The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Barb Wire Dolls invade the Valley this week.
Barb Wire Dolls invade the Valley this week. Courtesy of Adrenaline PR
Good news, y’all. Thanks to Thanksgiving, you’re in for a short work week.

It’s definitely cause for celebration, which you can do at any of the concerts happening over the next few nights.

Even with a major holiday happening a few days, there’s plenty of things happening at local music venues this week. And you’ve got a colorful and varied selection to choose from, including gigs by such freakfests as GWAR, Belphegor, and Captured! By Robots.

Other artists and acts scheduled to perform this week include Barb Wire Dolls, Glassjaw, Animals As Leaders, Niall Horan, and local legends Pistoleros.

Full details about each of these gigs can be found below in our list of the 10 best concerts in Phoenix this week. (And for even more options, check out our online live music listings.)

click to enlarge Niall Horan of One Direction. - COURTESY OF MODEST MANAGEMENT
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

click to enlarge Barb Wire Dolls invade the Valley this week. - COURTESY OF ADRENALINE PR
Barb Wire Dolls invade the Valley this week.
Courtesy of Adrenaline PR
Barb Wire Dolls
Tuesday, November 21
The Rebel Lounge

Notorious L.A. band the Barb Wire Dolls look like a collage of punk-rock motifs, from their studded leather jackets to schoolgirl skirts with torn stockings. But their aesthetic is no indicator of their sound. The Dolls’ logo and personal style are largely borrowed from the Sex Pistols and the working-class, late-’70 British punk movement called Oi!; their name is a nod to the New York Dolls. But their sound isn’t as codified as their look.

Even though they were courted by NOFX’s Fat Mike to join Fat Wreck Chords, the Dolls don’t write catchy pop-punk or emo. Instead, their sound evokes raw power, like the Stooges, blending elements of metal and grunge with European street punk.

It’s a combination that gets heavier rather than harder on their latest album, Desperate, which was released by Motörhead Music last year. Slit, a much angrier statement engineered by Steve Albini that was released in 2012, includes cover art depicting Isis holding a microphone between her thighs and the track “Your Escape,” their live set’s most vicious three minutes of punk. Plus, they were favorites of the late Lemmy Kilmister, which is the kind of badass rock 'n' roll cred that money can't buy. Art Tavana

click to enlarge Glassjaw in concerts in 2010. - TOMMY AU/CC BY 2.0/VIA FLICKR
Glassjaw in concerts in 2010.
Tuesday, November 21
The Van Buren

Either Glassjaw’s music was a gateway to who you are today, you vaguely remember seeing kids sporting GJ shirts, or you’ve never heard of this band.

For those in that last category, Glassjaw are an influential post-hardcore band from Long Island, New York. They formed in 1993. Things took off in the early aughts, when alternative kids gravitated toward the band as an alternative to pop punk and Adidas rock garbage (no shade meant).

Glassjaw gave a voice to the jilted, the jaded, the complex, and the bored teenagers. Despite yelling about dicks being guns in the band’s early days, they evolved into a thinking man’s hardcore band, more grown-up and progressive than other heavy outfits.

Longtime fans know the Geej were once on a lengthy hiatus, and often cancelled shows due to illness. And although they’ve been through town a few times since touring again, fans can never really ignore Glassjaw on a bill — whether supporting or headlining. They have new, good songs from this decade. But you’re really hoping to hear Daryl and the boys start up some of the old heavy stuff, and of course, the singalongs. Lauren Cuisimano

Robb Klassen
Tuesday, November 21
Last Exit Live

The last words of Jonwayne’s latest, the superb Rap Album Two, are, “When I die, I know my words will be my only thing.” And if you’ve listened closely to his lyrics or encountered his pulverizing live performances, you understand that few consider words more valuable.

At the age of 26, rapper Jonwayne has been a fixture of the L.A. beat and underground hip-hop scene since his teens. His first official release, Bowser, won co-signs from Flying Lotus and Jonah Hill. A run of EPs and a debut rap album on Stones Throw Records upped his profile to the point where much of his current tour is sold out.

He’s become every rapper/producer’s favorite rapper/producer. Dilated Peoples named Wayne’s debut one of the 10 best records of the last decade. Earl Sweatshirt and The Alchemist have repeatedly sung his praises, too. In an era when even underground stars want to blow up, Wayne has opted for the other route — collaborating with close friends (L.A.’s Zeroh has a star turn on the new record) and still living in the suburbs where he grew up.

Rap Album Two functions as a coming-of-age record: a young man trying to figure out who he wants to be and what he wants to worship. It narrates his arrival in the music world, his troubled past and subsequent self-destruction and rebirth. It’s an apology for past mistakes and a vow to at least attempt to be better. Jeff Weiss

Captured! By Robots
Tuesday, November 21
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

Jay Vance, who performs as Jbot, plays brutal music with robots. Earlier this year, he relaunched Captured! by Robots in time for the project's twenty-year anniversary.

Vance, a former member of ska-punk bands Blue Meanies and Skankin' Pickle, had built his first set of robots in 1996 out of frustration with the usual band stumbling blocks: musicians with varying levels of commitment and relationship strife. The new group, which grew to include a handful of other robots, performs campy covers and Vance's original compositions. But by the end of 2014, Vance grew terribly disillusioned and unsatisfied with his own band.

The following summer, he played a weekend show that made him realize he was miserable doing what had once been a fun project for him, so he put Captured! by Robots on indefinite hiatus. But Vance didn't want to stay away from music forever, so he found a way to enjoy it again without the artistic compromises he'd felt were necessary during the first run of Captured! by Robots. He got rid of a mask he wore in the band — a symbol of stripping away the inessential — and retired the stuffed-animal robots that provided comic relief.

Deep concern for the state of the world has provided Vance ample fodder for lyrics that reflect his opinions, and with the election of Donald Trump, those words flowed more easily. And so Captured! by Robots released its latest album, Endless Circle of Bullshit, in 2017. Tom Murphy
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