The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix This November

Morrissey is scheduled to perform on Thursday, November 16, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.EXPAND
Morrissey is scheduled to perform on Thursday, November 16, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Courtesy of Shore Fire Media
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

There’s a lot to look forward to this month – and we’re not just referring to cooler temps and the holidays.

A ton of big concerts will be happening in November, including performances by such superstars and legends as Jay-Z, Bruno Mars, Fall Out Boy, Liam Gallagher, and Ministry.

Notable artists like Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, Niall Horan, Barns Courtney, and Yelle are also due in town this month. Ditto for Morrissey, who’s scheduled to perform in mid-November in Tempe, but we’re sorta holding our breath on whether or not he’ll show up.

There are also two big fests planned, the annual Arizona Hip-Hop Festival and the inaugural Gold Rush Music Festival.

And if you’re into spectacles, both GWAR and Corey Feldman are coming to Phoenix this month.

Needless to say, November will be busy (and you can check our online concert calendar for proof). Granted, things will taper off to a degree around Thanksgiving, but the bulk of this month is filled with great shows, including several locally produced festivals.

Here are the 30 best shows we're recommending that you check out this month.

Erika M. Anderson, better known as EMA.EXPAND
Erika M. Anderson, better known as EMA.
Courtesy of Chromatic PR

Wednesday, November 1
The Rebel Lounge

The music Erika M. Anderson makes as EMA is as beautiful as it is unnerving. Burying her affecting vocals in songs that buzz and crackle with industrial menace, she’s America’s leading cyberpunk folk singer. Singing about the alienating effects of technology and how it feels to be marginalized in the “outer ring” of society, EMA is the songbird that technophobes and online junkies alike have been looking for. On early songs like “Marked,” she displayed an aching vulnerability that didn’t tug at heartstrings so much as it sawed through them like a knife. She also showed off a knack for Garbage-style goth-pop jams on songs like “Milkman” and “So Blonde.”

On her latest album, 2017’s Exile in the Outer Ring, Anderson has leaned into what she really does best: creeping menace. Songs like “Breathalzyer” and “Blood and Chalk” hum with sinister intent, like the radiator in a murder victim’s motel room. Self-described as “33, nihilistic, and female,” EMA’s wounded voice captures what it feels like to feel adrift and lost in an automated world that needs humanity less and less with each passing day. Ashley Naftule

Børns will perform a free concert at Tempe Marketplace this week.
Børns will perform a free concert at Tempe Marketplace this week.
Chuck Grant

Thursday, November 2
Tempe Marketplace

If a lot of today’s music sounds something like mid-‘80s pop with the sharpness, contrast, saturation, and sugar content cranked way up, then Børns sounds something like the late ‘70s variation on that theme. While he certainly looks backward for inspiration – “Electric Love” is a prime example, with its heavy psych guitars and warbly prog synth opening – his records have that genetically modified, test-tube grown goodness we’ve come to expect from modern major radio acts. (The similarities both aural and in name between his “Electric Love” and MGMT’s “Electric Feel” are both relevant and instructive here.)

On his most recent record, 2015’s Dopamine, Børns worked with Emile Hanyie (Lana Del Rey) and Jeff Bhasker (Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), and it shows: It’s a quick, slick, neuroelectrical burst of psych-tinged pop pleasure, with Børns’ dialed-in falsetto slipping easily past the blood-brain barrier. You’ll probably hear several songs from Dopamine, as well as his latest singles "Faded Heart" and "Sweet Dreams,” during Børns’ free concert at Tempe Marketplace on Thursday, November 2. Elliot Wright

Jazz vocalist Kandace Springs.EXPAND
Jazz vocalist Kandace Springs.
Courtesy Blue Note Records

Kandace Springs
Thursday, November 2
Musical Instrument Museum

It’s hard to imagine what jazz vocalist Kandace Springs’ debut full-length album, Soul Eyes, would have resembled if Prince hadn’t intervened. The Purple One saw the soulful singer cover Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” and was smitten with her undeniable talent. He invited her to perform at his Minneapolis production complex for the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain.

Springs was already working with some accomplished pop producers, but Prince suggested that she stay true to herself. She took the advice and ran with it.

Turns out, Prince was right. Released in 2016, Springs’ Blue Note debut, Soul Eyes, captures the singer’s genuine talent and passion for her craft. The title track (a cover of the Mal Waldron standard) sends chills down the spine, pairing her rich and intense vocals with the trumpet of Terence Blanchard. Jason Keil

It's pronounced "lay-nee," in case you were wondering.EXPAND
It's pronounced "lay-nee," in case you were wondering.
Courtesy of Chuffmedia

Thursday, November 2
The Van Buren

Although the band’s name is a combination of coastal culture hubs Los Angeles and New York, indie-pop trio LANY met in the middle.

They got together in spring 2014 in Nashville, where singer Paul Klein met drummer Jake Goss and guitarist/keyboardist Les Priest. A month later, they had two songs tracked and up on Soundcloud. LANY’s ascent was swift, with tracks like “ILYSB” and “BRB” showing up on different iterations of EPs that dropped after the band signed to Polydor Records.

The trio wasted no time graduating to bigger stages, playing opening sets for eclectic audiences of Twin Shadow, X Ambassadors, and Halsey, and hitting festivals like Lollapalooza.

They’ve been on the road headlining their own shows pretty much nonstop for the past year. Things picked up once again in late September, when the band set out on another leg in support of their self-titled full-length debut. Ashley Harris

The members of death metal act Children of Bodom.EXPAND
The members of death metal act Children of Bodom.
Courtesy of the band

Children of Bodom
Friday, November 3
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Having changed its name from Inearthed to a reference to the infamous Lake Bodom murders of 1960, this Finnish band continues to defy easy categorization in any specific subgenre of metal. The band's precision and furiously fast and melodic riffing are clearly influenced by the new wave of British heavy metal, while the players use enough underlying atmospheric tones and thrashy leads to garner a black-metal comparison, as well.

But these Children perform their music with a clear zest for life, even if most of their lyrics focus on the kind of subject matter that inspired their current moniker. Like the thrash legends of the '80s, Children of Bodom has toured like its life depended on it over the course of its career — a work ethic that has yielded a consistently energetic and masterful live show. Tom Murphy

Jay-Z in concert.
Jay-Z in concert.
Marco Torres

Friday, November 3
Talking Stick Resort Arena

In order to drop a bomb, you have to build one first. This past summer, Jay-Z unleashed the explosive album 4:44, four years after his previous release. New tracks from the hip-hop megastar generated much excitement, partly because of a desire to hear what he might have to say about his wife, Beyoncé. Not that fans’ obsession with the couple was anything new. This time, though, the intrigue went deeper. And darker.

Fans wanted to know if Jay’s new album included responses to Beyoncé’s Lemonade, the critically acclaimed, gut-bomb of a masterpiece that dropped a little more than a year prior. Would Jay-Z bother owning up? That was the question. Fuck yeah, he bothered.

Though he never made an official public confession, in this revealing and deeply personal collection of songs, 4:44 does find Jay-Z addressing those call-outs from his wife. The record includes some critical takes on society and an analysis of the black experience in America that uses O.J. Simpson as an example. Music industry greed is another topic on his hitlist.

Now, haters, they’re gonna hate. Some folks find it hollow when a guy with a net worth reported to be over $800 million and ownership in companies like Tidal and Rocawear calls out greediness in others. On the flipside, it’s the words he’s chosen thus far that have given him the success he has today. Amy Young

The members of Chicano Batman.
The members of Chicano Batman.
Courtesy of ATO Records

Chicano Batman
Saturday, November 4
The Van Buren

Los Angeles-based Chicano Batman isn’t particularly dark, and the only crime the soul band seems to be fighting is that of bad taste. The group’s matching outfits recall the Chicano-rock movement of the early ’60s and bands like Thee Midniters. Like that act, Chicano Batman plays music on the softer side of rock while projecting an understated passion that keeps performances from seeming safe.

Embracing tropicalia and psych, Chicano Batman makes smooth music, with lyrics in both Spanish and English, that stretches the standard pop format. This year’s Freedom Is Free finds the four-piece extending itself further into the realms of jazz and funk without watering down its vision or losing any of its inherent cool. Tom Murphy

Bruno Maris is in for the long haul on his current tour.EXPAND
Bruno Maris is in for the long haul on his current tour.
Kai Z. Feng

Bruno Mars
Sunday, November 5
Talking Stick Resort Arena

In less than a decade and with just three albums under his belt, Bruno Mars has taken the pop music world by storm and moved to the forefront of the genre with the likes of Beyonce, Ariana Grande, and The Weeknd. He’s proven he can deliver powerful ballads and party anthems influenced by the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s and genres such as soul, funk and R&B.

When Mars takes the stage at the Talking Stick Resort Arena, this will be the 105th performance of his yearlong 24K Magic World Tour. But don’t worry about fatigue setting in.

He recently told CBS News, “I know that people wanna go out and have a good time. And they spent their hard-earned money for this ticket, and I just wanna make sure they leave feeling something.” The 32-year-old Honolulu native will deliver one of his signature feel-good performances in support of his double-platinum album. Mikel Galicia

Singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen.
Singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen.
Courtesy of High Road Touring

Noah Gundersen
Monday, November 6
Crescent Ballroom

There's something about the voice of Seattle singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen – it's evocative and haunting, the type of wail that sticks you can't shake for days after you first hear it. Gundersen has previously written songs and toured with his sister, Abby, on backup vocals and violin, and his brother, Jonathan, on drums.

There are a few other members of the touring band, but the most powerful part of the songs is the combination of Noah and Abby's voices. Genetics help family bands achieve a scary-close vocal blend, and the Gundersens take full advantage of this. To hear the two sing harmonies on songs like "Poor Man's Son" is to swim in a velvet sea of sonic bliss. David Accomazzo

Al Jourgensen of Ministry.
Al Jourgensen of Ministry.
Allan Amato

Tuesday, November 7
The Van Buren

For many fans of heavy music, it just doesn’t get better than Ministry. The guitars, samples, and heavy percussion – along with the screamy, sneering vocal delivery of a guy who may be the first cousin of Satan himself – have made Ministry one of the greatest underground musical exports from Chicago.

For this fan, January 31, 1990, was the true game changer. That’s when Ministry played the Americana Ballroom in Phoenix and totally destroyed the place. Chain link fence was set up in front of 75 percent of the stage, and Al Jourgensen was the ringleader of evil for the night.

That’ll likely be the case again on Tuesday, November 7, when Ministry play on Van Buren Road yet again. This time it’s at The Van Buren, and Death Grips is opening. In the 27 years since Ministry’s Americana Ballroom show, a lot has happened with Jourgensen and company, even if there haven’t been many remarkable records. But the good Ministry stuff is good enough to transcend many of the less-than-memorable records that have happened in the meantime. And really, 1996’s Filth Pig had some really fun moments.

Hell, if you like Ministry, you probably like all of their records, even if recent releases mostly have been box sets and “best of” compilations. Tom Reardon

Yelle singer Julie Budet.
Yelle singer Julie Budet.
Maciek Pozoga

Wednesday, November 8
Crescent Ballroom

It’s not easy for American bands to break through to pop success. When the Backstreet Boys got started, they were strategically marketed in Europe first, then brought back to the States after they’d already built a fan base.

Imagine, then, the near-insurmountable odds stacked against a French-speaking electro-pop band. You’re sweating, right? And yet that’s exactly the kind of language barrier Yelle waved aside with just one MySpace (yes, MySpace) single. After two albums, Yelle even had pop king Dr. Luke, the guy behind every Katy Perry and Ke$ha song you’ve ever loved, asking to work with it.

Yelle, fronted by singer Julie Budet and creative partner GrandMarnier (Jean-François Perrier), now have three LPs and a decade of success behind them. More than three years into touring, these two are hitting the Crescent Ballroom to bring their legendary effervescence to a Phoenix dance floor. Kat Bein

Pop-punk band Waterparks.EXPAND
Pop-punk band Waterparks.
Courtesy of Equal Vision Records

Wednesday, November 8
The Van Buren

When you’re a teen, there’s magic in the combination of heartfelt lyrics with smart-aleck wit, largely because being a teen means thinking everything is somehow the most important thing in the world or a complete joke. It’s a particular type of alchemy that made me fall in love with Blink 182 when I was a teen and I suspect plays a large part in why Waterparks will be playing to sold-out crowds in Chicago, Philly, Atlanta, and New York over the next few weeks.

Yeah, I know, I’m romanticizing youth a bit here, but when I listen to Waterparks, I’m reminded of everything that I loved about pop-punk when I was that age. Double Dare, their most recent album, is not a “cool” record because in a world where rock music isn’t hip, pop-punk gets even less respect, but it’s an effortlessly good record full of songs that are catchy and hit some real solid emotional beats if you go along with it. Waterparks delivers those songs very well live, be it the acoustic buildup and tension release of “21 Questions” or the big-league-sounding chorus in “Royal.” Cory Garcia

Corey Feldman (center) and his crew of angels.
Corey Feldman (center) and his crew of angels.
Maggie St. Thomas

Corey Feldman's Heavenly Tour
Thursday, November 9
BLK Live in Scottsdale

Prodigiously cute as a child actor, Corey Feldman has dipped his toes his several bodies of water, literature Coreyography, reality TV (The Surreal Life, Border Security: Canada's Front Line) and even film (Goonies, Stand By Me, License to Drive, The Lost Boys). The one-time star of realityshowThe Two Coreys has been making a real push into music for a few decades, most recently with his Corey's Angels.

Corey's Angels doubles as a mission for wayward girls as well as backing band for the one-time Dancing on Ice contestant. A year after appearing on Celebrity Wife Swap, Mr Feldman resumed his push into music, appearing on various television shows to promote the double-disc concept CD, Angelic 2 the Core.

So what should you expect? Angelic boasts a little pop-rock, a soupcon of dubstep, a dash of hip-hop, a little comedy, and more than a few tips of the fedora to Mr. Feldman's longtime friend, the King of Pop. Nota bene, leaked videos from this tour suggest a high likelihood of Segway dancing. Tex Kerschen

Friday, November 10
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

From his musical beginnings as lead singer and guitarist for Sepultura onward, Max Cavalera’s contribution to metal can’t be underestimated. Along with his brother Igor Cavalera, Sepultura’s offering of primitive drum work, ariose guitar riffs, and incredible screaming vocals brought an impressive brand-new to the heavy-metal canon.

More importantly, the Cavalera brothers also brought a new authenticity to an indigenous culture’s native music. By extraordinarily blending what seemed like two opposing genres, they created some of metal’s most unique offerings; Sepultura literally put Brazil and South America on the metal map.

That superlative creativity from the Cavalera family has resurfaced in many forms, through supergroups and side projects galore. Most notable for Max Cavalera is his band, Soulfly. An extension of Max's impressive talent and a gift to the metal catalog, Soulfly’s latest album, Archangel, is 36 and a half minutes of roaring lyrical work, deep melodic riffs, and a thematic surprise: the Old Testament and its horror. Think divinely inspired devastation. Kristy Loye

Ali Tomineek is scheduled to perform at the Arizona Hip-Hop Festival.EXPAND
Ali Tomineek is scheduled to perform at the Arizona Hip-Hop Festival.
Haili Copeland

Arizona Hip-Hop Festival 2017
Saturday, November 11
Comerica Theatre

The annual Arizona Hip-Hop Festival, which takes place on Saturday, November 11, at Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix, is a massive undertaking, to say the least. Hundreds of different rappers, MCs, DJs, and artists from throughout the state will perform during a daylong celebration of hip-hop culture and the local scene. A variety of DJs, dancers, and visual artists will also do their thing at the event.

As with its first three editions, says organizer Justus Samuel, the event will function as a showcase for the local scene and its wealth of talent.

“It’s a platform that was designed to cultivate the culture and be used as a platform for active practitioners,” he says. “It's for people to celebrate Arizona hip-hop culture.”

The festival will include every aspect of hip-hop culture, ranging from rapping and DJing to visual artistry and both b-boy and b-girl dancing. There will also be clothing and apparel vendors and a variety of youth workshops. Benjamin Leatherman

Not the kind that gives youLyme disease.EXPAND
Not the kind that gives youLyme disease.
Laura Partain

Deer Tick
Sunday, November 12
Crescent Ballroom

At the dive bar where angels and demons party together, Deer Tick is the rowdy house band. The Rhode Island act has long embodied dual drives: lovelorn, country-tinged folk rock and burn-it-down barroom punk, all of it beer-soaked and unabashedly human.

The band’s newest release embraces the swing between poles with two separate records: the acoustic Deer Tick Vol. 1 and the electric Deer Tick Vol. 2. It’s been four years since Deer Tick’s last album, Negativity, and the band almost didn’t return from its hiatus, as frontman John McCauley prioritized getting a handle on his habits and becoming a family man with wife Vanessa Carlton.

Armed with 20 new songs and a deep catalog, McCauley and company will fly their freak flags high at the Crescent Ballroom. Katie Moulton

Derek Trucks (left) and Susan Tedeschi (right) perform.EXPAND
Derek Trucks (left) and Susan Tedeschi (right) perform.
Courtesy of Shore Fire Media

Tedeschi Trucks Band
Tuesday, November 14, and Wednesday, November 15
Orpheum Theatre

Before the TTB’s 2010 founding, guitarist Susan Tedeschi had success as a solo artist. Her husband and co-bandleader, Derek Trucks, led a group, was a permanent member of the Allman Brothers Band, and was a touring axeman for Eric Clapton. Doyle Bramhall II, a fellow guitarist on that tour, has become a close friend and writing partner for Tedeschi and Trucks.

While the band lineup has changed slightly over the course of three studio LPs and two live records — the most recent of which is this year’s Live from the Fox Oakland — Tedeschi enjoys the somewhat controlled chaos of the circus. “This band is really unique, and there are so many great players and the personalities are just wonderful,” she says. “I’m very lucky to be in this circus, too."

Tedeschi and Trucks are writing material for a new studio record, collaborating on some tracks with Bramhall and TTB singer Mike Mattison. Tedeschi says the subject matter is a struggle this time.

“It’s hard not to write about hurricanes and war and politics and racism," she says. "It’s just hard to comprehend everything going on today. But we want to write music that makes people have a positive feeling. … People need hope, because there’s not a lot out there.” Bob Ruggiero

Ani DiFranco
Wednesday, November 15
The Van Buren

For girls of a certain age, Ani DiFranco is a feminist icon. Her angry feminist aesthetic has formed the backbone of many a rebellious teenage girl, and she hasn't slowed or mellowed almost 20 years later. DiFranco's anger, which is decidedly still well-placed considering our current political climate, is perhaps her defining feature, one that is best displayed onstage.

Those needing an outlet for their feminist rage will find comfort in DiFranco's angsty, folky tunes. Perhaps more notably, though, DiFranco's accomplishments as an instrumentalist and musician are woefully underappreciated. If you make it out to The Van Buren on November 15, you'll see exactly what we're talking about. Amy McCarthy
Thursday, November 16
Marquee Theatre

The voice that launched a thousand jangly guitar bands, Morrissey has made sardonic posturing and self-involved sensitivity a hip look for over 30 years now. At 57 years old, the artist formerly known as “the only guy from the Smiths whose name you can remember” remains as angsty and golden-tongued as ever.

He can still make a pop song feel like a dark secret whispered in a David Lynch wet dream. With a silvery lilt and a melodic turn, he can still make you feel 17 again — and that the world is an immensely beautiful thing just waiting to be conquered. Despite the years of controversy, angry veganism, and scores of canceled shows, Morrissey is still just Morrissey: one of the very best and most influential figures pop has ever seen. Jonathan Patrick

Liam Gallagher, formerly of Oasis and Beady Eye.EXPAND
Liam Gallagher, formerly of Oasis and Beady Eye.
RANKIN/Warner Bros. Records

Liam Gallagher
Thursday, November 16
The Van Buren

Oasis has been an alt-rock radio staple since the mid-'90s. But the band came apart in 2009 when, after years of infighting, Noel Gallagher left the outfit. His brother Liam since soldiered on, first as Beady Eye (which featured the rest of Oasis) until 2014 before doing the solo thing the last several years.

With Beady Eye, Gallagher showed he wasn’t trying to replicate his former sound. Indeed, the quartet's new brand of stripped-down rock was looser and more ambitious than anything Oasis put out. As a solo artist on his recently released debut album, As You Were, Liam is – and one rock critic has pointed out – re-articulated his “’90s obsession with the '60s.”

He’s still just as much of an outspoken asshole as ever, as demonstrated by his recent salvos aimed at Noel on Twitter, which is just the latest in their longstanding sibling rivarly. You might event here Liam unleash a few acid-tongued barbs at his brother’s expense during his upcoming show at The Van Buren. Daniel Kohn

Fall Out Boy, carefree as ever.
Fall Out Boy, carefree as ever.
Pamela Litky

Fall Out Boy
Saturday, November 18
Talking Stick Resort Arena

There’s something to be said for the third act of Fall Out Boy’s career. The first act witnessed the band exploding onto the pop-punk scene and pretty much ruling the pop-rock roost for a few years. The second act was a blend of the band maturing, fracturing, and eventually falling apart, only to reunite after some much-needed downtime.

Turns out, a little downtime is all Fall Out Boy needed to become the band it always wanted to be. Sure, Pete Wentz and crew may not move the needle the way they once did, but the band’s last two efforts — 2013’s Save Rock and Roll and 2015’s American Beauty/American Psycho — easily rank among their best.

A new album is on tap in January, so Fall Out Boy is already back out on the road. Come for nostalgia, but stay for a band that finally seems to have figured it out. Clint Hale

The members of Beach Slang.
The members of Beach Slang.
Charlie Lowe

Beach Slang
Saturday, November 18
The Rebel Lounge

Despite their band’s name, Beach Slang are decidedly not garage, not beach-y and not from California. (They're from Pennsylvania actually, which may be the polar opposite of California.) Beach Slang have taken shoegaze-y layered guitars and sped them up to forge a complex and driving sound.

They lure you in with crystalline guitar leads before bringing in slicing chord hits with raspy, yelling vocals. It feels as if at any moment, the song itself may rip at the seams. But that’s when they pull it back and the tide pulls in. But that’s only so the next wave will hit you even harder. Matt Wood

Lil Uzi Vert is scheduled to perform on Sunday, November 19, at the inaugural Gold Rush Music Festival.
Lil Uzi Vert is scheduled to perform on Sunday, November 19, at the inaugural Gold Rush Music Festival.
Courtesy of Atlantic Records

Gold Rush Music Festival 2017
Saturday, November 18, and Sunday, November 19
Rawhide Event Center

Local fans of both hip-hop and electronic dance music will want to keep both Saturday, November 18, and Sunday, November 19, free on their schedules. That’s because a new festival aimed at both crowds will be making its debut at Rawhide Western Town in Chandler that particular weekend – and it’s going to feature a big lineup of performers.

The first-ever Gold Rush Music Festival will take over the kitschy Western theme park and offer two straight days of hip-hop artists and DJs.

According to Thomas Turner of Relentless Beats, the local EDM event promoter that’s putting on Gold Rush, the festival will be a combination dance music massive and hip-hop extravaganza catering to fans of those genres. “It's going to be about hip-hop and dance music, but a broad spectrum of both,” Turner says. “It will go from noon to midnight both days with a total of 24 hours of music on three stages. So it’s going to be lot of talent and a lot of music happening.”

He ain’t kidding. Relentless Beats recently finished announcing the complete list of artist and acts that will perform at Gold Rush, and the lineup includes Migos, Marshmello, Lil Uzi Vert, Dillon Francis, Barclay Crenshaw, Keys N Krates, Excision, Claude VonStroke, Snow Tha Product, Drezo, and Hippie Sabotage. Benjamin Leatherman

Niall Horan of One Direction.EXPAND
Niall Horan of One Direction.
Courtesy of Modest Management

Niall Horan
Monday, November 20
Comerica Theatre

One Direction members are better apart than they ever were together. If you disagree, then the second you listen to each member's solo attempts, you should be ready to agree. Or you'll see for yourself this month when you see Niall Horan in concert at Comerica Theatre.

For anyone older than 10, Horan is the one in group without any tattoos.

On November 20, Horan will be at the downtown Phoenix venue with his guitar, singing his solo efforts from what we assume is his forthcoming album. Songs by former One Direction members Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, and Horan are playing on the radio. Horan's is called “Slow Hands,” and you’ve caught yourself singing “Slow, slooooooow hands” to yourself and giggling at how great it makes you feel. Paige Skinner

Matt Garstka, Tosin Abasi, and Javier Reyes of Animals As Leaders.
Matt Garstka, Tosin Abasi, and Javier Reyes of Animals As Leaders.
Courtesy of Sumerian Records

Animals As Leaders
Tuesday, November 21
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

When guitarist Tosin Abasi first burst onto the metal scene in 2009 with the self-titled debut from his group Animals as Leaders, he was the primary creative force behind the instrumental project. While he had outside assistance from Periphery guitarist Misha Mansoor on drum programming and production, the record turned ears thanks to Abasi’s vision of blending Meshuggah-style, polyrhythmic metal riffs with a technicality that aped shred greats like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.

Seven years later, Abasi has shared magazine covers and stages alongside his aforementioned guitar heroes and is considered a contemporary leader in today’s instrumental rock guitar scene.

The newest record from Animals as Leaders, The Madness of Many, was released last month. Abasi says that the newest record is the most cohesive statement that the current lineup — rounded out by second guitarist Javier Reyes and drummer Matt Garstka — has ever composed as a full band from start to finish. Jason Roche

You can hear Barns Courtney pretty much anywhere these days.
You can hear Barns Courtney pretty much anywhere these days.
Courtesy of Various Artists Management

Barns Courtney
Wednesday, November 22
Valley Bar

Barns Courtney knows a thing or two about perseverance. The 26-year-old has been dropped from labels, cheated out of money, and left without a home. But the former computer software salesman didn't stop chasing his dream. And in 2015, Courtney's name began populating music charts, radio stations, and even major motion picture soundtracks. His raspy vocals, genuine talent and nod to early R&B make his music a must-listen. Diamond Victoria

Thursday, November 23
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

With the death of vocalist and bassist Dave Brockie in March 2014, comedic thrash metal group GWAR is now left without any of its founding members. However, the often obscenely hilarious art-rock band is a beast that will scour the land devouring pop culture figures and spraying concert audiences with copious amounts of fake blood for as long as the spirit remains. Like a car accident mashing together the talents and styles of Alice Cooper, Slayer, and Spinal Tap, GWAR are still an exotic and outlandish show to behold. It's a performance that must be experienced to truly understand what these barbaric interplanetary warriors (and clever satirists) are really all about. Angel Melendez

The esteemed and uncompromising Tori Amos.EXPAND
The esteemed and uncompromising Tori Amos.
Paulina Otylie Surys

Tori Amos
Wednesday, November 29
Mesa Arts Center

From the very beginning, Tori Amos established herself as a singular presence. By measure both tender and tenacious, her songs challenged and chided listeners through intimate observations and unapologetic narratives that frequently surveyed the darkest and direst circumstance.

Her unbridled passion and brash delivery may have had their origins in the introspective approach of feminine folk bards like Joni Mitchell, Janis Ian, and Judy Collins. But unlike Joni, Janis, and Judy, Tori's brooding ballads revealed her in ways that were exceptionally intimate and private. The feelings she shared were palpable, providing her narratives with a riveting if unrelenting connection.

As a rule, Amos has never refrained from baring her soul and detailing even her most painful personal experiences, whether dealing with rape, religion, a miscarriage, or a troubled marriage.

Indeed, this eight-time Grammy nominee has always shown an ability to blend imagery and allegory in equal measure. And rarely is an artist this real. Lee Zimmerman

Jamie “Jonny 5” Laurie and Stephen “Brer Rabbit” Brackett of Flobots.EXPAND
Jamie “Jonny 5” Laurie and Stephen “Brer Rabbit” Brackett of Flobots.
Amanda Tipton

Thursday, November 30
Valley Bar

Denver hip-hop troupe the Flobots have never been about doing things the easy way. When 2007’s Fight With Tools album achieved some mainstream success, reaching number 15 on the Billboard chart, and the accompanying “Handlebars” single climbed to number 30, they seemed to be on the fast track to universal acceptance and a comfortable career.

With a live rhythm section (Jesse Walker and Kenny Ortiz) plus a classically trained violinist (Mackenzie Gault) in the ranks, the Flobots found a sound that appealed to discerning fans of bands like the Roots, as well as the crowd that enjoys commercial rap-rock like, dare we say, Linkin Park. The tunes are accessible — that should be celebrated. But the Flobots have something to say, too.

In 2010, the second album, Survival Story, was met with mixed reviews. One of the major criticisms aimed at that sophomore effort is that the political message was more “preachy” than that of the debut. That, of course, is subjective.

Many fans enjoyed the passion with which MCs Jamie “Jonny 5” Laurie and Stephen “Brer Rabbit” Brackett conveyed, and continue to convey, their messages. Still, the two men concede that they’ve been on a learning journey since forming in 2000. This past May saw the release of their fourth album, No Enemies, and Laurie says that this one feels like the most deliberate realization of their intentions, as musicians and activists. Brett Callwood

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.