Ab-Soul, Graham Nash and the best concerts in Phoenix this week | Phoenix New Times

Ab-Soul, Graham Nash and the best concerts in Phoenix this week

Be prepared to drop some cash if you want to get into this week's hottest concerts.
Ab-Soul is scheduled to perform on Tuesday at Crescent Ballroom.
Ab-Soul is scheduled to perform on Tuesday at Crescent Ballroom. Ticketweb

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Hoping to attend Ab-Soul’s gig at Crescent Ballroom on Tuesday? Better get a move on since only a few tickets are available on the secondary market for the rapper’s sold-out show.

You might fare better with the other big concerts happening at metro Phoenix music venues this weekend, including the legendary Graham Nash’s intimate solo show at Celebrity Theatre, the Inlovingmemory Tour featuring Xavier Wulf and Bones at The Van Buren, or rapper/spoken word artist Hobo Johnson’s performance at Crescent Ballroom.

Read on for complete details or visit Phoenix New Times' concert calendar for more live music in the Valley from Monday, June 19, to Thursday, June 22.

Earth, Wind & Fire

Tuesday, June 20
Arizona Financial Theatre, 400 W. Washington St.
There's very little in the music world that Earth, Wind & Fire bassist Verdine White hasn't accomplished in his 50-plus years as a recording artist. Since getting into the biz in 1969, he's sold hundreds of millions of records. He's played in front of mammoth festival crowds. He's widely considered one of the best bass guitarists of all time. He's genre-hopped with Earth, Wind & Fire from jazz-rock fusion to deep funk to disco to electro-pop without a peep of "sellout" being heckled from the popcorn seats. He won the music game with a smile on his face and continues to record and perform for huge audiences worldwide. The same can be said for Earth, Wind & Fire, the legendary band started by his brother, the late Maurice White, that’s known for its R&B-based love songs and upbeat pop-funk. During its heyday of 1970 to 1984, EWF racked up 20 Grammy nominations, sold millions of records, and influenced countless musicians and artists with its dynamic sounds, lively horn section, and iconic songs. 7:30 p.m., $78-$128 via livenation.com. Phoenix New Times


Tuesday, June 20
Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. 2nd Ave.
If you aren’t already familiar with the lengthy career of rapper, singer, and songwriter Ab-Soul, allow us to catch you up. Born Herbert Anthony Stevens IV, the L.A.-based artist got his start in the rap game in 2002, recording early works for a few years before signing with independent label Top Dawg Entertainment. In 2007, he formed West Coast hip-hop group Black Hippy with Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, and Schoolboy Q. Ab-Soul’s best-known jams, though, are his solo tracks, which feature his penchant for introspective lyrics. He’s currently touring in support of last year’s “Herbert,” his fifth album with TDE. 8 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Benjamin Leatherman
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The legendary Graham Nash.
Amy Grantham

Graham Nash

Wednesday, June 21
Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St.
Graham Nash’s contributions to music history are numerous. Over the course of his 65-year career, the English-born musician, singer, and songwriter penned several dozens of memorable hits, both as a solo artist (“Chicago,” “I Used to Be a King”) and a member of such influential bands as The Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash (“Teach Your Children,” “Our House”). With his latest record, this year’s “Now,” the two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Famer is largely focused on the joys of the present versus the glory days of his past. Nash described the album as “one of the most personal albums” he’s ever written and something where he “finds meaning, and something to say, in even the smallest of everyday occurrences.” He’s performing songs from the album on his current tour and a variety of his best-known hits. 7:30 p.m., $36-$86 via etix.com. Benjamin Leatherman

Xavier Wulf and BONES

Thursday, June 22
The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren St.
As De La Soul once said, “It might blow up but it won’t go pop.” For underground rappers BONES and Xavier Wulf, they’ve enjoyed the success of going their own way in the wilder, weirder thickets of the hip-hop scene without having to embarrass themselves by cutting a Drake-aping crossover song. Both have hit gold status on the strength of their independent work, releasing solo albums and collaborative tracks together (along with tourmate Eddy Baker). The music they make is haunting and dark; they rap and vibe in bleak soundscapes like they’re Salem’s long-lost grandchildren. BONES and Xavier Wulf have got their tattooed toes dipped in a rap scene that embraces Hot Topic aesthetics and emo sounds. Combining trap metal with hip-hop, they also draw inspiration from the clattering, cacophonous phonk subgenre of hip-hop — an international scene (particularly strong in Brazil) that creates intensely rhythmic music out of weird samples, cavernous gaps of sound, and audio fidelity that can best be described as “someone dropped their Bluetooth speaker in the garbage disposal.” With Eddy Baker; 7:30 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Ashley Naftule

Hobo Johnson

Thursday, June 22
Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. 2nd Ave.
If there’s one thing you can’t accuse Frank Lopes Jr. of it’s a lack of self-awareness. Lopes Jr. (aka Hobo Johnson) has become something of a living meme thanks to his oft-shared appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest—clips of which are often shared with captions stating “what is this?!” and “y’all really used to listen to this?!” Lopes Jr. knows how people view his project: you don’t call an album Hobo Johnson Alienates His Fanbase if you’re rocking your head in the sand ostrich-style. Hobo Johnson had to spend a few years living in a Toyota Corolla; a little bit of online dunking means nothing to him. To be fair: Hobo Johnson’s emo-rap stylings are an acquired taste. The earnest and verbose Johnson is something of an American answer to England’s The Streets: a spoken word artist who got a work visa to stay in Rap Country for a while. On songs like "Peach Scone" and "UglyKid," the manic Johnson spills his guts in lyrics that are self-effacing, observant, and funnier than you'd think. 8 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Ashley Naftule
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