Who says live music slows down during the summer? This weekend, catch anything from local pop music to weirdo rappers to top-notch EDM producers. You can always check our comprehensive concert listings for many more options as well.
There are scores of musicians from the '90s who don't get the chance to pull off a second act. Many of the one-hit wonders of the decade are coasting off the fumes of audiences craving nostalgia and play the grandstands of state fairs and the early afternoon schedule of your favorite musical festival. For Leisha Hailey, she is coming into Tempe's Marquee Theater on June 6 as half of her miraculous third act, the electro-pop duo Uh Huh Her.
Hailey's first act was as a member of the alternative duo The Murmurs, who are best known for the 1994 hit song "You Suck." Their dyed hair, overalls, and aggression by way of acoustic guitar made way for the likes of Alanis Morrisette. Two albums later they were swept up and forgotten. Hailey's second act was as an actress, best known for her role as the bisexual journalist Alice Pieszecki on the Showtime drama The L Word.
When Hailey met her Un Huh Her partner Camila Grey in 2007 at a party in Los Angeles, she had no idea she was an actress or an burgeoning icon in the LGBT community. Grey was formerly the bassist/keyboardist for the lo-fi indie band Mellowdrone and has worked with artists as diverse as Adam Lambert, Busta Rhymes, Tricky, and Dr. Dre.
The result was Uh Huh Her's debut EP I See Red, a dark, flirty record with sexy techno beats that contained warm harmonies that didn't seem that out of place with Hailey's work with The Murmurs. In 2010, the duo (who take their name from the 2004 PJ Harvey album) released their debut full length titled Common Reaction, which found inspiration in the glistening goth dance music of the '80s. Nocturnes, which continued in that musical vein, was released in 2011 shortly after news broke that Hailey and Grey were escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight for kissing each other in a manner that was characterized as "excessive." --Jason Keil Liquid Stranger - Saturday, June 8 - Monarch Theatre
Watchu know about Liquid Stranger? In reality, probably not as much as you think. Sure, you've probably heard a tale or two about the reclusive, enigmatic producer/DJ over the years, but most of it likely is untrue. For instance, despite the sinister dubstep-influenced sounds and ultra-mysterious aura he cultivates, the Swedish-born EDM artist who goes by Martin Stääf when he isn't performing or producing is actually a nice guy. Though it's true he's highly trained in multiple martial arts, he's admittedly "just a fuzzy nerd at heart" who prefers to spend most of his time in his North Scottsdale studio dabbling away on his banks of synthesizers. "I think I have different sides and different faces," Stääf says. "There's a lot more to me and to my music than most people think." And although he's become internationally known for his face-melting and ear-assaulting dubstep grinds, he's been working on more ambient electronica sounds as of late with his Anomaly series. "When I play shows, I play music that's very in your face or that basically commands the people to dance," he says. "You need music that really grabs the people's attention." Stääf will attempt to do just that when he makes a rare local appearance on Saturday, June 7, at the Monarch Theatre, 122 East Washington Street. Grandtheft is scheduled to open the night, which begins at 9 p.m. General admission is $15, VIP access is $35. See www.relentlessbeats.com. --Benjamin Leatherman P.O.P. Con II - Saturday, June 8 - Trunk Space
This show features Snow Wite, Watercolor Paintings, Glasspopcorn, Hi My Names is Ryan, and The Blank Waves, all quirky, pop bands highlighted in Trunk Space's second annual mini-festival of pop. Of particular note here is Glasspopcorn, a teenaged Tempe rapper who made a couple music videos that went mildly viral a few years ago, and who, at age 15, was getting written up by Vice. He's got a brainy side to him that comes out in interviews, but some of the songs he makes seem so intentionally stupid (see "Goin' Hamburger" it's hard to judge how seriously he wants to be taken. Nevertheless, there's something interesting going on here, and Trunk Space is as good a place as any to witness the weirdness. --David Accomazzo Tech N9ne - Saturday, June 7 - Marquee Theatre
Tech N9ne's record label is called Strange Music, a name that fits like a glove. From his beats to his lyrical style to his appearance, the Kansas City-based hip-hopper is simply an unusual guy. Last time Tech came through Phoenix, local photographer Ben Garcia caught a shot of Tech that the rapper said was one of his favorites because it captured his emotion at the time -- a cross between a monster and a superhero. It was definitely an apt self-analysis. Perhaps his superpower is his trademark lightning-quick delivery of his lyrics or his uncanny ability to get a show poppin'. Given his reputation for raucous shows, there is no reason to think Tech N9ne will do anything less than captivate at his early summer date in Tempe. The Valley may not be known for fanatical hip-hop fans, but Tech N9ne is one of the acts that captures the attention of a wide range of music fans, from rap to horrorcore to metal. Even Juggalos get down in the "Thug Pit" when Tech N9ne is in town. That's not to say his brand of strange music doesn't resonate with more traditional hip-hop heads, but Tech just makes a particular sound that touches a certain type of freak, making the crowd at his shows one of the most eclectic collections of music fans around. --Jeff Moses Detroit Cobras - Sunday, June 8 - Pub Rock Live
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Jack White was still upholstering furniture in southwest Detroit when the Detroit Cobras formed nearly two decades ago. Inspired by classic rhythm and blues, the band was known for giving obscure tunes a garage rock varnish, with former exotic dancer Rachel Nagy's sassy vocals hitting you below the waistline. As the garage rock craze of the early 2000s waned, the Detroit Cobras stuck to their guns and remained a cover band as their local contemporaries dissolved or created other bands. The group managed to release four well-received albums and a compilation despite going through numerous lineup changes over the years. It's the Cobras' style that remains the same. The band has a passion to play down and dirty rock 'n' roll, and it shows at their exciting concerts. They also are perfectionists, so when the Detroit Cobras go on tour, it's a rare treat to see a band that continues to perform at the top of their game. The musicians don't rely on tricks and gimmicks to get your attention, so don't expect them to show up with a vintage machine that magically presses vinyl. Just expect rock. --Jason Keil Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.