The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix This November

Morrissey is scheduled to perform on Thursday, November 16, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Morrissey is scheduled to perform on Thursday, November 16, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Courtesy of Shore Fire Media
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 is also 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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
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.
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

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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

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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

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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.
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

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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.
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 reality show The 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

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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
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