The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix This July

Kendrick Lamar is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, July 12, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.EXPAND
Kendrick Lamar is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, July 12, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Ticketmaster

There are plenty of big concerts happening in the Valley in July, to say the least.

As we’re sure you’ve already heard, Kendrick Lamar will be at Gila River Arena in Glendale a couple of weeks for what’s likely to be the biggest show of the summer, if not the entire year.

But if you can’t score tickets to the gig (and they’re going fast) there are tons of other superstars and living legends headed our way over the next few weeks.

Velvet-voiced Latin star Prince Royce, for instance, as well as Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac, power-pop favorites Hall & Oates, power couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, R&B/soul pioneers Earth, Wind & Fire, Arizona native Michelle Branch, and country star Dwight Yoakam.

If those aren't enough high-profile shows, there are also upcoming gigs by Bruce Hornsby, J. Cole, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Guitar Wolf, Deftones, Rise Against, and the Goo Goo Dolls.

Whew.

We’ve included all these shows, and many others, in our list of the biggest and best concerts happening in Phoenix during July.

(As always, for even more music events, you can take a gander at our online listings.)

The musicians of Las Cafeteras.
The musicians of Las Cafeteras.
Rafael Cardenas

Las Cafeteras
Saturday, July 1
Musical Instrument Museum

Las Cafeteras stir up a swirling, mesmerizing sound with just their voices and such traditional acoustic instruments as jarana jarocha, marímbula and requinto jarocho. Singers Daniel French and Denise Carlos and requinto jarocho stylist David Flores weave together circular riffs on their guitarlike axes and nearly all the members do zapateado, a percussive style of dance. On their 2012 album, It’s Time, the East L.A. septet segue easily from uptempo, foot-stomping tracks like “La Bamba Rebelde” and “El Zapateado” to such romantic ballads as “Luna Lovers,” in which Leah Gallegos and French exchange verses with gently lilting melodies. Although the group is deeply rooted in traditional folk styles like son jarocho, Yukicito’s remix of “Mujer Soy” demonstrates how seamlessly their acoustic-based music can insinuate itself within electronic sounds. Falling James

Posso
Posso
Courtesy of AM Only

Posso
Sunday, July 2
W Scottsdale Hotel

The two chicks that make up Posso are all about following their creative spirits. Designers at heart, the Posso team contributes to style websites and even has their own line of luxury leather products. Their creativity bleeds into music, as well. As a DJ duo, Posso takes whatever they can get their hands on and remixes it into a medley of progressive-edging-towards-‘90s house and ‘80s-inspired synth-pop. The Posso girls may have their hands in several different creative outlets, but they shouldn’t be dismissed as dabblers. Previous sets prove it: Posso is serious dance music. Or at least, seriously fun. Sarah Purkrabek

The members of All Time Love.
The members of All Time Love.
Courtesy of Autonomic Media

All Time Low
Monday, July 3
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

All Time Low was one of the few bands to emerge triumphant from the MySpace scene of the early 2000s. The Baltimore quartet made a name for itself in the wake of Fall Out Boy’s takeover of mainstream radio, pushing its happy sing-along rock with hits like “Dear Maria, Count Me In” and “I Feel Like Dancin’.” Lead singer Alex Gaskarth’s whimsical singing style suits the band’s major-key riffing well. Over half a dozen albums, All Time Low has managed to build and sustain a devoted following, which has helped the act tour across the world over the past decade. But the band is also ushering in a new generation of fans with the release of this year’s Last Young Renegade, their first album on label Fueled by Ramen. SWMRS, Waterparks, and The Wrecks will open. Bree Davies

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is headed back to the Valley.EXPAND
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is headed back to the Valley.
Courtesy of SLE

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Monday, July 3
Livewire in Scottsdale

Ohio rappers Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are a fractured bunch. Since the mid-’90s, when N.W.A.’s Eazy-E first co-signed their melodic, rapid Midwest sound, the collective have shed and readded members with a dizzying frequency. Although it can be hard to keep track of which Bones — including Krayzie, Wish, Flesh-N, Layzie, and Bizzy — constitute Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at any given point, what’s remained consistent is the crew’s sonic density. Established on early hits like “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” and “The Crossroads,” Bone Thugs’ signature sound has carried the group through numerous reunions and reconstitutions. While the most recent outing, 2013’s The Art of War: World War III, found the group incorporating new stylistic elements (check out the retro soul-styled “Bring It Back” and the mutant gospel funk of “It Will Be Alright”), its original members Bizzy and Krayzie’s 2017 record New Wave, released under the stripped down Bone Thugs moniker, is the one that hints toward future glories. Featuring collaborations with Stephen Marley, Bun B., Yelawolf, and Jonathan Davis of Korn, it finds the duo exploring Auto-Tuned reggae on “Coming Home” and summer jam funk on “Fantasy.” It’s not likely to achieve the chart heights of the group’s classic material but should add a few followers to the band’s fervent cult fan base. Jason P. Woodbury

The noise rockers of Speck.
The noise rockers of Speck.

Speck
Monday, July 3
The Lunchbox

California noise rockers Speck dropped two releases in 2017, a demo in February and Speck I in April. The band are currently on tour to support these efforts, featuring Will Lermini and Zack Patterson on guitar, and Trent Rivas on drums and vocals. On first listen, both recordings are like working your way through a dark sonic cave, where sometimes the faster and edgier sounds get bossy, pushing you farther forward. Other times, the songs are slow and thick, intense and sludgy without taking the route of locking into a deliberate groove. Songs like “Transfat” on Speck I are driving and spacy, a little reminiscent of Locust Abortion Technician-era Butthole Surfers, while others like “Lips” are just steady grinders that deliver machinelike riffs from the guitars. Speck’s vocals are abstract and menacing, like they’re coming from someone who’s lurking out of vision. Don’t expect the live set to be any less forceful. “Live, we ride heavily on being sonically sound and never having a quiet moment,” Rivas says. “Whether we are performing as a three-piece or with more people, it’s always loud, syncopated chaos that can be expected. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay.” Amy Young

Otep will return to the Valley in July.EXPAND
Otep will return to the Valley in July.
PR Brown

Otep
Wednesday, July 5
Club Red in Mesa

Fronted by no-nonsense poet and activist Otep Shamaya, the band Otep have been together for a decade and a half — and, after an ill-fated stint with hardcore label Victory Records, have found their feet again with the more metal-focused Napalm Records. Their most recent album, Generation Doom, is a furious blast of genre-defying rap-metal. While the band emerged during the nu-metal revolution, when rap and metal were becoming natural bedfellows, Otep was nothing like Limp Bizkit. Shamaya’s lyrics are intelligent — often personal, always thought-provoking. In the face of this new administration, she has been out marching in protest, and that anger is bound to translate to her music and live performances. In other words, if you think Otep were pissed off before, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Brett Callwood

Bruce Hornsby (far left) and his current backing band, the Noisemakers.EXPAND
Bruce Hornsby (far left) and his current backing band, the Noisemakers.
Michael Martin

Bruce Hornsby
Thursday, July 6
Celebrity Theatre

His heads-down, unassuming demeanor notwithstanding, Bruce Hornsby is easily one of America's most versatile and accomplished musicians of the past three decades. Few other artists can claim such wide musical parameters, from the early Americana that brought him big hits like "The Way It Is," "Mandolin Rain," and "The Valley Road" with his band the Range to bluegrass collaborations with Ricky Skaggs; jazz sessions with the likes of Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnnette, Wayne Shorter, Christian McBride, and Branford Marsalis; stints touring with the Grateful Dead; and stylistic explorations that encompassed electronica, swing, big band, and a multitude of other styles in between. This doesn't even include the numerous sessions that found him backing the likes of Bob Dylan; Willie Nelson; Stevie Nicks; the Cowboy Junkies; Bill Evans; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Don Henley; the Yellowjackets; Bonnie Raitt; Bela Fleck; Bob Weir; and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. After more than a dozen albums featuring his name on the marquee (including his brand new album, Rehab Reunion) an untold number of live recordings, and several more recordings with the Dead and its various offshoots, Hornsby been duly rewarded with Grammys, solid sales, and peer recognition. Lee Zimmerman

J. Cole, the rapper behind "Work Out," is coming to Phoenix.EXPAND
J. Cole, the rapper behind "Work Out," is coming to Phoenix.
Courtesy of Dreamville Records

J. Cole
Thursday, July 6
Talking Stick Resort Arena

In a world of rappers with Kanye West-size egos, J.Cole is the antithesis. With multiple platinum albums, a record label, a documentary, and a nonprofit, you’d think J.Cole would be proudly exploiting his talent and good deeds. But he’s not. Instead, Cole’s most recent album, 4 Your Eyez Only, focuses on more relatable things like folding laundry and losing his virginity. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Cole admits he’s proud of the domestic lifestyle he’s created. “It’s a celebration of growing up,” he says. “I chose this path, and damn it feels good.” Cole is so proud of his home life, in fact, that he keeps much of it quiet (he recently got married and became a father), preferring instead to publicly discuss and address racial disparities. In his documentary J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only, Cole films black people from the South talking about their experiences and struggles in today’s America. And unlike his peers, J.Cole comes across in his albums and the documentary (where he mainly listens and rarely gives input) as a unique combination of humble and relentless. “I understand that what I’m doing is what I don’t see, is what I would like to see being done but is not being done,” he says. Emily Roberts

Prepare yourself: Guitar Wolf is coming.EXPAND
Prepare yourself: Guitar Wolf is coming.
Takayuki Mishima

Guitar Wolf
Friday, July 7
The Rebel Lounge

It’s been 30 years since power-trio Guitar Wolf formed in Japan. Of the original members Seiji (guitar), Billy (bass), and Narita (drums), it’s only Seiji who remains in the current lineup. Sadly, Billy passed away in 2005 from a heart attack. Nowadays, it’s U.G. on bass and Toru on drums, joining Seiji to play “jet rock ’n’ roll.” That’s the term the band coined to describe their sound, which borrows the noise and power of high-speed planes. Guitar Wolf play blistering, high-energy garage-rock tinged with punk angst and drive — and a rockabilly spirit. Their love of all those genres comes through in their diverse roster of covers, like MC5’s “Kick Out the Jams,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire,” and “Summertime Blues,” the Eddie Cochran classic. Whether it’s a recording or a live show, the band operates like a super-fueled, stealth plane when delivering their solid rock. The “jet” theme even expands into a Jet Clothes line of fashion that includes straight-leg jeans, belts, and thick leather patches. The band has released more than 10 studio full-lengths, their last being 2016’s T-Rex from a Tiny Space Yojouhan, which contains raucous tracks like “Sea and Cola.” See ‘em set the already hot Phoenix on fire, along with ghoulish rockers Isaac Rother and the Phantoms. Amy Young

Local rock band The Technicolors.
Local rock band The Technicolors.
Courtesy of The Technicolors

The Technicolors
Friday, July 7
Crescent Ballroom

The Technicolors are about to drop their latest recording, Metaphysical, and they’re doing it with a special album release party where you can hear the tunes and get the product right from the jump. The Phoenix-based band was formed by Brendan Smiley, who describes the record as “a collection of songs ultimately written about the void that exists between home and the places I want to go.” Recently, the Technicolors previewed a video for the new track “Impostor” on Interview magazine’s website. The song exemplifies the band’s penchant for mingling ‘90s rock and Brit-pop sensibilities. But this song in particular sheds a bit of the pop in favor of sharp, edgy, and noisy guitar sounds. The new direction adds a nice layer to the solid pop and indie-tinged rock they’ve been delivering for several years. After the summer, it looks like these rockers will hit the road with another locally-formed group, The Maine, for a slew of European shows in Germany, France, and Spain. Amy Young

Dogbreth
Dogbreth
Stillman Busselle

Dogbreth
Saturday, July 8
Trunk Space

If the people in Dogbreth look familiar, it’s because the band formed in Phoenix. The band played their superbly crafted indie rock and anthemic pop songs around town before some of the members relocated to Seattle in the last couple years. That move now makes them a band from the Pacific Northwest that still includes some local players. When they were Valley-based, Dogbreth frequently played shows at The Trunk Space. So bringing their Nice Try tour to downtown’s quintessential all-ages spot is nothing short of a homecoming. Dogbreth released their first record, Chookie in 2011 and have been consistently productive since. In 2016, the band released Second Home on the California label Asian Man Records, and both fans and critics went cuckoo for the full-length. For good reason, too. It really shined a spotlight on their ability to combine the best elements of pop-punk and twee styles. That indie-pop sensibility deepens each song’s ability to stick to you like glue. Amy Young

Prince RoyceEXPAND
Prince Royce
Courtesy of RCA Records

Prince Royce
Saturday, July 8
Comerica Theatre

Even Geoffrey Royce Rojas knows the meaning of hard work and hustle. Today, todas las mujeres know him as the Latin Grammy-nominated bachata star Prince Royce. But just a few years ago, Rojas was a kid with a dream, juggling a full-time job, college classes, and late-night recording sessions in the studio. It was the kind of struggle that all aspiring musicians face, but unlike most pop hopefuls, he actually achieved his dreams, becoming a multiplatinum-selling artist and one of Latin music's bigger stars. In 2010, Rojas released his debut album, the self-titled Prince Royce. Almost an instant hit, the record was nominated for Best Contemporary Tropical Album at the 2010 Latin Grammy Awards. But Rojas' appetite for success wasn't satiated by the fame and recognition that he gained from Prince Royce — that was just the beginning. Shortly after his debut release, Rojas toured with Latin music reyes Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull in 2011. Using the exposure to his advantage, Rojas soon released his second studio album, 2012's Phase II, which achieved platinum status in the U.S. and Puerto Rico within six months of its release. In 2013, Rojas signed a record deal with Sony Music Entertainment to release his third studio album, Soy El Mismo, on Sony Music Latin, as well as his first English-language album on RCA Records. Meanwhile, aside from the music, Rojas is also famous for being a heartthrob, a certified papi. He's got that voz romantica and those dark brown eyes. He was even named one of the 50 most beautiful people of 2011 by People en Español, and then featured in the magazine's 2012 "Sexy Edition." In other words, feel free to swoon when attending Rojas' concert at Comerica Theatre on July 8. Laurie Charles

Deftones
Deftones
Frank Maddocks

Deftones & Rise Against
Sunday, July 9
Ak-Chin Pavilion

There are two ways to look at this pairing of the odd nu-metal outsiders and the political punk powerhouse. One is to look at it and think, “that's weird, I would not peg those bands as potential tour mates.” The other is to look at it and get extremely excited, because while they may have sonic differences they're both among the best live rock acts you'll find. Deftones' keyboardist/sampler/turntablist Frank Delgado, however, doesn't think it's any weirder than when the band toured with Incubus last year. “Our whole existence has been like that. We're the band that is kind of like a thorn. We never really fit with whoever we bring or go out with," he says. "We like that. We stand out.” While Deftones have lived with their most recent album Gore for over a year now, Rise Against is hitting the road with an album that's just been released, and from the sound of it the songs they're playing off of it are working. “Some songs just don't translate well live, but these songs – 'Wolves', ' The Violence' and 'Welcome to the Breakdown' – are build for the live setting, so it's been amazing.” However weird it might look like from the outside, the tour is working, and there haven't been any mass exoduses of fans before the headliners. “We try to have our setlist appeal to our core fans, and then we try to throw in some slower songs that might appeal to Deftones' fans,” he tells us. “So far it's been great for both bands. People have been staying every show.” Cory Garcia

A quarter century later, he still likes big butts and cannot lie.
A quarter century later, he still likes big butts and cannot lie.
Courtesy of BLK Live

Sir Mix-A-Lot
Sunday, July 9
BLK Live in Scottsdale

Rapper and producer Sir Mix-a-Lot is a valiant knight who's fought a long battle against waifish, modelesque beauty standards with his classic "Baby Got Back," the greatest anthem to generously plump booties since Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls." One could make the case that he's single-handedly shaped society's body ideals into Kardashian proportions, and in turn hold him responsible for many a butt implant. With all these impressive achievements, it's hard to remember Mix-a-Lot was actually a platinum-selling artist before his anaconda wanted none. Unless you had buns. Hun. His 1988 album Swass had the moderately successful hit "Posse on Broadway," and then there's "Jump On It," which saves him from joining the one-hit-wonder club. He's also a hip-hop pioneer, particularly considering that late '80s Seattle was less hip hop than Orange County is today (or, well, ever). Nothing brings more big booty to the dance floor like "Baby Got Back," so if that's your thing you'd be a fool not to make it out to BLK Live for his show. Eva Raggio

DragonForceEXPAND
DragonForce
Courtesy of Metal Blade Records

DragonForce
Sunday, July 9
Club Red in Mesa

DragonForce, the London sextet that's been around since 1999, waves high the banner of power metal. But they take "epic" to a whole new level. On the metal scale of 1 to 11, they're more Tufnel than Tufnel himself. Lead guitarist Herman Li, originally from Hong Kong, likely has the fastest hands ever to have touched an Ibanez. What he is capable of seems inhuman — so much so that there was speculation at the outset of the band's career that they were speeding up their songs in the studio and weren't able to replicate them live. (Subsequent performances have proven this rumor false.) Most DragonForce songs clock in around the seven-minute mark because Li solos for about three minutes. And we're not talking gratuitous jam band improv solos; we're talking complexly structured and fully composed. Most lyrics of DragonForce songs are positive, upbeat messages. Think Shakespeare's Henry V pre-battle pep talk, and you get the idea. They’re also like Dethklok on happy pills. Li's speed and precision make him the real-life Skwisgaar Skwigelf, and his video game-inspired guitar effects sound like Pac-Man munching on amphetamines. Co-founder Sam Trotman — who also plays guitar — writes most of the band's songs, every one of them a rousing, triumphant marathon. Like a Rocky training montage on fast-forward, it is all so utterly ridiculous that it becomes enjoyable. Linda Leseman

Read on for even more big concerts happening in June, including Kendrick Lamar, Hall & Oates, and Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie.



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