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

The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix This July

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.

Kendrick Lamar at this year's Coachella.EXPAND
Kendrick Lamar at this year's Coachella.
Mathew Tucciarone

Kendrick Lamar
Wednesday, July 12
Gila River Arena in Glendale

Not every superstar bounces back from a platinum success like To Pimp a Butterfly so quickly. Other rappers start counting their bars and getting stingy with their verses; other artists bog down in the quicksand of gravitas. But “Humble,” the first single from Kendrick Lamar’s new album DAMN., is a brag-packed instant classic, a costume jewel in the paper crown of summer, built for car speakers and block parties. The rest of the album continues his whirlwind travelogue through inner and outer consciousness, set against a montage of top-of-the-line arrangements, alternately jazz-crowded and icily minimalist, ready for headphones and festivals alike. In mid-July, Lamar w ill kick off his 17-city tour in support of DAMN. right here in the Valley with a performance at Gila River Arena in Glendale. Tex Kerschen

The members of Mutoid Man.
The members of Mutoid Man.
Yvonne Jukes

Mutoid Man
Thursday, July 13
The Rebel Lounge

The fact that this band is successful or even exists is a complete fluke. Somewhat of a supergroup, Mutoid Man formed as a side project, officially, with 2013 EP Helium Head, and has been kicking out high-energy, heavy rock tunes ever since. Ben Koller (Killer Be Killed, Converge, All Pigs Must Die) is one of the finest metal drummers in the scene today; front man Stephen Brodsky (Converge, Kid Kilowatt) somehow balances several bands and solo endeavors the way his guitar work dances between serious technicality and explosive riffage; and bassist Nick Cageao, FOH sound engineer at famed Brooklyn metal club St. Vitus, balances the overall sound (excuse the pun). With lyrics that barely make sense and a voice whose serrated edges betray his sunny onstage disposition, Brodsky might be hustling his audience — there’s a solid, melodic vocalist in there pretending to be an angry metalhead. Kristy Loye

weet Judy Blue Eyes: Judy Collins.
weet Judy Blue Eyes: Judy Collins.
Brad Trent

Judy Collins
Friday, July 14, and Saturday, July 15
Musical Instrument Museum

There are a handful of legends left in the world when it comes to the 1960s folk-music scene. Judy Collins is one of them. She's also known as "Judy Blue Eyes," which was a moniker bestowed upon her by Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and CSN&Y. The 77-year-old singer-songwriter with the golden voice and maker of literally dozens of studio albums (somewhere between two and three dozen, actually) is the voice behind songs like "Chelsea Morning" and "Send In The Clowns," as well as a stunning version of "Amazing Grace" from her 1970 album, Whales and Nightingales. Collins, who was nominated for a Grammy earlier this year for her work on her most recent record, Silver Skies Blue, will play the Musical Instrument Museum on back-to-back nights in mid-July. Tom Reardon

Robby Takac (left) and John Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls.EXPAND
Robby Takac (left) and John Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls.
Bob Mussel

Goo Goo Dolls
Sunday, July 16
Comerica Theatre

Though this band from Buffalo, New York, will most likely go down in musical history as being a part of the '90s alt-rock scene, they formed in the '80s, and their self-titled, first full-length release featured a grit-tier sound and overall faster tempo that fit in all right with the punk bands they shared stages with in those days, like ALL, the Doughboys, Gang Green, and SNFU. Though they weren't quite as hardcore as some of those aforementioned acts, they had the energy to keep up, flowing on a slightly gentler stream through that same vein. It was easy to see in that first effort the big love they had for that handful of pre-1986 Replacements records. They must've been thrilled years later when they got Paul Westerberg to co-write their song, "We Are the Normal," that appeared on their 1993 album, Superstar Car Wash. What they did in the early '90s was trade some of that chaos in their initial sound for the radio-rock hooks and structure that got the masses engaged in what they were doing. There's been some lineup changes, but original members John Rzeznik (vocals, guitar) and Robby Takac (vocals, bass) maintained a constant presence throughout. Amy Young

The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix This July (8)EXPAND
Courtesy of Razor & Tie Publicity

The Sword
Monday, July 17
Crescent Ballroom

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

You need this kind of intimacy to write smooth jams like Daryl Hall and John Oates.
You need this kind of intimacy to write smooth jams like Daryl Hall and John Oates.
RCA Records

Hall & Oates/Tears for Fears
Monday, July 17
Gila River Arena in Glendale

After hearing that another comeback tour is heading to town, you might think, I can't go for that. But then you find out it’s Hall & Oates with Tears for Fears and, wait, you’ve already purchased your ticket for their show at Gila River Arena in Glendale. If there ever were two bands that could groove through the decades with style, relevance, and substance, it’s these guys. The yacht rock of Hall & Oates and the synthy pop of their openers, Tears for Fears, offer a heavenly marriage of chill, sexy, and danceable. Liz Tracy

The current lineup of Earth, Wind & Fire.
The current lineup of Earth, Wind & Fire.
Randee St. Nicholas

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

Chris Isaak still looks great after all these years. His music ain't bad either.
Chris Isaak still looks great after all these years. His music ain't bad either.
Andrew MacPherson/Vanguard Records

Chris Isaak
Wednesday, July 19
Celebrity Theatre

Chris Isaak will never not be cool. The embodiment of all things California suave, the San Francisco-based crooner will turn 50 three days before he returns to Houston’s House of Blues. 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

Feufollet keep the Cajun musical tradition real.
Feufollet keep the Cajun musical tradition real.
Allison Bohl Dehart with Makemade

Feufollet
Thursday, July 20
Musical Instrument Museum

Lafayette, Louisianna-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 in July. “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

The prom queen and king of country: Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
The prom queen and king of country: Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
Courtesy of Live Nation

Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
Friday, July 21
Gila River Arena in Glendale

The coupling of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill has been the #RelationshipGoals of the country-music world for twenty years. No, seriously. They’ve lived together and loved together for years and earlier this year, this pair of mega-stars released their first-ever duets album, and they're backing it up with the Soul2Soul World Tour. Later this month, the country prom king and queen, who have collectively sold a bajillion records, will be at the Gila River Arena in Glendale for an evening of country-pop and crooning. Cowboy hats and wranglers are optional. Tom Murphy

Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins of TLC.EXPAND
Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins of TLC.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

I Love The 90's - The Party Continues feat. TLC
Saturday, July 22
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Classic hip-hop groups are having a heyday in recent years, with a wave of '80s and '90s acts (both great and not so great) reuniting for nostalgic tours — and TLC is no exception. One of the era’s most successful R&B and hip-hop groups, and the highest-selling American girl group of all time, TLC was formed in Atlanta in 1992 and dropped their debut album, Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip, the following year. From that point on came a run of No. 1 singles, platinum albums and Grammy awards, including for 1996’s CrazySexyCool. But that world-beating success was tragically cut short by the death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in a car accident in Honduras in 2002. So, as is so often the case with tours like these, it’s far from perfect, but remaining members T-Boz and Chilli have soldiered on. And with songs like “Ain’t 2 Proud to Beg,” “Creep,” “Waterfalls,” “Red Light Special” and “No Scrubs,” they’ll at least still have plenty of hits to fall back on. Aria Bell

Lindsey Buckingham (left) and Christine McVie.EXPAND
Lindsey Buckingham (left) and Christine McVie.
John Russo

Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie
Tuesday, July 25
Comerica Theatre

Let’s get your most important question out of the way first: Yes, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie are most definitely busting out with some Fleetwood Mac songs during their current collaborative tour, which hits dozens of cities across the U.S. this summer. Quite a few of ‘em, in fact, including "Tusk," "Little Lies," "Wish You Were Here," "Never Going Back Again," and (of course) "Go Your Own Way." It’s a no-brainer, considering their membership in the legendary rock band is arguably their biggest claims to fame. However, there will be just as much focus on the songs that the two created together for their collaborative side-project, many of which were conceived and recorded during a studio session with Mick Fleetwood prior to McVie rejoining Fleetwood Mac in 2014. They finally saw the light of day earlier this year after being released on the self-titled LP, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie, which has been described as a “long-lost Fleetwood Mac album.” In other words, it's almost guaranteed to please longtime Fleetwood fans who will be in attendance at this show. Benjamin Leatherman

Arizona native Michelle Branch.EXPAND
Arizona native Michelle Branch.
Courtesy of BB Gun Press

Michelle Branch
Wednesday, July 26
Crescent Ballroom

It's been a whirlwind decade and a half for for Arizona native Michelle Branch. Few pop stars have the combination of look, sound, credibility and likability that she did during a string of hit singles (including "Everywhere" and "Are You Happy Now) and a pair of platinum albums in the early 2000s. Instead of riding this wave of popularity to even greater success, however, Branch opted to go country from there and teamed with her former backup singer Jessica Harp to form the Wreckers. The duo released one gold album, 2006’s Stand Still, Look Pretty, that featured a No. 1 country single (“Leave the Pieces”). She's back after an extended hiatus from performing, currently touring behind Hopeless Romantic, a laid-back rock and roll collection produced by her musical and romantic partner, Patrick Carney of the Black Keys. Clint Hale

Country crooner Dwight Yoakam.
Country crooner Dwight Yoakam.
Emily Joyce/Warner Bros. Records

Dwight Yoakam
Friday, July 28
Celebrity Theatre

Dwight Yoakam's most recent albums – 2015’s Second Hand Heart and last year’s Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars – stay fiercely true to the honky-tonk, hillbilly aesthetic and sound that made him famous in the late 1980s. You could throw these record into any of the four decades that Yoakam has been making music and it would make perfect sense, and still top the charts. But with these records, Yoakam manages to somehow maintain his classic sound while recording one of the most stylistically diverse records of his entire career. He's been relatively quiet since the release of 3 Pears, a woefully underrated record that was somehow great even though Kid Rock was involved, in 2012. Yoakam's songs haven't been country radio material since the 1990s, so he's been functionally tossed over into the Americana bin, which mainstream music happily ignores until it's ready to let folksy bands blow up the charts for a while. See: Mumford and Sons. Yoakam's relevance, though, has really never waned. Amy McCarthy

Pharoah Sanders Quartet
Saturday, July 29
Musicial Instrument Museum

Saxophonist Pharoah Sanders began his serious musical journeys in San Francisco in the late 1950s, before moving to New York and gaining the attention of now-legendary avant-garde bandleader Sun Ra. Sanders’ breakthrough came via his playing with John Coltrane during Coltrane’s explorations into what became known as “free jazz” in the mid-1960s. After Coltrane’s death in 1967, Sanders continued to explore and expand his own musical boundaries, working with notables including pianist and composer Carla Bley and bassist Bill Laswell. Although Sanders’ style has trended away from his free-jazz roots in recent years, he has enjoyed a career resurgence over the last decade, culminating with his being awarded a 2016 NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship last year. Tom Meek

Editor's note: This blog has been updated since its initial publication due to Tony Bennett's concert being rescheduled.

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >