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Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week: Dave Matthews, of Montreal, iDKHOW

Dave Matthews Band is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, September 14, at Ak-Chin Pavilion.
Dave Matthews Band is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, September 14, at Ak-Chin Pavilion. Shore Fire Media
Up for seeing a concert this week? There are certainly several notable ones scheduled to happen at metro Phoenix music venues from Monday, September 12, to Thursday, September 15, including shows by radio favorites Dave Matthews Band, influential indie pop act of Montreal, and pop-rockers iDKHOW. You can also catch singer-songwriter/composer Laufey, R&B artist Kehlani, and a jazzy tribute to the music of Cowboy Bebop by local band 8-Bit Mammoth.

Read on for more info or click over to Phoenix New Timesconcert calendar for more live music happening around town this week.
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Kevin Barnes is of Montreal's frontman.
Christina Schneider

of Montreal

Tuesday, September 13
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
When it comes to live performances, Kevin Barnes adopts the credo of Breaking Bad’s Mike Ehrmantraut: “No half measures.” The of Montreal frontman orchestrates events that feel like hallucinatory cable access shows: cheerleaders, sumo wrestler suits, puppets, confetti cannons, unicorns, and deranged animated backdrops are just a few of the things the band has pulled out of its bag of tricks on past tours. While of Montreal's music and stage presence is bubbly and vibrant, the emotional content of Barnes’ songs is often quite turbulent and dark. Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? from 2007 is one of the all-time great divorce albums, a horny and manic depressive LP about finding yourself cast adrift in search of love, religion, and a good time. A real cry from the heart, you could also dance to it. Like Mark E. Smith’s The Fall, of Montreal are a prolific outfit, putting out a new album with almost annual regularity. No matter how much their sound or lineup changes, Barnes remains the band’s fixed center. Fey and melancholy, he sounds like a glam singer who’s been locked in a Victorian attic all his life. With Locate S,1; 8 p.m., $25/$28 via Ashley Naftule
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Ryan Seaman (left) and Dallon Weekes of iDKHOW.
Lauren Watson Perry


Wednesday, September 14
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
When former Panic! At The Disco bassist Dallon Weekes and onetime Falling in Reverse drummer Ryan Seaman created iDKHOW, they were envisioned as more of a high-concept project instead of just another band. Launched in 2016 as I Dont Know How But They Found Me, the act featured a fictionalized backstory depicting themselves as some long-lost pop band that fell into obscurity (including filming retro-style videos to pass off as found footage). Weekes and Seaman added to this aura of mystery by playing infectiously poppy songs at dive bars and small venues around Los Angeles with their faces obscured while publicly denying the band's existence. The two eventually dropped the shtick in 2017, put out a couple of excellent EPs over the past few years, and got loads of airplay with tracks like “Choke” and “Leave Me Alone.” Their debut LP, Razzmatazz, dropped in 2020 and charted very well. With Joywave; 7 p.m., $29/$33 via Benjamin Leatherman
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Say what you will about Dave Matthews, but the dude is a consummate showman.
Shore Fire Media

Dave Matthews Band

Wednesday, September 14
Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue
There's a lot you can say about Dave Matthews: his inexplicable cameo roles in a lot of Adam Sandler movies; the fact that his stage banter voice is a dead ringer for Sandler's Bobby Boucher; or that time his tour bus accidentally dumped roughly 800 pounds of human waste on top of a sightseeing boat while it crossed a bridge over the Chicago River. However, you also have to admit the musician/vocalist is immensely talented and a consummate showman. A lot of groups have made their livings by becoming a “jam band” but few of them have crossed over to the mainstream like DMB. It helps that their spicy gumbo of rock, jazz fusion, funk, folk, and roots music is actually tuneful, catchy, and responsible for a few hit songs (like the immortal pervert anthem “Crash”). DMB shows are raucous, long affairs but they speed by quickly thanks to Dave’s bizarro comedic stylings between songs and the band’s undeniably tight dynamics and chemistry. You don’t need to be blazed to enjoy this kind of jam band music (but it doesn’t hurt). 7:30 p.m., $49.50-$95 via Ashley Naftule


Wednesday, September 14
Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue
If you’ve been listening to SiriusXM’s Coffee House channel lately, you’ve heard the dulcet tones and intimate songs of Icelandic jazz-pop composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Laufey (pronounced "lay-vay"). Her music hasn’t just been limited to the airwaves of satellite radio (or even the music venues of Reykjavik), as she’s performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and at the influential Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. A classically trained musician, Laufey has released two well-received albums, including this year’s Everything I Know About Love, which weaves compositions by Bach and Tchaikovsky with her winsome voice and musical stylings into its lush and gorgeous soundscapes. Hear it for yourself when she performs at Valley Bar on Wednesday with support from singer-songwriter Matilda Mann. 8 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Benjamin Leatherman
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R&B/pop artist Kehlani.
Bria Alysse


Wednesday, September 14
Arizona Financial Theatre, 400 West Washington Street
The ballet world’s loss is R&B’s gain. When Oakland, California-born singer-songwriter Kehlani (who identified with the pronouns “they/them”) was in junior high, a knee injury shattered their potential plans of becoming a ballerina. It ended working out for the best, as a devotion to famed R&B artists like Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu helped fuel a desire to become a singer. Joining up with Bay Area act Poplyfe, Kehlani appeared on the sixth season of America’s Got Talent in 2011 and was reportedly told by the show’s then-judge Piers Morgan, “You've got real talent, but I don't think you need the group.” Heeding the advice, Kehlani eventually released the track "ANTISUMMERLUV" on SoundCloud, which led to mixtapes like 2014’s Cloud 19 and 2015’s You Should Be Here. Their major label debut came in 2017 with SweetSexySavage, an album praised by Pitchfork for its “blunt, unflinching, and exuberant” songs. Kehlani is currently touring behind this year’s critically acclaimed Blue Water Road, and comes to downtown Phoenix this week. With Rico Nasty and Destin Conrad; 8 p.m., $49.50-$298.50 via Benjamin Leatherman
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8-Bit Mammoth
Tyler Cruz

The Music of Cowboy Bebop

Thursday, September 15
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
Netflix’s polarizing live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop might’ve been canceled after one season, but the original 1998 anime series it's based on is still cherished by geeks, particularly for its jazzy score. Created by Japanese composer, arranger and music producer Yoko Kanno along with the band Seatbelts, it’s a pastiche of blues, jazz, hard bop, and swing that helps add a quirky verve to the anime, which focuses on the misadventures of a motley crew of intergalactic bounty hunters dressed in sharp suits. Local ensemble 8-Bit Mammoth will provide their interpretation of the original Cowboy Bebop score at Crescent Ballroom this week for local fans of the show. 8 p.m., $15 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