Despite the fact that summer is upon us, the Valley’s concert scene is anything but dead. Big shows will be happening throughout the month of June at music venues across the metro Phoenix area.
The biggest, of course, is Paul McCartney’s much-anticipated gig at Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix. While the show is sold out, anyone with an excess of disposable income can find tickets through the secondary market. McCartney doesn’t visit the Valley all that often, so shelling out some major cash to see the Beatle will definitely be worth it.
Other worthwhile shows happening around the Valley in June include gigs by J-Lo, Santana, Michael Franti and Spearhead, The Offspring, Khalid, Luke Bryan, Coheed and Cambria, Todd Rundgren, and Snow Tha Product.
Details about each of these shows can be found below in our list of the Valley’s best concerts in June 2019. For even more live music happening around town, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
EarthSaturday, June 1
The Rebel Lounge
There’s something about drone metal that gives it an odd appeal outside the usual genre fandom. There’s just something relaxing and meditative about being pummeled by walls of distortion, and Olympia, Washington, band Earth — one-time members of the Sub Pop roster — are the perfect practitioners of the unique discipline. Regarded as one of the genre’s pioneers, their album Earth 2 set the stage for bands like Sunn O))) and Jesu to push the form further. They’ll play The Rebel Lounge on June 1 with Helms Alee. Douglas Markowitz
Xiu XiuSunday, June 2
There are some artists whose style is predictable and comfortable enough that you can predict what they're going to do next. Jamie Stewart isn't one of those artists.
The creative force behind Xiu Xiu, Stewart has been confounding and exceeding audiences' expectations since dropping Knife Play in 2002. He's one of modern music's most distinctive vocalists, switching effortlessly from tremulous croons to blood-chilling shrieks. His voice is both a sob and an open wound; few singers can sound as vulnerable and threatening as Stewart can.
The music he makes reflects those Jekyll-and-Hyde vocals. Xiu Xiu albums can be hauntingly beautiful or eardrum-puncturing. And sometimes they're both at the same time. A decoder ring to understanding Xiu Xiu's sound can be found in the band's 2016 cover album of Twin Peaks songs. No band is better suited to reinterpreting Angelo Badalamenti's compositions, because like Twin Peaks creator David Lynch, Xiu Xiu understands how to create transcendent work by mixing beauty and horror. Ashley Naftule
MonoSunday, June 2
The Rebel Lounge
Over the last two decades, Japanese band Mono have straddled a fine line between the beautiful noise-filled shoegaze of bands like Mogwai and the gloriously heavy dirge more commonly associated with a band like the Melvins, while not outright subscribing to either. Mono's ability to turn on a dime from introspective melodrama to waves of menacing noise guitars takes what in lesser hands could be a clash of indie clichés, and instead creates music that is as inspired as it is unique. Mono return to the Valley in support of their 16th long player, Nowhere Now Here, an album that does not break their formula but finds the band refining their sound through peaks and valleys of loud guitars and occasional subtle string arrangements. Wanz Dover
The SpecialsMonday, June 3
The Van Buren
Any old band can do a reunion tour. But when Terry Hall, Lynval Golding, and Horace Panter — three original members of legendary U.K. second-wave ska band The Specials — decided to get back together, they wanted more. Heading back into the studio in 2018, they decided to take a stand against playing the greatest hits.
Although the trio hadn’t released an album together since 1980, they still have much to say about the state of England, race, their personal lives, and more, and they wanted to say it with flair and originality. And it seems that people wanted to hear what they had to say: The resulting album, Encore, went straight to No. 1 on the U.K. album charts, something the band had never accomplished before.
Thirty-five years after their original bow, this new, yet old version of The Specials is surfing on a new wave of recognition. They may not have all their former members with them, but they’ve sold out 40 out of 72 shows on their current tour, which comes to The Van Buren on June 3 — and they’re not just playing the hits. Mark C. Horn
Snow Tha ProductFriday, June 7
Despite the success of artists like Cardi B, female rappers are still rare in the current hip-hop landscape, and LGBT ones even rarer. But times are changing, which we hope means talents like Snow Tha Product will finally see more success. Born Claudia Feliciano, Snow was a social work student before she began to pursue music in the late 2000s. She’s known for her rapid-fire rapping style and for performing in both English and Spanish. Recent projects include the mixtape Vibe Higher, a role on the USA Network show Queen of the South, and a spot on The Hamilton Mixtape. Smeared Lipstick Crew will join her at The Pressroom. Douglas Markowitz
Rich the KidSaturday, June 8
The Van Buren
The man is rich, yet still a kid at heart. From challenging other rappers and local skaters to a game of S.K.A.T.E. to being the CEO of his Rich Forever Music label, Rich the Kid does it all. Being in control of business is something the Queens-born rapper takes to heart, hence the title of last year’s The World Is Yours and this year’s follow-up The World Is Yours 2. After a having a big year in 2018, including the major successes of singles “New Freezer” and “Plug Walk," his 2019 is off to a great start with the release of tracks like “4 Phones” and “Tic Toc.” He’ll be at The Van Buren on June 8 with support from NLE Choppa, Yung Bino, and 83 Babies. Julio Lugo
Black SabbitchSunday, June 9
Last Exit Live
The members of Black Sabbitch play the songs of Black Sabbath and play ‘em with aplomb. They shred ‘em, in fact, and are not only talented — nailing every note of the legendary group's familiar repertoire — but are captivating to an almost distracting level. They emanated the effortless cool of rock ‘n’ roll, but with about 10 extra ounces of sexy confidence that may even cause the female metalheads in attendance at Black Sabbitch’s gig at Last Exit Life on June 9 to pick up a bass and start their own heavy metal tribute band with their girlfriends. For fans of Sabbath — and women who rock hard — this is not one to miss. Artemis Thomas-Hansard
SebadohSunday, June 9
Sebadoh started as a kind of solo recording project of Lou Barlow toward the end of his tenure with Dinosaur Jr. in the late '80s. Upon his departure from Dino in 1989, Barlow focused on his songwriting with Sebadoh, and his recording aesthetic became synonymous with "lo-fi" of the 1990s, alongside artists like Pavement.
A prolific songwriter, Barlow and his bandmates wrote some of the most emotionally poignant rock music of the '90s, and the sonic quality of his recordings influenced a new generation of musicians striving for recordings that contain the intimacy, immediacy and imperfection of being in the same room with music as its being performed. Sebadoh's later recordings (including 2013’s Defend Yourself, its most recent LP) became more sonically vivid but the raw quality of the songwriting remained undiminished. Tom Murphy
The OffspringMonday, June 10
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
When The Offspring's Dexter Holland sang “Why don’t you get a job” back in 1998, he probably didn't realize that a 9-to-5 wouldn't be part of his future. But 20 years later, it's clear that the band helped revive mainstream interest in punk rock alongside acts like Rancid, Green Day, and NOFX. The Offspring went on to sell more than 40 million albums, ultimately becoming one of the most commercially viable punk rock bands of all time.
Much beloved for their 1994 album Smash, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, the band finally attracted major-label interest that same year, as did Green Day's Dookie. The Offspring went on to reach multiplatinum and gold success from 1997 to 2003 with their next four studio albums.
Consisting of lead vocalist/guitarist Holland, bassist Greg K., lead guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman, and drummer Pete Parada, they've inspired a number of musicians, from heavy metal act Trivium to British synthpop group Cuban Boys. And while their music has resonated with listeners for decades on a comedic, cultural, and nostalgic level, the band aren't about to stop creating. Lauren Wise
My Life With the Thrill Kill KultTuesday, June 11
Club Red in Mesa
When Groovie Mann and Buzz McCoy started My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult (or TKK for short) back in the late '80s, it was hard to imagine them still going strong all these years later. Their disorienting industrial sleaze rock was hardly in vogue with the nouveau pop or hair metal sounds that then dominated the airwaves. Furthermore, their sporadic shock-value antics involving satirical riffs, quasi-satanic rituals and lots of sexual innuendo hardly screamed staying power. However, here they are as sprightly bound and charismatic as ever in 2019. Out touring on both an extended 30-year anniversary run and in support of their latest album, House of Strange Affairs, the band will bring their thunderous rock and raucous antics to the stage of Club Red in Mesa on June 11. Expect a room full of die-hard fans to offer their allegiance and pay homage to a veteran band of misfits who have more than earned the adulation. Jeff Strowe
Aly and AJTuesday, June 11
The Van Buren
Sisters Aly and AJ Michalka have been making magic for more than a decade. Most know the siblings from their Disney Channel debut in 2006. Their original movie, Cow Belles, allowed viewers to fall in love with AJ as Courtney Callum and Aly as Taylor Callum. From there, AJ appeared on Six Feet Under, General Hospital, and The Guardian, while Aly had roles in Easy A, The Roommate, and Hellcats. Though their acting careers have fluctuated, one thing has remained constant: their music.
The two pop stars grew up loving music. Born in Torrance, California, they were raised by Christian parents. Their mother, Carrie, is a musician and performed with the Christian rock group JC Band. The sisters have been playing guitar and piano since childhood. Their music duo, Aly & AJ, was formed in 2004. “Do You Believe in Magic” quickly became a single stuck in every little sister’s head thanks to the constant video airtime on the Disney Channel. The 2005 song skyrocketed to No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Singles, while its album, Into the Rush, sold more than 800,000 copies in the States and 1 million worldwide.
The magic has stuck with them throughout their music career. From their holiday album, Acoustic Hearts of Winter, to their third album, Insomniac, the duo continued to push the pop agenda. “Potential Breakup Song,” their second smash, charted on Billboard's Top 20 Hit Singles, giving young girls everywhere another chance to sing off-key. Although Aly & AJ left their label, Hollywood Records, and briefly changed their group name to 78violet, they continued doing what they loved most: music. Cristina Jerome
JohnnyswimThursday, June 13
The Van Buren
This Nashville duo have created a sound that's part soul, part blues, and part folk. Johnnyswim's ability to sync up is no coincidence — the duo have been married since 2009, but that hasn't put a single bump in their pursuit of harmonized, soulful music. Shared vocal duties and a strong sense of driving rhythm and melody make their songs infectious and catchy. Matt Wood
She Wants RevengeThursday, June 13
Life often serves up some unexpected twists, some of which wind up being positive. Just ask Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin of She Wants Revenge. In 2016, American Horror Story, which starred noted SWR fan Lady Gaga, used the band's breakout hit "Tear You Apart" in an alluringly disturbing scene involving a vampire orgy.
Fans of both the show and She Wants Revenge went gaga (if you'll pardon the pun) over the scene, and it sparked renewed interest in the post-punk/darkwave band, which had been on a lengthy hiatus for several years following their third full-length album, Valleyheart.
After a one-off reunion show in L.A. a few months later, Warfield and Braven decided to hit the road again and have been filling venues across the country with their gothy and synth-y stylings that still seem fresh after more than a decade. Later this month, they’ll come to Crescent Ballroom for a performance, which is likely to include hits like “Tear You Apart,” “These Things,” "Written in Blood," and "Maybe She's Right." Benjamin Leatherman
Luke BryanThursday, June 13
Luke Bryan is considered the King of Bro Country, a title he seems to embrace while also hoping to be treated as a serious artist. Count all the lyrical references to alcohol, trucks, gurrls (not just girls), rural settings, and catfish you like. Thing is, the thousands of people who will come to Ak-Chin Pavilion on June 13 want to have a good time, pure and simple.
This three-act blockbuster show is what country music sold to a mass audience looks like these days, but it gets some real credibility from openers like Cole Swindell and Jon Langston. Most mainstream country music is for people who grew up on Garth Brooks, Bob Seger, Tim McGraw, and Def Leppard, and weren’t afraid of hip-hop, either. Plus, it’s family entertainment. As easily mocked as the bro country genre is, it sure isn’t losing any steam by snark from those who don’t get it. Eric Grubbs
Michael Franti and SpearheadFriday, June 14
With his band, Spearhead, Michael Franti has spent the past quarter-century throwing big dance parties overflowing with peace 'n' love, the scent of reefer on the wind, and, of course, “The Sound of Sunshine.” These parties have been known to occur during major protests and in war zones, because fighting darkness with light is Franti's life philosophy. And he's doubling down. Despite our nation's seemingly unbridgeable gaps between races and genders and political parties, he says the real battle is the personal tug-of-war between cynicism and optimism.
Franti's new full-length documentary, Stay Human, follows his search for humanity in the face of trauma and loss. It focuses particularly on how people around the world cope with harsh everyday realities and thrive during challenging times. It also becomes clear that Franti has spent his career making hopeful music with positive messages because he personally battles depression and anxiety. Franti says he made the Stay Human film and the corresponding album of the same title because he wants them "to be part of people's medical arsenal they can go to when they need that extra inspiration." Howard Hardee
Jennifer LopezSunday, June 16
Talking Stick Resort Arena
Jennifer Lopez is turning 50. That's a big deal for the chart-busting pop singer, who built her youthful reputation as Jenny From the Block. To celebrate, she's hitting the road for "It's My Party: The Live Celebration." This will be the first time in six years J-Lo will be touring North America, and Phoenix has the honor of hosting one of the first shows. Expect to hear many of her biggest hits, as well as any of the slew of singles she’s released in recent years, including “Medicine,” the track Lopez dropped in April featuring French Montana. Kyle Harris
Xavier WulfWednesday, June 19
Club Red in Mesa
Once a member of the formidable Raider Klan with SpaceGhostPurrp, Denzel Curry, Chris Travis, and more, Xavier Wulf is at once a child of the gritty Memphis, Tennessee, rap scene and a pioneer of the current SoundCloud-assisted rap underground. His dark, anime-assisted visuals and Three Six-inspired flow and voice on songs like “Check It Out” mean he fits in perfectly with scene favorites like $uicideboy$ and fellow Seshollowaterboys member Bones. When this Wulf howls at Club Red alongside Beau Young Prince, Reco Havoc, and Marty Grimes, it’ll be hard to sleep on him anymore. Douglas Markowitz
John HiattWednesday, June 19
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Don't worry if the name John Hiatt doesn't immediately ring a bell for you. You've no doubt heard the man's tunes, especially the ubiquitous "Have a Little Faith in Me," which has been belted by everyone from Mandy Moore to Jon Bon Jovi. Hiatt's something of a songwriter's songwriter, penning tunes that have been performed by Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Urban, Chaka Khan, Three Dog Night, and more.
The lineup of artists who have (literally) sung his praises is a testament to his catholic delivery: Hiatt writes songs that transcend genre boundaries and party lines. His late-'70s and early-'80s discography shows off the same New Wave flirtations that earned Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello their hits, but like those two, he's a roots man at heart. Hiatt's songs are boldly populist, and his grasp on soul, R&B, folk, and country grooves has earned him a rep as one of the best songwriters in the biz, while his solid live performances sell him as a fine performer, too. Jason P. Woodbury
KhalidThursday, June 20
Gila River Arena in Glendale
“Young Dumb & Broke” was the song that introduced Khalid to the world, but he’s assuredly no longer broke because of it. The R&B singer was a military brat whose family moved around the country before settling in El Paso, Texas, where he began his music career. Since the release of his album American Teen in 2017, he’s been on an upward trajectory thanks to collabs with Alessia Cara and Logic, Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish, and Shawn Mendes, to name a few. He’s currently touring behind his 2019 album, Free Spirit. Clairo, another quickly rising star (and depending on who you ask, an industry plant), will open. Douglas Markowitz
VolvoxFriday, June 21
One One Bar in Tempe
Ariana Paoletti, better known as Volvox, has earned a certain success and status in the electronic dance music underground over the last decade. And she’s done so with her enormous talents at conjuring mesmerizing mixes of techno, acid house, and electro beats.
A self-taught artist and DJ who gorged herself on industrial and EBM music as a teen, Paoletti spent her college years becoming entrenched in Boston’s underground scene (including stints at famed goth joint Manray). Moving to Brooklyn in 2011, she’s held down residencies at influential nightspot Bossa Nova Civic Club and events like the popular UNTER parties, becoming what Sleek Magazine calls "a spearhead of [NYC’s] underground techno scene." A self-described “techno mädchen,” Paoletti’s also appeared at influential festivals like POP Montreal, opened for the likes of The Black Madonna and Legowelt, and performed sets in Australia and Europe.
Local EDM collective Techno Snobs is bringing her to the Valley on June 21 for a gig at One One Bar in Tempe. Shelby Athouguia and Court will open the night, which gets going at 9 p.m. Tickets are $25. Benjamin Leatherman
SantanaSaturday, June 22
Carlos Santana is a man at peace with his place in the musical universe. The guitarist and bandleader has been performing for more than 50 years — since the mid-1960s — including a legendary breakout performance at Woodstock. And he’s played alongside such legends as Miles Davis, Alice Coltrane, Tito Puente, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan over the years. During this time, Santana, who has crossed musical idioms from jazz to blues, Latin rock to Indian ragas, soul to funk, tracks such as "Evil Ways," "Oye Como Va," and "Black Magic Woman" have become classic rock radio hits, while later-period songs "Smooth" featuring Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas on vocals and "Maria, Maria" (both from 1999's Supernatural) serve to cement Santana's long-standing appeal and legacy. Glenn BurnSilver
Paul McCartneyWednesday, June 26
Talking Stick Resort Arena
What is there to say? It’s Paul McCartney. The once-and-forever Beatle seemingly never stops touring, and any one of his shows is bound to feature classic Fab Four hits, classics from Macca’s solo career, and some more contemporary tunes. Granted, Paul’s recent work hasn’t exactly been celebrated — absolutely no one asked for his awful geriatric love-jam “Fuh You” — but his rendition of the Kanye and Rihanna collab “Four Five Seconds” is a treat, as is his explosive treatment of “Live And Let Die.” The crowd is likely to skew older, but really, everyone should see Paul McCartney at least once before they die (or before he beats us to it). Douglas Markowitz
Todd RundgrenWednesday, June 26
Todd Rundgren's breakthrough album, Something/Anything?, was a winding double-LP on which he wrote, produced, and performed nearly everything himself. That says a lot about 1972, but it says even more about Rundgren, who's been seen as something of a pop-rock prodigy ever since. If it seems he's never been quite as famous or iconic as he should have been to a broader audience, you might be looking at his career the wrong way.
The better question: How was he ever famous at all? The moment his career took off, he began indulging his prog-rockier tendencies, and aside from the fluky "Bang the Drum All Day," which came out on an album he actually called The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect, he never did much allowing for those fans who came for the hooks. That basically is the ever-popular tortured artist effect: When you're the only one banging on the drums and producing the albums and designing and coding the website, nobody's left to say, "Hey, I don't think Casey Kasem is going to play this." It didn't make for a ton of hits, but Todd Rundgren's need for control has produced a fascinating career. Dan Moore
David GraySaturday, June 29
Mesa Arts Center
It would be a shame and a mistake to dismiss England's David Gray as a one-hit wonder, although his career path has been one of false starts and periods of regrouping. He is known on these shores mostly for his haunting chart-topper "Babylon" and the album that birthed it, White Ladder. But Gray launched his career several years earlier, as the first outside signing to David Matthews's ATO label in 2000. Before and since, he's released a number of mesmerizing LPs, all of which showcase his solitary yet seductive stance and a textured yet supple delivery. Lee Zimmerman
Coheed and Cambria, Mastodon, and Every Time I DieSunday, June 30
Here's one show where the headliner might not be the main attraction. Not to diss Coheed and Cambria, but their taste in openers might have gotten the better of them on this tour. In one corner, Atlanta heavy metal masterminds Mastodon will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of their LP Crack the Skye by playing the record in full. In the other corner, the excellent Buffalo, New York, post-hardcore band Every Time I Die, fronted by former English teacher, occasional Twitch streamer, and all-around cool dude Keith Buckley, will be laying down their literary, soul-searching brand of punk. Douglas Markowitz
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