The Valley is going to be hesher heaven this week.
Thanks to the fact that the annual Psycho Fest took place in Las Vegas this past weekend, a number of participating metal and rock bands (including many of the experimental, psychedelic, stoner, and death variety) are passing through Phoenix in the coming days.
And if that weren’t enough to make you want to fly some hook 'em horns in anticipation, the Deftones are also set to invade Mesa on Wednesday. It’s the first time that Chino Moreno and company have hit the Valley in a few years, and (despite what you may have head) they aren’t breaking up anytime soon.
Local metalheads who’d also like to put on a show as much as attend one will also have an opportunity to do this week, courtesy of the Phoenix’s annual Air Guitar Competition at Crescent Ballroom.
All of these events are included in our rundown of the best music events happening in Metro Phoenix this week. Rock on, read on, and check out our online concert calendar for even more gigs around the Valley.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – Monday, August 29 – Crescent Ballroom
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats is a ’70s throwback band from across the pond that brings to mind genre progenitors like Pentagram and stoner-rock-era Black Sabbath. It doesn’t offer any trailblazing new sounds, but rather makes a point of mining the best out of late-’60s and early-’70s hard rock, an era when bands were in a never-ending battle to one-up each other’s heaviness. Uncle Acid is able to pluck the best of these experiments and toss them in a cauldron, thickening up their potion until what remains is a sludgy, fuzzy delight. Phoenix experiences an uptick in great live music before and after nearby festivals, like South By Southwest and Coachella. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
Shroud Eater – Monday, August 29 – Yucca Tap Room
You don't forget about Shroud Eater after you've seen them live. Lead by two badass women, Jean Saiz (guitar/vocals) and Janette Valentine (bass/vocals), the loud and distorted riffs become even more dramatic when Davin Sosa’s drums are added to the mix. Entering a room where Shroud Eater is playing is a surreal experience. The lights glow red, and the atmosphere becomes dense and viscous. The power trio's live performances and the quality of its songs earned the group the privilege of opening for bands like Kylesa, High on Fire, and Iron Reagan, among others. Shroud Eater's latest release, the two-song EP Face the Master, was covered nationwide in publications such as Noisey and CVLT Nation. FLOR FRANCES
Phoenix's Air Guitar Championship — Tuesday, August 30 — Crescent Ballroom
Air guitar seems easy enough, especially since everyone’s done it at least once, but would you be able to rock out for 60 seconds in front of a crowd of people? Such is the challenge of Phoenix's annual Air Guitar Championship, which returns this week for its second year of mock rock and madcap moves from competitors. Air guitar is a craft that takes skill (not to mention some pretty sweet dance moves) to master and those who’s mojo is strong and antics are ridiculous enough will prevail. Participants will have exactly one minute to show off their stuff and impress the judges during the opening round. Anything goes. The five best air guitarists will then move on to the championship round where they’ll have an entire song, which will be chosen by the judges, to do their thing and outshine the competition. DJ Sean Watson will spin up the songs and local comedian Brooks Werner will host. MELISSA FOSSUM
Deftones – Wednesday August 31 – Mesa Amphitheatre
Despite years of rumored conflict and infighting, Sacramento’s Deftones have not only continued to create groundbreaking music, they've persevered within the eye of the storm of their own success — and tragedy. Deftones is the screaming croon of frontman Chino Moreno, the blistering riffs of guitarist Stephen Carpenter, and the tight rhythm section of bassist Sergio Vega and drummer Abe Cunningham. Having escaped the nu-metal stereotype, the band has continued to push the envelope album after album, infusing numerous musical styles and making each album its own unique experience.
Cunningham explains the process of the group's new album, Gore: “It took longer because we took longer to make it, especially the writing part of it. In the past, we always had our allotted time to be creative. This time around, we had the opportunity to break up the writing process, and it was a different approach," he says. "We still make records that, hopefully, people still listen to from start to finish, but it’s going to take a few listens and patience. But that is something that people who listen to us have always been — patient. And even on Adrenaline, there were things that we wanted to try, and it wasn’t until Around the Fur and White Pony, in my opinion, where we actually achieved our goal of mixing all of our musical ideas.” MATTHEW STEWART
Pinkish Black – Thursday, September 1 – Last Exit Live
Pinkish Black is as much a tribute to a fallen friend as it is a unique brand of rock. While only being an active project for only five years, Pinkish Black's rise to prominence has been a tour de force. The experimental metal/drone rock band, which hails from Fort Worth, Texas, and consists of Daron Beck and Jon Teague, formed from the remains of their previous act the Great Tyrant. When Tommy Atkins, the Great Tyrant's bass player, committed suicide in 2010, the remaining members decided to soldier on and continue under the new moniker Pinkish Black.
Since then, they have done well to take their musical pursuits to the next level while honoring Tommy's memory, including inking deals with an increasingly bigger series of respected metal labels, most recently Relapse Records. The band has maintained the high level of excellence and innovation that we had come to know from the likes of Teague and Beck over the years. Pinkish Black's style is so eclectic that it is not fair to classify them to simply one genre. If you like doom metal, you will like Pinkish Black. If you like drone, you will like Pinkish Black. If you like goth metal, you will like Pinkish Black. JAMES KHUBIAR
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Wayne “The Train” Hancock – Thursday, September 1 – Yucca Tap Room
Wayne "The Train" Hancock is not your typical country music singer, nor is he a backwoods, to-backy-chewin' redneck. His style of music is unique. It's a quality ode to an era when musicianship, tradition, and stories of old-time America ruled all the jukeboxes in every single country joint. His music transcends cultures and the bullshit of politics, inviting everyone to throw down a hillbilly boogie. His disposition is often reminiscent of a grown-up Dennis the Menace, wearing classic Chuck Taylors with greaser cuffed jeans. This Dennis, though, has an affinity for tattoos, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and probably an occasional shot of whatever whiskey you've got handy.
Hancock is a mad scientist of Texan swing, an alchemist mixing honky-tonk, traditional country, and rockabilly swag. He's worked on his musical amalgam since the early 1990s. You can compare him to Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, and Jimmie Rodgers, but Hancock is always original and never a rip-off. This sonic sorcerer's powerful potion will be in full effect this week when he rolls into the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe. And all the cool cats are likely to come out to party on his High Rollin' Train. LIZZIE RAE