The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week
Sean Matthew Tillmann, better known as Har Mar Superstar.
Rickett & Sones
Here are our concert picks for this week. For more options, check out our comprehensive concert calendar.
Har Mar Superstar – Monday, November 14 – Valley Bar
For the past 15 years, the eccentric musician Sean Tillmann has gyrated his nearly nude naughty bits to the delightful sounds of expertly crafted R&B as his alter ego, Har Mar Superstar. The rotund Lothario takes his music seriously however, crafting poppy synth beats that pair well against his crisp vocals. His latest album under the Har Mar banner, Best Summer Ever, came out in April and covers a cavalcade of stylistic time periods as a satirical take on a compilation album spanning from the '50s to the '80s. Tracks like the disco inspired “It Was Only Dancing (Sex),” give the album a feeling reminiscent of the Dan Band, and the Glenn Danzig-styled vocals of “Famous Last Words” show off Tillmann’s ability to replicate a wide swath of musical styles. So while the aesthetically closed-minded may find his live act to be a little intense, new comers will quickly learn that Tillmann's antics take a back seat to the clear craftsmanship present in his work. NICHOLAS BOSTICK
Chazwick Bradley Bundick (a.k.a. Toro y Moi).
Courtesy of the Windish Agency
Toro y Moi – Monday, November 14 – Crescent Ballroom
Over the past few years, Chaz Bundick has successfully reinvented Toro y Moi. On early tours, critics savaged Toro y Moi for being something of an underwhelming live act. But rather than buckle under the criticism, Bundick transformed the shows into visually as well as musically rich experiences. On the 2013 album Anything in Return, Bundick moved away from the original chillwave sound of the project, instead turning to ’70s funk acts like the Commodores and Stevie Wonder for inspiration, and more recent concerts show evidence of his newfound confidence as a performer and songwriter. With the latest Toro y Moi record, this year’s What For?, Bundick turns that funk-and-electro fusion into ambitious pop that recalls the visionary compositions of Harry Nilsson and Todd Rundgren. TOM MURPHY
The members of Copeland.
Tooth & Nail Records
Copeland – Tuesday, November 15 – The Rebel Lounge
Copeland jumped onto the emo/indie rock scene around 2003, and only a few years later, in 2008, announced they were calling it quits after a string of exceptional albums. However, they reunited in 2014 and released a great album, Ixora, to prove it. The band is perhaps best recognized by lead singer Aaron Marsh's falsetto vocals, and has drifted from emo to some harder rock and back again over the years. Each album comes out charged with so much gut-wrenching emotion that you can't help but connect with it. DIAMOND VICTORIA
LANY – Tuesday, November 15 – Crescent Ballroom
Despite touring with acts like X Ambassadors, Halsey, and Twin Shadow in the United States, and opening for Ellie Goulding in the United Kingdom within its first year of being an established touring band, three-piece alt-pop electronic band LANY has been barely a blip on anyone’s radar. “We spent our entire last year as a band going everywhere and supporting a lot of people, and playing probably 100 shows to rooms of people who didn’t know who we were,” says frontman Paul Klein. However, after releasing the EP Make Out, featuring remastered versions of music in the trio's back catalog of tracks and a stripped-down version of hit single “ILYSB,” LANY announced a headlining tour throughout the U.S. Seemingly overnight, the once-unknown band started selling out venues. “I guess it’s one of the best feelings in the world to have success like this, and I hope people understand that this is a LANY tour, so it doesn’t look or feel the same as it did the last time they might have seen us,” Klein says. For now, LANY's fan base continues to grow, and although Klein and his bandmates acknowledge that they reach a predominantly teenage demographic, they're hopeful that they'll evolve into an all-ages band. "It kind of feels like the older people get, the less they want to be fans, and I hate that so much," Klein says. "The best thing we can do as human beings is to be fans of things and to be appreciative of each other and supportive of what one another is doing." LAUREN ARCHULETTA
Ringo Starr – Tuesday, November 15 – Celebrity Theatre
In the most famous band of all time, of course Ringo Starr is one of the most famous drummers of all time – a quirky, loveable Liverpool kid who lucked out by getting served a fantastic opportunity. Without Starr, however, the Beatles might have had a hard time transitioning from fun-loving mop-top stars to some of history's greatest songwriters. Ringo's breathtaking inventiveness on tracks such as "In My Life," "Something," and "Paperback Writer" is often overlooked as nothing more than "straightforward," but Ringo's Zen-like minimalism with the Beatles – which influenced virtually every quality drummer since him – was deceptively ingenious, inspired, and underrated. ADAM PERRY
The members of Gogol Bordello.
Courtesy of Red Light Management
Gogol Bordello – Tuesday, November 15 – Marquee Theatre
You can listen to Gogol Bordello's albums, watch videos, see photos or read about the gypsy punks, but none of it can really compare to the act's vigorous, highly charged shows. Fronted by wiry frontman Eugene Hutz, who's a whirring ball of energy on stage, the band usually blasts through song after song with a punk fury, stirring up frenzied mosh pits with fists pumping, bodies bouncing, and sweat flying around wherever they go. JON SOLOMON
Karl Blau – Wednesday, November 16 – Valley Bar
In 2016, bizarre-folk hero Karl Blau decided it was high time to officially acquaint himself with the larger world. Two decades and dozens of releases in, this year marked the delivery of Introducing Karl Blau, a collection of soulful country covers. The Western sway of this latest Blau incarnation — which includes collaborations with the likes of Jim James and Laura Veirs — is glossier than his staple DIY tape-hiss-style recordings. But even when he’s singing in tribute to others, Blau’s gentle, emotive voice shines through. A Harry Nilsson for the future, Blau remains true to the lo-fi, forest-born Pacific Northwestern dub he’s been building via audio and video recordings. BREE DAVIES
Rapper Mac Miller.
GL Askew II
Mac Miller – Wednesday, November 16 – Marquee Theatre
Mac Miller is a 24-year-old MC, multi-instrumentalist and producer who has been rapping since his early teens and scoring hits for almost as long. Ever since his debut album — 2011’s Blue Slide Park — topped the Billboard albums chart, Miller has lived a life in the spotlight, for better and sometimes for worse. His current tour, which swings through the Valley this week, is for his new album, The Divine Feminine, Miller's fourth official full-length album (not counting mixtapes). And on it, the MC fully explores a funky, jazzy, soulful vibe that he’s only hinted at in the past, particularly on 2013’s Watching Movies With the Sound Off. That vibe has always been in the tool kit, he says. It didn’t change, and the audience didn’t change. The artist did. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I think I’m just starting to learn how to jump in with both feet, going all the way and not teasing at something,” Miller says. “Believing in myself and just jumping in, that’s the only way to do it." Miller’s music is benefiting from that shift in focus. The Divine Feminine is his best album yet, a confident fusion of warm horns, lush strings, twinkling keys, and late-night beats that leaves plenty of room in the arrangements for Miller’s affable raps and, for the first time, his singing voice. BEN SALMON
Trash Talk – Thursday, November 17 – The Rebel Lounge
About 12 years ago, four California skate rats came together to play music. Back then, Trash Talk was abrasive and aggressive, grouped into the subgenres of extreme powerviolence and grindcore. Punks who appreciated their early sound flocked to see them. The momentum snowballed, and as mosh pits grew larger, the band toured the nation and eventually other countries. Keeping true to their roots has benefited Trash Talk, now a world-renowned hardcore-punk act. In 2012, the band reached its fandom tipping point when rapper and record producer Tyler, the Creator began collaborating and performing with the tattooed punks. "Our music sounds like us," vocalist Lee Speilman says. "It's not just spastic hardcore punk; there's a method for the madness. We make music because we want to, not because a label told us to." They toured Australia and Japan and, last year, released a record called No Peace. It was a more polished, mainstream, and grown-up sound from the band's earlier years, perhaps a sign of maturity, but certainly not any sort of softening. Last month, the band released its new EP, Tangled, for free on their website (Speilman urges fans to download and "fuck with it.”) Though Trash Talk has taken some time off from touring in the past few years, Speilman says he and his bandmates feel invigorated, restless, and ready to tour the country once again — playing both classics and newer songs. WILL TOOLE
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