Summertime sucks. But you know doesn't suck? Air conditioned music venues, that's what. Check out these six shows this weekend, and peruse our comprehensive concert listings for many more options.
Mayhem Festival has been around (with various sponsors) for years now, and there a reason people keep buying tickets for it. Just look at the lineup. Korn, Avenged Sevenfold, Asking Alexandria, Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium, Suicide Silence, Body Count -- it's a great mix of vets and newbies, all packed in on one stage.
Black Carl's "desert soul" takes some liberties with its own source material. Emma Pew's knowing, dynamic voice and the groove it bounces over are plenty soulful, but there's an absence in their songs -- the space where the Big, Indifferent City would go in a soul song is empty, and the lovers begging each other to come home from there or just go away are much more reserved here, much less willing to combine heated performance with heated admissions. "Shine It Deep," the first song in a string of singles that led to 2013's The Wheel LP, opens with a two-line syllogism in favor of keeping those closest to you at a safe distance:
"Things fall apart when you pick up the pieces / Moving in together turns diamonds to leases."
Nothing quite sticks together, and even when it does it sours, therefore Black Carl. This is soul -- and all the sex and theatrical angst and hazy black-and-white establishing shots that come with it -- for people whose internal Aretha Franklin is mediated by sarcasm and sharp glances. --Dan Moore
When you are a young musician and still new to the game, there is often a moment when you have a choice: Do something the quick and easy way or do it the right way. Jessica Hernandez took the latter approach when it came time to record Secret Evil, her debut full-length album with her band, the Deltas, due out August 19.
"I wanted my first full-length to be fun, but I didn't want to make it perfect by bringing in session players and studio guys and have it be this really impersonal thing," Hernandez says. "A lot of people get pressured into doing that, and I did feel a little pressure from people at the label and management. They told me it would be faster and easier that way, but for me it wasn't about that. It was about working with people I like working with and having my band feel included."
As a result, Secret Evil sounds as bold and brash as you would expect from a band that has been given freedom to do whatever it wants. "No Place to Hide" is the perfect introduction to Hernandez's electric, soulful vocals as she rips through this piece of rock and soul with all the confidence of a seasoned veteran, while the rock track "Downtown Man" boils with sexiness. But it's not all rock 'n' roll, as the surf-pop track "Sorry I Stole Your Man" demonstrates. This song also gives a unique insight into Hernandez's fearless songwriting process and how her honesty can get her into trouble sometimes. --Brian Palmer
Clevelander Dylan Baldi deserves more credit than he's getting from critics who think his music sounds like Blink-182. That chunk of Ohio put out some of the best American punk music ever, and if you dig back into his history with his band, Cloud Nothings, you'll find Baldi repping for (and referencing) such Cle-punks as The Clocks, The Pagans, Rocket From the Tombs and more. Alien punk, basically, made by people trapped on this planet with no way out, which is what's happening on Cloud Nothings' latest, Here and Nowhere Else. It's a happy/sad, post-adolescent, rock 'n' wreck album built from Wipers-style hooks, deadpan Dinosaur Jr. desolation and that part on the first Replacements LP where Paul snarls, "The way I used to love you/That's the way I hate you now!" In short: He's on fire, just like the Cuyahoga River. --Chris ZieglerWatch for Rocks, Japhy's Descent, Fairy Bones and more - Saturday, July 12 - Last Exit Live
This show is the release party for Watch for Rocks' new album, Exploring the Space. "Watch for rocks is an Indie-Rock band from Tempe composed of geology students with a passion for rocks & music," the band claims. And while minerals and tectonic plates don't exactly make for compelling lyrical fodder, the band's music is pleasing to the ear, sedimentary layers of '90s alt-rock and synth-driven pop. Also on the bill are local bands Japhy's Descent and Fairy Bones and more.
More than anything musically, it could be said that Sun Bones' primary influence is Newton's laws of motion. A continuum of momentum and velocity is everything to the Tucson-based, self described "chamber punk" band.
Establishing themselves immediately with their 2013 self released debut, Sentinel Peak, their relentless touring, songwriting and recording pace, and just a single minded pursuit of shattering limits -- self imposed or otherwise -- in all aspects of how they operate as a band find them in a state of perpetual and speedy growth. At this point, Sun Bones has already moved on by the time you can catch up with them.
Following a whirlwind first half of 2014 that saw the release of two limited edition seven-inch singles and a collaboration with a full choir, the band has been on a week long mini-tour with fellow Tucsonan Laura Kepner-Adney (who also performs with Silver Thread Trio and The Cordials in Tucson), serving as her backing musicians. For Sun Bones' set, Kepner-Adney returns the favor, adding keyboards and harmonies to the quartet's already intricate vocal arrangements. --Joshua Levine
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.