It's gonna be one helluva week for concerts, including shows by mega superstars (Madonna, Garth Brooks, Rick Springfield), modern day metal artists (Red Fang, The Sword), esteemed musicians (Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club) and everything else in between. Heck, the notorious Insane Clown Posse are even paying a visit the Valley.
Truth be told, there’s probably a show for every taste imaginable this week, even those who crave the taste of Faygo. For proof, look no further than our extensive online concert calendar or the following picks.
Eagles of Death Metal - Tuesday, October 20 - Crescent Ballroom
Dave Grohl may seem like the clear choice as the contemporary Rock God, but Josh Homme is the poor man’s candidate. Not only does he rule with a mighty strum in Queens of the Stone Age (as well as previously fronting the influential stoner rock group Kyuss), but his sideband the Eagles of Death Metal is another outlet that brandishes his rock ‘n’ roll mettle. Formed in the late Nineties alongside Jesse Hughes, Eagles of Death Metal have kept a low profile since 2008’s Heart On, but fans were recently treated to a new single (“Complexity” marked by its fuzzy bass lead) and the just released album, Zipper Down. Homme is on a hot streak — lit by his 2013 Queens of the Stone Age triumph …Like Clockwork — so approach this show acknowledging that a face-melting performance will likely be delivered. SILAS VALENTINO
Insane Clown Posse - Tuesday, October 20 - The Pressroom
Let us be honest with each other for a moment, dear reader. The reality is that when it comes to high culture thinking there is nothing left to say on the subject of Insane Clown Posse and/or Juggalos. As a musical group, ICP exists in that same world that Nickelback and Miley Cyrus inhabit, which is to say if you've heard of them you already have an opinion on them and there's a good chance you're just reading this for freak-show value. Unless, of course, you like ICP and just want to see them live when they run amok at The Pressroom this week.
As for Juggalos, all rational, well-mannered folk know that they're just a bunch of regular people who happened to find a family of like-minded individuals all united by the fact that they really love when clowns sing about murder. So yes, I guess I am sort of saying that the FBI aren't rational and that making fun of Juggalos for having passion for something on a level we should all be jealous of is a bit lame. And they’ll be enjoying all the Faygo-spewing, chaos-causing, horrorcore-loving action when the ICP circus rolls into town with P.O.D., Dope D.O.D., and DJ Paul. CORY GARCIA
The Sword - Tuesday, October 20 - Club Red
With modern day metal's barometer swinging wildly between the boiling highs of Mutilation Rites black metal and Pallbearer's chilly doom, stoner stalwarts the Sword play like dead-center classicists. The Austin, Texas, group's catalog builds upon the sonic cues of 90s Sabbath-revivalists such as Sleep, while still copping some of the celestial grandeur that's trickled into the genre after decades of prog-rock kids and metalheads sharing high school lunch tables. Unfortunately, their latest effort, August's High Country, incorporates a spectrum of parlor tricks no fan is likely asking for (Cake called; they want their vibraslap back). Still, most of the record's songs manage to "get there" in a conventional sense, which is why the majority of the Sword's fans flocked to them in the first place. ANDREW PENKALSKI
Rick Springfield - Wednesday, October 21 - Arizona State Fair
Rick Springfield's life has been an interesting ride from the peaks through the valleys of major stardom. The man is a Grammy-winning songwriter, a former soap star who hunked it up on General Hospital, and the face plastered on the inside of your mom's locker. He's been through the ringer of Behind the Music cliches — including a major initial musical success marred by alleged scandal, a decade battling depression, and a miraculous ride to the top in both the acting and musical arenas in 1981. But the Rick Springfield of 2015 is still as inspired as ever.
And he's also as dreamy as ever, boasting energy and verve to spare, as evidenced by his critically lauded turn in Ricki and the Flash alongside Meryl Streep in the Movie as well as the performances contained within Stripped Down, the 13-track live from earlier this year featuring live and raw versions of many of Springfield's biggest songs. He's likely to bring the same level of energy — and a set list bristling with many of the same hits — to Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday, October 21, during the Arizona State Fair, which ironically is where your mom probably heard “Jessie's Girl” being blasted back in the '80s. DAVID VON BADER
Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club - Wednesday, October 21 - Mesa Arts Center
It’s been seven decades since anyone actually stepped into the Buena Vista Social Club, a members-only hangout in Havana, where some of the island’s most skillful singers and musicians pioneered a distinctive Afro-Cuban mezcla of jazz, mambo, charanga, cha-cha-cha, rumba, and son. The club closed in the 1940s, over a decade before Castro’s revolution and the forced shutdown of many similar Cuban nightspots in the early ‘60s. But since some of that original scene’s essential players reemerged following Cuban musicians Juan de Marcos González and American guitarist Ry Cooder’s Buena Vista Social Club album in 1997, this legendary, long-shuttered establishment has become a symbol of a lost Havana.
Of course, the Buena Vista Social Club also became a movie, as well as the banner under which the surviving musicians of that era tour the world. And though original members Omara Portuondo and Eliades Ochoa still lead the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, the time has come to say goodbye. Almost 20 years after the original Buena Vista Social Club album, there is a new 14-track collection of unreleased cuts, entitled Lost & Found, with a list of contributions from late members, including Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González, and Orlando "Cachaíto" López, as well as Portuondo and Ochoa. Meanwhile, the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club is celebrating this latest batch of archival recordings by bidding farewell to fans everywhere. The Adios Tour, as it is dubbed, has traveled throughout North America and will stop by the Mesa Arts Center on Wednesday, October 21. S. PAJOT
Red Fang - Thursday, October 22 - The Rebel Lounge
In 2008, a video surfaced of four Portland residents, clad in chain mail and medieval armor made solely of beer cans, going head-to-head with live-action role players. In 2011, the same four Portlanders appeared again, blowing a record label advance check on a beatup station wagon and a plethora of items that look all too good in slow motion when driven through at 50 miles a hour. In 2013, Fred Armisen briefly joined the group, now battling beer-swilling zombies on the streets of their beloved Oregon city, running for their lives and their suds with 30-pack in hand. All three videos — actually just a handful of their offerings — are set to brutal, down-tuned and metal-tinged soundtracks courtesy of the same foursome, Red Fang.
There's a tongue-in-cheek element to Red Fang that counters an aesthetic that includes beards, brews, and bruises. Though hard to pigeonhole from any external angle, Red Fang is always drenched in fuzz pedals, hammering drums, gigantic vocals, and, of course, Pabst Blue Ribbon. "I guess we're maybe not skilled enough musicians to pull off a genre-specific thing," says vocalist/bassist Aaron Beam. "It's just whatever comes out when you're sitting on the couch with a guitar, that's just what ends up being a song. There's a unifying theme that it's just the four of us playing and all bringing our individual styles, so it's always going to sound like Red Fang because of the way the four of us play." K.C. LIBMAN
Madonna - Thursday, October 22 - Gila River Arena
She's been blessed with a Rebel Heart. From "Like a Virgin" to Sex to asking Ultra Music Festival ravers to pinpoint the whereabouts of Molly, Madonna Louise Ciccone has always defied her detractors, her censors, her critics. And she's never apologized. Ever. And at the age of 57, she's has a new album out, the aforementioned Rebel Heart. She's dressing like her Blonde Ambition-era self again. She's calling out the ageists who insist she should quit. And naturally, she's in the midst of another world tour. Months after she made a surprise appearance at this year's Coachella (where she briefly — and regrettably — snogged with Drake) and dropped by Ellen and The Tonight Show, Madonna has been busy with 35-date tour that's already hit Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, and parts of Canada, offering a mix of old favorites ("True Blue," "Like A Virgin," "Who's That Girl") with her new hotness ("Bitch I'm Madonna," "Devil Pray," “Unapologetic Bitch”). And for as long as she's able, we're certain that the Material Girl with the rebelious heart will keep going, no matter the haters have to say. S. PAJOT
Mudhoney - Thursday, October 22 - Crescent Ballroom
Mudhoney, the proto-grunge overlords and original "Loser" poster boys who, along with Nirvana and TAD, formed the unrivaled trifecta that propelled Sub Pop Records to global domination, are hitting the Valley on Thursday, October 22, for a gig at Crescent Ballroom. They're still basking in the glorious punk rock stench of 2013's comeback LP, Vanishing Point. The SuperFuzz and Big Muff-stomping goons have been dishing the garage rock goods for over twenty-five years now, outlasting most of their peers while inspiring a slew of young guns to carry the grunge torch. Sure, sneering singer Mark Arm, guitarist Steve Turner, bassist Guy Maddison and drummer Dan Peters have day jobs, wives, and kids, but that hasn't stopped their post-Stooges debauchery. So get ready to enter the mosh pit and lose your shit to classics like "Touch Me, I'm Sick" and "Suck Me Dry" to recent barn-burners like "Chardonnay" and "I Like It Small." SoCal acid punk/psych rock band The Freeks set the stage for these grizzled legends. BRAD COHAN
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