Welcome to the dog days of summer, the time of year you wish you lived somewhere other than the armpit of the Southwest. It’s hot as hell outside and there’s little hope of relief anytime soon, save for the occasional monsoon storm.
The good news? It won’t last forever, so it’s best to find things to help pass the time while you wait out the heat. For instance, you could attend one of the many great concerts happening in July.
The biggest shows happening this month include gigs by rapper 21 Savage, alt-rocker Beck, Canadian-born pop singer Shawn Mendes, and the Les Claypool/Sean Lennon side project The Claypool Lennon Delirium.
Other highlights include YBN Cordae, Queen + Adam Lambert, The Dan Band, Toots and the Maytals, The Growlers, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, Reel Big Fish, and Man Man.
If you like your rock ‘n’ roll served with side orders of pop culture and surreal comedy, the McDonald's/Black Sabbath tribute band Mac Sabbath and the Valley’s Simpsons-themed metal act Okilly Dokilly will appear together later this month.
Details about each of these concerts can be found below in our list of the best shows happening in the Valley this month. And for even more live music happening in July, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
The StrutsMonday, July 1
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
To get it out of the way first: Bless The Struts for finally giving Kesha the great pop-rock anthem she's long deserved with the "Body Talks" remix that came out last year. But even when you set that aside, The Struts are a damn fine live rock act that manages to pull off something that so many fail, having the spirit of the retro rock gods their music is clearly inspired by. The Struts remember when rock was fun, and you'll have a blast with them. With The Glorious Sons. Cory Garcia
YeasayerMonday, July 1
When New York indie rock band Yeasayer named their 2016 LP Amen & Goodbye, it raised a big question among fans: Was this the end? The trio of Chris Keating, Ira Wolf Tuton, and Anand Wilder had given the world four records over the course of a dynamic decade, and covered an immense range of sonic and thematic territory. For a band whose musical horizons seemed limitless, facing the prospect of an endpoint was unsettling. Amen & Goodbye ended up signifying a certain type of ending for the band. They are releasing their new LP, Erotic Reruns, independently. After years of records on Mute and Secretly Canadian, Yeasayer now brave the wild on their own.
A band like Yeasayer are, of course, one that follow their own rules. The group have produced their own material since their inception, and this has accompanied them to dazzling, uncharted sonic terrain. But braving those new places alone can be taxing. “It’s really daunting,” Tuton says, “because there’s no one left to blame.”
With this mindset at the helm, Yeasayer’s latest outing is a tight, no-frills record of excellent indie music. Instead of looking outward to grandiose arrangements, the trio showcase their strengths as songwriters and musicians in a collection of intelligent and engaging pop songs. Erotic Reruns contains the most accessible and immediate material of their career, without sacrificing any of its complexity. Gerrit Feenstra
Jon BellionFriday, July 5
Jon Bellion cites Kanye West as an influence. He even went as far as dropping out of college to take on music as a career. Just like Yeezus himself, it seems like his determination paid off. Bellion wrote the hook to the Eminem and Rihanna single "The Monster," and ever since then, he's slowly been garnering more and more attention. As a pop artist, Bellion has let the rap influence change up the usual pop artist plan of action by releasing a slew of mixtapes before a proper release. His 2014 tape, The Definition, opens on probably the most recognizable thing Kanye West has ever said (well, on an actual song), "Wait 'till I get my money right," and is filled to the brim with grandiose pop ballads. Bellion’s latest release is 2018’s Glory Sound Prep, which peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard charts. H. Drew Blackburn
New Found GlorySaturday, July 6
The Van Buren
Last year, the pop-punk band New Found Glory were urged to revisit their roots in a macabre, yet fulfilling way. The band members met in the late ‘90s at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — the same school that fell victim to a devastating mass shooting in February. After the shooting, the band returned home to play a #ParklandStrong benefit with several fellow Floridians, including Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba and William Ryan Key of Yellowcard. At The Van Buren this week, they’ll play songs from their new EP From The Screen to Your Stereo 3, which includes covers of songs from Back To The Future, Frozen, Twilight, and other beloved films. Openers include Real Friends, The Early November, and Doll Skin. Douglas Markowitz
Holy FawnSaturday, July 6
The Rebel Lounge
Holy Fawn have only been around for a few years, but in that short span of time between 2015 and 2018, they’ve managed to put out two stunning albums and made a name for themselves outside Arizona. Their latest LP, 2018’s Death Spells, has landed on several year-end best of lists from publications like Stereogum. While the band’s growing profile outside of Arizona is a sign of great things to come, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Osterman isn’t about to quit his day job. When he’s not writing post-metal pastoral hymns, he works as a barista at Songbird in downtown Phoenix. Dent, Lychee, and Summerhead will open for Holy Fawn when they stop at The Rebel Lounge. Ashley Naftule
Shawn MendesTuesday, July 9
Gila River Arena in Glendale
Truly a product of the social media era, Shawn Mendes gained fame by posting covers to the now-defunct video platform Vine. Since then, the Canadian singer has turned into a force on the charts, becoming one of only five artists to top the Billboard 200 Albums chart before the age of 18. Last year, Time named him to their 100 Most Influential People list. His hit songs include “Stitches” and "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back." He’s also got an unlikely admirer in rapper Kevin Abstract; on the BROCKHAMPTON song “STAR,” the out-and-proud artist admitted, “I don’t fuck with no white boys / Unless the nigga Shawn Mendes.” That’s enough of a cosign for us. Alessia Cara, another artist who got her start posting covers online, will open. Douglas Markowitz
Bob SchneiderTuesday, July 9
Who is Bob Schneider? It's not an easy question to answer. Though Schneider has carved out his own unique niche as an artist, he's always been difficult to define, straddling genres, finding a bit of mainstream success that didn't necessarily play to his strengths, and possessing a songwriting style that's equally comfortable being cheesy or thoughtful. Regardless, it's fair to say that as both a songwriter and a performer, Schneider is a restless artist who keeps finding new corners to turn in his work. A beat-of-his-own-drummer type, Schneider had some success with two albums on Universal — Lonelyland (2001) and I'm Good Now (2004) — but is better represented by his own Shockorama Records.
In turn, Schneider is a good representative for (Keep) Austin (Weird), often holding down weekly residencies in his hometown and collecting two dozen Austin Music Awards over the years. Schneider's current tour comes on the heels of Lovely Creatures (2009), A Perfect Day (2011), and Burden of Proof (2013), three albums that combine elements of funk, country, and soul with his mellow folk-rock, creating varied arrangements and a lush and layered sound. Eric Swedlund
Paul OakenfoldSaturday, July 13
The Pool at Talking Stick Resort
Paul Oakenfold’s place in DJ history is secure. Widely considered to be a godfather of electronic dance music, the British-born mixmaster has influenced countless artists and helped shape EDM culture over the past four decades. In that time span, he’s also sold millions of records, topped the charts, been cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful DJ ever, and performed around the world (including atop the Great Wall of China and deep in the rainforests of Argentina).
So what does an internationally known and phenomenally influential DJ do when there are few, if any, worlds left to conquer? Easy, he performs at Mount Everest. No, really. In 2017, Oakenfold worked the decks at the “highest party on Earth” in a base camp on the mountain. And just last year, he followed it up by becoming the first person to DJ at Stonehenge with an epic sunset performance alongside the prehistoric monoliths.
So what’s next for the EDM pioneer? We wouldn’t be surprised if tops himself even further by pulling off a gig aboard the International Space Station. Until then, Oakenfold will pass the time doing what he does best at clubs and parties across the country, including his poolside set on July 13 at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Benjamin Leatherman
21 SavageTuesday, July 16
Let’s try not to talk about the harrowing ordeal 21 Savage faced when he was arrested by ICE on suspicion of overstaying his visa. Let’s also try to forget the many jokes made at his expense when it was revealed that he was a British citizen. The fact is that Savage, born Sheyaa bin Abraham Joseph, has been living in Atlanta since the age of 7. He calls the city home, and they claim him as a proud son, made even prouder when he released his album i am > i was in late 2018. The record sees the rapper pivot from the cold-blooded gangster rap over sumptuous Metro Boomin beats from his earlier work and into something more worldly, with reflections on the pain suffered in his life (“a lot”), a tribute to the mother that brought him to America (“letter 2 my momma”), and even a flip on a West Coast classic (“good day”). He performs at Comerica Theatre on July 16 with DaBaby. Douglas Markowitz
Queen + Adam LambertTuesday, July 16
Talking Stick Resort Arena
Good news for fans of Queen: Thanks in part to renewed interest in the group because of the recent movie Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen have hit the road this summer with the Rhapsody Tour, and Phoenix is one of the stops. The band will again be joined by singer Adam Lambert and will perform at Talking Stick Resort Arena on July 16.
The tour moniker is apropos, since the band’s profile is soaring thanks to the success of the Freddie Mercury biopic. Since it was released in October, it’s grossed more than $500 million in movie ticket sales worldwide, topping the box office in 35 different countries along the way. The film’s success has translated into renewed music milestones for the group, too. At one point in the last year, Queen was the most-streamed act in the world on Spotify. Not bad for a band that’s about a year shy of its 50th anniversary and one which lost Mercury, its legendary lead singer, in 1991. Jesse Sendejas Jr.
The GrowlersWednesday, July 17
The Van Buren
Go ahead and call The Growlers "beach goth." It's not only an apt term that hints at the Orange County band's sound — dark psychedelic rock with a slacker, surfer edge — but when The Growlers put together certain shows, they’ve called it a "beach goth party" themselves. Like fellow road warriors Dr. Dog, The Growlers find a way to take a rock-history lesson's worth of influences and spit out something unique. That's on record. Live, the band are a bunch of costumed firecrackers, plugged into some weird cosmic energy. The Growlers' label calls them a "band of merry menacers," which is certainly true. But those menacers have already hit the stages at Coachella and Lollapalooza and are still going strong. Eric Swedlund
Toots and the MaytalsThursday, July 18
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Toots and the Maytals have been around since reggae's very beginnings. In fact, the Kingston crew, founded by Frederick "Toots" Hibbert in the early '60s, are widely credited with giving the genre its name via a 1968 ditty called "Do the Reggay." The Maytals' ska origins live on in what remains their most famous song, "Pressure Drop," which appeared in Jimmy Cliff's definitive reggae movie The Harder They Come (1972) and, when covered by The Clash and he Specials, helped form an important bridge between original and second-wave ska as well as punk rock.
Seminal '70s LPs Funky Kingston, In the Dark — including a stunning rendition of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and a remake of Hibbert's account of his time in prison, "54-46 Was My Number" — and Reggae Got Soul further cemented the Maytals' status as reggae royalty, and (albeit with different rosters) the group have never left the road for very long ever since. Chris Gray
The Dan BandFriday, July 19
The Van Buren
Take a handful of dudes singing their versions of angsty, female-driven songs from the past few decades, pepper in a few f-bombs, and you’ve got the Dan Band. Headed by comedian Dan Finnerty, you may remember these guys’ version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” from the film Old School or as the wedding band in the film The Hangover. They recently released The Wedding Album with a pop-punk cover of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and a less-than-sexy cover of “Bump N’ Grind,” among other things. Their satire isn’t as obvious as, say, “Weird Al" Yankovic, but the Dan Band embody their own unique brand of fun. Diamond Rodrigue
YungbludFriday, July 19
“I want to talk about real shit.” Yungblud, a.k.a. Dominic Harrison, explains what drove him, a Brit, to write a song called "Machine Gun (Fuck the NRA)." And it's a good reason, too. “I want to write real music that connects, and talk about real things in a world that’s dilutin’ and avoidin’ the subject.”
Yungblud, now 21, grew up in northern England, where his dad was a guitar dealer and young Dominic was, he says, a “little idiot running around the dusty guitars on the counter, giving everybody my mouth. I was very gobby.” He’s been in bands since he was about 12 years old, and was signed to Interscope two years ago. Musically, he moves from pop-punk anthems to ska-tinged rockers to stripped-down acoustic sets — and, yes, that’s him on the more mainstream “11 Minutes” with his apparent girlfriend, Halsey.
Yungblud came onto the scene with “King Charles,” which juxtaposes an infectiously boppy beat with lyrics about a historical figure from the 1600s. (”You took the taxes to fund the evil.”) “He would take money from the poor people to fund unnecessary wars,” Yungblud says. “Well, 400 years later, we’re destroying the planet, dropping bombs on other countries.” Deirdra Funcheon
The Claypool Lennon DeliriumSaturday, July 20
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Les Claypool has always done things, well, his way. Whether with Primus, his main band, or any number of side projects, including the Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, Oysterhead (featuring Phish’s Trey Anastasio, though perhaps Claypool’s most accessible project), or Sausage, Claypool has always looked outside rock conventions for something a little different. For the last couple of years, he’s occasionally joined forces with Sean Lennon in The Claypool Lennon Delirium, a project that explores and extrapolates on the musical incantations of 1970s-style heavy progressive rock. Yet, the music cannot be so simply defined. The pair’s debut album, The Monolith of Phobos, is alternately psychedelic, spacey, gritty, progish, metalish (“Cricket and the Genie Movement 2” sports some wicked Black Sabbath-like riffs), Beatles-esque (there’s no hiding Sean’s harmonic connections), and kind of weird in creepy, scary, fun ways. Glenn BurnSilver
Cracker and Camper Van BeethovenSaturday, July 20
David Lowery will work double duty as the frontman of both Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven when both bands visit Crescent Ballroom on July 20. It’s nothing new, considering the Texas-born rock musician has toured the world with both of his bands for decades. Camper was a college rock staple in the 1980s, and Cracker had mainstream success in the ’90s thanks to singles such as "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)" and "Low." Think of this show as killing two birds with one stone. Some people prefer one band over the other — and there are plenty of others who like both — so this should make longtime fans quite happy while attending this show later in the month. Eric Grubbs
Beck and Cage the ElephantSunday, July 21
“Loser” be damned — at this point, it’s hard to argue that Beck is anything but an elder statesman of American rock music. For proof, look no further than his win for Album of the Year at the 2015 Grammys, where he beat out Beyoncé’s self-titled album (but also Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran, so it was kind of a down year overall). He’ll be joined at Ak-Chin Pavilion on Sunday, July 21, by two excellent openers. First, Spoon will celebrate their recent greatest hits collection with a set studded with favorites, from “Do You” to “I Turn My Camera On” to “Can I Sit Next To You.” Next, Cage the Elephant will ensure that there’s no rest for the wicked at a show that’s sure to be scorching hot (and not just because of the temperature). Douglas Markowitz
J.BoogWednesday, July 24
It has been a long musical journey for reggae/soul singer J.Boog since his start making beats in his garage. Born Jerry Afemata, he was raised in a tight-knit Samoan community in Compton, California, where instead of gangster rap and hip-hop, his home radiated with the reggae of Bob Marley, as well as Polynesian music. “We used to bump some cat named Fiji growing up. He was one of the guys we latched onto because he was Polynesian and we were Polynesian. I was always like, hell yeah, this guy is it.”
By chance, Fiji himself, George Veikoso, discovered him through mutual friends and asked the young singer/producer to come to Hawaii to record with him. J Boog left Compton behind, traveling the world and making music with the likes of legendary producer Don Corleon (Rihanna, Pitbull, Nicki Minaj), who produced his breakout hit “Let’s Do It Again.”
J Boog’s most recent album, 2016’s Wash House Ting, is an amalgam of different influences, including Boog's frequent tour mates Rebelution and SOJA, and has contributions from a mix of Jamaican and European producers such as Jr. Blender, DJ Frost and Gramps Morgan. Like his sound, there’s also some R&B flavor, influenced by artists like Mint Condition, Erykah Badu and D'Angelo — but mostly the album is reggae, the genre that remains his biggest influence. Juan Gutierrez
Man ManThursday, July 25
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, if I may direct your attention to the center of the Big Top stage: Man Man's musical three-ring circus is sure to amaze and amuse us all, as the band render their sad songs through maniacal performance.
Critics cite an impressive group of off-kilter musicians like Waits, Zappa, and Beefhart when describing Man Man, but such comparisons are useful only to the extent that Man Man set an expectation for the exuberantly unusual. All six superb musicians belt great songs of love and loss on everything from traditional rock band instruments to tin cans, marimbas, and toys (seemingly all at once) in the controlled chaos that's a true joy to watch. No, you probably aren't going to dance. But you will smile. Doug Davis
Mac Sabbath, Okilly Dokilly, and Playboy ManbabyFriday, July 26
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Get a load of these clowns — and in this case, we mean that as a term of endearment. Led by none other than clown prince of metal Ronald Osbourne, this deep-fried take on Black Sabbath have been serving up artfully done parodies of the original heavy metal act since 2014. They'll be kicking off their latest tour in Tempe with the help of two equally goofy Phoenix-area favorites. First off, Head Ned and the rest of the gang from Okilly Dokilly, the Simpsons-themed metalcore band who recently made it onto the show itself, will add another parody band to the bill. Next up, the absolute weirdos in Playboy Manbaby will be the second group at the show to rep the Valley. This show is going to be a perfect storm of hardcore music, absurd antics, and local love. Douglas Markowitz
YBN CordaeSaturday, July 27
A member of the YBN (Young Boss N*ggaz) collective, Cordae Dunston, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, has been pitched as a missing link between the dusty old school of rap and its colorful, youthful present. He’s had a quick rise since he began pursuing music in earnest last year, freestyling over songs like Eminem’s “My Name Is” and Kendrick Lamar’s “DUCKWORTH.,” responding to J. Cole’s “1985” on “Old Niggaz,” touring with Juice WRLD, and performing as part of YBN in Europe and at Rolling Loud in Miami. Douglas Markowitz
Rockstar Energy Drink Disrupt FestivalSaturday, July 27
Stepping into a Warped Tour-shaped hole in the festival market, Rockstar Energy Drink's Disrupt Festival will bring a smorgasbord of popular metal, nu-metal, metalcore, and punk bands to Ak-Chin Pavilion in July. The lineup is subject to change from city to city, but the Phoenix event, the penultimate chapter in the tour, will feature The Used, Thrice, Circa Survive, Sum 41, Sleeping With Sirens, Andy Black, Memphis May Fire, Meg & Dia, Juliet Simms, and Hyro the Hero. Douglas Markowitz
Streetlight ManifestoMonday, July 29
The Van Buren
New Jersey band Streetlight Manifesto are the whole package — all the raucous fun we've come to expect from Jersey without the orange tans and irritating accents. Yes, the seven-piece band play ska-punk, a genre that's something of an acquired taste, but they do it so flawlessly that even people who don't particularly care for the genre have to pay their respects. Streetlight combines half of Catch 22 and half of One Cool Guy, making up a roster of the top ska talent in Jersey. Tom Murphy
Reel Big Fish and Bowling for SoupTuesday, July 30
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
We’ve got a lot of rockers that love to jam to Reel Big Fish. And given their utter popularity back during the mid-’90s ska boom, it shouldn’t come as any surprise. This summer, the band have teamed up with Bowling for Soup for a jaunt across the country. On July 30, the trek makes a pit stop at Marquee Theatre in Tempe. From RBF’s “Sell Out” to Bowling for Soup’s “1985,” get ready to skank, y’all. Pop-punk band Mest will open. Jesse Scott
Summer Gods Tour 2019Wednesday, July 31
Local legends Jimmy Eat World apparently have been around long enough to merit inclusion in one of those nostalgia-filled package tours that are popular this time of year. In this case, it’s the Summer Gods Tour 2019, which is co-headlined by alt-rock act Third Eye Blind, whose heyday peaked in the late ‘90s with radio hits “Semi-Charmed Life,” “How's It Going to Be,” and “Jumper.” Jimmy Eat World have had their fair share of radio-friendly hits, too, including “The Middle” and “Sweetness.” You’ll hear both during the band’s set (which reportedly clocks in at around 14 songs), as well as such lesser-known favorites as “Bleed American,” “A Praise Chorus,” and “Lucky Denver Mint” from their iconic 1999 album, Clarity. Ra Ra Riot open for both bands. Benjamin Leatherman