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The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Dessa is scheduled to perform on Monday, June 3, at the Musical Instrument Museum.
Dessa is scheduled to perform on Monday, June 3, at the Musical Instrument Museum. Bill Phelps
The first week of June is going to be filled with memorable concerts. Legendary artists like The Specials and Kid Congo Powers have gigs scheduled at Valley music venues, as do hip-hop artist Dessa, Japanese metal act Church of Misery, Americana group Mike and the Moonpies, and country folk chanteuse Patty Griffin.

Other highlights of this week’s concert offerings include shows by Esham, Full of Hell, Moonlight Magic, and the Joey DeFrancesco Trio.

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

click to enlarge Fire, fury, and Full of Hell. - REID HAITHCOCK
Fire, fury, and Full of Hell.
Reid Haithcock

Full of Hell

Monday, June 3
Club Red in Mesa

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, the cover to Full of Hell’s 2017 album Trumpeting Ecstasy is worth 11 songs of ear-shredding brutality. Depicting a nun whose face has been replaced by flames, it’s an invitation and a warning to listeners, telling them, "This is what Full of Hell sounds like." An album full of guttural voices, heart-attack drum beats, and guitars that sound like they’re trying to claw their way out of hell, Trumpeting Ecstasy is the kind of record that would make a nun spontaneously combust if you played it outside her convent window.

One of the things that sets Full of Hell apart from their grindcore and death-metal peers is their enthusiasm for collaboration: They’ve recorded records with Japanese noise legend Merzbow and The Body. Trumpeting Ecstasy shares that spirit of collaboration: Members of Converge and Isis offer production and guest vocal duties (along with Nicole Dollanganger). Dollanganger’s sweet, plaintive voice offers a rare moment of beauty before the band gets back to what they do best: turning nuns into firecrackers. Catch them at Club Red in Mesa on Monday night. Start time is 6 p.m. Tickets are $15. Ashley Naftule

click to enlarge After three decades, The Specials return with a brand-new album. - JOSH CHEUSE
After three decades, The Specials return with a brand-new album.
Josh Cheuse

The Specials

Monday, June 3
The Van Buren

Any old band can do a reunion tour. But when Terry Hall, Lynval Golding, and Horace Panter — three original members of legendary U.K. second-wave ska band The Specials — decided to get back together, they wanted more. Heading back into the studio in 2018, they decided to take a stand against playing the greatest hits.

Although the trio hadn’t released an album together since 1980, they still have much to say about the state of England, race, their personal lives, and more, and they wanted to say it with flair and originality. And it seems that people wanted to hear what they had to say: The resulting album, Encore, went straight to No. 1 on the U.K. album charts, something the band had never accomplished before.

Thirty-five years after their original bow, this new, yet old version of The Specials is surfing on a new wave of recognition. They may not have all their former members with them, but they’ve sold out 40 out of 72 shows on their current tour, which comes to The Van Buren on June 3 — and they’re not just playing the hits. Mark C. Horn

click to enlarge Hip-hop artist Dessa. - CHAD KAMENSHINE
Hip-hop artist Dessa.
Chad Kamenshine


Monday, June 3
Musical Instrument Museum

Dessa was once known as one Margret Wander, a philosophy major and technical writer from Minneapolis. But after joining the campus slam poetry team, Wander evolved into the hip-hop artist known as Dessa, and quickly gained the attention of her hometown's music collective known as Doomtree. She recorded and performed with the legendary hip-hop ensemble for years before going it alone in 2005 to focus on her solo career. Since then, Dessa has released a half-dozen albums of inventive hip-hop, including using unusual instrumentation (sampled strings and clarinets) to set the beats while singing rather than shouting. Her most recent effort is Chime, which dropped in 2018. Dessa visits the Valley this week for a performance at the Musical Instrument Museum on Monday evening beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets for the show are $28.50 to $38.50. Darryl Smyers

click to enlarge Mike and the Moonpies amble into the Valley this week. - DAVE CREANEY
Mike and the Moonpies amble into the Valley this week.
Dave Creaney

Mike and the Moonpies

Tuesday, June 4
The Rebel Lounge

Mike and the Moonpies have been a staple of the Texas country music scene for more than a decade. Their lineup has changed numerous times, and now they have a solid cast of six guys who play the music of the heartland and have numerous albums under their belt. They've opened for the likes of Eleven Hundred Springs and Hayes Carll – and if these guys are good enough for them, they're good enough for you. Mike and the Moonpies are scheduled to perform on Tuesday night at Rebel Lounge. Locals D.L. Marble and Jim Bachmann and the Day Drinkers will open the show, which begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. H. Drew Blackburn

click to enlarge The current lineup of Japanese metal band Church of Misery. - AKIKO NOHARA
The current lineup of Japanese metal band Church of Misery.
Akiko Nohara

Church of Misery

Tuesday, June 4
Club Red in Mesa

The Japanese knack for musical mimicry is evident in the works of Church of Misery, which sound so much like the best hard rock album from 1975 (or 1985, or 1995) that listeners can be excused for checking their calendars while it's playing. The band's been around in one configuration or another for more than two decades now, and experience most definitely counts.

Throughout Church of Misery’s lengthy discography, lead singer Yoshiaki Negishi growls and roars and spits like a shaggy-maned hellhound against riff slabs tossed out by guitarist Yasuto Muraki. Meanwhile, the rhythms created by bassist Tatsu Mikami and drummer Junichi Yamamura crash and smash together with a merry lack of concern for life, limb, or litigation.

Sure, these elements have been around since long before Geezer Butler needed hair dye, but the material doesn't give off the slightest whiff of moldy nostalgia. Rather, they erupt with a mad enthusiasm that will have inveterate metalheads at Club Red in Mesa lining up for a chance to worship at Church's altar when they perform on Tuesday. The concert is at 7 p.m. and Mondo Generator, Toke, and Old Fashioned Assassin open. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door. Michael Roberts
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers