8 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week
Steve Aoki is scheduled to perform on Thursday, November 12, at Livewire in Scottsdale.
Looking for a memorable show to see over the next few nights? Consider any of the following eight options, which comprise our concert picks for this week. If you're looking for even more live music in and around the Valley, be sure to check out our comprehensive Phoenix concert calendar for a wealth of other options.
Ride - Monday, November 9 - Crescent Ballroom
Few bands could ever hope to have a debut as influential as Ride’s Nowhere, even if most people these days can’t trace the ripples of that wave-covered album. There’s a reason The Dandy Warhols wrote a love song to the Oxford, England, band — Ride created almost as much splash in the realm of shoegaze as My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive. But the more Ride pushed against that label, the more strain appeared in the band, which dissolved in 1996. It’s no coincidence that Ride reunited after a decade-plus hiatus the same time Beady Eye broke up. Andy Bell, Ride’s guitarist, spent the ’00s in Oasis and then graduated to Beady Eye when the Gallagher brothers couldn’t hammer out their differences. Bell watched two bands ripped from him in a short period, and perhaps that’s why he returned to his roots so eagerly. Whatever his reasoning, hopefully he’s found a more comfortable ride. TROY FARAH
The Underachievers - Monday, November 9 - Club Red
The handle this New York rap duo go by is the ultimate oxymoron: Hyper-animated and high on youth, AK and Dash pack more verve and color into their individual mixtape cuts than most mainstream MCs put into event-rap albums. There's no better source right now for wild-eyed, yo-yo flows studded with rhymes about third eyes and laconic put-downs. It gets so intense that, honestly, these two might do well to tone it down a bit on their Indigoism follow-up. RAYMOND CUMMINGS
Lagwagon - Tuesday, November 10 - Pub Rock
How can you not love Lagwagon? The California-based band has been around for 25 years now, releasing a veritable crapload of material, including eight LPs on Fat Wreck Chords (it’s unheard of in this day and age to put out that many releases on the same label). Lagwagon is fun, keeps it real — spurning major label attention during the mid-’90s rush to grab the next Green Day certainly scores cool points — and truly seems to do what it does for the right reasons. If anything, the band truly appreciates its fans, going the extra mile to play for young and older punks in the Phoenix area many times over the years, including a memorable show when singer Joey Cape was so sick he had members of the audience come up and sing for him. Most recently, the band released Hang in 2014, the first record with new(ish) bassist Joe Raposo, formerly of Rich Kids on LSD, who also knew a thing or two about killer, melodic punk rock. “Our shows are always good [in Phoenix], and I have nothing but praise for the crowds,” Cape says. TOM REARDON
HEALTH - Wednesday, November 11 - Crescent Ballroom
The barfing begins more than a minute into the video. Just before it starts, everything stands still and silent for a few seconds — a pause between the quivering melody that precedes it and the jarring blast that follows. Then genuine, brightly colored puke sprays in an artful arc and spreads out over a bathroom sink. This is how L.A. band Health chose to backdrop their single "New Coke" in April and announce their long-awaited new album, Death Magic (out Aug. 7 on Loma Vista Recordings). While much of the buzz about the video has understandably focused on the puke, it's the pause that says more about how Health have grown.
Forget whether or not they're a "noise" band, or if a supposed noise band can dare to put out a dance record — which Death Magic, in places, unabashedly is. Forget why they took six years to put together a full LP of new music. Forget that they're now better known for a video game soundtrack (Max Payne 3) than anything else. Just embrace the fact that Health's evolution as a band has led them to some pretty dark shit and — pop, dance, noise, whatever — Death Magic wryly explores all of it. PAUL T. BRADLEY
Carnifex - Thursday, November 12 - Joe’s Grotto
It’s hard to imagine a group as brutal as modern death metallers Carnifex basking on the sunny beaches of San Diego, but then again, the West Coast metal scene is pretty good with keeping us on our toes. Since 2005, Carnifex has been perfecting their live show with relentless touring, relying on the power of raw music and now distractions like stage props and pyrotechnics. Expect to see Within The Ruins, Black Tongue, Lorna Shore, and The Last Ten Seconds of Life also taking the stage. LAUREN WISE
Born Ruffians - Thursday, November 12 - Valley Bar
In the indie rock surge of the mid-2000s, Born Ruffians perfectly accented all the possibilities of the genre. Whimsical-yet-curmudgeonly songwriting accompanied yelping vocals to make 2008's Red, Yellow & Blue. The album was an ambitious insight into lead singer Luke Lalonde's fictional utopia, where he still found himself unlucky in love and trapped by neuroses. Their call-and-response choruses have always made for roaring live shows, so don't forget to practice beforehand. MATT WOOD
Mayhem and Watain - Thursday, November 12 - Club Red
Mayhem's early years are the stuff of legend. The literally gory details are outlined in the excellent 1998 book Lords of Chaos, as well as in the 2008 documentaries Until the Light Takes Us and Pure Fucking Mayhem. While the story is a fascinating one of subculture and youth in conflict with mainstream society and itself, what often gets lost is that Mayhem is simply a great band. Its debut EP, 1987's Deathcrush, is distilled desperation expressed with headlong intensity and a lofi brutality worthy of early death metal and hardcore. Although Mayhem's lineup has evolved, the band has never lost its dark mystique or reputation as an unforgettable live act. Current frontman Attila Csihar is one of the most gifted (and unsettling) vocalists in all of metal. The group's most recent album, 2014's Esoteric Warfare, is also its most musically diverse, but it retains Mayhem's legendary fury. TOM MURPHY
Steve Aoki - Thursday, November 12 - Livewire
As you might have heard recently, Steve Aoki has cut back on the cake. More specifically, the electronic dance music icon eased back on his trademark stunt of throwing sheet cake at audience members during shows, at least at big EDM festivals where he's a support act. The good news is that the Dim Mak czar and attention-grabbing DJ/producer will still be flinging frosted baked goods (which is known as, "caking up") at events where he's the headliner or at his club shows, including his upcoming gig at Livewire in Scottsdale.
Good thing, too, since its one of Aoki's signature bits (along with spraying champagne on his audience or crowd-surfing in an inflatable boat) and is something that any hardcore EDM fan or club kid should experience at least once. Needless to say, the 37-year-old artist is big on the performance aspect at his shows and is credited with helping to amp up theatrics in the dance music world, which is a byproduct of his love of punk and history in the hardcore scene. Aoki, a former hardcore kid and member of such bands as This Machine Kills and The Fire Next Time, also drew inspiration for his music from the world mosh pits and three-chord thunder. "I went from writing guitar lines to writing in a computer and my first [EDM] records were very aggressive and I was sampling guitars and learning how to use distortion in my music," Aoki says. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
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