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Best Phoenix Concerts This Week: Melissa Carper, EDEN, Jagwar Twin

Melissa Carper is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, January 18, at Valley Bar.
Melissa Carper is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, January 18, at Valley Bar. Sideways Media
In the mood for some live music this week? Valley concertgoers can enjoy performances by uniquely-voiced throwback country songstress Melissa Carper, Irish indietronica artist EDEN, or a pop-influenced modern rocker Jagwar Twin. Other notable shows happening around metro Phoenix from Monday, January 16, to Thursday, January 19, include instrumental Grateful Dead cover band Jazz is Dead and joyously weird indie pop quintet Early Eyes.

Read on for more details about their respective gigs or click over to Phoenix New Times online concert calendar for more live music options this week.

Jazz is Dead

Tuesday, January 17
Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street
Jazz music and the Grateful Dead may not seem, at first blush, to be comfortable bedfellows, but they share a few commonalities. Jazz loves to push beyond the constraints of pop music, to soar past the three-minute mark and improvise, vamp, and elaborate on a theme as musicians from the genre cook on a groove to see how far it can go. Anyone who’s ever attended a jam band show will tell you that the Dead and their ilk share that love of taking the scenic route with songs. The legendary band were forever in search of new ways to play the same songs, so it only makes sense for Jazz Is Dead to bring Jerry and jazz together. An acclaimed all-star instrumental ensemble led by Alphonso Johnson, Jazz Is Dead reinterprets Grateful Dead songs in a jazz style. To celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of Wake of the Flood (the Dead's sixth studio album) Jazz Is Dead will be performing that album in its entirety along with other Grateful Dead classics. Johnson will be joined by Pete Lavezzolli, Bobby Lee Rodgers, and Steve Kimock (who, along with Johnson, played in the post-Garcia Grateful Dead offshoot The Other Ones with Bob Weir). 7:30 p.m., $35-$45 via Ashley Naftule

Early Eyes

Tuesday, January 17
The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road
If you prefer indie pop with keen hooks, bouncy bass lines, synth-y elements, and the occasional weirdo vibes, give Early Eyes a listen. The Minnesota-born quintet’s sound — which has been compared to such bands as Two Door Cinema Club, Owl City, and Hippo Campus — is catchy, energetic, and fun. Formed in 2016 by Twin Cities college kids Jake Berglove (vocals and keyboard), Joe Villano (guitar and vocals), Megan Mahoney (bass), John O’Brien (guitar), and Sam Mathys (drums), they released the groove-filled single “Waste of Time” the following year, which has since racked up more than 2 million listens on Spotify. Their 2018 single “Coffee,” a far poppier tune, doubled that number. Look Alive!, the band’s debut album, dropped last year on Epitaph Records and offers more of a synth-driven sound, as evidenced by such tracks as “Halloween ‘18” and “Dying Plant,” with the music videos for each featuring quirky elements like puppets and bizarre special effects. Check them out on YouTube to get a feel for Early Eyes’ aesthetic before heading to Rebel Lounge for their show. With Anita Velveeta and Wah Wah; 8 p.m., $16/$18 via Benjamin Leatherman


Tuesday, January 17
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren
“I spent too many late nights just thinking a hole in the earth,” EDEN’s Jonathon Ng sings on “Drugs.” Like so much of his output, the song deftly intertwines beauty and bleakness. Currently performing under the name EDEN, Ng has worked on a few different projects in the past: EDEN is the latest iteration of his sound, pushing his electronic dance music style into a more pop-friendly direction. Not many musicians can boast of moonlighting as a model, but EDEN has walked runaways when he’s not writing and recording his own songs. A multi-instrumentalist, the Dublin-born artist was trained in classical violin from the age of 7. As The Eden Project, he released a series of EPs, singles, and remixes that integrated confessional songwriting with dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass sounds. On his more recent albums as EDEN (Vertigo, No Future, and last year’s ICYMI), he continues to work in the electronic realm but embraces more emotional and hook-driven songs. These are tunes that are primed for dance floors and late-night headphone listening; songs with the capacity to move you physically and emotionally. 8 p.m., $30-$130 via Ashley Naftule

Jagwar Twin

Tuesday, January 17
Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue
Jagwar Twin is the nom de plume of L.A. native Roy English. A singer, songwriter, and producer, English found success crafting music for artists like Teddy Riley and TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, but his own music — a poppy take on modern rock accented with experimental flourishes of electronic noise and percussive loops — struggled to find its place in the pop firmament. With his latest album, the tuneful and sprawling 33, English may finally find his way to break through to greater fame. Before striking out on his own as Jagwar Twin, English played in bands like Dead Letter Diaries, Eye Alaska, and Canary Dynasty. His debut studio album, Subject to Flooding, didn't lack for star power — Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker lent his talents to the proceedings. The material on 33, though, sounds like the work of an artist who found his groove. In songs like "Online" and "It's Your Time" he combines inspirational storytelling with propulsive rhythms and even a bit of vocal scatting. For better or worse, English sounds like no one but himself. With Diva Bleach and Trubbleboy; 7 p.m., $9.33/$15 via Ashley Naftule

Melissa Carper

Wednesday, January 18
Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue
Bassist, singer, and songwriter Melissa Carper was born a few decades too late. Cue up any of the albums from her discography, including the self-released Daddy's Country Gold from 2021 or last year’s Ramblin’ Soul, and you’ll hear throwback tunes that are a mix of country-jazz, gospel, western swing, blues, and Ameripolitan. Carper’s glorious vocals are also a bit of time warp, recalling such old-school songstresses as Iris DeMent and the late Patsy Cline. (She’s even been dubbed “HillBillie Holiday” by collaborator and friend Chris Scruggs.) It’s no surprise she was weaned on such artists as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Ray Charles while growing up in America’s heartland. Carper began developing her songwriting skills in her teens before leaving college and busking the streets of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and continuing to hone her craft. Stints in Austin and New Orleans led her to NYC where she was an original member of the all-female country band The Maybelles. In 2015, Carper began self-releasing solo albums, beginning with the well-received Arkansas Bound, each drawing on such old-school and down-home influences. With Kassi Valazza; 8 p.m., $16/$18 via Benjamin Leatherman
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule

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