Chance the Rapper is scheduled to perform on Friday, October 20, at Lost Lake Festival.
Chance the Rapper is scheduled to perform on Friday, October 20, at Lost Lake Festival.
Courtesy of Superfly

The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix This October

Music fans of Phoenix, your patience is about to be rewarded. After suffering through another summer, you’ve finally made it to the promised land of cooler climes, fantastic festivals, and a wealth of long-anticipated shows.

October is considered one of the bigger months for live music in the Valley and with good reason. Arts centers kick off their respective seasons, outdoor shows are in greater abundance, and the Arizona State Fair launches its concert series.

This October also features something especially enormous: the inaugural Lost Lake Festival, the three-day outdoor music, arts, and cultural spectacle from the folks behind Bonaroo and Outside Lands.

It’s going to be the biggest music event of the month in the Valley without question, maybe even the entire year. It’s the high point of what’s shaping up to be a phenomenally busy month of concerts in Phoenix. (And you can see for yourself by checking out our extensive online live music listings.)

So busy, in fact, that we had trouble whittling down our list of monthly concert to only 30 picks.

Here’s what we chose.

Country singer Robert Earl Keen.EXPAND
Country singer Robert Earl Keen.
Darren Carroll Photography

Robert Earl Keen
Monday, October 2
The Van Buren

If Lyle Lovett is the thinking man's Texas songwriter, Robert Earl Keen is the drinking thinking man's Texas songwriter. Since the late '80s, Keen's cockeyed, barstool's-eye view of life's landscape has lured love from the alt-country set and diehard frat partiers in equal measure.

Lumped in early on with the soft soil tilled by the likes of Lovett and iconic Texas crooner Nanci Griffith, Keen would be more at home on a barroom bandstand alongside a honky-tonker like Joe Ely or a (music) border-crosser like Steve Earle.

Thirty years in, songs such as "Corpus Christi Bay" and "The Road Goes On Forever" have taken on an almost anthemic patina, while "For Love" and "The Wild Ones" shine like the big old silver belt buckle on that deep thinker/beer drinker who'll be standing next to you in the audience, whooping louder than an Austin Saturday night. Tom Finkle

The Shins
Courtesy of Sub Pop Records

The Shins & Spoon
Tuesday, October 3
Comerica Theatre

When The Shins make their triumphant return to Phoenix on October 3, it will be the band's first show in the Valley since the release of their critically acclaimed fifth album, Heartworms, which arrived on March 10. They played a set that was heavy with those new tracks at McDowell Mountain Music Festival, a week prior to the album's release. If you didn't know the songs then, you have a few days to brush up on their catalog, including fan favorites from Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow.

They will be joined by beloved Austinites Spoon, and Phoenix will be one of only four West Coast stops they'll make together. They will also be armed with new songs from their latest album, Hot Thoughts, which dropped on St. Patrick's Day. If you haven't had the infectious title track stuck in your head since then, take a listen and get ready to have it permanently on a loop for a while.

These two indie powerhouses together are sure to put on a memorable show that most of the country won't get to see. Ashley Harris

Josh Tillman, better known as Father John Misty.EXPAND
Josh Tillman, better known as Father John Misty.
Guy Lowndes

Father John Misty
Wednesday, October 4
Orpheum Theatre

Father John Misty is this generation’s Harry Chapin. Or he would be — if you added in a little John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats and a healthy dose of sometimes awkward social consciousness.

Misty, a.k.a. Josh Tillman, is a busy man, but damn if he doesn’t consistently crank out the best (and we mean this with love) mopey music out there right now. There is a gravity to his work that echoes the great and serious songwriters of generations past while remaining firmly rooted in the now.

Tillman has gained something of a reputation for being an explosive live performer. And in his particular genre, this isn’t a bad thing. But the longtime sideman and producer has built a strong enough reputation for his capable talents that his body of work can combat any negative press that pops up related to the occasional outburst.

Most notably, Tillman went on a Trump-related rant last summer at a festival in New Jersey that seemed to both dismay and delight the audience — and further add to the growing mythology around the performer, who may or may not be kidding. See him at the Orpheum and decide for yourself. Tom Reardon

Chelsea Wolfe's heavier than ever.
Chelsea Wolfe's heavier than ever.
Bill Crisafi

Chelsea Wolfe
Wednesday, October 4
Crescent Ballroom

"Grow old and let your hair grow,” Chelsea Wolfe sings on “Color of Blood.” Her voice drifts through a throbbing lattice of bass and guitar fuzz that overlays the song, and it sounds like it could be swallowed up by the noise at any moment.

The track encapsulates the thrill of listening to Wolfe’s music: Her voice is like the little bird that flies into the mouths of crocodiles to clean their teeth. You listen, in part, because you’re waiting to see if the fanged jaws are going to clamp shut and swallow her whole.

While the push-pull of beautiful vocals and heavy sounds on her previous full-length, Abyss, foreshadow the direction the singer has taken on her latest album, Hiss Spun, that line about letting your hair grow out also serves as a bit of foreshadowing.

Throughout most of her career, Wolfe has played with elements of extreme music. She’s the rare singer-songwriter who can weave the atmospherics of black metal or the bottom-heavy pulse of doom into her folk music and have it sound perfectly natural. Ashley Naftule

The Flaming Lips in concert last year in Phoenix.EXPAND
The Flaming Lips in concert last year in Phoenix.
Jim Louvau

Flaming Lips & Mac Demarco
Thursday, October 5
Comerica Theatre

This double bill may seem a bit odd upon first glance. Twenty-seven-year-old Demarco is still young and carefree, gleefully strumming his guitar, writing quirky tunes and occasionally flying off the rails during his live shows. The Lips, on the other hand, are seasoned pros who have spent decades touring and building a fan base hooked on their kaleidoscopic concept albums and whacked-out exhibitions of psychedelia.

Look closer, though, and it becomes easier to see the connections. Demarco and Wayne Coyne follow the muse where it takes them. Their frequent over-the-top antics mask heartfelt and emotional tales of grief, alienation and existential doubt. While Demarco funnels these feelings through laconic, ’80s-tinged guitar, Coyne and his longtime collaborators focus on the lyrical content. At heart, Demarco and Coyne are both weird and unpredictable dudes, which makes for good theater.

While it's unclear if they'll team up for a few tunes during their show at Comerica Theatre on October 5, they have a collaborative EP coming out soon, which, given their varying sonic approaches, should make for an interesting listen. Jeff Strowe

Country superstar Gary Allan.EXPAND
Country superstar Gary Allan.
Courtesy of UMG Nashville

Gary Allan
Friday, October 6
Arizona State Fair

Country superstar Gary Allan has been a hit-making machine for two decades now. The 49-year-old California native has finely walked the line between stadium filler and perpetual critical favorite with little following.

Due to the tragedy surrounding the 2004 suicide of his third wife, Angela, he became an even more compelling figure. The albums in the aftermath of such heartbreak took on extra meaning whether he wanted them to or not. In light of those circumstances, even the relatively schlocky "Best I Ever Had," a cover of the mom-rock group Vertical Herizon's 2001 hit song, became a powerful statement.

Darkness in some form or another has been something Allan has dealt heavily in before the loss of Angela, though. In his earliest days of recording on a large scale, Allan regularly sang with a sadness that he barely kept hidden. Sometimes the darkness was hit-you-over-the-head obvious, and while at other times much less so. Allan's even used darkness as a tool instead of a thematic feeling or vibe. He'll bring his truckload of hits to the Valley on October 6 to help kick off the Arizona State Fair’s concert lineup. Kelly Dearmore

David Prowse (left) and Brian King of Japandroids.EXPAND
David Prowse (left) and Brian King of Japandroids.
Leigh Righton

Friday, October 6
The Van Buren

By the time Japandroids released its 2012 album, Celebration Rock, the band had graduated to playing small theaters. But following an extensive gauntlet of live dates throughout 2013, Japandroids disappeared for three years.

Guitarist/singer Brian King and drummer/vocalist David Prowse played every show as if they had something to prove to themselves, and that level of intensity took a physical and emotional toll on the two, so they took half a year off.

When King and Prowse came back to the band, they wanted to write a record that wasn’t merely a compelling snapshot of their fiery live show. The result was 2017’s Near to the Wild Heart of Life. The presence of synths and acoustic guitars for the first time didn’t mellow out the Japandroids sound so much as expand and enliven it beyond the full-throttle punkified rush of earlier efforts. Tom Murphy

Have some Cake to go along with all the fried food at this year's Arizona State Fair.EXPAND
Have some Cake to go along with all the fried food at this year's Arizona State Fair.
Robert Knight

Saturday, October 7
Arizona State Fair

"Just another one hit wonder," mused music critics when Sacramento, California, alternative pop act Cake first came onto the scene in the mid-'90s, with its pervasive hit "The Distance." Led by singer John McCrea's disaffected speak-sing style, its deep baselines, and heavy funk grooves, the song smothered commercial radio, catching fire as a frat party anthem and an arena rock-ready rally cry.

But Cake weathered such criticism and has persevered past over the past two decades, to say the least. Six LPs, two EPs, and a pretty well-received live album (2014’s Live from the Crystal Palace) later, they’re still doing their thing, even though Cake’s only original member left at this point is McCrea.

And while it’s going on six years since their last studio release (2011’s Showroom of Compassion), Cake has more than enough hit singles in their arsenal to keep fans entertained and singing along during show. Alex Rendon

Legendary singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III.EXPAND
Legendary singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III.
Ross Halfin

Loudon Wainwright III
Sunday, October 8
Musical Instrument Museum

For 50 very odd years, Loudon Wainwright III's lacerating wit, unflinching candor, and impish glee have combined to skewer everything in sight, from the near and dear to the feared — which, as it now turns out, is the Grim Reaper.

LW3's favorite protagonist has always been himself, and he's made self-deprecation a highly twisted art form. His 2012 album, Older Than My Old Man Now, is a morbid laugh riot about "death 'n' decay," physical infirmities, geriatric medication, fractured families, regrets, confusion and fleeting time, and was apparently triggered by the 71-year-old III lapping II, who died at 63.

Wainwright is cheerfully sardonic throughout his performances, cleverly peppering the tunes with wry humor. But there's also inevitable poignancy at work, bittersweet and haunting, as he pokes at a lifetime of uncomfortable truths. Rick Mason

Shooter Jennings
Shooter Jennings
James Minchin

Shooter Jennings
Monday, October 9
The Rebel Lounge

Shooter Jennings has never been one to shy away from tossing his fans a curveball.

Debuting as a solo artist in the mid-‘00s after an extended detour in the GN’R-inspired L.A. outfit Stargunn, his albums Put the “O” Back In Country and The Wolf may have had a little too much of his dad Waylon’s shaggy country-rock edge for his major label to handle, but he made his point and graduated to a more fulfilling existence as an indie artist and longtime host of Saturday-afternoon free-form funhouse Electric Rodeo on Sirius/XM’s Outlaw Country.

All that said, and despite fine latter-day outings like 2012’s Family Man, Jennings’ latest output speaks to how far-ranging his interests remain. Besides last year’s Countach (For Giorgio), a tribute to Italian disco auteur Giorgio Moroder, Jennings recently dropped an expanded edition of 2010’s Black Ribbons, his Illuminati-haunted country-psych album featuring narration by Stephen King. Chris Gray

Mark C. Austin

Tuesday, October 10
The Van Buren

Originally something of a long-distance songwriting partnership, Mutemath eventually based themselves in keyboardist Paul Meany's home town of New Orleans. Artists from that town seem to be able to pull off eclectic without seeming like musical dilettantes, and Mutemath is no exception.

Its popularity with fans of jam bands and improvisational music is somewhat curious, considering that much of Mutemath's material is an amalgamation of electronic pop and atmospheric rock, with threads of R&B running through it. But the musicianship is impeccable, and the songs have a flowing groove underlining their melodies, suggesting some jazz training among the group's members. Tom Murphy

Portugal. The Man is "trying to say something that mattered" with its latest album.EXPAND
Portugal. The Man is "trying to say something that mattered" with its latest album.
Maclay Heriot

Portugal. The Man
Thursday, October 12
The Van Buren

If you’re a fan of both punctuational nomenclature and indie rock, be sure to come on down when Portugal. The Man descend from on high — otherwise known as their home town of Wasilla, Alaska — to play various hits from the last 15 years as well as songs from their current release, Woodstock.

The album came about after the band ditched their long-awaited (and long-delayed) record Gloomin + Doomin in favor of releasing a record with more of a substantive feel that better reflected the current sociopolitical climate. "We worked with so many rad people on this album, but ended up with just the four of us in a basement at 4 a.m. trying to say something that mattered," said frontman John Gourley in an interview with Billboard. Hence the spirit of resistance that embues Woodstock’s lead single, "Feel It Still." David Cotner

Female-fronted metal act Halestorm.EXPAND
Female-fronted metal act Halestorm.
Jake Giles Netter

Thursday, October 12
Arizona State Fair

Officially, Halestorm has been active since 1997, when frontwoman Lzzy Hale was 13 and her drummer brother Arejay was 10. But the renowned metal band really got going when they signed to Atlantic in 2005. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2009, and now there’s no stopping this Halestorm.

A combination of classic heavy metal and radio-friendly hard rock can be cheesy in the wrong hands, but the Pennsylvania group handle it expertly. They've toured with some stinkers, like Disturbed, Stone Sour, Seether and Alterbridge, but has also held their own with Heaven & Hell and Buckcherry.

These days, Halestorm is at the top of their game, so expect a killer set when it invades Veterans Memorial Coliseum during the Arizona State Fair. Brett Callwood

Singer-songwriter and violinist Andrew Bird.EXPAND
Singer-songwriter and violinist Andrew Bird.
Cameron Wittig

Andrew Bird
Friday, October 13
Mesa Arts Center

Like with 2012’s Break It Yourself, Andrew Bird’s latest indie pop album Are You Serious finds the classically trained violinist and singer-songwriter cruising gentle waves of indie rock while romantically toying with the English language à la Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde.

While the A.V. Club may have called this a “slight” record that takes “no musical risks,” the powerful effect of an absurdly talented and genius musician choosing relatively simple foundations — as Bird does with the bluesy groove of “Capsized” and the brutal passion of “Left Handed Kisses,” his lyric-driven duet with Fiona Apple — is both bold and admirable.

Risky arrangements or not, Bird unleashes flourishes of instrumental virtuosity throughout Are You Serious, and he will no doubt do the same at Mesa Arts Center. Adam Perry

Macklemore is headed to the Valley for a solo show.
Macklemore is headed to the Valley for a solo show.
Ryan Mckinnon

Saturday, October 14
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Seattle-born rapper Ben Haggerty, better known to most as Macklemore (or Professor Mack Lemore, if you’re way old-school) is a polarizing figure in the hip-hop world, to say the least. And while opinions about his talents and stature may vary from person to person, the fact remains that he’s had a phenomenally successful career thus far.

His biggest success to date, of course, is 2012's smash-hit The Heist, a collaboration with Ryan Lewis. Maybe you remember the hit song “Thrift Shop” (poppin’ tags, anyone?) or “Same Love.” Four years later, the duo released the follow-up, This Unruly Mess I've Made.

Macklemore’s career without Lewis hasn’t been as prolific, however. As a matter of fact, before his latest record, Gemini, dropped last month, he hadn’t released a solo album in more than six years. Macklemore’s making up for lost time, however, by touring relentlessly in support of Gemini, including playing the Marquee in Tempe this month. Sara Button

Dubstep pioneer 12th Planet.EXPAND
Dubstep pioneer 12th Planet.
Courtesy of Paradigm Talent Agency

BOO! Arizona 2017
Saturday, October 14
Rawhide Event Center in Chandler

As it turns out, ghouls and ghosts won’t be the only thing going bump in the night this time of year. Case in point: Bass-heavy beats, cacophonous grinds, and other ominously intense electronic sounds will fill the air this weekend over at Rawhide Event Center in Chandler, during the latest edition of BOO! Arizona.

The Halloween-themed electronic dance music festival that will feature tons of costumed characters and EDM treats aplenty, especially for anyone who digs dubstep, trap music, or electro. The lineup this year will include sets by wub-wub fiends like 12th Planet and Crizzly, as well as party instigators like Bonnie x Clyde, Bro Safari, KSHMR, Laidback Luke, Monxx, Valentino Khan, and Zomboy. As you might’ve guessed, costumes are encouraged. Benjamin Leatherman

Thurston MooreEXPAND
Thurston Moore
Vera Marmelo

The Thurston Moore Group
Monday, October 16
Valley Bar

The Thurston Moore Group is hitting the road this fall in support of Moore’s fifth solo release, Rock n Roll Consciousness, which dropped in April. The record only contains five songs but runs nearly an hour, with a couple of tracks, “Turn On” and “Exalted,” passing the 10-minute mark. Its overall sound is classic Moore: noisy, intricate, and a little spacey. It’s permeated by a dreamy sonic haze.

A member of New York’s seminal noise rock band Sonic Youth, Moore has remained busy since that band’s demise in 2011, both with solo records, collaborations, and his project Chelsea Light Moving, inspired by the legendary writer, William S. Burroughs, who penned provocative fiction works Junkie and Naked Lunch.

In addition to Moore on guitar and vocal duties, the Thurston Moore Group is currently a mix of outstanding musicians who all have lengthy rosters of achievements. There’s Steve Shelley, who drummed with Moore in Sonic Youth and is the current recording drummer for indie band Sun Kil Moon. Deb Googe from My Bloody Valentine and Primal Scream is on bass, and James Sedwards from bands Nought and Chrome Hoof plays guitar. Amy Young

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Wednesday, October 18
Gila River Arena in Glendale

The Red Hot Chili Peppers occupy a unique place in the history of alternative rock – a fact that too many people ignore, easily dismissing them as a party-rock band. But there’s so much more going on here.

Influenced early on by no-wave funksters The Contortions, punk and improvisational jazz, the Chili Peppers broke into the mainstream with their 1991 breakthrough album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, injecting a celebratory energy in alternative rock that contrasted with the anger and melancholy that underlined much of the best of early-’90s music.

Still, they didn’t deny the complexity of life and its dark side; after all, these are the same guys who wrote both the hedonistic anthem “Good Time Boys” and the uncommonly thoughtful and nuanced “The Power of Equality.” Tom Murphy

Lucia Cifarelli (left) and Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM.EXPAND
Lucia Cifarelli (left) and Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM.
Franz Schepers

Wednesday, October 18
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

KMFDM (originally Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid) started as a performance-art one-off in 1984 that evolved into an ongoing endeavor. Founding member Sascha Konietzko was joined by drummer and vocalist En Esch, who formed the core of the band until its temporary split in 1999.

With various collaborators, KMFDM developed its signature melding of electronic industrial music and hard rock, which has often been imitated but seldom equaled. The peak of the band's commercial popularity came following the release of Nihil in 1995, which spawned the soundtrack-friendly hit single "Juke Joint Jezebel."

What has kept the group interesting is its visceral live shows and its songs, which feature tongue-in-cheek, genuinely clever lyrics that take aim at sociopolitical ills in the world – that and KMFDM's willingness to poke fun at itself. Tom Murphy

The musicians of Latin rock ensemble Cafe Tacvba.EXPAND
The musicians of Latin rock ensemble Cafe Tacvba.
Courtesy of Cafe Tacvba

Café Tacvba
Friday, October 20
Arizona State Fair

With such feathery, lightweight dance tracks as “1-2-3” and “Automático,” Café Tacvba’s latest album, Jei Beibi, initially has more of an electronic-based vibe than some of the Mexican group’s earlier releases. But lead singer Rubén Albarrán is actually at his most interesting when he croons more starkly arranged and emotionally intimate tunes such as “Enamorada,” “Disolviéndonos” and the acoustic ballad “Que No,” as well as the more urgently shadowy “Futuro.”

This month, the ensemble, which is regarded as one of Mexico’s most relentlessly inventive rock bands, will play its first-ever gig at the Arizona State Fair. Best of all, admission is free (although reserve seating will run you $40-$60 per person). Falling James

Run the JewelsEXPAND
Run the Jewels
Courtesy of Biz3

Lost Lake Festival
Friday, October 20, to Sunday, October 22
Steele Indian School Park

The inaugural Lost Lake Festival comes to the Valley courtesy of Superfly, the folks behind major music events Outside Lands and Bonnaroo. For the company’s first foray into Phoenix, it went all out. The stacked and hip-hop heavy lineup includes Chance the Rapper, The Roots, Ludacris, The Pixies, HAIM, and Run the Jewels.

The rest of Lost Lake’s roster of performers include Crystal Castles, Calexico, The Dap-Kings, Johnnyswim, Trinidad Cardona, and Striking Matches on Friday, October 20; Huey Lewis & the News, Dreamcar, Kongos, Lil Yachty, Carla Morrison, Tritonal, and JR JR on Saturday, October 21; and Major Lazer, Odesza, Big Gigantic, Juanes, Snakehips, Poolside, and Futuristic on Sunday, October 22.

Besides the killer lineup, Lost Lake will feature food and drink and a giant playground. If you'd rather not cherry-pick what days you attend the festival, three-day passes are still available for $224.50. Becky Bartkowski

The entire A$AP Mob is coming to Mesa.EXPAND
The entire A$AP Mob is coming to Mesa.
Kimi Selfridge

A$AP Mob
Saturday, October 21
Mesa Amphitheatre

Formed in 2006 in Harlem, A$AP Mob is an East Coast crew of rappers, producers, and fashion designers. Each member has the group's slogan Always Strive And Prosper as part of his name. While the dapper A$AP Rocky is the group's most famous member, other Mob members have made their mark over the last few years (especially A$AP Ferg, who's giving Rocky a run for his money as the best of the bunch).

A$AP Mob has released one group studio album, 2016's Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends. The second volume in the Cozy Tapes series is set to drop this year, which is why the whole Mob is hitting the road this fall.

A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Twelvyy, A$AP Nast, and A$AP Ant are embarking on a 20-city tour. And they're bringing a few friends along for the ride: Playboi Carti, Key!, and Cozy Boys are also slated to appear when A$AP Mob hits Mesa on October 21. Ashley Naftule

Hip-hop legend and Arizona State Fair regular Snoop Dogg.EXPAND
Hip-hop legend and Arizona State Fair regular Snoop Dogg.
Jim Louvau

Snoop Dogg
Saturday, October 21
Arizona State Fair

Snoop Dogg is one of the very few performers in hip-hop who can say he's watched the genre grow old with grace. From his tumultuous times at Death Row Records to a questionable signing with the No Limit label, Snoop has soldiered on through the years to become one of the game's greatest legends.

His lyrics, his California swag and his consistent ear for head-banging rap beats continually put Snoop ahead of the class. His coolness is immeasurable, and he envelops his audiences with it at his shows. Well, that and marijuana smoke.

Through it all, Snoop has built the Doggfather legacy and amassed a cult following that grows with every performance and carries his hip-hop message to the world. And later this month he’ll carry it into Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum when he returns yet again to the Arizona State Fair. Expect 90 minutes of classic Snoop hits, fans singing along with every chorus, and THC in the air to keep the whole place mellow. Ru Johnson

Seth Haley, a.k.a. Com Truise.
Seth Haley, a.k.a. Com Truise.

Com Truise
Saturday, October 21
Crescent Ballroom

Seth Haley, known by his current persona, Com (you may also know him as Sarin Sunday, SYSTM, or Airliner), is an L.A.-based DJ and maker of all music electronic. His synth-heavy sound is a nod to the '80s.

Along with his canon of remixes, he's released three full-length LPs, including his most recent effort, Iteration. It concludes a trilogy of vaguely science-fiction-themed albums that began with 2011's Galactic Melt. According to a press release, the album “illustrates the last moments Com spends on the perilous planet Wave 1, before he and his alien love escape its clutches to live in peace.” Catch him at Crescent Ballroom later this month with Nosaj Thing before he departs. Diamond Victoria

Your favorite OITNB theme song singer is coming to Celebrity.EXPAND
Your favorite OITNB theme song singer is coming to Celebrity.
Shervin Lainez

Regina Spektor
Wednesday, October 25
Celebrity Theatre

Regina Spektor can do more with her voice and piano than most singer-songwriters can manage with full instrumentation and lavish production. That’s not to say the New York vocalist’s arrangements are stripped down on her latest album, Remember Us to Life, which features varied musical settings by producer Leo Abrahams.

It’s just that Spektor’s songs need little more than her sophisticated melodies and playfully inventive lyrics to communicate romantic emotions so skillfully. “I’m chasing a story I heard when I was here last, at the back of the class,” she declares on the opening track, “Bleeding Heart.”

Spektor could be describing the passionate intensity of her own music when she adds, “Staring at the walls of your jail-like home/Listening to that song ’cause it hurts just right.” Falling James

Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson.
Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson.
Mike Brooks

Marilyn Manson
Thursday, October 26
Arizona State Fair

Say what you will about America’s favorite satanist, but it can’t be denied that Marilyn Manson will always be an important thread in America's rock and roll fabric. Whether you’re a fan or not — the shock rocker/boundary-pushing gender-bender goth lord is a divider, people either love or hate him — his cultural impact and musical history is fascinating.

To follow his story is to follow the evolution of American popular culture and our reaction to one of its most extreme voices. Retrospectively, his antics of yesteryear appear tame when compared to today’s standards, and for that, you can thank him and his band. Art, without pushing its boundaries, remains stagnant.

If ever there was a performer who capsized the proverbial boat in the stagnant waters of modern rock, it's Manson. Kristy Loye

Editor's note: Marilyn Manson's show has been cancelled. A new date has been announced for January at The Van Buren.

All eyes will be on Flying Lotus when he hits The Van Buren in late October.EXPAND
All eyes will be on Flying Lotus when he hits The Van Buren in late October.
Tim Saccenti

Flying Lotus
Saturday, October 28
The Van Buren

Flying Lotus is one of the most innovative electronic producers out right now.

Born Steven Ellison but better known these days by his stage handle, the L.A.-based artist began making beats at the age of 14, and with his omnivorous taste in music, he's gone on to create lush, detailed music with a soothing flow and depth that could never be classified purely as hip-hop, or ambient, or EDM, or anything in particular, really.

Rather, Flying Lotus makes the kind of music you have to take on its own terms with the ensuing reward of merely enjoying the work of an artist with a truly developed imagination and honed creativity. Tom Murphy

The members of Dream Theater.EXPAND
The members of Dream Theater.
Jimmy Fontaine

Dream Theater
Saturday, October 28
Chandler Center for the Arts

Formed in 1985, this American progressive metal band still contains original members guitarist/vocalist John Pertucci and bassist John Myung. Throughout the years, the band has undergone various lineup changes, including most recently the split with original drummer Mike Portnoy.

The music has always been a boiling pot of traditional heavy metal riffs, shredding guitars and elements of traditional old-school metal like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, glam, speed metal, classic rock, hard rock, classical music, and of course prog rock, with heavy influences form such bands as Rush, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, and Yes.

The band has toured all around the globe earning fans on every continent, having shared the stage with everyone from Megadeth and Iron Maiden to Deep Purple and Lamb of God. Alex Distefano

The members of Dream Theater.EXPAND
The members of Dream Theater.
Jimmy Fontaine

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Saturday, October 28
Talking Stick Resort Arena

When Bob Seger’s "Night Moves" broke through on classic-rock radio in 1976, some observers described it as an overnight success. But the Michigan native was a force in the vibrant Detroit music scene as far back as the early ’60s, and his national audience eventually caught up to the singer’s rawer, earthier regional hits, such as “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.”

It’s never clear what this self-proclaimed “simple-minded guy” actually believes in. He has dissed draft dodgers (“The Ballad of the Yellow Beret”) and written anti-war songs (“2 + 2 = ?”), and the longtime shill for Chevy trucks now wants to save the environment on his latest album, Ride Out. With Seger, it’s always been more about his craggy mountain of a voice than his lyrical vision. Falling James

Editor's note: Bob Seger has cancelled his current tour due to health concerns.

Iron & Wine
Sunday, October 29
The Van Buren

Sam Beam, former math teacher, beard-rock innovator, soft harmonizer with an edge, sings in a half-whisper, fills his songs to the brim with many competing acoustical flourishes and writes mysterious, meandering lyrics that wander from idea to idea without much regard for literal messaging (“Love was a father’s flag  /and sung like a shank/In a cake on our leather boots” — wha?).

It’s a beautiful approach, one that draws from the least annoying aspects of the jam-band scene — love for pure, clean sonics and search for joy in improvisation — to create something that suggests classic Paul McCartney, Elliott Smith, Brian Wilson (harmonies) and Topanga-era Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. This show should be amazing. Randall Roberts

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