Up for seeing a show? There are plenty to choose from around town. Here are our picks for best concerts in Phoenix this week. For more options, check out our comprehensive concert calendar.
The Milk Carton Kids - Monday, December 7 - Mesa Arts Center
When L.A. natives Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan weave their voices together, the effect can silence the most restive crowd. Then one of them will crack a joke and leave that same crowd in stitches. With their vintage guitars and microphones, Milk Carton Kids often are labeled folk revivalists, especially since many audiences discover them through NPR's roots-leaning Mountain Stage or the HBO documentary Another Day/Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis. While their approach can seem antiquated, the results often feel thrillingly original, and quickly put to rest any easy Simon and Garfunkel or Welch and Rawlings comparisons. ANDY HERMANN
!!! (Chk Chk Chk) - Monday, December 7 - Crescent Ballroom
For nearly two decades now, !!! (sometimes known as Chk-Chk-Chk, or as any three monosyllabic exclamations) have been expertly getting crowds moving with their unstoppable dance-punk anthems. Their sixth full-length As If came out in October and sees the consummate live band referencing “Pardon My Freedom,” from classic 2004 LP Louden Up Now, with the funk-rock stomp of “Freedom ’15,” featuring a full gospel choir backing frontman Nic Offer’s characteristic falsetto. LINDSEY RHOADES
Los Skarnales - Monday, December 7 - Rhythm Room
At the beginning of Los Skarnales' new video for "Wait A Minute, Güera," the first single from the longtime vatos rudos' new EP Another Day, Another Borrachera, the band members are approached by a mysterious fair-skinned beauty in a 1950s-era Cadillac. Front man Felipe Galvan is carrying an equally mysterious briefcase, its glowing contents seemingly traded for the continuation of a band who just last year celebrated their 20-year anniversary. "We are at a crossroads," says Galvan. "Asi como Robert Johnson!"
Los Skarnales are indeed at a crossroads, although that is nothing new. Over the years, the beloved ska/punk/cumbia band has endured and survived several iterations and multiple lineups, which for any other band would have proved disastrous. But there is more to them than just the music, more than just the individual players. "This is a way of life, compa," declares Felipe. "We drink Lone Star because it's good and cheap, we act and dress the way we do because that's who we are, and we play the way we play because we know of no other way to do it.” And that's exactly the reason that they continue to be one of the ska world’s most popular and dynamic live acts. The release of their new EP is just another opportunity to share their souls with their devoted fanbase, and with Monday’s show at Rhythm Room, you can rest assured that it will be loud, it will be rambunctious, and it will be Puro Skarnales. MARCO TORRES
Nik Turner's Hawkwind - Tuesday, December 8 - The Rebel Lounge
Musician Nik Turner once spent the night in the Great Pyramid of Egypt. True story. In fact, he feels it gave him great insight into an ancient civilization that existed prior to Egypt, evidence of which exists in the mythological accounts of other civilizations. “When I studied Egyptology, I couldn't figure out how you suddenly had this instantaneous, fully formed civilization without any predecessor,” says Turner. “I didn't find out how the civilization developed without any guesses. So I made up my own mythology, in which Quetzalcoatl came from Atlantis — and when Atlantis sank, he and other people went to the social centers of the world like Egypt, Sumeria and, I guess, India, and took all his knowledge of astronomy, astrology, mathematics, science, civility and agriculture with him.”
As he explored these theories, Turner enjoyed quite a diverse and artistically respectable career. His numerous collaborations include other figures in experimental music like Genesis P-Orridge, Jello Biafra and Chrome guitarist Helios Creed. For Turner's 2015 album, Space Fusion Odyssey, his collaborators stretched to embrace jazz-fusion legend Billy Cobham, Steve Hillage and Gillie Smyth of Gong; former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland; John Weinzierl of Amon Düül II and Nicky Garrett of Hedersleben and UK Subs. The result sounds like what might happen if especially talented players were able to make an unusual and fascinating hybrid of free jazz and fluid psychedelic rock. TOM MURPHY
Bex Marshall - Wednesday, December 9 - Rhythm Room
A former croupier, British blues guitarist Bex Marshall is good with her hands, dealing out rootsy original tunes flecked with bluegrass plucking and honeyed slide-guitar washes. Her raspy wailing apes Bonnie Raitt’s style, although her interpretation of the blues veers more toward easy-listening hacks like Fleetwood Mac and Counting Crows rather than fiery originators such as John Lee Hooker and Koko Taylor. Similarly, Marshall’s competent ax work has more of Mark Knopfler’s feathery touch than, say, B.B. King’s sting, but her songs are still enjoyable, even as you wish there was a little more blood and guts and dirt in her roots digging. FALLING JAMES
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36 Crazyfists - Thursday, December 10 - Nile Theater
These Alaskan headbangers are known for years of creating diverse albums: Say hello to 36 Crazyfists. These guys are all about moshing and persistence; for the past 20 years, they’ve been touring and recording on and off, and the band has been through everything from multiple label and lineup changes to band fatalities to touring alongside Alice in Chains and Walls of Jericho. Interfate rounds out the bill. LAUREN WISE
PAPA - Thursday, December 10 - Crescent Ballroom
This duo's rise to popularity is one part former Girls member (singer-drummer Darren Weiss), two parts boyhood friendship and all parts rock. Papa is the kind of soulful band that will cover a Patti Smith song and then turn the crowd into a swoonfest with Weiss' demands to "make you [his] woman." Given the friendly demeanor of Weiss and bassist Daniel Peasant, it's no surprise that they get away with songs like "Let's Make You Pregnant." Vocals have an exuberance like Springsteen's and charms like Dean Martin's, all laid on top of exhilarating beats and elegant piano. While balancing gentle crooning with captivating melodies, Papa remain robust. Fingers crossed for new songs at this show. BRITT WITT