The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week
Reel Big Fish are scheduled to perform on Tuesday, July 30, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
There's no shortage of great concerts to see in the Valley as we roll through the final days of July and into August. This week, for instance, you can check out such artists and acts as ska-punk stars Reel Big Fish and Bowling for Soup, local legends Jimmy Eat World, death-metal fiends Decrepit Birth, or rock out with Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones.
You can also check out some next-level hip-hop artistry when Beast Coast’s Escape from New York tour rolls through town, go back to the '80s heyday of New Wave with The Alarm, or watch one-man indie dance-pop artist Robert DeLong perform using video game controllers.
The choice is yours.
Details about each of these shows can be found below in our list of the Valley’s best concerts this week. And for even more live music around the Valley, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
Indie dance-pop artist Robert DeLong.
Robert DeLong Monday, July 29
It’s not often that a video game nerd is also an indie rock musician. It’s rarer still when that person is dragged to a rave that, in turn, heavily influences the music he makes. For these reasons and his fatalistic lyrics that contemplate life as a predetermined journey, Robert DeLong is the best one-man band to perform with a joystick.
Utilizing a cluster of instruments and equipment – which include keyboards, drums, synthesizers, a guitar, and even video game controllers like a Wii remote – DeLong creates beat-heavy indie dance-pop with a sci-fi aesthetic, upbeat tempos, and a melancholic outlook.
Since the release of his first single, “Global Concepts,” in 2012, DeLong has done some globetrotting, performing at festivals and music venues around the world. His current tour, which is in support of his most recent release, last year's See You in the Future, visits Crescent Ballroom on Monday evening. The show is at 8 p.m. and Gothic Tropic opens. Tickets are $20 to $33. Taylor Gilliam
Catch Streetlight Manifesto at the Marquee this week.
Mark R. Sullivan
Streetlight Manifesto Monday, July 29
The Van Buren
New Jersey band Streetlight Manifesto are the whole package — all the raucous fun we've come to expect from Jersey without the orange tans and irritating accents. Yes, the seven-piece band play ska-punk, a genre that's something of an acquired taste, but they do it so flawlessly that even people who don't particularly care for the genre have to pay their respects. Streetlight combine half of Catch 22 and half of One Cool Guy, making up a roster of the top ska talent in Jersey. They’re scheduled to perform on Monday night at The Van Buren at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. Tom Murphy
The death metal fiends of Decrepit Birth.
Nuclear Blast Records
Decrepit Birth Monday, July 29
Club Red in Mesa
Death metal ain't for everyone. But Decrepit Birth make a good case for being the perfect gateway through which the metal-phobic could enter the darkened realm – provided that the prospective listener could overlook that scary-sounding name.
Take an instrumental like "The Enigmatic Form" from the Santa Cruz, California, band's 2008 album, Diminishing Between Worlds. The track would be an ideal place to start an unaccustomed listener prone to liking the group's jazzy riffs, symphonic keys, and clear, neo-classical solos. Say you start there before introducing them to Bill Robinson's matted-as-his-dreadlocks voice. "Wow," this extreme-music novice might remark, "I never knew heavy stuff could sound so ... pretty! It's like Trans-Siberian Orchestra on speed!"
See if you agree with that particular assessment when Decrepit Birth invade Club Red in Mesa on Monday night. The show starts at 6 p.m. and Aenimus, The Kennedy Veil, A Lapse of Ethos, and Came to Conquer will open. Tickets are $15 to $17. Andrew Miller
James McMurtry Tuesday, July 30
Musical Instrument Museum
Decades from now, when social anthropologists look back on which musicians most accurately and articulately captured the plight of the dwindling American middle class in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, they'll surely home in on the brilliant Austin, Texas, songwriter James McMurtry. Rivaled only by Jason Isbell in his ability to construct compelling tales of small-town pathos without sounding patronizing, McMurtry doesn't exploit his characters or paint them in overly dour strokes; even his meth-heads have a good time here and there.
But off-the-grid life isn't an excuse for McMurtry to sing about lakefront bonfires and Daisy Dukes. Such backwoods blowouts are the stuff of Music Row fiction, filled with trucks, cans (both containing beer and affixed to chests) and one-night stands. Yet for as flawed as the protagonists in his songs can be, you'd still much rather spend time with them than the buff bros and babes by the beach. McMurtry is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night at the MIM. Bonnie Whitmore opens. Tickets are $30.50 to $40.50. Mike Seely
Frontwoman and singer-songwriter Hannah Wicklund.
The Fate Group
Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones Tuesday, July 30
Last Exit Live
Like many bands, Los Angeles-based Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones have a long history. It all started when frontwoman and singer-songwriter Wicklund was 8 years old. Backed by rock 'n' roll trio the Steppin Stones, the band began exclusively playing Janis Joplin and Neil Young covers. Twelve years later, the band released their first full-length self-titled album. Since then, the band have played alongside acts like Tom Petty, Cage the Elephant, and Muse. While they're set to play a bunch of shows for the rest of the year, Hannah Wicklund and The Steppin Stones are also spending some time in the studio, so be on the lookout for new music when they perform on Tuesday night at Last Exit Live. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Jacob Vaughn
The pop-punkers of Bowling for Soup.
Reel Big Fish and Bowling for Soup Tuesday, July 30
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
We’ve got a lot of rockers that love to jam to Reel Big Fish. And given their utter popularity back during the mid-’90s ska boom, it shouldn’t come as any surprise. This summer, the band have teamed up with pop-punk act Bowling for Soup for a jaunt across the country. On July 30, the tour makes a pit stop at Marquee Theatre in Tempe. From RBF’s “Sell Out” to Bowling for Soup’s “1985,” get ready to skank, y’all. Pop-punk band Mest will open the evening, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22.50 to $42.50. Jesse Scott
The Alarm's frontman Mike Peters.
The Alarm Wednesday, July 31
The Alarm bring their Sigma LXXXV tour to Phoenix on Wednesday night ready to show U.S. audiences why their latest release flew up the U.K. National Album Chart just weeks after its late June release. And like a tagline from an alien-invasion movie: They are not alone.
The band that formed in Wales in 1981 are touring with a couple of acts that solidified their popularity that same decade – Modern English and Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel. In those early years, The Alarm had hair as high and shirts as ruffled as many of their New Wave peers, but their pervasive rock edge allowed them to fit in a few different boxes.
The band evolved from The Toilets, a '70s punk group The Alarm’s lead vocalist and guitarist Mike Peters put together, and always have blended lyrics that boast hope-amid-despair messages atop a foundation of driving, anthemic rock 'n' roll. Alarm classics like “Sixty Eight Guns,” “The Stand,” and “Strength” are not only catchy, but also timelessly relevant. Nearly 40 years later, that same style and spirit prevail on Sigma, their newest offering. They’ll play songs both new and old during their Celebrity Theatre show on Tuesday, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35-$70. Amy Young
Hometown heroes Jimmy Eat World.
Summer Gods Tour 2019 Wednesday, July 31
Local legends Jimmy Eat World apparently have been around long enough to merit inclusion in one of those nostalgia-filled package tours that are popular this time of year. In this case, it’s the Summer Gods Tour 2019, which is co-headlined by alt-rock act Third Eye Blind, whose heyday peaked in the late '90s with radio hits “Semi-Charmed Life,” “How's It Going to Be,” and “Jumper.” Jimmy Eat World have had their fair share of radio-friendly hits, too, including “The Middle” and “Sweetness.” You’ll hear both during the band’s set (which reportedly clocks in at around 14 songs), as well as such lesser-known favorites as “Bleed American,” “A Praise Chorus,” and “Lucky Denver Mint” from their iconic 1999 album, Clarity. Ra Ra Riot open for both bands. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $29.50 to $99.50. Benjamin Leatherman
Jonny Pierce of The Drums.
The Drums Thursday, August 1
The Van Buren
Hot off the release of their fifth studio album, Brutalism, indie pop band The Drums will be making an appearance at The Van Buren with indie-rock multi-instrumentalist Tanukichan. The Drums have been creating their brand of emotional dance music since 2010, but for their latest release, frontman Jonny Pierce has taken complete control of the album production, making it more of a solo record than a full-band project. Largely written in response to a painful divorce, Brutalism is The Drums’ most honest and raw album to date. Touring with a four-piece band, Pierce will perform songs from the band’s nearly decade-long tenure for what will surely be a night of magic, mischief, and commiseration. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $22 in advance, $25 on the day of the show. David Fletcher
Rapper Joey Bada$$ of Beast Coast and Pro Era.
Beast Coast Thursday, August 1
How long have you been sleeping on Pro Era and Beast Coast? The interconnected Brookyln-born hip-hop collectives are in the middle of their Escape From New York tour and will roll through the Valley this week. Founding member Joey Bada$$ will perform along with fellow Beast Coast members Flatbush Zombies and The Underachievers, but fans looking for the next big thing from the borough will also definitely want to check out Kirk Knight and Nyck Caution, two rising talents whose psychedelic, new-school take on the old-school hip-hop style continues to impress. Fellow rappers Powers Pleasant and CJ Fly will also perform when Beast Coast hits Comerica Theatre on Thursday night starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30.50-$56. Douglas Markowitz