What’s on tap for the Valley’s concert scene this week? Plenty of indie rock, for starters, as well as a country-fried birthday party for one of Phoenix’s longest-running radio stations, one of the bigger hip-hop shows of the year, and the chance to sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” along with the band that made the rock anthem famous.
Famed indie bands like Wand, Potty Mouth, and Deerhunter all have gigs scheduled at local concert venues over the next several nights, as do hip-hop artist 21 Savage, ska/reggae pioneers Toots and the Maytals, and the combination of Queen + Lambert.
Legendary local radio station KNIX will also celebrate 50 years of broadcasting country tunes with a big birthday party featuring Tim McGraw and other crooners.
Details about each of these shows can be found below in our list of the best concerts happening in the Valley this week. For more live music happening around town, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
FeaMonday, July 15
Yucca Tap Room
Girl In a Coma fans are probably well aware that the popular San Antonio, Texas, femme-punk band effectively split into two branches before finally calling it quits last year. First, singer Nina Diaz decided to step away and focus on her solo career. Then, Diaz’s older sister Phanie and GIAC bassist Jenn Alva recruited a couple of friends and formed Fea, which signed to Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records and recorded their own album, a self-titled affair produced by Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace. It rated four and a half stars from punknews.org, which called the album “a pitch-perfect revival of the riot grrrl genre with a new spin for a new generation.” Fea visit the Valley on Monday night for a show at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe that kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Bruiser Queen opens. Tickets are $10 in advance, $13 at the door. Chris Gray
DeerhunterMonday, July 15
Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? It’s the question Deerhunter, the venerable Atlanta indie rock band led by magnetic frontman Bradford Cox, ask with the title of their latest LP, released earlier this year. Frankly, if you were to ask us here at Phoenix New Times this question, we’d probably answer with a big, fat “How the heck should I know?” And then we’d tell you that Deerhunter are going to be here in Phoenix on Monday, July 15, at Valley Bar. The band announced the last-minute tour addition earlier this month, and based on the size of the club and the renown of the band, we’d wager tickets for this summer shindig, which starts at 8 p.m., may be hard to come by or require checking out the secondary market. Douglas Markowitz
KNIX Birthday BashMonday, July 15
When KNIX ditched progressive rock back in 1960 in favor of the music of honky-tonks, cowboys, and crooners, the country world was a very different place altogether. The legendary Valley radio station, which was owned by renowed recording artist Buck Owens, was playing artists like Sonny James, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, and Johnny Cash. You don’t hear any of the aforementioned artists on the station these days, as it focuses more on the biggest hits of current-day country stars. Such will also be the case with the KNIX Birthday Bash on Monday night at Comerica Theatre, as it will feature performances by Tim McGraw, Jon Pardi, and Midland, all of whom are played on the station on the regular. The celebration starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $33.50 to $88.50. Benjamin Leatherman
Queen + Adam LambertTuesday, July 16
Talking Stick Resort Arena
Good news for fans of Queen: Thanks in part to renewed interest in the group because of last year's movie Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen have hit the road this summer with the Rhapsody Tour, and Phoenix is one of the stops. The band will again be joined by singer Adam Lambert and will perform at Talking Stick Resort Arena on July 16.
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The tour moniker is apropos, since the band’s profile is soaring thanks to the success of the Freddie Mercury biopic. Since it was released in October, it’s grossed more than $500 million in movie ticket sales worldwide, topping the box office in 35 different countries along the way. The film’s success has translated into renewed music milestones for the group, too. At one point in the last year, Queen was the most-streamed act in the world on Spotify. Not bad for a band that’s about a year shy of its 50th anniversary and one which lost Mercury, its legendary lead singer, in 1991. Tickets for the Tuesday night show, which starts at 8 p.m., are $54.75 to $190.25. Jesse Sendejas Jr.
Black Pistol FireTuesday, July 16
How can just two dudes produce such a powerful sound? Black Pistol Fire, which split their time between Toronto and Austin, Texas, draw from classic-rock influences to deliver a one-two knockout of dirty blues — and even a howling cover of the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood." Featuring guitarist and vocalist Kevin McKeown drummer Eric Owen, they’ve been performing and touring for eight years now and have released five studio albums, the latest being 2017’s Deadbeat Graffiti. They’re scheduled to perform on Tuesday night at Crescent Ballroom. All-female hard rock act Thunderpussy, who have been involved in an ongoing fight with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for years over copyrighting the band’s name, will open. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17 in advance, $20 at the door. John Nicholl
21 SavageTuesday, July 16
Let’s try not to talk about the harrowing ordeal 21 Savage faced when he was arrested by ICE on suspicion of overstaying his visa. Let’s also try to forget the many jokes made at his expense when it was revealed that he was a British citizen. The fact is that Savage, born Sheyaa bin Abraham Joseph, has been living in Atlanta since the age of 7. He calls the city home, and they claim him as a proud son, made even prouder when he released his album i am > i was in late 2018. The record sees the rapper pivot from the cold-blooded gangster rap over sumptuous Metro Boomin beats from his earlier work and into something more worldly, with reflections on the pain suffered in his life (“a lot”), a tribute to the mother who brought him to America (“letter 2 my momma”), and even a flip on a West Coast classic (“good day”). He performs at Comerica Theatre on July 16 starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29.50 to $55. Douglas Markowitz
Potty MouthTuesday, July 16
The Trunk Space
If you haven't already heard of Potty Mouth, chances are you will soon. Starting out as a pop-punk band with a knack for hooks and crafting songs that buzz past your ears like agitated honeybees, they've morphed over the last few years into a power trio. Abby Weems (vocals/guitar), Ally Einbinder (bass), and Victoria Mandanas (drums) have been taking their music in a new direction, growing from the bratty and catchy pop-punk on their stellar debut studio album, 2013’s Hell Bent, into a more polished, adventurous sound on the recently released follow-up SNAFU. Catch the band in concert at the Trunk Space on Tuesday night. The show starts at 8 p.m. and Dikembe, Pool Kids, and Way Under will open. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Ashley Naftule
The GrowlersWednesday, July 17
The Van Buren
Go ahead and call The Growlers "beach goth." It's not only an apt term that hints at the Orange County band's sound — dark psychedelic rock with a slacker, surfer edge — but when The Growlers put together certain shows, they’ve called it a "beach goth party" themselves. Like fellow road warriors Dr. Dog, The Growlers find a way to take a rock-history lesson's worth of influences and spit out something unique. That's on record. Live, the band are a bunch of costumed firecrackers, plugged into some weird cosmic energy. The Growlers' label calls them a "band of merry menacers," which is certainly true. But those menacers have already hit the stages at Coachella and Lollapalooza and are still going strong. Their gig at The Van Buren on Wednesday night starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $32.50 in advance, $35 at the door. Eric Swedlund
WandWednesday, July 17
Last Exit Live
There’s a bug on the cover of Wand’s new album. Laughing Matter is the new double LP from Cory Hanson and company, out now on Drag City Records. While the bug floating in an alien lake may not be a caterpillar or a butterfly, the record certainly represents the psych-rock act’s emergence from an artistic chrysalis.
“I love all the records we’ve ever done,” Hanson says. “But it’s like reading an old diary — I see the things that nobody else sees. I hear the process and where we were at and how young we were. The things that we got lumped in with, the stoner garage crap, it makes it hard when we try to book shows and stuff. We’re a band that plays with all kinds of genres — frequently with anachronistic fragments of things, but it’s not meant to be the end-all, be-all.”
Hanson hails from one of the great Californian traditions of modern rock. Beyond Wand alone, he has shared projects with Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, Together Pangea, The Meatbodies, and many others. But as Hanson and his Wand bandmates — Sofia Arreguin on synth and vocal, Robert Cody on guitar, Lee Landey on bass, and Evan Burrows on drums — grow together, they move further and further into the unknown. Fuzzy guitar riffs have been replaced by eclectic drum and string arrangements, and hook-driven rock songs washed away by spacious psychedelic experimentation. And that’s just the way Wand prefer it. Their show on Wednesday at Last Exit Live starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door. Gerrit Feenstra
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Toots and the MaytalsThursday, July 18
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Toots and the Maytals have been around since reggae's very beginnings. In fact, the Kingston, Jamaica, crew, founded by Frederick "Toots" Hibbert in the early '60s, are widely credited with giving the genre its name via a 1968 ditty called "Do the Reggay." The Maytals' ska origins live on in what remains their most famous song, "Pressure Drop," which appeared in Jimmy Cliff's definitive reggae movie The Harder They Come (1972) and, when covered by The Clash and The Specials, helped form an important bridge between original and second-wave ska as well as punk rock.
Seminal '70s LPs Funky Kingston, In the Dark — including a stunning rendition of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and a remake of Hibbert's account of his time in prison, "54-46 Was My Number" — and Reggae Got Soul further cemented the Maytals' status as reggae royalty, and (albeit with different rosters) the group have never left the road for very long ever since. They're coming to the Valley on Thursday evening for a show at the Marquee in Tempe at 7 p.m. Tickets are $33 to $66. Chris Gray