Believe it not, but we're almost done with summer. Yes, we're well aware that there are still several scorching weeks of loathsome weather ahead, but, for all intents and purposes, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, y’all.
If you need something to help make the time between now and then go by faster, consider checking out one of the great concerts taking place this week at music venues around the Metro Phoenix area.
DIIV – Monday, August 22 – Crescent Ballroom
There were four long years between the release of Brooklyn-based shoegaze group DIIV’s (pronounced ‘dive’) debut album, Oshin, and their well-received sophomore effort, Is the Is Are. When introducing “Dopamine,” the album’s first single, during a performance in Edinburgh, Scotland, frontman Zachary Cole Smith gave the following public service announcement: “Don’t ever do hard drugs. It will really fuck you up.” The band’s struggles have caused fans to focus more on DIIV’s personal mistakes than the group’s weighty experimental music. As reported last year by Fader, Smith was arrested in 2013 with his girlfriend, singer and model Sky Ferreira, for “two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of stolen property, and one count of aggravated unlicensed driving.” Smith spent several days in rehab. Last year, drummer Colby Hewitt left DIIV to deal with his own demons. These incidents made Smith determined to write a stunningly raw and human record that confronts his addiction head on. The vulnerability is evident in the band’s live performances. The shows took such a toll on Smith it caused DIIV to cancel the remainder of their European tour. JASON KEIL
Creative Adult – Monday, August 22 – The Rebel Lounge
Creative Adult’s early seven-inch singles were often presented as punk, but their relatively nondescript cover art gave little away about the music within. Certainly punk seemed to be at the root of it, but it was also noisier than that, more willing to color outside the lines of what punk had become by 2012. Afterwards, Creative Adult developed at a rapid pace. By the time its debut album, 2014’s Psychic Mess, came out, it sounded like a very different group. The creative arc was not unlike what Coliseum did between its 2004 debut and 2015’s Anxiety’s Kiss, or Ceremony’s progression from its early hardcore records to 2015’s very moody, post-punk The L-Shaped Man. Psychic Mess sounded as though the band had deconstructed psychedelic rock and infused it with wild, raw energy. For its latest endeavor, 2016’s Fear of Life, Creative Adult examines our world, which seems to them to be on the brink of social, political, economic, and environmental disaster. But the album isn’t all despair; rather, it’s a prescription for what ails the world they sees around them. Listeners are encouraged to do something instead of being swept up by the worst of the world or falling into a state of psychological paralysis. TOM MURPHY
Coldplay – Tuesday, August 23 – Gila River Arena
Coldplay is eerily similar to Hillary Clinton. The British quartet is not running for President of the United States, but they have been ruling the charts since the Democratic Party candidate was First Lady. Both have Beyonce on their contacts list. Lead singer Chris Martin and Clinton have been known to give speeches on international trade, though it is unclear where Martin stands on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (Clinton recently changed her position on the matter). The most telling parallel between these polarizing cultural figures is their desire to change the world. Clinton wants to achieve her goal through policy. Coldplay wields influence with rock ballads and eye-popping arena shows. Clinton’s and Coldplay’s actions draw the admiration and disgust of people everywhere. It would be difficult to find someone who does not have a strong opinion on the former U.S. Secretary of State or the gentlemen behind “Viva La Vida.” While voters don’t know what America might get with Clinton as president, attending a Coldplay concert guarantees a stunning emotional performance. Martin is hinting Coldplay’s latest album, A Head Full of Dreams, may be their last, so now is the time to stand behind the popular musicians. JASON KEIL
Culture Club – Tuesday, August 23 – Celebrity Theatre
The millions of words written about Culture Club frontman Boy George’s androgynous image, is-he-or-isn’t-he sexual orientation, and torrid personal life (everything from serving time for false imprisonment to a paparazzi-pleasing opioid dependence) have all too often obscured the man’s marvelous voice and his band’s ultra-cultured pop compositions. Equally potent on the dance floor and poignant the morning after, CC’s supple, signature sound doses New Wave–y rock 'n' roll with Caribbean, Latin, and blue-eyed American accents around George’s suggestively soulful, knowing croon. The singer’s remarkable personal odyssey makes contemporary Culture Club shows mass celebrations not only of their one-band hit parade (10 Top 40 singles in the United States alone), but also of the very fact that Boy George still shows up at all. PAUL ROGERS
Melissa Brooks and the Aquadolls – Tuesday, August 23 – The Rebel Lounge
The Aquadolls are Burger Records fellow travelers who do a lot with a little. They’re a very capable bass-drums-two-guitar foursome led by singer-guitarist Melissa Brooks, and on their 2013 full-length, Stoked on You, they touch on everything that makes Southern California rock 'n' roll so permanently great. Goof-offs like “I Like Fruit” (not to be confused with a Descendents song) and “Tweaker Kidz” are good ol’ teenage punkery, but the Aquadolls also do zoned-out, Paisley Underground–style pop on “So High” and turn in an uncharacteristically frenzied garage-rock freakout on “Cool Cat.” But if they’ve got a signature, it’s gotta be “Our Love Will Always Remain,” a ’60s-gone-’70s-gone-’90s power-pop heartbreaker reaching out a hand toward the sublime. When the beach craze is over and the tide goes out, it’ll be the songs like this that remain. CHRIS ZIEGLER
Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa — Wednesday, August 24 – Ak-chin Pavilion
Would seeing Snoop Dogg in concert be awesome? Of course. Would seeing Snoop Dogg with Wiz Khalifa perform in the most suburban venue in town be even more awesome? You better believe it. It's a curious thought if the parents who plan to escort their kids to this show even know who these artists really are. After Khalifa and Charlie Puth's 2015 hit "See You Again" crossed over into every imaginable radio format, moms everywhere were suddenly under the impression that they were Wiz fans. Watching them realize that the majority of this show will likely be about smoking pot will be entertaining in and of itself, almost as much as watching the crowd attempt to smoke in the most sanitized pavilion around. And, of course, Snoop Dogg is the man. All in all, there's a lot of entertainment to be witnessed at this show. SELENA DIERINGER
KNIX Acoustic Summer feat. Granger Smith – Wednesday, August 24 – Mesa Arts Center
Before anyone had any idea who Granger Smith was, Earl Dibbles Jr. was the king of the internet. A purveyor of sassy country memes and parody videos, Dibbles is Smith’s longtime alter ego, a character created by the Dallas singer as a sort of tongue-in-cheek celebration of rural life. “I created Earl Dibbles Jr., and I’m passionate about it. It’s become my brand,” says Smith. The barb wire-tattooed, overalls-wearing Dibbles frequently sports a fat chaw in his lip and lives in a rundown house. He's released such esteemed tracks as the recent “‘Merica” and “City Boy Stuck," and boasts more than 5 million fans on Facebook and 50 million views on YouTube. The hillbilly everyman persona has been so successful, in fact, that Smith has incorporated it into the shows he plays under the name his mama gave him. Once Smith’s band leaves the stage after a performance, Dibbles returns with his cannons and American flags to wrap up the show. Both Smith and Dibbles will perform at the KNIX Acoustic Summer concert, which is being put on by the local powerhouse country station and will also feature Chase Bryant and the Eli Young Band. AMY MCCARTHY
The Go-Go’s and Best Coast – Thursday, August 25 – Comerica Theatre
The Go-Go’s are calling it quits again. Guitarist Jane Wiedlin made the announcement earlier this year on her website. The nearly 40-year-old band has given itself the precise designation of “the most successful all-female rock band of all time.” With 7 million albums sold, it would be difficult to find another band that could take their self-lauded achievement away from them. Touring these days as a quartet (bassist Kathy Valentine sued her former bandmates in 2013), the Go-Go’s should give themselves credit for bringing New Wave to a wider audience. Belinda Carlisle’s gleaming vocals and the group’s appreciation of ’60s surf rock put a pop twist on their punk music roots. The result was a career filled with enough highs and lows to overstuff an episode of VH1’s Behind The Music (their episode was so popular it spawned a CD compilation bearing the music documentary show’s title). It seems appropriate that Best Coast is joining the Go-Go’s for their farewell tour. Bethany Cosentino told NME that the duo’s third album, California Nights, was inspired by their tour mates. The show may feel less like a goodbye and more like a passing of the torch. JASON KEIL
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Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals – Thursday, August 25 – Marquee Theatre
Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals will roll into the Marquee Theatre in Tempe on the back end of a worldwide tour promoting their latest album, Call It What It Is. What you can call it, in addition to a long-overdue reunion with his most famous and celebrated backing band, is a timely statement lyrically centered around the violence of recent times — the brunt of which, sadly, is being directed towards people of color. As serious about his activism as he is about his music, it’s no surprise that Harper has funneled his recent bouts of energy towards addressing current injustices and strife. Unlike some of his kindred spirits, however, Harper tends to tread easy on speech, opting instead to let the music and his lyrics do the talking. Expect an evening full of thunderous rock swagger, rhythmic grooves, and bluesy soul riffage. It's likely that a couple of his singalong hits — "Burn One Down," "Steal My Kisses," "Diamonds on the Inside" — will find their way into the set list, as well. JEFF STROWE
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – Thursday, August 25 – Livewire
One of hip-hop's most prolific acts, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is the only group to have ever worked with all four of an esteemed group of hip-hop icons: 2-Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Eazy-E, and Big Pun. You could say they're a gangster rap version of Boyz II Men with less angry lyrics than Three 6 Mafia. (The members even pulled a Ramones and changed their last names to Bones). The group has undergone a series of lineup changes over the past couple of decades, but even after their mainstream decline in the late '90s, Bone Thugs has continued to release material that goes above and beyond industry norms. Following in Wu-Tang Clan's footsteps, Bone Thugs made one copy of their final album, E. 1999 Legend, in 2015 and received a $1 million bid. They've since announced their retirement from making music, but are still touring with their current cross-country jaunt, bringing them to Livewire in Scottsdale this week. DIAMOND VICTORIA