Suffering from a little cabin fever after spending all of your free time indoors lately? Can’t say we blame you, considering the average temperature outdoors is around 108 degrees these days.
It might do you a bit of good to get out of the house, however, and we’ve got several reasons for you to do so. But before you ask, none of ‘em have anything at all to do with stalking the streets looking for Pokémon.
Here are our picks for the seven best concerts happening in Phoenix this week. If you’re looking for even more live music options, be sure to check out our extensively updated concert calendar.
Lonesome Shack may be based in Seattle, but you'd be forgiven for mistaking the band's Alive Records debut, More Primitive, for a mid-'70s recording from Mississippi's fertile Hill Country blues scene, owing much of its elegant boogie to the droning styles of R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Fred McDowell. But the band's geographical obfuscation goes deeper: Guitarist and singer Ben Todd studied those Southern sounds in a tiny hand-built shack on the side of his travel trailer near the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. "That's where I started getting into blues and boogie music heavily," Todd says. "I think just being in a rural area, where it was pretty quiet most of the time ... just being out on the land, that music felt right out there."
Eventually leaving the New Mexican wilderness, Todd found himself in Phoenix, where he attended the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery while work shopping his blues at Valley spots like Carly's Bistro, the Rhythm Room, and Yucca Tap Room before heading to the Pacific Northwest, where Lonesome Shack bloomed. With bassist Luke Bergman and drummer Kristian Garrard at his side, Todd's songs forgo the bombastic indie blues currently in vogue, instead favoring sparse grooves and reverb-soaked vocals. It's raw but not rudimentary. "I wasn't thinking of [primitive] as a descriptor of the whole style," Todd says. "It's more about a desire to get to a really basic practice. Working with my hands, and simplifying things. I think that reflects in my songwriting." JASON P. WOODBURY
Singer, songwriter, film actor, and big band leader (or, to trade on the name of one of his more steadfast ensembles, "Large Band" leader) Lyle Lovett found his ill-fated marriage to actress Julia Roberts and a piled-high pompadour earning him more tabloid time than any amount of accolades accorded his craft. However, given that the press carried over to the mainstream marketplace, there was some positive afterglow left over from time spent in the celebrity spotlight. That's been especially helpful to this eclectic artist, who's never been content to simply settle on any one musical style or to coast on past successes. Indeed, over the course of his two-decade, Grammy-strewn career, Lovett has successfully melded blues, brass, country, and contemporary. Low-key and unassuming, his style speaks for itself. LEE ZIMMERMAN
The pop-music machine is always looking to the future. Superstars become legacy acts, up-and-comers become superstars, and new voices show up to fill the void at the bottom. Those gifted and with the right connections will make that progression in time, but it’s always neat to see them before they’re arena attractions. Which is all a fancy way of saying that if you want to see Halsey, now is the time to do it. While she doesn’t have that breakout single that the masses have fallen over — seriously, who thought attaching her to the unnecessary The Huntsman soundtrack was a good idea? — she does have a sizable buzz thanks to opening for The Weeknd and being on the last Bieber record. Her sound is darker than most and her lyrical confessions more compelling, which makes her a welcome addition to the often bright, bubblegum world of modern pop. If she’s already playing Revention, assume there are bigger plans ahead for her, so this may be your last chance to see Halsey up close without breaking the bank. COREY GARCIA
If you’re Terrance Simien, every day is Mardi Gras. That is to say, the renowned musician, Louisiana resident, and frontman for the six-piece Zydeco Experience celebrates the music and culture of the Creole people and his native state whenever and however possible, regardless of the date. As such, he tours the country with the act and brings their roots, funk, and reggae-flavored version of this classic Louisiana music to all corners of creation. "Zydeco music is the music of the creole people," he says. "The creole people have been in Louisiana for over three hundred years. We have our own music, our own food, and it's a music that has two lead instruments." These are the accordion and the rubboard. Simien is himself an eighth-generation Creole.
He heads up a six-piece band which he's played with for 35 years. They've performed all over the globe. Hailing from southwestern Louisiana, Simien taught himself to play the accordion as a 13-year old when his father bought him the instrument for his birthday. He also sings. "This music is popular in the area where I grew up." He says, "They have zydeco dances at these dance halls and I fell in love with the music." The unique genre exploded around the world in the '80, Simien says, and now people have zydeco bands all over the world. "It's a dance music," Simien confirms. LIZ TRACY
The Rockstar Energy Drink Taste of Chaos tour returns to the Valley for the first time in seven years, but it doesn’t look anything like its old self. After the long hiatus, the tour is back boasting a dreamy lineup of bands for the emo scenesters of the mid-2000s era. Previous lineups of this tour featured post-hardcore and metal bands more befitting of the tour’s name. Co-creator Kevin Lyman, who also created Vans Warped Tour, originally intended Taste of Chaos to be a winter counterpart to the successful summer festival, but ran into a shortage of bands big enough to fit the bill and brand. It’s also worth noting that the return of Taste of Chaos coincides with the return of Dashboard Confessional. Seven years ago, frontman Chris Carrabba put the band on hiatus to pursue other music ventures, but the flame was rekindled after a brief tour with Third Eye Blind last year. This won’t just be a night of nostalgia, though. Dashboard Confessional, Saosin, and the Early November have all released new music this year to carry on the emo revival. MIKEL GALICIA
You may have heard of Devon Allman's father. He is, after all, one-half of a little band called the Allman Brothers. But though Devon’s paternal side of the family is undisputed rock royalty, with his father, Gregg, and uncle Duane being, you know, the Allman Brothers, it was through his mom that Devon learned to love music. “At 5 years old, I raided my mom’s vinyl collection,” Devon says. “I got into all the classic stuff: Steely Dan, the Doors, the Beatles.”
As a teenager, Devon taught himself to play guitar and at first avoided playing anything that could be associated with his famous last name. “I started in my 20s playing in some grunge bands. But then I found my way into blues-inspired rock ’n’ roll.” After spending some time with the bands Honeytribe and the still existing Royal Southern Brotherhood, Allman has focused on his solo career. In 2014, he released his second solo album, Ragged & Dirty. Recorded in Chicago, the album tries to capture the city’s electric blues vibe using session men who played with Buddy Guy and Miles Davis. DAVID ROLLAND
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Since its inception in 1990, New Orleans-based Cowboy Mouth — named after Sam Shepard and Patti Smith's play about misfits musing on the foibles of the American Dream — has produced the kind of eclectic sound that defines most of the music coming out of that town. The group delivers the kind of pop rock that would have fallen under the umbrella of "alternative rock" a couple of decades ago, when similar acts like the Tubes and NRBQ could be stamped with the same title. Like those two acts, Cowboy Mouth takes a lighthearted approach to its songwriting, subsuming the technical ability of its musicians to a more playful sensibility. DAVE HERRERA