The Flaming Lips are scheduled to perform on Thursday, October 5, at Comerica Theatre.EXPAND
The Flaming Lips are scheduled to perform on Thursday, October 5, at Comerica Theatre.
Jim Louvau

The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

This week’s slate of concerts in the Valley is loaded up with big names, and that's par for the course this time of year.

The ultra-colorful Wayne Coyne and the rest of The Flaming Lips are due in Phoenix this week, for instance. Ditto for The Shins, Spoon, Rakim, Father John Misty, Chelsea Wolfe, Bonobo, and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult.

There’s even a pot-themed Cannibal Corpse tribute band headed our way. No joke.

Details about each of these artists and their respective shows can be found in the following list of the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. (And for even more shows, be sure to check our our extensive online music listings.)

Lætitia Tamko, better known as Vagabon.EXPAND
Lætitia Tamko, better known as Vagabon.
Courtesy of Ground Control Touring

Monday, October 2
The Rebel Lounge

At age 21, Lætitia Tamko watched someone play a guitar and thought, “I could do that.” Now 24, Tamko performs as the multi-instrumentalist Vagabon, an act at the vanguard of the most exciting, relevant indie music of 2017.

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  • Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 / 7:00pm @ Pub Rock 8005 E. Roosevelt St Scottsdale AZ 85257
    8005 E. Roosevelt St, Scottsdale AZ 85257

  • Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 / 8:00pm @ The Crescent Ballroom - Phoenix 308 N. 2nd Avenue Phoenix AZ 85003
    308 N. 2nd Avenue, Phoenix AZ 85003

  • Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 / 7:00pm @ Nile Theater - AZ 105 West Main St. Mesa AZ 85201
    105 West Main St., Mesa AZ 85201

Raised in Cameroon, Tamko moved to New York as a teenager, and after finishing college with a double engineering degree, she discovered New York City’s off-kilter, confessional underground-rock scene.

On her first album, Infinite Worlds, guitar-based indie rock, synthy electronic music and Tamko’s powerful, vulnerable tenor collide to create the sound of an artist giving herself permission to sound like no one else. Katie Moulton

Country singer Robert Earl Keen.EXPAND
Country singer Robert Earl Keen.
Darren Carroll Photography

Robert Earl Keen
Monday, October 2
The Van Buren

If Lyle Lovett is the thinking man's Texas songwriter, Robert Earl Keen is the drinking thinking man's Texas songwriter. Since the late '80s, Keen's cockeyed, barstool's-eye view of life's landscape has lured love from the alt-country set and diehard frat partyers in equal measure.

Lumped in early on with the soft soil tilled by the likes of Lovett and iconic Texas crooner Nanci Griffith, Keen'd be more at home on a barroom bandstand alongside a honky-tonker like Joe Ely or a (music) border-crosser like Steve Earle.

Thirty years in, songs such as "Corpus Christi Bay" and "The Road Goes On Forever" have taken on an almost anthemic patina, while "For Love" and "The Wild Ones" shine like the big old silver belt buckle on that deep thinker/beer drinker who'll be standing next to you in the audience, whooping louder than an Austin Saturday night. Tom Finkle

The Shins doing Shins things.EXPAND
The Shins doing Shins things.
Courtesy of Sub Pop Records

The Shins & Spoon
Tuesday, October 3
Comerica Theatre

When The Shins make their triumphant return to Phoenix in early October 3, it will be the band's first show in the Valley since the release of their critically acclaimed fifth album, Heartworms, which arrived on March 10. They played a set that was heavy with those new tracks at McDowell Mountain Music Festival, a week prior to the album's release. If you didn't know the songs then, you have a few days to brush up on their catalog, including fan favorites from Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow.

They will be joined by beloved Austinites Spoon, and Phoenix will be one of only four West Coast stops they'll make together. They will also be armed with new songs from their latest album, Hot Thoughts, which dropped on St. Patrick's Day. If you haven't had the infectious title track stuck in your head since then, take a listen and get ready to have it permanently on a loop for a while.

These two indie powerhouses together are sure to put on a memorable show that most of the country won't get to see. Ashley Harris

Bonobo, a.k.a. Simon Green.
Bonobo, a.k.a. Simon Green.
Neil Krug

Tuesday, October 3
The Van Buren

Simon Green, the brains behind Bonobo, grew up in Brighton, England, playing piano. He picked up guitar in his teens but soon ditched it for electronic music, preferring the portability of electronics and how they allowed him to create on his own schedule without having to rely on a full band.

He started Bonobo in 1999 as a solo electronics project rooted in hip-hop sampling and beat-making. Following the release of his 2006 album, Days to Come, he began to incorporate live instrumentation in his recordings and live shows.

Now Bonobo is touring with a six-member crew that's bringing Green's latest album, Migration, to life in the most fully developed combination of textures and tones of the band's career.

The current incarnation of Bonobo includes live drums, keyboards, vocals, guitar, bass, woodwinds and, of course, Green on a bank of electronics.The visually expansive light show, crafted by Los Angeles-based video-art group Strangeloop Studios, will leave concertgoers with plenty to stimulate their imaginations. Tom Murphy

Father John Misty in concert at FORM Arcosanti in May.
Father John Misty in concert at FORM Arcosanti in May.
Michelle Sasonov

Father John Misty
Wednesday, October 4
Orpheum Theatre

Father John Misty is this generation’s Harry Chapin. Or he would be — if you added in a little John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats and a healthy dose of sometimes awkward social consciousness.

Misty, a.k.a. Josh Tillman, is a busy man, but damn if he doesn’t consistently crank out the best (and we mean this with love) mopey music out there right now. There is a gravity to his work that echoes the great and serious songwriters of generations past while remaining firmly rooted in the now.

Tillman has gained something of a reputation for being an explosive live performer. And in his particular genre, this isn’t a bad thing. But the longtime sideman and producer has built a strong enough reputation for his capable talents that his body of work can combat any negative press that pops up related to the occasional outburst.

Most notably, Tillman went on a Trump-related rant last summer at a festival in New Jersey that seemed to both dismay and delight the audience — and further add to the growing mythology around the performer, who may or may not be kidding. See him at the Orpheum and decide for yourself. Tom Reardon

Hip-hop artist Rakim hits the Marquee this week.
Hip-hop artist Rakim hits the Marquee this week.

Wednesday, October 4
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Regarded as one of the absolute best MCs of all time by pretty much anyone and everyone, Rakim, formerly of the legendary partnership with DJ and producer Eric B., is set to play the Marquee Theatre in Tempe on Wednesday.

Armed with a discography of both his own stellar work as well as the jams from the aforementioned duo, Rakim is simply the pinnacle of jazzy smooth flow. His signature style is clear and clever and consistently contains some of the most mesmerizing wordplay in the history of rap.

Perhaps what’s most dazzling about the New Jersey native’s work is that although it typically consists of a series of boasts, he always finds new and entertaining ways to deliver lines about being the greatest. His career spans three decades, and this self-fulfilling process came true years ago.

Local rappers and hip-hop heads Sincerely Collins, Scruse Boy, Sumo Corleone, Pokafase and Michael Life will open the show, which starts at 8 p.m. Angel Melendez

Chelsea Wolfe's heavier than ever.EXPAND
Chelsea Wolfe's heavier than ever.
Shaina Hedlund

Chelsea Wolfe
Wednesday, October 4
Crescent Ballroom

"Grow old and let your hair grow,” Chelsea Wolfe sings on “Color of Blood.” Her voice drifts through a throbbing lattice of bass and guitar fuzz that overlays the song, and it sounds like it could be swallowed up by the noise at any moment.

The track encapsulates the thrill of listening to Wolfe’s music: Her voice is like the little bird that flies into the mouths of crocodiles to clean their teeth. You listen, in part, because you’re waiting to see if the fanged jaws are going to clamp shut and swallow her whole. While the push-pull of beautiful vocals and heavy sounds on her previous full-length, Abyss, foreshadow the direction the singer has taken on her latest album, Hiss Spun, that line about letting your hair grow out also serves as a bit of foreshadowing.

Throughout most of her career, Wolfe has played with elements of extreme music. She’s the rare singer-songwriter who can weave the atmospherics of black metal or the bottom-heavy pulse of doom into her folk music and have it sound perfectly natural. Ashley Naftule

DJ, producer, and tech-head Richie Hawtin.
DJ, producer, and tech-head Richie Hawtin.
Courtesy of the artist

Richie Hawtin
Wednesday, October 4
The Pressroom

A true techno innovator, Richie Hawtin’s influence goes beyond his dance-floor cuts.

He has long been at the forefront of emerging technology, working on custom mixers, and was instrumental in the development of RADR, an application that allows DJs to tweet out their set lists in real time. Hawtin and engineer/product designer Andy Rigby-Jones teamed up to create a new line of DJ gear, including a mixer that he’ll be using during this tour. Details on the device are vague, but Hawtin will no doubt put it to good use.

Joining him at The Pressroom for this midweek gig will be local DJs Hito and Juheun. Doors open at 9 p.m. and general admission is $20. Liz Ohanesian

The Flaming Lips perform at last year's Arizona State Fair.EXPAND
The Flaming Lips perform at last year's Arizona State Fair.
Jim Louvau

Flaming Lips & Mac Demarco
Thursday, October 5
Comerica Theatre

This double bill may seem a bit odd upon first glance. Twenty-seven-year-old Demarco is still young and carefree, gleefully strumming his guitar, writing quirky tunes and occasionally flying off the rails during his live shows. The Lips, on the other hand, are seasoned pros who have spent decades touring and building a fan base hooked on their kaleidoscopic concept albums and whacked-out exhibitions of psychedelia.

Look closer, though, and it becomes easier to see the connections. Demarco and Wayne Coyne follow the muse where it takes them. Their frequent over-the-top antics mask heartfelt and emotional tales of grief, alienation and existential doubt. While Demarco funnels these feelings through laconic, ’80s-tinged guitar, Coyne and his longtime collaborators focus on the lyrical content. At heart, Demarco and Coyne are both weird and unpredictable dudes, which makes for good theater.

While it's unclear if they'll team up for a few tunes during their show at Comerica Theatre on October 5, they have a collaborative EP coming out soon, which, given their varying sonic approaches, should make for an interesting listen. Jeff Strowe

The members of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult.
The members of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult.
Courtesy of Rust Blade Records

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult
Thursday, October 5
Club Red in Mesa

Originally conceived as a film project by Frankie Nardiello and Marston Daley, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult grew out of the world of late-’80s industrial and Chicago house music. Nardiello dubbed himself Groovie Mann, Daley took the stage name Buzz McCoy — and what might have been a purely cinematic collaboration ended up as one of the most popular bands of the industrial underground.

Following an initial EP release on Wax Trax, Thrill Kill Kult expanded its ideas into a sleazy, campy extravaganza of a project, enhanced by strong songwriting and exuberant, sometimes transgressive live shows.

While many of its peers have focused on bleak political subject matter and the exorcism of personal angst, TKK has continued to challenge mainstream culture by embodying everything that cultural conservatives strive against. Tom Murphy

The members of Cannabis Corpse, a pot-themed tribute to Cannibal Corpse.EXPAND
The members of Cannabis Corpse, a pot-themed tribute to Cannibal Corpse.
Courtesy of the artist

Cannabis Corpse
Thursday, October 5
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

Cannabis Corpse is part parody, part tribute to smoking weed, and part homage to death metal band Cannibal Corpse. It’s a murky, head trip of a merger between the technical, breakneck speed of Florida-style death metal and a passion for all things ganja.

But the twist is Cannibal Corpse songs, replaced with marijuana laced tales of buds coming to life and killing people, stoners being smoked alive, lungs being filled with THC, and more stoned macabre subjects.

Cannabis Corpse features members of Municipal Waste, and is heavily influenced by and constantly under the influence of THC. Fan favorites include extreme stoner takes on Cannibal Corpse songs such as 'Skull Full of Bong Hits,"(Skull Full of Maggots) "Mummified in Bong Water,"(Mummified in Barbed Wire) "Blunted at Birth,"(Butchered at Birth) and "Addicted to Hash in a Tin,"(Addicted to Vaginal Skin) among others. Brutal yet highlarious. Alex Distefano

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