Things to Do

The 6 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Francine Reed is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, January 9, at Kerr Cultural Center.
Francine Reed is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, January 9, at Kerr Cultural Center. Fervor Records
This week’s concert offerings are heavy on legendary acts and artists. John Sebastian of The Lovin' Spoonful has a Valley gig lined up over the next few nights, as does infamous punk act The Hangmen, jazz/blues queen Francine Reed, influential artist Hans Olson, and the cowboy music kings of Sons of the Pioneers.

Best of all, a number of these shows are either free or of the low-cost variety, which should please your pocketbook (especially after the drubbing it took over the holidays).

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

click to enlarge John Sebastian of Loving Spoonful fame. - LOVE IMAGERY
John Sebastian of Loving Spoonful fame.
Love Imagery
John Sebastian
Monday, January 7, and Tuesday, January 8
Musical Instrument Museum

John Sebastian returns to the Valley this week with tons of material from his legendary stint with The Lovin' Spoonful and his solo catalog. Tons. Just from the former category, there are hits like “Do You Believe in Magic?” and “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice,” as well as such faves as “Daydream,” “Younger Girl,” “Summer in the City,” “Rain on the Roof,” and “Nashville Cats.”

In the mid-'60s, The Lovin' Spoonful – with Sebastian on vocals, harmonica, guitar and autoharp; Zal Yanovsky on guitar (later replaced by Jerry Yester); bassist Steve Boone; and drummer/vocalist Joe Butler – racked up a string of chart hits over the course of three years. Sebastian left the Spoonful, who were eventually inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and went solo in 1968. He then put out albums like John B. Sebastian, The Four of Us, and Tarzana Kid and even made a surprise appearance onstage at Woodstock. Oh, and he also penned and sang the theme to Welcome Back, Kotter, which became a hit song in its own right. You’ll hear that during this two-night stint at the Musical Instrument Museum this week. Bob Ruggiero

Sons of the Pioneers
Tuesday, January 8
Tempe Center for the Arts

The Sons of the Pioneers are a hugely influential Western group originally formed in 1933 and co-founded by the singing cowboy Roy Rogers, star of more than 100 Western movies and an eponymous TV show. Though he was born in Ohio, Rogers met his Sons of the Pioneers co-founders in Los Angeles. Evoking the 19th-century cowboy era, the group's smooth harmonizing was featured in practically every Hollywood western that featured music from 1935 to 1950. Their most well-known appearance on the silver screen didn’t come during a cowboy flick, however, but instead was in the midst of Coen Brothers cult favorite The Big Lebowski, which featured the Sons of the Pioneers’ signature song, "Tumbling Tumbleweeds."

Though the principal members have long since headed for that great ranch in the sky, Sons of the Pioneers gave survived over the years thanks to an ever-rotating cast of musicians. At present, the group is led by Tommy Nallie (their current “trail boss”) and features such musicians as Roy "Dusty" Rogers Jr., MC John Fullerton, and Paul Elliott. They’ll amble into town this week for a Tuesday night show at Tempe Center for the Arts. L.J. Williamson

Hans Olson
Tuesday, January 8
Time Out Lounge in Tempe

In the decades since Hans Olson first moved to the Valley in the late 1960s, he’s served as a venue proprietor, session musician, songwriter, label owner, event promoter, and founder of the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. The renowned bluesman is also a living legend and one helluva performer who toted his harmonica and slide guitar around the world countless times, and played alongside such icons as the late Muddy Waters and B.B. King.

Back in the '70s, Olson opened for the likes of The Allman Brothers Band and Boz Skaggs, toured with Dave Mason, headlined at the Whiskey A Go-Go in L.A., and reportedly raised a lot of hell with former drinking buddy Tom Waits. In the mid-'80s, he also ran Tempe's legendary Sun Club, and helped such bands as Gin Blossoms and Dead Hot Workshop get their start. They aren’t the only notable locals that Olson has helped influence over the years, as artists like The Sugar Thieves and other modern-day musicians cited him as a mentor.

Olson is still going strong to this day, releasing his music via Phoenix-based label Fervor Records (who have gotten several of his tunes of the soundtracks of notable TV shows) and holding down weekly gigs at a few different local venues. Every Tuesday night, for instance, you can find him performing at popular Tempe dive Time Out Lounge in Tempe, singing the blues and having a blast doing so. Benjamin Leatherman
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers