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Best Phoenix Concerts This Week: Surfbort, Dorothy, We Were Promised Jetpacks

Surfbort is scheduled to perform on Thursday, March 24, at Valley Bar.
Surfbort is scheduled to perform on Thursday, March 24, at Valley Bar. Pooneh Ghana
This week’s concert offerings include a mix of music legends, radio-friendly hitmakers, heavy-duty hard rockers, and notable indie bands, including a couple (Surfbort and We Were Promised Jetpacks) who are fresh off performing at this year’s just-concluded South by Southwest festival in Texas. You also have two chances to hear popular video game tunes performed by either an orchestra or a rock band.

Read on for details about each of these shows, or check out Phoenix New Timesonline concert listings for even more live music happening in the Valley from Monday, March 21, to Thursday, March 24.

We Were Promised Jetpacks at The Rebel Lounge

Among the many things that come to mind when someone mentions Scotland, underrated emo post-rock is probably near the bottom of the list. But We Were Promised Jetpacks is the reason that would be on the list in the first place. One of Scotland’s most notable exports, the band is probably best known by their 2009 anthem “Quiet Little Voices” off their debut album, These Four Walls. A gem of the latter heydays of 2000s pop-punk, the album seemingly didn’t get its due as the wheel of trends spun away from sappy rockers and onto sappy singers.

Criticized for repetitious lyrics and a tone deemed to be too earnest for some, both qualities can now be found in abundance on all manner of 2022 radio stations and music sales charts. It’s more likely that We Were Promised Jetpacks just missed the boat on the days of listening to an entire album from start to finish. Because when you do that, the 11 tracks on These Four Walls can stand alongside any world-eating Jimmies or confessional dashboards. We Were Promised Jetpacks come to Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road, on Monday, March 21, in support of their fifth studio album, Enjoy the View. Weakened Friends opens the 8 p.m. concert. Tickets are $20. Nick Bostick
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The members of Blackberry Smoke.
David McClister

Blackberry Smoke at Marquee Theatre

Just because you hail from the South and play rock doesn’t mean your band’s the next Lynyrd Skynyrd or the new Allman Brothers. But that won’t stop people from labeling you as such. That’s happened with Atlanta-born band Blackberry Smoke since they debuted in 2000, and frontman Charlie Starr has shrugged off such comparisons over the decades as the band has carved out their own legacy. Blackberry Smoke has stuck with their original lineup of Starr, Richard Turner (bass, vocals), Paul Jackson (guitar, vocals), Brit Turner (drums), and Brandon Still (keyboards) and stuck with their potent blend of country rock and blues-rock. They’ve issued seven albums thus far, each of which has been well-received by fans and critics alike. To wit: 2021’s You Hear Georgia, released last spring on their own label, 3 Legged Records, ranked near the top of a few different Billboard charts, including country, rock, indie, and Americana. Blackberry Smoke will visit the Valley this week for a show at the Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue in Tempe, on Monday, March 21. Doors are at 6:30 p.m. and local singer-songwriter Christopher Shayne opens. Tickets are $30.50 to $48. Amy Young and Benjamin Leatherman

Dorothy at Nile Theater

The Los Angeles-based quartet Dorothy did not come here to make friends, and that’s putting it lightly. The group makes the nastiest kind of bruising rock bangers, harking back to the glory days of old-school metal. The fact that Ozzy would be proud of Dorothy’s riffs that nod to Sabbath is hardly the half of it. Enter frontwoman Dorothy Martin, whose dangerous and thoroughly rock-and-roll howl conjures images of Florence Welch, Grace Slick, and Ann Wilson, all while stopping you dead in your tracks on the first listen. Martin and her crew are out for blood, but they still make time every now and again to put a heavy-metal twist on the likes of Jay Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild.” The future of metal might just be women after all. Currently touring behind their upcoming full-length album, Gifts From the Holy Ghost, Dorothy is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22, at the Nile Theater, 105 West Main Street. Tickets start at $19.50. Elle Carroll

The Airborne Toxic Event at The Van Buren

The Airborne Toxic Event's pulsing, chilly music — with the moody sweep and swirling keyboards of '80s dark-wave revivalists The Killers and Interpol — moves with majestic aplomb even if it’s been more than a decade and a half since it first hit the alt-rock radio airwaves. The band, as well as frontman Mikel Jollett, have come a long way since their self-titled debut came out in 2008, rocketing up the Billboard charts behind the blockbuster hit single “Sometime Around Midnight.” Airborne Toxic Event has released five albums since then, including 2020’s Hollywood Park, which followed the thematic elements of Jollett’s best-selling memoir of the same name. The band is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, March 22, at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street. The show starts at 8 p.m. and singer-songwriter Mondo Cozmo opens. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Chris Parker and Benjamin Leatherman
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Canadian indie-folk musician Afie Jurvanen, better known as Bahamas.
Dave Gillespie

Bahamas at Crescent Ballroom

Toronto-based singer-songwriter Afie Jurvanen, better known as Bahamas, will return to the Valley this month to play Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, on Tuesday, March 22. He’s touring in support of 2020’s Sad Hunk, his fifth studio album, which earned good reviews and won awards in his native Canada. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $30 to $40 in advance. Benjamin Leatherman
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Nintendo cover band Minibosses.
Benjamin Leatherman

Minibosses at The Lost Leaf

The Minibosses have been around long enough to be considered just as much of a classic as the source material of their songs. Since debuting in 1999, the Phoenix-by-way-of-Massachusetts prog-rock band have covered the tunes from dozens of legendary Nintendo Entertainment System games, including such 8-bit favorites as Metroid, Goonies II, Punch-Out!!, and Mega Man 2. Despite a lineup that’s undergone more changes than the game selection of a Nintendo PlayChoice-10 over the last two decades, the Minibosses are still causing people to geek out harder than the time they discovered the warp zone trick in Super Mario Bros. This week, the band will perform at The Lost Leaf, 914 North Fifth Street, at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23. It’s likely to be their final set ever at the Roosevelt Row beer and wine bar, which is reportedly shutting down at the end of the month. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

Doyle at The Nile Theater

Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein is most often identified as a member of horror-punk act The Misfits, brought into the band at the age of 16 in 1980. Originally a roadie, he was taught how to play guitar by his brother, Misfits bassist Jerry Only, and Glenn Danzig. Four years later, the Misfits disbanded, but Doyle's metal and punk rock roots only grew stronger and deeper, with his signature guitar playing style of heavy downstrokes and power chords. He helped found (with his brother) the metal band Kryst the Conqueror, and in 1995 reformed The Misfits after settling a legal battle with Danzig for the rights to the bands' name. He wound up leaving the band in 2001 (save for a couple of one-off performances with the original Misfits lineup last year) in order to pursue other ventures, including his current solo career. This weekend, Doyle will haunt The Nile Theatre, 105 West Main Street in Mesa, on Wednesday, March 23. Salem's Childe, WinterHaven, and TV Tragedy open the 7 p.m. concert. Tickets are $20. Lauren Wise

Final Fantasy VII Remake Orchestra at Orpheum Theatre

Final Fantasy VII is considered one of the greatest video games of all time, and one of the factors in its near-universal acclaim is its soundtrack. Created by Japanese composer and keyboardist Nobuo Uematsu for the 1997 PlayStation game, it’s alternately catchy, stirring, and melancholic, particularly such tracks as “One-Winged Angel” and “Aertith’s Theme.” Uematsu’s music, which included both electronic and choral elements, got even better when new arrangements were created for the game’s 2020 remake. Fans can enjoy a symphonic interpretation of the soundtrack performed by the Phoenix Symphony and Chorus on Wednesday, March 23, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street, on Wednesday, March 23. The concert starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $49 to $88. Benjamin Leatherman

Surfbort at Valley Bar

Taking its name from a bathtub-based sex act referenced in Beyoncé's "Drunk in Love," Brooklyn punk rock band Surfbort came crashing into the music scene in 2015. Fronted by the eccentric and wild Dani Miller, Surfbort has become notorious for its eye-grabbing stage show. Beyond her outlandish style, missing upper lateral incisors and uncovered, unshaven body hair, Miller has a voice filled with raw passion in the tradition of Courtney Love and The Distillers' Brody Dalle, and just like Love and Dalle before her, Miller is backed by an amazing band. Composed of New York City scene veterans, the rest of Surfbort creates visceral punk rock played with reckless abandon with song lengths averaging at about two minutes. Surfbort comes to Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue, on Thursday, March 24, alongside L.A. punk bands Smirk and Niis. The gig starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door. David Fletcher
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Legendary singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III.
Ross Halfin

Loudon Wainwright III at Musical Instrument Museum

For 55 very odd years, Loudon Wainwright III's lacerating wit, unflinching candor, and impish glee have combined to skewer everything in sight, from the near and dear to the feared. LW3's favorite protagonist has always been himself, and he's made self-deprecation a highly twisted art form. His 2012 album, Older Than My Old Man Now, is a morbid laugh riot about "death 'n' decay," physical infirmities, geriatric medication, fractured families, regrets, confusion, and fleeting time. Wainwright is cheerfully sardonic throughout his performances, cleverly peppering the tunes with wry humor. But there's also inevitable poignancy at work, bittersweet and haunting, as he pokes at a lifetime of uncomfortable truths. He’s set to do so this week at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard, during his concert on Thursday, March 24, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $38.50 to $44.50. Rick Mason
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.