The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Kaki King is scheduled to perform on Thursday, September 7, at the Musical Instrument Museum.
Kaki King is scheduled to perform on Thursday, September 7, at the Musical Instrument Museum. Marla Aufmuth
So, how was your Labor Day weekend? Fun and drama-free, we hope. Maybe you spent it relaxing on the couch or went hard at any of the major ragers that took place.

Either way, it's time to look ahead to the rest of September, which (as we've noted) will be filled with an enormous amount of fantastic concerts.

That starts this week, with performances by Kaki King, The Melvins, Lifehouse, Grieves, Carbon Leaf, and others. Seu Jorge will also bring his tribute to David Bowie to The Van Buren.

Here's a look at all of these shows, plus a few other can't-miss concerts happening in Phoenix this week. (And for even more gigs happening around town over the next few days, hit up our online music listings.)

click to enlarge The members of Carbon Leaf. - ELMO THAMM
The members of Carbon Leaf.
Elmo Thamm
Carbon Leaf
Monday, September 4
Musical Instrument Museum
After almost two decades together, Carbon Leaf (playing this week at the Musical Instrument Museum’s in-house music theater) has effectively created its own brand of accessible bluegrass. But the Virginia natives can't be pinned to a single genre – the band has an ostensible pop side, one that best translates live through Carbon Leaf's varying stringed instrumentation. Albums such as 2011’s Live, Acoustic... And In Cinemascope! perfectly capture the group's onstage cohesiveness, while showcasing Barry Privett's sunny vocals as he leads Carbon Leaf fans through a look back at the band's long and steady career. Expect the same when the band rolls into the MIM on Labor Day. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. and tickets are $36.50 to $41.50. Bree Davies

Seu Jorge's The Life Aquatic: A Tribute to David Bowie
Tuesday, September 5
The Van Buren

Wes Anderson's 2004 flick The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou was a film full of memorable performances, but perhaps no one in the movie was a more effective scene-stealer than Brazilian musician Seu Jorge. Jorge appears throughout the film as the dutiful and soft-spoken sailor Pelé dos Santos. On several occasions, with an acoustic guitar in his arms, he belts out gorgeous Portuguese covers of David Bowie classics like "Rebel Rebel" and "Life on Mars?" In the liner notes to Jorge's accompanying album, The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions Featuring Seu Jorge, Bowie himself said, "Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese, I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with." Jorge’s touring tribute serves as an homage to Bowie and a celebration of the film that made Jorge's covers an international success. The stage will be decorated like the set of The Life Aquatic, and screens onstage will flash images from the film as Jorge sings. For Bowie fans, it'll be a special evening. For Wes Anderson buffs, it'll be a nostalgic stroll through a classic. For both Bowie and Anderson fans (a venn diagram that surely overlaps), it's a can't-miss event. Ryan Pfeffer

The sludge rockets of Melvins. - CHRIS CASELLA
The sludge rockets of Melvins.
Chris Casella
Tuesday, September 5
Crescent Ballroom

Though the Melvins have seen a lot of changes in their lineup, original members Buzz Osborne (vocals, guitar) and Dale Crover (drums) are still mainstays, holding it down and serving up hefty doses of the noise rock they’ve been playing for decades. When the band formed back in 1983, they did what a lot of new bands do — jammed out on covers of classic rock tunes by bands like Cream. They moved on to hardcore punk for a couple of years and then began to develop their signature sound, which keeps their brash punk rock roots alive through a slower, heavier, and sludgier sound that helped inspire the attention-grabbing grunge scene that started gaining attention in the late ’80s and blew up in the early ’90s. The Melvins were mixing it up with plenty of those folks from the jump. Drummer Dale Crover played on early Nirvana tracks, and Osborne, who is also known as King Buzzo, is the one who hooked Dave Grohl up with Cobain and crew. Last year saw the release of The Colossus of Destiny, a documentary about the band. And the band released a double album called A Walk with Love & Death. It includes Steven McDonald from Redd Kross on bass and other guests, like Teri Gender Bender from Le Bucherettes. Amy Young

click to enlarge Bluesman Tab Benoit. - COURTESY OF THE RHYTHM ROOM
Bluesman Tab Benoit.
Courtesy of the Rhythm Room
Tab Benoit
Tuesday, September 5, and Wednesday, September 6
Rhythm Room

Baton Rouge-based guitarist Tab Benoit is an artist for whom geographical context is everything. As a solo performer and songwriter, Benoit has specialized in just the kind of swampy picking and throaty, rough-around-the-edges singing you would associate with his home turf. But though he's a true bluesman, he's not afraid to switch up styles within the genre. He traverses the edges of soul, rock, and even Chicago-style blues, all bound together by a funky, low-end-favoring aura that just sounds humid. But his dedication to his motherland goes beyond just preserving Louisiana music traditions (besides his own music, it's something he accomplished with a long-running venue called Tab Benoit's Lagniappe Music Cafe in his home state). Benoit is also dedicated to preserving Louisiana itself and is heavily involved in efforts to promote conservation of the state's coastal wetlands. Tom Murphy

The Hooten Hallers
Wednesday, September 6
The Rebel Lounge

In explaining the Hooten Hallers, it's best to begin with what this three-piece is not. The band, despite frequent media references to the contrary, is not a hillbilly band. It is from Missouri, not Appalachia. "You know, I don't know," says drummer Andy Rehm. "We are from a section of rural America, but I don't think any of us really identifies with the term hillbilly all that much. It's not a shameful term, but we were not raised in a traditional rural setting. More specifically, in an Appalachian setting, which is where the term, I think, comes from. The hillbilly word is strangely used." If anything, the Hooten Hallers' sound begins with Delta blues and builds upon that foundation, adding elements of everything from folk, country, and rock to soul, jazz, and marches to create a distinctly flamboyant sound. The music can be dark and lonely, wild and raucous, or just as easily breezy and carefree. "Really, the roots of the music we play come from that rural culture, that African American culture in the South," Rehm says. Glenn BurnSilver

Read on for more great concerts in the Valley this week, including Lifehouse and Switchfoot, Grieves, and Kaki King.
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