It wouldn't be summer in the Valley without a few nostalgia tours and bands from back in the day rolling through town.
Such is the case this week, which offers performances by Hall & Oates, Tears for Fears, Third Eye Blind, Chris Isaak, and Earth, Wind & Fire at venues around town.
It’s not all throwback acts, however, as concert offering over the next several nights includes an abundance of more modern-day artists and acts. The ultra-noisy Thou is coming to Rebel Lounge, for instance, while Trunk Space faves Iji will return to their old stomping grounds and art rock band Palm will be at Valley Bar.
Even more great shows worth seeing can be found on the following list of the best concerts in Phoenix this week, including gigs by hip-hop star Logic, Cajun-inspired roots band Feufollet, and Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke.
Read on for full details or check out our online concert listings for more possibilities.
Hall & Oates/Tears for Fears
Monday, July 17
Gila River Arena in Glendale
When you think of the '80s, you think Hall & Oates; you think Tears for Fears. With their bejeweled synths, powdery drum machines and period haircuts, these two duos helped define our favorite, neon-hued decade. Tears For Fears' sulky, angsty new wave style and Hall & Oates’ warm, soul-soaked ballads are a reminder that rock is at its best when wrapped in the hooky veneer of pop music. In what must be an '80s music fan’s wet dream, the two megastar outfits recently joined forces to tag team a North American tour — and our fair city was fortunate enough to make the cut. Considering that hours-long playlists can be constructed from just the hit singles these two acts released, this throwback concert is unlikely to disappoint. Jonathan Patrick
Monday, July 17
Upon their emergence from the very loudest corners of the music scene in Austin, Texas, more than a decade ago, the Sword were decried by quite a few around the country as a gimmick band, merely aping the monolithic riffage of Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy. The conventional wisdom was that the nostalgia couldn’t last. Five albums later, the Sword has put that sort of thinking to rest. Now a stalwart of American heavy metal, the group has helped inspire a new wave of interest in throwback guitar thunder. And whenever they play Phoenix, their fans turn out in earnest. Nathan Smith
Tuesday, July 18
Hip-hop artist Logic brings elements of geekery to the table — like solving a Rubik’s Cube while freestyle rapping. Or getting astrophysicist and science’s unofficial spokesman Neil deGrasse Tyson to provide the voice of God on his 2017 release, Everybody. But it’s not all Harry Potter and video games for the rapper. His nerdy pursuits don’t stop him from going hard with his music. Born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II in Maryland in 1990, Logic had a tough upbringing, filled with poverty and family members who faced addiction. He’s rapped about it all — openly. He’s also biracial and, since his debut, he has faced criticism from those who think he doesn’t address that fact or current issues facing black Americans. Whether it was that chatty backlash or simply his time to dig more into perceptions regarding race, Everybody has tracks where it comes up. On the title track, he raps: “Not accepted by the black or the white / I don’t give a fuck, praise God, I could see the light / Everybody talkin’ ’bout race this, race that / I wish I could erase that, face facts.” Another newbie, “Hallelujah,” expresses that same sentiment. Expect to hear more fresh material when Logic performs in Mesa. Joey Bada$$ and Big Lenbo open. Amy Young
Summer Gods Tour feat. Third Eye Blind
Tuesday, July 18
Few things define the late '90s like Third Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life." When those first few chords ring out, a montage of lily-white actors in flannel shirts and Chuck Taylors plays in your mind like a low-resolution dream. That was 20 years ago, and the band is commemorating its debut album by playing it in its entirety during the Summer Gods Tour. If you're a fan of their newer work, they're sure to end the night with those tunes. The similarly upbeat indie rockers Silversun Pickups will also perform, making this show is a nice way to enjoy the mellow, nostalgia-tinged summer vibes. Taylor Estape
Earth, Wind & Fire
Tuesday, July 18
Talking Stick Resort Arena
There's very little in the music world that Earth, Wind & Fire bassist Verdine White hasn't accomplished in his 48 years as a recording artist. Since getting into the biz in 1969, he's sold hundreds of millions of records. He's played in front of mammoth festival crowds. He's widely considered one of the best bass guitarists of all time. He's genre-hopped with Earth, Wind & Fire from jazz-rock fusion to deep funk to disco to electro pop without a peep of "sellout" being heckled from the popcorn seats. He won the music game with a smile on his face and continues to record and perform for huge audiences worldwide. The same can be said for Earth, Wind & Fire, the legendary band started by his brother, the late Maurice White, that’s known for its R&B-based love songs and upbeat pop-funk. During its heyday of 1970 to 1984, EWF racked up 20 Grammy nominations, sold millions of records, and influenced countless musicians and artists with its dynamic sounds, lively horn section, and iconic songs. This month, the latest version of Earth, Wind & Fire – which includes Verdine White, singer Philip Bailey, and percussionist Ralph Johnson as the only original members still performing with the band – pay a visit to the Valley. Tom Bowker
Read on for ever more shows happening this week, including Chris Isaak, Blackberry Smoke, and Feufollet.
Emo Nite L.A.
Tuesday, July 18
If it feels like emo is having a cultural renaissance, that’s because it is. You can thank Emo Nite LA, a monthly celebration where DJs play music from My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, and Get Up Kids. Their summer tour stops at Crescent Ballroom on July 18. Emo Nite began in a dive bar in Los Angeles in 2014. What started as a nod to niche nostalgia has since grown by the hundreds, with packed venues and fans lined up and down the block. Guest DJs have included Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus and The Chainsmokers, while celebrities like Kristen Stewart have shown up to enjoy the emotional revelry. However, the event’s producers are keeping any special guests for Phoenix under wraps for now. “We try to keep our guest DJs a secret because we want people to come out for the event itself,” says Babs Szabo, the founder of Emo Nite. “It’s more about the community and the songs rather than the guest DJs. That being said, we have some fun surprises lined up for this one!”
Szabo, along with T.J. Petracca and Morgan Freed, established Ride or Cry, an agency that continues to develop the Emo Nite brand. They now host their own podcast and produce other events like Namastay 18 Forever, an emo-themed yoga class. Their merch line, which features sayings like “Every Nite Is Emo Nite” and their signature “graveboy” logo, has expanded beyond the event, with shirts and hats recently set for sale in Urban Outfitters. For Phoenix and other tour stops, they’ve also started making items that are unique to each city. Tailoring the event to fit each town is important to Szabo and the Emo Nite team. “We take song requests on Twitter throughout the night, so in that sense we try to cater to what the audience wants to hear,” she says. “It tends to differ from one city to the next.” One band that will most likely be on the playlist? Szabo’s favorite Phoenix exports, Jimmy Eat World. “‘Drugs or Me’ and ‘Night Drive’ are among my favorite songs of all time.” Ashley Harris
Wednesday, July 19
Chris Isaak will never not be cool. The embodiment of all things California suave, the San Francisco-based crooner just turned 61. Isaak of course remains boyishly handsome, but the years have been kind to his voice as well, adding the kind of melancholy wisdom that comes from singing songs about the one that got away for more than 30 years. Fans who may have lost touch with Isaak since his “Wicked Game” days, or perhaps 1995’s Grammy-nominated Forever Blue, will be pleased to know that he’s still making excellent records, too. On 2011’s Beyond the Sun, he paid tribute to early inspirations like Elvis and Johnny Cash; last year’s First Comes the Night places candlelit tunes like “Kiss Me Like a Stranger” alongside “Down In Flames” and “Dry Your Eyes,” proof Isaak and his loyal band Silvertone rock harder than you probably remember. Chris Gray
Wednesday, July 19
Beach Fossils are masters of reinvention. After years of lineup changes and continued musical experimentation, they have to be. The Brooklyn band’s latest album, Somersault, ushers in a yet another new chapter. It’s their third LP and the first record released on frontman Dustin Payseur’s label, Bayonet Records. He founded the label with his wife, Katie Garcia, former label manager at their previous home, Captured Tracks. (The two met when Garcia was an intern.) The two are so dedicated to the new label that they asked friends and family to donate toward this new endeavor in lieu of wedding gifts. Bayonet’s roster has built up quickly, signing Frankie Cosmos, Lionlamb, Red Sea, and more. While Payseur took control of some of the business side of Beach Fossils, he gave more control to bandmates Jack Doyle Smith and Tommy Davidson after years of Payseur handling the majority of the songwriting. The minimalist course set in their 2010 self-titled debut has given way to lush, tight melodies and spectacular instrumentation, all without losing the spirit of their shoegaze roots. Ashley Harris
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Thursday, July 20
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Blackberry Smoke is an Atlanta band who has given new life to the phrase "southern rock." After more than a decade of slagging it out on the road, the group – which straddles the line between outlaw country and rock ‘n’ roll – finally got some shine when Zac Brown signed them to his Southern Ground label and released 2012's The Whippoorwill. There's something here for everyone: soulful ballads, arena rock, and full-bodied country jams. With plenty of Georgia charm and lavishly thick accents, they're sure to win over even the most stalwart cosmopolitan crowds. Caitlin White
Thursday, July 20
Musical Instrument Museum
Lafayette, Louisiana-based roots band Feufollet identifies as Cajun: The repertoire of the six-piece ensemble ranges from traditional south Louisiana string band tunes to blues, country, and even the occasional old-school rock and roll number. Their set lists often contains such hard-charging country standards as Mickey Newbury’s “Why You Been Gone So Long,” nods to Chuck Berry and popular local swamp-pop tunes, even Brian Eno‘s “Baby‘s On Fire.” Feufollet, who were being nominated for Grammys before they needed razors or driver's licenses, shifts between Cajun dance music to rock and roll to blues to honky-tonk without breaking a sweat. Front man Chris Stafford says the band is razor-sharp after constant gigging over the last decade and ready for bigger things. Hence its current nationwide tour, which visits the Valley’s Musical Instrument Museum this week. “When you do something rooted in Cajun music you end up playing where there’s dancing, you play a lot of dance halls,” says Stafford “So we decided to try to widen our coverage and get out into some new venues and new towns this year and hopefully find some appreciation from folks who aren’t necessarily Cajun music enthusiasts first.” William Michael Smith