The 6 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Booker T. Jones is scheduled to perform on Thursday, January 4, at the Musical Instrument Museum.EXPAND
Booker T. Jones is scheduled to perform on Thursday, January 4, at the Musical Instrument Museum.
Piper Ferguson
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Still suffering from that holiday hangover? You’re not the only one, and it seems like there’s a lot of that going around lately.

Which might be why this week’s concert calendar is a bit on the sparse side. Plenty of people are either recovering from New Year’s weekend or just taking a short respite from performing.

There are some worthwhile shows to consider checking out in the Valley this week, including gigs by country icon Willie Nelson, R&B/soul legend Booker T. Jones, rapper Krizz Kaliko, and the punks of U.S. Bombs.

Details about their respective shows can be found below in our rundown of this week’s best concerts in Phoenix. And for even more events happening around town, hit up our live music listings.

Rapper Krizz Kaliko.EXPAND
Rapper Krizz Kaliko.
Sam Levi

Krizz Kaliko
Tuesday, January 2
Club Red in Mesa

Krizz Kaliko is best-known as co-owner with Tech N9ne of indie hip-hop label Strange Music, which boasts such powerhouse MCs as Rittz, Jay Rock and Brotha Lynch Hung.

But Kaliko is more than just a businessman; he's made six albums of his own, many of which feature the rapper bearing his soul or getting personal about his afflictions in some fashion.

To wit: Kaliko’s debut LP, 2008’s Vitiligo, was so named for the skin condition that he suffers from, while 2009’s Genius contains the track “Bipolar,” referring to his battles with depression. The song “Stop the World” for his most recent album, Go, involves him rapping about how he was considering suicide in 2015.

Kaliko’s discography is more than just him bearing his soul, however. All six of his albums feature the rapper spitting clever rhymes over a diverse variety backing tracks, ranging from R&B to surf rock. And according to Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko is a genius (hence the name of his second album).

Come see what all the fuss is about on Tuesday at Club Red for his latest Valley show. Slo Pain, Izzy Dunfore, and Poizonous Logik will open. Noah Hubbell

Would-be country crooners will step behind the mic at Pat O's this week.EXPAND
Would-be country crooners will step behind the mic at Pat O's this week.

Country Idol
Wednesday, January 3
Pat O’s Bunkhouse Saloon

Think you have what it takes to win Country Idol? The local singing competition is on the hunt for top performers at preliminary events around the Valley, including one at Pat O’s Bunkhouse Saloon.

Don’t let the name of the event fool you. Singing a country song is not required to win over the judges. Contestants will be judged on showmanship and vocal ability. Winners in the preliminary round will receive a $25 and $15 bar tab for first and second place, respectively, and the chance to compete in the finals at the 33rd Annual Gay Rodeo, which runs from February 16 through 18.

It’s pitchy at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, January 3, at Pat O’s. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Country Idol website. Jason Keil

The man, the myth, the legend: Willie Nelson.
The man, the myth, the legend: Willie Nelson.
David McClister

Willie Nelson & Family
Wednesday, January 3
Celebrity Theatre

Country music legend, poet, outlaw, and marijuana entrepreneur Willie Nelson is back. This time, it’s with God’s Problem Child, his (depending on how you count) 110th album.

Featuring all new material, the record was released on April 28, one day before Nelson’s 84th birthday. We may be averse to talking honestly about aging in our youth-obsessed culture, perhaps because it feels so unimaginable to our younger selves, but this album gives a glimpse into what it’s like to be in your 80s with your sense of humor intact regarding your own mortality.

“Still Not Dead” confronts rumors of Nelson’s demise. Written by Donnie Fritz and Lenny LeBlanc, “Old Timer” reflects, “You think you’re still a young bull rider, until you look in the mirror and see an old timer.” Former poet laureate Donald Hall wrote in Essays After Eighty a couple of years ago that “old age is a ceremony of losses.” Yet, his essays were, at times, pugnaciously funny.

This is similar terrain to God’s Problem Child. Laconic, wry, and humorous, Nelson is still going strong. And at this point, he’s as beloved as Santa Claus, albeit a skinny, pot-smoking Santa. The last track, “He Won’t Ever Be Gone,” is a tribute to old friend Merle Haggard, who died last April. Sativa Peterson

Duane Peters of U.S. Bombs in 2013.
Duane Peters of U.S. Bombs in 2013.
Melissa Fossum

U.S. Bombs
Wednesday, January 3
The Rebel Lounge

Just like punk itself, U.S. Bombs will apparently never die. The infamous street punk band, which has been around in various forms for 25 years and counting, has survived numerous lineup changes, breakups, hiatuses, and spats between members and is still alive and kicking.

Formed in Southern California back in 1993 by vocalist/pro skater Duane Peters and guitarist Kerry Martinez, U.S. Bombs unleashed a cannonade of roaring guitar riffs and sneering lyrics in the vein of ‘77-style punk, as heard on its debut album, Put Strength in the Final Blow.

Over the next quarter century, the band added and subtracted more than a dozen different musicians, including such notable names as guitarist Jonny "Two Bags" Wickersham, onetime Circle Jerks bassist Zander Schloss, and drummer and longtime Valley resident Chip Hanna. The band’s current version features Peters (the only original member left), as well as Brandon Meunier, Philip Barber, and Dave Barbee.

They also just released a couple of EPs, including one paying tribute to The Clash, on local label Slope Records and will kick off a U.S. tour on Wednesday night with a gig at The Rebel Lounge. The Freeze, Reason Unknown, and FOL open. Benjamin Leatherman

Booker T. JonesEXPAND
Booker T. Jones
Piper Ferguson

Booker T. Jones
Thursday, January 4
Musical Instrument Museum

It’s almost always impossible to not sound like a doofus when you’re trying to explain to someone what an instrumental song sounds like. After a few attempts, you usually end things with the statement, “You’d know it if you heard it.”

That’s true for Booker T. Jones’ classic rock-and-soul instrumental, “Green Onions,” recorded by his then-band, Booker T. and the M.G.’s. Released in 1962, the track rose to No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and topped the R&B list. It saw some action again in the late ’70s after being included in The Who-based film Quadrophenia. The Memphis native and crew went on to have a number of hits, and they won a Grammy in 1995 for their hit “Cruisin’.”

Jones is a multi-instrumentalist, but his relationship with the Hammond B-3 organ is one that generally gets mentioned when he’s the topic of conversation. He’s played it, as well as the guitar, on his own efforts, as well as in the studio for a number of bands, including Willie Nelson, Elton John, and Rancid. The legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s current tour is a showcase of his lengthy and exciting history, along with a chance to hear some of his recent creations. Amy Young

The members of Scorpion vs. Tarantula.
The members of Scorpion vs. Tarantula.
Vistonie Dravnos

Scorpion vs. Tarantula
Thursday, January 4
The Rebel Lounge

You could sum up a Scorpion vs. Tarantula show like this: Band walks into a bar, band destroys bar with blistering show of punk rock-and-roll led by a throaty, wrecking ball of a woman named L. Hotshot. In fact, if you used that summary every single time, you wouldn’t be wrong.

While Hotshot rips through the crowd, mic in hand, fists pumping and singing her glorious guts out, the band – Jay Bennett on guitar, Tana Satana on bass, and Michael “Cappy” Renfroe on drums – is busy providing a ferocious backdrop that keeps the crowd in full fever mode until the last note is rung. Amy Young

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