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Best Phoenix Concerts This Week: Stanley Clarke, Dale Watson, The Temptations

Stanley Clarke is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, January 11, at Musical Instrument Museum.
Stanley Clarke is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, January 11, at Musical Instrument Museum. MIM
This week, your live music options include jazz artists both locally and nationally known (Running From Bears and Stanley Clarke), a legendary Motown act (The Temptations), and a country musician who claims he ain’t a country musician (Dale Watson). If none of these suit your fancy, post-hardcore supergroup The Sound of Animals Fighting and SoCal-based ska/punk/reggae band Tunnel Vision both have gigs scheduled in the Valley this week.

Read on for more details or check out Phoenix New Timesconcert calendar for more live music around town from Monday, January 9, to Thursday, January 12.
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The Lost Leaf is planning a New Year's party with more than a dozen musical acts.
The Lost Leaf

Running From Bears

Monday, January 9
The Lost Leaf, 914 North Fifth Street
Imagine a ferocious Kodiak bear is running after you. How would you soundtrack this terrifying (and possibly final) moment of your life? Heavy metal seems like it would be the go-to score, but for the musicians in Running From Bears, jazz is the preferred form of chase music. Coming together in 2009, the band has been an active player in the downtown Phoenix jazz scene, playing at haunts like The Lost Leaf and The Nash for years. They integrate elements of rock and funk into their jazz, creating a sound that’s playful and driving. They also have a wry sense of humor, as exhibited by the title and artwork of their 2017 Edgetone Records album Maul of America. Sure, Branford Marsalis can play his ass off, but we bet his pun game isn’t on Running From Bears’ level. 9 p.m., free. Ashley Naftule

Dale Watson

Tuesday, January 10
The Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road
Dale Watson is the archetypical country-music artist. There’s a reason he’s often referred to as the “real deal.” Yet, despite the obvious associations, Watson is adamant that country music, at least in the traditional sense, no longer exists. While he’s stayed true to his roots after growing up on a diet of George Jones, Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Cash, Watson separates himself from the so-called country music that is clogging up the airwaves. He calls himself an Ameripolitan, an artist playing music in the four traditional country music senses — honky-tonk, rockabilly, Texas swing, and outlaw country. Retro, perhaps, yet there’s no denying the appeal of his music. There’s a down-home, down-to-earth, real-life feel to Watson’s songs. These are not written by some suits sitting in an air-conditioned room in Nashville, but rather by a man living on the road, going to real places with real people and real situations. 8 p.m., $25 via seetickets.us. Glenn BurnSilver
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The members of post-hardcore supergroup The Sound of Animals Fighting.
Epitaph Records

The Sound of Animals Fighting

Wednesday, January 11
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
The Sounds of Animals Fighting don’t sound as feral and unrestrained as their name would imply, but you can’t say they don’t try. Founded by former Rx Bandits’ member Rich Balling, The Sound of Animals Fighting brought together musicians from Circa Survive, Chiodos, and other bands to form a post-hardcore supergroup. Wearing animal masks on stage to hide their identities, the group (which could balloon in size up to 12 members for live performances) released a trilogy of albums before going on hiatus. On their records, TSOAF combine the kind of instrumental virtuosity you expect from math rock with washes of beautiful ambient sounds and aggressive screamo vocals. It’s a volatile yet intricately assembled sound that marries the ferocity of hardcore music with the ambition and larger scope of progressive rock. Considering their large size and different band obligations, these animals rarely migrate to these parts so don’t miss them while they pass through here to yowl and scrape on the Marquee stage. With Hail the Sun, Concrete Castles, and Record Setter; 7:30 p.m., $32.50-$65 via ticketweb.com. Ashley Naftule

Tunnel Vision

Wednesday, January 11
Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Southern California-born band Tunnel Vision weren’t the first to blend surf, ska, reggae, and punk into a single sound, nor will they be the last. But while you can’t laud the rowdy six-piece for their originality, they definitely deserve props for the amount of fun they’re having during performances and for the quality of their musicianship. Formed by friends Hayden Hanson (guitar and vocals), Jacob Hernandez (bass), and Tanner Payan (drums and backup vocals) in the 2010s, Tunnel Vision’s upbeat tunes are powered by bouncy rhythms and a sonorous horn section. They largely focus on such lightweight subject matter as surfing, skating, señoritas, hanging out on the coast, drinking cervezas, or any combination thereof. We’re not going to pretend that it's music that’s going to change the world, but it makes for a fun soundtrack, whether you’re headed to the beach or elsewhere. With Dubbest & Skyler Lutes; 9 p.m., $17.50/$20 via seetickets.us. Benjamin Leatherman

Stanley Clarke

Wednesday, January 11
Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard
When we use the phrase “guitar god,” it’s almost always in reference to lead guitarists. Four-string players rarely ascend to that hallowed Mount Olympus, but if any bassist deserves such an accolade it’s Philadelphia jazz legend Stanley Clarke. A fluid and limber player, Clarke cut his teeth playing with legends like Pharoah Sanders and Dexter Gordon before assembling a band of his own, Return to Forever. One of the first jazz fusion groups in the country, they created a funky jazz sound that was equally indebted to the harder-edged sound of modern rock music. After branching off on his own after a few albums with Return to Forever, Clarke has cut more than 40 albums. He’s won Grammy Awards, BMI awards, made gold and platinum records, and was even named best bassist in Playboy’s Music Awards for 10 years straight. Listening to Clarke play, it’s not hard to see how he’s developed such an esteemed reputation, as his mastery of his instrument is practically divine. His bass playing is robust and forceful as he strums out bass lines that snap and thrum like power lines caught in a storm. He’s not just some background player; when Clarke performs, he’s the whole show. 7 and 9 p.m., $38.50-$59.50 via mim.org. Ashley Naftule

The Temptations

Thursday, January 12
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street
The Temptations forever changed the world of R&B, soul, and popular music with ballads like “My Girl,” which became their first No. 1 hit, as well as songs like “Get Ready,” Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” and “Just My Imagination.” Later on came such psychedelic soul hits as “Cloud Nine,” “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone,” and “Ball of Confusion.” The Temptations began in Detroit under the guidance of Motown music visionary Barry Gordy. They came to the fore in 1960, replete with classy suits and old-school swagger, and within three years became stars. Now 63 years later, one lone, original Temptation member, Otis Williams, carries on with his latest iteration of the group, which he brings to the Virginia G. Piper Theater at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts this week. With Sandra Bassett; 7:30 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Mark C. Horn
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Glenn BurnSilver
Contact: Glenn BurnSilver
Mark C. Horn
Contact: Mark C. Horn
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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