So, how was your Memorial Day weekend? If you survived either the drunken revelry of MDW or the nerdy free-for-all of Phoenix Fan Fusion, congratulations are in order. And if you’re still in the mood to get rowdy or geeky, this week’s concert offerings will give you the chance to do both.
The Dead Milkmen will give their first Valley show in more than a decade, which will likely give local rock geeks a major nostalgia trip. Elsewhere on the calendar, rappers E-40 and Young M.A will perform in town this week, as will country king Brad Paisley and indie bands Pinata Protest, Rooney, and Slow Caves.
Details about each of these concerts can be found below in our list of the best shows happening in the Valley this week. And for even more live music around the Valley, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
Wednesday, May 29
Last Exit Live
Our border brothers in the northern Mexican states have a predisposition for accordion-filled norteños, while rural areas are known to indulge in the more traditional folk music of rancheras. If you're Mexican-American or Chicano, chances are you got a steady dose of both growing up. With that being said, you might think it a little odd when you hear a band like Piñata Protest, a self-described accordion-powered punk rock band that plays ... mojado rock?
When you think about the dichotomy of growing up Chicano, the fusion actually makes perfect sense. The San Antonio, Texas, natives say that their music is not your abuelo's norteño, but it also ain't your pappy's punk rock, either. The quartet, made up of accordionist Alvaro del Norte, guitarist Matt Cazares, bassist Marcus Cazares, and drummer J.J. Martinez, combine driving guitar rhythms, bellowing accordion blasts, and a blistering punk pace for a unique sound that's surprisingly palatable and pleasantly danceable. Anthony Sandoval
Wednesday, May 29
The Rebel Lounge
Rooney were formed in Los Angeles by Robert Schwartzman. (Yes, those Schwartzmans — Jason is his brother.) The band attracted a lot of attention for their British Invasion-influenced sound leading up to and following the 2003 release of their eponymous debut. That album featured songs such as “I’m Shakin’” and “Blueside.” (The latter was on the soundtrack to The Princess Diaries, in which Robert Schwartzman also starred as Anne Hathaway’s love interest.) Their popularity led to tours with other early ’00s acts such as Weezer and The Strokes.
Over the next decade, Rooney released two more albums, Calling the World in 2007 and Eureka in 2010, but in that era, the buzz was much quieter. Now it’s picking up again, thanks to a complete overhaul to the lineup. Schwartzman is the only member left standing in the second coming of Rooney, which sees the band move away from their throwback sound and toward more current, alternative rock. Caroline North
Wednesday, May 29
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale
From mixtape cuts to more, Young M.A has made it her mission to make her gigs, whether she’s opening for the likes of 21 Savage or headlining her own tour, something that belonged to her. The Brooklyn-born firebrand’s first big break came in 2016 with her triple-platinum hit single "OOOUUU", which ranked on the Billboard Top 20 and racked up more than 296 million YouTube views. On the surface, “OOOUUU” is an extension of Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot Nigga” record from 2014, a burly, dance-ready anthem. Only difference is, Young M.A completely owns the fact that it mixes ownership of her sexuality rather than hardheads on the block who double as a crew. This week, she’s scheduled to perform at Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale. The show is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22 to $95. Brandon Caldwell
The Dead Milkmen
Thursday, May 30
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
While it can be difficult to watch certain punk outfits age (and settle into the awkward complacency that has plagued so many legendary bands in recent years), the brand of punk peddled by Philadelphia's Dead Milkmen — rendered with snarky, subtle intellect, rather than brute force — still sounds great after 36 years.
The Milkmen returned from hiatus in 2008 with as close to an original lineup as possible following the tragic loss of bassist Dave "Blood" Schulthise, and have since released new material and even occasionally played live shows. Right now, the band are in the midst of their latest tour and, later this month, the Valley will be fortunate enough to experience its first Dead Milkmen show in decades. They’ll bring out the punk rock girls and boys for a night of singing and slamming to the classics, as well as some unexpected new jams. David Von Bader
Friday, May 31
The Trunk Space
Listening to Slow Caves’ lush, intelligent music, it’s easy to forget that the band’s members are all in their early 20s. Inexperience might hamper some groups, but Slow Caves are an exception. Although their songwriting reflects suburban ideals and millennial angst, the Colorado-born band — made up of singer/guitarist Jakob Mueller, drummer Jackson Lamperes, singer/guitarist Oliver Mueller, and bassist David Dugan — shun many of the musical clichés used by younger artists in favor of intelligent compositions and complicated time signatures generally seen in post-punk acts that rose to prominence in the mid-’90s, when these guys were just kids. Andy Thomas
Friday, May 31
When Brad Paisley isn't writing and performing sweet, tender songs that make women melt into a big pile of mush — or even haunting songs about death — he's writing some hilarious, off-the-wall, kind of stupid songs about the things happening to or around him.
That's the charm of Paisley, though: He's the perfect balance of sweet and salty. While other country crooners might be singing about a woman's tight jeans and lipstick (not that he doesn't sing about that, too), Paisley's strength is observing his surroundings and singing about them with some, or a lot of, humor sprinkled in. On Friday, Paisley will perform at Ak-Chin Pavilion with support from Chris Lane and Riley Green. Paige Skinner
Friday, May 31
When I think E-40, like anyone else in the hip-hop world, I think “Tell Me When to Go.” Back in 2006, it was impossible not to hear it on the radio, on the TV, or in nightclubs everywhere. But long before that smash hit, the Vallejo, California, native otherwise known as Earl Stevens had already built a long, steady career as rapper, producer, and entrepreneur with a magic touch in the studio.
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Besides racking up hit features with other mainstream artists, E-40 has released 20 studio albums. This is a number some artists don’t even see in the span of their career. But what’s even more fascinating is the pace at which these works have been released: From 2010 to 2012 alone, E-40 dropped a total of nine studio albums. One was a collaborative album with Too Short, another respectable rap figure hailing from the West Coast. Three of these albums were released in 2012 alone. On top of that, he's also been prolific composing film soundtracks, building businesses, and writing books. Frankly, we're not even sure where he finds the time to tour. Devin Papillion
Friday, May 31
Cactus Jack's in Ahwatukee
Originally from Italy, Alborosie is an Ital-eating Rasta musician in Kingston, Jamaica, who gets a lot of love from the little island. Born Alberto D'Ascola, he's also known as the "Italian Reggae Ambassador" and has been performing since he was 15 as a member of the band Reggae National Tickets. In 2001, he launched his solo career and has since toured the world and released seven albums, the most recent being 2018's Unbreakable: Alborosie Meets the Wailers United. He's scheduled to perform on Friday night at Cactus Jack’s with support from Shengen Clan and Kill Babylon Coalition. The show is at 8 p.m. and tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. William Breathes