25 Best Metro Phoenix Concerts in June
One More Time - A Tribute to Daft Punk is scheduled to perform on Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, at Crescent Ballroom.
Circle Talent Agency
Feeling warm? Don't let it get to you...seriously. Look, we know you're miserable now that the heat's really kicking in, but just crank up the A/C, grab a ice-cold beverage, and think happy thoughts. You can't stay inside all the time, especially there is many an excellent show to see during the month of June.
There are 25, in fact, that we'd recommend you check out over the next few weeks, and (thankfully) none of 'em are in the great outdoors.
One More Time - Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7 - Crescent Ballroom
Is there room for two Daft Punks in the world? Really, there's barely room for the one, at least psychically -- but One More Time found a tribute-band-shaped space somewhere in there and managed to cram in their own Daft Punk light-up pyramid. Founded well before the release of Random Access Memories, One More Time keep the Alive 2007 era, well, alive in 2013, delivering what will one day be called the "classic" Daft Punk live experience. They got all the details handled, including some particularly deft costume changes, and they come with enough power to push through an hour-plus set of Daft Punk hits, sleeper hits and even some original remixes. Harder better faster stronger? Well, definitely hard and fast and strong enough. -- Chris Ziegler
Rocky Votolato - Sunday, June 8 - Rhythm Room
Rocky Votolato is a guy on the shore skipping stones across the water. Part craft, part amusement, the circumspect Seattle songwriter's success and happiness has ebbed and flowed like the tide, something he's gradually grown more accustomed to, though it's not always been a smooth ride. Finally firmly at peace, he's enjoying that purgatorial moment between albums.
"Most of the songs are there, but I'm still writing the last few, and I have a couple different offers from labels to work with them," he says about weighing his options. "I'm in a real open space again. These songs are extremely intimate and they're just kind of happening on their own. That's really the best thing and it feels much better than being burned out or feeling overexposed." Votolato's songs subtly lay behind strumming acoustic and shuffling percussion. The lyrics vacillate between bare-wire dispassion like "Suicide Medicine" ("Is it the red wire or the blue wire? Just pick one and cut"), and the poignant poeticism of the Elliot Smith-like "Fragments," where he notes "there's a constant farewell into a new dream full of unpolluted sorrows." -- Chris Parker
Lionel Richie - Sunday, June 8 - Ak-Chin Pavilion
Forever young, and redolent of a dreamy, low-risk idea of pop maturity, the decades between his prime stardom and the present have been kind to Lionel Richie: Like contemporaries Prince and Bruce Springsteen, the man has never quite been a punchline. And while it's true that the average stranger on the street is more likely to erupt with "Dancing On The Ceiling" or "All Night Long" than, say, "I'm In Love," Richie's voice still carries a distinctive warmth. Admit it: If a pal randomly gifted you with Lionel Richie tickets, you'd be all over it, even if you didn't brag about it on Twitter. -- Raymond Cummings
Adventure Club - Sunday, June 8 - Maya Day & Nightclub
The woob woob base and distorted robotic sound of Dubstep music is finding its way into everything from our car stereos to our commercials. Like Beatle Mania of the '60s, Dubstep comes to us from across the pond, infesting our airwaves and influencing everyone from Nicki Minaj to Justin Bieber. Canadian Dubstep duo Adventure Club, comprised of DJs Christian Srigley and Leighton James, mixes up the popular trend by putting a whimsical bend on the typical zig-zagging base pulsations with their unique blend of vocal-based dubstep. Known for banging out remixes of anything from Rick Ross to Jay-Z and Kanye West, Adventure Club's adventurous style definitely gets the club pumping. -- Amanda Parsons
Victor Wooten - Monday, June 9 - Crescent Ballroom
Victor Wooten loves his bass so much that he may as well have it welded to his body. Though that might prove awkward when getting on the bus or in an elevator, it virtually is the reality of his situation. For Wooten, who can rightly be considered one of today's foremost bottom-end players, bass is the place. That the album cover for Soul Circus shows him as an eight-armed monster is not so far from the truth -- his playing can be found on numerous funk, soul, jazz, rock, bluegrass, and alternative recordings.
A founding member of the genre-bending bluegrass/psycho-space outfit Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, Wooten, for all his technical prowess (yes, he really plays like that eight-armed monster) and Grammy wins (five), remains modest about his abilities even when slinging the bass over his shoulder. A signature concert move, it's a trick he developed by watching Cinderella bassist Eric Brittingham on MTV. Wooten recently released two albums, Words & Tones and Swords & Stones, each showcasing additional aspects of Wooten's playing (he's released more than a dozen varied albums). Yet no matter what direction Wooten's music heads, a dynamic live show full of outrageous musicianship and crazy bass gymnastics is sure to follow. -- Glenn BurnSilver
The Fray - Wednesday, June 11 - Comerica Theatre
The Fray know most of their songs sound alike. It's that strategy that earned them success in 2005 when the singles, "Over My Head (Cable Car)" and "How to Save a Life" made the Denver band practically inescapable to anyone with the ability to listen to music. The passion of singer Issac Slade's vocals with the band's poignant lyrics resonated well against their catchy piano-driven melodies. It was a powerful formula that they used again on their Grammy nominated self-titled second album and the single, "You Found Me," topped the charts as a result.
The quartet, who include guitarists Joe King and Dave Welsh and drummer Ben Wysocki, attempted to change things up with their third album Scars and Stories. It's their latest release, Helios, that they really tampers with the recipe. Under the guidance of British producer Stuart Price (The Killers, Pet Shop Boys), the zeal and emotion are still there but the piano makes way for electro-pop anthems that draw influence from their contemporaries OneRepublic and Imagine Dragons. -- Jason Keil
Of the Painted Choir - Thursday, June 12 - Crescent Ballroom
Frederick Huang and his group Of the Painted Choir have been reinterpreting the sad, sad subgenre of "desert rock" for years now, dismantling every last vestige that distinguishes the craven likes of Gin Blossoms and the Refreshments (yikes!) by losing both the desert and the rock. That leaves this Phoenix quintet playing songs that sound like swinging backdrops to 21st-century spaghetti Westerns. The good news is that Of the Painted Choir will be releasing Barbarous, the band's first full-length LP following two excellent EPs from 2012 and 2013. Like its predecessors, the new album sashays into the territory of David Axelrod and Lee Hazlewood, as if desert rock originated in A Clockwork Orange, had the movie been set on Mars.
Of the Painted Choir's hallmarks -- immaculate, detailed production, effective and surprising instrumental textures, restrained yearning, and Huang's unearthly tenor -- are all present on Barbarous. And though the music that pervades the record is far from savage and cruel, the band is downright mean, because the album's release show is its final performance. Either way, the joke's on us, as Of the Painted Choir leaves behind a stunning body of work and leaves us hanging like Tuco in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. -- Joshua Levine
Ferry Corsten - Friday, June 13 Maya Day & Nightclub
Ferry Corsten has achieved what many musicians strive for: longevity. The Dutch producer and DJ has a career dating back to 1991 yet remains at the forefront of electronic dance music. When he's not touring the world or releasing albums, Corsten heads up "Ferry's Fix," a monthly DJ mix broadcasted worldwide on various radio stations, and "Corsten's Countdown," an EDM music chart show that also has a global audience. -- Evan C. Jones
Paul Collins - Saturday, June 14 - Yucca Tap Room
History lesson for the young'uns: In 1974, Paul Collins, Peter Case and Jack Lee founded legendary act The Nerves, a short-lived Los Angeles-based act with the distinction of touring with The Ramones pre-Roger Corman's Rock 'n' Roll High School. After The Nerves split, Collins and Case became The Breakaways (Case later broke "a million miles away," forming The Plimsouls). Collins formed The Beat in '77, and soon the band assumed the name "Paul Collins' Beat" to avoid across-the-big-pond confusion with 2 Tone ska act The English Beat.
In summer 2010, Alive Natural Sounds released Collins' new full-length King of Power Pop! Produced in Detroit by Jim Diamond (The White Stripes, The Dirtbombs and The Go!), Collins says the album "puts it all together" by connecting the musical dots from The Nerves to The Breakaways to The Beat to Paul Collins' Beat and, finally, to Collins himself. -- Daniel Rodrigue
Guided By Voices - Sunday, June 15 - Crescent Ballroom
From their '90s breakthrough to their 2004 breakup, Dayton, Ohio's Guided by Voices were one of the great perennial live bands to play First Avenue, a setting that rendered controversy about their recording aesthetic (whether ostentatiously crude or slick) moot while concentrating their vast, uneven, some might say compulsively accumulated song catalog into a timeless hit-list.
Their beauty always lay in sounding like a rusty machine cranking into high gear -- The Beatles as forever old -- and that mixture of resignation and cheer seemed built into Robert Pollard's clarion voice, the chords shifting uneasily under the anthemic weight of his deceptively simple melodies. -- Peter S. Scholtes
Jack's Smirking Revenge - Monday, June 16 - Trunk Space
Alex Pelissero was one of the people behind the Danger Zone, a short-lived DIY venue in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to helping maintain welcoming places for people to play, Pelissero, as Jack's Smirking Revenge, also writes wonderfully profane, politically charged, sometimes scathing but always uplifting and humorous folk songs, performed in a punk style. While the intensity and energy of those tunes could be compared to the folk punk of bands like the Fainting Fansies and Drinking Gourd, their lyrics, which reflect on broken relationships, skew more toward Billy Bragg. Like Pelissero's live shows, his sprawling and inspired 2012 release, Project Arcturus, for which he wrote one song a week over the course of a year, spans styles and moods with aplomb. -- Tom Murphy
Electric Six - Monday, June 16 - Crescent Ballroom
Maybe it's best to start with a short list of things that Electric Six are not: measured, restrained, self-serious. If you're looking for those qualities, you're way better off listening to your Radiohead albums for the thousandth time. Forget highbrow -- E6's tempos, lyrics, and riffs are laser-guided directly to that animal part of your brain that only wants to get laid and start fires. The band have a surprising work ethic and release an album almost every year, but their music revels mostly in an adolescent, cartoonish take on sex (try to find the Eric Wareheim-directed video for "Body Shot"). E6 want you to show up at their keg party, but only if you're taking your top off. -- Ian Traas
Papa - Tuesday, June 17 - Crescent Ballroom
The band is named Papa, but really it's founder Darren Weiss' baby -- the one constant through years of his participating in other musicians' projects, including a much-loved band called Girls, and now finally the total focus of Weiss' musical life. Recent debut full-length Tender Madness is a crazy-but-it-works mix of Springsteen-ian hard-times arena rock and sentiment ("Don't it feel right to be held in the arms," Weiss asks, "of a rich and white American man?") and bands Springsteen probably secretly likes, like the early Stooges and mid-period Pixies. What does this mean to you? Big beats and guitar, lyrics that make you feel as if we'll make it together if we make it at all, and fireworks choruses that'll make you shout and cry at the same time. This is a headlining gig, and they'll headline the hell out of it, I'm sure. -- Chris Ziegler
Animals As Leaders - Friday, June 20 - Nile Theater
Animals As Leaders burst onto the metal scene in 2009 with their self-titled debut release on Prosthetic Records. Guitarist and lead songwriter Tosin Abasi had been kicking around the D.C.-metalcore scene for years with his previous band Reflux, but when that outfit disbanded Tosin decided to explore how far he could push himself as a guitarist with his newest endeavor.
With guitar histrionics that have melted faces on tours alongside bands as diverse as death metal stalwarts Vital Remains and Decapitated, mainstream emo-rock groups like Circa Survive and Thursday, and whatever the fuck Dredg is called these days, one may think there's a worry that Animals As Leaders might get lost in the "look at all the notes I can play" rabbit-hole, however Tosin's upbringing in the metalcore/hardcore scene grounds the band from forgetting to balance the technicality with Meshuggah-like "chug" riffs that anyone can head bang to. -- Jason Roche
Gregg Allman - Friday, June 20 - Talking Stick Resort
On "Just Another Rider," from 2011's Low Country Blues, Gregg Allman's first non-compilation album since 1997, raw emotions well up on this heavy Southern-blues tune as he sings, "Just another rider on that train to nowhere." And nowhere was where the Allman Brothers Band namesake was headed had it not been for a 2010 liver transplant (necessitated by a hepatitis C infection). The track is strong testament to his songwriting prowess, as Allman subtly instills his own raw, gritty, and soulful edge here and throughout this album mostly comprising songs by the likes of Otis Rush, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Junior Wells, Skip James, Sleepy John Estes, and others.
These artists always influenced Allman's work, beginning with the earliest ABB blues jams "Jessica," "Whipping Post," and "Ramblin' Man." And though that bluesy component persisted, Allman's focus indeed rambled from time to time as he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction plus a four-year marriage to Cher (the pair released the universally panned Two the Hard Way). Now clean, sober, single, and with a new liver, the organist is back on track and at his performance peak again. He's still got the blues, but lately, that's primarily in song alone. -- Glenn BurnSilver
The Milk Carton Kids - Monday, June 23, and Tuesday, June 24 - MIM
Despite the fact that The Milk Carton Kids released their Grammy-nominated album The Ash & Clay in 2013, to Joey Ryan -- one of the Americana-folk duo's two singer-guitarists -- it might as well have been during the 20th century when he tries to recall what the band's mindset was like while making the record. "It feels like an eternity ago!" he laughs. "I think we were, creatively, in a place where we really wanted to push ourselves as far as what we could do in the format of two guitars and two vocals."
This itch to push themselves in new directions and expand their horizons has been a constant presence in the band's life since forming in 2011. Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale were both solo artists before they met, and much of their output up to that point would have passed for standard singer-songwriter fare, focusing heavily on emotional, personal content. And while the duo has made significant strides in terms of songwriting and lyrics in their few years together, there was still a sense heading into Ash that they could do more. "As a way of pushing each other, we agreed there's a lot more we have to say, a lot more we want to say beyond, 'Here's what I'm feeling about a particular thing at a given moment,'" he says. -- Brian Palmer
Chris Robinson Brotherhood - Tuesday, June 24 - The Pressroom
Take "brotherhood" with a grain of salt here; Chris Robinson's Black Crowes co-founder and actual brother Rich Robinson is nowhere in sight. Instead, his five-piece Brotherhood aims for a third-eye-friendly "New Cosmic California" sound that still allows for plenty of CCR-style choogle. Together barely two years, the Brotherhood has already released three albums, Big Moon Ritual, The Magic Door, and this year's Phosphorescent Harvest. They may be hippies, but you can't call 'em slackers. -- Chris Gray
Correction: The Chris Robinson Brotherhood concert recommendation has been updated with more accurate information.
Nightmares on Wax - Tuesday, June 24 - Crescent Ballroom
Before he got involved in the U.K.'s acid-house scene during the late '80s and early '90s, George Evelyn was a hard-core hip-hop fan. He joined a breakdancing group in 1988 with Kevin Harper, and the two formed Nightmares on Wax. Mixing beat-making with turntablism and live music with electronic production, their 1991 debut, A Word of Science: The First and Final Chapter, was a pioneering example of what would come to be called trip-hop. But in his DJ sets under the Nightmares moniker, Evelyn has been exploring a lifelong interest in soul and R&B music. The resulting shows are a modern-day exploration of the jazz-inflected funk that was the soundtrack to his childhood. -- Tom Murphy
Ingrid Michaelson - Wednesday, June 25 - Marquee Theatre
Not sure if y'all remember MySpace, a social networking website popular around the mid-aughts where pervy dudes would spy on jailbait girls (read: To Catch a Predator) and singer/songwriters, like Ingrid Michaelson, uploaded free music. It was real around the same time your girlfriend started watching Grey's Anatomy. Believe it not, both are still around. And we're guessing that the indie folk-pop songstress has something to do with it.
"My mother originally told me she thought my music would sound perfect on Grey's Anatomy -- and this is before I even started watching the show," Michaelson said in a 2007 interview on NPR's Talk of the Nation. "I started watching and got sucked into it, and my friend and I would start wailing one of my songs over the dialogue, in jest, of course." Today, Michaelson's music is virtually synonymous with Grey's. -- Victor Gonzalez
Arsonists Get All the Girls - Thursday, June 26 - The Underground
Even in the alcohol-free Undergrounf, this Santa Cruz, California, quintet will be the aural equivalent of a spiked drink: a disconcertingly psychedelic, ADHD mash-up of a decade's worth of extreme metal substrains delivered with mortifying bile.
Relentless gunship kick drums and supersaturated swarms of down-tuned guitars somehow couple with trippy synth subplots on their fifth full-length, Listen to the Color, but it's the utterly committed, multipersonality performance of returned vocalist Remi Rodberg (AGATG has had at least 19 members in its nine years) that seals the self-released effort as such a restless, irreverent joy. With proggy, experimental expressions for (and by) an ultra-impatient smartphone generation, Arsonists Get All the Girls distill every contemporary metal tour that will come through Phoenix this year into a single set. -- Paul Rogers
Lil Debbie - Friday, June 27 - Pub Rock
Lil Debbie is an enigma. Bullied into a solo rap career by RiFF RaFF after leaving White Girl Mob, she blazed her own fierce trail with no help from a label and no vision but her own. Her music videos for songs like "Ratchet" and "Bake a Cake" have garnered millions of YouTube views, and she is gearing up to release her album California's Sweetheart next month. All this love means that there's plenty of room for haters. -- Sarah Stanley-Ayre
Collective Soul - Friday, June 27 - Talking Stick Resort
Sturdy nice-guy rockers who came above ground in the post-grunge explosion, Collective Soul never claimed to be tortured artists, unlike the souls in Bush and Live. Albums like their 1993 debut Hints, Allegations & Things Left Unsaid, a 1995 eponymous disc and 1997's Disciplined Breakdown made them mainstays on pop radio, with a mix of subdued ballads and earnest, workmanlike rock singles.
Dosage, released in 1999, went back to what made that second album so palatable to programmers, and became one of that year's best-selling records (if not a critical favorite) behind singles "Heavy" and "Run." "Run" also got a boost from an appearance on the soundtrack to the MTV high-school football dramedy Varsity Blues. Their popularity led the Atlanta-based group to get inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2009. -- Craig Hlavaty
EMA - Saturday, June 28 - Crescent Ballroom
Erika M. Anderson has successfully shed her innocuous South Dakota upbringing and managed to make quite a name for herself in the indie-music world. In recent years, she played with the noise-rock outfit Amps for Christ, and then formed the languidly experimental Gowns with the Mae Shi's Ezra Buchla. After Gowns disbanded, she set off on her own as EMA, and that's when her career truly took off.
EMA arrived on a massive wave of hype and hyperbole, with a fragile, intoxicating voice and a diaphanous sound that easily captured the attention of the taste-makers. In the past, her uneven live show had yet to match the stirring elegance of her critically lauded full-length, Past Life Martyred Saints, but EMA is at her most seasoned for this visit. -- Erik Thompson
Farewell Festival - Friday, June 27, to Sunday, June 29 - The Sail Inn
Fans and friends of The Sail Inn will bid adieu to the Tempe music venue's longtime home with three straight days of bands and musicians performing both inside and outside of the landmark dive The loaded lineup is wall-to-wall with Sail Inn favorites and regulars, each of which will say farewell to the place with one final gig
The slate for Friday, June 27, will feature Mr. Eastwood, Mojo Farmers, Endoplasmic, The Love Me Nots, Spafford, and Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special. Meanwhile, the following day includes Booya, Shawn Johnson and the Foundation, Los Guys, Banana Gun, Japhy's Descent, Dry River Yacht Club, Jared and the Mill, Black Carl, Hot Birds and the Chili Sauce, and Strange Young Things. And the festival wraps up on Sunday, June 29, with the Robby Roberson Quartet, Decker, Grave Danger, The Relief Crew, The Sugar Thieves, Walt Richardson, and Future Loves Past, as well as Sail Inn legends The Noodles and Xtra Ticket.
Sugaray Radford - Friday, June 27, and Saturday, June 28 - Rhythm Room
Texas-born bluesman Sugaray Rayford (pictured) has been playing heavy, classic blues for decades. He began singing and drumming in church at the age of seven, which is why gospel has played such a big influence in his music, and bounced around the western U.S. for years before recently moving to Phoenix.
Rayford's voice is commanding while his stylish dance steps onstage are akin to the moves of the legendary James Brown. His 2013 album, Dangerous, offers such upbeat and fun songs "Two Times Sugar" and "I Might Do Somethin' Crazy."
Over the years, Rayford has starred in a production of the Tony-nominated revue It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues in Portland and performed with the R&B band Urban Gypsys, as well as with the Mannish Boys. More recently, however, he's been gigging with The Rhythm Room All-Stars.
The local ensemble -- which includes Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Brian Fahey, Mojo Mark, and Rhythm Room owner and noted bluesman Bob Corritore -- are veterans of the scene with talent to spare. James and Rynn have three records together, while Fahey has played with the roots band The Paladins and Mark is known for his deep Chicago blues. -- Stan Bindell
Deafheaven - Monday, June 30 - Crescent Ballroom
One of the top metal albums of 2013, Deafheaven's Sunbather was a wedding of beauty and beast. This Bay Area group tempers outbursts of blasting black metal with gorgeous post-rock atmospherics, appealing equally to headbangers and Mogwai fans. The group walks precariously on the tightrope between brutality and lushness.
The high-pitched screams of George Clarke are caustic enough to make blood curl; in any other metal band, they would be haunting on their own. But when you factor in the sheer beauty of Kerry McCoy's shoegaze-inspired guitar work, everything becomes just a little more chilling. This juxtaposition is what makes Deafheaven a truly special act in today's scene. Their ability to engulf a listener in total darkness, then pull that listener back into a world where the sun is shining, is absolutely stunning. -- Jason Roche
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.
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