In case your teenaged kids haven’t already excitedly informed you, Justin Bieber is headed to the Valley later this week. Like it or not, the 22-year-old hitmaker is hitting Gila River Arena in Glendale on Wednesday with his “Purpose” tour in support of the blockbuster album of the same name that’s sold more than 1.6 million copies in the U.S. alone.
And in true Biebs fashion, his visit to Metro Phoenix is fresh on the heels of some recent controversy, including posting pics on Instagram of himself bare-ass naked, a Twitter beef with Ariana Grande, and some hullabaloo over his cancellation a series of meet-and-greets before concerts with fans.
There are plenty of other big performances happening around Phoenix over the next several days, of course, including the multitude found within our online concert listings or the following rundown of can’t-miss shows.
For nearly three decades, singer/guitarist Anders Osborne has called The Big Easy home and the city's musical heritage has had a profound impact on his music. Funky and inventive, his blues are inspired by both John Lee Hooker and Doctor John, full of impressive solos and carefree spirit that goes well beyond fiery fretwork. And according to Osborne, you have to live the blues in order to play the blues, a distinction that the 49-year-old musician can claim, considering he lived through Hurricane Katrina a decade ago. “There are some whiz kids who can play all the stuff, but they don't understand the power of the blues. I think you have to have lived through a few things. You have to believe what you are singing about." DARRYL SMYERS
Santi White, the mastermind behind Santigold, is doing it all: thriving in the music business, addressing the infatuation with consumerism, and raising almost-2-year-old son Radek. Breaking out as Santigold after earning degrees in music and African American studies at Wesleyan University, the singer-rapper released her self-titled album (2008) and follow-up Master of My Make Believe (2012) to critical acclaim. After riding the success of Make Believe, which included her most popular track, “Disparate Youth,” the singer-rapper took a brief hiatus, only to return this year with 99¢. The LP is just as eclectic as the ones that came before it — a rich mix of hip-hop, reggae, anthemic indie pop, and new wave — but it’s as satirical as late-night comedians on network television, discussing our superficial society and its obsession with buying useless things. Though often compared to M.I.A., Santigold’s edgy punk-rooted sound is unique enough to stand out from other female hip-hop fusion artists, and her big, bright, and bold stage ensembles command you to pay attention so you don’t miss the fun. TAYLOR GILLIAM
In the world of post-rock, Foxing is emblematic of all the genre's defining qualities: strained, emotional vocals; stretches of quiet, building instrumentation heavy with reverb; explosive releases of sound that echo for what seems like forever. And although they clearly understand the genre they're working within, Foxing's talent comes from knowing what to exclude. Some songs stay away from the stereotypical climax, instead bubbling at the surface for a heart-pounding four minutes. Others offer more gentle vocal approaches to let the instruments command attention. The sign of a true master of his craft isn't someone who follows all the rules, but someone who knows exactly when and how to break them — which is exactly what Foxing does. MATT WOOD
If there is one band that represents the multicultural mix of the Southwest, it's La Santa Cecilia. Since its Latin Grammy nomination last year, the LA-born group has been representing its city at major festivals in Texas and New York. They're also picking up the attention of critics, through pieces on NPR's All Things Considered and Latino USA. Further, their hybrid of Latin, rock, and world music has caught the attention of groups like Cafe Tacuba, Lila Downs, Ozomatli, and Los Lobos, all of whom have had La Santa Cecilia open shows for them this year. Anyone who has attended their concerts can attest that lead singer Marisol "La Marisoul" Hernandez has one of the most powerful voices in any city, in any genre. EDDIE COTA
As an electronic dance music artist, you can either draw your influences from the relatively limited palette of styles within the genre itself, or reach beyond it. If you're Quantic (aka Will Holland), the quest for inspiration could even take you as far as crossing the Atlantic, from England to Colombia, to discover the South American country's rich folk music heritage.
As an expat living and working in Colombia for almost a decade now, the British DJ-producer has explored traditional local music flavors like cumbia and salsa through the kaleidoscopic lens of modern electronic music production. The newest crown on Quantic's formidable discography is his latest album, A New Constellation, which he will be presenting selections from at the Rhythm Room, along with other choice cuts from his catalog of Latin-electronic fusion originals. Brooklyn’s Xenia Rubinos and local tropical afro-soul and Bachata fusion band Saga Mambo will open the evening along with DJ El Nico and M. Rocka. SEAN LEVISMAN
Can millions of Justin Bieber fans be wrong? Yes! But the point is, those panting hordes exist; they're not going away (not just yet, anyway), and neither is The, uh, Man himself: Justin Bieber! Listen, there have always been and will always be pop stars, no matter how much you want to piss and moan about it, and J.B., aka The Bieb, is in fact a classic, that partly manufactured/part genuinely talented kid who, by a lot of hard work and a wee bit of luck, now finds himself squatting right on top of the whole gosh darn world. On the plus side, there are far worse role models: Dude's not much of a sexist (his songs seem adequately free of references to beeyotches 'n' ho's), plus he's got some pretty suave dance moves, he can hit the high notes, and his new stage extravaganza gets you your money's worth with colossal dumpings of very, very special effects. The little girls (and boys) understand, totally. JOHN PAYNE
Unashamed is the name of rapper Lecrae's soon-to-be-released autobiography in which he promises to go into vivid detail about the childhood abuse he suffered, his struggles with drugs and alcoholism, and an attempt at suicide. It will also undoubtedly elaborate on how he came out of the other side of that inner turmoil as a born-again Christian. But, as Lecrae says, he is not keen being labeled as "the Christian rapper." "I think Christian is a wonderful noun, but a terrible adjective," he says. "Are there Christian shoes, Christian clothes, Christian plumbers, Christian pipes? I think, if you're going to, you should label it hip-hop. Hip-hop is a particular poetic style. Labeling it with the faith assumes that the song is going to be some kind of sermon; but there's a lot of social and political things that I don't think make it gospel, or Christian music." DAVID ROLLAND
Duke Dumont is one of the most underrated house producers in the business. In March 2013, his single “Need U 100%” climbed the charts to number one — the first U.K. house track to reach that level in more than a decade. So partially, at least, we can thank Dumont for making deep house cool again. His vocal-heavy version of it lends itself to mass appeal and serious concert epiphanies. Now, he’s touring to promote his album, Blasé Boys Club, which continues to push the boundaries of what is musically relevant. Dumont will headline Live 101.5's latest #BESTNIGHTEVER, which will take place on Thursday, March 31, at Livewire in Scottsdale. Those eager to attend the affair should hit up the station’s website for admission info. SARAH PURKRABEK
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At one point Sad Boy Trumpet Club were just looking like some kids trying to ride the Playboy Manbaby bandwagon by bringing high energy punk tunes that included a trumpet, and now as the trumpet-less Sad Kid they are still bringing a similar sound and aesthetic as Playboy but now with their own sound. According to its own members they chose to ditch the horn because “nobody likes it,” but what has happened since has gotten the four-piece more attention than ever. Their tunes are more concise and focused, and they are really rocking every crowd they get in front of whether at their home/venue Sad House at in North Phoenix, their recent riotous set at New Mexico’s Mountain Bloodfest, or at the slew of venues they have been getting out to around the Phoenix metro.
Now that they finally feel as though they have earned their live chops the group has decided it is time to release their first record Illegitimate Son with a house show at Sad House which will also include local act Genre, and touring groups Stufy from Tennessee, Chatterbox and the Latterday Satanists from Colorado, and Chad Hates George from Texas. With so many out of towners coming through to join the fun and all the attention they have been getting lately it’s probably doubtful that Sad Kid won’t be a very gleeful quartet come show time. But they will probably just frown their way through it. JEFF MOSES