The 9 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

We're in the midst of one of the weirdest work weeks of the year.

With the Fourth of July happening on Wednesday, it's like y'all are getting a mini-weekend after only two days of labor. So, yay.

Here's some even better news: There are plenty of concerts happening on Tuesday, July 3, for those of you who want to make the most of the situation. That includes gigs by indie rock act Snail Mail, ska kings The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and death metal bands The Black Dahlia Murder and Whitechapel.

The holiday itself will have a few notable local shows as well, like a gathering of bands from local label Related Records at the Trunk Space and a free performance by the always entertaining Playboy Manbaby.

And on Thursday, July 5, Americana/folk singer-songwriter Todd Snider will stop by the Musical Instrument Museum on his latest tour.

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

Local blues legend Hans Olson.EXPAND
Local blues legend Hans Olson.
Benjamin Leatherman

Hans Olson Birthday Party
Tuesday, July 3
The Rhythm Room

In the decades since Hans Olson first moved to the Valley in the late 1960s, he’s served as a venue proprietor, session musician, songwriter, label owner, event promoter, and founder of the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. The renowned bluesman is also a living legend and one helluva performer who toted his harmonica and slide guitar around the world countless times, and played alongside such icons as the late Muddy Waters and B.B. King.

Back in the '70s, Olson opened for the likes of The Allman Brothers Band and Boz Skaggs, toured with Dave Mason, headlined at the Whiskey A Go-Go in L.A., and reportedly raised a lot of hell with former drinking buddy Tom Waits. In the mid-'80s, he also ran Tempe's legendary Sun Club, and helped such bands as Gin Blossoms and Dead Hot Workshop get their start. They aren’t the only notable locals that Olson has helped influence over the years, as artists like The Sugar Thieves and other modern-day musicians cited him as a mentor.

This week, Olson's friends, cohorts, and collaborators are likely to turn up to raise a toast to the bluesman at his birthday show at the Rhythm Room on Tuesday night. Olson will perform alongside his backing band (which consists of local musicians Andy Gonzales, Mike Howard, and Gary Smith) as well as former Dead Hot/Ghetto Cowgirl guitarist Steve Larson. And don't be surprised if a few surprise guests join them onstage. Benjamin Leatherman

The many, many members of Mighty Mighty Bosstones.EXPAND
The many, many members of Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
Lisa Johnson

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Tuesday, July 3
The Van Buren

There are a few things that give The Mighty Mighty Bosstones their distinct sound. Frontman Dicky Barrett’s low-toned and full-of-gravel voice is one of them. Their signature mash-up of ska and punk music is another.

The Boston-born band formed in the early '80s, at a time when hardcore punk acts like Cancerous Growth, Gang Green, and Jerry’s Kids were dominating the city’s underground scene. Armed with multiple instruments, from guitars and drums to harmonicas and horns, this many-membered act merged mellow ska grooves with the fast tempos and angsty attitudes and sentiments being delivered by area punk rockers. Six years later, they released their first full-length record, Devil’s Night Out, which got a lot of attention on college radio. That, plus extensive touring, helped drive them toward their union with Mercury Records in 1993.

In 1997, they had notable hits with “The Impression That I Get,” “Where’d You Go?” and “Someday I Suppose,” even performing a couple of those tracks in the blockbuster teen romcom, Clueless. The band has taken some breaks and seen a few lineup changes but are currently on the road, rocking out. This year, they dropped While We’re At It, and will stop in Phoenix with their fun and rowdy live show. Amy Young

The Black Dahlia Murder.EXPAND
The Black Dahlia Murder.
Courtesy of Ticketfly

The Black Dahlia Murder and Whitechapel
Tuesday, July 3
The Pressroom

Detroit's Black Dahlia Murder first burst onto the metal world's radar in 2001 with their attention-grabbing demo, What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse, followed by a four-track EP, A Cold-Blooded Epitaph, a year later. In 2003, the melodic death-metal band released a hell of a full-length debut with Unhallowed, and its blend of death-metal speed and crunch with black-metal screeching was unnervingly powerful.

Since then, Black Dahlia's put out seven different LPs, including 2017's Nightbringers. They're also a kick-ass live act and are currently touring alongside deathcore act Whitechapel. The two bands, both of which are signed to Metal Blade Records, will invade The Pressroom on July 3. Fleshgod Apocalypse, Aversions Crown, and Shadow of Intent will open. Phil Freeman

Lindsey Jordan, a.k.a. Snail Mail.EXPAND
Lindsey Jordan, a.k.a. Snail Mail.
Michael Lavine

Snail Mail
Tuesday, July 3
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

It is fitting that Lindsey Jordan, better known by the moniker Snail Mail, signed to Matador Records late last year. It only takes a few strums of her atmospheric guitar in Lush, her full-length debut, to transport you back to the label’s heyday when they were releasing landmark records like Liz Phair’s Exile In Guyville.

The comparison is not lost on Jordan. In a recent conversation in Pitchfork, the 18-year-old revealed to Liz Phair herself that she was in a band that covered Phair’s music. The name of that band: Lizard Phair.

And yes, Lush features songs exuding the same rawness and intimacy that made Guyville such a striking debut several generations ago. A multitude of music writers would not be so quick to make the comparison if it didn’t. But what makes Jordan such an interesting artist is her skills as a guitarist. Her licks made waves when the Baltimore-based artist performed at Coachella this year. Give credit to Jordan’s focus and her guitar teacher, Wild Flag guitarist Mary Timony. She is one to watch. Jason Keil

Local musician and Related Records owner Ryan Avery.
Local musician and Related Records owner Ryan Avery.
Benjamin Leatherman

Related Records Family Reunion
Wednesday, July 4
The Trunk Space

Local label Related Records was started in 2013 by Phoenix musician Ryan Avery, who is involved in a variety of bands including Father’s Day and Drunk 'n’ Horny. He also was the subject of the 2008 film Hi, My Name is Ryan, whose title is also the name of another of his musical projects.

Avery started the label to “put out music from artists that I believe in and want other people to get into.” His choices definitely lean on the quirkier, more inventive sides of indie rock, as evidenced by the names on his roster, including James Kochalka, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Turqouiz Noiz, and Mooseknuckle Sandwich.

Avery and a variety of Related Records artists – past, present, and future – will gather at the Trunk Space on Wednesday, July 4, for a label showcase of sorts. Dubbed the “Related Records Family Reunion,” it will feature sets by Treasure Mammal (who will kick off their summer tour), as well as Saint Dad, AlhhlAA, Hi My Name Is Ryan, and recent Related signee Mooey Moobau. Doors are 7 p.m. and admission is $7. Amy Young

Adventure Club's Christian Srigley and Leighton James.
Adventure Club's Christian Srigley and Leighton James.
Courtesy of MSO PR

Adventure Club
Wednesday, July 4
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

On first listen, Adventure Club sounds similar to female-led electronic acts such as Purity Ring and Sylvan Esso. But the twist is that the band are actually two dudes from Montreal who've employed a number of featured vocalists to sing over their glitchy house beats. And if you swing by Maya in Scottsdale on Wednesday afternoon, you'll hear their beats pumping from the sound system when Adventure Club headlines the Scottsdale spot's Fourth of July pool party. Gates open at noon. Tickets are $30. Matt Wood

The boys of Playboy Manbaby.
The boys of Playboy Manbaby.
Jim Louvau

Playboy Manbaby
Wednesday, July 4
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

Some bands sound like the electricity that’s powering their instruments is surging into their bodies. Dayton nerd-punks Brainiac and the noisy Japanese Devo-worshippers in Polysics come to mind, but you don’t have to go as far as Osaka or Ohio to find a group that sounds as fired up with energy as Ben Franklin’s kite. Just look in your own backyard: Odds are good Arizona’s very own Playboy Manbaby are doing a set there.

Standing still at a Playboy Manbaby show seems to be an impossibility for both the audience, and the band themselves. The band merges the party-happy vibe of ska with punk fury, yelping B-52-esque vocals, and thoughtful, smart-assy lyrics. PM’s Robbie Pfeiffer remains one of the Valley’s most memorable frontmen: His vocals twitch, and bounce, and leap all over their records and live shows, as malleable and rubbery as a cartoon character that’s been hit with an anvil.

While their live shows are essential, records like Lobotomobile and Don’t Let It Be show that the band have the songwriting smarts and studio chops that they could pull an XTC tomorrow, retire from performing live, and still be a group worth following.

Thankfully, they've got no plans to call it quits on the gig front anytime soon. This week, in fact, Playboy Manbaby will stage a free Fourth of July show at the Yucca Tap with Denver party pop band Dirty Few and locals Weird Radicals and General Anxiety. Ashley Naftule

Todd Snider is scheduled to perform on Thursday, July 5, at the Musical Instrument Museum.EXPAND
Todd Snider is scheduled to perform on Thursday, July 5, at the Musical Instrument Museum.
Stacie Huckeba

Todd Snider
Thursday, July 5
Musical Instrument Museum

It's hard to choose just one song as Todd Snider's musical calling card, but a halfway decent choice is "Alright Guy," from his 1994 debut Songs for the Daily Planet. He starts that one off by ogling Madonna's Sex book and ends up swearing "Maybe I'm dirty and maybe I smoke a little dope / But it ain't like I'm going on TV and tearing up pictures of the Pope."

One of the wittiest troubadours anywhere, Snider is a constant thorn in the side of the music business with a wicked ear for satire ("Talkin' Seattle Grunge-Rock Blues") and a deep appreciation for music history, calling his 2004 album East Nashville Skyline. No slacker this one, Snider is turning out to be a pretty good scamp himself. Chris Gray

Ward Reeder (left), Todd Renfrow (center), and Jesse Strysko of Godspeedball.
Ward Reeder (left), Todd Renfrow (center), and Jesse Strysko of Godspeedball.
Godspeedball's Facebook

Godspeedball
Thursday, July 5
Rips Bar

Godspeedball is a fairly new addition to Phoenix's rock scene and the latest project of prolific local drummer Ward Reeder. Like his other act, Shovel, Godspeedball could easily fit in with AmRep Records. Guitarist-vocalist Todd Renfrow creates a great vibe with his shout/singing vocal style, and bassist Jesse Strysko locks in nicely with Reeder’s typically pummeling drums.

The songs on their self-titled first album are heavy, noisy, and punk rock in all the best ways. Think Flipper all sped up, Unsane slowed down a little, a heavy nod to the Midwestern noise scene, and enough salt to make your eyes water. Check out Godspeedball for yourself this week when they pummel eardrums inside Rips on Thursday night. Tom Reardon

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