Please Remember Me.” In fact, the crowds get so loud that there's times when his gigs sound like a crowded club show, the screaming almost painfully loud to experience. Yeah, he's earned the right to have some swag. Fellow country stars Billy Currington and Chase Bryant are scheduled to open the evening. CORY GARCIA
James McMurtry - Friday, June 19 - Crescent Ballroom
Decades from now, when social anthropologists look back on which musicians most accurately and articulately captured the plight of the dwindling American middle class in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, they'll surely home in on the brilliant Austin songwriter James McMurtry. Rivaled only by Jason Isbell in his ability to construct compelling tales of small-town pathos without sounding patronizing, McMurtry doesn't exploit his characters or paint them in overly dour strokes; even his meth-heads have a good time here and there.
But off-the-grid life isn't an excuse for McMurtry to sing about lakefront bonfires and Daisy Dukes. Such backwoods blowouts are the stuff of Music Row fiction, filled with trucks, cans (both containing beer and affixed to chests) and one-night stands. Yet for as flawed as the protagonists in his songs can be, you'd still much rather spend time with them than the buff bros and babes by the beach. MIKE SEELY
The Expendables - Friday, June 19 - Marquee Theatre
Combine a heap of ska, a pinch of punk, a dash of metal, some good humor, and disorder. Shake to a reggae rhythm and you'll get something that sounds like the Expendables. The band has been riding the SoCal ska waves since the early 2000s. Along with Slightly Stoopid and Pepper, it brought a Sublime-like style to places still singing "Santeria." If you're in the surf and skate scenes, you've heard the band for sure. Otherwise, you've overheard your dreadlocked neighbor try to seduce some girl with "Bowl for Two" at 2 a.m. The band is back on tour after releasing its sixth studio album, Sand in the Sky, this January and cruising to Tempe to perform at the Marquee Theatre later this month. DYLLAN FURNESS
De Lux - Saturday, June 20 - Valley Bar
Disco can't die. The genre once crucified at a baseball game's Disco Demolition Night has achieved immortality usually reserved for Styrofoam cups and Carpathian sorcerer-kings. After rock critics gleefully wrote its obituary in the early 1980s, disco went underground, splintering and fusing into new wave, house, techno and funk. By the fin de siècle, it had seeped back into the contemporary bloodstream, thanks to the ascent of Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem and the bands on the latter's DFA imprint.
But the renaissance hasn't been limited to French automatons and Brooklyn exhumers. Over the last two years, L.A. has unshackled some of the finest disco outfits since those halcyon Donna Summer days. The latest: De Lux, a SoCal-based duo, whose debut LP, Voyage, allows them to slide under the velvet rope alongside L.A. post-disco peers Poolside, Goldroom and their Innovative Leisure labelmates Classixx. "We're trying to tap into that moment [in the early 1980s] when post-disco merged into boogie-funk," Sean Guerin explains. Since late last year, De Lux has ascended from anonymity to being hailed by The Fader, Billboard and the DJs on KCRW. It's particularly impressive for a pair of ex - skate rats from Southern California. JEFF WEISS
Kristeen Young - Saturday, June 20 - Trunk Space
Once championed by none other than her former touring mate Morrissey, New York singer Kristeen Young constructs eccentric sonic structures that contrast her birdlike Kate Bush–style trills with densely cluttered backing. Songs like "Depression Contest" and the aptly titled "Comfort Is Never a Goal" are pumped up with aggressive piano accents, even as her arty vocals spiral airily above the mechanized madness. This combination of ethereal spaciness and assembly-line rhythms is unique, and it should prove fascinating to see how Young strips down her studio creations at this intimate venue for singer-songwriters. FALLING JAMES
The Slackers - Sunday, June 21 - Crescent Ballroom
Ska legends The Slackers began rehearsing on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1991. Since 1997 they've adopted a prolific touring schedule, averaging over one-hundred shows per year. Saxophonist Dave Hillyard thinks part of their appeal derived from good timing: “The funny thing is that the music industry has changed. Live music is what it’s all about now,” he says. “I guess we were unintentionally ahead of the curve." The Slackers' live shows have taken them across the globe and back, from Berlin to Sao Paolo. Still, Dave is indifferent to traveling. "I like playing shows. I enjoy playing Cleveland and Kansas City. We’ve been playing weekday shows in Orlando since the '90s. And sometimes the city outside doesn’t matter. What matters is going on inside, at the club."
Beyond the groove and intimate clubs, The Slackers lyrics reach deep within and far without, from melancholy to war crimes through dark-humored but danceable aggression. The band’s International War Criminal was such an explicit attack against the Bush administration, it featured a demonic caricature of W. on its cover. But the band isn’t strictly political. Dave recognizes the genre’s historical roots in Jamaican independence but insists, “Ska isn’t inherently political music. It's inherently social music, as dance music. It brings people together with themes of unity and harmony."
Dave’s main goal is to get fans to dance. But if fans do decide to dig deeper into the songs’ meanings, The Slackers are cool with that too. "We try to have little bits of wisdom but we don’t want to preach. Musicians are only so knowledgeable. Sometimes we have great insight but it’s often just a one liner, not a manifesto." DYLLAN FURNESS
Cake - Sunday, June 21 - Marquee Theatre
"Just another one hit wonder," mused music critics when Sacramento, California alternative pop act Cake first came onto the scene in the'90s, with its pervasive hit "Going the Distance." Led by singer John McCrea's dissafected speak-sing style, its deep baselines, and heavy funk grooves, the song smothered commercial radio, cathcing fire as a frat pary anthem and an arena rock-ready rally cry. But Cake perservered past the naysayers. On that same album, Fashion Nugget, a cover of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" garnered nearly as much mass appeal as the first breakout smash. Many decided this cover of the disco classic was sarcastic or smug, but according to McCrea, the band's intent was anything but. "We were completely sincere with ["I Will Survive"] we wanted to create an angrier version, from a male perspective," revealed the congenial lead singer from his Northern California home.
Since releasing 2011's effort Showroom of Compassion, Cake has been operating as fully functional independent band. But working alone can be a challenge too. The extra effort it takes eats away at time spent just making music, according to McCrea. "We have to find the right publicists, figure out distribution, and do tons more paperwork, just more things to read and decide on, instead of choosing the right musical notes." In these more desperate times, he says labels are exerting more control over their artists than ever before. "Labels are less trustworthy in a period of decline. It's a time more challenging then when things were fat and happy," said McCrea. Prior to the album's release, the group took control of its recordings to ensure that their "energy wouldn't be wasted." It created its own solar-powered studio in Sacramento and never looked back. Showroom of Compassion was the first Cake release recorded in its new environmentally-sound studio, and it reached the top spot on the U.S. Billboard charts. ALEX RENDON
Purity Ring - Monday, June 22 - Crescent Ballroom
The term “Canadian electro-pop duo” is more likely to elicit eye rolls than genuine interest. But Purity Ring, which has been making equally experimental and catchy songs since 2010, deserves all of your undivided attention. There are plenty of bands out there that try to sound like Purity Ring, with airy vocals and beats that straddle the line between cacophony and sweet melody. But none of the imitators can quite match Purity Ring. The band’s music pushes and pulls, drifting seamlessly between atmospheric melodies and the kind of choruses you want to dance to. In the past five years, the duo has gone from playing in Edmonton bars to being shortlisted for the U.K.’s coveted Mercury Prize. Another Eternity, released in early March, shows off the pair’s vast talents. TEAM BACKBEAT
Motion City Soundtrack - Monday, June 22 - Marquee Theatre
Like many pop-punk giants of the early 2000s, Motion City Soundtrack has shared in the wealth of the genre's surprising resurgence, most notably with a co-headlining tour with Saves the Day and Say Anything in 2011. But the Minneapolis group wasn't sitting idly waiting for a comeback; over the years, it's released a steady stream of records, hit the road with Blink-182 (the band also worked on several records with Mark Hoppus as producer) and put out a collaborative genre-bending seven-inch with fellow Minnesotans Trampled by Turtles. The band's emo style is rooted in singer, guitarist and principal songwriter Justin Pierre's conversational, storytelling lyrics, which become wildly three-dimensional when the band plays live. BREE DAVIES
Vans Warped Tour 2015 - Tuesday, June 23 - Quail Run Park
In the last two decades we've seen a lot of summer tours come and go. What was once a semi-thriving industry that saw a tour for every type of music fan under the sun is now a handful of radio-rock festivals where the band names change but the music sounds the same. The exception to this is the Vans Warped Tour, which has seen tons of festivals come and go during its insane 20-year run that began back in 1995. While its roots are in punk and hardcore bands, Warped has survived by changing with the times; the harder stuff is still there, but there's also the poppier stuff and the electronic stuff too. While they don't book big headliners, year in and year out Warped manages to book a solid enough lineup that kids sweat all day in the sun to scream along while their parents hide in the Adult Day Care or what little shade exists. This year's tour, which warps into Mesa's Quail Run Park on June 23, features a lineup of upwards of 40 different acts, including Hands Like Houses, While She Sleeps, Night Riots, Asking Alexandria, Black Veil Brides, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, Pierce the Veil, We Came As Romans, Memphis May Fire, and dozens more. CORY GARCIA
A.A. Bondy - Thursday, June 25 - Valley Bar
Auguste Arthur "A.A." Bondy is well into his second act as a musician after the dissolution of his band, Verbena. That Alabama outfit released one of the best unsung albums of the '90s, 1997's Dave Fridmann-produced Souls For Sale, full of delicious boy/girl harmonies and Sticky Fingers-era Stonesy country-rock swagger. They went out with a whimper rather than a bang after two under-promoted Capitol Records releases. Bondy sold all his equipment, gave up music and moved to upstate New York. But as fate would have it, he married Clare Felice around the time her brothers were launching their own careers, prompting Bondy to restart his.
"Some of what they were doing rubbed off on me in terms of they don't give a fuck. They only do what they want to do," Bondy says. His solo debut, 2007's American Hearts, explored minimalist folk-blues. The 2009 follow-up When the Devil's Loose embraces a band setting, though it's still pretty austere. Nonetheless the album is more fleshed out, its foreboding melancholia and stories of lives in transit dovetailing with the collapse of Bondy's marriage. His 2011 album, Believers, retains the loping pace and late-night longing, but the mood's more spectral and dreamy, supported by supple organ peals and a sense of resigned acceptance. CHRIS PARKER
Fedde Le Grand - Sunday, June 28 - Maya Day & Nightclub
Dutch House DJ and producer Fedde Le Grand knows how to make a monster track. Take "Rockin and Rollin," for example, which is made for big rooms with big crowds getting loud as fuck, and the "rockin... n rollin" distorted vocal draws you in. Then, you have the gradual buildup up rolling keys into the crescendo: An anthem of epic proportions. The crashing drums two-thirds of the way through the song start the insanity over, and then, as predicted, the hard bass comes in and you lose your mind. Le Grand is scheduled to headline the Soundwave Pool Party at Scottsdale's Maya Day and Nightclub on Sunday, June 28. TEAM BACKBEAT
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