Need something to do this week, other than counting the hours until the next Game of Thrones episode airs? Consider attending one of the many memorable concerts happening over the next few nights at Valley music venues.
Ten of ‘em will be happening between Monday, August 14, and Thursday, August 17, and we’ve got the details about each.
The list features performances by a variety of unique acts (Wheelchair Spots Camp), legendary artists (Herbie Hancock and Monty Alexander), and several notable names.
Some of Arizona’s biggest rock legends – including the Meat Puppets and Gin Blossoms – will also become enshrined in history.
Read on for more info on all of these concerts and music events or hit up our extensive online listings for even more shows in Phoenix this week.
Monday, August 14
Jessica Newham first surfaced as internet sensation Betty Who with the 2012 hyper-positive hit “Somebody Loves You.” The pop star, a native of Sydney, Australia, has continued a slow and steady reach, her sonic and visual aesthetic paying tribute to easy consumable counterparts like Katy Perry and Robyn. A rhythmically restructured version of the mid-’90s Donna Lewis hit “I Love You Always Forever” also did the singer well, going platinum in her home country. The musician’s short summer jaunt in the States a few years ago gave American audiences out east a taste of Betty Who; this year’s Party in the Valley tour will be the first opportunity for many fans in our neck of the woods to see her perform live. Bree Davies
Monday, August 14
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Chillwave isn’t a genre known for brevity, but with 12 tracks clocking in at just under 30 minutes, Washed Out achieves punk rock-esque pointedness with its latest album, Mister Mellow. What the music lacks in length, it makes up for in holistic experience, with creator Ernest Greene releasing a visual album in tandem. Featuring different directors — including Greene — these videos bounce between psychedelic drawings, chaotic cutouts, and altered images whipping through moving collages. The way the visuals move the music is utterly entrancing and absolutely essential viewing before seeing Washed Out perform live. Greene has been incorporating the video’s visuals in previous concerts this year. The band’s kicking off a monthlong set of Mister Mellow tour dates in Houston and are set to make a stop at Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Ashley Harris
Monday, August 14
FiftyoneWest in Tempe
Despite the name, the band Teenage Sexx is mature beyond its years. Founding member and lead guitarist Caleb Lewis is only 19, co-frontman and bassist Kevin Adkins is 23, and newly added drummer Charlie DeBolt is 25. Part of the magic of Teenage Sexx is that it's the perfect punk band for nonpunk fans. It’s partly the look – the members give off an approachable vibe, especially Lewis with his baby face. It’s also their sound – they’re more melodic than a lot of punk out there, and their songs have hooks that are easy to sing along to. Despite its mainstream leanings, the band doesn't lose the authentic punk thread on tracks like “Calling Out” from Flavour Country. Although it starts with a delightfully pop-esque guitar intro, it has lyrics that go: “I’ve got no place to go – no friends / Yeah, I am all alone – shut up / I don’t like your tone – no help / You’re putting me through hell. ... I’m calling out for help.” As Lewis himself puts it, “Our songs may sound angry and sad, but I think we’re basically writing pop songs.” Alaena Hostetter
Deep Purple & Alice Cooper
Tuesday, August 15
After close to 50 years of making music, you'd think Deep Purple would get a little more respect. This was the band that crafted one of the most indelible riffs in the entire rock 'n' roll idiom in the form of "Smoke on the Water." It is required learning for any budding guitarist. It's the band whose string of '70s albums – In Rock, Fireball, Machine Head, Who Do We Think We Are, and Burn in particular — placed them on a tier alongside Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Nazareth, and Uriah Heep as the foremost champions of the emerging form that would come to be called heavy metal. Still, Purple's trajectory was erratic at best. In the midst of their '70s heyday, personnel problems began plaguing the band, resulting in an ongoing series of shifts in membership that continued well into the new millennium. Following the first incarnation of the band in the late '60s, a core group – guitarist Richie Blackmore, vocalist Ian Gillian, drummer Ian Paice, keyboardist Jon Lord, and bassist Roger Glover – established themselves as Purple's most indelible lineup. Regardless, even as they were reaching new peaks of popular success, personal squabbles found practically all the participants departing at one time or another, leaving Paice as the only constant member. These days, Glover and Gillian are firmly back in the fold, joined by guitarist Steve Morse, who's been on the roster for 20 years, and Don Airey, who took over keyboards from the late Jon Lord in 2002. This summer they’re touring the country along with fellow rock icon Alice Cooper and will play Ak-Chin Pavilion on August 15. Lee Zimmerman
Wheelchair Sports Camp
Wednesday, August 16
Rips Ales & Cocktails
Kalyn Heffernan is 24 years old, weighs 53 pounds, and measures 3 feet, 6 inches tall. She's light enough to carry, compact enough to hide under a winter coat, and is sometimes mistaken for a child. But Heffernan, who has the brittle-bone disability osteogenesis imperfecta, is hardly innocent, precious, or inconspicuous: The Colorado native dabbles in graffiti, cusses gloriously, and has a septum piercing. She raps, scribbles rhymes, and has been known to cover the viral YouTube video "My Vagina Ain't Handicapped." If you ask — and even if you don't — she'll eagerly lift her shirt to show off the words "CRIP LIFE" inked on her stomach, an homage to Tupac Shakur's THUG LIFE tattoo. Heffernan is the founding member of Wheelchair Sports Camp, a unique jazz-hop trio cheekily named after a weeklong youth-disability program she attended growing up and, by her own admission, "corrupted." The Denver-based band consists of Heffernan and two able-bodied friends from college, Abigail "Abi" McGaha Miller, a towering and talented saxophonist/vocalist, and Miller's Marvel Comics-nerd older brother, a mountain of a drummer named Isaac. Although both siblings are far more experienced musicians than Heffernan, they will comfortably concede that this project is "Kalyn's show." Camille Dodero
Read on for even more big concerts and music events this week, including Monty Alexander, Herbie Hancock, and the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame Ceremony.
Drip Drop Records presents The Leak (Live)
Wednesday, August 16
Shady Pary in Tempe
It's been a big summer for Drip Drop Records. The local grassroots electronic dance music label – which serves up tracks boasting a deeper and more experimental ambiance and “drippy” verve, as well as harder, high-energy jams that are more about the “drop” – has stage a slew of event and club nights around the Valley during the last few months. Over the summer, Drip Drop’s diverse crew of DJs have performed poolside at the chic Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale, presented pop-up dance parties at the Monarch Theatre, and held it down during their weekly Friday affair in Bar Smith’s main room. Meanwhile, they’ve been releasing a steady stream of new sounds, including the 12-track Drip Compilation Vol. 1 in July. The label’s biggest event of the season, however, will take place on Wednesday, August 16, when the Drip Drop squad makes its debut at Shady Park during The Leak (Live). The night, which is a live version of the label’s weekly internet broadcast, will showcase many of Drip Drop’s cohorts and collaborators, including Wevor Trill, Lick, Alfred Havoc, and Briggs. Benjamin Leatherman
Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame Ceremony
Thursday, August 17
This year’s Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Celebrity Theatre will be one for the books. The 53-year-old venue that has hosted everyone from Fugazi to the late Sam Kinison and Duran Duran (and so many more acts) will be inducted into the Hall of Fame — alongside the Meat Puppets, Gin Blossoms, and Nils Lofgren — in a rockin’ celebration. The ceremony will feature performances by each inductee on the famed revolving stage, and it will mark the first time ever they have ever performed together. Classic rock fans will recognize Valley resident Lofgren’s name as a musician with an acclaimed solo career who’s also a longtime collaborator with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Ringo Starr. Similarly, local music aficionados will revel in the induction of both the Meat Puppets and the Gin Blossoms, two of the more successful Phoenix-area bands over the past 35 years or so. The influential Meat Puppets came out of the early ‘80s underground scene and became a force in the alternative music world, while the Gin Blossoms enjoyed more mainstream success due with the iconic New Miserable Experience record from 1992. Tom Reardon
Thursday, August 17
Musical Instrument Museum
For seven decades, Jamaican-born musician Montgomery Bernard "Monty" Alexander has been at the forefront of jazz. After immigrating to the U.S. with his family from Jamaica in 1961, it would be a chance meeting at a Miami jazz club that would set the wheels in motion for Alexander's five decades-plus as one of the genre's most versatile pianists. "When I was young and I started to play in Miami, I was playing at a club," Alexander says. "And one night, Frank Sinatra came into the club with Jilly Rizzo and they heard me playing. They must've been taken with what I was doing, and that's how I got to New York.” It wasn’t the only formative influence, as Alexander was exposed to live performances by Louis Armstrong and Nat "King" Cole at Kingston's Carib Theater at an early age and involved with Jamaican musicians who would eventually form the Skatalites. Alexander's reggae-influenced swing style is as instantly recognizable as it is approachable. Among his many projects, artfully managed amid one of the most rigorous touring schedules in jazz that sees the darkened masses of large concert halls to the smoky nostalgia of intimate jazz clubs, Alexander has conceived and directed programs at the Lincoln Center, contributed piano to Clint Eastwood's 1988 biopic Bird, and assisted Natalie Cole on the tribute album to her father, Unforgettable. Abel Folgar
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Thursday, August 17
Two years after his first single, "Classic Man," hit the airwaves, Atlanta-based hip-hop artist and record producer Jidenna finally released his first album, The Chief, earlier this year. Born in Wisconsin to a Nigerian father and an American mother, Jidenna spent the majority of his early years traveling throughout the U.S. and Africa, creating memories he considers his arsenal for making music. A Stanford University graduate, Jidenna offers a new spin on hip-hop with his songwriting, voice, and trademark three-piece suits. Diamond Victoria
Thursday, August 17
Mesa Arts Center
By the time pianist Herbie Hancock turned 25 years old in 1965, he’d been part of Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet for two years and released five of his own albums, which included three of his most famous songs: “Watermelon Man,” “Cantaloupe Island,” and “Maiden Voyage.” While Hancock spent a good part of the ’60s honing his hard-bop chops, toward the end of the decade and into the early ’70s he went the jazz-funk route with his groups Mwandishi and the Headhunters. Over the next few decades, Hancock explored other terrain in addition to jazz, as evidenced by the groundbreaking hit “Rockit” (from 1983’s Future Shock), the first pop single to employ scratching. In 2015, Hancock said that he’d been working on a new album with producer and DJ Flying Lotus, but there’s no word yet on when it will be released. In the meantime, Hancock’s performing in venues across the country and around the world, including a return gig at Mesa Arts Center this week. Jon Solomon