I’m not going to go into a rant about how hot it currently is in Phoenix — we all know. We all see the annoying Facebook posts daily of temperature gauges. Yes, we live in the desert. Yes, it’s the price we pay for gorgeous winters. So shut the hell up; we all know that, as metalheads, we’re still bound to show up in a mosh pit at Ak-Chin Pavilion at 2 p.m. on a Friday for those all-day metal summer festivals we can’t get enough of. Celebrate the metal summer tours. Fireworks. Less traffic, since the snowbirds have flown the coop. And whiskey lemonades. Lots of them.
So, to brighten your day, we've has compiled a list of all the best July metal shows happening in the Valley, including two AZ metal fests, a few stars like Carcass, Otep, and Rob Zombie, and a solid smattering of local bands hitting the stages.
July 8 – Hounds of Tindalos, Dive Bar Knights, and more – Joe’s Grotto
This show is great for those looking for a variety of super-heavy rock and death metal. Hounds of Tindalos is a death-metal group based out of Mesa (have a listen to their EP, 2014’s Believe), while the Dive Bar Knights, known for a high-energy hard-rock show — and a love for playing in dive bars — will bring brand-new material and stage setup. Metal act Oath to Ashes and death metallers Pedestal of Infamy round out the bill, with more bands to be announced. Brought to you by Final Hour Booking Presents, this show is 21-and-over and costs just $5.
July 8 – Dead of Summer (Phoenix show) – Time Out Lounge
Dead of Summer is a two-part show, with one night in Phoenix and another in Tucson — and it’s all about celebrating and supporting local Arizona metal, obviously! For just $6, you can check out the locally revered (and one of my favorites) act Phoenix & Dragon, thrash-metal four-piece Conceived by Thunder, and speed-metal force Death Awaits. Leshen also rounds out this bill.
July 8 – As Thick As Thieves and Ella Kaye Dual CD Release – Club Red
This is an interesting dynamic: While As Thick As Thieves has been bringing progressive rock to the masses since early 2011, Ella Kaye has built a following on heavy guttural vocals, melodic screams, and pounding double bass. So are the metal tides changing, or are the bands just bringing together a wide range of fans? A little bit of both. As Thick As Thieves’ new EP, Whiskey Bent, is a bit on the heavier side than usual, while Ella Kaye’s new EP, No Nights, is leaning more on the melody and intricacies than the band ever has before. Chivalry is Dead, After the Calm, and November Skies will also hit the stage.
July 10 – Otep, Paridiso Falls, and more – Club Red
In 2013, Otep and I discussed piracy, her album Hydra, and leaving heavy metal forever. Just a few years later, she talked to me about spiritual intercourse and admitted that Slipknot’s DJ talked her into performing again. Since then, she’s released new music and is more politically active than ever. She puts on a hell of a live show. The lineup is rounded out by some other amazing acts: Paradiso Falls, Bleed the Fifth, A Moment of Clarity, Saalythic, and Sirens Uprising.
July 15 – Generation NeXt Fest II – Verde Valley Fairgrounds
Head out to Cottonwood to catch this hard rock and metal fest put on by Syntheticide Entertainment LLC. Imagine Northern Arizona's biggest all-ages, alternative music festival featuring seven bands including Storm of Perception (these guys are fantastic on stage, and are managed by former Guns 'N Roses manager Alan Niven), Phoenix & Dragon, Go Ask Alice, Oath to Ashes, A Dead World at Sunrise, Project Unknown, and Bent Self. On top of that, there’s two DJ sets, live flash tattoo sessions by Ink Impression Tattoo, and other live entertainment and vendors. Tickets are only $15.
July 15-16 – Desert Thawout – Marquee Theatre
If you’ve ever been to Desert Frostover, well, you know what a great event Jeremy Jalowiec can organize with bands, vendors, and sponsors. Desert Thawout Music Festival 2016 is held over two days, with doors opening at 5 p.m. In true “desert” fashion, the second day tends to be a bit heavier than the first, but there’s always something for everyone. Lineup below:
Friday, July 15
Run Definitely Run
Dead Light Shines
Saturday, July 16
There Is No Us
Lost In Lie
July 21 – Dark Sermon – Pub Rock Live
Since 2009, Dark Sermon has been all about standing apart from the cookie-cutter metal genres: hardcore, thrash, death, speed. They just decided to combine all the best parts of each: They describe themselves as "the suffocating stomp of Behemoth, the brash experimentalism of Gojira, and the all-out ferocity of American heroes like Job For A Cowboy and The Black Dahlia Murder … slices and dices its way through the most exciting elements of metal's subgenres with relentless aggression.” Sold. Canadian metallers Exalt round out this bill.
July 22 – Blessthefall – Joe’s Grotto
Not only is Blessthefall a pioneer in the metalcore genre, they’re also one of the larger Arizona metal acts to make a splash on the scene in the past five years. 2011’s Awakening hit number 32 on the Billboard Top 200, while 2013’s Hollow Bodies was Alternative Press' Most Anticipated Album of 2013. They’ve obviously got a strong following in the AZ scene, so this show is sure to be packed. Get your tickets while you can.
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July 23 – Rob Zombie and Korn – Ak-Chin Pavilion
These mainstream metal acts need little introduction; but I must say that I love the dynamic between them on tour. While Rob Zombie compliments his increasingly ridiculously named albums with increasingly fantastic visual effects and stage theatrics, Korn is all about bringing the best parts of their catalog to life in a simplistic stage setting. 98KUPD presents this Return of the Dreads Tour, also featuring In This Moment.
July 25 – Carcass, Crowbar, and more – Club Red
Psyko Steve Presents the One Foot in the Grave 2016 tour, and jaws have been dropping at this full lineup of metal legends. Carcass has been called the most influential band to come out of Liverpool since the Beatles; the British extreme metal band formed in 1985, disbanded in 1995, and then reformed again in 2007. However, they’re still seen as pioneers of grindcore metal and melodic death metal. Crowbar is a pioneer in sludge metal and doomcore in their own right, with almost a quarter of a century of blood, sweat, and tears put into nine full-length albums (and one in the works) and countless lineup changes. Ghoul and Night Demon round out the lineup.