COIN is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, June 14, at the Crescent Ballroom.
COIN is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, June 14, at the Crescent Ballroom.
Zachary Gray

The 13 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

So you say there's nothing to do in Phoenix come summertime, huh? Well, we've got several reasons that will melt that misconception like a Popsicle in the sun, pal – 13 of 'em, to be exact.

That’s the number of “can’t miss” concerts and music events happening in the Valley this week, and all of ‘em are prominent for a variety of reasons.

To wit: There's the long-awaited returns of French alt-rock band Phoenix to the Valley, as well as big gigs by Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters, Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon, and songstress Sarah Jarosz.

This week’s concert slate also includes performances by such popular acts as Puddles Pity Party, indie pop band COIN, and gender-bending artist Drab Majesty.

Read on for full details about each of these shows, as well as several other music events happening in Phoenix this week. And be sure to hit up our online concert calendar for even more options.

L.A. Guns
Monday, June 12
The Rebel Lounge

The history of the L.A. Guns is nothing if not storied. The band formed in 1983 amid the riotous Hollywood sleazy hard-rock scene, and one year later merged with another band, Hollywood Rose, to form Guns N’ Roses. When guitarist Tracii Guns left the fledgling GN'R in ’85, he re-formed L.A. Guns with singer Paul Black. In 1987, the band recruited singer Phil Lewis from British hard-rock group Girl. The band put out a self-titled debut album that went gold, and major-league success beckoned. The sophomore effort, 1989’s Cocked & Loaded, cemented the band’s standing as one of the big players in the L.A. scene, thanks in part to mega-MTV hit “The Ballad of Jayne.” But then, as the 1990s kicked in and brought grunge with it, the popularity of the L.A. Guns (and just about every other leather-and-spandex-clad hair band on the Sunset Strip and beyond) began to wane.

The albums dropped in quality as in-fighting took over, the climax being 1994’s Vicious Circle album, an attempt to stay in favor by hardening the sound, hampered by members dropping out and falling in again like tiles in the game “Guess Who.” And so it was for the next 20 years. Guns left the band, then rejoined. Lewis left the band, then rejoined. Albums were released with one or the other missing. At one regrettable point a few years ago, and sadly predictably, there were two versions of L.A. Guns on the circuit (original singer Paul Black even joined up with Guns again around 2007, but that didn’t last long). Guns and Lewis would occasionally hook up again (notably for 2002’s excellent Waking the Dead album), but it never lasted. Now, after 15 years apart, the duo is back together. Brett Callwood

Phoenix is coming back to the Phoenix area.
Phoenix is coming back to the Phoenix area.
Antoine Wagner Studio

Tuesday, June 13
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Oh synthpop, a lost art that some thought was left in the 1980s. Bands including Duran Duran, Eurythmics, New Order, and The Human League carried it throughout that decade. Although we’ve progressed past the genre’s heyday, the band Phoenix has made a point since 1999 to revive the style from its dormant state. Named after the song “Phoenix” from Daft Punk’s debut album Homework (unfortunately not after bird city itself), the band is back with a new album, titled Ti Amo. Lead singles “J-Boy and “Ti Amo” feature a sound that is darker, broodier, and downright sexier than previous efforts by the French pop group. Matching that changed sound, the lyrics have a melancholy tone as they explore the struggle that comes along with being in love. In “J-Boy,” vocalist Thomas Mars laments, “I was excited to be part of your world / To belong, to be lost, to be mostly the two of us / Something I was stealing for no reason at all.” The long-awaited album dropped just last week. Lindsay Roberts

Puddles Pity Party: Everyone loves a clown, especially one with a great singing voice.EXPAND
Puddles Pity Party: Everyone loves a clown, especially one with a great singing voice.
Emily Butler Photography

Puddles Pity Party
Tuesday, June 13
Mesa Arts Center

Not all clowns are scary. Puddles Pity Party is a singer and self-described "sad clown with the golden voice" (real name Mike Geier, frontman of the Atlanta band Kingsized), who dresses like a Pierrot-style clown complete with white face paint, ruffled collar, and furry balls. He's 6-foot-8, carries a lantern and suitcase onstage, and hardly speaks, except when he's crooning his baritone, cabaret-style covers of ballads, pop, and rock songs. His Live at Joe's Pub album features versions of Lorde's "Royals," Sia's "Chandelier," Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," and The Bee Gees' "I Started a Joke." He also sings mashups of Celine Dion with Metallica and The Who with Johnny Cash. And he's performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Tenacious D-curated Festival Supreme, as well as a few concerts here in the Valley in recent years. Puddles' shows are often interactive, so don't run away. This clown is more cuddly than creepy. Siran Babayan

Sarah Jarosz
Sarah Jarosz
Scott Simontacchi

Sarah Jarosz
Tuesday, June 13
Musical Instrument Museum

“This house wasn’t meant for strangers, but you keep knocking anyway,” Sarah Jarosz coolly intones over a prickly mandolin on “House of Mercy,” from her latest album, Undercurrent. “You’ll never get inside this house,” she insists, her singing trailing off sadly. “You make me want to be alone.” As the Texas native’s aching voice gives her heart away, she sews it together again with eloquently homespun strands of banjo, guitar and mandolin. The overall impact is quietly moving instead of mawkishly self-pitying and sentimental. Once Jarosz has laced up these threads with Jeff Picker’s nimbly anchored bass, she’s created a delicately gift-wrapped and achingly lingering melody out of the empty ashes of a ruined relationship — no easy trick. Falling James

DJ Mercurius FM
Benjamin Leatherman

B3at Paradis3
Tuesday, June 13
Rips Ales & Cocktails

Bo Eleftheriou is the textbook example of a hardcore gamer. The local electronica artist and DJ, who performs as Mercurius FM, owns an astounding amount of consoles and cartridges, spends upward of 10 hours playing and pwning each week, and has even participated panels at Phoenix Comicon devoted to gaming-related topics. And then there are his considerable talents at remixing classic video game music and creating chiptune-oriented tracks, which have earned him a fanbase both locally and online. You can hear some of Eleftheriou’s latest creations on the newly released Gamer's Paradise Party Remixes Level 1 comp that he put together, which drops this week and also features tracks by such artists as DJ Sega, StarStorm, and Coutoux. Eleftheriou will celebrate the comp’s release on Tuesday, June 13, at Rips during B3at Paradise, a night of underground club music and video game remixes spun that will feature spin sessions by himself, local turntablism king Fact135, and Gnarly Brown. Eleftheriou is promising that a “secret headliner” will also perform at the geek-friendly event, although he won’t reveal the name until the night of the event. And, no, you can’t use any cheat codes to get him to reveal it beforehand. Benjamin Leatherman

The musicians of COIN.
The musicians of COIN.
Zachary Gray

Wednesday, June 14
Crescent Ballroom

In 2012, indie pop band COIN started playing shows around their hometown of Nashville, quickly accumulating fans in the process, later releasing two EPs, Saturdays and 1992. Despite the obvious talent on display with these releases, it wasn't until 2015 that the eyes of the national music scene fell upon the still-young quartet with their single "Run," a blistering three-and-a-half-minute pop-rock gem that induces involuntary head-bopping and energetic nostalgia. Swirling synth lines and memorable sing-along choruses supported by tight musicianship became COIN's M.O. The summer 2015 release of the band's self-titled debut full-length capitalized on this success, drawing positive reviews from national music outlets like Billboard. Since the self-titled release, COIN's success has only grown; the band reached another milestone in April this year when they released their second full-length album, How Will You Know if You Never Try. On this release, the group's sound begins to take a new direction, with a wider inclusion of synthesizer and a slightly more new-wave song structure, as well as more powerful, honest lyrical ideas. The 40-minute opus boasts a mildly retro feel, while still maintaining a fresh, unique, and exciting sound. John Nicholl

Read on for more big concerts and music events happening in Phoenix this week, including Roger Waters, Drab Majesty, and Raekwon.

Rap legend and Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon.
Rap legend and Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon.
Jason Persse/CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr Creative Commons

Wednesday, June 14
Livewire in Scottsdale

Back in '93, Wu-Tang dropped one of the most iconic hip-hop albums ever recorded, Enter the 36 Chambers. Each Clan member had his own distinctive sensibility, delivery, and rhetoric. Within the span of two years, most of the outfit went on to release solo efforts, including ones from Method Man, ODB, GZA, and Raekwon, with the latter two having the most cultural impact to this day. Raekwon "The Chef" cooked up some marvelous rhymes with Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, which prominently features fellow Wu-Tang member and “co-star” Ghostface Killah. The album, produced by RZA, was arguably his most cinematic-sounding, while lyrically focusing on the seedy underbelly of the criminal underworld. In the course of the past five years, Wu-Tang has gone back to basics with each member touring his respective “classic” album. Raekwon will more than likely perform plenty of tracks from OB4CL during his appearance at Livewire in Scottsdale this week. Juan Vargas

Roger Waters in concert in 2016.EXPAND
Roger Waters in concert in 2016.
Erik F. Brandsborg/CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr Creative Commons

Roger Waters
Wednesday, June 14
Gila River Arena in Glendale

More American than blue jeans, Pink Floyd’s contribution to the great American songbook takes up volumes. Books could be written about the mercurial genius of Pink Floyd’s original front man, the late Syd Barrett, and so they have been, but Roger Waters was always the rock upon which that institution was built. His songs seed the playlists of most classic-rock stations, though, long ago, he set off into the wilderness alone, touring the hits and speaking his mind. And what better time for a visit from the architect of the third greatest wall-builder (after Hadrian and that nameless Chinese architect) than the present, with our boundless public enthusiasm for walls and double-fisted authority. Tex Kerschen

Pitbull in concert in 2015.EXPAND
Pitbull in concert in 2015.
Ken Hamblin.

Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull
Wednesday, June 14
Talking Stick Resort Arena

It might be hard for the uninitiated to understand the pairing of Enrique Iglesias (heir apparent to the Iglesias charm) and Cuban-American rapper Pitbull. However, given their working relationship, one that reaches back a few years with appearances on each other's albums, it begins to make sense. Perfect sense almost. With both artists representing two close but discernibly different epochs in Latin music, it makes perfect sense to marry Enrique's Spanish crooner/modern pop with Pitbull's street-savvy hip-hop/electro-retro as a vehicle to bridge that small gap. The fan base and demographic is technically the same, and both performers are spirited and animated enough to satisfy the average concertgoer on their own – as a combo, it's ultimately a frenetic whittling of international flavor into a three-hour showcase. While similar in intent, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull fully represented the sides of their assigned coins with veracity and gumption, which we’re guessing with cause a packed Talking Stick Resort Arena to ebb, flow, and sweat accordingly during their concert. Abel Folgar

The artist known as Drab Majesty.
The artist known as Drab Majesty.
Gregory Burns

Drab Majesty
Wednesday, June 14
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

Drab Majesty had achieved cult status by the time 2015’s Careless was released. The band is simply Deb DeMure, a trans dark-wave musician looking equal parts Alien Sex Fiend and David Bowie. This Los Angeles-based project is putting out music with cool atmospheres and sweeping, swirling melodies, conjuring the image of a near-future goth star in an intergalactic utopia. There’s an urgency in many of Drab Majesty’s songs that, while brooding, isn’t truly gloomy. Much like Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, its latest album, The Demonstration, explores how identities emerge from within the mind and as a result of social interactions. Tom Murphy

Reggae-rock band Rebelution.EXPAND
Reggae-rock band Rebelution.
Courtesy of Paradigm Talent Agency

Thursday, June 15
Mesa Amphitheatre

When people think of popular reggae bands from Southern California, Rebelution is not usually the first name that comes up. But maybe it should be. The group, which has nearly 900,000 Facebook fans, started in 2004 in Santa Barbara, where its original five members met while studying at UCSB. They are known for catchy party jams with lyrics that often range into the political. Their best-known songs include "Safe and Sound" and the optimistic, upbeat "Bright Side of Life." Currently, Rebelution has four members: Eric Rachmany (vocals/guitar), Rory Carey (keyboards), Wesley Finley (drums) and Williams. The band's fifth album, Falling Into Place, came out in June, but Williams confesses that it nearly didn't happen. “Falling Into Place is a combination of a lot of things coming together.” he says. “We felt like we didn’t have enough material to make this new album.” The title is a reflection of how the album finally coalesced. “Some songs were written really quickly, some took a couple of years. ... It wasn’t written in one session, it came from different sessions, working with many producers. We wrote some songs in Jamaica, some in SoCal, and some on the tour bus." Juan Gutierrez

The Dustbowl RevivalEXPAND
The Dustbowl Revival
Brandon Williams

The Dustbowl Revival
Thursday, June 15
Musical Instrument Museum

Folks who dismiss The Dustbowl Revival as another retro-swing band are missing out on everything the Venice collective can do. The group aren’t just reviving swing music; they can also draw upon rich strains of folk, blues, soul, Americana, and jazz. By the time they’ve blended it all together, they’ve come up with something that’s smart and sassy and hardly as quaint as their name. Liz Beebe sings many of the lead vocals, but she’s well-matched by bandleader Z. Lupetin, who chimes in on guitar, harmonica, kazoo, and vocals. On their new single, “Busted”/“Only One,” The Dustbowl Revival are super-tight and musically dexterous instead of staid and bound by tradition. On the A-side, Beebe wails with a fiery immediacy, whereas she and Lupetin harmonize achingly on the stripped-down B-side. Falling James

British-born DJ and producer Michael Hooker.EXPAND
British-born DJ and producer Michael Hooker.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Re:Sound Music Summer Series 002
Thursday, June 15
Valley Bar

Michael Hooker lives and breathes house music, especially tracks of a deep, melodic, and evocative nature. Said subgenres fill the epic mixes that the British-born DJ and producer posts online and lays down during his sets at local venues like Crescent Ballroom and Melinda’s Alley. “I honestly think it's just extremely well-produced and well-crafted music,” Hooker says. “It's very thought-provoking and can have all these well-crafted vocals or be 10-12 minute tracks that go through a journey.” It’s also the sort of electronic music that Hooker showcases on his U.K.-based record label, Re:Sound Music, which launched in 2010 and features such like-minded artists as Marabou, Mynox, Veytik, and M.E.E.O. “What we’re trying to create is not necessarily this hands-in-the-air or fist-pumping-to-a-drop [vibe] with big buildups, generic breakdowns and so on and so forth," Hooker says, "but just music that’s able to transport people to another place,”

And he’s hoping that the ongoing Re:Sound Music Summer Series will do the same for Valley residents that are fans of deeper and more thought-provoking EDM genres. The summer-long event series will feature Hooker and other DJs playing deep house, melodic house and techno during a parties at several local spots over the next few months. “This summer, we've got some huge releases coming out,” Hooker says. “And I wanted to work across a few venues because it gives us the opportunity to do different things in different locations and be able to get different crowds introduced into these sounds and styles.” The second edition of the party will take place on Thursday, June 15, at Valley Bar and will include such guest DJs and producers as Weston Parish, Frank Terry, and Kaskade cohort Fairchild performing, as well as Hooker himself. Benjamin Leatherman

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