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Elton John is scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 26, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.EXPAND
Elton John is scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 26, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Mike Brooks

The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix in January 2019

January is an unusual month for concerts. There’s a bit of a slow start due to the holiday hangover as everyone recovers, decompresses, or sobers up. After a week or so, however, touring bands get back on the road and back into a groove as everything starts ratcheting back up.

And once things get going, there are a ton of memorable shows on tap in metro Phoenix in January. The legendary Elton John is bringing his farewell tour through town, for starters, while similarly notable artists like Kris Kristofferson, Melvins, Paul Oakenfold, Booker T. Jones, Peter Murphy, and Andrew McMahon all have local gigs scheduled for the weeks ahead.

Elsewhere on this month’s concert calendar, The Maine will stage their three-day 8123 Fest, the annual Phoenix Rock Lottery will bring together a wealth of local talents to create something new, and this year’s Coors Light Bird’s Nest at the Waste Management Phoenix Open will offer a mix of country, hip-hop, and EDM.

Details about each of these shows can be found below in our list of the best concerts happening in the Valley this month. And for even more live music happening around the Valley, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

The eclectic and influential Leo Kottke.EXPAND
The eclectic and influential Leo Kottke.
Courtesy of On Tour PR

Leo Kottke
Thursday, January 3, and Friday, January 4
Musical Instrument Museum

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Leo Kottke is weird in the best possible way. And his career has been, too. No one's ever accused Kottke of being a pop star. But somehow, he's managed to parlay his awesome aptitude on the acoustic guitar, a knack for instrumental intricacy that's undeniably complex yet somehow warm and inviting, and occasional vocals that amusingly and defiantly stick to the low road into a half-century-long career. His debut long-player, 6- and 12-String Guitar, arrived in 1969, and he released a steady stream of material for decades while quietly influencing generations of pickers, as the dozens of online videos showing amateur players trying to master his licks demonstrate.

Over the years, Kottke, who lives in Minnesota, has become a hero to famous musicians, too, including Phish's Mike Gordon, with whom he's recorded two albums, 2002's Clone and 2005's Sixty Six Steps. But Kottke, who's in his early 70s, remains hilariously unaffected by the esteem in which he's held. He seems satisfied to occupy his own particular reality, which is different enough from the one the rest of us occupy to render his commentary both insightful and delightfully bizarre. Michael Roberts

Expect antics at The Dwarves gig at the Yucca Tap.EXPAND
Expect antics at The Dwarves gig at the Yucca Tap.
Courtesy of The Dwarves

The Dwarves
Saturday, January 5
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

Formed in the mid-'80s and inspired by the punk antics of GG Allin, The Dwarves have survived for 25 years by continually evolving their sound while always remaining entertaining. "I almost think it's a form of mass hallucination," declares Dwarves frontman Blag Dahlia, "because by all rights, we should be done now, and yet we still exist."

The punky Chicago iconoclasts have always been shapeshifters. Their '86 debut, Horror Stories, leaned hard on the grimy garage-psych of bands like the Sonics, but by 1988's Toolin' for a Warm Teabag, they'd moved on to the atavistic punk of Allin. They even adopted many of his boundary-pushing antics, such as self-mutilation, on-stage hummers and punching audience members, while wisely avoiding Allin's shittiest behavior.

The Dwarves' outrageous stage behavior has greatly diminished over the years. Their performances now are simply those of a loud, raucous, fun-loving garage-punk band. Dahlia credits this to both age and different membership before returning to the context of their performances as a driving force. Chris Parker

Dale Crover, Buzz Osbourne, and Steven Shane McDonald of Melvins.
Dale Crover, Buzz Osbourne, and Steven Shane McDonald of Melvins.
Steve Appleford

Melvins
Friday, January 11
The Rebel Lounge

Many cool bands that formed in the '80s have lost their relevancy, but the Melvins are not among them. The Washington-bred heavy-stoner-rock trio not only still tour but also fully maintain their cool status. Singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne is an outspoken character who is likely the inspiration for The Simpsons' Sideshow Bob. He also introduced Dave Grohl to the rest of Nirvana, which is appropriate because the Melvins influenced grunge and sludge sounds quite a bit. Catch them on January 11 at The Rebel Lounge for an intense and intimate performance. Liz Tracy

Violent J of Insane Clown Posse is doing the solo thing at the moment.EXPAND
Violent J of Insane Clown Posse is doing the solo thing at the moment.
Melissa Fossum

Violent J
Friday, January 11
Club Red in Mesa

It’s easy, if all you’re familiar with is the shtick, to form a negative opinion of Violent J, one half of the Insane Clown Posse. Rarely seen in public without his trademark makeup, the man plays up to the role in which he’s cast himself like the most committed of method actors. There are people that think he’s one or all of the following: thug, buffoon, white trash, and run-of-the-mill idiot.

Yeah, we can feel you nodding. But scratch the makeup away, just a little, and you may be surprised by what's revealed. Violent J, real name Joseph Bruce, plays the role of the every-Juggalo so well that people don’t quite realize how smart he is. He’d have to be; alongside his business and musical partner, Shaggy 2 Dope, J has made the Psychopathic Records label into a worldwide success. Maybe not quite on the KISS scale, but the ICP boys have found their market, tapped it and know how to maintain it so that it’s mutually beneficial.

In mid-January, Violent J visits Club Red in Mesa on his current solo tour along with fellow Detroit-born rapper Esham. Brett Callwood

The legendary Paul Oakenfold.EXPAND
The legendary Paul Oakenfold.
Scott Ramsay

Paul Oakenfold
Friday, January 11
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

One of the first true superstar DJs, Paul Oakenfold has done more to popularize electronic dance music in the United States and in his native Britain than any constituent of the current EDM explosion. Long before Skrillex and Deadmau5 brought styles like dubstep and electro into the mainstream consciousness, Oakenfold played a pioneering role in the establishment of contemporary nightlife.

Oakenfold became a household name in the States with the release of his 1998 mix album, Tranceport — a greatest-hits compilation of late-'90s trance — and the relentless gigging that accompanied it. His lengthy career includes highlights too numerous to count, including tours with Madonna and U2, nightclub residencies in both America and the U.K., and headlining festivals across the globe. In 2017, he set the bar for DJs worldwide even higher when he performed on Mount Everest. No joke. While the gig took place at a base camp instead of atop the legendary mountain, it’s a singular achievement worth celebrating. So be sure to high-five Oakenfold when he appears at Maya in Scottsdale later this month. Matt Miner

Canadian rock/pop band Mother Mother.EXPAND
Canadian rock/pop band Mother Mother.
Courtesy of Watchdog Management

Mother Mother
Saturday, January 12
Crescent Ballroom

It's not often one hears a musician proclaim he wants to start a "vocal-driven pop band," but such was the case with Mother Mother guitarist/frontman Ryan Guldemond. But why aim for such commonplace pop fare? Because this is the kind of music the generally unaware music populace loves — it doesn't require any thought to subconsciously tap one's foot or nod one's head — and they buy a lot of it. The Canadian band, which also includes vocalists/keyboardists Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin, drummer Ali Siadat, and bassist Jeremy Page, received a jump start to success when New Pornographers producer Howard Redekopp signed on to work his pop magic. So for Mother Mother, the concept has worked well enough, signified by the release of seven albums, nominations for assorted awards (mostly Canadian), and a song, "Bright Ideas," being featured in a series of Kraft food commercials. Might not be the path to legendary status, but it's good work if you can get it. Glenn BurnSilver

Yes, Disturbed is still a thing.EXPAND
Yes, Disturbed is still a thing.
Travis Shinn

Disturbed
Monday, January 14
Gila River Arena in Glendale

When Chicago metal band Disturbed emerged with debut album The Sickness in 2000, having formed as Brawl in 1994, the hard-rock-loving world was nu-metal crazy. Bands like Korn and Coal Chamber (yes, even Coal Chamber) had convinced everyone that going severely bass-heavy and adding an element of hip-hop to the vocals was the way to go. Maybe throw in some industrial crunch. So for the next five years or so, bands like Static-X, Drowning Pool, and Taproot thrived — and so did Disturbed.

These days, however, people do their best to avoid the nu-metal tag, much like rock-and-roll bands spent the 1990s distancing themselves from the hair-metal label. Nobody wants to be associated with a scene that’s over. “I don’t think we were ever a nu-metal band to begin with,” says Disturbed drummer Mike Wengren. “I just think we happened to come out around the same time … I think that we have a connection with the fans, we write music about real stuff, and people are able to connect to that.”

The fans certainly did stick with the band, even when, in 2011, they decided to take a break for nearly five years. Their 2015 album, Immortalized, was a comeback and, as is usually the case with this band, it was adored by the fan base. Those same fans will flock to Gila River Arena in mid-January for Disturbed's latest Valley concert. Brett Callwood

Damon McMahon of Amen Dunes.EXPAND
Damon McMahon of Amen Dunes.
Michael Schmelling

Amen Dunes
Monday, January 14
Crescent Ballroom

It's a sneaky idea for an essentially solo artist to perform music under a moniker that functions as a band name when they could easily rely on their own given name. It allows them to switch up styles or bandmates and steer the music into assorted directions without appearing too culpable. For several years now, Brooklyn's Damon McMahon has offered up psychedelia that's taken on different forms over the course of five full-length albums as Amen Dunes. McMahon's latest effort, Love, released on the dependably excellent label Sacred Bones (which boasts the Men and Psychic Ills, among others), still has the hazy psychedelic leanings he's honed, but in a more acoustic, accessible manner than ever before. But hey, it's not McMahon that’s behind the music, after all; it's Amen Dunes. Take it up with "them." Kelly Dearmore

The Flesh Eaters
Wednesday, January 16
Crescent Ballroom

The Flesh Eaters began as a project way back in 1977. Over 40 years later, they're still touring, recording and getting together to collaborate when time allows. Fronted by Chris Desjardins (a.k.a. Chris D), the legendary punk ensemble has featured a rotating cast of musicians and a history that stretches into the vaunted Southern California punk scene of yesteryear. Currently, the Flesh Eaters consist of John Doe, DJ Bonebrake, Dave Alvin, Bill Bateman, Steve Berlin, and Chris D. In short, its a punk-rocker's dream team lineup. Jeff Strowe

The good reverend will rev things up at the Marquee in January.EXPAND
The good reverend will rev things up at the Marquee in January.
Courtesy of Victory Records

Reverend Horton Heat
Thursday, January 17
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

You would be hard-pressed to find a traveling musician who plays as many shows and as many towns these days as Jim Heath, of Reverend Horton Heat. In fact, there are not too many saloons, night clubs, festival stages, and places that he hasn’t liked, and even fewer he has not played. If there is a town with fans of the man’s unique take on Gretsch guitar-laden psychobilly licks, chances are Heath has played on their stages.

Along with his trusty stand-up bass sidekick Jimbo Wallace and time-keeper, double-bass drumming machine Scott Churilla, Reverend Horton Heat has played Arizona dozens of times dating back to the early '90s. Across the globe, RHH has shared stages with some great acts at some of the top festivals in the world including: Coachella, Lollapalooza. Reading, Riot Fest Vans Warped, Punk Rock Bowling, Shindig, Bunberry Festival, Arizona Bike Week, Sturgis, and Azkana.

He has recorded 12 albums over the past 28 years, including last year’s Whole New Life on Victory Records. The band’s catalog has variety from high-energy head-boppin’ songs like “Wiggle Stick” or “Psychobilly Freakout” to the more tongue-in-cheek numbers like the double-entendre risqué of “Let Me Teach You How to Eat” or ridiculously fun countrified “Please Don’t’ Take the Baby to the Liquor Store.” And as much as RHH has accumulated a fan base that is spread out the world from the U.S. to the Ukraine, it is the serious craftsmanship of ever-evolving passion for perfecting this sound that has allowed him and band to endure. Mark C. Horn

Mustard Plug is still skanking after all these years.EXPAND
Mustard Plug is still skanking after all these years.
Courtesy of Brixton Agency

Mustard Plug
Thursday, January 17
Crescent Ballroom

Not many bands have attained popularity and commercial success outside the mainstream music industry box the way that Mustard Plug has done. While they can't claim to be most famous ska-punk band in existence, the septet have amassed a sizable cult following, as well as radio-friendly songs and music videos, like "You" and "Everything Girl."

After forming in 1991 and, a year later, releasing a full-length tape on Dashiki Clout, Skapocalypse Now!, Mustard Plug released the popular Evildoers Beware! in 1997 via punk label Hopeless Records. This was the beginning of their zenith, coinciding with the mid-'90s ska craze, which would continue for roughly five years until their breakup in 2002.

Fortunately, Mustard Plug got back together five years later and have since dropped a couple more records, including In Black and White (where they took their music in murkier directions, and 2014’s Can't Contain It. Now, 16 years after their breakup, Mustard Plug, who swing through Crescent Ballroom in January, is still kicking out ska and have come back around to their older, poppier rhythms while still developing a new sound. Garyn Klasek

T-Boz and Chilli of TLC.EXPAND
T-Boz and Chilli of TLC.
Dennis Leupold

TLC
Friday, January 18
Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler

It's been a minute since TLC was in heavy rotation on the radio. The group's last certified hit was 2013's "Crooked Smile," a collaboration with J. Cole. But modern popular culture was practically made in TLC's image. It's in the ease with which today's pop stars talk about women's desire and pleasure. The women of TLC did that on their debut single, 1992's "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg," with the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes wearing a yellow condom over her left eye in the midst of the AIDS crisis. It's also in the women's empowerment anthems that P!nk and Lady Gaga have taken to the top of the charts in a sea of songs about mindless hookups. It's in the very existence of Beyoncé's career, which began when she was one-third of Destiny's Child, for whom TLC laid out the blueprint for success.

Chilli believes part of the reason TLC continues to resonate with audiences is the group made what she calls "life-changing music." Their songs were the soundtrack to the formative years of the early-'90s and TRL generation, and they addressed everything from safe sex on "Waterfalls" to the ways in which societal standards of beauty can magnify women's insecurities to a dangerous level on "Unpretty." Chilli says it was not only the music but also its honest messaging that resonated with people. "There's nothing fake about us. We're just a very authentic group when it comes to who we are, what we believe in, and what we stand up for, like girl power. That's always and forever been our thing. People can relate to real stuff." Celia Almeida

Chrome Sparks
Friday, January 18
Crescent Ballroom

If it were possible to genetically engineer the quintessential electronic artist for the Tumblr era, Jeremy Malvin, (better known as Chrome Sparks) would likely be the result. Before settling on the Chrome Sparks moniker, Malvin served several stints as drummer for a number of bands, including internet synthpop darling Stepdad. Choosing to take his background in classical percussion in a more danceable direction, Malvin traded in an education in drumming for a career in DJ'ing.

Since the switch, Malvin has enjoyed tremendous success as a solo act. Signed to Future Classic — the Australian label home to Flume, Chet Faker, and Cashmere Cat — Chrome Sparks has attracted attention for not only, well, producing future classics but also successfully juggling several moods and sounds. "Marijuana" — which sampled Idris Muhammad's disco classic "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This" long before Jamie xx did on last year's "Loud Places" — is Chrome Sparks' most popular song for good reason. A lean, three-minute eruption of puff-puff-pass bliss, "Marijuana" is as equally effective as a bass-synth-driven sleep aid as it is a club-floor filler. Zach Schlein

The musicians and performers of Pink Martini.EXPAND
The musicians and performers of Pink Martini.
Chris Hornbecker

Pink Martini
Friday, January 18
Chandler Center for the Arts

Pink Martini’s blend of Latin music, jazz, and classical music is the perfect antidote to everything that’s happened in the past year — it’s music that celebrates the world’s diversity while honoring the deep musical traditions formed by musicians long passed. Founded in Portland, Oregon, in the mid-’90s, the group features multiple singers and around a dozen horn players, all skilled in the Neapolitan blend of styles that is practically the perfect lounge music.

The group’s debut album, Sympathique, became a worldwide success, earning the group awards from countries as far away as France. The group is a callback to the early half of the 20th century, when America still searched outward for culture, and singers like Eartha Kitt and Doris Day sampled the cultures of the world for songs like finger foods at a fine gala. If anything, Pink Martini is a reminder to the world that Americans still can appreciate music not served on a blue plate under an American flag. David Accomazzo

The Maine are in the mood the celebrate.EXPAND
The Maine are in the mood the celebrate.
Stephen Denton

The Maine's 8123 Fest
Friday, January 18, to Sunday, January 20
Downtown Phoenix

Local power-pop act The Maine is planning a big celebration in honor of the 10th anniversary of their debut full-length album Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. So big, in fact, that the festivities will encompass an entire weekend and three different venues across downtown Phoenix.

Things get going on Friday, January 18, at The Van Buren, when the band will perform an “all request set” at a pre-party with songs curated by their fans and determined via an online poll. The next evening is the actual 8123 Fest at Civic Space Park, which will feature sets by The Maine and a collection of local and touring bands, including Mayday Parade, We The Kings, Real Friends, The Technicolors, This Century, and others. (There’s also a “Make America Emo Again” after-party later that night at Crescent Ballroom).

Everything wraps up on Sunday, January 20, with a performance by This Century and Palm Springs Eternal at  Crescent. Start times and ticket prices vary for each event. Festival promoter Psyko Steve’s website has all the details. Benjamin Leatherman

Frankie ValliEXPAND
Frankie Valli
Courtesy of Ticketfly

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Saturday, January 19, and Sunday, January 20
Celebrity Theatre

Before One Direction, the Jonas Brothers and other modern boy bands, there were ’60s sensations Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, now on tour with their biggest hits throughout the years. The “Big Girls Don’t Cry” crooner will always be remembered for other songs, like “Walk Like a Man,” “Rag Doll,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” but Valli’s powerful falsetto was also responsible for dozens of other Top 40 hits during the band’s career. They sold more than 100 million records between 1962 and 1978 alone, and who could forget the account of their lives in the hit Broadway musical (and later film) Jersey Boys? Sam Byrd

Booker T. JonesEXPAND
Booker T. Jones
Piper Ferguson

Booker T. Jones
Saturday, January 19, and Sunday, January 20
Musical Instrument Museum

It’s almost always impossible to not sound like a doofus when you’re trying to explain to someone what an instrumental song sounds like. After a few attempts, you usually end things with the statement, “You’d know it if you heard it.”

That’s true for Booker T. Jones’ classic rock-and-soul instrumental, “Green Onions,” recorded by his then-band, Booker T. and the M.G.’s. Released in 1962, the track rose to No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and topped the R&B list. It saw some action again in the late ’70s after being included in The Who-based film Quadrophenia. The Memphis native and crew went on to have a number of hits, and they won a Grammy in 1995 for their hit “Cruisin’.”

Jones is a multi-instrumentalist, but his relationship with the Hammond B-3 organ is one that generally gets mentioned when he’s the topic of conversation. He’s played it, as well as the guitar, on his own efforts, as well as in the studio for a number of bands, including Willie Nelson, Elton John, and Rancid. Amy Young

Folk rock band Dawes.
Folk rock band Dawes.
Magdalena Wosinska

Dawes
Sunday, January 20
The Van Buren

Taylor Goldsmith has been going strong with his band, Dawes, for nearly a decade. The Los Angeles-based folk-rock quartet that features bassist Wylie Gelber, keyboardist Lee Pardini and Taylor’s brother Griffin on drums, have recorded six studio albums in this limited time, including the recently released Passwords. A large part of their success is due to their frequent touring schedule, which has seen them build steady, yet increasingly larger audiences in all corners of the country. Later this month, they'll pay a visit to The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix on their current tour. Jeff Strowe

JJ Grey in concert.EXPAND
JJ Grey in concert.
Courtesy of All Eyes Media

JJ Grey and Mofro
Tuesday, January 22
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

After just a few notes, anyone witnessing JJ Grey in action can't help but notice how strong his stage presence is. He doesn’t need pyrotechnics or an elaborate stage show or costumes to pull a crowd in. All he needs is a microphone, a harmonica, and a guitar or two, and he’ll pull the crowd down to his world of dirty, authentic Southern grooves and deep-fried soul lyrics. Grey epitomizes what a frontman should be, and the rest of Mofro kick out grooves that would make a dead Confederate dance like his reanimated life depended on it. His lyrics are reminiscent of the great Southern poets; fiercely personal, universal, and political without a hint of superiority or peachiness. Jonathan Cunningham

Indie band Wild Moccasins.EXPAND
Indie band Wild Moccasins.
Arturo Olmos

Wild Moccasins
Wednesday January 23
Valley Bar

Sometimes, a band can go away and never return even if they release something new. It's been four years since we heard a new album from Houston's Wild Moccasins. On their latest release, Look Together, the four-piece turns things up a notch by mixing synthpop and dream pop into their indie pop sound. They don't waste time in reminding us why those four years felt so long.

Opening with one of the already released singles "Boyish Wave," the band keeps things synth-infused while the spacey guitar dances atop the track. Zahira Gutierrez sings above it all like she's echoing notes from the vacuum of space. They follow with the groove-heavy sounds of "Temporary Vase," where Nicholas Cody's bass and Avery Davis' drums make a Latin-infused sound. Complete with Gutierrez' haunting vocals and Cody Swan's guitar noodling, the result is a deep and slower paced jam.

The catchy sounds of another released track, "Longtime Listener," pick the pace back up. Swan's guitar here is where the magic lies, offering up a pedal soaked sound. The vocals remind you of shoegaze bands that were never as catchy, while the bridge offers more depth than the band has shown in the past. This continues on "Missing You (the Most)" where the band return to their New Wave past, though with more synthwave tones. Easily their strongest release to date, Look Together offers up plenty of danceable tracks that should make anyone a fan. David Garrick

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness will be making a return trip to The Van Buren on January 23.
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness will be making a return trip to The Van Buren on January 23.
Brendan Walter

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Wednesday, January 23
The Van Buren

Though he calls his current project "Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness," Andrew McMahon is a man who knows exactly where he is, where he's been, and where he's going. Born in 1982 to what he describes as a "piano-playing mom and a dad who was a product of the '60s protest movement," music was an ever-present part of life for McMahon and his four older siblings.

At the age of 9, he began playing piano and writing songs. It was his EP Ready Break with his band Something Corporate that first found the then-17-year-old a record deal. A couple of years later, when he was fronting the band Jack's Mannequin, calamity struck. He was diagnosed with leukemia. After more than 10 years in remission, McMahon says he still carries psychic scars from fighting cancer.

His 2016 record, Zombies on Broadway, had the celebratory vibe of a man who has bested disease. However, on his latest release, Upside Down Flowers, there’s more of a nostalgic vibe as many of its 11 songs involve McMahon recalling memories of childhood, family, founding Something Corporate, and dealing with illness. As is the norm for any McMahon project, it involves vivid and evocative storytelling. David Rolland

Corrosion of Conformity
Thursday, January 24
Crescent Ballroom

Metal band Corrosion of Conformity have been around for 35 years, but you wouldn't know that by catching them perform. Minus a six-year hiatus, bassist and metal legend Mike Dean has been with the band for 30 of those years, performing their intense music nightly.

"Our trajectory as a band, it's been a good one,” Dean says. “Technically what we do now is different than what we did we when began, it's the same in a lot of ways though. It's funny to see many bands today use thrash as their jump-off point."

Much has been said about the early days of Corrosion of Conformity, their thrash sound that was eventually abandoned for a heavier metal sound. No Cross No Crown is their latest release. The current world of streaming has dried up a lot of physical sales, keeping bands like C.O.C. out on the road for long periods of time. Though Dean says that's kind of always been the case. "It's probably that way, but even 20 years ago you had to still go out a lot. Touring is everyone's revenue stream,” he says. In late January, CoC will bring their latest tour to the Valley. David Garrick

Peter Murphy at a 2016 concert.
Peter Murphy at a 2016 concert.
Tom Carlson

Peter Murphy
Friday, January 25
The Van Buren

Peter Murphy co-founded the influential post-punk band Bauhaus in 1978 with Daniel Ash, David J, and Kevin Haskins. Over the course of four full-length albums, Murphy and company created an experience of heightened reality with their music that broke from convention, not just sonically but with lyrics informed by the avant-garde, romantic literature and '70s glam rock. It was a richly imaginative counterpoint to the world of expectation in industrial England of the decade when punk rock helped to pierce the veil of post-war British mundanity and economic and cultural stagnation.

When Bauhaus broke up in 1983, Murphy embarked on a successful solo career that proved influential in its own right with albums like the haunting yet melodious 1988 offering Love Hysteria, which was followed by the even more experimental but somehow more accessible 1989 album Deep. Murphy has always pushed his own envelope, though, and his 2011 album, the appropriately titled Ninth, proved a step forward in his development as a songwriter.

Murphy is currently touring in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of Bauhaus along with David J. Shows consist of the pair performing In The Flat Field in its entirety, as well as a variety of material from the band’s discography along with various touring musicians. Tom Murphy

Country legend Kris Kristofferson.EXPAND
Country legend Kris Kristofferson.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Kris Kristofferson and the Strangers
Friday, January 25
Celebrity Theatre

Kris Kristofferson is a giant in the world of songwriters. He became famous in the early 1970s and continues to gain admirers with stars like Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley lending new life to his hit songs like "Me & Bobby McGee," "Sunday Morning Coming Down," and "Help Me Make It Through the Night." Unlike country singers before him, Kristofferson helped liberate country music's subject matter by showing us some of what happens after leaving the bar.

After more than five decades on the road, Kristofferson is still going strong and keeping up a hefty touring schedule. He’s currently touring along with the Strangers, the renowned country ensemble that backed up the late Merle Haggard and features drummer Jeff Ingraham, bassist Doug Colosio, fiddler Scott Joss, and pedal steel player Norman Hamlet. They’re scheduled to amble into the Celebrity Theatre on January 25 and perform an evening of Kristofferson tunes. Stefan Rogenmoser

Elton John's final Valley performance happens this month.EXPAND
Elton John's final Valley performance happens this month.
Mike Brooks

Elton John
Saturday, January 26
Gila River Arena in Glendale

Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour will comes to the Valley towards the end of January and is most likely your final chance to see the legendary musician live. The former Reginald Dwight claims this is his final tour, so you should consider going if you have the cash and really want to hear his classic tunes.

On this tour, he usually plays 24 songs, and they're all the big hits and fan favorites. Whether it's "I'm Still Standing," "Bennie and the Jets," or "Levon," there will not be any stinkers that make you want to visit the bathroom or the concession stands. If this truly is a send-off for one of the biggest entertainers of our time, it should be a long and powerful goodbye. Officially, the show has been sold out for months, but you can still nab some tickets on the secondary market (read: scalpers) if you’re dying to go. Eric Grubbs

Phoenix Rock Lottery 2019
Saturday, January 26
Crescent Ballroom

Just after sunrise on Saturday, January 26, a group of 25 Phoenix-area musicians with different styles and backgrounds will gather at Crescent Ballroom. Some will be meeting each other for the first time, as veterans with decades of writing and touring experience shake hands with young creatives just starting out in the industry.

Moments later, the musicians will be randomly sorted into five brand-new bands. They’ll have just one day to work together to compose three original songs and learn a cover that they will perform that night to a full house. When the bands return to Crescent Ballroom and take the stage that night, they’ll no longer be strangers, but rather collaborators and possibly even friends. This is the Phoenix Rock Lottery in a nutshell.

The beloved event is celebrating its sixth edition this year, and the lineup is packed with well-known and emerging talent. The participants cover broad swaths of the local scene, ranging from Jason DeVore of Authority Zero and Lawrence Zubia from Pistoleros to artists like Kim Capria of The Banter, Erin Sperduti of Paranova, and Carly Bates from Hyperbella. That’s part of the magic of the Rock Lottery and why it continues to feel fresh with each edition. Meagan Mastriani

It's your last chance to see post-hardcore legends Thursday.
It's your last chance to see post-hardcore legends Thursday.
Victory Records

Thursday
Monday, January 28, and Tuesday, January 29
Crescent Ballroom

Thursday ignited the screamo scene of the early 2000s. But after taking an indefinite hiatus in 2011, they announced only two years later that they had disbanded. In 2016, however, Thursday decided to rekindle their post-hardcore legacy by playing the inaugural Sound on Sound Fest in Austin and booking a 24-city tour through the U.S. in 2017.

The band, known for singles such as "Understanding in a Car Crash" and "War All the Time," haven't released new material since 2011. And they’ve got absolutely zero intention to do so, probably because they’re only going to be performing through the spring before calling it quits again, this time for good. In October, Thursday’s members announced they were planning one final tour consisting of gigs where they’ll perform their two most influential albums, 2001’s Full Collapse and War All the Time, in their entirety on back-to-back nights. In short, if you’ve never seen Thursday live, this is basically your last chance. Diamond Victoria

The members of Hippo Campus.
The members of Hippo Campus.
Sarah Hess

Hippo Campus
Tuesday, January 29
The Van Buren

Remember the panic that ensued when parents everywhere discovered that the song “Pumped Up Kicks” was not actually about cool sneakers?

Similarly, Hippo Campus’ disturbing lyrics on “Suicide Saturday” are belied by a bopping tempo and sugary melody. Not many bands can blissfully croon about serious issues, but with the help of a breezy bassline and playful, guitar-driven indie pop rock, Hippo Campus pull it off. The lyrics, “Cocked father’s gun, like the oldest son / She could try, she could try it” are cloaked in a bubbly pop sound.

The Minnesota band released their first full-length album, Landmark, in February 2017. The record features a single called “Boyish.” It’s about a severely broken family, with a cheating mother and a 30-year-old brother living in the basement. But it takes a few listens to notice the juxtaposition between the content and the fun synth-filled intro. Since the band’s formation in 2013, Hippo Campus have grown and matured, especially when it comes to lyrical composition. But they still rely on the catchy mainstays of cheery guitar paired with dreary lyrics that merit close listening. Lindsay Roberts

Blackberry Smoke: Don't call them Southern rock.EXPAND
Blackberry Smoke: Don't call them Southern rock.
David McClister

Blackberry Smoke
Wednesday, January 30
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Just because you hail from the South and play rock music doesn’t mean your band’s the next Lynyrd Skynyrd or the new Allman Brothers. But that won’t stop people from labeling you as such. That’s been happening to Georgia country rock band Blackberry Smoke since they started. Lead singer Charlie Starr wouldn’t mind if people quit doing that, but he gets that it helps people form a connection. “Of course, we are influenced and inspired by a lot of greats, but we’re just out here doing our own thing,” Starr says.

The Atlanta-born band formed in 2000 and hasn’t changed their original lineup of Starr, Richard Turner (bass, vocals), Paul Jackson (guitar, vocals), Brit Turner (drums), and Brandon Still (keyboards). Starr cites good communication as the key factor in sticking it out through thick and thin. “We have drama like any other band does, but we work through it and get past it and keep moving forward.”

Blackberry Smoke issued the band’s sixth studio album, Find A Light, last spring on their own label, 3 Legged Records. And to say it’s been received well is an understatement. It ranked near the top of several Billboard charts, including country, rock, and indie. Blackberry Smoke are currently touring in support of the album and will visit the Valley at the end of January for a show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Chris Shiflett opens. Amy Young

Country superstar Jake Owen.EXPAND
Country superstar Jake Owen.
Leavitt Wells

Jake Owen
Thursday, January 31
Coors Light Birds Nest at Waste Management Phoenix Open

Country may be the only form of modern music left with a consistent sense of humor, and Jake Owen definitely taps into that. The Nashville-by-way-of-Florida singer-guitarist slips a twangy "yee haw" in when he can (see the song by the same name), but he also uses his accentuated southern voice to sing about heartbreak and distrust. Made for the spotlight, Owen's perfect smile and chiseled jaw put him up there with the Kenny Chesneys and Brad Paisleys of the genre – both of whom he's toured with. Fresh off his stint as a mentor on the USA Network reality show Real Country alongside Travis Tritt and Shania Twain, Owen will perform at Coors Light Birds Nest during this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. Bree Davies

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