The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Kaki King is scheduled to perform on Thursday, September 7, at the Musical Instrument Museum.EXPAND
Kaki King is scheduled to perform on Thursday, September 7, at the Musical Instrument Museum.
Marla Aufmuth
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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.)

The members of Carbon Leaf.EXPAND
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.
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

Bluesman Tab Benoit.EXPAND
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.

Benjamin Laub, better known to the hip-hop world as Grieves.EXPAND
Benjamin Laub, better known to the hip-hop world as Grieves.
Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment

Wednesday, September 6
Club Red in Mesa

The Seattle-born MC known as Grieves started out from nothing and hustled his was to success. Something of a DIY hip-hop star, he booked his first national tour in the mid-2000s by begging favors on MySpace. His harmonious flow, soul-bearing lyrics, affable sarcasm, and multi-instrumentalist talents have earned him kudos; he's in-your-face but also has heart. He really puts all his feelings out there, so much so that his earnestness can be as polarizing as his lip ring. His 2014 album, Winter & the Wolves, earned praise from AllMusic and hit No. 57 on the Billboard Top 200. His latest effort, the 15-track album Running Wild, dropped last month on Rhymesayers Entertainment and is already getting attention. This week, he'll be at Club Red in Mesa with Dem Atlas. Chaz Kangas

Working class country crooner Whitey Morgan.EXPAND
Working class country crooner Whitey Morgan.
Marc Nader

Whitey Morgan
Wednesday, September 6
Crescent Ballroom

If Waylon Jennings didn't exist, then Whitey Morgan wouldn't either. The same could be said for Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Cash, not to mention Buicks, twin fiddles, and class struggle. The mold should have been broken with the passing of honky-tonk's golden age, but, somehow, against all the corn pone that still fuels much of the revivalist scene, Morgan is absolutely in that mold. With a rich baritone that stands up to Dale Watson and a hard-as-forged-steel band that stands up to pure shuffles and trucker stomps, Morgan is a heavyweight, hard-country hitter. Tom Murphy

Guitarist extraordinaire Kaki King.EXPAND
Guitarist extraordinaire Kaki King.
Shervin Lainez

Lifehouse & Switchfoot
Thursday, September 7
The Van Buren

There was a time when baby-faced white boys with husky voices seemed to rule the airwaves, whether they wielded rebellious, sneering attitudes or softboi crooner vibes. Lifehouse's “Hanging by a Moment” is practically the epitome of the latter, while Switchfoot skirts the love songs for inspirational nice-guy fare. These bands share much more than names that combine two seemingly unrelated worlds, so if you're into the mellow rock of sensitive dudes with longing looks, bring an extra pair of panties to throw at the stage for this show. Taylor Estape

Kaki King
Thursday, September 7
Musical Instrument Museum

Kaki King has always been a fascinating sonic architect, going back to her early days busking in the subways of New York City, when she stitched and looped together complicated chord patterns, pummeled the neck of her acoustic guitar and tapped delicate harmonics from the frets to assemble dazzling post-prog instrumentals. Still touring in support of her most recent album, 2015’s The Neck Is a Bridge to the Body, King is adding a new visual component — using her guitar as a reactive, seemingly sentient projection screen. As she performs, the vibrations from her strings are interpreted by visual software onstage and projected back onto her specially constructed guitar in a constantly changing display of images. The flow of psychedelic shapes and colors matches the rhythmic and melodic undulations of King’s elaborate webs of sound. Derek Gripper, a fellow practitioner of guitar wizardry, will also perform. Falling James

Renowned blues guitarist and sideman David Bromberg.
Renowned blues guitarist and sideman David Bromberg.
Joe Del Tufo

David Bromberg Quintet
Thursday, September 7
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

After more than 40 years in the biz, David Bromberg doesn't exactly come across like a musician who's moved in the same circles as Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jerry Garcia, Carly Simon, and Willie Nelson. But those and other superstars have availed themselves of his guitar skills. In fact, with his graying bushy beard and amiable way, he could easily be mistaken for a wizened rabbi, offering a combination of age and reassurance that belies his storied past as a prolific session musician and gifted multi-instrumentalist with a passion for blues, folk, country, bluegrass, and rock.

Given that his early career took flight on the folk circuit while backing such venerable singer/songwriters as Jerry Jeff Walker and Tom Paxton, his humility seems to come naturally, even though the series of critically acclaimed solo albums he recorded throughout the '70s made Bromberg a candidate for stardom all on his own. Still, he abruptly retreated from the spotlight in the early '90s, changing his tack and becoming a full-time violin maker. In 2007, Bromberg returned to recording after an absence of 20 years with Try Me One More Time, and followed it up with 2011’s Use Me, a brash, sometimes bombastic set of authentic traditional blues-based songs featuring a variety of big name guests like Dr. John and Widespread Panic. His more recent albums – 2013’s Only Slightly Mad, and last year’s The Blues, the Whole Blues, and Nothing But the Blues – venture into the same territory. Lee Zimmerman

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