5 Must-See Concerts This Weekend, 6/20 - 6/22
Animals as Leaders
Charity is the name of the game this weekend. Check out Fight Club Sadisco*, a brutal night involving fistfights and industrial music where proceeds will go to pay the cancer bills of one of the its founders, and Independents Bowl, a bowling tournament benefiting a local charity. If live music sounds too loud for you, you can always check out one of the greatest concert films of all time, Stop Making Sense, which is screening Sunday at the Phoenix Center for the Arts. But don't take our word for it -- check out our comprehensive concert listings here for more options than you can shake your giant suit at.
What do you say about a performer like Sage Francis? He plays with words? He slays them? He engages his audience using a medium that rarely witnesses such a truly spectacular mastery of the vernacular? His repertoire of rhetoric is frenetic, authentic, and polemic while being transcendent, resplendent, and a true harbinger of the independent? You could say all of those things, of course, but he'd do it better. Sage Francis is a hip-hop poet laureate, and when you listen and watch, it is easy to forget what you know about the genre because he envelopes his audience with genuine -- maybe genius -- skill and love for language. We're lucky to get him in such an intimate venue on this tour in support of his new record, Copper Gone, which is completely amazing, by the way. The Rhode Island native, who once recorded for punk rock imprint Epitaph Records, runs his own label and writes music and poetry while supporting artists he loves and respects. He's a visionary renaissance man with an industrial size vocabulary, and for one hot night in Phoenix, he is entirely ours to enjoy. --Tom Reardon
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
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
Jessica Lea Mayfield started singing at an early age, performing with her family in the bluegrass band One Way Rider when she was just 8 years old. On her third solo album, Make My Head Sing, the Ohio native dramatically shifts away from the folk and country influences of her early releases into a heavier, grungier sound. The opening track, "Oblivious," unwinds with woozy, bluesy chords and hard-rock thunder topped by Mayfield's sweetly serene vocals. "I Wanna Love You" and the eerie "Party Drugs" are contrastingly mellow, as she coos amid a tangle of restless guitars. "Standing in the Sun" burns with an ethereal glow, but the fuzz and distortion return with a somberly chilling vengeance on "Pure Stuff." -- Falling James
Musicians of Phoenix, start limbering up your wrists and get practicing. Not at bettering your strumming or drumming abilities, but rather your skills at tossing strikes and spares. That's because the Phoenix Independents Bowl is back after a three-year absence.
Local concert promoter "Psyko" Steve Chilton announced earlier this week that the charity bowling tournament -- which has featured a number of Valley musicians and bands participating along with folks from local independently owned bars, venues, and businesses -- returns this weekend.
Proceeds go to Local First Arizona, which is helping Chilton out with organizing the event. --Benjamin Leatherman
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.
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