The 25 Best Concerts in Phoenix in June 2016
John Carpenter is scheduled to perform on Sunday, June 19 at Mesa Arts Center.
You're not going to let a little hot weather stop you from going out, are you? Yeah, we know it's hot, but you can't stay cooped up for the next five months. Cabin fever's going to set in at some point, plus there happen to be a lot of great shows happening this month you don't want to ignore. That any includes any of the following "can't-miss" concerts in June.
Tokimonsta – Thursday, June 2 – Crescent Ballroom
Since the mid-aughts, Tokimonsta has been challenging EDM fans to think outside the confines of traditional electronic dance music. She's made a name for herself by melding rap and hip-hop beats into her music and crafting complex, unique tracks that have enabled her to reach a slew of listeners from different musical genres. Her appeal is widespread — both hip-hop heads and EDM devotees can find something to like in her music — and, more often than not, her beats are unlike anyone else's at the festivals she plays. Calling her style a mix of hip-hop and electronic is about as specific as the 20-something artist will get. "I don't like to label my music," she says. "I'm just a product of everything I listen to — a culmination of all these influences." JESSIE SCHIEWE
Broncho – Thursday, June 2 – Valley Bar
The garage-rock renaissance may have had its day, but Broncho is still riding the wave. The Oklahoma band has proven to be more than just a jangly throwback, though, adding the dissonance of post-punk into its noisy mix. Singer and guitarist Ryan Lindsey's nasally growl tops off the band’s unique sound. The group has been around since 2010, and has released two records, gaining some traction after the song "It's On" appeared at the end of an episode of HBO’s Girls in 2014. As for the name? Broncho is the moniker of a fictional character in one of the band's songs — a piece of a musical puzzle that is still being put together as the Western punk outfit's star rises. With Moving Units and Winter. BREE DAVIES
Guttermouth – Friday, June 3 – Yucca Tap Room
For more than two and a half decades, Guttermouth has been putting out a consistent brand of relentlessly taunting and taut SoCal pop punk. From a band with a name like Guttermouth, you get exactly what you expect: a tenable testament to truth in advertising in the form of lowbrow tunes, a seemingly exhaustive and endless catalog of songs with titles like "Pee In the Shower" and "Surfs Up Asshole," taken from nearly a dozen albums, including three live albums, issued on at least three prominent punk imprints (Nitro, Epitaph, and Volcom). Oh, and lest you worry, age hasn't made these dudes any less cantankerous.
Black Tiger Sex Machine – Saturday, June 4 – Monarch Theatre
It's going to be an absolute rager at Monarch Theatre when Canadian electronic dance music trio Black Tiger Sex Machine (aka BTSM) hits the Valley of the Sun. Their ridiculously aggressive style of dark EDM is accented wonderfully by the band's one-of-a-kind LED lighting rig and their custom-built light-up tiger masks. While the ornate technological tiger masks are an obvious nod to their electronic forefathers Daft Punk, BTSM are not trendy hangers-on copping another group's style. Their bellicose dance tunes are about 10 notches more abrasive than anything the famed French duo have ever produced, and the tiger masks add just the right amount of mystique to the mix.
But it isn't just some fancy stage props that have earned the group consisting of Marc Chagnon, Julien Maranda, and Patrick Barry spots at some of the country's premier music festivals. Their live shows come with a raw energy that is so transcendent it can even be felt through a computer screen watching their live videos online. Though the group has been putting out original tunes since their debut EP, Drama, in 2011, their newest record, Welcome to Our Church, released on February 2 of this year on the group's own label Kannibalen Records, is the group's first full-length effort. With the group still touring on the juice from their debut release, it will definitely be a raucous night of dancing when BTSM comes through the Copper State. JEFF MOSES
Dwight Yoakam – Sunday, June 5 – Celebrity Theatre
Second Hand Heart, Dwight Yoakam's 14th studio release, stays fiercely true to the honky-tonk, hillbilly aesthetic and sound that made him famous in the late 1980s. You could throw this record into any of the four decades that Yoakam has been making music and it would make perfect sense and still top the charts. But with this record, Yoakam manages to somehow maintain his classic sound while recording one of the most stylistically diverse records of his entire career.
He'd been relatively quiet since the release of 3 Pears, a woefully underrated record that was somehow great even though Kid Rock was involved, in 2012. Yoakam's songs haven't been country radio material since the 1990s, so he's been functionally tossed over into the Americana bin, which mainstream music happily ignores until it's ready to let folksy bands blow up the charts for a while. (See: Mumford and Sons.) Yoakam's relevance, though, has really never waned. On Second Hand Heart, he furiously makes the case that he still very much belongs in a country music world where authenticity is an endangered species. AMY MCCARTHY
Junior Brown – Monday, June 6 – Musical Instrument Museum
Teetering between corny and classic, Junior Brown bangs out a set of Americana-tinged fare that features his acclaimed double-necked plucking and baritone crooning. Bottling the essence of Tex-Mex, Western swing, and even surf music (an instrumental jog through the Johnny Rivers classic "Secret Agent Man"), Junior swerves through a varied repertoire, including ditties of red-blooded despair and road-weary humor. On tunes such as "Broke Down South of Dallas," "Party Lights," "My Wife Thinks You're Dead" and "I Hung it Up," he regales us with the perils of drinkin' all night and stayin' out late with another gal, then catching hell from your frying-pan-wielding old lady or seeing the "party lights" flashing behind you on the early-morning drive back to San Antone. If old-school twang with a hint of borderland carnival sounds like your bottle of cerveza, then you'll appreciate the old-school mishmash of Junior Brown. NICK HUTCHINSON
The Garden – Tuesday, June 7 – Valley Bar
Twin brothers Fletcher and Wyatt Shears, who comprise the two-piece Orange County based-band The Garden, deliver a delicately balanced attack while properly embracing the constraint set by being just bass, drums, and vocals, and they do it with an aplomb that belies their tender age. Shears and Shears are definitely skilled on their instruments (Wyatt plays bass and sings and Fletcher plays drums and makes faces) and truly play some of the best genre-bending music out there right now. If you had to define The Garden, you might call them post-post punk or New Post-Punk, but even then, it's not really accurate.
The Garden has distinct qualities of punk, New Wave, no wave, (a dash of) glam, and fair amount of teen angst, even though the Shears boys aren’t teenagers anymore and refer to their sound as "Vada." Raised in a musically forward-thinking home (Dad Steve Shears drums for So-Cal punk heroes Shattered Faith and roadies for X), the twins seem to be extremely comfortable following any musical whim, although their talent and keen eye for fashion, irony, and sarcasm have shaped their musical output in a way that even the most jaded music reviewer would be reluctant to call their music "whimsical." Call it "Vada," we suppose, whatever the hell that means. TOM REARDON
Preservation Hall Jazz Band – Tuesday, June 7 – Musical Instrument Museum
There's a decrepit old building on St. Peter Street in New Orleans, located in the heart of the French Quarter, with little in the way of amenities; drinks aren't even served there. Regardless, tourists line up hours before showtime because they know that Preservation Hall is one of the few pillars of old-school New Orleans-style jazz left in the city, if not the world. The style is bouncy and upbeat, borrowing from Caribbean rhythms, and the jazz band usually includes traditional Mardi Gras songs and old standards in its sets. The rotating cast of players ranges in age from 29 to 88, and the current lineup includes Ben Jaffe, son of tuba player Allan Jaffe, who opened the hall in 1961 and played until his death in 1987. The touring-band roster is equally amorphous, but with decades of experience and a huge pool of talent and tradition to draw from — even in post-Katrina New Orleans — the group is not likely to disappoint. KURT BRIGHTON
Los Van Van – Wednesday, June 8 – Livewire
It's not that often that a group credited with creating an entire musical genre comes to town, but Cuba's Los Van Van holds that distinction. Formed in the late '60s, Juan Formell and his troupe of conservatory-educated musicians injected the sounds of rock, funk, soul and disco they heard on U.S. radio waves into traditional Cuban son and salsa, much the same way their Caribbean neighbors in Jamaica created ska and reggae. In the process, Los Van Van named not only themselves — the name translates as "the go-go," after the fast-paced funk subspecies — but also songo, now one of the most prevalent and influential styles in the entire Latin-music diaspora. Instantly popular on their native island and in Latin America and Europe, Los Van Van began making waves stateside in the '90s and won the 1999 Best Salsa Performance Grammy for their album Llega Van Van. Touring behind this year's aptly named Estrellas de Cuba ("Stars of Cuba"), Formell and his "Rolling Stones of Salsa" are still going strong. CHRIS GRAY
Simian Mobile Disco – Wednesday, June 8 – Crescent Ballroom
Simian Mobile Disco have been at the cutting edge of dance music since they rose to prominence as part of the proto-EDM wave of electro that hit American shores in 2007. The Justice vs. Simian track "We Are Your Friends" is one of the most definitive tracks of that whole era.
Since then, members James Ford and Jas Shaw have carved a niche for themselves by moving against trends in dance music. The duo utilize analog equipment when performing their tech-house beats live. That is to say, they're actually playing instruments. That's why they're an act that so readily appeals across the spectrum to hipsters, ravers, and music nerds alike. JEMAYEL KHAWAJA
I Love the ‘90s Tour – Friday, June 10 – Talking Stick Resort
The I Love the '90s tour is here to meet all your nostalgia needs with a hip-hop package tour that already looks like a hell of a lot more fun than that Full House reboot. Along for the ride are Salt N' Pepa; their longtime DJ, Spinderella; Vanilla Ice; Tone Loc ("Funky Cold Medina"); Coolio ("Fantastic Voyage"); Young MC ("Principal's Office"); and Kid N Play (the House Party movies). Arguably, Young MC ("Bust a Move"); Kid N Play ("Rollin' With Kid & Play"); and Salt N' Pepa themselves ("Push It") did their most significant work in the '80s, but let’s not split hairs. It's just nice to see Salt N' Pepa in something besides a GEICO commercial. CHRIS GRAY
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo – Friday, June 10 – Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino
From a quick glance at Pat Benatar's and Neil "Spyder" Giraldo's social media, it is clear that the two, who started working together in 1979, have as strong a following as ever. They're celebrating this fact with an extensive 35th-anniversary tour, accompanied by a PBS special and 14-track CD/DVD live album. For those of you going "Huh?": Pat Benatar was the first female voice on MTV, back when the "M" stood for music. Her powerhouse vocals and singular style, combined with Giraldo’s stellar musicianship, made Benatar a timeless icon. The hits-filled live album proves Benatar and Giraldo defy time, featuring enduring classics such as "Shadows of the Night," "Heartbreaker," "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and "Love Is a Battlefield," all of which are continually revitalized with remixes and covers. LILY MOAYERI
Koo Koo Kanga Roo
Koo Koo Kanga Roo – Saturday, June 11 – The Rebel Lounge
Koo Koo Kanga Roo are two guys name Neil and Bryan (first names only, please), who together are the epitome of the "love-'em-or-hate-'em" kind of music act. Hailing from Minneapolis, Neil and Brian first began fusing their twisted hip-hop and dance music with kindergarten memories about four years ago. Since then, they've done major tours with the likes of Reel Big Fish and have garnered an audience that ranges in age from 4 to 24.
With these guys, it's just iPods and costumes as they lead crowds in sing-a-longs concerning the best sounding letters in the alphabet and the joys of eating sandwiches without the crusts. Kind of like a really demented and even more nerdy version of They Might Be Giants, Koo Koo Kanga Roo want everything to be as dance-minded and light-hearted as possible. DARRYL SMYERS
Del the Funky Homosapien – Saturday, June 11 – Pub Rock
When Del the Funky Homosapien burst onto the scene in 1991 with his debut album, I Wish My Brother George Was Here, he was considered a weird, eclectic MC. Since he was Ice Cube's cousin, however, hip-hop heads gave him the benefit of the doubt. Long before Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell Williams even thought to embrace the Thrasher nation, Del catered to the skater crowd. Shortly after issuing George, he formed the Hieroglyphics crew, which introduced Souls of Mischief and Casual to the hip-hop world. The MC amassed a loyal following, releasing several underground albums through his own Hiero imprint, in addition to embarking on several successful collaborations with the likes of Dan the Automator (Deltron 3030) and the Gorillaz. QUIBIAN SALAZAR-MORENO
Los Lonely Boys – Sunday, June 12 – Chandler Center for the Arts
Many fans thought Los Lonely Boys were a lucky band right out of the gate, and they were right. Henry, JoJo and Ringo, the Garza brothers from San Angelo, grew up playing music with their father and had a massive hit their first time out of the gate with "Heaven," a soulful ballad crystallizing their "Texican rock and roll" sound that cracked the Billboard Top 20 in 2004. It charted even higher in more specialized formats.
Although the Garzas never quite reached such lofty chart heights on their subsequent releases, their power-trio structure recalled past greats like Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and of course Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, so they quickly won a loyal following among guitar geeks with a taste for Texas blues, a sizable fan base they retain to this day (especially in the Southwest). At the same time, playing up their Latin roots placed them as natural heirs to the Santana/Los Lobos tradition, a style that truly blossomed on 2011 album Rockpango! CHRIS GRAY
Joe Jackson – Thursday, June 16 – Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
After classical training as a multi-instrumentalist at the Royal Academy of Music, Joe Jackson dove into punk and new wave with the release of Look Sharp! in 1979. He would forever be labeled as "angry" — which was all the rage at the time, along with those white shoes — but his career has spanned more musical genres than Pink Martini can shake a marimba stick at. In 2015, he released Fast Forward, his first album of original songs in seven years. It's a collection of 16 tracks recorded in four cities: New York, New Orleans, Berlin, and Amsterdam, recalling his suave Night and Day era. It's marvelous, theatrical, and stirring. For his current tour, he's his "own opening act" solo at the piano, followed by a full band set digging into a career's worth of songs. LIBBY MOLYNEAUX
Body Count – Friday, June 17 – Marquee Theatre
Crank up the volume, load up the shotty, and make damn sure your bandanna is the right color, because Ice-T and Body Count are back, and they still shoot to kill. More than 20 years after the West Coast crossover thrash band scared the shit out of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas with "Cop Killer," Body Count hit the streets once again this year, undiminished by advancing age, changing trends, or the group's tragic mortality rate. Now they're ready to jump another generation of kids into the joys of violently heavy rock-and-roll madness.
That's the plan, anyway. While Body Count shifted a lot of units back in the early '90s, the current pop landscape is practically unrecognizable from the world in which the band debuted. After all, the government ain't exactly trying to censor Drake. Is there a place for Body Count in a 21st-century metal pantheon ruled by the likes of Mastodon? Are there any cultural sacred cows left for the group to mow down with gunfire? Typically self-assured, rapper-turned-rock-star-turned-actor Ice-T didn't bother considering such questions when the opportunity to resurrect Body Count arrived after eight years of silence. In Ice's world, if it feels good, you do it. Simple. NATHAN SMITH
John Carpenter – Sunday, June 19 – Mesa Arts Center
Famed director John Carpenter has made some of the most memorable films of the last 40 years, and one of the things that made them memorable was the music: Carpenter has been the composer for his entire catalog — and beyond. And now he's bringing his music into a different kind of theater for a world tour, John Carpenter: Live Retrospective, that will land in the Valley this summer for a show at the Mesa Arts Center.
The visionary director of such classics as Halloween, The Fog, Big Trouble In Little China, The Thing, They Live, and Escape From New York will take the stage to play his masterful synth-driven themes from those films, along with new original numbers featured on his hit non-soundtrack album Lost Themes and its sequel, Lost Themes II. The latter project is a collaboration between Carpenter, his son Cody, and godson Daniel Davies (son of The Kinks' Dave Davies), and while the former is made up of original recordings collected over the years, Lost Themes II was recorded last year in one session. For many film fans, experiencing the director's musical works outside of the big screen — much less live and in-person — is a dream/nightmare come true. KEITH GARCIA
Guess which one's the model.
Mia Della Ragione
Sunflower Bean – Sunday, June 19 – Valley Bar
One listen to Sunflower Bean's EP Show Me Your Seven Secrets and you can hear the blatant nods to Black Sabbath, Rolling Stones, and The Velvet Underground. You certainly can’t argue with the musical tastes of Saint Laurent model Cumming, Nick Livlen, and Jacob Farber. “We’ve been music fans our whole lives,” Cumming states, “All of our parents showed us where rock music started out, and that influenced our lives a lot. I think what’s interesting is that all of these bands were as relevant to us as children as they were to our parents. One of the reasons we do what we do is we want to keep rock and roll alive.”
They formed the moody psychedelic rock band two years ago when they were teenagers in an attempt to save the music world from electronic dance music. This stems from a trip to a rainy EDM festival they experienced when they first started out. Cumming acknowledges her poor psychologist skills, but recalls her impressions of the festival’s audience. “People go these festivals to take drugs and get away from reality,” she says, “[EDM] is more about escapism than experience, and that’s okay to have that experience. It doesn’t really work for us. It will be interesting if future generations will find it touching later on. … There’s an improvisational element to playing instruments; even the possibility of musicians making mistakes is really interesting. It’s just a different thing.” JASON KEIL
Fishbone – Thursday, June 23 – The Rebel Lounge
With seemingly every alternative rock band of note reunited to dolefully tour the classics, Los Angeles band Fishbone remains a vital exception to the "play the hits" rule. For 33 years, the group has experimented and evolved, incorporating influences including ska, punk, hardcore, psychedelic rock, soul, funk, reggae, and jazz into a varied and uncompromisingly diverse discography. The band hasn't released solely flawless records, but it's never failed to issue interesting ones.
"That's part of the legacy of the band," bassist and founding member John Norwood Fisher explains. "The minute we stagnate and become a band that just goes over where we've been ... maybe that's okay at some point, but I'm just not there yet. I'm trying to figure out: What haven't we done? What can keep the vibe fresh?" Fishbone's latest, 2014's Intrinsically Intertwined EP, opens with "Unstuck," a song that ranks among the group's best. Under soulful vocals by Angelo "Dr. Madd Vibe" Moore, the band churns a progressive, knotty reggae groove with touches of jazz fusion, funky time changes, and double-bass drum work. Moore sings of the "phone that rings within," employing beautifully anachronistic gospel idiom. "Unstuck" represents the best of Fishbone; more than three decades in, they're still exploring new sounds. JASON P. WOODBURY
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic – Friday, June 24 – Marquee Theatre
There are those who believe there's nothing left to say about funkmaster-general George Clinton and his rhythmic traveling freak show. Balderdash! How about the fact that black Republican congressman J.C. Watts once revealed in a televised interview with Chris Rock that he has no idea who Clinton is? Or how about the time Clinton joined forces with porn star Shayla LeVeaux on a song called "Spanka-Vision," on an album called Deep Porn, a collection of rap and dance tracks featuring vocals from the adult-film industry's top moaners and groaners? Betcha didn't know that! See, there's always something about George Clinton worth discussing. And even if you do run out of things to say, you can always point out that the world wouldn't be as funky as it is without him. CRAIG D. LINDSEY
Pity Sex – Saturday, June 25 – The Rebel Lounge
The joys of Michigan’s Pity Sex are in the details; the quartet’s ostensibly easy-to-tag emo/indie template is in fact strewn with shards of self-examining shoegaze and down-tempo punk. Debut album Feast of Love, released in 2013, kicks off like melancholy, melodic early Weezer (“Wind Up”), but the record’s guitar tones soon get Smashing Pumpkins–gritty and Brennan Greaves’ lurking vocals become downright maudlin (“Sedated”). Pity Sex’s all-trumping curve ball is when second singing guitarist Britty Drake chimes in, her glacial timbre transforming the band from bedroom introspection to outdoorsy, borderline folksy escapism (“Hollow Body”). And when Greaves and Drake trade off, as on the relatively boisterous “Drown Me Out,” Pity Sex truly becomes its own animal — curled-up and comfy, but with massive, serrated teeth. PAUL ROGERS
Cage the Elephant – Sunday, June 26 – Gila River Arena
Eight years ago, Cage the Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” became the song of the summer. Ridiculously, almost annoyingly catchy in its raw, twangy affectation, it turned up everywhere from the insanely hyped video game Borderlands to an episode of Jersey Shore. With so much instant success off of a debut, rising bands often lose too much steam to overcome the sophomore slump. But here we are, nearly a decade later, and the Kentucky-based band is on its fourth studio album, last year's Tell Me I’m Pretty. Produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, whose flair for the vintage and obscure has imprinted itself on such albums as Ray Lamontagne’s Supernova and Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence, the album’s unexpected pairing makes for a captivating (and less annoyingly catchy) listen. ARTEMIS THOMAS-HANSARD
King Khan and the Shrines – Thursday, June 28 – Crescent Ballroom
It's hard to tell who King Khan is channeling when he gets on stage. James Brown comes to mind first, as does Screamin' Jay Hawkins. He sings about the important things: Mainly sex, food and rock 'n' roll. Also, the man has style and is known to perform in a satin cape, gold glitter blouse, and feathered headdress. Yes, he wears a blouse and he doesn't give a fuck.
It seems like King Khan and his eight-piece Shrines have been perpetually on the road, and are still fueled by the psych-soul voodoo that is their music, and possibly something otherworldly, too. First and foremost, they're a dance party band, and they tend to get the crowd all lathered up with their songs, which boasts distorted notes matching Khan's psycho-howl with ease, or antics, which include Khan putting his cape up to his face and striking various band members with his voodoo hand. Somewhere, Screamin' Jay was no doubt watching on and grinning. AUDRA SCHROEDER
Squirrel Nut Zippers – Thursday, June 30 – Marquee Theatre
Perhaps the best way to describe the Squirrel Nut Zippers is to clear up what they aren't. They didn’t belong to the late '90s neo-swing movement that consisted of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, or other like-styled rockers-turned-zoot-suit-rioters. Nor did they fall into the Vegas show band, cocktail nation, No Depression, or jazz camps. Instead, what the Zippers embodied both back then and still today is a savory, southernized gumbo of all those elements minus any overt nostalgia, homage, or camp.
As for the band members themselves, a line from one of their early songs could double as their performing impetus over the decades: "If it's good enough for granddad, then it's good enough for me." Apparently, it was also good enough for their fanbase way back when, who helped made the Zippers' "Hell" – a rumba-and-calypso tour of Satan's domain – 1997's most unlikely radio hit. BOB RUGGIERO
Editor's note: This blog was updated since its original publication with additional show details.
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