The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Whitney Rose is scheduled to perform on Thursday, March 28, at the Rhythm Room.EXPAND
Whitney Rose is scheduled to perform on Thursday, March 28, at the Rhythm Room.
Jen Squires
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This week’s concert calendar is nothing if not eclectic. Bands and artists from a wealth of varying genres and styles – ranging from the metal gods of Queensrÿche to country music chanteuse Whitney Rose – are scheduled to perform at Valley music venues from Monday, March 25, to Thursday, March 28.

There are also some rather eccentric acts in the mix, including outsider musician David Liebe Hart and gonzo rock group Electric Six, as well as a band that covers the songs of Phish, Talking Heads, and Pink Floyd.

Other highlights of this week’s concert scene in the Valley include gigs by rapper Lil Tracy, indie act King Buffalo, Boyce Avenue, and The Dollyrots.

Details about each of these shows can be found below in our of the best shows to see around town over the next few nights. And for even more live music happening in the Valley, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Tuesday, March 26
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Formed in the former sleepy Seattle suburb of Bellevue in 1982 by guitarist Michael Wilton along with guitarist Chris DeGarmo, bassist Eddie Jackson, drummer Scott Rockenfield, and singer Geoff Tate, Queensrÿche would have a slow start with its debut album, The Warning. In retrospect, that album failed to capture the imaginations of the fans and the band.

With 1986's follow-up effort, Rage for Order, the band began introducing progressive elements, then nascent studio techniques to achieve a distinct sound that immediately set them apart from other metal bands. With the release and subsequent touring for Operation: Mindcrime and Empire in '88 and '90, respectively, Queensrÿche became a household name and one of the most successful metal outfits, with numerous Grammy Awards and over 20 million album sales worldwide.

At the conclusion of the '90s, the band amicably parted ways with DeGarmo and in 2012 famously entered into a bitter split with singer Tate that resulted in the temporary usage of the moniker by both camps — a move that caused a splintering of their fanbase. After this highly publicized debacle, Wilton and the rest of the band eventually reconvened with singer and Florida native Todd La Torre, formerly of Crimson Glory. With La Torre, the band is now two albums into that new chapter, the most recent being the just-released LP The Verdict, produced by Chris “Zeuss” Harris. Queensrÿche are currently touring in support of the album and pay a visit to the Valley this week. Abel Folgar

Emo rapper Lil Tracy.
Emo rapper Lil Tracy.
Courtesy of Ticketfly

Lil Tracy
Tuesday, March 26
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

It’s now safe to say that sad-boy rap is here to stay. The Virginia Beach emo rapper Lil Tracy, member of the emo rap collective GOTHBOICLIQUE, is stopping in Phoenix on his Goth Cowboy Tour. Tracy suffered a heart attack in the summer of 2018 after mixing various drugs with alcohol, and on his new single, “Don’t Touch,” he takes a new, straight-edge approach while staying true to the GBC ethos. Where else will you hear a rapper sing “I don’t pop xans. I don’t drink lean. You’re my drug”? Julian Hernandez

David Liebe Hart: outsider artist, puppeteer, musician, TV star.EXPAND
David Liebe Hart: outsider artist, puppeteer, musician, TV star.
Courtesy of David Liebe Hart

David Liebe Hart
Tuesday, March 26
The Trunk Space

David Liebe Hart approaches the familiar from an unusual angle. He sings about aliens like he’s singing a love song, and he sings about love like he’s singing about aliens. Like all great outsider artists, he doesn’t have a filter that tells him to spare his ego and keep his dry spell to himself. It’s that level of blunt, searing honesty and his willingness to talk about whatever’s on his mind that makes Hart such a fascinating figure.

For any [adult swim] fan, Hart’s bespectacled face is a familiar sight. He’s been a recurring player on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule, and he’s also set to star in his own show on [adult swim] this fall. But Hart had been plugging along long before he carved out a niche for himself on late-night absurdist TV. He first made a name for himself as part of the long-running public access show Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson Show.

It’s hard to deny that his work isn’t user-friendly. Hart the singer sounds like a crank on the bus, rambling more than actually singing. The production on his songs can range from spare instrumentation to ’50s sci-fi movie soundtracks thanks to the efforts of past collaborator Adam Papagan and current musical partner Jonah Mociun. And the subject matter can be just plain bizarre, ranging from Hart’s sexual frustration and conflicted feelings about rap music to his fascination with railroads and UFOs. Ashley Naftule

This photo pretty much sums up King Buffalo's sound.EXPAND
This photo pretty much sums up King Buffalo's sound.
Courtesy of High Road Touring

King Buffalo
Wednesday, March 27
The Rebel Lounge

Upstate New York can be a cold and unforgiving place, where subzero-temperature basement shows are the norm. The Rochester trio King Buffalo pay homage to their prog-rock roots while exploring the sounds of stoner metal, doom metal, and psychedelic rock. On “Morning Sun,” the opening track to their 2018 album, Longing to Be the Mountain, King Buffalo weave chords of acoustic guitar, fitting of the song title, into the distorted chords of early-’90s stoner metal. Julian Hernandez

Electric Six have more than just that "Gay Bar" song in their repertoire.EXPAND
Electric Six have more than just that "Gay Bar" song in their repertoire.
Courtesy of Reybee

Electric Six
Wednesday, March 27
Valley Bar

Most of America got to know Electric Six in the video for the 2003 single “Gay Bar,” which featured the sextet’s members gyrating and cavorting while dressed as hot-pants-clad Abraham Lincoln impersonators. That song, from the band’s debut, Fire, represents the height of their commercial success, but not their creativity.

In the 16 years since, Electric Six have released 18 albums, from the hyperactive, funk-filled I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being the Master to their most recent LP, Bride of the Devil. (They even put out a Christmas album last year, A Very Electric SiXmas.) But the members, who perform under stage names like Dick Valentine and Smorgasbord, have never lost their playfulness. Adam Roy

The musicians of Pink Talking Fish.
The musicians of Pink Talking Fish.
Courtesy of American Artists

Pink Talking Fish
Wednesday, March 27
Last Exit Live

Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish are arguably three of the most beloved musical acts in history. And if this were a few years ago, they'd have not a lot in common. However, Eric Gould's Pink Talking Fish have completely changed that.

Pink Talking Fish are a tribute act to all three bands and find a way to combine them into a comprehensive set. Each song bleeds flawlessly into the next, and then back again. To wit: At one gig, they wove together a medley from bits of "Run Like Hell," "Psycho Killer," and "Run Like an Antelope." Needless to say, it was mind-blowing. The band also have a chameleon style of jamming, changing to fit the mood of each song while still going into unique grooves of their own. Derek Heid

Kelly Ogden (left) and Luis Cabezas of The Dollyrots.
Kelly Ogden (left) and Luis Cabezas of The Dollyrots.
Jen Rosenstein

The Dollyrots
Wednesday, March 27
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

Ever wonder what happened to your eighth-grade comrades? For most people, those folks become distant memories or possibly fodder for some “back when” stories. Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas of pop-punk band The Dollyrots don’t have to ponder how each other’s lives evolved.

The pair met during that middle-school year and ended up a longtime couple who added a kid to the mix a few years back. The Dollyrots formed in 2000, after their previous band, No Chef, went through a member reformation. Ogden handles lead vocals and bass duties, while Cabezas rips on guitar. The band have had a healthy rotation of drummers in the mix. Stacey Jones from Letters to Cleo and Miley Cyrus both contributed drum tracks on the band’s 2013 release, Barefoot and Pregnant, recorded while Ogden was both of those things.

For almost two decades, the band have toured consistently to perform their anthemic, bubblegum-pop-punk that maintains a sassy, stompy sensibility. They’ve played with everyone you can think of, from The Go-Go’s to the Buzzcocks, and their catchy song “Because I’m Awesome” has been used for several different TV spots, not their only tune to be selected for that medium. Amy Young

Whitney Rose brings her "Ameripolitan" sound to the Rhythm Room this week.
Whitney Rose brings her "Ameripolitan" sound to the Rhythm Room this week.
Jen Squires

Whitney Rose
Thursday, March 28
The Rhythm Room

Canadian-born country music chanteuse Whitney Rose is a rising star whose sound is classified as Ameripolitan, a hybrid of country music sub-genres with, in Rose’s case, a bouffant-ed nod to 1960s pop and soul. She’s also pretty fearless as an artist, a fact evidenced by the track “You Don't Scare Me” on her most recent album, 2017’s Rule 62. She's got the mettle that’s necessary to make a name and a career in the mean ol’ music industry. “It is entirely possible that I’m just too dumb to be scared,” she says with a laugh.

The self-deprecation is endearing and a sign of someone who is confident but humble. She’s been in Rolling Stone magazine a few times now. The New York Times has commented on her unique voice and sound. She’s a multiple nominee in the Nashville Country Music Critics’ Poll. Her songs have been featured in the Ashton Kutcher Netflix series The Ranch and she has an ongoing brand partnership with Wrangler. In 2018 alone, she’s traveled to 17 countries in North America and Europe for dozens of headlining shows and festival dates. Consider those accomplishments while attending her show this week at the Rhythm Room. Jesse Sendejas Jr.

Wolfgang Gartner ain't your typical DJ.EXPAND
Wolfgang Gartner ain't your typical DJ.
Chelsea Lauren

Wolfgang Gartner
El Hefe in Tempe
Thursday, March 28

Wolfgang Gartner eschews onstage gimmicks typical of electronic music concerts. While there's no shortage of DJs looking to be the center of attention, Gartner prefers to let his skills do the talking, showcasing the candy-colored, sawtoothed synths, and glitchy beats that fuel his laptop alchemy. When asked why he avoids such shtick, the electro-house guru says it helps him stand out from his desert-slinging, costume-sporting, hamster ball-surfing EDM brethren.

"I don't throw cake at people. I don't wear a suit or a mask. I don't spray champagne. I don't get on the mic and stand on a table and yell at people to get the fuck out. I play music that I think people should hear and put a lot of organic, physical energy into it without gimmicks," Gartner says. "I feel like I'm one of the few people who has any integrity left in the DJ industry these days because it's all come down to people thinking audiences are so stupid that they're trying to get them any way that they can – by throwing stuff at them or getting them to [form a] mosh pit. It's gotten to a point where it's ridiculous, and personally, I will never buy into that."

And Gartner will live up to those statements this weekend at El Hefe in Tempe during his shtick-free set on Thursday night that will be big on beats. DJ Thomas James will open. Nicole Pajer

Boyce Avenue
Thursday, March 28
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Brothers Alejandro, Daniel and Fabian Manzano make up the majority of the acoustic rock trio known as Boyce Avenues, and, although the brothers call Florida their home, Daniel actually graduated from Harvard Law School in 2004. Since then, the Manzanos went from posting videos of original and cover songs on YouTube, which attracted more than a billion views in total, and becoming internet sensations to touring the world. Whether or not all the attention they received is well-deserved is another matter, but the band's somber pop-rock sounds as good as anything you’d hear on the radio these days. Darryl Smyers

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