Smashing Pumpkins are scheduled to perform on Thursday, July 12, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Smashing Pumpkins are scheduled to perform on Thursday, July 12, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Olivia Bee

The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Start the countdown, Smashing Pumpkins fans of Phoenix, it’s finally the week that y’all have been waiting for all summer long. The '90s alt-rock hitmakers will return to the Valley for their first show in three years — and with three-quarters of the band’s original lineup to boot.

Billy Corgan and company are scheduled to perform on Thursday night at Gila River Arena in Glendale and it’s arguably the biggest show of the week for fans of the Pumpkins or old-school alternative rock.

That said, it’s not the only big concert happening in Phoenix over the next few nights. Other worthwhile gigs this week include performances by rock/pop legends The Fixx, black metal band Deafheaven, punk stalwarts Negative Approach, guitar guru Eric Johnson, and influential reggae/dancehall artist Barrington Levy.

Details about each of these shows can be found below. And for even more music events happening around the Valley this week, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Smashing Pumpkins are scheduled to perform on Thursday, July 12, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Smashing Pumpkins are scheduled to perform on Thursday, July 12, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Olivia Bee

Joan of Arc
Monday, July 9
The Lunchbox

Joan of Arc may be one of the most pretentious bands in existence, but they also put on a kick-ass live show. The group doesn't come off their throne above the city of Chicago often, but when they do, they almost always end up snagging a few converts along the way.

Nearly every one of their songs relies heavily on noodling guitars that eventually collapse into epic power chords before completely falling apart into a noisy mess, while singer Tim Kinsella makes the postmodern rounds, tapping into the psyche of Gertrude Stein or Samuel Beckett at any given moment to deliver lyrics that don't make a lick of sense. As long as you can get past all of that, Joan of Arc are an incredible live band that will definitely leave you asking for more — even if you don't know what you want more of, exactly. Thorin Klosowski

Smashing Pumpkins is back with most of its original lineup.
Smashing Pumpkins is back with most of its original lineup.
Olivia Bee

Monday, July 9
Valley Bar

Any band worth their salt has a great story about their first gig. The Nashville-based band Waker played their first show at a frozen yogurt joint in 2013 back when they were known as Koa.

“Let's just say the manager didn't ask for us to come back because of how loud we were,” recalls vocalist and guitarist Chase Bader. “I think they expected more of an acoustic show.”

It’s a good thing Bader and company didn’t keep quiet. The rousing soulful rock group worked their way up from the sweet shops of Tennessee to opening for Blues Traveler, Galactic, and Moon Taxi. Last year, the group took the stage for a buzz-generating performance at Bonnaroo. The whole experience seemed surreal for Bader.

“It's one of those milestones I thought about for years, and to be there felt like a massive accomplishment for all of us,” he recalls. The stage at Valley Bar might be a tight fit for the seven-piece. Rest assured, Waker is going to make you move. Jason Keil

Dive into the latest Night Swim party at Maya in Scottsdale.EXPAND
Dive into the latest Night Swim party at Maya in Scottsdale.
Benjamin Leatherman

Night Swim featuring Cazzette
Monday, July 9
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

Pool parties are largely a pursuit of the daytime, right? Yeah, to a certain degree, but that doesn't mean that summertime swim scene — especially in and around Scottsdale — ceases once the oppressive sun sinks below the horizon. To the contrary, things seem to get a bit livelier when darkness falls.

That's true at any of the Scottsdale party havens that boast a pool, including Maya Day & Nightclub, as the popular spot offers a place to see and be seen in your bikini and boardshorts in the evening hours during its weekly summertime Night Swim sessions. The latest takes place on Monday, July 9, and will feature electro-house DJ/producer Cazzette on the decks. Gates open at 10 p.m. and admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

The members of metal band Deafheaven.EXPAND
The members of metal band Deafheaven.
Anti- Records

The Fixx
Tuesday, July 10
Musical Instrument Museum

There are few things more quintessentially ’80s than the music video for The Fixx’s 1983 “I can’t believe it’s not Danny Elfman” banger “One Thing Leads to Another.” An awkward New Wave video masterpiece, it features hazy cinematography, random ghost dogs running around, and Fixx singer Cy Curnin in a Thin White Duke suit walking toward the camera while singing in a tunnel (if they had put Curnin in a trash bag jumpsuit, this would basically be an ’80s Hype Williams music video).

The Fixx cranked a handful of fun New Wave jams. Songs like “Red Skies, “Saved by Zero,” and “Deeper and Deeper” (used to great effect in the magnificent cult flick Streets of Fire) sound completely of their time but still pack a fun nostalgic punch today. They’re almost as addictive as the band’s namesake (which, yes, is a heroin joke: Their record label made them add an extra X in their name to make it less obvious).

The band’s original members have been touring steadily over the last few years, dropping new records and even recording a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s enduring classic “These Boots Are Made for Walking” that’s 100 percent less insane than Crispin Glover’s version. Ashley Naftule

Waker, which claim to be "Nashville's most woke band."EXPAND
Waker, which claim to be "Nashville's most woke band."
Andrea Behrends

Wednesday, July 11
Crescent Ballroom

The bright pink color of Deafheaven’s 2013 breakthrough Sunbather serves as a great indicator of what the band will sound like. Their music is like a pink sunrise: It comes in hazy and pretty, and then blinds you with a harsh, burning glare.

The dark colors on New Bermuda foreshadow the stormy, harsher new direction they were pushing their signature “blackgaze” sound. The oceanic waves of paint also evoke the more beautiful passages on the album, like the gorgeous lull in “Brought to the Water” where the instrumental fury abates and luminous guitar notes move through the song like ripples in a pond.

Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is the first time they’ve had a human face on their cover since their debut Roads to Judah. It’s a fitting choice because Love is their most down to earth and human album yet. Early singles showcase what the band do best: “Honeycomb” is a headlong rush of throat-shredding vocals and frantic guitars, while “Canary Yellow” kicks off with an effervescent post-rock instrumental section that sees the band beating Explosions in the Sky at their own game. But they’re also songs that have a newfound widescreen sweep to them, that pulse with a desire to make music that sounds as epic and melodic as Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream. Ashley Naftule

Rock/New Wave band The Fixx.EXPAND
Rock/New Wave band The Fixx.
Liz Linder

Negative Approach
Wednesday, July 11
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

In a just world, John Brannon would be as hallowed a punk icon as anyone out of early '80s and D.C. hardcore. As the frontman for the Detroit-based Negative Approach, Brannon was involved in making some of the most confrontational and pointed music of the era.

Negative Approach's music captured post-industrial Midwest alienation and hopelessness with stark accuracy and shot it through with a befittingly dark and seething emotional intensity. Though the band broke up in 1984, and Brannon went on to other truly noteworthy projects, like Laughing Hyenas and Easy Action, Negative Approach got back together in 2006, and has been touring ever since.

Seeing the commanding Brannon in any band is something unforgettable, but this show — which also features Dayglo Abortions, Sex Prisoner, Saintbreaker, and Woundvac — should be fantastic. Tom Murphy

The members of Joan of Arc.EXPAND
The members of Joan of Arc.
Shervin Lainez

Smashing Pumpkins
Thursday, July 12
Gila River Arena in Glendale

It’s time to take your “Zero” shirts and black leather skirts out of storage. The Smashing Pumpkins are coming to town. The alt-rock band is currently on its summertime reunion tour, which will hit Gila River Arena in Glendale on Thursday, July 12.

Fans can expect to hear music from the run of albums the band released from 1991 through 2000, from the flowery psychedelia and deafening arena rock shoegaze of Gish and Siamese Dream all the way up to the gothic moodiness of Adore and Machina. Considering the wealth of songs on those albums, as well as the 1995 double album masterpiece Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and the band's vast catalog of B-sides, attendees likely will hear a night of Pumpkins classics.

While the tour is billed as a reunion, it only features three of four original band members. Billy Corgan will be joined by drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, guitarist James Iha, and guitarist Jeff Schroeder. Corgan hasn’t toured with Chamberlain or Iha in 20 years. Schroeder joined the band in 2007 and has been Corgan’s only consistent bandmate since then. Ashley Naftule

Compass & Cavern
Thursday, July 12
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

Compass & Cavern's twee pop song "Before It Begins" almost parodies itself. The music video shows an earnest white guy singing about love and environmental collapse — two of the most boring things an earnest white guy can sing about, right? Not so fast. The Denver band's lyrics are witty. The music is catchy and surprisingly dynamic. And the video is beautifully shot, if not a touch out of sync. Then again, sync problems come with the territory: The whole thing is shot in reverse. The effect is somewhat awkward, an awkwardness that matches the theme of finding love in an era of climate change and mass extinction.

While Compass & Cavern's punk predecessors used environmental crises as a chance to rail against the system or scream out in primal despair, this band has already accepted that the end is near, and uses it as a tongue-in-cheek background for desperate seduction. Hopeless, sure. But it's catchy and a touch cheerful. You’re likely to hear "Before It Begins,” as well as other new material from C&C, during their show at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe on Thursday night. Sunset Voodoo, Sleepwar, and Grey Joy will open. Kyle Harris

John Brannon (right) of Negative Approach.EXPAND
John Brannon (right) of Negative Approach.

Eric Johnson
Thursday, July 12
Musical Instrument Museum

Consistently ranked among the planet’s top guitarists, Eric Johnson combines intimidating virtuosity with a Zen-like performance style; when people talk about musicians being “in the zone,” this is who they mean. A recent habitué of the annual Experience Hendrix tours, Johnson has arguably surpassed even his chief inspiration, developing a fluid and fiery hybrid of rock, jazz and blues into an always versatile yet instantly recognizable sound.

His body of work is certainly mirrored in the title of Johnson’s latest album, 2014’s Eclectic, a collaboration with ex-Miles Davis/Blood, Sweat & Tears guitarist Mike Stern. Besides his 14 albums, Johnson’s fans can also sample a handful of one-off singles on his website, among them the George Harrison tribute (and Christopher Cross duet) “Imagination of You” and his version of Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary.” See him doing what he does best this week at the Musical Instrument Museum (natch). Chris Gray

Barrington Levy
Thursday, July 12
BLK Live in Scottsdale

Barrington Levy has had two musical lives, it seems, in the past few decades. There was his first one, as a wildly popular singer of reggae and a splash of early dancehall, a career which began in the '70s and netted him hits like "Collie Weed" and "Under Mi Sensi." His second musical life, though, has come about mostly in the form of samples.

Levy's unmistakable tenor and his penchant for scatting along the words "skiddly-widdly-whoooaaa" have made him a favorite of producers of hip-hop and electronic music. These days, he records new material sporadically, but unlike many of his peers, he seems to be plugged into the latest of the web. Just check Levy's active Twitter account, which features new material and info on his latest gigs, including his performance on Thursday at BLK Live in Scottsdale. Arielle Castillo

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