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Best Phoenix Concerts This Week: Cory Wong, Two Feet, La Luz

Cory Wong is scheduled to perform Tuesday, November 15, at The Van Buren.
Cory Wong is scheduled to perform Tuesday, November 15, at The Van Buren. Live Nation
This week, your concert options include funk/R&B guitarist Cory Wong, alternative singer-songwriter Two Feet, all-female surf rock act La Luz, and indie band Sammy Rae and the Friends. And if you didn’t get your fill of spooky and scary things during Halloween, horror punkers Blitzkid will be performing at The Nile Theater in Mesa.

Details about each of these gigs can be found below. Be sure to visit Phoenix New Timesconcert calendar for even more live music happening in the Valley from Monday, November 14, to Thursday, November 17.

Cory Wong

Tuesday, November 15
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
Cory Wong doesn’t shred; he slices. As a guitar hero, his style is clean and mean, playing his Fender with surgical precision. The Grammy-nominated guitarist/bassist has been a hired hand for years, offering rhythm guitarist support and smooth bass lines for a host of rock, funk, and jazz groups. Whether he’s touring with jazz legend Dave Koz or funkin’ it up with Vulfpeck, Wong’s Windex-clean guitar playing stands out. Like many musicians, the global pandemic inspired Wong to take some risks. Unable to tour with his Fearless Flyers ensemble, Wong started up a YouTube variety show called Cory and the Wongnotes. A combination of live music, comedy sketches, and interviews with guests about all things music, Wong’s show has picked up a following over its two seasons so far. Part podcast, part jam session, the Wongnotes have an easygoing vibe and loose energy that makes it feel like you’re eavesdropping on friends shooting the shit about each other’s bands. But Wong never forgets what butters his bread and makes sure every episode has plenty of sweet six-string action. 8 p.m., $30 via livenation.com. Ashley Naftule

Blitzkid

Wednesday, November 16
Nile Theatre, 105 West Main Street, Mesa
While the rest of the world's celebrants have stowed their Halloween stuff for another year, the members of horror punk band Blitzkid are still in the mood to celebrate all things spooky and scary. Led by bassist Argyle Goolsby and guitarist TB Monstrosity (both of whom also perform vocals), the fearsome foursome dig up the corpses of '50s-style doo-wop and ‘70s-era Misfits and perform songs with catchy hooks and playfully gruesome titles like "Teenage Necrophilian Love," "Let's Go to the Cemetery," and "Love Like Blood.” Has the same shtick been done by dozens of other acts in the horror punk genre? Of course, but it's still fun to mosh to, whether it's in your personal crypt or at a show. They’re scheduled to haunt Mesa’s Nile Theater this week with support from local bands Skeleton Army and Vacant Skies. 6 p.m., $15-$50 via seetickets.us. Benjamin Leatherman

La Luz

Wednesday, November 16
Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue
The members of all-female rock band La Luz have been through plenty of trials and tribulations over the last decade. Formed in Seattle in 2012, they’ve endured lineup changes, internal drama, and even a terrifying car accident that wiped out their tour van and cache of gear. They survived it all and are continuing to deal with the bad breaks as they come, including lead singer and guitarist Shana Cleveland’s recent battle with breast cancer. The surf rock performed by La Luz has evolved throughout the band’s lifetime, going from the gleeful sounds of their debut studio album It’s Alive (which was described by this publication as being “built from four-part harmonies, the catchiness of doo-wop, the jangle of early garage and the edgy reverb of surf-rock guitar and organ”) to the weirdo, trippy psych-rock tunes of their 2021 self-titled album. Hang 10 over to Valley Bar in downtown Phoenix to hear the songs being performed live. With Naked Giants; 7:30 p.m., $20 via seetickets.us. Benjamin Leatherman

Sammy Rae and the Friends

Thursday, November 17
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
Sammy Rae and the Friends are aptly named: The music sounds like a group of friends bouncing off each other. Sammy Rae’s songs have an infectious energy, falling somewhere in-between “sugar rush” and “theater kid” without ever going too far out there. Hailing from Derby, Connecticut, Rae got her start playing open mics in New York City before she began to assemble, Nick Fury style, the band that would become her Friends. "If It All Goes South" gives a fun-size sample of the Sammy Rae experience. A bright pop song with a funky chassis, it speeds on by while Rae’s acrobatic voice vaults and twirls as she tells a giddy story about falling for someone and not worrying about where this is going to go. Like so many of her best songs, it’s effervescent and playful, commanding your attention without wearing out its welcome. As inspired by gospel as she is by rock and pop, her (secular) music has a tinge of ecstasy to it. Instead of finding rapture in gods, Sammy Rae and the Friends find it in their lovers and each other. 8 p.m., $25-$50 via ticketweb.com. Ashley Naftule

Two Feet

Thursday, November 17
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
As Two Feet, singer-songwriter William “Bill” Dess crafts alternative rock tracks that are as packed with emotion as they are electronic elements. The NYC-born artist isn’t shy about laying his feelings bare in his tunes, whether it's about matters of the heart or his own mental health struggles. In the case of the former, his 2018 radio hit, “I Feel Like I’m Drowning,” features lyrics describing a toxic relationship (“You're a poison and I know that is the truth / All my friends think you're vicious / And they say you're suspicious”). Dess is touring in support of his latest album, Shape & Form, which (true to form) features songs about love, loss, and regret. With Brothel; 7 p.m., $25 via livenation.com. 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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