Here are our picks for best concerts in Phoenix this week. For more options, check out our comprehensive concert calendar.
Collective Soul - Monday, November 16 - Marquee Theatre
Ed Roland’s dedication to music has been the sole driving force behind Collective Soul’s continued relevance in the music industry. Formed in the early '90s as an outlet for work that he had created during his years as a sound engineer in his native Georgia, Collective Soul released its first product, Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, on the indie label Rising Storm Records and lived quietly until it caught the attention of Central Florida college radio. The song “Shine” became a sleeper hit.
Based entirely on the popularity of that song and the interest generated for the band, Collective Soul (featuring Ed’s younger brother Dean on guitars) signed with Atlantic Records, and their hard-rock balladry got lumped with the postgrunge phenomenon of the mid-'90s. After years of relative obscurity, Ed’s musicianship was finally recognized. Of the many bands that took flight in that epoch, Collective Soul has been one of few to endure and grow through the changing tides of taste. Always keeping true to its guitar-driven sound, it's experimented throughout its albums, with varying degrees of success. ABEL FOLGAR
Corrosion of Conformity - Monday, November 16 - Pub Rock Live
The legendary Corrosion of Conformity is long known for its influence spanning back to the early '80s, blending hard rock, hardcore, metal, punk rock, and a bit of sludge and doom metal here and there. If you’ve never seen Pepper Keenan, Mike Dean, Reed Mullin, and Woody Weatherman take the stage at a more intimate venue, this is your chance. Rounded out by Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk, Saviours, and Mothership. LAUREN WISE
Keep Shelly in Athens - Monday, October 16 - Valley Bar
Fans of Greek synth-pop act Keep Shelly in Athens have a couple options when it comes to listening to the band perform material from their latest LP, Now I’m Ready, which dropped last month via indie label Friends of Friends. You could download or pick up the album, of course, or check them out live and in person at Valley Bar on November 16. Though Ready is technically their second full-length, they’ve steadily released a stream of EPs and singles since forming in 2010. Initially fronted by vocalist Sarah P., the new record features singer Myrtha, whose voice layers to hypnotic effect at the climax of the album’s title track and soars on lead single “Fractals.” LINDSEY RHOADES
Dave and Phil Alvin - Tuesday, November 17 - Rhythm Room
Dave Alvin, who rolls into the Rhythm Room with brother and Blasters front man Phil Alvin for a show this week, can’t believe Country Dick Montana has been dead 20 years. “Man, when I saw that yesterday, it blew my mind,” Alvin says. “I thought maybe it was ten years, but 20? Wow, that makes you feel old.” Alvin, who just turned 60, has had a wide-ranging career, first with his brother in the legendary roots-rock band The Blasters. Alvin recalls that the earliest days with the band were somewhat puzzling. “We could sell out the Whiskey A-Go-Go three nights in a row,” says Alvin, “so that’s like 2,500 tickets. Yet some guy at a club down the street would only draw 30 people one night and he’d get a record deal and we couldn’t get anyone to even notice us from the labels. It was a bit confusing.” But the band finally broke through in late 1980.
More recently, Alvin has temporarily put his solo career on hiatus and is working again with brother Phil, with whom he split rather acrimoniously in 1986. While Phil soldiered on with a series of new guitarists in The Blasters, Dave played a year with L.A. punks X while developing a solo career that would see him record monumental roots albums and tour with a road band including members of the Skeletons and guitar stalwart Rick Shea; they could go toe-to-toe with anyone anywhere. But the brothers eventually reconciled and released an album of Big Bill Broonzy covers, Common Ground, which was nominated for a 2014 Best Blues Album Grammy. Currently, they're touring in support of their brand-new release, Lost Time. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
The Front Bottoms - Tuesday, November 17 - Club Red
Pardon the pun, but when you name your band the Front Bottoms, you're leaving yourself open to become the butt of many jokes. Fortunately though, hewing to the norm has never been a major concern for Front Bottoms singer, songwriter, and guitarist Brian Sella or drummer and bandmate Matthew Uychich. With four albums — two of them released independently — and a like number of EPs, the duo has shown a penchant for not taking themselves too seriously. Theirs is a steady, stream of consciousness blend of teen angst and attitude in equal measure, a kind of off-handed exuberance tailor-made for even the testiest audiences.
Childhood pals, Sella and Uychich formed the band in 2007, convincing Uychich's brother Brian to join them on keyboards. They gigged steadily around their native New Jersey for the next few years, holding down day jobs, recording when they could, building a homegrown following. In 2010, Brian opted to leave the band, and a year later they were signed to indie label Bar/None which released their eponymous third album, its successor Talon of the Hawk, and last year’s EP, Rose. Their latest, the recently released and well-received LP, Back on Top, dropped earlier this year. LEE ZIMMERMAN
Deafheaven - Wednesday, November 18 - Crescent Ballroom
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Someone who compiles these things (Metacritic, apparently) averaged all the reviews for all the records released last year, and Deafheaven's Sunbather came in at number one. In fact, the album with the starkly pink cover is the seventh-highest-scoring record in Metacritic's entire database, dating back to 1999. That means it beat Kanye West's Yeezus and Daft Punk's Random Access Memories. That's a feat in and of itself, given how heavily most albums are marketed compared to this — what's more weird about a relatively unknown upstart taking such accolades is how the band is labeled post-metal, black metal, and shoegaze all in one.
In reality, Sunbather transcends genre in an era when it means less and less to associate yourself with a particular category, anyway. The best descriptor for Deafheaven might be "texture-heavy," as nothing remains static: moments of intense, hand-wringing beauty amid pop and shoegaze influences are accented by engulfing tones of violence, despair, and a "sober restlessness," on songs that routinely last more than 10 minutes. TROY FARAH
The Blunt Club - Thursday, November 19 - Valley Bar
There's typically plenty of swagger to be found at your average edition of The Blunt Club, probably because the renowned local hip-hop night boasts more than few claims to fame under its belt. Not only does it feature some of the best turntablists around these parts (as well as a host of rap legends), it also has the distinction of being the longest running club event in the Valley, hip-hop or otherwise. Plus, there's the fact its also gone down at some particularly notable venues, ranging from dearly departed joints like the Pricesless Inn and Hollywood Alley to tastemaking spots like Crescent Ballroom and The Rebel Lounge. And after roaming the local club scene since the beginning of the year, including holding editions at Last Exit Live and elsewhere, the Blunt Club has settled into a monthly rotation at Valley Bar. Its next edition on Thursday, November 19, will including spin sessions by resident record jock Pickster One and a few special guests. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN