The Best Concerts in Phoenix This June

Think there's nothing to do in Phoenix once the heat hits? That particular trope melts like a Popsicle in the summertime sun after you check out the list of shows happening in the Valley in June.

Thanks to all the touring bands and acts hitting the road this time of year, the Valley's concert calendar is loaded up with great gigs.

This month, for instance, will feature concerts by such superstars and major names Kesha, Macklemore, Maroon 5, Frank Turner, CupcakKe, REO Speedwagon, and Chicago.

Plus, the final Vans Warped Tour hits town later this month, offering punks of all ages the chance to rock out during a daylong outdoor extravaganza.

Details about each of these gigs can be found in our list of the best concerts in the Phoenix area this month. And for even more music events happening around town, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Iconic punk band D.O.A.EXPAND
Iconic punk band D.O.A.
Mike Duddy

D.O.A.
Saturday, June 2
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Seething, agitated and anarchistic, D.O.A. continues to unleash tuneful and frenzied songs, proving they are far from retired. For 40 years now, the band has unleashed rock and roll tethered to lumberjack toughness and "green" environmental issues. They balance flannel-shirt, beer-smeared, hockey-drenched jukebox drunkenness with punk savagery, aggressive politics and worldly wisdom deploring both corporate madness and lazy public attitudes.

At the helm, singer/guitarist Joey "Shithead" Keithley has always stared down power by culling the hefty history of leftism. He's not Bruce Springsteen waxing sentimental about rivers and steel towns; instead, he exposes fault lines of religion, police brutality, and economic woes. And he’s truly one of punk rock’s more notable icons.

Early this month, D.O.A. and the equally iconic punk act MDC invade the Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Krovak, The Linecutters, FOL, and Ass Wipe Junkies will open. David Ensminger

Australian-born singer-songwriter Alex Lahey.EXPAND
Australian-born singer-songwriter Alex Lahey.
Giulia McGauran

Alex Lahey
Sunday, June 3
The Rebel Lounge

Imagine if Hayley Williams had ditched the dudes in Paramore and struck out as a solo songwriter, developing a surf-rock sound with soaring pop choruses and specific-as-hell lyrics. Well, then, she would sound a lot like Alex Lahey.

Lahey is a 20-something Aussie whose 2017 full-length, I Love You Like a Brother, was largely underappreciated in this hemisphere, though it’s chock-full of gems. Lahey’s persona is scrappy, with the clever self-deprecation of Courtney Barnett (she wrote a song called “Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder”), but she’s also got an undeniably tight grip on blast-off pop hooks.

She looks up to Dolly Parton and Bruce Springsteen, and like those idols, she has a way with metaphor: On “Backpack,” for instance, Lahey clings to a lover who she knows is unavailable, singing, “It’s hard for me to put my arms around you / When your backpack’s on.” Katie Moulton

Kansas (from left): Richard Williams, Billy Greer, Zak Rizvi, Phil Ehart, Ronnie Platt, David Manion, and David Ragsdale.
Kansas (from left): Richard Williams, Billy Greer, Zak Rizvi, Phil Ehart, Ronnie Platt, David Manion, and David Ragsdale.
Michie Turpin

Kansas
Sunday, June 3
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Kansas could have called it quits when legendary singer and keyboardist Steve Walsh departed in the not-so-distant past. Instead the veteran rockers carried on with only two original members remaining — guitarist Rich Williams and drummer Phil Ehart — and put out The Prelude Implicit, their first new studio album in 16 years. Released in 2016, the 10-song disc shows the septet in fine form, with the musical aptitude and impressive chops fans have come to expect, proving that rock isn’t always a young man’s game.

Currently, Kansas is on tour performing a combination of their radio and fan favorites (including their tireless hard rock hit “Carry On Wayward Son”) along with material from The Prelude Implicit. It’s a show that should meet the cravings of hungry crowds with musically intricate output. Chris Callaway

Speedy Ortiz
Tuesday, June 5
The Rebel Lounge

This comically dystopian time we live in makes a lot more sense viewed through the lens of Speedy Ortiz. The Massachusetts indie-rock band led by Sadie Dupuis return this year with Twerp Verse, a scorching riff-driven record just as snarky and smirk-ridden as its title.

“Life is carnage,” Dupuis sings on “Lucky 88,” just before celebrating the dumb luck of being born into this bonkers chapter of history. There’s a dark but whimsical irony about having all the connectivity in the world, only to realize that people are dumber than you ever imagined. It’s a story only Speedy could tell, as Dupuis surrounds herself with moronic bros on “Alone with Girls,” and pushy creeps on “Villain.” But the demons of a maniacal reality are exorcised through relentless riffage.

Dupuis is an unquestionable guitar hero, and Twerp Verse is only more evidence to this truth. With her ferocious knack for songwriting, the torch lit by Liz Phair and Juliana Hatfield, is burning bright in good hands. Speedy Ortiz will be joined by the excellent Anna Burch, and L.A. singer-songwriter Samira Winter, so this tour is not one to miss. Gerrit Feenstra

Kesha.EXPAND
Kesha.
Olivia Bee

Kesha and Macklemore
Wednesday, June 6
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Superstar artists Kesha and Macklemore are hitting the road this summer. Their first stop? Phoenix's Ak-Chin Pavilion. The singer-songwriter and rapper will co-headline a 30-stop tour — called The Adventures of Kesha and Macklemore — that will begin with a concert at the open-air venue on June 6.

They've collaborated before. Kesha's featured on the track "Good Old Days" from Macklemore's latest record, Gemini. They performed the song on Ellen earlier this fall.

Their show at Ak-Chin Pavilion kicks off at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 to $137. Rapper Wes Perioud will open. Becky Bartkowski

Members of A Place to Bury Strangers.EXPAND
Members of A Place to Bury Strangers.
Courtesy of Pitch Perfect PR

A Place to Bury Strangers
Wednesday, June 6
Valley Bar

Like his artistic forebears in The Jesus and Mary Chain, A Place to Bury Strangers’ Oliver Ackermann knows how to do one thing, and does it well. When it comes to taking a song and drenching it in squalls of feedback, few contemporary musicians can make their amps bleed and howl as consistently and viciously as Ackermann can.

That fidelity to “classic” noise rock has garnered them a fair share of criticism. In a review of their latest album Pinned, Pitchfork called the band a group of “historical actors reanimating the New York of Suicide and Sonic Youth.” This isn’t an unwarranted jab: Every APTBS album feels like an attempt on the band’s part to turn back to the clock to the age when No Wave bands, and a pre-rape-accusation Michael Gira, still walked the earth.

But the band have made changes to their sound: The recent addition of Les Butcherettes’ Lia Braswell on drums and backing vocals has added a welcome new element to the band’s sonic maelstrom. Her voice adds a much-needed dash of cool and sweetness to the mix. For the first time, Oliver’s voice isn’t the only thing struggling to be heard over their shrieking guitars. Ashley Naftule

Minus the Bear are heading out on an anniversary tour for 2007 opus Planet of Ice.
Minus the Bear are heading out on an anniversary tour for 2007 opus Planet of Ice.
Shervin Lainez

Minus the Bear
Wednesday, June 6
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

For a certain kind of early-millennial indie-rock fan, Minus the Bear elicits affection. The band's specific brand of melancholic prog-pop struck a chord with listeners on the breakthrough album Menos el Oso, a complex, layered beast that balances its math-rock, avant-garde tendencies with earnest songwriting. The formula was further refined on 2007's Planet of Ice, a record whose stark, alien instrumentals stood in contrast to Jake Snider's warm, inviting vocals. The album was also a success, charting in the indie sphere, and drawing tons of new fans.

Never content to rest on their laurels, the band members have been expanding their sound and experimenting with form and texture. Notably, their most recent release, Voids, contains songs that might sound as if they come from a different group entirely.

The band has learned to pare down its sound without removing what makes it unique. But for those who prefer the outré experimentation and obtuse song structures of their earlier work, there's always Planet of Ice, which Minus the Bear is celebrating on their current tour. As such, they’re playing every song from the album during each performance, including their upcoming show at Marquee Theatre in Tempe on June 6. David Bennett

Speedy Ortiz.
Speedy Ortiz.
Courtesy of Carpark Records

Maroon 5
Thursday, June 7
Talking Stick Resort Arena

The dreamy and debonair Maroon 5 can make as good a claim to the the title of the 21st century's most successful band as anyone else.

Since ruling the airwaves with the multi-format crossover smash "This Love" in early 2004, the L.A. group's brand of easy-on-the-ears but ever-so-slightly edgy pop-soul has been a constant presence on Top 40 radio and pop culture, even more so since singer Adam Levine assumed one of the judges' chairs on NBC's The Voice in 2011; he's now in his 14th season.

Maroon 5's latest album is last year's Red Pill Blues, which has already turned out a few hits, including singles "What Lovers Do," "Wait," and "Girls Like You.” Chris Gray

Alan Parsons
Alan Parsons
Simon Lowery

Alan Parsons Live Project
Friday, June 8
Celebrity Theatre

Alan Parsons became a household name around the world via the succession of gold and platinum albums that began with Tales of Mystery and Imagination in 1976, which were credited to The Alan Parsons Project. Although his partnership with co-founder Eric Woolfson ended in the ’90s, it did allow for us to finally enjoy the music the duo made in concert, starting with a 1995 European tour. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you ... The Alan Parsons Live Project.

“I do wish we’d done it sooner; the circumstances weren’t right,” Parsons says. “Eric wasn’t interested in touring, and it was only [when] we parted company after making the Freudiana album [a rock opera about Sigmund Freud] and all the legal wrangles that ensued after that, that we decided to put another band together to support another album that year called Try Anything Once [Parsons’ first solo album].”

Rightly or wrongly, the success of I Robot, Turn of a Friendly Card, and Pyramid earned Parsons his rep as the master of the concept album. Who better to ask if the overriding concept suggested the songs, or did the individual songs when collected form the overall concept? “I think a bit of both. Certainly with Tales of Mystery the concept came first, and I Robot, the concept came first. Pyramid, there was one song called “Pyramania” that suggested a concept. That was originally going to be a witchcraft-based album, all things to do with voodoo, then we just zeroed in on pyramid power and the history of pyramids as being a really good concept.” Serene Dominic

Collie BuddzEXPAND
Collie Buddz
Phil Emerson

Collie Buddz
Friday, June 8
BLK Live

When you think of dancehall music, it's safe to assume that the island of Bermuda isn't the first locale that leaps to mind. In fact, though Bermuda is often mistaken as a Caribbean island, its closest neighbor is actually North Carolina. Other Bermuda oddities include the Bermuda Triangle, Bermuda shorts, and the alternative singer Heather Nova, a native.

You may now add to that list the dancehall anthem "Come Around," which is sure to receive the acclaim Damian Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock" did last year. The song is performed by a Bermudian who goes by the handle Collie Buddz. Oh, and did we forget to mention that Buddz is white?

No matter. The song is a monster, from the roots-infused horn intro to the pumped-up basslines. "Finally the herbs come around," sings Buddz, whose stage name doubles as slang for a seasonal high-grade marijuana. His voice resembles Jamaican dancehall staples such as I-Wayne and Wayne Wonder, with a booster shot of rudeboy swagger. Esther Parks

Flatbush Zombies
Tuesday, June 12
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Even diehard rap fans will tell you: There's something about recorded rap music that often doesn't translate well to the stage. It makes sense for a lot of artists; for those who rely on a carefully chosen vocabulary, much of what makes an artist great can get completely lost in a noisy venue. Some rappers are magnetic in the first place because of their personality and energy, such as Flatbush Zombies. The Brooklyn-based act, who rose to fame with the weed-centric "Thug Waffle," will be in town in mid-June for a show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Chris Gray

George Evelyn, better known as Nightmares on Wax.
George Evelyn, better known as Nightmares on Wax.
Sequoia Ziff

Nightmares on Wax
Tuesday, June 12
Crescent Ballroom

For the uninitiated, "Nightmares on Wax" splashed across a gig poster might conjure to mind the soundtrack from a dark '70s or '80s slasher flick. But for fans of George Evelyn and his many collaborations with N.O.W., the name invokes a lengthy, decade-spanning back catalog of genre-bridging and genre-bending tracks that call to mind a much more laid-back and positively uplifting vibe — especially on the last two full-length albums.

Since 1989, Nightmares on Wax has continued to be a mainstay and one of the most iconic names on the roster of U.K.-based independent record label Warp Records. After releasing numerous notable singles, such as “You Wish,” “Flip Ya Lid” and "Les Nuits," Evelyn established himself as a respected electronic and trip-hop trendsetter, and his down-tempo and trip-hop approach to production creates a unique, influential sound built on numerous genres, including modern jazz, funk, soul, and R&B, as well as hip-hop, acid house, and dub.

A live band on the tour supports Evelyn’s latest full-length release, Shape the Future, a record that conjures on-the-couch vibes paired with positive messages and observations. Daniel Rodriguez

Frank Turner in concert in 2015.EXPAND
Frank Turner in concert in 2015.
Henry W. Laurisch/CC BY-SA 4.0/via Wikimedia Commons

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls
Friday, June 15
The Van Buren

Frank Turner has been known as a relentlessly positive and charmingly optimistic individual for most of his career, despite having taken a long and arduous road to musical acclaim. He achieved recognition as the singer of London-based hardcore band Million Dead before dismantling the group and going solo in 2005.

His first full-length, 2009’s Love Ire and Song, showcased the singer-songwriter as a cross between an English Bruce Springsteen and Billy Bragg. His lyrics were earnest and honest, taking in the absurdity of the world and spitting out truths like “Life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings.” Turner’s optimism waned on 2013’s Tape Deck Heart, where, for the first time, he seemed dejected and frustrated by a life on the road and failing personal relationships.

On his more recent albums, including 2015's Positive Songs for Negative People, he strikes a balance between addressing the trials of life, and singing loudly and defiantly as a way of coping with them. Andy Thomas

Brit Floyd in concert.
Brit Floyd in concert.
Patrick Healey

The Iron Maidens
Friday, June 15
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

All-female tribute bands are a dime a dozen these days, but the Iron Maidens have been the best at making a successful career out it. Like their male predecessors, the Maidens have toured the world and become a global phenomenon. Led by vocalist "Bruce Chickinson," this is the rare tribute act that is worth going out of your way to check out live, which you can do at the band's show at Marquee Theatre in Tempe on June 15. Jason Roche

Rap superstar Sheck Wes.
Rap superstar Sheck Wes.
Courtesy of Sean Healy Presents

Sheck Wes
Saturday, June 16
Club Red in Mesa

Watching Sheck Wes’ videos, you get the impression he doesn’t really take the rap game seriously. “Mo Bamba” sees him riding around on a Rascal while sporting a broken leg. “Live SheckWes Die SheckWes” features a snowball fight, and a foreboding intro read by a British narrator about how Sheck Wes is the future of music in a dystopian society. It’s hard to tell if he’s joking sometimes. But even so, the talent and ability of the Harlem rapper and occasional model — he walked in Yeezy Season 3 — shine through. Is Sheck Wes the future? We can only hope. Douglas Markowitz

REO Speedwagon in concert in 2015.
REO Speedwagon in concert in 2015.
Jim Louvau

REO Speedwagon & Chicago
Sunday, June 17
Ak-Chin Pavilion

What's crazy about REO Speedwagon's 1980 hit machine/Trans-Am heavy-petting mood-setter High Infidelity, is that the band was nine albums and 13 years into its career when it scored this millions-selling monster.

The Beatles may have made more records in a shorter period of time, but what would you rather hear in a roller rink arcade while pining away for some older girl as your pitifully small Icee leaks syrup onto the buttons of a Space Invaders? "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" or "Keep On Loving You?" I guess it matters most where your nostalgia comes from, but either way, nostalgia will be the driving force behind one's decision to see the band. Speaking of which, yes, Kevin Cronin is still singing, but no, he doesn't still have that perm.

This summer, REO Speedwagon is touring the US of A with fellow classic rock kings Chicago. They’ll visit the Valley in mid-June for a show at Ak-Chin Pavilion. Tickets start at $19 and include all the nostalgia you can handle. Steve Steward

Ninja Brian and Danny Sexbang of Ninja Sex Party.
Ninja Brian and Danny Sexbang of Ninja Sex Party.
Bwecht/CC BY-SA 3.0/via Wikimedia Commons

Ninja Sex Party
Monday, June 18
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

L.A.-by-way-of-N.Y. musical comedy duo Ninja Sex Party have been charming their way into your pants since 2009 with synth-pop and rock songs about sex, unicorns, and dinosaurs. Singer Danny Sexbang (Dan Avidan) looks like a superhero in Spandex, and keyboardist Ninja Brian (Brian Wecht) dresses like a ninja.

They’ve released four albums that include parody songs with titles like “Dinosaur Laser Fight,” “Dragon Slayer” and “No Reason Boner” — and videos with cheesy animation about all the above — as well as their current record, Under the Covers, which is made up of covers of Def Leppard, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and Rush, as well as a fantastic rendition of “Africa” by Toto. Siran Babayan

Rapper R.A. the Rugged Man hits the Valley in June.
Rapper R.A. the Rugged Man hits the Valley in June.
Courtesy of Coolin Out

R.A. the Rugged Man
Wednesday, June 20
The Rebel Lounge

R.A. the Rugged Man may not be the most well-known rapper out there, but there is no denying the guy's skills. The Long Island native signed with Jive Records when he was 18 and has worked with some of hip-hop's biggest talents but has kept things quiet since 2013's Legends Never Die.

That doesn't mean the rapper is idle by any means. He's spent the last several years touring, and is currently playing a variety of gigs across the country this summer. That includes a show at The Rebel Lounge on June 20 that will feature opening sets by A-F-R-O, Landon Wordswell, Shonuff, Unorthodocks, Tricky T, M2, and Fact135. Mike Escoto

Rapper R.A. the Rugged Man hits the Valley in June.
Rapper R.A. the Rugged Man hits the Valley in June.
Courtesy of Coolin Out

Kenny Chesney
Saturday, June 23
Chase Field

Since his debut in the early '90s, country superstar Kenny Chesney has put out 20 albums, over half of which have been certified gold records, and he continues to tour and churn out music of the brash but catchy variety. As one of the most recognized of the genre in recent memory, Chesney's legacy only grows stronger as the years go by.

His legacy also includes performing for throngs of fans at stadium shows across the country, including gigs on his current tour. This month, Chesney will visit Chase Field in downtown Phoenix for what's certain to be a packed house. Fellow country stars Thomas Rhett, Old Dominion, and Brandon Lay will open. Pablo Arauz

Vans Warped Tour 2018
Thursday, June 28
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Get your goodbyes ready. As you've probably heard, Vans Warped Tour will mount its final cross-country jaunt this summer. So when the 2018 edition comes to Phoenix's Ak-Chin Pavilion on June 28, it's likely to be a rager.

That's because the lineup will include local rockers Doll Skin and The Maine, Buffalo scream rock darlings Every Time I Die, and party ska legends Reel Big Fish.

After that, it's not clear what will happen with the event. But it's a big deal that it's ending. Warped Tour has been going strong since its founding in 1995 by Kevin Lyman. "I truly am happy to get the chance to travel around the country one more time to thank you for your support, and bring you another best day ever," Lyman says in a press release.

Joining the aforementioned bands in Phoenix will be 3OH!3, the genre-refusing Canadians in Simple Plan, and The Used, as well as a number of heavy hitters on the Mutant Red Dawn and Mutant White Lightning stages. Lauren Cusimano

Reel Big Fish will be one of the many bands featured on Vans Warped Tour this summer.
Reel Big Fish will be one of the many bands featured on Vans Warped Tour this summer.
Jonathan Thorpe

Snow Tha Product
Friday, June 29
The Van Buren

Without mainstream attention or recognition, rapper Claudia Feliciano — better known by her stage name, Sno Tha Product — has built a hip-hop empire all on her own. Through her own website, wakeyagameup.com, the California-born and -raised Chicana MC and singer has mobilized fans behind her music and political message.

Blending English and Spanish, Feliciano’s work crosses the cultures that define her style. The mixtape queen with a lightning-fast lyrical delivery dropped her latest collection of songs, Vibe Higher Mixtape, in 2017, and continues to be a voice for her own “woke nation” of hip-hop fans across the country. Bree Davies

Snow Tha ProductEXPAND
Snow Tha Product
Courtesy of Atlantic Records

Black Milk
Friday, June 29
Crescent Ballroom

Black Milk (a.k.a. Curtis Cross) is one of underground hip-hop's most respected and established figures. With a trademark sound that pulls from the jazzy styles of giants like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and J Dilla, Cross has made a name for himself twice over, both as an MC and a prolific producer.

If a night of rubbery bass lines, soulful instrumentals, and incendiary lyrical improvisation sounds like a good time to you, be sure to swing by the Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix on Friday, June 29. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 on the day of the show. WOLFZiE and Illathnmst will open. Jonathan Patrick

Brit Floyd
Saturday, June 30
Comerica Theatre

Will the real Pink Floyd please stand up? Actually, the real one has decided to sit it out for the foreseeable future, but in its place stands the live spectacle known as Brit Floyd, perhaps the closest thing to the real McCoy. With a syncopated psychedelic light show complete with video and laser projection, a full band including horn section and background vocals, and the ability to pull anything from Floyd's diverse catalog, musical director Damian Darlington says Brit Floyd is the ultimate Pink Floyd experience.

Darlington formed Brit Floyd in 2011 after a 17-year stint with Australian Pink Floyd Show, which, as you can guess, is an Aussie Pink Floyd cover group. His reasoning? Simply because he felt he could do it one better.

"There is much more attention to details in every aspect of the show, from the music to the visuals to the lighting," Darlington says. "Everything is that much more perfected, and there's a passion coming off that stage. ... It's a coherent, emotional journey through Pink Floyd's catalog."

The band amazingly squeezes in something from every Pink Floyd album, from the early psych wonder of Piper at the Gates of Dawn to masterpieces like Animals and The Wall to the band's final (though Roger Waters-less) recording, The Division Bell. Glenn BurnSilver

Editor's note: An earlier version of this list included the Yardbirds on Sunday, June 10 at The Van Buren and CupcakKe on Sunday, June 17, at Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale. Both shows were canceled.

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