Concerts in Phoenix in February 2019: KISS, Neko Case, Meek Mill, Crush Arizona | Phoenix New Times

The 25 Best Concerts in Phoenix in February 2019

The concert scene starts heating up this month.
KISS is scheduled to perform its final Valley show on Wednesday, February 13, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
KISS is scheduled to perform its final Valley show on Wednesday, February 13, at Gila River Arena in Glendale. Courtesy of Ticketmaster
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Things are going to heat up in the Valley this month — and we aren’t just referring to just the weather. The concert season in metro Phoenix will really get going over the next few weeks as the spring music festival season kicks off, prominent artists and bands perform, and big budget tours roll through town.

You’ll find all of these events in our rundown of the biggest and best concerts happening in February. It includes names like Neko Case, Meek Mill, Bob Seger, Pedro the Lion, The Interrupters, John 5, Gregory Alan Isakov, and Jesse McCartney.

Elsewhere in this month’s concert calendar, KISS will stage their final performance in the Valley, KONGOS will return to Phoenix for a hometown show, and the annual Crush Arizona music festival will fill Rawhide in Chandler with massive amounts of beats and bass.

Details about each of these shows can be found below in our list of the best shows happening in the Valley in February. And for even more live music happening around the Valley, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

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One-time Beach Boy member Al Jardine.
Randy Straka
Al Jardine
Tuesday, February 5
Musical Instrument Museum

Al Jardine played stand-up bass on the very first Beach Boys single, "Surfin'," and since then he's been an integral part of the band's sonic makeup, playing guitar and navigating complexities not often associated with The Beach Boys: environmental concerns ("Don't Go Near the Water," written with Mike Love), transcendence ("All This Is That"), and spoken-word prose (Jardine read Robinson Jeffers's poem "The Breaks of Eagles" as part of the band's stunning "California Saga" from Holland).

Though he left the touring version of the 'Boys in the '90s, Jardine settled a lawsuit with Mike Love and contributed to the 2012 album That's Why God Made the Radio with all surviving original members. He’s also toured and performed with various incarnations of The Beach Boys over the last several years. This month, he’ll make a stop at the Musical Instrument Museum on his “A Postcard from California” tour, which shares its name with his 2010 solo album. Jason P. Woodbury

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Joan Osborne pays tribute to Bob Dylan on her current tour.
Jeff Fasano
Joan Osborne
Tuesday, February 5
Mesa Arts Center

When Joan Osborne comes to the Mesa Arts Center’s Ikeda Theater this month, she may or may not perform her most famous track, “One of Us.” That’s because the singer-songwriter is currently performing sets filled with Bob Dylan songs as part of a tour based on her recent album paying tribute to the folk legend, a collection capped by her residencies singing the Bard's songs at New York's famed Cafe Carlyle. “There are literally hundreds of great songs,” Osborne stated of Dylan’s music in a recent interview. “You can take any of his songs, and another artist would have been satisfied to just write that in their entire career, and he had hundreds of these songs.” And Osborne’s performances on her current tour aren’t just straight-up covers. “We wanted to give listeners a new way into these songs, a way to discover something different, some angle on the song that hadn’t been exploited before,” she stated. Jeff Strowe

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Andrés Aparicio: Some indie rock heroes wear capes.
Wednesday, February 6,
FiftyOne West in Tempe

Imagine if the vocalist behind your favorite Disney movie songs joined a pop-punk band. Andrés Aparicio is hard to tack down when it comes to the music he makes and the influences he draws from. Formerly playing as Terra Alice, Aparicio at one moment cranks out pop-punk melodies like Fall Out Boy and raps over math rock and emo compositions the next. On Heroes, Villains, and All That Jazz, Aparicio’s most audible evolution is the soulful confidence he projects with his voice. He still raps and he’s still a pop-punk singer, but he’s stretching his range to add drama to his delivery. Julian Hernandez

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Pop musician Jesse McCartney.
Courtesy of Circle Talent Agency
Jesse McCartney
Thursday, February 7
The Van Buren

Jesse McCartney. Remember him? Listen to “Beautiful Soul” and it might ring a bell. Chances are someone you know had a poster of him, a CD of his or at the very least, a crush on him. McCartney was the king of Radio Disney in the early 2000s, singing his way into the hearts of girls around the world. Maybe you even remember his appearances on Disney Channel shows like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody or Hannah Montana. Ashley Tisdale and Brenda Song's characters swooned when he came to the Tipton, and even Hannah Montana herself had fantasy dreams of McCartney.

It’s been 10 years since McCartney’s peak on the Billboard charts with the release of “Leavin’” toward the end of his sweeping teeny-bopper fame. The same girls who cranked up his hits on their iPods and who ogled his pretty blond hair in high school are now well into their 20s. Attend one of his shows, including his gig in early February at The Van Buren, and you’ll witness how McCartney’s fan base has stayed loyal. As a matter of fact, McCartney’s concerts are a sentimental reunion party for millennials reliving their childhoods and the screams are just as strong as when he was Disney’s biggest heartthrob. Now 31 years old and about to drop his sixth studio album, the first in years, McCartney is still killing it — and audiences are delighted that, at heart, he’s still the same teenage singer they grew up with. Isabel Arcellana

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Collie Buddz is scheduled to perform on Sunday, February 10, at Arizona Roots Festival.
Courtesy of Ineffable Music
Arizona Roots Festival
Saturday, February 9, and Sunday, February 10
Rawhide Western Town in Chandler

Love reggae, rock, dub, rocksteady or any combination of these genres? You’ll likely dig this two-day music festival on Rawhide’s Riverwalk with performances from more than 20 local and touring bands and artists of the reggae-rock/roots reggae variety, as well as a few prominent rappers.

The lineup on Saturday, February 9, will include sets from Rebelution, Atmosphere, J Boog, Trevor Hall, Mike Love, Katchafire, Clint Stevens, Tha 'Yoties, and Rilen' Out. On Sunday, February 10, there will be performances by Stick Figure, Dispatch, Collie Buddz, The Movement, Iya Terra, Xiuhtezcatl, Synrgy, Black Bottom Lighters, Kill Babylon Coalition, and Mellow Psychadelic Culture. Gates open at noon both days. General admission is $50 to $100 and VIP tickets are $140 to $750. Benjamin Leatherman

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Folk singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov.
Rebecca Caridad
Gregory Alan Isakov
Tuesday, February 12
The Van Buren

On first listen, with the banjo fills and fiddle and rare, low-mixed gasps of drums, it would be easy to dismiss Gregory Alan Isakov's music as folk songs played through a Valencia Instagram filter. But Isakov's is the sort of mournful, pensive music suited for rainy days and worthy of repeated listening. Born in South Africa, Isakov moved to Pennsylvania and ended up in Colorado, where he established himself as a first-rate singer-songwriter. Part of his success comes from his tremendous stage presence. Quiet, often hunched slightly, Isakov approaches the microphone with his guitar and begins singing in his smoky baritone, somehow commanding the undivided attention of every person in the audience. Few singer-songwriters can own a crowd like Isakov does, and it's part of his allure, alongside his strong songwriting, with its dense, tightly woven lyrics. David Accomazzo

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Pedro the Lion return with Phoenix, an ode to our fair city.
Ryan Russell
Pedro the Lion
Wednesday, February 13
Crescent Ballroom

Did you know that Pedro the Lion lead singer David Bazan is a Phoenix native? The indie rocker lived in the Valley for the first 13 years of his life, and as he elucidates in a recent interview with Phoenix New Times, he's got a lot of conflicted feelings about the place. He's put some of that into the latest Pedro record, Phoenix, the first in a series of five albums that marks the end of a lengthy hiatus for the project. Pedro will stage a homecoming show at Crescent Ballroom in February, bringing Tomberlin along for the ride. Douglas Markowitz

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It's your last chance to see KISS in concert in Phoenix.
Jim Louvau
Wednesday, February 13
Gila River Arena in Glendale

Legendary rock band KISS have been around the world many times, but their current trip will be their last. They've announced their "final tour ever," which includes a date in Phoenix at Gila River Arena on February 13.

Famed for their extreme staging, pyrotechnics, heavy metal costuming, and the distinctive black and white face paint worn by each member, the quartet of Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, and Paul Stanley were one of the most infamous of a generation of American glam rock acts that included Alice Cooper and Cheap Trick. Their flamboyant looks and catchy songs like "Rock and Roll All Nite" and "Strutter" earned them massive popularity and influenced the hair metal bands that came after.

The current lineup of KISS features Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer replacing Frehley and Criss, who left the band years ago. Douglas Markowitz

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The legendary Neko Case.
Courtesy of ANTI- Records
Neko Case
Thursday, February 14
The Van Buren

Neko Case knows how to twist and turn a phrase to make her lyrics sparkle and crackle, conjuring tender, fading memories and gossamer dreams in listeners’ minds. A sonic storyteller for more than 20 years as a member of Canadian indie rockers The New Pornographers, Case’s work with the Pornographers, with her band (Her Boyfriends) and as a solo artist has firmly established her as indie rock royalty. Released in June, Case’s self-produced Hell-On is her eighth studio album and seventh solo LP. In 2016, she teamed up with k.d. lang and Laura Veirs for case/lang/veirs, which received rave reviews. Hell-On has been described by reviewers as one of her best and appeared on a handful of year-end 2018 best-album lists. Daniel Rodriguez

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If you love that old time rock 'n' roll, you'll want to see Bob Seger this month.
Jim Louvau
Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Friday, February 15
Talking Stick Resort Arena

When Bob Seger’s "Night Moves" broke through on classic-rock radio in 1976, some observers described it as an overnight success. But the Michigan native was a force in the vibrant Detroit music scene as far back as the early ’60s, and his national audience eventually caught up to the singer’s rawer, earthier regional hits, such as “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.”

It’s never clear what this self-proclaimed “simple-minded guy” actually believes in. He has dissed draft dodgers (“The Ballad of the Yellow Beret”) and written anti-war songs (“2 + 2 = ?”), and the longtime shill for Chevy trucks now wants to save the environment on his latest album, Ride Out. With Seger, it’s always been more about his craggy mountain of a voice than his lyrical vision. Falling James

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Black Tiger Sex Machine is scheduled to perform at Decadence Arizona 2017.
John Londono
Crush Arizona 2019
Friday, February 15, and Saturday, February 16
Rawhide Event Center

As any local EDM kid will tell you, Crush Arizona is one of the biggest and longest-running dance music festivals in the Valley. The annual Valentine’s-themed event, which has been around since 2008, regularly attracts thousands of eager dance music fans, many of whom come dressed as Cupid or in other love-inspired costumes or attire (read: lingerie, humorous T-shirts, and heart-shaped sunglasses).

And they also come to rage and get rowdy amid giant inflatable hearts or other enormous decorations. Needless to say, Crush is one of the more unique EDM events in the Valley. It’s grown tenfold over the last decade, outgrowing its previous venues, and now takes place at Rawhide Event Center in Chandler, and features a slew of top-shelf DJs and dance music artists.

Crush will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year with a two-night event over Valentine’s Day weekend. DJs and EDM artists scheduled to perform include Seven Lions, Slander, Joyride, Spag Heddy, Wuki, Kaivon, and Bardz on Friday, February 15; and Alesso, 3LAU, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Anna Lunoe, Wooli, and Blossom on Saturday, February 16. Benjamin Leatherman

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Blues artist Jonny Lang.
Daniella Hovsepian
Jonny Lang
Saturday, February 16
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Being a prodigy can sometimes suck. Take Jonny Lang, for example. When he burst onto the scene as an astonishingly gifted 14-year-old guitar wünderkind, it must have seemed like the coolest thing in the world. Of course, as gifted as Lang is, his success was intimately linked to his youthfulness — a sort of novelty factor. Pretty quickly, that novelty began to take on a different air, with critics frequently applying his age as a qualifier, asking, essentially, if his limited years had an inverse relationship with his audience's perception. Lang, however, chose to do something at which prodigies often fail — he grew as an artist. Over the course of two decades and eight albums, Lang has moved away from the strictures of structured blues, embracing a host of styles ranging from Southern-fried rock to Memphis-style soul to gospel, finding room in his music to embrace the spirit of the blues that got him started in the first place. Nicholas L. Hall
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The hometown rock heroes of KONGOS.
Jonny Marlow
Saturday, February 16
Crescent Ballroom

When the four Kongos brothers became KONGOS in capital letters, it was with the hope that their uniquely crafted South African township-tinged alternative pop would take them to all far-flung corners of the world and earn them a decent living that would sustain the making of future music.

Then, a funny thing happened. Three years after the band’s initial indie release in 2011, their track ”Come With Me Now” got the attention of a few radio program directors, labels came a-courtin’, and the song and the self-financed album Lunatic was re-released by Epic Records. “Come With Me Now” was subsequently certified RIAA double-platinum for sales in excess of 2 million, becoming one of the most aggressively licensed songs since Yello first bellowed “Oh Yeah.” It became the theme of theme parks, TV networks, movie trailers, cop shows, sporting events, and video games. With so many syncs attributed to the hit, it’s hard to know what slice of pop culture first springs to mind when Johnny Kongos’ familiar accordion trills kick in. Though the song filtered into millions of homes, it didn’t exactly make KONGOS a household name.

That hasn’t stopped the band from releasing new material. In 2016, they put out Egomaniac, which reached No. 80 on the Billboard charts, and followed it up last month with 1929, Pt. 1. KONGOS return home to the Valley in mid-February for a show at Crescent Ballroom in support of the new album. Serene Dominic

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Josh Caterer of the Smoking Popes.
Smoking Popes
Monday, February 18
The Rebel Lounge

The brothers Caterer had no way of knowing the far-reaching effect they would have on the music world when they formed the Smoking Popes in 1991. How could they? At the time the youngest of the three, guitarist Eli, was only 16 years old. Fast-forward nearly three decades, and the seminal pop-punk band's work is cited by many of today's giants of the field as an influence.

Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba has said it was one of the reasons he started a band in the first place; Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz has compared the group favorably to fellow Chicago act Naked Raygun. In this writer's opinion, however, Smoking Popes blows all of the aforementioned bands out of the water. Daniel Hill

B-Real of Cypress Hill.
Miles Chrisinger
West Coast High 2019 feat. Cypress Hill and Hollywood Undead
Wednesday, February 20
The Van Buren

Are you insane in the membrane? Or are you just an American tragedy? Either way, we're pretty sure you're a fan of chooming on that lound, so what better way to enjoy a weeknight than spending it at a conspicuously themed concert extravaganza? West Coast High 2019 is taking control at The Van Buren on Wednesday, February 20. Cypress Hill, everyone's favorite '90s hip-hop mainstays, weed enthusiasts, and Simpsons guest stars, are heading up the affair, and they're putting some more bud in your bowl by bringing along rap-rockers Hollywood Undead. We assure you, folks, this show isn't mid, nor is it reggie; In fact, this evening will see the fans cheefin' on that O.G. Cali Kush (metaphorically, of course). Douglas Markowitz

Toni Braxton

Thursday, February 21
Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler

Toni Braxton live in concert in 2019 is something of a dichotomy. On one hand, there’s the world-class, multiplatinum recording superstar she identifies as; on the other, there's a scattered, ridiculously candid reality television star. There is a catalog of classic ‘90s R&B hits stricken with heartbreak coupled with a seasoned entertainer who can’t help but laugh her way through them. Then there’s that voice. And those songs.

Braxton’s still treating audiences to such hit tracks as 2000’s “He Wasn’t Man Enough” and “How Many Ways,” a one-two punch that kicks off performances on her current tour. She’ll also perform “Just Be a Man About It,” probably while finger-waving her way through one of her (oh so many) signature, melismatic vocal runs. Calling it idiosyncratic might be an understatement; still, her ubiquitous vocal zig-zagging is a spectacle unto itself. It’s hard to imagine any veteran artist without a lightning-in-a-bottle mega-hit embedded in its audience’s DNA. Braxton’s 1996 track, “Un-Break My Heart,” happens to be an impassioned thunderstorm and will also be on her set list when she comes to Wild Horse Pass in Chandler this month. John Amar

Lords of Acid
Thursday, February 21
Club Red in Mesa

Mix licentious fun with some dense, pulsating electronica and comical lyrics and it becomes one hell of a party. But not just anyone can keep such a party from devolving into some half-ass gathering of the Hot Topic-attired. This is where we usher in freaky-deaky acid-housers Lords of Acid. A group that garnered a cult following with its 1991 rave debut, the classic techno-raunch album Lust, LOA usually appeals to the platform-shoed, black-clad, liberal-minded set yet still offers an opportunity for the rest of us – even those of us who enjoy color – to dance, grind, and mosh.

Lords of Acid fans have aged. The band hasn't toured in about eight years, and it's anybody's guess whether the new generation will sex it up the same way. Praga Khan will be the only original member. And Lacey Conner, known mostly as the bitch/badass from Rock of Love, will step in as the female vocalist. So it's also up in the air whether the current lineup will be able to please old-school fans. Erica K. Landau

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Billions Corp.
Friday, February 22
The Van Buren

When Chicago rapper Noname dropped her mixtape Telefone in 2016, the response to her stream-of-consciousness raps was immediate. Many were first exposed to her in 2013 as a feature on the track "Lost" off Chance the Rapper's acclaimed mixtape Acid Rap. Last year, her debut album, Room 25, displayed her changing world for all to see. The quick-witted, rapid-fire verses from Telefone remain, but Room 25 adds more introspection laced atop jazzy percussion and soulful strings. She's also touring and releasing music without the backing of a label, remaining an independent artist. Julian Hernandez

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Fairy Bones is scheduled to perform at the first Humdinger Festival in Mesa.
Jim Louvau
Humdinger Festival
Saturday, February 23
Mesa Amphitheatre

The M.O. behind the Humdinger Festival is pretty simple: local bands getting the chance to shine at Mesa Amphitheatre, one of the Valley’s more legendary music venues. A co-production of local concert promoters Danny Zelisko and Stateside Presents (full disclosure: Phoenix New Times is also involved), the ongoing event will feature acts and artists from across the Valley performing at the Mesa Amp every month from now until June. The first edition of the festival takes place on Saturday, February 23, and will include sets from The Pistoleros, Banana Gun, Fairy Bones, Michael Nitro, Wyves, Sara Robinson Band, Bear Ghost, Jim Bachmann, and The Runner Up. Doors open at 1 p.m. and the music starts at 2 p.m. Admission is $12. Benjamin Leatherman

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Joy Williams is on her own after the end of The Civil Wars.
Andy Barron
Joy Williams
Monday, February 25
Musical Instrument Museum

Joy Williams has been building a steady following of fans for years now. A winner of multiple Grammy awards, her career started in the early 2000s as a faith-based musician before morphing into a larger scope with her musical involvement in the critically acclaimed duo, The Civil Wars. Following their dissolution, Williams decamped to Los Angeles and used her new surroundings to cope with both the professional breakup and the death of her father. There, she also released Venus, a hook-laden album with a broader pop palette than many of her fans were accustomed to hearing.

Fast-forward to late 2018 and Williams is in a more settled place. For starters, she and her family have traded in the California coast for a relocation back to Nashville. That familiarity and a renewed sense of confidence led her back into the studio where she has recently put the finishing touches on Front Porch, a new collection of songs that hearken back to the warmth of spirit reflected in a lot of her previous work. Jeff Strowe

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Rapper Meek Mill.
Miller Mobley
Meek Mill
Tuesday, February 26
Comerica Theatre

After being released from prison in April 2018, Meek Mill didn't just start advocating for prison reform: He also returned to the studio and released his highly anticipated album Championships. The record is a true return to form for the rapper, with both the album and “Going Bad” featuring Drake topping the charts. While special guests for his upcoming tour have not been announced, his show at Comerica Theatre in February is guaranteed to be Mill at his most triumphant. When the low horns in the intro of street anthem “Uptown Vibes” begin to play over the sound system, the spot is sure to blow up. Julian Hernandez

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The punks of Leftöver Crack.
Courtesy of Fat Wreck Chords
Leftöver Crack
Tuesday, February 26
Nile Theater in Mesa

The New York City-based anarcho-punks don’t advocate for hopes and dreams as solutions. They call for unequivocal, sociopolitical action and have been doing so since Mediocre Generica, their debut album, which serendipitously (or, ill-fatedly, depending on your view) was released on 9/11/01.

That was nearly 18 years ago. It’s been a decade and a half since the band’s 2004 ska-core classic, Fuck World Trade. The cuts from those albums were passionate, call-for-change songs about police brutality, ecological destruction, war-mongering and prisons for profit. Because nothing has changed on those fronts — and arguably has gotten worse in practically every case — LoC’s is still singing about those same issues today. The band will blend a healthy mix of songs both new and old at its upcoming Nile Theater show in late February. Jesse Sendejas Jr.

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John 5 invades the Valley in February.
Alfred Nitsch/CC BY-SA 3.0/via Wikimedia Commons
John 5
Tuesday, February 26
Club Red in Mesa

When John 5 received his first guitar at age 7, it became a lifelong love affair (lucky for us). He had no way of knowing that, within just a few decades, he would be seen as one of music's most acclaimed and sought-after guitar-slingers. All I gotta say is when Slash calls you one of the most mind-blowing guitarists around, you know you're doing something right. Not that John 5 needs little endorsement, even from our favorite top hat-wearing shredder.

He's played guitar for an array of high-profile artists, including David Lee Roth, k.d. lang, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marilyn Manson, and Rob Halford. Since 2005, he's worked as Rob Zombie's main guitarist and released a string of solo albums, cementing himself as a virtuoso guitar hero and pioneering a style that's part shred guitar, part wild country pickin', part flamenco, part mesmerizing macabre. Lauren Wise

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Famed soprano Sarah Brightman.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster
Sarah Brightman
Wednesday, February 27
Comerica Theatre

She has the voice of an angel and she sort of looks like she came out of an episode of Game of Thrones. Sarah Brightman has been serenading the world with her silky soprano voice for 40 years, becoming one of the biggest classical crossover artists ever. Later this month, the legendary English lady makes a stop at Comerica Theatre for a night of her signature ethereal pop music. Golden-voiced singers Vincent Niclo and Narcis Iustin Ianau are opening. Falyn Freyman

The Interrupters
Wednesday, February 27
The Van Buren

As ska devolves further from its Jamaican roots in the late 1950s, the genre these days often replaces soul and imagination with jock-rock conformity, transforming ska's madly insidious rhythms and uplifting messages into mere background music for frat parties. Of course, the Two-Tone revival in Britain in the early '80s helped reinvigorate the genre and give it new life, but so much modern ska is merely escapist and shallow. The Interrupters don't add anything new to the style, but singer Aimee Allen imbues her band with just enough personality and hooks to justify the whole affair. If tracks such as "She’s Kerosene" don't really evoke Jamaica's diversity and violent contradictions, they're at least mindlessly catchy, with suburban-punk guitars and Allen's gruff, Joan Jett-like phrasing. Falling James
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