The Five Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

The Five Best Concerts in Phoenix This WeekendEXPAND
Scott McCormick

Here are our concert picks for this weekend. Get out of the impending rain and go see a show. See more options at www.phxconcerts.com.

Paper Bird – Friday, February 17 – The Rebel Lounge
Look at the cover of Paper Bird’s eponymous album. Standing clustered together in Old West-styled garb on a white background, shades of Fleetwood Mac are apparent. Musically, the Denver band strikes numerous similarities to the Stevie Nicks-fronted band. With multiple female harmonies, catchy hooks, and driving pop songs, the appeal is undeniable. Singer/keyboardist Genevieve Patterson doesn’t run from such comparisons. “We were really inspired by Fleetwood Mac,” Patterson admits. “That was a band that really spoke to us—just because of the similarities, like the male/female thing, multiple writers, and just how in-depth and varied their records are.” Co-produced by John Oates, the album is also a huge departure from previous releases. Gone is the gothic folk of stand-up bass, banjo, and acoustic elements more at home on the back porch than the rock clubs the new electric instrumentation supports. The band’s triple female harmonic leads have given way to a classic single lead/backup harmony structure. That’s not to say the band doesn’t fall into the old vocal patterns — and over a rock beat the merged voices become a powerful weapon. All told, the album appears to accomplish Patterson’s goal: “You can listen to it again and again and again.” GLENN BURNSILVER

John Scofield - Friday, February 17 - Musical Instrument Museum
John Scofield has a reputation as a traditional jazz guitarist, but on his most recent project, the 2016 long-player Country For Old Men, the virtuoso looks to a different type of source material: country music. There's not an original Scofield composition throughout the whole album. Instead, the songwriting credits on the album include people like James Taylor, Hank Williams, George Jones, Merle Haggard, and Dolly Parton. He skates and slides his way through classic country songs like "Jolene" and "Red River Valley," imbuing them with a jazz sensibility honed over a five-decade career. DAVID ACCOMAZZO

AFI – Friday, February 17 – Marquee Theatre
“I wish I could paint,” AFI frontman Davey Havok says with a slight laugh. For anyone who hasn’t been following Havok’s career, the multitalented vocalist is not only one of the most celebrated voices in alternative music but also a Broadway actor, novelist, clothing designer, humanitarian, and winner of peta2’s World's Sexiest Vegetarian contest. But after all of that and the release of AFI’s self-titled 10th album — also known as The Blood Album — he’s still longing to pick up another art form. To AFI's devoted fans, Havok’s desire to continue his artistic journey through many different outlets comes as little surprise — nor does the fact that their latest release doesn't neatly fit into any one genre. Since dropping Answer That and Stay Fashionable in 1995, the quartet has successfully blended just about every subgenre of punk and post-hardcore into an ever-evolving, unique sound. With The Blood Album, Havok and crew have returned with a delightfully complicated yet accessible dark rock album that only a veteran group like AFI could create. JOSH CHESLER

Slim Cessna's Auto Club – Saturday, February 18 – Valley Bar
For as long as the folk songs of hillbillies and Appalachian wailers have been called "country songs," the genre has been the province of those tip-toeing between grace and damnation — Hank Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, the Louvin Brothers, and others for whom the pursuit of holiness often took a backseat to the pleasures of sin. For more than two decades, Slim Cessna's Auto Club has played country songs but expanded outward as well, incorporating elements of punk, rockabilly, gospel, and rocksteady, all the while evoking Christian dread, employing fire-and-brimstone wit, and singing bloody murder ballads. In that time, the band has developed a reputation as a tremendous live act, and it's well deserved. Led by two frontmen, band namesake Slim Cessna and the wild-eyed Jay Munly, the group's shows feel like violent, apocalyptic hootenannies or gothic church services where the preachers have dipped into sacramental moonshine. JASON P. WOODBURY

Surfer Blood – Sunday, February 19 – Valley Bar
Things should be good for West Palm Beach indie rock heroes Surfer Blood. They have a new album, Snowdonia, coming out this month. They've had opening gigs for some of their biggest influences, like the Pixies and Guided by Voices. Their song "Swim" was even heard on the awesome Netflix superhero show Daredevil. But last year, the four piece heartbreakingly lost their original guitarist, Thomas Fekete, to cancer. "Thomas was so young and had so much to give the world," says Surfer Blood singer John Paul Pitts. "His [memorial] was when it hit me that I would never be able to see him again. Before that I kept thinking he was in hiding and would pop up again." Pitts channeled these emotions to inspire some of Surfer Blood's new music, which he describes as longer and more epic. "I wrote the whole record while he was in cancer treatment. Any time I got tired, I'd think of Thomas, and it gave me the willpower to continue. I'm grateful for the thousand amazing memories I had with him." In spite of their deep loss, Pitts says he's proud of Surfer Blood's continued success. "It's life affirming. It feel like we're on the right track." DAVID ROLLAND


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