Phoenix Concerts June 11-14: Sunflower Bean, Nightmares on Wax, Har Mar Superstar, Drumcell, Flatbush Zombies | Phoenix New Times

The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

The Valley's concert scene is really heating up.
Sunflower Bean is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, June 12, at Valley Bar.
Sunflower Bean is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, June 12, at Valley Bar. Hollie Fernando
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Phoenix's concert scene will really heat up this week. And we mean that both figuratively and literally.

As we're sure you're painfully aware, the mercury will keep going up and up. Meanwhile, music venues and concert joints throughout the Valley will host a grip of great shows, especially over the next several nights.

Highlights of this week's concert calendar include gigs by such artists and acts as indie rock trio Sunflower Bean, DJ extraordinaire Nightmares on Wax, R&B freak Har Mar Superstar, techno god Drumcell, and singer-songwriter Jeremy Enigk.

There will also be plenty of hip-hop to be had, courtesy of rappers and groups like Ceschi, Wrekonize, and Flatbush Zombies.

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

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Jeremy Enigk celebrates the rerelease of his debut solo album with a Phoenix appearance.
Courtesy of Sub Pop Records
Jeremy Enigk
Monday, June 11
The Rebel Lounge

As the one-time leader of acclaimed band Sunny Day Real Estate, Jeremy Enigk put the budding post-grunge emo genre, knowingly or not, on his back, and created a fervent and loyal fan base that would have done just about anything for the guy. Then, the band broke up and Enigk risked being cast out of favor before he resurrected himself as a solo artist.

Now, 22 years after the release of Enigk’s well-loved debut solo album, Return of the Frog Queen, Sub Pop Records is re-releasing the album, and Enigk will be doing a tour to celebrate its epic return. If you haven’t listened to the record, do yourself a favor and give it a spin (or a Spotify, at least), as fans of artists like Syd Barrett, Robyn Hitchcock, and David Bowie, at least for the Bowie-esque production quality, will undoubtedly love it.

Enigk, of course, has gone on to release more records since Frog Queen came out (four to be exact), and will most likely make more, but there is something incredibly special about this particular group of songs, which makes attendance at his upcoming Rebel Lounge show a must for both fans and those who would like to count themselves among the blisteringly cool. Tom Reardon

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Shy Boys being not so shy on a park bench. Catch them in a small venue while you can.
Libby Zander
Shy Boys
Monday, June 11
The Lunchbox

2013’s eponymous debut record by Shy Boys is a shimmering, delightful romp through the territory adjacent to slightly lo-fi shoegaze pop, and a heartsick version of a new Ben Kweller tribute band. You’ve heard something similar before, but not exactly the same, and the Kansas City, Missouri, quartet is sneaky-good at writing catchy riffs that probably started in one of their parents’ basements, before blossoming into what has now become the subtle strength of an underappreciated American working band.

With songs like “And I Am Nervous,” and “Is This Who You Are,” the band build their layered guitars over a capable rhythm section, using a ’60s tinged vocal approach, to drive the title into the listeners’ consciousness until there is no other choice but complete and utter surrender. New music is coming from the band, which you will be able to hear when they grace The Lunchbox with their wonderfully Midwestern presence on June 11. Heck, even if they only play the songs off Shy Boys, it will still be excellent. Tom Reardon

Julio Francisco Ramos, better known as hip-hop artist Ceschi.
David Visnjic
Tuesday, June 12
Last Exit Live

Few people are as qualified to wax philosophical on the concept of freedom as Julio Francisco Ramos, the musician and independent record label operator known as Ceschi. His adult life has pendulumed between having many personal freedoms stripped away by the state, to having an abundance that demands complete discipline, focus and responsibility.

When Ceschi talks freedom, you should listen.

"The concept of freedom is so malleable and subjective. One of the major things I learned is that, as long as we live within this society, there will be layers of imprisonment. For instance, in prison, we are grateful for being allowed time to step outside and walk around in a yard. That is a privilege for prisoners, not an expected right. Outside of prison bars, we can walk in backyards whenever we want, we can run on beaches, and through forests, and take flights around the world; but, what keeps us from ever attaining total freedom? What are the theoretical prison bars surrounding us at all times?" he posits, then lists some possibilities, like money and laws.

Notions like those are the core of Ceschi's most recent album, 2015's Broken Bone Ballads. The experimental folk rap artist is visiting Phoenix this week to perform songs from it, and a catalog that stretches back to the early 2000s. Jesse Sendejas Jr.

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Flatbush Zombies
Tuesday, June 12
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Even diehard rap fans will tell you: There's something about recorded rap music that often doesn't translate well to the stage. It makes sense for a lot of artists; for those who rely on a carefully chosen vocabulary, much of what makes an artist great can get completely lost in a noisy venue. Some rappers are magnetic in the first place because of their personality and energy, such as Flatbush Zombies. The Brooklyn-based act, which rose to fame with the weed-centric "Thug Waffle," will be in town this week for a show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Chris Gray

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George Evelyn, better known as Nightmares on Wax.
Sequoia Ziff
Nightmares on Wax
Tuesday, June 12
Crescent Ballroom

For the uninitiated, "Nightmares on Wax" splashed across a gig poster might conjure to mind the soundtrack from a dark '70s or '80s slasher flick. But for fans of George Evelyn and his many collaborations with N.O.W., the name invokes a lengthy, decade-spanning back catalog of genre-bridging and genre-bending tracks that call to mind a much more laid-back and positively uplifting vibe — especially on the last two full-length albums.

Since 1989, Nightmares on Wax has continued to be a mainstay and one of the most iconic names on the roster of U.K.-based independent record label Warp Records. After releasing numerous notable singles, such as “You Wish,” “Flip Ya Lid” and "Les Nuits," Evelyn established himself as a respected electronic and trip-hop trendsetter, and his down-tempo and trip-hop approach to production creates a unique, influential sound built on numerous genres, including modern jazz, funk, soul, and R&B, as well as hip-hop, acid house, and dub.

A live band on the tour supports Evelyn’s latest full-length release, Shape the Future, a record that conjures on-the-couch vibes paired with positive messages and observations. Daniel Rodrigue
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Nick Kivlen, Julia Cumming, and Jacob Faber of Sunflower Bean.
Hollie Fernando
Sunflower Bean
Tuesday June 12
Valley Bar

New York City-based indie rock trio Sunflower Bean cut their teeth in the DIY scene within Manhattan and Brooklyn of the early aughts, gigging relentlessly and catching the eye of Cult Records and Fat Possum in the process. They’ve since graduated to bigger venues and 20,000-plus Facebook fans, but their all-ages origins remain close to their heart.

Sunflower Bean's debut record, Human Ceremony, saw the band stay faithful to the DIY ethos that raised it while polishing up its half-psych, half-punk sound. “We didn’t have a ton of money to be in the studio for a long amount of time,” says frontwoman Julia Cumming. “So we went in there and banged it out.”

Next, the hype. The record premiered a week early through Rolling Stone and was met with positive reviews. Vice’s Noisey declared the musicians to be torchbearers of a new generation of psych-rockers. They haven't let the fame go to their heads, however.

Besides searching for a united sound, all three members of Sunflower Bean are adamant about avoiding having one of them emerge as the real star backed by two faceless musicians. In concert, the trio's insistence on collaboration manifests as Cumming and guitarist Nick Kivlen sharing fronting duties from opposite sides of the stage. If anyone, it’s drummer Jacob Faber who occupies the central focal point from behind his drum kit, flanked on either side by his bandmates.

"Sunflower Bean is reflective of who we are and what we go through and what we’re interested in and how we’re growing up,” says Cumming. “We’ve always been very open about the fact that this band is a matriculation of all of us.” Elle Coxon

Har Mar Superstar
Wednesday, June 13
Crescent Ballroom

One of singer-songwriter and actor Sean Tillmann's alter egos wears less clothing than the other two. Har Mar Superstar often gets his kicks by stripping down to his skivvies. But it's not all aesthetic antics; he cranks out some well-crafted R&B while doing so.

Wednesday night's show at Crescent Ballroom should be no different, except that the Superstar is touring this summer in the name of soul music legend Sam Cooke. Expect covers of some of the best love songs of the '60s, as well as original music inspired by Cooke from Har Mar Superstar and his band. Diamond Victoria

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Influential techno artist Drumcell.
Courtesy of Droid Behavior
Wednesday, June 13
Bar Smith

When it comes to hard, dark, pulsing techno, Droid Behavior is one of the best labels out there, and it's signature artist and co-founder, Drumcell, will fill your need for some gritty underground sounds. And for those of you not hip to the electronic dance music world, Drumcell is the alter ego of Droid Behavior member Moe Espinosa.

A classically trained musician who dabbled in punk and industrial in the formative years of his career, Espinosa has produced techno of the harsh and minimalist variety for most of the past two decades. He's a longtime veteran of L.A.'s underground scene, and has performed at festivals and clubs around the world.

Espinosa's latest tour brings him to Bar Smith on June 13 for a gig on the downtown Phoenix nightclub's rooftop. The Valley's infamous Techno Snobs collective is putting on the event, which will also feature back-to-back sets by Occultus and Hidden Rhythm, Snaqs, and Aztech, and others. Doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are $10-$15. Amber Taufen

[image-11] Wrekonize
Wednesday, June 13
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

Never give up. Never give in. They are words to live by if you're rapper Wrekonize. In 2013, the Miami-born hip-hop artist won a series of MTV rap battles for $25,000 and a recording contract with Roc-A-Fella Records. The deal never materialized, and he spent his prize money on DVDs and pizza. But he never stopped working on music.

Over the next few years, Wrekonize inked deals with SouthBeat Records and Tech N9ne's Strange Music, became a member of prominent hip-hop group ¡Mayday!, and released a few different albums, including 2017's Search Party.

With all the force of Strange Music, his Mayday bandmates, and fans like The Rock behind him, Wrekonize continues to soldier on. His current “Whiskey in the West” tour with 1 Ton will bring him to the Valley on June 13 for a gig at Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Jacob Katel

John Butler Trio
Thursday, June 14
The Van Buren

The John Butler Trio is all about making good music. Sure, every band says that, but Butler takes a more spiritual approach to his songwriting. His intention is to let the listener not only into his world, but perhaps become him.

"It's with intention, a sense of purpose, and a goal of openness – openness in myself. The more open I am, the more others are open around me and we can try to build something," he says. "I just try to write a song that captures the heart. I try to tap more into the emotions. If I can get those emotions out in the most powerful way possible through my poetry, then you'll feel it, smell it, taste it more. It's part of understanding me.”

Butler conveys these emotions over a wide spectrum of music styles touching on rock, folk, blues, funk, bluegrass, hip-hop, and reggae. The didgeridoo of his native Australia has found its way into several songs as well.

Butler's diverse portfolio has garnered a bevy of acclaim and led to numerous awards down under. In the States, Butler's loyal following keeps this former busker returning regularly. Glenn BurnSilver
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