Eight Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week
Ani DiFranco is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, February 24, at Mesa Arts Center.
Courtesy of Big Hassle
Looking for a great show to see this week? Here are our picks for the best concerts to see this week in Metro Phoenix. For more options, visit our comprehensive online concert calendar.
What would happen to a young Mexican American musician, who decades ago, was brought up with traditional Mariachi music, but in his teens discovered bands like Black Sabbath and the mutliverse of hard rock and heavy metal? This is where the concept for Metalachi was born, in the in the 1990s. Struggling with opposing musical genres, the band gave birth to an innovative new sound: the fusion of traditional Mexican Mariachi folk music, and the loud, wild, sleezy and decadent vibes of heavy metal.
Metalachi had been blowing minds and bursting ear drums, all with a high level of musicianship, showmanship, creativity, and tongue in cheek humor. With heavy roots in Mexican culture, the band spends most of its time on the road, breaking down musical and cultural barriers one performance at a time, including its high-profile appearance on America’s Got Talent last year where the band brought down the house with its rendition of the Twisted sister's classic, “We're Not Gonna Take It.” ALEX DISTEFANO
When Lake Street Dive comes to town later this month, they’ll transform the Crescent Ballroom into their own smoky roadhouse. The Boston band stirs up retro soul, with lead singer Rachael Price belting things out with R&B force and a jazzy grace. "I could have been a painter or president," Price declares on the title track of their second album, Bad Self Portraits. "I'm taking night classes … I'm painting bad self-portraits of a lonely woman." In reality, her "bad" self-portraits are supremely engaging, as the rest of the group pushes her through pop interludes such as "Rabid Animal" and the comparatively heavy rock-soul of "Bobby Tanqueray." Even when Price feels "Used Up," she dusts herself off and gets back up with fervent determination, her heart — and sweetly assured vocals — seemingly as pure as ever. FALLING JAMES
Igor and the Red Elvises - Tuesday, February 23 - Rhythm Room
The former Soviet Republic of Russia didn't actually consist entirely of spies on covert James Bond-esque missions and men in furry hats constantly shooting vodka. Take Red Elvises' frontman Igor Yuzov, for example, who grew up in Cold War-era Russia fantasizing about American rock 'n' roll. Yuzov's idolatry of U.S. rhythm and blues fed into a dream of Elvis Presley telling him to make a career out of the rock music he loved. After 35 years, the eccentric musician has truly lived up to his icon's prophecy. And with his showboat stage swagger and flashy zebra-print jumpsuits, Yuzov is doing the Elvis brand justice with his group's blend of rockabilly and a touch of Balkan folk — a combo they call Siberian surf rock. ALEX RENDON
Carly Rae Jepsen - Wednesday, February 24 - Marquee Theatre
Is Carly Rae Jepsen pop’s best kept secret? Despite the astronomical success of her 2012 single, the inescapable “Call Me Maybe,” the Canadian singer is more of a cult figure than enormous pop star. Her third album, Emotion, released last year, was greeted with a storm of critical accolades but a comparatively less stellar Billboard chart performance. But what Jepsen lacks in a schtick for fans to rest their hat on, she makes up for with a catalogue of music that rings almost painfully true about love, whether she’s singing about its euphoric beginnings or its dismal finale.
But what makes Jepsen so beloved by her fans is there’s no wall between her and her listeners. An artist like Taylor Swift fabricates a sense of closeness to her audience, pantomiming friendship and relatability when there is, in reality, no way to truly access her. When Jepsen speaks to the crowds at her concerts, she isn’t just spilling canned anecdotes for the sake of segue: She talks to them like her friends, lamenting how irritating you become when you’re constantly complaining about romantic foibles before performing “Boy Problems” or detailing her and her friends’ decade-ago attempts at “dressing older” to get into clubs to lead into “I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance.” Her realness is both her most valuable form of currency and precisely why she can navigate pop music without needing that currency at all. CLAIRE LOBENFELD
Drowning Pool - Wednesday, February 24 - Club Red
The first thing you should know about Drowning Pool is that, yes, the nu-metal rock act still belts out its biggest song, “Bodies” in concert. Thing is, you’re probably going to have to wait until the very end of their set to hear the scream-filled hit song, which topped radio charts in the early aughts and sold millions of copies of their 2001 album, Sinner. And the fact that Drowning Pool is even still around to perform the hit is notable, considering all the tumult the band has endured since it dropped, including the death of original lead singer Dave Williams, a rotating cast of vocalists attempting to fill his shoes, and controversy over having its music used to torture Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Current front man Jason Moreno, formerly of The Suicide Hook, is just as forceful as Williams ever was, using his stridently growling vocals to drive Drowning Pool’s cannonade of heavy guitar riffs and grinding metal forward. That includes the pulverizing rock tracks contained on their two most recent albums, 2013’s Resilience and the recently released Hellelujah, the titles of which might be indicative of how Drowning Pool has rolled with the punches over the years and lived on. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Anti-Flag - Wednesday, February 24 - Nile Theater
Formed in 1988 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Anti-Flag has never minced words in its denouncement of war, generally, the imperial ambitions of its home country, specifically, and the usual social ills that are perpetually neglected by the power elite of the United States. But Anti-Flag delivers that message with an upbeat tunefulness that doesn't sugarcoat the message, so much as make it accessible. It could be claimed the band can get polemical and that that undermines its impact, but there's no doubt these guys, by the sheer momentum of their longevity and ability to write good songs to go along with the lyrics, have changed the thinking of at least one section of America's youth, and that has to count for something. TOM MURPHY
Ani DiFranco - Wednesday, February 24 - Mesa Arts Center
For girls of a certain age, Ani DiFranco is a feminist icon. Her angry feminist aesthetic has formed the backbone of many a rebellious teenage girl, and she hasn't slowed or mellowed almost 20 years later. DiFranco's anger, which is decidedly still well placed considering our current political climate, is perhaps her defining feature, one that is best displayed onstage. Those needing an outlet for their feminist rage will find comfort in DiFranco's angsty, folky tunes. Perhaps more notably, though, DiFranco's accomplishments as an instrumentalist and musician are woefully underappreciated. If you make it out to Mesa Arts Center on February 24, you'll see exactly what we're talking about. AMY MCCARTHY
Grizfolk - Thursday, February 25 - Valley Bar
Take two Swedish electronic music producers and pair them with an American singer-songwriter and you get Grizfolk, whose sound evokes dreamy notions of the epic West that sound as if they're coming from both the past and the future. Hailing from such varied backgrounds, the members of Grizfolk have formed a unique and rightly groovy sound of danceable beats that still manage to emote lyrically vivid stories. Singer-guitarist Adam Roth fronts the band, belting out his earnest vocals over the melodies. The sound becomes fully structured with the addition of a live drummer. Check their single "The Struggle" for evidence, or just come see for yourself when they swing through Valley Bar later this month. TONY DUSHANE
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