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.
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.
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
Robert Earl Keen
Country singer Robert Earl Keen.
Darren Carroll Photography
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 & Spoon
The Shins doing Shins things.
Courtesy of Sub Pop Records
Tuesday, October 3
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.
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
Father John Misty in concert at FORM Arcosanti in May.
Wednesday, October 4
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