Welcome to the holiday season in the Valley. Tinsel and garland are everywhere, there’s plenty of yuletide tunes on the radio, and the concert calendar is loaded up with special themed shows.
It’s not all holiday shows. The concert offerings from Monday, December 2, to Sunday, December 8, will include performances by KOLARS, Angel Olsen, Lee Fields & the Expressions, King Diamond, Pete Yorn, and The Slackers.
Details about each of these shows can be found below. And for even more live music happening around the Valley over the next seven nights, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
Angel OlsenMonday, December 2
The Van Buren
Released last month to universally positive reviews, Angel Olsen’s latest album, All Mirrors, has ratcheted her already ascending stardom into another echelon. With lush string arrangements and a muscular production that supports nearly every track’s esoteric laments and observations, Olsen’s songwriting sounds grander but actually deals in more obfuscated topics than many of the biting confessionals that dotted the landscapes of her earlier releases. However, in interviews she has referred to this one as her “angry record,” so maybe the characters inhabiting these sketches are more autobiographical than realized. Regardless of their characterization, these new songs should sound fully cinematic and mesmerizing in a live setting. See for yourself when Olsen comes to The Van Buren on Monday night. Vagabon opens the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $28.50-$32.50. Jeff Strowe
Jacob Jolliff BandTuesday, December 3
MIM Music Theater
When he's not touring with Yonder Mountain String Band, mandolin player Jacob Jolliff is on the road with his hard-picking bluegrass-inspired outfit, The Jacob Jolliff Band. Thirty-year-old Jolliff, who was also a member of the indie-pop-influenced new acoustic group Joy Kills Sorrow, doesn't miss a beat, putting his vocal and instrumental skills to use in a variety of settings. It's all part of his ongoing musical growth, which began in his father's gospel and bluegrass group while he was growing up in Oregon. Since he first hoisted his instrument at the age of 7, Jolliff's dedication to his craft has paid off, and in 2012 he won the National Mandolin Championship in Winfield, Kansas. You can catch Jolliff in concert on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at MIM Music Theater. Tickets are $28.50-$38.50. Nick Hutchinson
The SlackersWednesday, December 4
Ska, at its core, is unpretentious, buoyant, and just plain goofy. But it has deep soul and jazz attached to its calypso roots, a fact that hasn't been forgotten by The Slackers. Formed 15 years ago in New York City, the horn-packing sextet eventually signed to Epitaph Records (and, later, Rancid's Hellcat imprint), releasing a string of discs featuring singer Glen Pines's impassioned rasp that paid homage to the traditional ska and rocksteady eras of The Skatalites and The Paragons. They’re scheduled to perform on Wednesday night at Crescent Ballroom. The show is at 8 p.m. and Viernes 13 and Gabriela Penka will open.Tickets are $17-$27. Jason Heller
King DiamondWednesday, December 4
A Dane whose shrill voice is piercing enough to shatter thy cup of hallowed blood, King Diamond is one of the more recognizable (and bizarre) faces in death metal. Since his days in ’80s premier occult act Mercyful Fate, King Diamond (born Kim Bendix Petersen) has been possessed by an obsession with Satan and shock-rock theatrics. This was clear on the group’s progressive-metal classics Don’t Break the Oath and Melissa, which were released during the first half of the ’80s. After going solo later that same decade, he unveiled releases like Abigail and Them. Then, he returned to the coven and released more than a dozen albums, including 2007’s Give Me Your Soul … Please, to a mainly underground following. He’s 63 years old, and his satanic shtick is not so much offensive as it is amusing, but King Diamond’s demonic legacy continues. He’s scheduled to perform on Wednesday night at Comerica Theatre. Idlehands and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats will open the 7 p.m. show. Tickets are $39.50-$59.50. Omar Perez
Alt AZ’s Ugly Sweater Concert SeriesWednesday, December 4
Marquee Theatre, Tempe
‘Tis the season for holiday shows sponsored by local radio stations. The folks at Alt AZ 93.3 are planning three separate editions of their annual Ugly Sweater holiday concert series, with the first taking place on Monday night at Marquee Theatre. Alt-rock/neo-prog band Angels & Airwaves and the awesomely named indie pop/electronic rock band I Don't Know How But They Found Me will perform. The show gets going at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40, and it's a standing-room-only affair. As the event’s name portends, ugly sweaters are very much encouraged, be they actual ugly sweaters or cutesy printed pullovers. Benjamin Leatherman
MIX 96.9 Merry MixmasThursday, December 5
Marquee Theatre, Tempe
Local adult contemporary station MIX 96.9 is also participating in the holiday concert tradition with a one-night show headlined by '90s alt-rock favorites Goo Goo Dolls, who rocked the charts with hits like “Slide,” “Name,” and “Iris.” They share the bill with singer-songwriter Maddie Poppe (who won season 16 of American Idol) and Canadian-born musician John K. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $35-$60. Benjamin Leatherman
AnamanaguchiThursday, December 5
The Rebel Lounge
Remember in high school when mom pawned all your old video games 'cuz you never played them anymore? Then, as soon as you got to college and first felt homesick, you ended up buying a used SNES and had to start your cartridge collection from scratch? Thanks a lot, mom.
Brooklyn's Anamanaguchi have felt that pain, and they're coming here to share their futuristically nostalgic chiptune classics with you. Using actual old Nintendo Entertainment System hardware (plus a Game Boy), this driving electronic rock music will make you feel 6 years old again. The band are scheduled to perform on Thursday night at The Rebel Lounge. The show starts at 8 p.m., and Default Genders and Nullsleep will open. Tickets are $10 in advance, $13 at the door. Troy Farah
Lee Fields and the ExpressionsThursday, December 5
Lee Fields is a soul singer who’s been belting out tunes and rocking smooth moves since the ’60s. These days, his primary motivation is spreading good vibes. The band’s newest release is appropriately titled It Rains Love, and Fields explains how they collaboratively approached these 10 powerful tunes.
At their live show on Thursday night at Crescent Ballroom, attendees can expect a mix of new Expressions songs with older tunes from the band’s time together, which reached a decade this year. With more than 40 years under his belt, don’t expect any covers, and don’t be surprised if Fields brings in one of his classics. The show starts at 8 p.m. and Brainstory opens. Tickets are $25. Amy Young
KOLARSFriday, December 6
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If you didn’t catch California-born indie rock act KOLARS during the Tour de Fat’s stop in Tempe back in October, the duo of Rob Kolar and Lauren Brown will bring their mix of desert disco, space blues, and glamabilly to Valley Bar’s music hall on Friday night. Fellow indie rockers The Soft White Sixties open the 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are a mere $15. David Garrick
Pete YornSunday, December 8
Marquee Theatre, Tempe
Pete Yorn debuted in 2001 with the critically acclaimed Musicforthemorningafter, a collection of slightly twangy folk-rock songs that sound much bigger than a sensitive guy with an acoustic guitar. But the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist's subsequent studio efforts didn't quite live up to that promise. In the mid-2000s, he released a series of forgettable mid-tempo strummer records. But his career took a surprising turn with Break Up (2009), a collection of cutesy duets with superstar actress Scarlett Johansson (It turns out she's good at singing, too). Last year, the duo revisited its musical partnership and released a new EP, Apart. This year, Yorn’s touring sans ScarJo in support of Caretakers, his first studio album in three years, which has earned favorable reviews. He’s scheduled to perform on Sunday at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Indie/alt-rock band Dear Boy opens the 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are $35-$65. Howard Hardee