The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

L.A. Witch is scheduled to perform on Thursday, May 18, at Valley Bar.
L.A. Witch is scheduled to perform on Thursday, May 18, at Valley Bar. Moni Haworth
So, did y’all make it out to FORM Arcosanti this past weekend? If not, don’t stress it, boo.

We’ve got plenty of coverage for you to peep, there’s bound to be another one next year, and there are many memorable concerts happening in the near future to help tide you over. And, depending on your particular tastes, that may include some of the shows we've included in our roundup of the best concerts taking place this week in Phoenix.

If you dig metal in either the doom or thrash vein, Pallbearer and Testament are headed to town. Or if you're more into hyphenate acts that deftly straddle genres, there's the psych-by-way-of-garage rock of L.A. Witch, the "hard-to-define blend of indie pop and art rock abstraction" of local artist kolezanka, and the blues-psych-stoner verve of All Them Witches.

Read on for full details about these gigs and others, and don't forget to visit our online concert calendar for even more live music options.

click to enlarge Yes, the kids in Pallbearer are indeed fans of Kansas. - DIANA LEE ZADLO
Yes, the kids in Pallbearer are indeed fans of Kansas.
Diana Lee Zadlo
Monday, May 15
The Rebel Lounge

Being the torchbearer of the modern American doom metal movement can be tough, especially when you list Kansas as a favorite band. It makes sense, according to Pallbearer bassist/vocalist Joseph D. Rowland, who says their progressive tendencies are just as important as their metal roots. "I think we are just as much a prog-rock band as we are doom metal," says Rowland. "We're huge fans of King Crimson, Yes, Kansas ... bands that pushed the envelope. We like telling a story through the music as well as the lyrics." After blowing minds all over the place with their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction, Pallbearer put its songwriting into overdrive. On its sophomore record, Foundations of Burden, the band got even more comfortable with drawn-out epics (most of its tunes clock in around 10 minutes) but also eased up on gloomy lyrics and heavy guitars. Becoming complacent isn't in the cards for Pallbearer, Rowland says. "There are definitely doom bands out there playing more simplistic, heavy Sabbath riffs," he says. "We love Sabbath, but there's more to it than playing the riff from 'Cornucopia.'” Oakland L. Childers

click to enlarge Songwriter and artist Roberto Carlos Lange. - COURTESY OF ASTHMATIC KITTY RECORDS
Songwriter and artist Roberto Carlos Lange.
Courtesy of Asthmatic Kitty Records
Crossfade Lab
Monday, May 15
Crescent Ballroom

DJs make smooth transitions using the crossfader tool, allowing a seamless fade from one sound source to another. MacArthur Fellow and music critic Josh Kun gets behind the metaphorical turntables as CALA Alliance continues its collaborative event series Crossfade Lab. The next installment mixes the unique work and Latinx experiences of Brooklyn-based songwriter and artist Roberto Carlos Lange of Healdo Negro with visual and performance artist Nao Bustamante, whom you might recognize from the Bravo reality show Work Of Art: The Next Great Artist. Kun will moderate an evening of personal discussion, collaboration, and performance with the two virtuosos. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Chris Brown: Love him or hate him. - FRANCESCO CARROZZINI
Chris Brown: Love him or hate him.
Francesco Carrozzini
Chris Brown
Monday, May 15
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Chris Brown's record of notoriously nasty Instagram backlash and less-than-flattering relationship choices has not stopped him from producing hit albums. His seventh studio release, Royalty, debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard charts but received mixed reviews to match the mixed feelings we still have for the controversial talent. Remember the domestic-violence situation, that time he threw a fan's phone, or his jail stint for violating his probation? Yeah, Breezy, we may not have forgiven you just yet. More recently, however, Brown has managed to keep himself mostly out of trouble by taking responsibility for his infant daughter, Royalty, whom he honors on his most recent album. For now at least, it seems juggling a full-time music career, raising a child, and flaunting his massive art and car collection on the internet keeps him busy enough to deter any new reasons for changing the radio station when his song comes on. Yet. He'll be in town on May 15 along with 50 Cent, O.T. Genasis, Kap G., and Fabolous. Cristina Jerome

click to enlarge You can sing along with Real Friends on Monday night at the Nile. - MEGAN LEETZ
You can sing along with Real Friends on Monday night at the Nile.
Megan Leetz
Real Friends
Monday, May 15
Nile Theater in Mesa

Had they existed in the early ‘00s, it's likely a lot of people in their late 20s or early 30s would have had Real Friends lyrics tattooed on their body. The Chicago group's 2014 album, Maybe This Place Is the Same and We're Just Changing, is full of quotables that tug at the heartstrings and is basically a perfect pop-punk record – sad, but not necessarily pessimistic, full of songs that are begging to be screamed out loud in concert. And they probably will be during the band’s gig on Monday, May 15, at the Nile in Mesa, as will tunes from Real Friends’ most recent album, 2016's The Home Inside My Head. The show will also include sets by fellow pop-punk acts Have Mercy and Broadside, math rock trio Tiny Moving Parts, and emo/alternative band nothing, nowhere. Cory Garcia

All Them Witches
Tuesday, May 16
The Rebel Lounge
All of Them Witches is the title of a fake book that helped drive the plot of Roman Polanski’s ’60s horror flick, Rosemary’s Baby. The band All Them Witches haven’t confirmed or denied whether the movie or its prop is behind their name. But they do have as many layers as the freaky film, along with a dark, exploratory sensibility that provokes a sonic headiness and dreamy disposition in the listener. The Nashville band dropped their first recording in 2012 and have since gone on to prove that they like to rock hard. Their bluesy, psychedelic, stoner mix is simultaneously gnarly and thoughtful. Often, it’s a tour through several styles within one song. “Bulls,” the opening track on their new release, Sleeping Through the War, clocks in just under seven minutes and drives forward with force and, at times, undeniable aggression. It does so while filling the space around it with noisy and trippy peripheral journeys. This new one doesn’t just open big, it goes out with the 10-minute “Guess I’ll Go Live on the Internet.” This bluesy, focused jam is equally driven by appearances from guitar twang, minimal yet haunting vocals, and short, blistering cut-ins by a harmonica. Perfectly unsettling. Amy Young

Still looking for a great show to see this week? Read on for more concerts this weeks, including Testament, L.A. Witch, and René Marie.
click to enlarge Kristina Moore, a.k.a. kolezanka. - CHELSEA ANAST
Kristina Moore, a.k.a. kolezanka.
Chelsea Anast
Tuesday, May 16
Trunk Space

“It’s been a long time since you’ve come down,” Kristina Moore, who records under the name kolezanka, sings at the start of “Space Issues,” one of the scant two songs featured on her Bandcamp page. Both recordings concern the passage of time. Her repeated refrain of “Waiting too long / to come to terms with anything” punctuates the second, “Snow Cone Summer/Flyfishing,” which melts into a languid drone in its second half. A fuller project called Fun With Depression is promised at some point in the future. But slight discography aside, Moore’s an artist worth making note of now. With kolezanka, Moore refines and expands the spaciest elements of her previous group, the folky Foreign Language (currently enjoying an extended hiatus), pushing her spectral songs into woozier, more synthetic territory. Her performances around the Valley at all-ages venues have showcased her slippery and hard-to-define blend of indie pop and art rock abstraction. Poised center stage with her red Stratocaster, flanked by dual keyboardists, Moore commands rooms with a steady ease. There’s an alien quality to her voice, capable of sustained echo and staccato flutters, but also a volume to her delivery that suggests a reserve of punk intensity. Jason P. Woodbury

Thrash metal legends Testament. - COURTESY OF PINNACLE ENTERTAINMENT
Thrash metal legends Testament.
Courtesy of Pinnacle Entertainment
Testament and Sepultura
Wednesday, May 17
Livewire in Scottsdale

From living large to barely surviving and back again: that’s been the story of both Testament vocalist Chuck Billy and thrash metal, the neck-snapping genre that he helped to codify in the late ‘80s. Back when tight jeans and white high-tops ruled rock, Testament and their ilk of hairy, shredding musicians virtually wiped hair metal off the face of the planet. Just when thrashers were hitting their high-water mark in the early ‘90s, though, alternative rock arrived to steal all the credit. As tastes changed in the hard-rock community, Testament and other thrashers fell hard, many never to be heard from again. Few fell harder than Billy.

After Testament was dropped from Atlantic Records, the band’s fortunes turned sharply in the ‘90s. After countless lineup fluctuations, Testament was nearly leveled when the singer was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer affecting his heart and lungs in 2001. Much like thrash itself, Billy appeared to be on his way out for good. “I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished and what this band has accomplished since my illness,” Billy says. “At that point, life was looking kind of grim, you know. The future of Testament, in my eyes, was done. From that time, 2002, to where we are today, I’m very, very proud of what we’ve accomplished.” He ought to be. Testament isn’t just hanging on, playing old hits like “Return to Serenity” to European festival crowds in the middle of the afternoon. After defying death, Billy and the group rallied to release the two highest-charting albums of their career in the past five years, 2012’s Dark Roots of Earth and last year’s Brotherhood of the Snake. It’s a different era, to be sure. But in a world once again awash in fear and corruption, metalheads have regained their taste for thrash’s whipping righteousness. Nathan Smith

click to enlarge René Marie - JOHN ABBOTT
René Marie
John Abbott
René Marie
Wednesday, May 17
Musical Instrument Museum

René Marie certainly knows about being on the road. The esteemed jazz singer has traveled her fair share since she first started singing professionally in the mid-'90s. At the urging of her brother, who told her, "You need to jump, and the net will appear," she quit her job at a Virginia bank. That was on a Friday. The following Tuesday, she got a call from a theater company that was desperately in need of a singer for a 10-week production. The gig was ideal, since it gave her time to work on compositions at night and book shows for herself, as well. At a performance in Washington, D.C., she caught the ear of MaxJazz's founder Richard McDonnell, who went on to release four of Marie's albums. The Motema imprint has issued the last three Marie albums, including 2013's I Wanna Be Evil (With Love to Eartha Kitt) and last year’s Sound of Red, both of which were nominated for Grammy Awards. Jon Soloman

Los Lonely Boys
Wednesday, May 17
Mesa Arts Center

Los Lonely Boys is famed for making the adult contemporary Billboard charts for “Heaven,” which they produced with Texas singer-songwriter/legend Willie Nelson in 2003. Adult contemporary is a pretty spot-on description for this Chicano power-rock trio from San Angelo, Texas. And with their latest album, Revelation, the band revisits their roots. The Garza brothers combine their classic mix of Tejano, a brush of the blues, a tinge of country and a healthy dose of rock ‘n’ roll guitar solos in songs like “Blame It on Love” and “Don’t Walk Away.” Singer Jojo Garza shines in particular with his rugged, yet calm vocal styling, as brothers Henry and Ringo lay down the smooth rock foundation for Jojo’s guitar solos. They also have elements of conjunto and reggae in some of their songs, like “Give It a Little More,” demonstrating that the group isn’t just sticking to their old formula. Of course, their lyrical content is filled with the emotional heartbreak of life, just perfect for that solitary uncle. Pablo Arauz

L.A. Witch
Courtesy of Suicide Squeeze Records
L.A. Witch
Thursday, May 18
Valley Bar

There are a whole host of emerging realities for L.A. Witch, which is set to drop its debut album on Seattle independent punk label Suicide Squeeze Records this summer. It’s taken a lengthy stretch of releases to get here, each single and EP further honing the trio’s languid psych-by-way-of-garage rock, which conjures visions of everyone from Sonic Youth and the Brian Jonestown Massacre to the Stooges and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It’s sensual and sinister, dramatic but never overblown. Frontwoman and guitarist Sade Sanchez’s seductive drawl is a constant, and at its best while she’s unfurling the tale of a woman scorned among the scuzzy, silken blues guitar of “Kill My Baby Tonight.” On “Drive Your Car,” a pulsating lo-fi psych number (with a killer guitar solo shortly after the two-minute mark, mind you) released last year, she repeats the same three lines — “I’ll drive your car / I promise I won’t go far / For you, for you” — like a femme fatale who already knows you’re going to hand over the keys. But it took years of practice. Raised on Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, Sanchez started writing songs in sixth grade. She met drummer Ellie English in high school, and the two started Pow Wow, which she remembers as “jazzy-sounding rock” built around unconventional time signatures. Using a fake ID, the then-underage pair would sneak into venues. Their strategy? Play to whoever will listen. Now, six years into being a band and on the brink of releasing a debut album, the trio boasts a résumé that includes opening for the Kills (who stay in touch, Sanchez says), selling out shows across Europe, and playing indie festivals like Desert Daze in California and Austin’s Levitation. Elle Carroll
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.