The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Primus is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, August 8, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.EXPAND
Primus is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, August 8, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Courtesy of ATO Records

This week's list of "can't miss" concerts here in the Valley includes shows that likely will be crazy good, just plain crazy, or a bit of both.

Primus’ Tuesday night show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe will likely fall into the last category, thanks to its whacked-out sensibilities and amazing talent.

And George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic’s performance the night before at the same venue will probably be just as much of a colorful spectacle, albeit without the weirdo aesthetic.

Other super-talented artists visiting stages across the Valley this week include jazz/pop songstress and pianist Diana Krall, chillwave singer Nite Jewel, indie pop band Rubedo, and punk stalwarts Negative Approach.

There's also the metal madness of the latest Summer Slaughter Tour, which hits town on Thursday.

Read on for details about each of these shows or check out our online concert calendar for more even more local live music options.

George Clinton at a 2016 concert.EXPAND
George Clinton at a 2016 concert.
Levan TK

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
Monday, August 7
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

After 40-plus years in the business, George Clinton still knows how to put on a party. A true showman, and author of several timeless tracks, Clinton has been featured in mainstream films, sampled by a legion of hip-hop and R&B groups, and been a card-carrying member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 20 years. At age 75, he is showing few signs of slowing down, with club shows and festival appearances dotting his calendar for much of 2017. He's also kept a steady hand on the current scene, collaborating with Outkast and, more recently, Kendrick Lamar. Although his famed Mothership now resides in the Smithsonian — it was retired from touring years ago — Clinton's shows still brim with excitement and wonder. His longtime band, Parliament Funkadelic, will be in tow for his concert at the Marquee Theatre. Jeff Strowe

John Brannon (right) of Negative Approach.EXPAND
John Brannon (right) of Negative Approach.
Photo by Man Alive!/CC BY 2.0, via Flickr

Negative Approach
Tuesday, August 8
The Rebel Lounge

As a rule, a hardcore punk show isn’t for the faint of heart. Especially when the hardcore band performing is fronted by John Brannon. Negative Approach’s singer doesn’t let up. He delivers the band’s vicious, hard-driving punk tunes with a brutal intensity that makes it hard to not hang on his every word. Brannon formed the band in Detroit back in 1981, inspired by punk bands like Black Flag and proto-punks The Stooges. Negative Approach released one full-length — Tied Down in 1983 — one single, and an EP, and then disbanded in 1984. Brannon went on to lend his voice to the blues-tinged punk bands Laughing Hyenas and Easy Action, the latter of which continues touring here and there. In 2006, Brannon reformed Negative Approach with new members — including some of the Easy Action team — and has continued to be mildly active since. It’s been almost four decades since the band rolled out songs like “Fair Warning,” but when Brannon shrieks out lyrics like, “I told you once before / I’ll tell you once again / If I tell you another time / It will be the end,” while the band backs it up with a blistering wall of sound, it’s as awesomely scary as ever. Amy Young

The oddballs of Primus are headed our way.EXPAND
The oddballs of Primus are headed our way.
Courtesy of ATO Records

Tuesday, August 8
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Whether you describe its signature sound as funk metal or you've got no idea what to call it, there's no question Primus has been rocking out ever since the three-man band debuted with 1989's Suck On This. As frontman Les Claypool's bass throttles from a deep rumble to percussive slaps and he delivers stories of the odd and absurd in his irreplaceable Southern twang, Primus is anything but just another alt band. And guitarist Larry LaLonde's unique attack, which often involves swells and sweeps and grinding noises, only adds to the chaotic, unforgettable brew. When Claypool and company last visited the Valley in 2015, they served up a sweetly surreal and imaginative spectacle inspired by Willy Wonka. This time around, it'll be more of a straightforward set that's likely to feature such signature Primus hits as "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver," "My Name is Mud," and "Here Come the Bastards." But straightforward doesn't mean boring, however, as they'll probably offer up plenty of between-song gags and silly songs like "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" and "On the Tweek Again." Christopher Lopez

Mary Ramsey (center) and the rest of 10,000 Maniacs.
Mary Ramsey (center) and the rest of 10,000 Maniacs.
Don Hill

10,000 Maniacs
Tuesday, August 8
Crescent Ballroom

It's hard to say anything bad about a band that's been around for 36 years, especially one as kindly as 10,000 Maniacs. You know, they're that band that's made a career of being that band you sort of recognize on independent radio stations. Being a musician is a hard road to travel, and any band that’s been going strong for more than three decades – including the 20-plus year span after it lost its lead singer and biggest star, Natalie Merchant – deserves at look and a listen. So when lead singer Mary Ramsey (a.k.a. Merchant’s replacement) and the other 9,999 maniacs visit the Crescent Ballroom this week, try to keep quiet and watch the band play. They must be doing something right to last this long, to say the least. Jaime-Paul Falcon

Talented songstress Diana Krall.EXPAND
Talented songstress Diana Krall.
Mary McCartney

Upcoming Events

Diana Krall
Wednesday, August 9
Symphony Hall

Diana Krall is a jazz legend. And two decades into her career recording sultry and popular jazz records, she’s still changing things up. On her latest album, Krall has shifted her focus to a new topic: grief. Turn Up the Quiet, the artist’s 14th album, features jazz standards that pay homage to her longtime producer, Tommy LiPuma, who died unexpectedly in March. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Krall says the album embodies all of the values LiPuma instilled in her. “He took such joy in life,” she says. “He had a tremendous sense of humor, and he taught me the importance of taking time to be with my family.” Even though Krall acknowledges the album deals with darker topics, she says it’s more about enduring and focusing on the future than dwelling on the past. And that’s just what Krall is doing both musically and personally. “It’s about finding romance in everything, in beauty or in things that are sad,” Krall says. Emily Roberts

Check out the next page for even more "can't miss" concerts happening in the Valley this week, including Nite Jewel, El Sonida De Reposa, and the Summer Slaughter Tour.

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