Banks is scheduled to perform on Monday, September 25, at The Van Buren.EXPAND
Banks is scheduled to perform on Monday, September 25, at The Van Buren.
Courtesy of Harvest Records

The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Downtown Phoenix's status as the biggest live music hub in the Valley is pretty much an undisputed fact by now. If you somehow need further convincing, however, check out our list of best concerts this week, a majority of which will be happening at venues in and around downtown.

They also feature some high-profile and legendary performers, including Imagine Dragons, Banks, PVRIS, Best Coast, Paramore, and Janiva Magness.

That's not to say there aren't noteworthy shows happening elsewhere in the Valley this week, as Danzig will be at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe and Depeche Mode will hit Ak-Chin Pavilion.

Details about all of these gigs can be below. And if you’re interested in even more music events happening this week, either in downtown or otherwise, hit up our online concert calendar.

Danzig hits the Valley this week.
Danzig hits the Valley this week.
Paul Brown

Danzig & Deafheaven
Monday, September 25
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

It seems like Glenn Danzig is always pissing someone off. Recently, he was in the news for defending some of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, annoying some of his more liberal fans. And you can’t mention his name in Phoenix without someone excitedly reminding you of the time local musician Danny Marianino punched the stocky Danzig square in the face during a backstage altercation.

The New Jersey-born vocalist originally gained popularity fronting horror punk bands Misfits and Samhain. The former got going in the late ’70s, and its releases (with hits like “Astro Zombies” and “Night of the Living Dead”) are staples in old-school punk record collections.

In 1987, the veteran rocker formed Danzig, which he currently fronts, trading in those hooks that made the Misfits tunes catchy for a turn to the heavier side. Later, the style got a bit more industrial and experimental. No matter the style, the music is cut with his bellowing voice and affinity for dark themes. California metal band Deafheaven opens. Much more subtly dark than Danzig, their spookiness comes from a blend of sonic noise with built-in math-y constructs that parallels a wall of equally vicious vocals. Amy Young

Rapper and recording artist Jon Bellion.
Rapper and recording artist Jon Bellion.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Jon Bellion
Monday, September 25
Comerica Theatre

Jon Bellion cites Kanye West as an influence; he even went as far as dropping out of college to take on music as a career. Just like Yeezus himself, it seems like his determination paid off. Bellion wrote the hook to the Eminem and Rihanna single, "The Monster," and ever since then, Bellion's been slowly garnering more and more attention.

As a pop artist, Bellion has let the rap influence change up the usual pop artist plan of action by releasing a slew of mixtapes before a proper release. His most recent tape is The Definition, which opens on probably the most recognizable thing Kanye West has ever said (well, on an actual song), "Wait 'till I get my money right," and filled to the brim with grandiose pop ballads. Ditto for Bellion’s 2016 album, The Human Condition, which hit #5 on the Billboard 200 and eventually went gold. H. Drew Blackburn

R&B goddess Banks.EXPAND
R&B goddess Banks.
Photo by Williams & Hirakawa

Banks
Monday, September 25
The Van Buren

Much like her mentor and former tour mate The Weeknd, Jillian Rose Banks is part of a wave of nu-soul singers who filter their R&B reveries through a synthesized, hip-hop lens. “So I got edges that scratch,” she purrs. “But I’m so tired of eating all of my misspoken words.” Even as she scratches out her own identity and finds herself “beggin’ for thread to sew this hole up that you ripped in my head,” the accompanying music is often sleek and smoothly soothing, a lulling contrast to her restless mind.

Banks’ 2014 debut, Goddess, brims with mysterious, moody, and shadowy idylls such as “Drowning” and “Brain.” On the title track, she anoints herself a goddess, even as she struggles with self-doubt. She apparently resolved such issues on the 2016 follow-up, The Altar, on which, as one critic notes, Banks “combines unbending confidence, warts 'n all detail and gigantic choruses in the same move.” Falling James

Alt-rock radio favorites Imagine Dragons.EXPAND
Alt-rock radio favorites Imagine Dragons.
Eliot Lee Hazel

Imagine Dragons
Tuesday, September 26
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Few – if any – bands in the past few years have had the ascent like Imagine Dragons have had. A few short years ago, if a group headlined venues like Comerica Theatre, then they were ready for even bigger locales. And with good reason.

The Las Vegas natives have been as close to a sure bet on rock radio when it comes to their abundance of hits. If “Radioactive” put them on listeners’ radars, then “Demons” and “I Bet My Life” off the band’s sophomore effort Smoke + Mirrors cemented them as fixtures on many people’s dial. In the midst of a headlining arena tour, the group will bring its explosive live show that’s won them plaudits to Talking Stick Resort Arena to further prove that they aren’t a one-album wonder. Grouplove and K.Flay will open. Daniel Kohn

The members of PVRIS.EXPAND
The members of PVRIS.
Lindsey Byrnes

PVRIS
Tuesday, September 26
The Van Buren

Every now and again, an act like PVRIS comes along, ticking a bunch of boxes that should lead to a healthy career on modern radio: a crafty blend of electro-pop and pop-punk; a dark aesthetic that will push plenty of units at Hot Topic, and a singer with a voice just strong enough to make people stop and pay attention. (Check out their cover of Sia’s “Chandelier” for proof.)

But success for PVRIS could be bigger than just being happy for a talented band making it; for young girls who don’t see themselves onstage often enough and for queer teens in love with a genre that hasn’t always been the most friendly to them, seeing a band like them succeed has a bigger meaning. Is thinking about the big picture premature? Perhaps, but just being able to have a picture to think about at all is a pretty big step. Cory Garcia

Music legends Depeche Mode.EXPAND
Music legends Depeche Mode.
Courtesy of Press Here Talent

Depeche Mode
Wednesday, September 27
Ak-Chin Pavilion

This synth-pop band that’s been around since 1980 took a little ribbing in 1987 when they were called out in the Dead Milkmen’s song, “Instant Club Hit (You’ll Dance to Anything).” The Philly punkers were poking fun at the clad-in-black nightclubbers, who were ready to move to the beat of electronic sounds from different artsy purveyors. The Smiths and Book of Love were other acts that got singled out.

But Depeche Mode fans didn’t mind and still don’t. The group, whose core is Dave Gahan (lead vocals), Martin Gore (guitar, keyboards, and vocals), and Andy Fletcher (bass, keyboards), still packs mega-venues with fans who want to flit and twist to dance-y hits like “Just Can’t Get Enough,” from their first release, Speak & Spell. “People are People” was a huge hit for them in 1984, a let’s-all-come-together song begging the question, “What makes a man hate another man?”

Loaded with electric pops and clangs, it made people reflect on their brethren while donning thick eyeliner and swaying in goth-y dancehalls. Not always upbeat and jumpy, songs like “Somebody” proved they could easily cause that aforementioned goopy eye makeup to smear with tales of sad romance. Amy Young

ParamoreEXPAND
Paramore
Lindsey Byrnes

Paramore & Best Coast
Wednesday, September 27
Comerica Theatre

In an era when pop music feuds are as joyless as keeping up with politics, two bands are taking a fresh approach. Instead of picking fights over who stole whose backup dancer, Paramore and Best Coast frontwomen Hayley Williams and Bethany Cosentino are teaming up to grapple with decidedly heavier things, specifically how to stay afloat in deeply distressing times.

On Paramore’s latest record, After Laughter, the Tennessee Warped Tour grads dabble in nihilism that’s steeped in a shimmery musicality. Between Talking Heads-esque riffs and sparkly production worthy of Paula Abdul, Williams wonders whether “the worst is yet to come.”

It’s a worthwhile thing to consider in the age of Trump, and something plaguing Cosentino, too. The Best Coast singer-songwriter takes to social media on the regular to voice her frustrations, and post-election she set up an email “hotline” so that anyone feeling scared, discouraged, or unsafe could seek advice.

Though they’ve expressed the sentiment in different ways, it seems like these artists have reached the same conclusion: There’s no easy fix and things are pretty shitty, but finding allies is more important than ever. Seeing the bright side might prove tougher than ever, but these two bands teaming up for a cross-country tour (and a cruise) seems like a pretty worthwhile reason to keep your chin up. Becky Bartkowski

Renowned blues singer Janiva Magness.EXPAND
Renowned blues singer Janiva Magness.
Jeff Dunas

Janiva Magness
Thursday, September 28
Crescent Ballroom

Janiva Magness knew all about the blues even before she started performing onstage. The Detroit native bounced around among a series of foster homes after each of her parents committed suicide, and at age 18 had to give up her baby daughter for adoption. Even after she discovered her voice, she’s continued working for and supporting foster-care awareness throughout her adult life.

Magness was already a well-respected interpreter of blues classics, but she evolved into a legitimate songwriting force with her 2014 record, Original, and she expands her range even further on her latest release, Blue Again. She still can break your heart with intuitive blues balladry (“I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know”), but she also rocks hard (“Tired of Walking”) and thrills with sassy, soulful assurance (“If I Can’t Have You”). Falling James

Ototana Trio is spreading infectious joy, one gig at a time.EXPAND
Ototana Trio is spreading infectious joy, one gig at a time.
Courtesy of Magician Media

Otonana Trio
Thursday, September 28
The Lost Leaf

What makes a band special? Good songs, for sure. Skilled musicianship is a plus. Being idiosyncratic sometimes helps. Japan’s Otonana Trio has these attributes, but also possesses something that many bands, even some that dwellers of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame certainly lack.

The simplest way to put it is they’re joyful. Watching them perform is like witnessing a contagion in action. It may take a second to understand exactly what’s happening, but once the delight hits patient zero, it’s a sudden outbreak from there. This week, Otonana Trio returns to the Valley for a Thursday night gig at The Lost Leaf in downtown Phoenix. Jesse Sendejas Jr.

Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf of Krewella.
Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf of Krewella.
Chris Parsons

Krewella
Thursday, September 28
The Van Buren

Krewella is an electro-house-dub-party-hard duo born from the windy streets of Chicago. And before PETA has a freak out over the act’s name (which riffs on the villainess of 101 Dalmatians), they don't kill puppies, but damn can they murder some beats.

Comprised of singer-songwriting sisters Yasmine and Jahan Yousaf, and backed by a variety of producers, this twosome has made a name for themselves over the last few years as a raucous party ambassadors from the planet bass. But their real-life dynamic and genre palette is a lot deeper and more complex than fans might realize. Kat Bein

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