The 25 Best Concerts in Phoenix This June

Phoenix is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, June 13, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Phoenix is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, June 13, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Antoine Wagner Studio
It’s June in the Valley, which means any combination of the following will happen over the next few weeks: triple-digit temperatures, people complaining about triple-digit temperatures, and air-conditioning units working like gangbusters.

On the live music front, you can expect a combination of local bands hitting the road while nostalgia acts, old favorites, newly minted tastemakers, and blockbuster concert tours all head our way. There’a also a major festival due in town, specifically the annual Vans Warped Tour.

You can find many of these in our list of the 25 best concerts to catch in June, which includes gigs by Iron Maiden, Carlos Santana, Phoenix, Roger Waters, and other notable names. (As always, check our our online concert calendar for even more shows this month.)

click to enlarge MarchFourth will march into town in early June. - ANDY BATT
MarchFourth will march into town in early June.
Andy Batt
Friday, June 2
Crescent Ballroom

What started in Portland, Oregon, as a Fat Tuesday party back in 2003 has evolved into a must-see national act. MarchFourth’s high-energy and rousing sounds bring to light the deepest grooves of funk, swing, rock, and jazz, and their style pulls from an array of influences, like Sergeant Pepper leading a freaky Cirque du Soleil performance from the bandstand or European Gypsy camps stumbling upon the rhythms of Brazilian jungle tribes. Concertgoers at the Crescent Ballroom on Friday, June 2, may not know what they are getting themselves into, but after attending this weekend’s show, there’s a good chance that MarchFourth will be on your list of live favorites. Maybe it’s the five-piece percussion corps using harnesses made from bicycle parts, the seven-part brass section that includes trombone, trumpet, and saxophone, or the 20 musicians and performers donning mismatched marching band uniforms — including crowd-surfing stiltwalkers, or the fire dancers. Yes, fire dancers. Get thee to this show. Lauren Farrah

click to enlarge Stitched Up Heart - COURTESY OF ANOTHER CENTURY RECORDS
Stitched Up Heart
Courtesy of Another Century Records
Stitched Up Heart
Saturday, June 3
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

With song titles that traffic in such well-worn clichés as “City of Angels” and “Catch Me When I Fall,” Stitched Up Heart might not be the most incisively articulate band, but the local quintet make up for their lyrical shortcomings with a powerful hard-rock sound that mixes metallic crunch with occasional traces of gothlike mystery. On the group’s recent full-length, Never Alone, lead guitarist Merritt Goodwin and rhythm guitarist Nick Bedrosian crank up a thick yet supple dual-guitar attack that shifts easily from sludgy grooves into more throttling tempos. That sonic variety gives frontwoman Alecia “Mixi” Demner space to alternate her scabrous howling with more melodic, anthemic choruses. Hard-rock tunes like “It’s So Easy” (not the Guns N’ Roses song) occasionally give way to more poppy interludes, such as the title track. Falling James

click to enlarge Nina Diaz - JADE HERNANDEZ
Nina Diaz
Jade Hernandez
Nina Diaz
Sunday, June 4
The Rebel Lounge

One of the truly great howlers in any kind of rock 'n' roll, Texas singer-guitarist Nina Diaz brings to her recorded and live sets an almost fearsomely committed passion and a questioning vibe that demands her fans step up to the plate. Currently taking a break from her acclaimed punk-rock trio Girl in a Coma, several of whose albums were issued on the somewhat like-minded Joan Jett’s Blackheart label, Diaz’s recent solo record The Beat Is Dead is a beautifully broadening blast of the charismatic Diaz’s attitude and rare-ish authenticity that extends her band’s Ramones/Bikini Kill/Smiths roots in both viciously feral rockers and a few bravely, sweetly vulnerable performances tinged with the Tex-Mex/Tejano that has longed lurked at the heart of her sound. John Payne

click to enlarge Bush are back with a new record. - NEIL KRUG
Bush are back with a new record.
Neil Krug
Sunday, June 4
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

The post-Cobain era of alternative rock was very kind to Gavin Rossdale and his band, Bush. The rock act’s multiplatinum debut record, Sixteen Stone, thrust them into the mainstream and made Rossdale the crush of 16-year-old girls around the world. And why not, considering he played the role of handsome-but-sensitive rock star very well? But let's face it, Bush happened to be in the right place at the right time, and how can you blame them? While they never achieved the commercial success of Sixteen Stone, they formed more of their own musical identity on 1999's The Science of Things before calling it quits after 2001's Golden State. After an eight-year break, Rossdale re-formed the band and was forced to replace original guitarist Nigel Pulsford and bassist Dave Parsons, who declined his invitation for a reunion. These days, the former grunge heartthrob is a family man who isn't looking to recapture the '90s and has no problem playing for 40-year-old women or the dudes who used to rock out to “Everything Zen” when it played on alt-rock radio hourly during Bush’s heyday. Jim Louvau

Sunday, June 4
Livewire in Scottsdale

True story: Florida-born rap star XXXTentacion was released from jail only a few months ago. He’s more than ready to put that behind him, however, as he’s been touring constantly and performing at festivals like Miami’s Rolling Loud. That’s not to say he’s not down for stirring up trouble now and again. During his first post-jail interview on a Miami radio station, the “Look at Me!” rapper made headlines when he called out Drake for jocking his flow on "KMT." XXX might use his gigs to further his beef with the More Life rapper to a head, especially if he disses Drake during his sets. XXXTentacion might also debut music from one of several projects he’s got going this year, including such studio albums as Bad Vibes and 17, as well as his mixtape I Need Jesus. Tony Centeno

click to enlarge Swedish guitar monster Yngwie Malmsteen. - MALMSTEEN MANAGEMENT
Swedish guitar monster Yngwie Malmsteen.
Malmsteen Management
Yngwie Malmsteen
Monday, June 5
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Eddie Van Halen may have put the art of shredding on the map with 1978’s “Eruption,” but Yngwie Malmsteen spent the entire 1980s taking the blueprint, adding influences from 18th- and 19th-century classical music, and blowing the concept up into a grandiose display of guitar histrionics. The Swedish-born musician initially broke through as a teenage prodigy with early-’80s L.A. metal band Alcatrazz. Malmsteen’s guitar-hero status emerged with his Rising Force project in the years that followed. His neoclassical shred-guitar compositions took center stage and influenced a wave of musicians welding metallic loudness with over-the-top technicality, which continues to this day with modern acts such as L.A.’s own Exmortus. Malmsteen has at times become shorthand in metal circles for guitar excess, but when it’s as shamelessly bombastic as this, it’s all good. Jason Roche

click to enlarge Jackie Greene - GREG VOROBIOV
Jackie Greene
Greg Vorobiov
Jackie Greene
Monday, June 5, and Tuesday, June 6
Musical Instrument Museum

Developing the rootsy edge that inhabits Jackie Greene’s latest album (and first in five years), Back to Birth, has been a long time coming. Though Greene was once hailed as the “new Dylan” for his acoustic guitar/harmonica soirées during the coffeehouse period that informed much of his teenage years, his initial albums displayed a wider stylistic range, from 1970s pop to classic rock to soul and blues. The seeds were there, but it was only after being drafted to play with The Band’s Levon Helm, and later the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh and Bob Weir (in separate projects) and his time in the final iteration of the Black Crowes, that Greene has hit upon his most fully realized and deeply centered project to date. A laid-back, earthy California vibe full of lush harmonies and strum-along chords bolsters Greene’s work. Add the richness of honest, homespun tales and Greene’s music unconsciously shades toward The Band, Jackson Browne, Black Crowes, and even one clearly B.B. King-inspired number. At the core is a simplicity that recalls the purity of songwriting, the kind that doesn’t require anything more than a back porch to reproduce — though Greene’s stage performance only strengthens the music’s resolve. Glenn BurnSilver

click to enlarge Renowned blues musician Keb' Mo'. - ANDREA LUCERO
Renowned blues musician Keb' Mo'.
Andrea Lucero
Wednesday, June 7
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Earlier this year, blues music legends Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ announced a very special, full-band tour in support of their first album as a duo, TajMo. And as any blues guru can testify, Taj Mahal has been a purveyor of both blues and world music beats for over 50 years, in which time he's written for and toured with a who's-who of musical giants, from The Rolling Stones to Eric Clapton to Ali Farka Toure. Keb' Mo', no rookie himself, has been around since the early '80s as one of the leading voices in the Americana scene. He's also a guitar gunslinger whose interplay with Taj Mahal's multi-instrumental chops should make for quite a sight during their concert inside the Virginia G. Piper Theater at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on June 7. Jeff Strowe

click to enlarge Alynda Segarra of Hurray For the Riff Raff. - SARRAH DANZIGER
Alynda Segarra of Hurray For the Riff Raff.
Sarrah Danziger
Hurray for the Riff Raff
Wednesday, June 7
Crescent Ballroom

Alynda Segarra started her career as a runaway 17-year-old, busking her way down city streets before forming Hurray for the Riff Raff in 2007. Not to be confused with rapper RiFF RAFF, Segarra’s band is a lighter take on the folk genre. Her nigh-hypnotic vocals melt over an eclectic range of instrumentation. Country crescendos, popping bongos and the occasional salsa beat underline Segarra’s poetry, shifting genres almost from track to track. The group's latest album, The Navigator, takes the concept to the next level, with Segarra using her Dylan-esque brand of storytelling to delve into the triumphs and travails of her own story, one of a Puerto Rican girl growing up in America. Tracks like “14th Floor” juxtapose Segarra’s experience of living in a New York high-rise with that of her father’s propeller plane ride to New York from his native Puerto Rico. Hurray for the Riff Raff is folk music with a beating heart. Unafraid to strip down the traditional nostalgia of folk music in order to express deeper truths, Hurray for the Riff Raff is a true melting pot of traditional American music and Segarra’s modern American experience. Nicholas Bostick

click to enlarge The members of Whores. - COURTESY OF BRUTAL PANDA RECORDS
The members of Whores.
Courtesy of Brutal Panda Records
Wednesday, June 7
The Rebel Lounge

A band’s name sets an expectation. Call your band Fluffy Bunnies and, without factoring in the possibility of irony, listeners will guess some lilting sounds will abound. Calling your band Whores, on the other hand, fosters an image of something a little edgier. The Atlanta band who bear that name? They eat edgy for breakfast. Together, the band’s members — Christian Lembach (vocals and guitar), Donnie Adkinson (drums), and Casey Maxwell (bass) — sound like a musical army hitting you with heavy-rock assault. Their sound embraces punk, metal, and noise for a thick, driving output that defies predictability. It’s as much for fans of stoner rock or classic metal as it is for fans of old-school noise rock acts like NYC’s Unsane. After playing for nearly six years and releasing some EPs and a split single with the band Rabbits, Whores released their first full-length, Gold, in late 2016. It was a fast favorite, charting as Rolling Stone’s 10th best metal album of the year. From front to back, the 10 songs on this record use the total runtime of 35 minutes wisely. For this band, melodic sludge and thick rock don’t always need more than three minutes to make a point. They’re out to destroy. Like their 2013 song “Baby Bird” says, “I’m going out tonight and I hope that it hurts.” That should set the expectation for what their live show offers. Amy Young

click to enlarge Christian Berishaj, better known as JMSN. - SEBASTIAN MALDONADO
Christian Berishaj, better known as JMSN.
Sebastian Maldonado
Thursday, June 8
Valley Bar

JMSN’s constant is his smooth, endearing falsetto, but everything else around him is always changing. Nonetheless, his loyal, underground cult following has stuck with him through the twists and turns of his career, during which he’s been part of an electro-pop act on a Motown label, had a turn at producing spaced-out R&B tracks strikingly similar to The Weeknd’s early recordings and developed into a charming soul artist in the vein of D’Angelo. The boundless artist may change his scenery every few years, but each metamorphosis brings new acclaim, such as Usher calling JMSN his favorite new act in 2012 after he released Priscilla. That’s when he earned collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, The Game, Ab-Soul, Kaytranada and more. It’s unclear what his latest album, Whatever Makes U Happy, has garnered him, considering it was released last month, but it may not matter because the message it delivers is to find personal freedom and do what makes you happy. Mikel Galicia

click to enlarge The members of Autograf. - KYLE BUCKLAND
The members of Autograf.
Kyle Buckland
Saturday, June 10
Shady Park in Tempe

When attending a live show, an artist’s visual component can prove to be just as important as the sounds coming from the speakers. Brightly colored lights, lasers and graphic visuals projected on a screen are commonly seen, but how often are the artists actually building their own stage aesthetic with their own hands? Chicago-based Autograf began as an art project, then morphed into a musical group playing live electronica. For each show, members Jake Carpenter, Louis Kha and Mikul Wing conceptualize and create visuals to complete their unique ambience. Autograf incorporates its art projects during live performances and around the city of Chicago. For one of its first projects, the group built an eight-foot tall Andy Warhol-inspired sculpture of a soup can for the stage. More recently the group created a series of street-art pieces around Chicago that revolved around their latest single, “Don’t Worry." The artists incorporated inspirational as well as whimsical sayings like "Don’t worry, live life" or "Don’t worry, eat ice cream" into their creations that went up last month. They have even added lights to their instruments to better engage the audience and create a more interactive experience. Riley Cowing

Read on for even more concerts in June, including Roger Waters, Future, Migos, and Iron Maiden.
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