Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Tanlines are playing Valley Bar on Wednesday.EXPAND
Tanlines are playing Valley Bar on Wednesday.
Columbine Goldsmith

Here are our picks for the best live music in Phoenix this week. Feel free to browse our comprehensive concert calendar for more options.

Wednesday 13 - Wednesday, July 15 -  Club Red

Wednesday 13 is known as a force to be reckoned with in the world of goth/horror punk/metal. A strong songwriter and musician, he was the frontman of MurderDolls (founded with Slipknot’s Joey Jordison) and has been touring solo for some time. His sixth studio album under his own name, Monsters of the Universe: Come Out and And Plague, came out in January and has been highly anticipated (and well received) by Wednesday 13 fans. As the musician stated: “Take the movies They Live and Night of the Living Dead and the series V, and mix that together. It’s a sci-fi horror story that will be the most unique Wednesday 13 album to date. I wouldn’t even compare it to anything I’ve done in the past.” With that in mind, you never know what to expect at a Wednesday 13 show. The show has a strong lineup, rounded out with Holy Grail, Death Division, Asphalt Wasteland, Casket Snatch, and Riot/Gear. LAUREN WISE

Tanlines - Wednesday, July 15 - Valley Bar

In the opening lines of "Slipping Away," the first single from electronic music/indie rock act Tanlines' sophomore record, Highlights, Eric Emm's plaintive vocal rings out over an exuberant bassline akin to the Cure's "Close to Me": "Was I running backwards? Was it all just a dream?" Emm's lyrics could easily be a reference to the whirlwind in which he, along with bandmate Jesse Cohen, began their career as Tanlines. Situated in an already buzzy scene in their hometown of Brooklyn full of bands with an electronic bent and a slightly nostalgic take on indie pop, their breakout EP, Settings, was a succinct, six-song statement in a sea of idiosyncratic remixes for like-minded bands such as Glasser, Au Revoir Simone, El Guincho, Memory Tapes, and Telepathe. Circa 2010, Tanlines and their contemporaries were a who's-who of newly minted bedroom composers, and yet as these acts began to release full-lengths and fads in genre changed, many of them were relegated to Where Are They Now? Status. Tanlines, it seems, are not content to fade away.

They released full-length debut Mixed Emotions in 2012, and though some critics docked points for the LP's failure to push many boundaries, it reached No. 2 on the Billboard Heatseekers album chart and earned Tanlines a slew of fans who came out in droves to dance themselves into a frenzy at their shows. As a duo, there wasn't much else to do at those gigs besides dance; Cohen's clever between-song banter made performances a bit of a low-key comedy routine, but their stage plot was far from that of a traditional rock band. Highlights does not signify a total departure from the feel-good anthems of a late-night dance party, but it does build them up into something more substantial, with more instrumental arrangements, more complex song structure, and more introspective themes than in Tanlines' prior work. LINDSEY RHOADES

Abigail Williams - Thursday, July 16 - Yucca Tap Room

Yucca is another venue fantastic for death metal shows. No matter where you’re at in the room, you get a view of the band along with a delicious burger and cold beer. Black metal band Abigail Williams headlines this lineup, supported by a delicious buffet of Phoenix metal: death/black metallers Deadspawn, grindcore band Sadomasochist, atmospheric/melodic black metal act Ghost Horizon, and post-metallers The Lazarus Complex. LAUREN WISE

BØRNS - Friday, July 17 - Crescent Ballroom

When Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Borns (stylized as BØRNS) plays in support of his recently released EP, Candy, or performs its first single, the infectious and sunny synth-pop gem "10,000 Emerald Pools," he proves himself to be an accomplished showman, poised to become a bona fide star thanks to his Jeff Buckley-esque falsetto and charismatic stage presence. After moving to L.A. on a whim in 2013, he was quickly snatched up by Universal Music's Interscope Records. "I was kind of floating around," says Borns. "I came out here on a whim to clear my head, write music and meet some people. I gave myself a month to do that and that turned into a few more months."

While still relatively new on the scene, Borns has been honing his performance skills for years. Back in his home state of Michigan, he played piano for his parents' friends at parties and was already a paid magician at just 10 years old. But he says he never sat around dreaming about stardom. "I never pictured myself as a professional musician. I knew it was something I always wanted to do because it made me feel good, but I never thought I'd be living in California and doing all of this. But I wouldn't have it any other way." Borns laughs off prestigious terms like "star" and "prodigy" with a deferential, "Have you been talking to my mom?" PAMELA CHELIN

Theory of a Deadman - Friday, July 17, at Livewire in Scottsdale

Let’s talk hypotheticals. When you photocopy a photocopy, what happens? Quality increasingly declines. If there’s anything that pisses of metalheads more than Nickelback, it’s bands daring to be influenced by Canada’s best musical practical joke. Enter Theory of a Deadman, the first band signed to Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger’s Universal Music Group imprint, 604 Records, way back in 2001. Everything about the band screams Nickelback version B, from the way singer Tyler Connolly sings his verses to the band’s over-reliance on pop chord progressions to create its choruses. Hell, even Urban Dictionary agrees — one of the definitions listed under the Theory of a Deadman entry simply states, “See Nickelback.” So is there anything redeeming about Theory of a Deadman, besides the fact that “Bad Girlfriend” has become one of the best stripper songs of all time? Perhaps. Theory of the Deadman is like the Nacho Cheese Doritos of rock music. It goes down easy but doesn’t leave anything positive behind. And while we’d all die if we ate nothing but junk food, but a cheat day on a diet of so-called “serious” music is never a bad thing. DAVID ACCOMAZZO

Fat Gray Cat - Friday, July 17, at Rips Ales and Cocktails

Local vocalist and rocker Michael Pistrui is nothing if not true to his roots. A hardcore skater since an adolescence weaned on '70s hard rock and '80s punk, he's parlayed such lifelong musical and cultural influences into his various bands over the years, including the esteemed Beats the Hell Out of Me and, more recently, Fat Gray Cat. It's evident on Fat Gray Cat's self-titled EP, released last year by skater-friendly Phoenix label AZPX Records and offering four tracks filled with the band's balls-to-the-wall blend of proto-punk clamor and hard rock thunder that pulsates with Iggy Pop-like verve and MC5-style power chords. (Plus it features cover art of the Love Bowl, a legendary Valley skate landmark.) The fivesome's greasy and grisly gut-churning sounds, capped by Pistrui's oftentimes wailing vocals, are the sort of music meant to be blasted during some boozy dive bar bender or a high-energy skate session in the desert. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

                                                    

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94 Blades - Friday, July 17 - Pub Rock

94 Blades describes its as “metal hardcore soooo heavy we can’t even get on a ‘light’ rail.” In my mind, you can’t help loving that. On July 17, Pub Rock also hosts unique five-piece alt-metal act Arvins Garden, which punctuates its music with hip-hop and punk rock accents. Xpansion Theory and Impulsive Aggression round out the bill. LAUREN WISE

Live from Laurel Canyon - Saturday, July 18 - Musical Instrument Museum

Locals Brian Chartrand, Kip Fox, and Khani Cole have crafted a tribute concert to Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon music scene, which helped give birth to some of the ’60s most famous musicians, including Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison, and more. DAVID ACCOMAZZO

Upcoming Events

Through & Through Gospel Review - Saturday, July 18  - Crescent Ballroom

While Joel Marquard's belief in the content of the music may be murky at best, he seems to have a real belief in the uplifting energy of the sounds he makes with Through & Through Gospel Review. The songs that Marquard writes are definitely spectacular, but without the collaboration of his huge band they really wouldn't come out the same. He's working with some real local standouts, including Bob Hoag and David Maroney just to name a few, and it's that collaboration that Marquard needs to really make the project shine. JEFF MOSES

Eternal Summers - Sunday, July 19 - Crescent Ballroom

After forming in 2009 as a duo of singer Nicole Yun and drummer Daniel Cundiff, Eternal Summers released one album before adding bass player Jonathan Woods. Over two more records, the Roanoke, Virginia trio’s gained fans steadily before receiving a big bump this summer, when the release of Gold and Stone caught Rolling Stone’s attention and the venerable music magazine named the Eternal Summers an “Artist You Need To Know.”  ERIC SWEDLUND


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