We’re in the final countdown to Christmas, which means things on the live music front are going to slow down a little. It’s quite understandable, considering everyone’s probably occupied with millions of things to do.
But that’s not to say there aren’t any great shows happening this week. Burgeoning rap star Robb Bank$ will be at Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale, nu-goth rocker Davey Suicide will haunt Club Red in Mesa, and iconic boy band 98 Degrees will bring some yuletide glee to Mesa Arts Center.
You’ve also got the chance to see some of Phoenix’s emerging beatsmiths and producers at the Brunch Collect's latest Beat Social showcase.
Details about each of these shows and others can be found below in our rundown of the best concerts in Phoenix this week. (And for even more gigs happening around town, hit up our online live music listings.)
Brunch Collect’s Beat Social
Monday, December 18
The M.O. of Brunch Collect is quite laudable. According to its Facebook page, the Arizona-based music collective and its members just want to get exposure for their efforts. “We are musicians who know the struggle of creating without having an outlet or having the right connections to be heard,” the page states. “We want to give under-appreciated artists a place to be heard.”
And they’ve been doing just that at recent events like the “Show Me What You’ve Got” showcase at The Rebel Lounge back in September, which featured a number of up-and-coming beat-makers and DJs from the local scene.
This week’s “Beat Social” at the Crescent is along the same lines and will offer sessions by such artists and performers as WOLFZiE, Okay.Chill, Pseudocentric, Illathnmst, Korey Wade, Skvnk Yeux, Chum Chum, and 5lvis. The music starts at 8 p.m. and admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman
Tuesday, December 19
Club Red in Mesa
Nu-goth rocker Davey Suicide has gone even more Marilyn Manson since his band emerged from the L.A. scene back in 2010. And he’s even more doomy and gloomy than ever. Titles from Suicide's most recent album, 2017’s Made From Fire, include "No Place Like Hell," "Torture Me," "Too Many Freaks" and "Dancing With The Reaper."
Joining him on his current tour in support of Made From Fire is his backing band, the members of which feature similarly gloomy monikers, including Drayven Davidson, Niko Gemini, Needlz, and Derek Obscura. Their stop at Club Red in Mesa on Tuesday will feature openers Sons of Providence, In Memory Of, and The Murder Machine. Sounds like a laugh a minute. Chris Gray
House of Stairs
Tuesday, December 19
The Lost Leaf
Phoenix’s jazzy House of Stairs cite Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher — known for a mathematical style of design — as an influence. But they aren’t trying to emulate Escher’s visual aesthetic through asymmetrical haircuts or black-and-white outfits. Instead, they use his calculated style as an inspiration for their songs (and their name).
That approach helps House of Stairs deliver a unique twist on soulful jazz. By playing with the vocals and strategically layering them, they inject their music with a futuristic vibe. It’s hard not to be immediately sold when you hear Holly Pyle’s powerful voice. It has so much age and wisdom in it, you might guess she was bred in a jazz lab.
But beyond the frontwoman is a band that thoughtfully creates a sonic landscape full of unexpected edges and corners that flow so smoothly they feel soft and winding.
This show at The Lost Leaf is a chance to enjoy them in an intimate setting, soaking up the sounds and enjoying the way they play with space, time, and rhythms. Amy Young
Tuesday, December 19
Mesa Arts Center
It’s finally feeling like winter in Phoenix, but temps are about to rise again. That’s because 1990s boy band 98 Degrees are coming to Mesa Arts Center to warm the hearts of their aging fan base, and perhaps Christmas music enthusiasts as well.
With the recent release of the group’s second Christmas album, Let it Snow, Nick Lachey and company are touring the nation to spread some much-needed boy band holiday cheer. The album features Christmas classics like “Silent Night” and “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas,” in addition to new songs like “Season of Love” and “River.”
The foursome can definitely sing the holiday hits — and sing them well. But fair-weather fans are probably wondering: Will they perform some 98 Degrees jams?
Recent setlists point to “yes.” Because what’s a 98 Degrees concert without the tear-jerking-Jessica-Simpson-era “I Do (Cherish You”) and a rendition of “The Hardest Thing”? Besides, a cup of hot chocolate may warm the hands and heart, but nothing warms the blood quite like hearing “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche).” Emily Roberts
Wednesday, December 20
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale
Bank$ hit the internet music scene with a huge splash in 2012, when he was 17, with his mixtape Calendars. With that release, the Coral Springs-bred rapper referenced news stories, pop culture, drugs, "bitches," and, most unique, anime characters and themes. His is a call to a generation of young people like him — raised in the suburbs but tempted by the streets.
"Only thing I can speak about is my experiences — what I want and what I've had," Bank$ muses. His music has the same dark aesthetic and fury of some of his contemporaries but is more evolved, woven through with personal and universal mythologies, with a high energy and clean sound.
As with other musicians his age, the magic of the internet both built him up and tore him down. When the news hit the web that his father was Jamaican reggae star Shaggy, Bank$' first reaction was to deny it, which injured his credibility. At that point, he took a step back from the hype, quit music, stopped slinging drugs, and began reading more — an eclectic mix of titles, from The Satanic Bible to self-help books.
Now Bank$ has re-emerged with his debut commercial album and four projects in the works — including an anime movie. It's as though his past four years have played out like a Joseph Campbell hero's journey, with all the drama of the anime cartoons Bank$ so adores. On the cover of his album, Year of the Savage, the rapper’s silhouette slides sexily out of a pool of blood. He's like Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld returning to create life from death. Liz Tracy
Peter Asher: A Musical Memoir of the Sixties and Beyond
Wednesday, December 20
Musical Instrument Museum
What happens when Paul McCartney gives you a song? Sixties singing duo Peter and Gordon turned that gift from the Beatle into a hit. “A World Without Love” was a number-one hit it more than 30 countries, back in 1964. Since then, half of that combo, Peter Asher, has gone on to produce music for a mix of artists, from Neil Diamond to 10,000 Maniacs and Morrissey.
At his one-man show, A Musical Memoir of the Sixties and Beyond, Asher will sing and reminisce about his long and intriguing history in the music business, starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 20, at the Musical Instrument Museum. Tickets are $38.50 to $48.50. Amy Young
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Thursday, December 21
The Lost Leaf
Collaboration is hardwired into the DNA of hip-hop. The foundation of the genre is relationships: the relationship between an MC and a DJ, between a DJ and the source material they’re sampling, and between a performer and the audience. People are either working with each other to push the music forward — or working against each other to prove who truly reigns supreme.
It’s that spirit that animates The Lost Leaf’s monthly event The Joint. In a rapidly gentrifying downtown, The Lost Leaf is one of the last holdouts of old-school Phoenician culture. Which makes it the perfect place to host this one-of-a-kind DJ night.
The Joint brings live music together with a DJ. The event’s resident DJs collaborate with a rotating series of guest musicians and producers to create a live improvised collaboration. One month you might get dueling mix-masters, the next could be a whip-tight jazz band. One thing they all have in common? Everybody’s working without a safety net. Ashley Naftule