Did you make it through the holiday weekend with your sanity intact? If so, congratulations.
While we can’t take away the sting of the work week that lies ahead, we can offer a few diversions to help make things go faster. Specifically, a number of big concerts happening in Phoenix this week that are worth checking out.
That includes gigs by New Found Glory, Flobots, Giraffage, and The Chainsmokers, as well as Live 101.5’s two-night Jingle Bash.
Other highlights of this week’s concert calendar include performances by such esteemed songstresses as Nikki Hill and Tori Amos.
Details about each of these shows can be found below in our rundown of the best concerts in Phoenix this week. (And for even more gigs happening around town, hit up our online live music listings.)
New Found Glory
Tuesday, November 28
When the South Florida pop-punk pioneers of New Found Glory take the stage at Crescent Ballroom on Tuesday night, it's part of their current tour celebrating 20 years together as a band. But drummer Cyrus Bolooki wants to be clear: This is not just another nostalgia tour.
Unlike some of its early-'00s peers, New Found Glory has continued to release records and tour consistently throughout the years in spite of having to transition from MTV ubiquity into the streaming age. The band released its latest album, Makes Me Sick, earlier this year.
"Our set lists now, they span two pages," Bolooki says. And two decades. On their 20 Years of Pop Punk tour, they play two albums from their catalog per night, plus songs from Makes Me Sick. On their Fort Lauderdale stop, they'll highlight songs from Sticks and Stones and Catalyst.
The band practiced 77 songs in preparation for the tour. They play about 27 a night.
"Our set list has grown, but I think we still do what we did when we were 18 and 19," Bolooki says. "You just get out there and it's adrenaline and it's the energy of the crowd that fuels you. After the show, maybe I'm a little more tired now than I was ten years ago or 20 years ago, but at the same time ... we're killing it. We're tight as ever a band, even with those songs that we rarely play live. Crowds have been singing so loud, sometimes louder than even the sound system, which is kind of nuts." Celia Almeida
Wednesday, November 29
Mesa Arts Center
From the very beginning, Tori Amos established herself as a singular presence. By measure both tender and tenacious, her songs challenged and chided listeners through intimate observations and unapologetic narratives that frequently surveyed the darkest and direst circumstance.
Her unbridled passion and brash delivery may have had their origins in the introspective approach of feminine folk bards like Joni Mitchell, Janis Ian, and Judy Collins. But unlike Joni, Janis, and Judy, Tori's brooding ballads revealed her in ways that were exceptionally intimate and private. The feelings she shared were palpable, providing her narratives with a riveting if unrelenting connection.
As a rule, Amos has never refrained from baring her soul and detailing even her most painful personal experiences, whether dealing with rape, religion, a miscarriage, or a troubled marriage.
Indeed, this eight-time Grammy nominee has always shown an ability to blend imagery and allegory in equal measure. And rarely is an artist this real. Lee Zimmerman
Wednesday, November 29
Nikki Hill’s secret recipe: Take equal parts revved-up rockabilly punk, AC/DC metal stomp, and scorching modern electric blues, and add overflowing spoonfuls of raw, edgy jump blues, R&B, and soul. Blend on 11. What pours from the speakers is one fiery, passionate soul shouter with plenty of attitude and the grooves to back it up.
Yet, this North Carolina native makes it clear she’s not just someone content with resurrecting the past.
“Being an artist with a lot of vintage references is cool, but at the same time, you don’t want to be perceived as a complete throwback. It’s not everything that I am,” Hill says. “I mean, I am not reinventing the wheel by any means, but … [I] make things fresh.”
Hill grew up listening to oldies and singing gospel. She studied the classic soul singers — LaVern Baker, Otis Redding, Little Richard, Tina Turner, and Barbara Lynn, among others — and incorporated a little of each definitive style into her vocal delivery.
“I think my voice and my style is an automatic thing,” she says. “It’s what I remember and recall, and it’s what I base my vocals on. It has a lot to do with being able to use those different styles and phrasing and apply them to what I’m doing now.” Glenn BurnSilver
Live 101.5's Jingle Bash
Wednesday, November 29, and Thursday, November 30
The Van Buren
Live 101.5 loves to throw a party, and the Phoenix FM station’s 2017 Jingle Bash will ring in the holiday season. This seasonal soiree takes place over two consecutive nights, each packed with rap, dance, and R&B favorites.
Logic will headline Wednesday night. The Maryland-born rapper with a love of all things Frank Sinatra and Wu Tang Clan has been performing since he was 17, releasing his music through mixtapes that ended up in the right hands. Earlier this year, his third studio release debuted at No. 1 on U.S. charts. R&B-influenced singer Jessie Reyez is also on that opening night bill.
Thursday night will feature Khalid, another performer who’s been on his grind since he was a teenager. The soulful singer has a style that reflects his diverse range of tastes, from ’90s R&B to indie rock.
That night’s lineup also will feature Chicago DJ/producer Curt Cameruci, also known as Flosstradamus, with trap beats to keep the party vibe alive. His mashups include house, techno, and R&B styles. Another second-night artist is singer-songwriter Lauv, who plays electro-pop that incorporates a soulful, R&B dynamic. Amy Young
Thursday, November 30
San Francisco-based producer Charlie Yin, who performs as Giraffage, keeps things playful, including his upbeat, electronic pop songs and R&B remixes. Scroll through the entries on his Facebook page, and you'll find a photo of Yin eating grapes, an announcement that he’s working on a new album, and stream-of-consciousness musings on his About page, including thoughts like, “force fields. eyes that shoot out laser beams. teleportation. time travel. robot science. white noise. cute emoticons. fuzzy animals. who cares. ham on my socks.” All of Yin’s posts are signed off with “your boy, giraffage,” adding to his sincerity and whimsicality. Riley Cowing
Thursday, November 30
Denver hip-hop troupe the Flobots have never been about doing things the easy way. When 2007’s Fight With Tools album achieved some mainstream success, reaching No. 15 on the Billboard chart, and the accompanying “Handlebars” single climbed to number 30, they seemed to be on the fast track to universal acceptance and a comfortable career.
With a live rhythm section (Jesse Walker and Kenny Ortiz) plus a classically trained violinist (Mackenzie Gault) in the ranks, the Flobots found a sound that appealed to discerning fans of bands like the Roots, as well as the crowd that enjoys commercial rap-rock like, dare we say, Linkin Park. The tunes are accessible — that should be celebrated. But the Flobots have something to say, too.
In 2010, the second album, Survival Story, was met with mixed reviews. One of the major criticisms aimed at that sophomore effort is that the political message was more “preachy” than that of the debut. That, of course, is subjective.
Many fans enjoyed the passion with which MCs Jamie “Jonny 5” Laurie and Stephen “Brer Rabbit” Brackett conveyed, and continue to convey, their messages. Still, the two men concede that they’ve been on a learning journey since forming in 2000. This past May saw the release of their fourth album, No Enemies, and Laurie says that this one feels like the most deliberate realization of their intentions as musicians and activists. Brett Callwood
KISS FM's SSIK Show feat. The Chainsmokers
Thursday, November 30
Rawhide Event Center in Chandler
Last year was huge for Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall, the white-bread duo behind conceptual art/electronic dance music project The Chainsmokers. Not only did they become household names, but they’ve also set a new standard to which all-white American bro-dudes must now aspire.
When they first appeared on the scene in 2013, their music made minor ripples on the mainstream radar with insipid singles such as “#Selfie” and “Kanye.” For a time they seemed harmless. But their brand-aware, inner Borgores were waiting patiently in the wings to be unleashed on the world. And as chance would have it, their third single from last year, “Closer,” became a phenomenally popular and chart-topping success.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
This week, Taggart and Pall will headline 104.7 KISS FM’s SSIK show at Rawhide Event Center in Chandler. It’s an all-ages event and doors open at 8 p.m. General admission is $45 and VIP tickets are $75. Jonny Coleman
Thursday, November 30
Dexter Gore, age 23, incorporates a unique brand of rap into his work. Famous Dex, as he’s known to friends and fans, hit his stride last year alongside friend and fellow rapper Rich the Kid. A veteran in the Atlanta rap scene, Rich the Kid chose Dex to be the first member of his label, Rich Forever Music. Releasing six mixtapes in 2016 alone, Chicago-native Dex could be on course to becoming as much of a household name as the folks he hangs out with. Diamond Victoria