The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Open Mike Eagle is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, November 13, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
Open Mike Eagle is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, November 13, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
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Up for seeing a show this week? If so, we’ve got a few suggestions to offer – 10 of 'em, in fact, all of which are worthy of your time and a modest amount of disposable income.

They run the gamut from hip-hop (Open Mike Eagle) and indie rock (Mac DeMarco, MewithoutYou) to blues (Billy F. Gibbons), jazz (Lewis Nash), and Americana/country (Phosphorescent, Rodney Crowell).

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

Matthew Houck of Phosphorescent.EXPAND
Matthew Houck of Phosphorescent.
Daniel Arnold

Monday, November 12
Crescent Ballroom

Phosphorescent, the outfit based around singer-songwriter Matthew Houck, puts a shaggy spin on the old simple-folk-song/elaborate-pop-arrangement duality. Already rootsy, Houck doubled down on 2009's To Willie, a lovingly wrought collection of Willie Nelson covers like "Too Sick to Pray" and "Pick Up the Tempo," and kept right on cruising in that country-rock direction on 2010's Here's to Taking It Easy. Last month, Phosphorescent returned to the music scene after a five-year absence with the release of C’est La Vie, his first album in a half-decade. The nine-track effort features Houck singing with his golden voice about his new role as a father, dealing with life’s many demands, and other contemplative subject matter, all while backed with plenty of pedal steel and twang. Chris Gray

Mac's back.EXPAND
Mac's back.
Coley Brown

Mac DeMarco
Monday, November 12
Valley Bar

Smooth, casual, goofy, breezy — these are just a few of the words that could describe Mac DeMarco. Since the release of his breakthrough album, 2, in 2012, the Canadian singer-songwriter has become an indie icon thanks to his amiable persona and signature jangly, lo-fi guitar tone. "Ode to Viceroy," "Blue Boy," "On the Level," "Mirror of Reflection" — the guy's put out more soft-rock classics in under a decade than many artists managed to do when the genre was huge back in the '70s.

Now, Mac's making some moves. He just announced that he'll be leaving his longtime label Captured Tracks and starting his own, distributed by Caroline Records. The name? Mac's Record Label. A class act as always. He's also announced his first ever solo tour, the Purple Bobcat Next to the River Tour. He's starting things off right here in Phoenix at Valley Bar on Monday, November 12. Douglas Markowitz

Stray Jazzcat Strut: Running From Bears cookin' onstage.
Stray Jazzcat Strut: Running From Bears cookin' onstage.
Bill Goodman

Running From Bears
Monday, November 12
The Lost Leaf

Imagine a ferocious Kodiak bear is running after you. How would you soundtrack this terrifying (and possibly final) moment in your life? A giant furry engine of death slavering at your heels, looking at you like you’re salmon on legs. Heavy metal seems like it would be the go-to score, but for the sextet of dudes in Running From Bears, jazz is the preferred form of chase music.

Coming together in 2009, Running From Bears has been an active player in the downtown jazz scene. Composed of Eric Rasmussen (alto sax), Adam Roberts (tenor/soprano sax), Keith Kelly (tenor/baritone sax), Jeff Libman (guitar), Ben Hedquist (bass), and Ryan Anthony (drums), the Bears have been playing monthly shows at spots like The Lost Leaf and The Nash for years. They integrate elements of rock and funk into their jazz, creating a sound that’s playful and driving. They also have a wry sense of humor, as exhibited by the title and artwork of their 2017 Edgetone Records album Maul of America. Sure, Branford Marsalis can play his ass off, but we bet his pun game isn’t on Running From Bears’ level. Ashley Naftule

The members of post-hardcore band MewithoutYou.EXPAND
The members of post-hardcore band MewithoutYou.
Ground Control Touring

Tuesday, November 13
Crescent Ballroom

MewithoutYou, the Philadelphia post-hardcore band (a nice way to say emo, but these guys are far from overwrought) channels Cursive-style riffs dominated by singer Aaron Weiss' deeply introspective lyrics. His lyrics, sung in a warbling vocal style and punctuated by labyrinthine fables, are rife with religious and literary references, drawn from everything from the Bhagavad Gita to Kurt Vonnegut. The group's sophomore release, 2004's Catch for Us the Foxes, climbed to number 20 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and amassed a considerably cultish fanbase. The band has toured with Tegan and Sara, New Found Glory, and Brand New and collaborated with Forgive Durden, Norma Jean, Hayley Williams of Paramore, and Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate. This week, they visit the Crescent Ballroom on their current tour in support of their recently released seventh album, [Untitled]. Smidley and Davey and the Chains open. Troy Farah

Billy F. Gibbons
Tuesday, November 13
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Billy Gibbons’ legacy is secure. Within the rock ‘n’ roll community at large, his role lies between mystic shaman and beloved uncle, an avuncular old dude with mojo in his fingers who can always be counted on for a dirty joke. If ZZ Top never releases another album or plays another concert, much as us fans hate to imagine such a scenario, he’s got nothing left to prove. But as an artist with an itch he just has to keep scratching, the 68-year-old singer and guitarist continues to release new solo albums and tour the world. Gibbons’ latest LP, The Big Bad Blues, dropped in September on Concord Records and, as its title portends, features him performing down-home songs of the original and cover variety (including renditions of tunes from blues greats like Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters). Chris Gray

Open Mike Eagle
Tuesday, November 13
Coca-Cola Sun Deck at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe

Open Mike Eagle, also known as rap's comic laureate of the bleak, goes from James Baldwin to Vonnegut to answering the question that no one asked: What if Gabriel García Márquez rapped and made a magical realist masterpiece about superheroes in the Robert Taylor Homes? If you're curious, pick up his most recent efforts, like the 2017 full-length album, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, or his new EP, What Happens When I Try to Relax. Or you could check out Open Mike Eagle when he performs on November 13 at the Coca-Cola Sun Deck at Sun Devil Stadium. Video Dave and local hip-hop artist Teek Hall (our choice for the Valley's best rapper in this year's Best of Phoenix issue) will open. Jeff Weiss

Lewis Nash & Friends
Wednesday, November 14
The Nash

At one time (read: 30-some years ago), local wunderkind Lewis Nash had instant name recognition in any major U.S. city with a thriving jazz scene. And did his hometown extend him the same courtesy? Eh, not so much. There was little evidence in Phoenix of that era of the famed drummer’s exploits alongside the the likes of Branford Marsalis, Art Farmer, or the late Dizzy Gillespie. However, times have changed.

Fast forward to today, and the 59-year-old musician's name is up in lights, literally, as the namesake of downtown jazz joint The Nash. And you could cover the walls inside with a tally of all the legends and luminaries that Nash has accompanied or collaborated with during his 36-year career, from his esteemed mentor Max Roach to such jazz giants as Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, and McCoy Tyner. He's also appeared on upward of 500 records with no signs of slowing down.

This week, Nash will visit his namesake venue on Wednesday, November 14, to show off the skills that made him famous during a jam session of sorts. Pianist Angelo Versace, bassist Chris Finet, saxophonist Brice Winston, and trumpet player Jason Carder will also participate in what’s sure to be a master class in jazz artistry. Benjamin Leatherman

Danish indie rockers IceAge.EXPAND
Danish indie rockers IceAge.
Steve Gullick

Wednesday, November 14
Crescent Ballroom

Danish indie band Iceage is an act everyone needs to catch. Though they don't come this way often, they're on the heels of their most ambitious release yet with the newly released album Beyondless. While keeping some of the punk and post-punk elements of their past, the new record adds lush instrumentation and melody to the groups already intriguing sound.

For years, Iceage was at the top of every critic's list, with insane live shows and just the right influences. Starting off in their teens, the band quickly got the attention of labels who caught their engaging live shows. The band's first three albums all had growth from each one to the next. Their debut, New Brigade, mixed punk and post-punk with one of the most interesting approaches I'd ever heard. They followed that up with You're Nothing, upping the ante of their sound while growing in the process. By their third release, Plowing Into The Field of Love, the band had been recording and touring nonstop, leading up to a much-needed break. Beyondless incorporates new instrumentation, and in many ways, it's a vastly different album than those the band made when they began. David Garrick

Esteemed country singer Rodney Crowell.EXPAND
Esteemed country singer Rodney Crowell.
Joseph Llanes

Rodney Crowell
Wednesday, November 14
Mesa Arts Center

Rodney Crowell has long been country music's answer to Paul McCartney. He may have been raised in blue-collar Houston honky-tonks, but beneath his twangy exterior beats the heart of a pub rocker. Unlike McCartney, however, Crowell is doing some of his best work in the latter part of his career. The Grammy-winning country singer-songwriter began his artistic comeback with 2001's The Houston Kid and later followed up by releasing a string of successful albums, including 2003's Fate's Right Hand, 2005's The Outsider, 2013's Old Yellow Moon, 2015's Tarpaper Sky, and 2017’s Close Ties. His most recent effort, Acoustic Classics, features Crowell revisiting songs he previously recorded with the like of Waylon Jennings, Keith Urban, and others. You’re likely to hear these tunes during his stop at Mesa Arts Center on Wednesday night. Noah W. Bailey

Igor and the Red Elvises are the kind of collusion with Russians we can get behind.
Igor and the Red Elvises are the kind of collusion with Russians we can get behind.
Julie Delisle

Igor and the Red Elvises
Thursday, November 15
The Rhythm Room

The next time you find yourself scouring for questions for a ’90s-themed TV trivia night, we’ve got one question you can slip into the mix. See if anyone can tell you the name of the rock band that fuses multiple styles, and that made an appearance on one of the decade’s most popular shows, Melrose Place. They’ll get the point if they answer Igor and the Red Elvises.

That was in 1998; the band formed just a few years prior to that, when two Russians living in California — Igor Yuzov and Oleg Bernov — met at a peace march. They added more members to their musical crew, and started creating their zesty blend of surf rock that incorporates rockabilly, funk, disco, and folk.

Their songs are pretty spirited, no matter which style is more at the fore. Songs like “Twist Like Uma Thurman” from their 2008 release Drinking with Jesus, embody the spirit of ’50s party rock. “We Got the Groove” from 2000’s Shake Your Pelvis is a tune that brings the vibe of ’70s acts like Con Funk Shun to mind. More than two decades and their party train is still rolling, about to make a stop in Phoenix. Be ready to shake it; they make it way too hard to shoegaze. Amy Young

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