The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Otep is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, July 5, at Club Red in Mesa.
Otep is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, July 5, at Club Red in Mesa. Courtesy of Victory Records

Page 2 of 2

click to enlarge New Zealand-born roots reggae band Katchafire. - COURTESY OF KATCHAFIRE
New Zealand-born roots reggae band Katchafire.
Courtesy of Katchafire
Wednesday, July 5
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Without Katchafire’s authentic island rhythms, stellar harmonies, and stoned guitar strumming, some would never get to witness New Zealand’s shiny contribution to the world of reggae. Though they started out as a Bob Marley tribute band (their name references Marley’s 1973 album Catch a Fire with the Wailers), this rastafied, Hamilton-based seven-piece matured into a respected, globe-trotting act with hit original material. Though it’s been two years since their last release, a 2010 compilation titled Best So Far (and even longer since their last full-length album), Katchafire’s rumbling and soulful stage show proves that when it comes to reggae, the groove never fails to speak for itself. Also on the lineup are like-minded reggae-oriented acts like Mystic Roots, Kush County, Mind Upside, Own Mind, and Good Rust. Nate Jackson

click to enlarge Otep Shamaya, the outspoken frontwoman of Otep. - COURTESY OF VICTORY RECORDS
Otep Shamaya, the outspoken frontwoman of Otep.
Courtesy of Victory Records
Wednesday, July 5
Club Red in Mesa

Fronted by no-nonsense poet and activist Otep Shamaya, the band Otep have been together for a decade and a half — and, after an ill-fated stint with hardcore label Victory Records, have found their feet again with the more metal-focused Napalm Records. Their most recent album, Generation Doom, is a furious blast of genre-defying rap-metal. While the band emerged during the nu-metal revolution, when rap and metal were becoming natural bedfellows, Otep was nothing like Limp Bizkit. Shamaya’s lyrics are intelligent — often personal, always thought-provoking. In the face of this new administration, she has been out marching in protest, and that anger is bound to translate to her music and live performances. In other words, if you think Otep were pissed off before, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Brett Callwood

click to enlarge J. Cole performs in Phoenix in 2015. - JIM LOUVAU
J. Cole performs in Phoenix in 2015.
Jim Louvau
J. Cole
Thursday, July 6
Talking Stick Resort Arena

In a world of rappers with Kanye West-size egos, J.Cole is the antithesis. With multiple platinum albums, a record label, a documentary, and a nonprofit, you’d think J.Cole would be proudly exploiting his talent and good deeds. But he’s not. Instead, Cole’s most recent album, 4 Your Eyez Only, focuses on more relatable things like folding laundry and losing his virginity. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Cole admits he’s proud of the domestic lifestyle he’s created. “It’s a celebration of growing up,” he says. “I chose this path, and damn it feels good.” Cole is so proud of his home life, in fact, that he keeps much of it quiet (he recently got married and became a father), preferring instead to publicly discuss and address racial disparities. In his documentary J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only, Cole films black people from the South talking about their experiences and struggles in today’s America. And unlike his peers, J.Cole comes across in his albums and the documentary (where he mainly listens and rarely gives input) as a unique combination of humble and relentless. “I understand that what I’m doing is what I don’t see, is what I would like to see being done but is not being done,” he says. Emily Roberts

click to enlarge Bruce Hornsby (far left) and his current backing band, the Noisemakers. - MICHAEL MARTIN
Bruce Hornsby (far left) and his current backing band, the Noisemakers.
Michael Martin
Bruce Hornsby
Thursday, July 6
Celebrity Theatre

His heads-down, unassuming demeanor notwithstanding, Bruce Hornsby is easily one of America's most versatile and accomplished musicians of the past three decades. Few other artists can claim such wide musical parameters, from the early Americana that brought him big hits like "The Way It Is," "Mandolin Rain," and "The Valley Road" with his band the Range to bluegrass collaborations with Ricky Skaggs; jazz sessions with the likes of Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnnette, Wayne Shorter, Christian McBride, and Branford Marsalis; stints touring with the Grateful Dead; and stylistic explorations that encompassed electronica, swing, big band, and a multitude of other styles in between. This doesn't even include the numerous sessions that found him backing the likes of Bob Dylan; Willie Nelson; Stevie Nicks; the Cowboy Junkies; Bill Evans; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Don Henley; the Yellowjackets; Bonnie Raitt; Bela Fleck; Bob Weir; and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. After more than a dozen albums featuring his name on the marquee (including his brand new album, Rehab Reunion) an untold number of live recordings, and several more recordings with the Dead and its various offshoots, Hornsby been duly rewarded with Grammys, solid sales, and peer recognition. Lee Zimmerman

Jazz guitarist Pat Martino. - JIMMY KATZ
Jazz guitarist Pat Martino.
Jimmy Katz
Pat Martino Trio
Thursday, July 6
Musical Instrument Museum

By the time Pat Martino underwent surgery after suffering a nearly fatal brain aneurysm in 1980, the jazz guitarist already had more than a dozen albums under his own name and two decades of playing professionally, having started his career in his mid-teens. Yet following the operation, he hardly remembered anything or even recognized his own parents. In a devastating turn, he had no memory of playing guitar or of his career. But over the next seven years, Martino learned how to play guitar again, partly with the help of his old recordings that his father would play during Pat's recovery at his parents’ home in Philadelphia. Martino says that playing the guitar again became the most rewarding experience, and it helped him to recover. It was like the guitar was his favorite toy once again, he says, and it brought him back to the very beginning in terms of his enjoyment — not for the business or for the career-oriented musician that he used to be. These days, Martino performs alongside drummer Carmen Intorre and organist Pat Bianchi during live performances like the one that will take place at the Musical Instrument Museum on Thursday, July 6. Jon Soloman
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.