Things to Do

Best Phoenix Concerts This Week: Purity Ring, Billy Howerdel, REO Speedwagon

Purity Ring is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, July 20, at Crescent Ballroom.
Purity Ring is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, July 20, at Crescent Ballroom. Grandstand Media
Want to spend a hot summer night at a cool concert? You’ve got a few opportunities this week, both at indoor and outdoor venues around metro Phoenix. Bands such as electronic pop duo Purity Ring, alt-country legends Cowboy Junkies, and UK punks Subhumans are all scheduled to perform in the Valley over the next few nights. You can also attend gigs by Billy Howerdel of A Perfect Circle and the dad rock hat trick of REO Speedwagon, Styx, and Loverboy.

More info about each of these shows is available below. And check out Phoenix New Times' concert calendar for other shows happening around town from Monday, July 18, to Thursday, July 21.
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Dick Lucas (right) and Bruce Treasure (left) of Subhumans.


Tuesday, July 19
The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road
Let’s set the record straight: the Subhumans that are set to invade The Rebel Lounge this week are the legendary UK anarcho-punk act born in 1980 and not the Canadian punk band of the same name that originated in the late ’70s. It means you’ll be rocking out to such agitprop songs as “All Gone Dead,” “It's Gonna Get Worse,” and “This Year's War,” all sung by longtime frontman Dick Lucas. He’s not the only OG member of Subhumans, as guitarist/backup vocalist Bruce Treasure and drummer Trotsky are still with the band some 40-plus years after their debut (though some of the lineup have also performed in Citizen Fish). And even though most of their setlists consist of songs dating back to the ‘80s, the music remains timely, particularly such lyrics as “I can’t get a word in edgeways/Surrounded by so many lies/They just treat us like subhumans/We’re the people they despise.” 8 p.m., $20 via Benjamin Leatherman
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The members of alt-country/folk act Cowboy Junkies.

Cowboy Junkies

Tuesday, July 19, and Wednesday, July 20
Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard
Formed in Toronto in 1985 by siblings Michael, Margo, and Peter Timmins, alt-country pioneers Cowboy Junkies were ahead of their time. Albums from most of the band’s nearly four decades of existence featured the sort of slow-paced, intimate, and introspective songs (what we once described as a “low-key, country-gothic downer sound”) that became a Cowboy Junkies hallmark and influenced future alt-country artists. They’re touring behind their recently released 18th studio album, Songs of the Recollection, and are due in the Valley this week for a two-night stint at the Musical Instrument Museum’s music theater. Both shows are sold out, but avid fans can hit up the secondary market for tickets. 7 p.m. Benjamin Leatherman

Billy Howerdel

Wednesday, July 20
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
In Arizona, anything or anyone connected to favorite musical resident (and winemaker) Maynard James Keenan is of particular interest. That's all well and good, but Billy Howerdel, guitarist and backing vocalist for Keenan's project A Perfect Circle, is much more than just an associate of the local legend. You can find out when you see Howerdel perform at Crescent Ballroom on Wednesday, where he'll undoubtedly play plenty of tracks off his new album, What Normal Was, which was released June 10 via Alchemy/Rise Records. It's his first solo album in his own name (his first, 2008's Keep Telling Myself It's Alright, was released under the name of his project ASHES dIVIDE), and Guitar World magazine says, "The A Perfect Circle man has channeled his early influences … which treads a line between Pink Floyd and Nine Inch Nails.” Rock on. 8 p.m., $30-$179 via Jennifer Goldberg
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Corin Roddick (left) and Megan James (right) of Purity Ring.
Carson Davis Brown

Purity Ring

Wednesday, July 20
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
The music of electronic duo Purity Ring is so fresh and modern that you'd be forgiven for thinking they're some hot new band poised to blow up in the music scene. In fact, Megan James and Corin Roddick have been making music together for more than a decade, but their sound, which Rolling Stone magazine has "creepy and alluring," has the knack of always sounding new and exciting. You'll find out if you hit The Van Buren this week, when the pair will take the stage at the downtown Phoenix venue. Purity Ring is wrapping up their tour to promote their graves EP, which came out in early June, so come out and experience all the chill. Post-punk/synth-wav newcomer ekkstacy will open. 8 p.m., $23-$26 via Jennifer Goldberg
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REO Speedwagon during a 2015 concert in Phoenix.
Jim Louvau

REO Speedwagon, Styx, and Loverboy

Wednesday, July 20
Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue
You might be inclined to refer to REO Speedwagon, Styx, and Loverboy as dad rock, given that each band’s heyday happened ages ago. But as the recent resurgence of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” from 1986 proves, just because a track is old doesn’t mean it's not a great listen. And the iconic jams created by this trio of ‘70s and ‘80s hitmakers definitely qualify for that category. REO Speedwagon is best-known for such infectious power ballads as “Keep Pushin,” “Keep on Loving You,” and “Take It On The Run” (the latter of which was showcased on Cobra Kai a few years back.) Styx’s hits include “Mr. Roboto” and “Come Sail Away,” both of which are karaoke standards. And the sweet riffs of Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend” have inspired many an air guitarist in the decades since its release. Consider attending this summertime nostalgia tour when it swings through the Valley this week whether you love these bands ironically or just love them period. 6:45 p.m., $29.50-$354.50 via Benjamin Leatherman
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Jennifer Goldberg is the culture editor and Best of Phoenix editor for Phoenix New Times.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.