Halestorm is scheduled to perform on Thursday, October 12, at the Arizona State Fair.EXPAND
Halestorm is scheduled to perform on Thursday, October 12, at the Arizona State Fair.
Courtesy of Atlantic Records

The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

This week’s slate of concerts here in the Valley is certainly a diverse one.

Besides gigs by a variety of indie rock favorites (like Mutemath and Portugal. The Man), the next few nights will feature performances from country superstars (Billy Currington and Shooter Jennings), hard rock heroes and heroines (Halestorm and Tim Reynolds), and even a burgeoing dance music producer (Alison Wonderland).

There's also the chance to see infamous indie R&B artist Har Mar Superstar shake his groove thing.

Details about all of these shows can be found below in our list of the best concerts in Phoenix this week. (And for even more shows happening around town, hit up our online concert calendar.)

Tim Reynolds (center) and the members of TR3.
Tim Reynolds (center) and the members of TR3.
Chris Bickford

Tim Reynolds & TR3
Monday, October 9
Rhythm Room

It's common for musicians to juggle multiple projects at once, but few mount two tours at once the way guitar virtuoso Tim Reynolds does. It's not enough that he spends a good portion of every year touring with the Dave Matthews Band. He's got to spend his free evenings with his solo project, the TR3, sometimes to his detriment. Reynolds remembers a solo tour in 2008 in which he was so exhausted his performances were borderline unprofessional.

“When I first started touring with both Dave and the TR3, it was rough,” Reynolds says. “But over the years, I’ve learned to hone everything I do down into a workable schedule. Now it’s pretty straightforward. Once the Dave Matthews dates are set, we fill in my TR3 schedule.”

There are musical similarities between the DMB and the TR3 — both are known for a loose groove and a freestyle delivery. But Reynolds tends to rock harder when he's playing under his own banner and the trio's edgier attitude and more tenacious approach helps distance them from Matthews' breezy folk-funk style. On a professional level, his roles in each band are extremely different, too. With Dave Matthews, Reynolds only has to worry about playing the guitar. With the TR3, he's running the show. Lee Zimmerman

Shooter Jennings: The son also rises.
Shooter Jennings: The son also rises.
James Minchin

Shooter Jennings
Monday, October 9
The Rebel Lounge

Shooter Jennings has never been one to shy away from tossing his fans a curveball.

Debuting as a solo artist in the mid-‘00s after an extended detour in the GN’R-inspired L.A. outfit Stargunn, his albums Put the “O” Back In Country and The Wolf may have had a little too much of his dad Waylon’s shaggy country-rock edge for his major label to handle, but he made his point and graduated to a more fulfilling existence as an indie artist and longtime host of Saturday-afternoon free-form funhouse Electric Rodeo on Sirius/XM’s Outlaw Country.

All that said, and despite fine latter-day outings like 2012’s Family Man, Jennings’ latest output speaks to how far-ranging his interests remain. Besides last year’s Countach (For Giorgio), a tribute to Italian disco auteur Giorgio Moroder, Jennings recently dropped an expanded edition of 2010’s Black Ribbons, his Illuminati-haunted country-psych album featuring narration by Stephen King. Chris Gray

Sound of Ceres visits the Trunk Space this week.EXPAND
Sound of Ceres visits the Trunk Space this week.
Luca Venter

Sound of Ceres
Monday, October 9
Trunk Space

Sound of Ceres, the new project from ex-Candy Claws duo Karen and Ryan Hover, is unsettling. It’s dreamy and David Lynchian. Drone-y and majestic. It’s supposedly about space and existential dread. It’s everything except what the band cites as a main influence: Brazilian bossa nova.

“We were really into bossa nova,” says frontman Hover. “That light Latin sound. We started writing things in that style, and then it took its own course.”

It’s an odd influence to cite considering their first single, “Hand of Winter,” sounds more like the soundtrack to a space walk than music that makes you want to grab a piña colada and lie on the beach. But then again, Karen and Ryan have always embraced the odd.

“While Candy Claws explored terrestrial realms such as the ocean, the forest and the Mesozoic, Sound of Ceres expands to contemplate all of space and time, and the human place within it,” the band’s official description reads. So, yeah, odd. In fact, the album title, Nostalgia for Infinity, is the most apt descriptor available. Isa Jones

Mutemath
Mutemath
Mark C. Austin

Mutemath
Tuesday, October 10
The Van Buren

Originally something of a long-distance songwriting partnership, Mutemath eventually based themselves in keyboardist Paul Meany's home town of New Orleans. Artists from that town seem to be able to pull off eclectic without seeming like musical dilettantes, and Mutemath is no exception.

Its popularity with fans of jam bands and improvisational music is somewhat curious, considering that much of Mutemath's material is an amalgamation of electronic pop and atmospheric rock, with threads of R&B running through it. But the musicianship is impeccable, and the songs have a flowing groove underlining their melodies, suggesting some jazz training among the group's members. Tom Murphy

Justin Pointer and Tony Kim of Dance With the Dead.
Justin Pointer and Tony Kim of Dance With the Dead.
DJay Brawner

Dance With the Dead
Tuesday, October 10
The Rebel Lounge

Retrowave, synthwave, darkwave — whatever hot subgenre title you want to assign to the new movement of synthesizer-driven instrumental bands that are cranking out music inspired by the Giorgio Moroder-inspired movie soundtracks of the 1980s, this Southern California-born act is in the upper tier.

The duo, comprised of musicians Justin Pointer and Tony Kim, create synth-laden work sounds, albeit with a more ominous John Carpenter/Goblin-inspired horror-movie spin to their scores, as heard most recently on last year’s The Shape. Jason Roche

Australian-born dance music DJ/producer Alison Wonderland.
Australian-born dance music DJ/producer Alison Wonderland.
Courtesy of EMI Australia

Alison Wonderland
Tuesday, October 10
The Pressroom

Alison Wonderland is the stage name of Alex Sholler. The moniker was meant to be a temporary name, but it wound up sticking. Before making electronic music, Sholler was a cellist playing classical music in Germany. But she found that world of music not very creatively satisfying.

Sholler subsequently returned to her native Australia and joined local punk/indie-rock bands as a bass player and also gigged as a DJ. She may have started her DJ career carrying around wallets of CDs from which to cull her sets, but Sholler gradually built up her rig, using Ableton as a compositional tool.

Beyond playing other people's music, she became more interested in the technical side of being a DJ. By 2014, she had enough cachet in the world of Australian electronic music that she toured warehouses, often drawing crowds in the thousands. She put together genre-less set lists, and that eclectic sensibility informed the original music she would go on to make. By the time of her 2015 debut, Run, Sholler had carved out her own sound. Tom Murphy

Country star Billy Currington.EXPAND
Country star Billy Currington.
Courtesy of UMG Nashville

Billy Currington
Wednesday, October 11
Arizona State Fair

Billy Currington has been part of the mainstream country music scene for more than a decade now. During that time, he has released six albums, the last five of which have debuted in the top five of the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. He has also produced a number of hit country singles – and make no mistake, country audiences are still loyal to mainstream radio, so this matters – four of which have hit the top spot on the country radio charts. And at least one of ‘em, 2008’s “People Are Crazy,” may very well be the best country song of the past 20 years.

The track likely wasn’t intended to be the juggernaut it became. Hell, it wasn’t even the lead single from Currington’s 2009 release, Little Bit of Everything. Rather, that distinction went to “Don’t,” which, to be fair, did reach No. 2 on the country singles chart.

And while “People Are Crazy” was a hit – it ranked as the seventh-most popular country radio track of 2009 and was nominated for a number of Grammy and Academy of Country Music Awards – it’s not looked upon in hindsight as some country all-timer. But like most of Currington’s oeuvre, it should be. Clint Hale

Sean Tillmann, better known as Har Mar Superstar.EXPAND
Sean Tillmann, better known as Har Mar Superstar.
Courtesy of Primary Talent International

Har Mar Superstar
Wednesday, October 11
The Rebel Lounge

Sean Tillmann’s Har Mar Superstar alter ego began as something of a goof, as he channeled an R&B sex-god persona into his Everyman frame, working his pudgy physique and receding hairline like his fellow Minnesotan Prince (R.I.P.) doing splits at the climax of Purple Rain.

Sixteen years and six albums later, Har Mar seems less like a gimmick and more like an authentic extension of Tillmann’s personality and talent. He may not look the part, but Tillmann can croon a soulful bedroom jam with the best of them, and his songwriting skills have gotten sharper with each LP. Andy Hermann

Portugal. The Man is "trying to say something that mattered" with their latest album.EXPAND
Portugal. The Man is "trying to say something that mattered" with their latest album.
Maclay Heriot

Portugal. The Man
Thursday, October 12
The Van Buren

If you’re a fan of both punctuational nomenclature and indie rock, be sure to come on down when Portugal. The Man descend from on high — otherwise known as their home town of Wasilla, Alaska — to play various hits from the last 15 years as well as songs from their current release, Woodstock.

The album came about after the band ditched their long-awaited (and long-delayed) record Gloomin + Doomin in favor of releasing a record with more of a substantive feel that better reflected the current sociopolitical climate. "We worked with so many rad people on this album, but ended up with just the four of us in a basement at 4 a.m. trying to say something that mattered," said frontman John Gourley in an interview with Billboard. Hence the spirit of resistance that imbues Woodstock’s lead single, "Feel It Still." David Cotner

Female-fronted metal act Halestorm.EXPAND
Female-fronted metal act Halestorm.
Jake Giles Netter

Halestorm
Thursday, October 12
Arizona State Fair

Officially, Halestorm has been active since 1997, when frontwoman Lzzy Hale was 13 and her drummer brother Arejay was 10. But the renowned metal band really got going when they signed to Atlantic in 2005.

Their self-titled debut album was released in 2009, and now there’s no stopping this Halestorm. A combination of classic heavy metal and radio-friendly hard rock can be cheesy in the wrong hands, but the Pennsylvania group handle it expertly.

They've toured with some stinkers, like Disturbed, Stone Sour, Seether and Alterbridge, but has also held their own with Heaven & Hell and Buckcherry. These days, Halestorm is at the top of their game, so expect a killer set when they invade Veterans Memorial Coliseum during the Arizona State Fair. Brett Callwood

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