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

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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.