The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix in February 2017
AFI is scheduled to perform on Friday, February 17, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Okay, folks, enough’s enough. You’ve all spent entirely too much time lately scrolling through your social media feeds for the latest dose of horrible news du jour. Seriously.
While we appreciate the need to stay well informed, especially right now, y’all could definitely benefit from taking a breather for a bit, if for no other reason than to keep some modicum of sanity in these utterly insane times. It also might do you some good to get away from your computer, get outside for a bit, or even attend a show.
And there are definitely plenty of great shows happening this month. And that's not an "alternative fact," but is the actual
Take a look.
Singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart.
Devendra Banhart – Wednesday, February 1 – Crescent Ballroom
Who says busking doesn’t pay? Maybe Devendra Banhart. The beardy folk singer/songwriter tried it back in the ’90s, during his art school days in San Francisco before he dropped out and headed to France seeking some more exciting musical pastures. That choice seemed to work out better, as he got some gigs with indie superstar acts like Sonic Youth and began dazzling Euro rock fans with his neo-psych lyrical poetry. When Michael Gira of longtime noise band the Swans got ahold of Banhart’s music, he didn’t waste time signing them to his Young Gods label, known for keeping a roster of artists who keep their diverse sonic creations off the beaten path. Several albums later, Banhart recently dropped Ape in Pink Marble. This new release’s 13 songs have him continuing to put the freak in the freak-folk sound that rightfully describes his style. His breathy fluidity and vibrato easily channel ’60s folk singers like Donovan and Nick Drake. But even though you can feel that era’s folk fairy dust sprinkled throughout, Banhart’s sound doesn’t commit wholeheartedly to the period. He blends an apparent love of the music of world cultures along with some good old punk-rock snarl that gives his neo-hippie self a bit of a serrated edge. AMY YOUNG
Courtesy of MSOPR
Coors Light Birds Nest – Wednesday, February 1, to Saturday, February 4 – TPC Scottsdale
To some Phoenicians (no offense Scottsdalites, Glendalaroos,
Courtesy of Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande – Friday, February 3 – Talking Stick Resort Arena
Ariana Grande is only 23. But the pixie with the pipes has already made herself a household name, going on to dominate radio and the web as she promotes her second album, Dangerous Woman, which came out in May 2016. The album itself is slickly produced pop that features sounds from trap music, reggae, and other genres, with guest verses from A-listers like Future and Nicki Minaj boosting the quality across the board. And of course, the album places Grande’s jaw-dropping voice front and center. Not many singers can be realistically compared to Mariah Carey, and for even fewer does the comparison actually stick. But with Grande, the praise-by-association is warranted. She can do nearly anything with her voice, from the Carey-
The members of Bright Light Social Hour.
Nicole Fara Silver
Bright Light Social Hour – Friday, February 3 – Valley Bar
Bright Light Social Hour debuted in late 2010 in Austin, Texas, with an eponymous LP that was all over the place in the best possible way, a sometimes confounding mashup of styles that nonetheless felt comfortable in its own skin and instantly marked them as a band worth paying attention to. Six years later, the Austin five-piece is no less ambitious or accomplished, still at it with a bespoke brand of rock that delights in blurring the boundaries between art-rock adventure and outright jams. They’re currently touring in support of a three-song collaborative EP, Neighbors, they crafted along with esteemed singer-songwriter Israel Nash. Expect to hear a track or two from the album at the band’s gig at Valley Bar. CHRIS GRAY
Kenny Wayne Shepherd – Saturday, February 4 – Talking Stick Resort
This far into his 20-year career, Kenny Wayne Shepherd has proven time and again his relevance in blues and country — and he's only in his 30s. Yeah. This guy's career technically started when he was 13 years
Melina Ausikaitis, Theo Katsaounis, Tim Kinsella, and Bobby Burg of Joan of Arc.
Joan of Arc – Monday, February 6 – Valley Bar
Joan of Arc may be one of the most pretentious bands in existence, but it also puts on a kick-ass live show. The group doesn't come off its throne above the city of Chicago often, but when it does, it almost always ends up snagging a few converts along the way. Nearly every one of its songs relies heavily on noodling guitars that eventually collapse into epic power chords before completely falling apart into a noisy mess, while singer Tim Kinsella makes the postmodern rounds, tapping into the psyche of Gertrude Stein or Samuel Beckett at any given moment to deliver lyrics that don't make a lick of sense. As long as you can get past all of that, Joan of Arc is an incredible live band that will definitely leave you asking for more — even if you don't know what you want more of, exactly. THORIN KLOSOWSKI
Young the Giant
Courtesy of Big Hassle
Young the Giant – Tuesday, February 7 – Marquee Theatre
Alt-rock band Young the Giant are currently touring in support of their excellent third album, Home of the Strange, and its content couldn’t be any more timely. The lyrics in the new material deal with singer Sameer Gadhia’s Indian heritage and American identity — a little bit of enlightenment that the country perhaps needs in the midst of this most insane political climate. Home of the Strange is also the band’s second album for the Fueled by Ramen label, a onetime underground-rock subsidiary of Warner Music Group, after putting out its self-titled debut on metal label Roadrunner. Tracks like “Amerika” and “Something to Believe In” suggest that the band has found its edgy, emotive groove. BRETT CALLWOOD
Austra – Tuesday, February 7 – Valley Bar
Katie Stelmanis, the songwriter behind the Canadian electronic group Austra, does not see the band’s latest release, Future Politics, resonating with the public as a good thing. “People have been grateful that the album exists,” she explains. “I never sought to make a political record to teach people something. I think that because the album is ultimately an emotional response to everything that is happening in the world, people are really connecting with it.” You can hear some of those ideas in the single “Utopia.” In the second verse of the dance anthem,
The members of You Blew It!
You Blew It! – Wednesday, February 8 – The Rebel Lounge
We live in the era of the unexpected, an age where spray-tanned reality stars can become president, where legends like Bowie and Prince can die a few months apart, where surprise album releases spring up from nowhere like mushrooms shooting out of the soil after a rainstorm. And in this time of unexpected developments, who could have predicted the second coming of emo? Dance nights dedicated to the genre are flourishing across America, and bands like Into It. Over It., The World is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, Modern Baseball, and Orlando’s You Blew It! are picking up the tear-stained torch of their angsty forefathers. Here’s where things get really surprising: Most of the emo revival has been great. You can hear the melancholy guitar sounds of the emo revival firsthand when You Blew It! swings by the Rebel Lounge with All Get Out and Free Throw. You Blew It! are one of the most accessible bands in the nu-emo (they put out an EP of Weezer covers, so they’re not afraid to get their pop on). If you like
Mayhem – Wednesday, February 8 – Club Red
Dashboard Confessional performs in the Valley last year.
Dashboard Confessional – Wednesday, February 8 – Marquee Theatre
If music genres could be classified as seasons, emo would be winter. It’s music for broken hearts, which means cold hearts and cold colors. Emo fans huddle together and scream the lyrics back to the band on stage because they’re trying to keep warm, metaphorically speaking, by finding that passion in the broken-hearted. At least that’s how it used to be anyway. Sure, there are plenty of modern emo acts doing their thing right now, reaching deep down into those ugly emotions, but these days, going to an emo show is not entirely unlike going to see one of the many classic-rock touring shows that hit
Alcest – Thursday, February 9 – Club Red
During the early stages of their development, France's Alcest traveled down the left-hand path of pure black metal. As they evolved, band leader Neige (who on some of the albums in their discography, including 2012’s Les Voyages de l'Ame, plays everything but drums) steered the band into fashioning shoegaze-infused, post-rock dreamscapes. Alcest
Valley native Lindsey Sterling returns home.
Lindsey Stirling – Friday, February 10 – Livewire
Part Riverdance, part steampunk, part Paganini, part Skrillex — there’s no one really quite like Lindsey Stirling, the Gilbert native whose first exposure to the masses came on America’s Got Talent in 2010 when Piers Morgan told her “she wasn’t good enough” to win the show. But unlike the rest of her AGT peers, Stirling actually has built a career for herself, and though her stage show is more like a Las Vegas act than a traditional concert, she’s still carved out a niche for herself with her mostly instrumental music, which mixes her dexterous violin playing with electronic dance-inspired beats. Stirling, now 30, just released her third studio album, Brave Enough, in August, and she shows no signs of slowing down. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
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