Peach Kelli Pop is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, May 30, at The Trunk Space.EXPAND
Peach Kelli Pop is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, May 30, at The Trunk Space.
Gina Negrini

The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

We've got some good news. First off, you've only got a four-day work week, thanks to the Memorial Day holiday. And second, there are plenty of great concerts happening over the next few nights, which should help this shortened week go by even faster.

The list includes performances by James Taylor and His All-Star Band, Okkervil River, The Posies, Peach Kelli Pop, and Texas Hippie Coalition.

Also, rock legends Jethro Tull and Melvins have gigs at Valley music venues this week and both are worthy of your concert-going dollars.

Details about each of these shows can be found below. And for even more music events happening around town this week, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of The Posies.
Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of The Posies.
Courtesy of Ticketfly

The Posies
Monday, May 28
Valley Bar

Although firmly entrenched in people's minds and hearts as a power-pop band, the Posies were never the rigid adherents to the "verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge" structure as that movement suggests.

While always exhibiting impeccable harmonies, the band never skimped on the power part of the equation, which is why they came into many people's hearts and minds during the grunge era in 1993 with the alternative hit "Dream All Day," and the album Frosting on the Beater, which also contained the classic "Solar Sister," a song that surprises the listener at every turn, while still earworming its way into your head on first listen.

You can also say that about 2016's Solid States, the band's most recent album. Posies founding members Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer took a DIY approach, not unlike their very first self-released album, Failure, from 1987. Serene Dominic

The members of Hawthorne Heights.EXPAND
The members of Hawthorne Heights.
Courtesy of Victory Records

Hawthorne Heights
Monday, May 28
The Rebel Lounge

Few bands captured the mid-'00s MTV rock essence quite like Hawthorne Heights. At its core, the band were relatable in ways that made their Total Request Live contingency ball their fists in angst, and A&R heads smile greedily. Hawthorne Heights captured the Fall Out Boy crowd without the twee and the My Chemical Romance crowd without the theatrics. Hailing from Dayton, Ohio, where the band still reside, Hawthorne Heights also appealed to the restless suburban set, and became the poster children for Hot Topic shoppers around the country, whether the band liked it or not. K.C. Libman

Fire, fury, and Full of Hell.
Fire, fury, and Full of Hell.
Reid Haithcock

Full of Hell
Monday, May 28
Crescent Ballroom

If a picture’s worth 1,000 words, the cover to Full of Hell’s 2017 album Trumpeting Ecstasy is worth 11 songs of ear-shredding brutality. Depicting a nun whose face has been replaced by flames, it’s an invitation and a warning to listeners: This is what Full of Hell sound like. An album full of guttural voices, heart-attack drum beats, and guitars that sound like they’re trying to claw their way out of hell, Trumpeting Ecstasy is the kind of record that would make a nun spontaneously combust if you played it outside her convent window.

One of the things that sets Full of Hell apart from their grindcore and death-metal peers is their enthusiasm for collaboration: They’ve recorded records with Japanese noise legend Merzbow and The Body. Along with Trumpeting Ecstasy, they dropped their second collaborative album with The Body last year: the majestic and brutal Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light.

Trumpeting Ecstasy shares that spirit of collaboration: Members of Converge and Isis offer production and guest vocal duties (along with Nicole Dollanganger). Dollanganger’s sweet, plaintive voice offers a rare moment of beauty before the band gets back to what they do best: turning nuns into firecrackers. Ashley Naftule

The legendary James Taylor.EXPAND
The legendary James Taylor.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

James Taylor and His All-Star Band
Tuesday, May 29
Talking Stick Resort Arena

“Fire and Rain” is James Taylor’s most popular song by far. Like the singer himself, it’s a comfortable sock that you know you’ll never throw away, even when it has a few holes in it. When Taylor sings, “I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, but I always thought I’d see you again,” it gets you right in the feels every time, and you can’t help but think of that one friend you miss more than all the others.

But Taylor, who has been a fixture in the soft-rock scene for 50 years, is more than just an inviting place to put your little piggies. The man has shown very little sign of slowing down over the years, even releasing a popup book in March called Sweet Baby James.

There is no arguing that Taylor is the master of the slinky, smooth, and in-the-groove sound that drove many young music fans to punk and metal in the 1970s, but one has to believe that Taylor is blissfully unaware of how influential his work has been on multiple levels. Lucky for all of us, Taylor is still banging away at his craft both in the studio and on the road. Tom Reardon

Indie/folk rock band Okkervil River.EXPAND
Indie/folk rock band Okkervil River.
Shervin Lainez

Okkervil River
Tuesday, May 29
Crescent Ballroom

Okkervil River's frontman Will Sheff blends dry humor, fragility and intelligence to create his lyrics, easily putting them into the ring of Texas' best indie-rock bands. Hailing from Austin, Okkervil River has been making music since 1998 and has seen plenty of lineup changes along the way. The band's added a finger-picking folk guitarist and an upright jazz bassist, and released its latest album, In The Rainbow Rain, earlier this year. Diamond Victoria

The members of Peach Kelli Pop.EXPAND
The members of Peach Kelli Pop.
Gina Negrini

Peach Kelli Pop
Wednesday, May 30
The Trunk Space

Peach Kelli Pop is the with-some-help-from-her-friends project of singer-guitarist Allie Hanlon, who relocated from Ottawa to Los Angeles, and found a very welcoming home for her sound. The “pop” in Peach Kelli Pop includes shades of the Ramones' Leave Home with The Rezillos’ love of bright colors, and some girl-group bells and harmonies as well.

Lookout Records would have been all over this during pop-punk’s 1990s resurgence, but fortunately, Hanlon has labels like Burger, Bachelor, Infinity Cat and Lauren Records all ready to amplify her.

Peach Kelli Pop will pay a visit to the Trunk Space on Wednesday. Locals Nanami Ozone, Proteens, and Gabi will open. Chris Ziegler

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.EXPAND
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Jethro Tull
Wednesday, May 30
Comerica Theatre

There are certain riffs that are forever emblazoned in the soundtrack of rock 'n' roll: the Beatles' "Day Tripper," the Stones' "Satisfaction," the Kinks' "You Really Got Me," Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love," Hendrix's "Purple Haze." Then there's the opening guitar lick to "Locomotive Breath," the inevitable showstopper at any Jethro Tull concert.

Although Aqualung, the concept album featuring that little ditty, may be the disc that endeared Tull to the masses, the band possess a lot more credence than any single song. But then they've always been somewhat misunderstood as well. For starters, JT isn't that leering frontman/flutist who makes a habit of balancing precariously on one leg. That would be Ian Anderson, who also assumes the role of singer, songwriter, and the group's sole constant since its formation 50 years ago. (For the record, the band's name is derived from an 18th-century English inventor of agricultural tools.)

Okay, so the tally of Tull players past and present rivals the number of times Arizona's politicos have flip-flopped on any major issue. But they are a hell of a band, and have 11 platinum and five gold albums as proof they're doing something right. They also boasts a repertoire that freely mingles rock, folk, classical, blues, and literary observations with revelry and panache. Lee Zimmerman

Texas Hippie Coalition are the world's greatest, and only, red dirt metal band.
Texas Hippie Coalition are the world's greatest, and only, red dirt metal band.
Drift Markus

Texas Hippie Coalition
Wednesday, May 30
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

James Richard Anderson, better known as Big Dad Ritch, the growling lead singer for Texas Hippie Coalition, is as much of a country boy as he is a metalhead. As far as he’s concerned, his band is more than metal. It’s red-dirt metal.

Ritch says his music speaks to “the rodeo and ranch cowboys with AC/DC albums mixed in with their George Strait and Garth Brooks CDs." His band consists of “a guitar player from a speed-metal band, a drummer from a country band, a bass player who idolizes Mötley Crüe, and a lead singer that worships Johnny Cash, Willie, and Waylon.”

The band’s most recent record, Dark Side of Black, bursts with powerful aggression normally identified with metal. Yet the record successfully presents it with a mix of speeds and styles. No one will ever confuse THC for the honky-tonk style of Randy Rogers Band or Jason Boland, but the songs on Dark Side of Black are as twangy of a hard-rock tune as you’ll ever hear. It has the kind of singalong power that cheap whiskey is made for. Kelly Dearmore

Dale Crover, Buzz Osbourne, and Steven Shane McDonald of Melvins.
Dale Crover, Buzz Osbourne, and Steven Shane McDonald of Melvins.
Steve Appleford

Thursday, May 31
Crescent Ballroom

Many cool bands that formed in the '80s have lost their relevancy, but the Melvins are not among them. The Washington-bred heavy-stoner-rock trio not only still tour but also fully maintain their cool status. Singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne is an outspoken character who is likely the inspiration for The Simpsons' Sideshow Bob. He also introduced Dave Grohl to the rest of Nirvana, which is appropriate because the Melvins influenced grunge and sludge sounds quite a bit. Catch them at the tail end of May at the Crescent Ballroom for an intense and intimate performance. Douglas Markowitz

Singer Greg Laswell.
Singer Greg Laswell.
Courtesy of the MIM

Greg Laswell
Thursday, May 31
Musical Instrument Museum

Greg Laswell doesn't have instant name recognition quite yet, but if you watched certain television shows like Grey's Anatomy, True Blood, or Friday Night Lights, you've probably heard his music.

Laswell came up in the independent music scene in San Diego and Los Angeles, and played in the band Shillglen before stepping out on his own in 2003, and releasing his first solo effort, Good Movie. His singular talent lies in articulating, and exorcising, misery and grief in a deeply personal way. His 2006 album, Through Toledo, was a marvel of emotionally charged, quiet intensity. But it was Laswell's equally melancholic Three Flights From Alto Nido from 2008 that propelled him to the attention of wider audiences.

As a live performer, Laswell's warmth, charisma and humor shine between songs, and his talent for telling a story to lighten the mood after soul-baring passages of music is considerable. Much of which is more obvious on Laswell's latest offering, including his most recent albums: 2014's I Was Going to Be an Astronaut and 2016's Everyone Thinks I Dodged a Bullet. Tom Murphy


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