There’s a reason that y’all look forward to this time of year, and its not only because the weather’s getting nicer by the day.
Big concerts by influential bands and performers that have been much anticipated for months now are finally happening as we roll into fall. And many of these shows will be happening this week, including gigs by such indie and radio-friendly favorites as Calexico, The Lumineers, Sia, Chvrches, Miike Snow, and even Mumford & Sons.
As always, there are plenty of other live music options available via our extensively updated online concert calendar.
Crescent Ballroom’s Five-Year Anniversary – Monday, October 3
Maybe its just us, but it seems like the Crescent Ballroom has been around forever. Turns out, it's only been a mere five years, but it somehow seems longer, which probably speaks to how important the music venue has become to us in that time. And it’s certainly been a busy half-decade for the Crescent, which has hosted thousands of shows and events, served countless drinks and libations, and functioned as a major destination spot and cultural hub for downtown Phoenix since its opening in October 2011. Suffice it to say, there will be plenty to celebrate during the Crescent Ballroom’s Five-Year Anniversary on Monday, October 3. The event, which takes place in the lounge, will feature spin sessions by both DJ Dirtyverbs and Musa Mind, as well as a performance by the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra. Meanwhile, Tucson's famed indie rockers Calexico will participate in a session of Crossfade Lab with Dominican-born writer and artist Rita Indiana and offer an evening of "storytelling, ideas, and live performance." BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Mystic Braves – Monday, October 3 – Valley Bar
You can take one look at California band Mystic Braves and see the 1960s oozing from its members — from their shaggy bangs to their fashion sensibilities, which include everything from colorful striped pants to swirly paisley and floral-print shirts. The look is surely what helped inspire their landlord to dub the group the "Mexican Beatles," which they think is appropriate given the Latin American heritage of most of the group's members. The clothes aren't the only thing about these guys celebrating the bygone era of the psychedelic '60s. Mystic Braves' sound has plenty to do with it, too. It's a trippy, kaleidoscopic blend of pop, surf, garage, and psychedelia played with a subtlety that locks the doors on you before you realize you're going on a long, strange trip. And once you're on the journey, you don't mind at all. The group's throwback sound isn't anything new for the members of the band, just another step in their musical evolution. They feel their sound combines their love of the styles they play and is reflective of their California upbringing as much as it is of the past, but they don't mind that it's often mentioned. AMY YOUNG
Sia – Tuesday, October 4 – Talking Stick Resort Arena
Did you know that in the ’90s, Sia was in an acid jazz band? Apparently, the Adelaide acid jazz scene charmed a young Sia Furler so much that she joined Crisp, a combo that combined funk rhythms with rapping and the vocals of the future “Chandelier” singer. It sounds like a jazzier Digable Planets. Crisp’s music, available on Youtube, is a fascinating chapter in the singer’s musical journey that led to her aforementioned breakout single in 2014. These days, Sia is so ubiquitous, she has her own Snapchat filter based on her trademark black-and-white wig. “Elastic Heart,” released on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack, was her first song to catch the ear of the mainstream listening public and set up the eventual success of “Chandelier.” She’s now touring on This Is Acting, and she’s bringing the magnetic star of her music videos, 13-year-old Maddie Ziegler, on tour with her. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
The Lumineers – Tuesday, October 4 – Comerica Theatre
The Lumineers' “Ho-Hey’d” itself into pop-culture stardom a few years ago on the heels of the folk-pop boom, instigated by fellow suspender-lovers Mumford & Sons. With tweed vests, kick-drums, and precious lyrics in hand, the trio went from obscurity to ubiquity relatively quickly. Grammy nods, national commercials, and packed festival dates kept the stomping “Hey, Ho” shouts ringing in our heads for longer than most of us wanted it to. With the Denver-based trio’s latest record, Cleopatra, the indie-folk pedal remains politely pressed to the metal, and, wouldn’t ya know it, it really sounds fantastic. It might qualify as a guilty pleasure, but only if we felt any actual guilt about digging the rustic strums and perfectly neat melodies. Overall, the record isn’t as poppy as the last one, but it's every bit as engaging. After a couple of tracks, it’s damn near impossible to keep from air popping your fake suspenders while playing air-banjo and air-kick drum. The Lumineers are fun, and there’s no reason not to enjoy yourself when indulging your inner folk-popster. Hey! KELLY DEARMORE
Gojira & Tesseract – Tuesday, October 4 – Marquee Theatre
France is hardly synonymous with heavy metal, but Gojira’s heroic mastery of the genre’s elusive, unholy trilogy — simultaneous power, groove, and (relative) melody — really could make them a Gallic Metallica for whom the Marquee Theatre will one day be an “intimate performance.” However menacing and militaristic the riffs and rhythms get on sixth studio album Magma, released in June, the quartet doesn’t shy away from atmospheric, almost incanted vocals, exotic instrumental excursions and washes of (seriously) Cure-y guitars. Defying a serial singer issue (Daniel Tompkins, the band’s third frontman, recently returned to replace their fifth frontman), England’s Tesseract have produced a trio of bewilderingly accomplished yet still artsy and soulful prog-metal collections. The 14-minute trilogy “Of Matter,” from 2013’s Altered State, alone would be well worth showing up early for. PAUL ROGERS
Mumford & Sons – Wednesday, October 5 – Ak-Chin Pavilion
After ditching the banjos and scrub boards for humbuckers and synthesizers, British folk figureheads Mumford & Sons are out to capitalize on the momentum gained from their 2015 album, Wilder Minds. This kind of dramatic shift in sound has worked well for bands looking to break out of their sophomore slump, so maybe this new direction will lead to EDM remixes of hits like “Little Lion Man.” Or maybe these Gentlemen of the Road are just tired of the barn burners and beards. Either way, they’ll be making their way to Phoenix in early October, and we can only hope they have enough room in the van to bring the acoustic sound that made tracks like “I Will Wait” stand out in the first place. NICHOLAS BOSTICK
City and Colour – Wednesday, October 5 – Orpheum Theatre
What do you do at the peak of your hardcore screamo career? Start your country folk side project, of course. Dallas Green, guitarist and vocalist for Alexisonfire, took on the moniker City and Colour to release acoustic songs he’d been writing since he was 14. Listening to his honest, vulnerable lyrics accompanied by a strong familiarity with blues and folk, you’d never guess that Green was moonlighting in a screamo band. Maybe all the yelling mellowed him out for this tranquil side project. In early October, Green pays a visit to the Valley for a performance at the esteemed Orpheum Theater in downtown Phoenix. MATT WOOD
Miike Snow – Wednesday, October 6 – Marquee Theatre
Whether you know it or not, you like Miike Snow. Made up of producer/wizards Pontus Winnberg, Andrew Wyatt, and Kristian Karlsson, Miike Snow has been behind some of the best remixes of our generation. They've also had a hand in some of your favorite pop anthems from the likes of Bruno Mars, Madonna and Britney Spears. But these dudes are more than extra sprinkles on top of your pop-flavored sundae; they make badass music in their own right. Case in point: 2009's electro-synthnpop masterpiece Miike Snow, which featured "Animal," one of the decade's most popular dance tracks. We're a long way from 2009, though, and the time in between has been filled with all sorts of musical projects for the Miike Snow members. Namely, their 2012 album Happy to You, the Swedish "suppergruppen" Amason (featuring Winnberg), Bloodshy & Avant (featuring Karlsson and Winnberg) and co-founding INGRID, a Stockholm-based artist collective and label. Miike Snow is back in the U.S., though, and ready to dance. As of earlier this year, they have added a third album, iii, to their discography, which we were able to get a taste of toward the end of last year with the track "Genghis Khan." Analog synthesizers, a golden-nosed super-villain, and choreographed dance moves? Awesome. MOLLY MOLLOTOVA
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Chvrches – Thursday, October 6 – Marquee Theatre
“Light is all over us,” Lauren Mayberry marvels on “Clearest Blue,” from Chvrches’ latest album, Every Open Eye. Martin Doherty and Iain Cook surround Mayberry’s wide-eyed observations with a fusillade of insistent synthesizers. The contrast between Mayberry’s poppy vocals and the mechanized instrumentation is a key part of the Scottish trio’s sound. At times, the glossy arrangements and songwriting on tracks such as “Make Them Gold” and “Never Ending Circles” strive too hard for commercial formula; Chvrches sound more inviting on relatively low-key, introspective songs such as “Down Side of Me,” which gives Mayberry a chance to fill the emptier spaces with a soulful delivery. The album-closing ballad “Afterglow” is an even more intimately affecting idyll, as she delicately traces “all of the contours … laid before me now.” FALLING JAMES
Ex-Cult – Thursday, October 6 – The Rebel Lounge
Back when they were still called Sex Cult (a cease-and-desist from the New York label of the same name nixed the religious orgy reference), Ex-Cult's set at SXSW so impressed Ty Segall that he eagerly produced the band's self-titled debut. Naturally, the group's sound is heavily guitar-driven (courtesy of Alec McIntyre and JB Horrell), smushed with the slobbering style of hardcore punk acts like Ceremony or Pissed Jeans. But it's the scorched tinges of '60s psychedelia that have earned the Memphis quintet comparisons to Destruction Unit and Thee Oh Sees. Indeed, Ex-Cult's 2015 EP, Cigarette Machine, was co-released on Lollipop and Castle Face Records, the latter co-founded by Thee Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer. It would appear that Ex-Cult is set to be the next indie guitar-humping darlings, on par with Parquet Courts. TROY FARAH