Here are our concert picks for the weekend. If you'd like dozens of more options, check out our comprehensive concert calendar at www.phxconcerts.com.
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
Nothing – Yucca Tap Room – Friday, June 24
Seldom does a band come around that exemplifies the true essence of lamentation like Pennsylvania's dreary pop-rock quartet Nothing. Beyond sheer talent and vision, Nothing has overcome a truly jagged past, the sort that many melodramatic try-hards posture toward but could never live up to. Born from the unmistakably grim streets of Philadelphia, the group's origins are rooted in the notoriously harsh climate of its hometown's hardcore punk scene. The band's founder and principal songwriter, Dominique "Nicky" Palermo, formerly fronted the infamous Philadelphia hardcore outfit Horrorshow in the early 2000s. The band made a tremendous impact on the city's underground that resonates to this day. Horrorshow ended its brief existence due to Palermo's incarceration on assault charges, to which he claimed self-defense. The young musician wound up serving two years out of a seven-year sentence, and was released for good behavior.
After many soul-searching years upon his release and a few Horrorshow reunion gigs, Nothing began as a pet project of Palermo's in 2011. The band released its full-length debut, Guilty of Everything, on Relapse Records. This was the first album with the fully realized roster as it remains today, featuring Brandon Setta on guitar and vocals, Nick Bassett on bass, and Kyle Kimball on percussion. Praised for its dense dream pop overtones that calls to mind classics like My Bloody Valentine, Guilty of Everything presents itself with an au courant delivery and driving structure that harks back to the band's more aggressive roots. Nothing's first album cycle was marked with constant touring and extreme volumes, sometimes exceeding 120 decibels, to the torment of sound guys worldwide. ROGER CALAMAIO
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
Venom Inc. – Sunday, June 26 – The Rebel Lounge
Influential? Check. Evil? Definitely. Metal as fuck? God (or Satan), yes. Venom Inc. has all of this in spades (not “king" diamonds, though) and more, but don’t confuse them with Venom, okay? Venom INC. is not Venom officially, but they also kind of are Venom, too. Confused? Quite possibly, this is the goal of Venom INC.: to confuse fans into coming out and seeing them play. Basically, the deal here is that three old members of England’s death/speed metal pioneers, Venom, have joined forces to become Venom INC., and they play classic Venom songs, as well as or (arguably) better than the “official” band (Venom) still fronted by bass player Conrad “Cronos” Lant. Venom INC. is the product of Anthony “Abaddon” Bray on drums, Jeffrey “Mantas” Dunn on guitar, and Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan on vocals and bass guitar. Both Bray and Dunn spent almost 17 years with Venom and Dolan took over for “Cronos” Lant for a three-year stretch at the end of the ’80s and early ’90s, so the pedigree is there, and depending on how much you love Lant’s vocal work, you might even enjoy Venom INC. more than Venom. Either way, this show promises to be a salute to all things black, metal, and (ironically or not) hilarious. TOM REARDON
Kenny Rogers — Sunday, June 26 — Comerica Theatre
Kenny Rogers has covered a lot of territory in his 58-year career. Alas, the Gambler is finally walking away from the table: This current tour, which stops at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix on Sunday, June 26, will be his last. Without Kenny’s omnipotence, odds are we’d have never seen Blake Shelton turn around in his giant chair on The Voice. Kenny’s a man, but he’s more than a man. He’s a brand, but he’s more than that, too. He’s a musician, an actor, a restaurateur, a producer, a stand-up comic, a one-man variety show — an entertainer in full. He can probably fix your fuckin’ dirt bike. He doesn’t need a wax replica at a museum somewhere, because his face is (surgically) frozen in time. He starred in Six Pack back when the term meant enough beer for a Saturday afternoon, not something Tim McGraw did to his stomach muscles.
This is Kenny Rogers’ last hurrah, but he’s been your sexy grandpa forever. When your dad got laid off, you put on Kenny Rogers to make you feel better. When your brother went off to war, you put on Kenny Rogers to convince yourself that he’d come back alive. When you caught a jumbo bass, you repaired to the campground, got blotto, and put on Kenny Rogers to celebrate. When your wife emerged in a Vicky’s Secret negligee, you started a roaring fire, put on Kenny Rogers, and took your love to town. Kenny Rogers is warmth, in all its various incarnations. Without Kenny Rogers, country music would still be relegated to honky-tonks and stock-car ovals. With Kenny Rogers, the genre exploded into America’s living room. Look at the salt in Kenny’s beard, the jolly gut. Hear the gravel in his voice. It’s a bumpy ride, but the melody is smooth. You’d do anything for Papa Kenny, and he’d do anything for you. MIKE SEELY
Bryson Tiller - Saturday, June 25 - Rawhide in Chandler
You might have heard rumblings and rumors about a singer/rapper from Louisville, Kentucky, named Bryson Tiller. This singer/rapper only has one full-length project to his name, yet has sold out concerts across the country in a matter of minutes.
The base for Bryson Tiller is catching vibes, a sort of musical approach where you’re attacking the mindset of, “Damn, I’ve been there” when listening to a song. Tiller’s T R A P S O U L, for the most part, is about sleeping with someone else’s girlfriend, owning your own self-confidence and convincing women that even though you’re a scumbag, you’re the perfect scumbag for the lady of your choice. BRANDON CALDWELL
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Animus Complex - Saturday, June 25 - Club Red in Mesa
Fuzzy atmospherics, soaring melodies, heavy crescendi, riffs tinged with djent and jazz, sludgy breakdowns, vocals ranging from guttural to operatic — these are only a few characteristics you'll find in a track by Phoenix metal quartet Animus Complex.
The members hesitantly define the music as progressive metal, but while their ever-evolving style is cutting edge, their influences and technique are classical in style.
Animus Complex is a name that aptly describes the group's sound and vision (and, of course, it was inspired by a book about Carl Jung).
"Animus is the inner feminine and masculine archetype that is projected onto others. It has a lot to do with attracting people or things based off of thoughts and psychological functioning," says founder/guitarist Jeremy Davis. LAUREN WISE