The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Puddles Pity Party
Puddles Pity Party
Em Butler Photography

Here are our concert picks for this week. For more options, visit our comprehensive concert calendar.

Puddles Pity Party  Monday, November 7  Crescent Ballroom
For the third time in the last three years, Puddles Pity Party will take ownership of the stage at downtown’s Crescent Ballroom. Though the name implies a group, it’s a one-man show with a giant clown at the helm. Yep, Puddles, who towers at seven feet tall, is a sad and mischievous clown with an operatic voice. Puddles’ initial success came from the YouTube video he released of his cover of Lorde’s hit song “Royals.” As interesting as it was to see a gigantic clown belting out anything, it was even better with his powerful, undeniable vocal skills. He tackles all styles, too, from Sinatra to Bob Marley to Metallica, and he rises to the challenge each time, taking it to the next level — clown level. It’s nothing short of majestic every fucking time. The Puddles live show is an interactive affair. Throughout each night, he randomly pulls people from the audience and engages them in different types of shenanigans. At his early shows, this was an obviously unexpected component of the night. Audience members looked shocked and a little nervous as he plucked people to include in his act. Now, it’s become something the audience looks forward to; people are dressing clown-style or adorning Puddles-related garb in the hopes of getting noticed by the clown. Hands raise and wave all night now, flailing in “pick me” desperation to score some close-up time with this unique showman. AMY YOUNG

No Parents
No Parents
Felisha Tolentino

No Parents – Monday, November 7 – Valley Bar
No Parents are like a John Hughes movie starring the Menendez brothers: a cute comedy loaded with violence and splattered adults. For the layman who reads about punk rock in fashion mags, they're the next FIDLAR — the new torchbearers of skate-punk. Goofy analogies aside, No Parents are jokers with an '80s hard-core edge — when singer Zoe Reign gets naked and sings, "I'm gonna kill my dad/Fuck my mom" while doing a half-serious robot dance, he looks like Baby Huey meets Darby Crash. Released earlier this year, No Parents' debut album, May the Thirst Be With You, offers furiously funny, heavy and danceable pop-punk that's loaded with enough dick jokes to garner comparisons to early Blink-182. Which is why they're LOL-ing their way to the mainstage at festivals. Get used to all the hippie-bashing and Dickies-esque songwriting, because No Parents are ready for prime time. ART TAVANA

Death GripsEXPAND
Death Grips
Kennysun/CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Death Grips  Tuesday, November 8  Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Think of the most pretentious bands you can: the ones that take their music almost too seriously, the ones who constantly break up and get back together just in time for a world tour, the ones who cancel such tours to record, then leak their own albums onto mysterious Twitter/YouTube/Myspace/Deep Web accounts. What artists come to mind? Tool? LCD Soundsystem? The late Prince? What about Death Grips? Even if there is a lot of smoke and mirrors surrounding Death Grips’ various stunts — such as posting “interview” videos with no sound — it’s clear the band is pushing what it even means to be a band. The Sacramento trio is rapper-vocalist MC Ride (known by his mother as Stefan Burnett), drummer and producer Zach Hill, and keyboardist/programmer Andy Morin. Together, they have crushed industrial instrumentals with experimental hip-hop and noise rock — no easy task — and have influenced everyone from Iggy Pop to Eric André to the late David Bowie. Yes, really. Death Grips have collaborated heavily with Björk, Nick Reinhart of Tera Melos, and even worked with Twilight’s Robert Pattinson on their song “Birds.” Whether they’re a real band or just performing artists making some sort of “statement,” it’s clear people are listening. TROY FARAH

Denzel Curry
Denzel Curry
JMP

Denzel Curry – Tuesday, November 8 – Club Red
Burgeoning rap star Denzel Curry has been tapped for XXL's career-propelling 2016 "Freshman Class," and his newest album, Imperial, features appearances by Joey Bada$$ and fellow Miami native Rick Ross. With new eyes upon him from all over the world, Curry is excited yet hesitant about his growing success, conceding fear in "how much responsibility I'm going to have because my face is now going to be known around the world even more. The blessing is I'm still making people happy. The curse is being watched at all times." Despite his concerns, Curry’s used his music to highlight some of the issues that plague Miami at large and, in turn, other inner-city communities across the nation. “N64," off the 2013 LP Nostalgic 64, features audio of a news report about a student walkout at Curry's alma mater, Carol City High School, in protest of the murder of Trayvon Martin, who attended the school for some time and who Curry has said was a fan of his. Despite echoing the names of the all too many victims who have become Black Lives Matter hashtags, Curry does not view himself as a political rapper, but rather as a reflection of the world around him. "I'm just real. I just say what's on my mind. I'm not a political rapper. I don't see myself as a politician. I just say what I say because that's what I'm going through right now, you know?" CELIA ALMEIDA

The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This WeekEXPAND
Sean Waltrous

Psychic Twin  Wednesday, November 9  Crescent Ballroom
In 2012, Psychic Twin, led by singer-songwriter Erin Fein, released several rapt, evocative singles. These starry-eyed exercises in the shoegaze genre, filled with wistful counter-melodies and dark rhythms, were meant to be solitary affairs, a way to capture the feeling of recording with her imaginary twin. The singles showed promise, but little has been heard from Fein since. Until now. Strange Diary, Psychic Twin’s long-awaited full-length album, is a breakup record that tells Fein’s story since the release of those auspicious songs four years ago. It also carves out a new direction for the music of moving on. The album is not the standard collection of acoustic torch songs detailing the personal peccadilloes of a failed marriage, but rather a melodic, synth-heavy package of tunes that redefines confessional music. It is both a sonic chronicle of Fein’s divorce and a documentary of how cold and isolating it can be to start over in a new place, as she packed up her life in central Illinois and relocated to Brooklyn. The result is a raw, intimate diary of thoughts you would share with your closest friend — or imaginary twin. JASON KEIL

SALESEXPAND
SALES
Carlos Quintero Jr.

SALES – Wednesday, November 9 – Valley Bar
SALES are an indie pop duo from Orlando featuring the musical talents of Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih, with Morgan handling vocal duties. The two-piece craft an elegant and lovely lo-fi sound that blends acoustic guitars and electronic production. Impossibly charming, they’re a must-hear and -see for fans of chamber pop bands such as Belle and Sebastian or Stars. This Thursday, the second stop of their North American tour finds them popping into Valley Bar, an intimate venue and thus, the perfect setting for SALES. The group's independently released self-titled LP drops the day before, an album they recently previewed during a live stream on Twitch. The first two singles off the record, “Ivy” and “Jamz,” are sparkling downtempo grooves that feel like a mashup between Best Coast and Chet Faker. On April 21, set time aside from homework or adulthood for this breezy group and what should be a charming evening of twinkling, electro-pop. SALES are as far from punk rock as possible, but pack no less a punch, albeit more of an emotional one. ANGEL MELENDEZ

The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week
Wrenne Evans

Diarrhea Planet – Wednesday, November 9 – Valley Bar
Everyone likes a good poop joke now and then — but Nashville's Diarrhea Planet are quick to point out they are "not a joke band with a joke name. We are a very serious band with a joke name." The weird moniker was chosen as a "fuck you" to the commercial music types at Belmont University, where the six-piece band formed. Plus, as guitarist (one of four) Jason Smith explained when we called him up, it's better than choosing a serious-sounding name, like Vampire Weekend, then waking up one day and realize it's stupid and means nothing. "With a silly band name where it's out of the way and you don't have to think about it," Smith says. In spite of whatever gag-worthy images their name puts in your head, Diarrhea Planet actually takes their craft quite seriously. Indie pop charms funneled through heavy metal puts them somewhere between Wavves and FIDLAR with plenty of nods to Black Sabbath, AC/DC, and The Ramones. "Ugliest Son" gets sludgy, peppered with themes of sickness and ultimate evil, while "Kids" gets more emotive, exploring the realization that nobody, no matter what age, really has it all figured out. TROY FARAH

Rufus Wainwright – Thursday, November 10 – Mesa Arts Center
Rufus Wainwright's music is hard to categorize. It's not really pop music, because too often it lacks the kind of simple catchy hooks that make for great radio fodder. He composed an opera and has set Shakespearean sonnets to music, but you can't really define him as a classical composer. Across all his diverse projects, it is his innate talent for singing and songwriting that defines him as a musician and is apparent across his genre-hopping career. When you're the son of two folk singers (Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III), singing and songwriting are ingrained in you. Wainwright has made a life in music, something his heritage seems to have destined him for, but he has also done so in an extremely distinctive, individualistic way. His music, like him, seems to exist in the grey areas and in-betweens. If he's a little outside the norm, it's probably because that is where he is most comfortable. KATE WOMACK

Car Seat HeadrestEXPAND
Car Seat Headrest
Anna Webber

Car Seat Headrest — Thursday, November 10 — Crescent Ballroom
Car Seat Headrest was the DIY dorm-room project of Will Toledo until his music was discovered by Matador Records last year; now, he and his songs are included on many year-end best-of lists. Toledo, who started recording at age 17, has 11 albums to his name, all of which are personal, complex, and full of a certain stripped-down charm. He also tends to experiment with genres, mixing punk, psychedelia, and pop with excellence, which is most likely why he’s gotten as far as he has in such a short time. Car Seat Headrest may not be what you expect, but it is worthy of all the buzz — and a trip to the Crescent later this week. ISA JONES

HEALTH
HEALTH
Sesse Lind

HEALTH – Thursday, November 10 – The Rebel Lounge
It's hard not to think HEALTH is more mechanized than Kraftwerk ever could have dreamed. The Los Angeles quartet teethed itself on the abrasive thrash of New York noise rock bands, but committed to harmonic balance with trademark melodic synth licks and singer Jake Duzsik's distant, unaffected voice. With a "no ride cymbal" policy, and by corking their mics through guitar pedals, HEALTH displays some of the most interesting percussion this side of Zach Hill. The band's warped approach earns it labels like "industrial disco," almost as if synthpop group Pet Shop Boys met doom-metal legends Earth — but HEALTH's unique mixture of light and dark tones is not so simple. Death Magic, the band's recent third album and first in six years, expands the dance-floor grooves without sacrificing any of the relentless, asymmetrical rhythm inherent in 2009's Get Color. The group often is on the road, and the members have met a lot of interesting friends along the way. When Crystal Castles remixed HEALTH's single "Crimewave," it brought the group mainstream notoriety, and Famiglietti says they are good friends with Purity Ring, whose "Begin Again" was remixed by HEALTH. For Death Magic, HEALTH tapped Kanye West producer Andrew Dawson, noted for his work on Yeezus and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Famiglietti also says they chose a hip-hop producer instead of a rock or metal producer because of the specific tones HEALTH was trying to find. TROY FARAH

Sunn Trio
Sunn Trio
Lauren Bailey

Sunn Trio  Thursday, November 10  Valley Bar
Joel Robinson is a young man with a clear view of his heroes, artists like Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart, and the Meat Puppets, musicians who followed their own singular paths. As band leader of experimental jazz combo Sunn Trio, Robinson's goals are lofty: music reflecting the desert and addressing no less than the totality of the human experience. JASON P. WOODBURY

Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Valley Bar

130 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

602-368-3121

miles
Crescent Ballroom

308 N. 2nd Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

602-716-2222

www.crescentphx.com

miles
The Rebel Lounge

2303 E. Indian School Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85016

602-296-7013

www.therebellounge.com

miles
Mesa Arts Center
miles
Marquee Theatre

730 N. Mill Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85281

480-829-0707

www.luckymanonline.com

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Club Red

1308 W. University Dr.
Mesa, AZ 85201

480-258-2733

www.clubredrocks.com


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