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The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Khalid is scheduled to perform on Thursday, June 20, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Khalid is scheduled to perform on Thursday, June 20, at Gila River Arena in Glendale. Grace Pickering
So, no one in their right minds would want to come to Phoenix in the summertime, huh? Try telling that to all the touring artists, singer-songwriters, and bands that are due in town this week. Over the next several nights, folks like R&B stars Khalid and Jamila Woods, rapper Machine Gun Kelly, heartland rocker John Hiatt, and country singer Carson McHone all have concerts happening in the Valley.

Others set to perform this week include ‘90s radio favorites Hootie and the Blowfish and indie acts like Unwed Sailor, Geographer, and Froth.

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

click to enlarge Michael Deni of Geographer. - PARADIGM AGENCY
Michael Deni of Geographer.
Paradigm Agency

Geographer

Monday, June 17
Crescent Ballroom


Almost every full-time musician can tell of a serendipitous series of events that led him or her down the path of becoming a professional. Maybe Mom and Dad had some old records that sparked an interest, or tuba spots in the school band were all taken up, so they had to play drums instead. Michael Deni of Geographer was walking along one day and just happened to find a synthesizer out in the street. Seriously, he found a functioning synthesizer. Then, he learned to play it.

The gods might as well have had him trip over it, then look at it curiously with a giant question mark floating over his head. The synthesizer inspired Innocent Ghosts, Geographer’s debut album, which is packed with moody synth, catchy hooks, and eerie vocals. Since then, the band have released two more full-length studio albums and several EPs, including the recently released seven-song EP New Jersey. Geographer is currently touring in support of the album and visit Crescent Ballroom on Monday night. Manatee Commune will open. The show is at 8 p.m. and tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door. Christina Caldwell

click to enlarge Jamila Woods sings at the Treefort Music Fest in March 2018. - STEEL BROOKS
Jamila Woods sings at the Treefort Music Fest in March 2018.
Steel Brooks

Jamila Woods

Monday, June 17
Valley Bar


With cosmic jazz, silky soul, and finely curated hip-hop beats, Jamila Woods weaves richly detailed R&B worlds that provoke and awe in equal measure. Politically incisive and exquisitely arranged, the Chicagoan’s music looks to the past to usher our present into a more woke future. Take for instance her recent masterstroke, LEGACY! LEGACY!, whose track names are taken from legendary artists of color like Sun Ra, Basquiat, Betty Davis, and Muddy Waters. The voices and influence of these giants haunt every corner of the record, from its smoky atmospheres to its enraged reflections on inequality. By meditating on history without leaning on it, Woods’ art betrays an understanding that the answers to emerging social obstacles hinge on combining the knowledge of the past with the ambition of the present. She'll be at Valley Bay on Monday night with duendita and TRUVONNE for an 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $15. Jonathan Patrick

click to enlarge Machine Gun Kelly's headed to the Valley this week. - CASEY PERRYMAN
Machine Gun Kelly's headed to the Valley this week.
Casey Perryman

Machine Gun Kelly

Tuesday, June 18
The Van Buren


Born Colson Baker, Machine Gun Kelly (a.k.a. MGK) rose to fame after the release of his 2012 single “Wild Boy” featuring Waka Flocka Flame. The song was an anthem for the badly behaved and was the first introduction to Kelly's badass personal branding. Despite being most often labeled a rapper, Kelly's made a living off of his rock star lifestyle. When it comes to his musical accolades, putting him solely in the box of hip-hop is a gross underestimation of his talent.

Hotel Diablo, Machine Gun Kelly’s fourth studio album, is set to be released by the end of June. A mashup of alternative rock and rap, Hotel Diablo is a slight departure from his roots in hip-hop. Announced by MGK himself on Instagram, this new project is about showing his fans that, even though he’s still the skinny kid with the tattoos and the bleached hair, artistically, he’s very different. He’s still mad as hell, but with this album, he’s embracing that angst and expressing it on his terms, telling fans that Hotel Diablo will be “just as honest” as his second project, the highly regarded General Admission. His show at The Van Buren on Tuesday is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Alma Schofield


Xavier Wulf

Wednesday, June 19
Club Red in Mesa


Once a member of the formidable Raider Klan with SpaceGhostPurrp, Denzel Curry, Chris Travis, and more, Xavier Wulf is at once a child of the gritty Memphis, Tennessee, rap scene and a pioneer of the current SoundCloud-assisted rap underground. His dark, anime-assisted visuals and Three Six-inspired flow and voice on songs like “Check It Out” mean he fits in perfectly with scene favorites like $uicideboy$ and fellow Seshollowaterboys member Bones. When this Wulf howls at Club Red alongside Beau Young Prince, Reco Havoc, and Marty Grimes, it’ll be hard to sleep on him anymore. The show is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $25. Douglas Markowitz

click to enlarge John Hiatt ambles into town this week. - JIM MCGUIRE
John Hiatt ambles into town this week.
Jim McGuire

John Hiatt

Wednesday, June 19
Marquee Theatre in Tempe


Don't worry if the name John Hiatt doesn't immediately ring a bell for you. You've no doubt heard the man's tunes, especially the ubiquitous "Have a Little Faith in Me," which has been belted by everyone from Mandy Moore to Jon Bon Jovi. Hiatt's something of a songwriter's songwriter, penning tunes that have been performed by Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Urban, Chaka Khan, Three Dog Night, and more.

The lineup of artists who have (literally) sung his praises is a testament to his catholic delivery: Hiatt writes songs that transcend genre boundaries and party lines. His late-'70s and early-'80s discography shows off the same New Wave flirtations that earned Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello their hits, but like those two, he's a roots man at heart. Hiatt's songs are boldly populist, and his grasp on soul, R&B, folk, and country grooves has earned him a rep as one of the best songwriters in the biz, while his solid live performances sell him as a fine performer, too. See for yourself on Wednesday night at the Marquee starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45-$73. Jason P. Woodbury
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers