Don't let the haboob slow you down. It might be monsoon season, but that just means slightly cooler temps when you go to check out some sweet live music at night. Check out the following six shows if you're looking for something to do, and don't be afraid to check out our comprehensive concert listings for an exhaustive list.
Bob Weir's contributions to the Grateful Dead might not be as obvious as those of lead singer/guitarist Jerry Garcia or as flashy and inspiring as bassist Phil Lesh. But the rhythm guitarist wrote and sang many of the legendary band's most notable songs, including "Sugar Magnolia" and "Throwing Stones." Garcia's death did little to slow down Weir, and his post-Dead days have been just as busy as they were when Jerry was alive and well. In recent years, his energy has gone towards Furthur, the project he fronted with Lesh, and RatDog, his solo band. He brings the latter to Celebrity Theatre tonight, and it's a must-see for the Phoenix jam-band fan. --David Accomazzo
History has proven that Ted Nugent is one of the most polarizing and controversial figures in the entertainment industry. It's hard to discuss him as just a musician with the bevy of racially charged, political and extremely in-your-face opinionated tirades he has gone on throughout the years. And yet, as such, Nugent still remains the entertainment anomaly. People have come to expect the answers he will give whenever he is questioned, but are still thrown for a loop when he begins communicating in similes and wildly vivid imagery; partly related to the topic at hand and partly addressing far-off thoughts in his own mind.
There is no middle ground with Nugent. He has an army of dedicated fans and an army of people who despise him -- he doesn't compromise his own path to appease either side. The man is a monstrous force of belligerent original thought, rocking music, unbridled dedication to his beliefs, and he embodies the fearless beast that many wish they could become when it pertains to taking a firm stand on their own moral ground. Nugent will not bend or break for anything, and after 50 years of loudly voicing his opinions publicly, he is more than familiar with the backlash. But every person he infuriates, every time he forces his opposition's skin to crawl, is a check mark in the win column in the mind of the Motor City Madman. --Caleb Haley
In the three years following Wye Oak released its breakthrough album, Civilian, the band toured endlessly, returning depressed and creatively drained. Guitarist Jenn Wasner was emptied of the passion she had for music. Playing the same songs every night had become redundant for her.
From discord arose discovery. The six-string was hung up and the keyboards were brought in. The result is Wye Oak's fourth album, Shriek. It's a radical sonic departure for the duo, but the sound and songwriting are unmistakably from Wasner, now playing bass, and Andy Stack, doing keyboards and percussion. Wasner's dreamy vocals float wistfully over layered rhythmic synthesizers as she documents her struggle to find inspiration in writing music again. --Jason Keil
Fresh from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame come KISS. The band might have aged, but its costumes are as crisp and vaguely satanic as ever, and Gene Simmons' tongue has somehow only gotten longer with time. Def Leppard is the band whose songs you tolerate but always want to root for, thanks to the impressive effort put forth by one-armed drummer Rick Allen. Put the two together, and you get one helluva summer concert in Phoenix.
Sean Carey's debut album, 2010's All We Grow, came from a time when he'd suddenly become a world traveler. (Drumming for Bon Iver will do that for you.) The experiences he gained ended up finding their way into songs. Carey's follow-up, Range of Light, finds the singer-songwriter drawing on a broader range of emotions, digging into his past, reflecting on fatherhood, drawing metaphors from nature into his songs. It's a more internal record, but also one that expands on his jazz- and classical-informed folk music, giving his songs more complexity and dynamics, a memorable sense of depth and beauty, and a panoramic quality that suggests big, formidable landscapes. Carey, who lived in Arizona for five years growing up and spent much of his childhood exploring places like the Mogollon Rim, the White Mountains, Yosemite National Park, and the Sierra Nevadas with his father, sees distinct parallels between the album and nature. The album's name even comes from naturalist John Muir's term for the Sierra Nevada range. "When the songs started to form into a record, I noticed that there was this range of emotion in the songs for me and I started thinking about what was going to capture that spectrum," Carey says. "There was just a moment I thought that would really work as a title for the songs. I loved the simplicity of it and I loved the metaphor of it, on an emotional level." -- Eric Swedlund
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