The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Jacob Collier is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, March 13, at The Van Buren.EXPAND
Jacob Collier is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, March 13, at The Van Buren.
Morgan Hill-Murphy
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Spring has officially sprung in the Valley, and there are plenty of things to do around town. That, of course, includes concerts, as evidenced by the wealth of shows you’ll find filling our online concert calendar.

We’ve pored through our listings for the next few nights and put together a rundown of the best concerts happening in metro Phoenix this week. It includes a variety of notable names (Jacob Collier, Low) crowd favorites (Steep Canyon Rangers, 40 Oz. to Freedom), and even band or two heading to South by Southwest (Choker).

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

Failure members Ken Andrews, Greg Edwards, and Kellii Scott.EXPAND
Failure members Ken Andrews, Greg Edwards, and Kellii Scott.
Priscilla C. Scott

Monday, March 11
Crescent Ballroom

Once upon the '90s, there were an underrated melodic grunge band named Failure. When they were seven years old and touring their third album, Fantastic Planet, the group fell off their proverbial horse. The members subsequently wandered the music industry's topography during a 15-year hiatus that ended in 2013. It was followed by two happily-ever-after albums, 2015’s The Heart Is a Monster and last year’s In the Future Your Body Will Be the Furthest Thing from Your Mind. (Failure also put on the 2018 EP From Your Mind.) The band – which currently consists of Ken Andrews, Greg Edwards, and Kellii Scott – are still touring and will make a stop at Crescent Ballroom on Monday night. Criminal Hygiene will open. Amanda Ventura

The members of Low.EXPAND
The members of Low.
Shelly Mosman

Monday, March 11
Valley Bar

When Low’s debut album, I Could Live In Hope, came out in 1994, you couldn’t find a more out-of-place release against the backdrop of loud alternative rock hitting the mainstream. Low’s debut album was a study in mood with slow melodies that felt like they could float through the desert landscape. I Could Live In Hope was an album of landscapes that made the listener aware of the space they were occupying while waiting for each strum of the guitar.

Low’s 2018 album Double Negative doesn't contain the sparse desert of sounds of their early albums that defined the "slowcore" genre. It's still atmospheric, but where a sparse strike snare drum and strum of the guitar would have gone is now synths that distort and build and collapse now occupy the spaces where snare strikes and guitar strums would have gone. What does that mean for Low when they perform? Will they create a set with a mix of their oldest compositions and their newest album? You'll have to head out to Valley Bar on March 11 to find out. Julian Hernandez

Tuesday, March 12
The Rebel Lounge

When four-piece L.A.-based pop rock band Weathers open up their debut album, Kids in the Night, with “I’m Not Ok,” the reference to My Chemical Romance’s hit track is unmistakable. The group tackle feelings of insecurity, helplessness, and imbalance with catchy hooks and melodies. Being young and dumb can be messy, but Weathers insist it should at least be fun. In the small space of The Rebel Lounge, expect Weathers to do a lot of crowd work and engagement, and don’t be surprised when you start hearing their singles on every pop radio station in Arizona. Julian Hernandez

Deafheaven performs at FORM Arcosanti in 2017.
Deafheaven performs at FORM Arcosanti in 2017.
Michelle Sasonov

Deafheaven and Baroness
Tuesday, March 12
The Van Buren

One of the most controversial, nontraditional, and high-profile groups in the greater metal scene, Deafheaven was recently nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance for the song "Honeycomb," from their 2018 record Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. It's an unexpected honor for the group, who first gained attention for their 2013 record Sunbather and its 2015 followup New Bermuda. Both albums exhibit an intense mix of black metal vocals; shoegaze-influenced production; heavy, major-key guitar riffs; and intense, poetic lyrics that gained attention from mainstream music publications like Pitchfork and earned scorn from black metal traditionalists. Beyond awards or criticism, the music is simply devastating in its impact.

Deafheaven are currently co-headlining a tour with Baroness, who are also Grammy-noted, having received their own Best Metal Performance nomination in 2017 for the song "Shock Me." Purple in 2015 was the last album from the band, whose sound is constantly changing but is more traditionally geared toward heavy metal than Deafheaven's. Douglas Markowitz

Tuesday, March 12
Valley Bar

There’s no uniformity in Choker’s 2017 debut album, Peak. Instead, each track is masterfully its own creation, which makes placing Choker into a single genre a difficult task. While at times singing in a hushed and raspy voice on the R&B-influenced tracks, the Detroit-based producer brings command as a vocalist throughout. On his 2018 sophomore album, Honeybloom, the pacing is more controlled as each track transitions smoothly to the next. It’ll be interesting to see the transition from the studio to the stage. Julian Hernandez

Jacob Collier
Wednesday, March 13
The Van Buren

The last several years have been a whirlwind for British-born singer and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier. In 2011, he was 17 and making split-screen YouTube videos of himself playing a variety of different instruments while covering songs like Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing.” But the internet’s an amazing thing, and you never know who you’re reaching. In Collier’s case, one of those people was Quincy Frickin’ Jones.

Fast-forward eight years, and Collier, now 24, has signed to Jones’s management company, and things are moving along quite nicely. He’s released a pair of albums, 2016’s In My Room and last year’s Djesse (Vol. 1), won a pair of Grammy Awards, and has performed around the world using a unique, one-man audio-visual setup that was custom built for him by MIT.

Collier’s sound is all over the place, and trying to ram him into a genre box is futile, but that's what makes him so attractive as an artist. When he says that he listens to anything and everything, this cat really means it.

“As a member of a generation who have been subjected to much over-stimulation, it’s hard to say I fit into any one category,” Collier says. “In some ways, jazz is the broadest umbrella of them all, because it involves different parts of different genres. It’s really hard to say that there’s no folk, no classical or no electronic music. It’s all about balancing out those different sounds. I’m one of those people that’s listened to so much music, I feel like I’ve soaked it all and not rejected anything, so it’s all present there when I’m in my inventing room.” Brett Callwood

Wednesday, March 13
The Rebel Lounge

Lazerpunk does dark and devastating synthwave and does it well. So well, in fact, that the rampaging-yet-mesmerizing electronic music created by the Hungarian-born producer will echo throughout your mind long after they’ve assaulted your eardrums. Take the tracks on Death & Glory, his 2018 release on Electric Dream Records, which storms into your ears from the get-go via its opening track “Ego Death” with a cannonade of harsh sounds and hypnotic beats. It’s followed by the ominous synth onslaught of tracks like “Power,” “Black Lambo,” “War Machine,” all of which offer a relentless thrum of energy and dark sounds.

According to a 2018 interview, Lazerpunk’s creations are fueled by pure emotion. “The powerhouse behind this album was not professionalism, a knowledge on music theory or sound design, but raw human emotions. All the hate, anger, frustration and pain that I felt during that time I put it into this one album.” Lazerpunk stated. “This album doesn't say complicated things, but what it says it says in a very powerful way. And it seems like people really feel that when they listen to it.” You can witness this firsthand when Lazerpunk invades The Rebel Lounge on Wednesday night. Shredder 1984, Facexhugger, Is A Robot, Jomance, and Rad Dude will open. Benjamin Leatherman

The bluegrass boys of the Steep Canyon Rangers.EXPAND
The bluegrass boys of the Steep Canyon Rangers.
Courtesy of Steep Canyon Rangers

Steep Canyon Rangers
Wednesday, March 13
Mesa Arts Center

Approximately 73 million bands have formed at colleges over the years, and the vast majority of them fall into the rock or pop categories, with a few hip-hop or jazz outfits thrown in for good measure. That makes the Steep Canyon Rangers an anomaly — a bluegrass combo formed in the shadow of academia.

Banjoist Graham Sharp, bassist Charles Humphrey III, guitarist Woody Platt, fiddler Nicky Sanders, and mandolinist Mike Guggino were students at the University of North Carolina when they first debuted in 2000 and became one of the genre's most high-profile acts. And they became even more prominent the past several years after hooking up with jokester-turned-banjoist Steve Martin in 2009 and won a Grammy for best bluegrass album in 2013 for their solo album, Nobody Knows You.

While the Rangers won't have Martin in tow when they pay a visit to the Mesa Arts Center in mid-March, they will be performing the sort of upbeat down-home sounds that attracted the legendary actor/comedian in the first place. Michael Roberts

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats
Thursday, March 14
The Van Buren

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats is a ’70s throwback band from across the pond that brings to mind genre progenitors like Pentagram and stoner-rock-era Black Sabbath. It doesn’t offer any trailblazing new sounds, but rather makes a point of mining the best out of late-’60s and early-’70s hard rock, an era when bands were in a never-ending battle to one-up each other’s heaviness. Uncle Acid is able to pluck the best of these experiments and toss them in a cauldron, thickening up their potion until what remains is a sludgy, fuzzy delight. David Accomazzo

40 Oz. to Freedom
Thursday, March 14
BLK Live in Scottsdale

When a band covers a song, it should go one of two ways: Either the remake should be a virtually flawless representation, or come out as a startling contrast from the original. Cover bands, on the other hand, are a different story altogether; fans go to see them because they want a copy – not a phoned-in attempt or a new remix, but a version so close to their favorite band it that sounds, looks and feels like their favorite band. This week, 40 Oz. to Freedom stop by BLK Live in Scottsdale to fulfill this desire for Sublime fans with their on-point version of the Long Beach trio.

Board shorts, Coronas and all, 40 Oz. have been performing for the still-thriving Sublime fan base since 2007, long before the original group decided to reunite with Bradley Nowell sound-alike Rome Ramirez. Dane Scott leads this four-piece through the band's fairly limited catalog with precision – and while Nowell's lyrics might not have been the most insightful, his gritty, sunny croon had a surprising depth, and Scott nails it. Bree Davies

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