The Nine Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend
Brian Wilson is scheduled to perform on Saturday, July 9, at Celebrity Theatre.
Brian Bowen Smith
We’d understand completely if you’re planning to lay low this weekend. And we’re sure you’d have plenty of justifiable reasons to so. It’s the dog days of summer, for instance, or you could still be recovering from the Fourth of July weekend. And the latest season of Orange is the New Black isn’t going to watch itself.
One thing to keep in mind if you wind up doing the homebody thing this weekend: You’re going to miss out on several great shows. That includes living legend Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds in its entirety, Warren G. singing his iconic hit, “Regulate,” or Afroman expressing regret about all the things he could’ve done had he not gotten high.
Take a look at our concert picks for this week or check out our comprehensive music listings for more live music options.
The musicians of Slightly Stoopid.
Slightly Stoopid – Friday, July 8 – Mesa Amphitheatre
In a culture that tends to pigeonhole practically everything for the sake of convenience, Slightly Stoopid defy any notion of easy categorization. They even defy their own branding, with an adept combination of reggae, funk, hip-hop, rock, and punk that's far from what their goofy name might imply. Unlike other bands who don't dare to step out beyond their self-prescribed boundaries, Slightly Stoopid wander willingly, and frequently, in fact, into varied terrain, allowing themselves to be taken wherever their muse might carry them. A favorite on the festival circuit, their freewheeling populist appeal has brought them an ever-increasing following — unapologetically dubbed "the Stoopidheads" — since the release of their eponymous debut in 1996. LEE ZIMMERMAN
Courtesy of Loud & Proud Records
KOOLest Night Ever feat. Rick Springfield – Friday, July 8 – Comerica Theatre
Rick Springfield's life has been an interesting ride from the peaks through the valleys of major stardom. The man is a Grammy-winning songwriter, a former soap star who hunked it up on General Hospital, and the face plastered on the inside of your mom's locker. He's been through the wringer of Behind the Music clichés — including a major initial musical success marred by alleged scandal, a decade battling depression, and a miraculous ride to the top in both the acting and musical arenas in 1981. But the Rick Springfield of 2016 is still as inspired as ever.
And he's also as dreamy as ever, boasting energy and verve to spare, as evidenced by his critically lauded turn in last year’s Ricki and the Flash alongside Meryl Streep, as well as the performances contained within Stripped Down, the 13-track live album from 2015 featuring live and raw versions of many of Springfield's biggest songs. He's likely to bring the same level of energy — and a set list bristling with many of the same hits — to Comerica Theatre when he headlines the KOOL 94.5’s nostalgia-laden KOOLest Night Ever concert on Friday, which will also include performances by such '80s favorites as the Romantics, the Fixx, and Tommy Tutone. DAVID VON BADER
Brian Wilson – Saturday, July 9 – Celebrity Theatre
No one can deny the influence that the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds has held over pop music during the last half-century. It was a giant leap forward sonically and lyrically for a band primarily known for songs about girls and surfing. The concept album has appeared on numerous lists that name it one of the greatest albums of all time. In short, it broke both the rules of pop music and the mind of Brian Wilson, the man who conceived it. His bout with mental illness after the recording of Pet Sounds is captured in the 2015 film Love and Mercy.
Most critics consider Pet Sounds a Beach Boys record in name only, so it's fitting Wilson is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the album with a solo tour. He is playing Pet Sounds in its entirety (along with some Beach Boys hits) with a group of 10 musicians, including founding Beach Boys member Al Jardine, hoping to capture the psychedelic pop sounds originally created by an army of studio players. Early reviews of the tour indicate the frail 74-year-old Wilson and company re-create the sound and feeling of that classic recording well. JASON KEIL
Warren G – Saturday, July 9 – Livewire
If it suddenly feels like 1993 around here, there's a good reason for it: The world's greatest regulator is headed to town. That's right, Warren G is about to grace the Valley with the "G Funk Experience." The rap superstar hasn't put out a studio album since 2009's The G Files, but that has done little to dampen his street cred. From ventures into the world of natural male enhancement to last year's ultimate duet of "Regulate" with Kenny G on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, it's clear that there are no limits to Warren G's creativity. His latest tour seems to be the perfect way to stir-up classic hip-hop fans, as well as a few new ones. So 214, if y'all are ready for a whole new level of the G-Funk, then mount up. It's time to regulate. MOLLY MOLLOTOVA
Robert Schwartzman of Rooney.
Rooney – Saturday, July 9 – Pub Rock
It’s been six years since Rooney last released new music, and the band’s only remaining original is singer Robert Schwartzman (brother of Jason). During the band’s early years, they were favorites of the late Johnny Ramone and opened for the likes of The Strokes, Jane’s Addiction and Queens of the Stone Age. Schwartzman spent the past half decade releasing a couple of solo albums and delving into the LA startup scene before reviving Rooney with a new lineup. The band’s anthemic power-pop sound remains on “My Heart Beats 4 U,” and if that song is an indicator of what’s to come, then the band’s new album, Washed Away, will continue to spread the sunshine-soaked SoCal pop that marked their earlier incarnations. DANIEL KOHN
Hootie no more: Darius Rucker.
Courtesy of Universal Music Group Nashville
Darius Rucker – Saturday, July 9 – Ak-Chin Pavilion
Darius Rucker is most known for being a member of '90s rock band Hootie & the Blowfish. You know, the band you loved to hate that penned such earworm hits at “Only Wanna Be With You” and “Let Her Cry.” But since Rucker's solo debut in 2002, he's gained a reputation for being a versatile musician, hopping genres between R&B, country, and pop rock. His latest release, Southern Style, came out last year as his fourth official country music collection. The EP's first single, "Homegrown Honey," debuted at No. 55 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and was received well by critics for its bright melody and meaningful country twang. Phoenix gets a visit from Rucker this weekend courtesy of his 2016 tour, Good for a Good Time, which features fellow country acts Dan and Shay and Michael Ray. PABLO ARAUZ
Kill the Noise – Saturday, July 9 – Monarch Theatre
To get your dose of bass, turn to Kill the Noise. His peers are people like Skrillex and Dillon Francis, and he brings a similar no-holds-barred approach to the scene. When a YouTube video of a kid giving an inspiring speech on riding bikes went viral, Kill the Noise responded by remixing the speech into a dubstep anthem. Last fall, he put out a track with Dillon Francis (“Turkey on Wheels”) that literally gobbles on the drop. But despite his seemingly irreverent attitude, Kill the Noise’s music is anything but a joke. Heart-pumping, intricate bass beats, surprisingly light melodies, and sometimes even inspiring vocals make for entertaining and thoughtful music that’s never too far from a great excuse to go a little wild on the dance floor. SARAH PURKRABEK
Anne-Marie Vassiliou (left), Mish Barber-Way (center), and Kenneth William of White Lung.
White Lung – Sunday, July 10 – Valley Bar
It’s 2016, and Vancouver’s White Lung have no qualms about it. Although steeped in punk's history and aesthetic, they prefer to innovate rather than look to the past. While their most obvious influences stem from '80s hardcore and feminist didactics expressed in '90s Riot Grrrl fashion, their newest album, Paradise, points toward something entirely new. Paradise, which came out May 6, maintains the same immediacy and urgency, driven by Anne-Marie Vassiliou's full-tilt drumming and Kenneth William’s heavy guitars, but its songs have a contemporary pop gloss and move in unpredictable directions. Singer Mish Barber-Way’s voice still has a dominant, commanding presence, but it's now more nuanced and tuneful than ever before. Sure, she can still growl and scream, but she can also hit every note in between.
Sonically, Paradise is contemporary in every way. Produced by Lars Stalfors (HEALTH, Cold War Kids), the group maintains a punk attitude, never trading in bombastic blasts or high energy for anything watered down. In truth, White Lung have created spacious and deeply personal pop music. While there’s always room for a purist, retro act, it’s refreshing to hear White Lung, who see no need to repeat history. They're bringing new influences into the fold and following their own direction instead of sitting comfortably in a historically important safe zone. SETH KASSELMAN
710 Chronicle Release Party feat. Afroman – Sunday, July 10 – The Pressroom
After Joseph Foreman made his first tape in the eighth grade — a tune about getting kicked out of school for his sagging pants — he embarked on a career of creating chilled-out, misbehavior-themed bangers under the moniker Afroman. Since releasing his first album in 1998, Afroman has released nine studio full-lengths and one EP (last year’s The N-Word). He’s best known for the hit singles “Crazy Rap (Colt 45 & 2 Zig Zags)” and “Because I Got High” — the latter of which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance in 2002. Not one to be pigeonholed, Afroman was even part of the 2010 Gathering of the Juggalos lineup. With his double-neck eighteen-string ax at his side, Afroman cranks out upbeat, hip-hop/funk tunes that feature good-humored verses, many of them focused on getting cooked. JOHN NICHOLL
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