Janet Jackson, boygenius and the best concerts in Phoenix this week | Phoenix New Times

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Janet Jackson, boygenius and the best concerts in Phoenix this week

Legendary R&B artist Janet Jackson tops the list of the biggest shows in the Valley this week.
Janet Jackson is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, June 7, at Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre.
Janet Jackson is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, June 7, at Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre. Live Nation
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The just-completed Phoenix Fan Fusion won’t be the only event this month bringing famous names to the Valley. Over the next few nights, you can catch concerts from R&B queen Janet Jackson, actor-turned-musician Billy Bob Thornton and indie rock supergroup boygenius. Other notable shows happening in metro Phoenix this week include performances by singer, songwriter and rapper Bryson Tiller and metal band Stryper.

Read on for details about each of their gigs or check out Phoenix New Times concert listings for more live music around town from Monday, June 5, to Thursday, June 8.
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J.D. Andrew (left) and Billy Bob Thornton (right) of the Boxmasters.
Action Entertainment Collaborative

Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters

Monday, June 5
The Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road
If you ever wanted to meet Billy Bob Thornton or see him perform, the Oscar-winning actor, filmmaker, and musician is set to bring his band The Boxmasters to The Rhythm Room this week after postponing the gig a few times already. The long-running rock/Americana act featuring Thornton on vocals and Grammy-winning recording engineer J.D. Andrew on guitar is touring behind its latest album, “‘69,” which hit the streets last month. The Boxmasters might not be as well-known as Keanu’s recently reunited rock band Dogstar, the Jared Leto-fronted Thirty Seconds to Mars or other musical side-projects of famed actors, but they’ve racked up plenty of critical accolades. Their expertly crafted southern-fried rockabilly and country-rock tunes, which take more than a few cues from the ‘60s heydays of both genres, have been hailed for their musicianship and Thornton’s talents as a songwriter. 8 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Benjamin Leatherman

Bryson Tiller

Tuesday, June 6
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
Not everyone wants to be in the limelight; some people want to work in the shadows. Such is the case for singer, songwriter, and rapper Bryson Tiller. By his own admission, he likes to cultivate an air of mystery, putting his music first and keeping himself in the shadows. It’s a strategy that seems to have worked out for the velvet-voiced singer, who’s dropped several Billboard hits, earned Grammy nominations, and collaborated with artists like DJ Khaled, Chris Brown and PopSugar. You may not recognize him if you see him walking down the street but you’ve probably heard his distinctive voice chiming out of somebody’s speakers. Tiller’s specialty is what he calls trapsoul. Combining the moody intensity of trap hip-hop with the romanticism and transcendence of R&B, Tiller makes music that sounds lush and pillowy but nevertheless has a bit of edge to it. Citing The-Dream and R&B lothario Omarion as influences, he’s shown that he shares their knack for writing hooks that melt in your ear like butter. 8 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Ashley Naftule


Tuesday, June 6
Arizona Financial Theatre, 400 West Washington Street
Supergroups are almost always disappointing: They rarely ever live up to their hype and often end up making music that is less than the sum of their considerable parts. The three women behind boygenius seem to have broken the supergroup chorus. Together, the team of Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker make music that's just as compelling as their own individual work. When boygenius released their self-titled EP in 2018, it seemed like a miracle, the kind of one-time musical stars-have-aligned moment that would never have happened otherwise. After getting songs as good as "Bite the Hand" and "Me & My Dog,” it feels almost churlish to ask for more but the trio have finally released a full-length with this year’s “The Record.” It’s a rock-solid, tight album whose only fault is that it often sounds like three solo albums mashed together rather than one unified album. boygenius sounds less like a band and more like three artists guesting on each other’s work. But when the songs are this good, who cares about cohesion? 7:30 p.m., $75-$244 via livenation.com. Ashley Naftule


Wednesday, June 7
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
Though it seems most of the indie bands of the ’80s disappeared for a while, plenty of rock acts — especially those working during the big hair/power-ballad-as-the-second-single era — have stuck around, playing smaller venues, cruise ships, and casinos. Stryper, however, was never your average ‘80s rock act, considering they threw Bibles out to their concert audiences during their heyday and had an album titled “To Hell With the Devil.” They made the mistake of downplaying the Christian stuff on their first album of the '90s, omitting references to God, getting rid of the yellow and black theme, and having the gall to cover a secular soul hit (Earth Wind & Fire's "Shining Star"), release a greatest hits collection, and let lead singer Michael Sweet leave the band. But it's hard to ignore the call of the rock: Stryper reunited in 2000 and is on their ninth album (last year’s "The Final Battle"), of their second run. It's far less shocking now to hear bands in the mainstream proclaiming a connection to Jesus as their lord and savior. Still, Stryper was there first, freaking out the Christian establishment with its glitzy looks and bare chests, and providing MTV viewers a reason to look up Isaiah 53:5 in their family Bibles. With Luxia, The Sintrcs, and Color of Chaos; 6:30 p.m., $30-$50 via seetickets.us. Phoenix New Times

Janet Jackson

Wednesday, June 7
Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre, 2121 North 83rd Avenue
Michael Jackson may have been the 20th century's King of Pop, but this last decade feels like it's under the royal auspices of his sister. From Beyonce to Megan Thee Stallion, Tik Tok dance trends to soulful rap divas: we're all living in Janet's Rhythm Nation. Aside from Aaliyah, it’s hard to think of another female R&B artist who laid down the blueprint for the world we live in than Janet, who combined impeccable choreography, a golden voice, savvy production choices, and undeniable hits to create a body of work that is every bit a contender when put up against her legendary brother. While Janet has spent more time appearing in incredibly bad Tyler Perry movies than cutting new albums, her discography speaks for itself. If you have any love for pop music, don't miss out on the chance to hear classics from such albums as “The Velvet Rope,” “Control,” “Dream Street,” “Janet,” and “All for You” performed live. Janet is one of the all-time greats, and who knows how many more tours she’s going to go on? The loss of Tina Turner this year tells us this much: don’t take your queens for granted. Bend the knee while you still can. With Ludacris; 7:45 p.m., $33-$499 via livenation.com. Ashley Naftule
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