The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

You don't want to miss Sean Watson's Halloween Costume Ball on Tuesday, October 31, at Crescent Ballroom.
You don't want to miss Sean Watson's Halloween Costume Ball on Tuesday, October 31, at Crescent Ballroom. Benjamin Leatherman
Ain’t tuckered out from all that partying this past weekend? The good news is that there’s still a lot of Halloween left to celebrate.

Some apropos shows will take place on Tuesday in honor of the holiday, including gigs by psychobilly band Nekromantix and goth-punk duo One-Eyed Doll. Meanwhile, various parties will be happening, such as Sean Watson’s ultra-popular Halloween costume ball at the Crescent Ballroom.

The rest of this week’s slate of shows includes concerts from indie pop singer Børns, freak-folk artist EMA, electropop singer/songwriter Halsey, rock band LANY, and pop act Saint Motel.

Details about each of these performances and events can be found below in our rundown of the best concerts in Phoenix this week. (And for even more gigs happening around town, hit up our online live music listings.)

Saint Motel
Monday, October 30
The Van Buren

This week’s answer to the music lovers' prayer for a full dance floor is a band that makes pop music that's not just a guilty pleasure. Amen, it's Saint Motel, performing a weeknight gig at The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix.

Saint Motel is among the bands that have recently taken the sting out of the designation "pop music." By virtue of making high-quality music and occasionally embodying the stereotypical metrosexual modern dude, the band has won fans beyond the tween base. This is pop music for anyone who related to High Fidelity – "I don't wanna listen to old sad bastard music, Barry" – and is planning to dance to the point of being completely un-shaggable at Saint Motel’s show.

Refreshingly unafraid to heckle its own image, the band's single "My Type" embodies the inherent blithe tone of Saint Motel: "You're just my type/You got a pulse and you are breathing." Saint Motel is epigrammatic, but lyrically, there's enough sweetness and ambiguity to allow listeners a personal interpretation. Musically, energetic horns and happy key melodies bridge for an overall good-time-band sound. Stephanie Grey

click to enlarge Ted Leo - MINDY TUCKER
Ted Leo
Mindy Tucker
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Tuesday, October 31
Valley Bar

The Hanged Man is one of the most misunderstood tarot cards. Depicting a man hanging by his foot off a tree or cross, it doesn’t seem to portend anything good. But the card is auspicious, a sign of wisdom and strength gained from a period of self-sacrifice and struggle. If you’re going through a tough time, the card’s a sign that you won’t be dangling from that tree forever.

Ted Leo’s latest album is called The Hanged Man. It’s an apt title. The years between his last album, 2010’s The Brutalist Bricks, and his triumphant return this year were full of trials for Leo. He’s dealt with his former record label, Matador, dropping him. He’s had to face a changing musical landscape where it’s hard for even a musician of his stature to make a living. Leo’s family has struggled with health issues. The singer was briefly separated from his wife, and the couple had to cope with a tragic miscarriage.

Considering the hand life dealt him, you might imagine that Leo’s new album would be a dark, somber affair. This isn’t the case. The Hanged Man is one of his most adventurous, sonically diverse records. The lyrics are some of the most emotionally devastating, revealing words he’s ever written. Ashley Naftule

Tuesday, October 31
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Electropop singer/songwriter Halsey was raised on “Biggie and Nirvana,” like she tells us in her song “New Americana,” but neither act, among her many other influences, defines her sound. She’s just nodding to the stuff that she heard — via her parents, while growing up — that helped her develop her love of music.

That passion eventually turned into an interest in performing. The singer, who took her stage name from the Halsey Street subway stop in Brooklyn, started showing off her whisper-driven, soulful voice on a variety of social media platforms. That led to a record deal with Astralwerks, who signed her 2014.

Since then, she’s been recording and touring. Mirroring her eclectic interests, she’s toured with some diverse acts, too. She’s hit the road with bands like Britpoppers the Kooks, R&B artist The Weeknd, and rockers Imagine Dragons.

Halsey’s song “Closer,” a collaborative effort with DJ duo The Chainsmokers, was a number-one hit on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Now, she’s touring on the heels of Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, her second full-length release. The 2017 recording shows a focused polish in its overall production, where her debut, Badlands, was a bit edgier. She’ll be performing songs from both on her Phoenix stop. Amy Young

click to enlarge Two awesome costumes from last year's Halloween ball at the Crescent Ballroom. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Two awesome costumes from last year's Halloween ball at the Crescent Ballroom.
Benjamin Leatherman
Sean Watson’s Halloween Costume Ball
Tuesday, October 31
Crescent Ballroom

A word to the wise: If you’re planning to hanging out at the Crescent Ballroom on All Hallows Eve, you’d better be in costume. Seriously. It’s one of the entry requirements for the venue’s phenomenally popular Halloween party each year and will be strictly enforced.

Also, it better not be something you’ve thrown together at the last second, considering the costumes that have been worn to Crescent’s yearly Halloween party are some of the best-looking and most clever in the Valley. Just ask Sean Watson, who’s lent his name to the event for the past several years and is always impressed by what he’s seen. “I swear to God, every year, those costumes get even better at that party. It’s insane. They're so good every year.”

In other words, when you show up to the ball on Tuesday night for this year’s event, which features a “Land of the Misfit Robots” theme, you’d better not be slacking off.

Besides offering a parade of killer costumes, the ball will feature sets in both Crescent’s concert hall and an outdoor stage by Watson and fellow local DJs like Stoneypie and Cormac. Others scheduled to perform include DJ/producer Astronomar SHRBT, local hip-hop collective Guild, and dance music duo Deux Yeux. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Kimberly Freeman of One-Eyed Doll. - JASON RUFUSS SEWELL
Kimberly Freeman of One-Eyed Doll.
Jason Rufuss Sewell
One-Eyed Doll
Tuesday, October 31
Club Red in Mesa

There’s a wonderful dichotomy to the Austin, Texas, duo One-Eyed Doll. On one hand, Kimberly Freeman and Jason Rufuss Sewell’s project is so disturbingly on-the-nose, so contemporarily goth-punk, that they might as well have Emily the Strange singing for them, Gorillaz-style. But that’s just the surface, and it needs to be scratched.

Dig a little beyond the superficial, and there’s a staggering amount of depth to be uncovered. Most notably, Freeman is not your standard angsty goth with a notepad full of sub-standard Marilyn Manson lyrics and a penchant for The Crow and Adult Swim. She's a genuine artist, a poetic songwriter, and a charismatic frontwoman.

Her work stands up, to the point that she has a parallel career as a solo singer-songwriter, often performing stripped-down versions of One-Eyed Doll songs. But it’s with her band that she excels. She's been known to have an entire room full of concertgoers follow her around a room just by raising her arm and beckoning.

Will the same sort of scene develop during One-Eyed Doll’s Halloween night gig at Mesa’s Club Red? One thing’s for certain, it’ll be an entertaining show. Local bands CO-OP, Ciphered Existence, After the Calm, and Doll Skin (who grace the cover of this week’s issue of Phoenix New Times) will open. Brett Callwood
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.