Concerts in Phoenix August 19-22: Snail Mail, The Avett Brothers, Mogwai | Phoenix New Times

The 13 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Fans of indie rock are in for a treat.
Snail Mail are scheduled to perform on Tuesday, August 20, at The Rebel Lounge.
Snail Mail are scheduled to perform on Tuesday, August 20, at The Rebel Lounge. Matador Records
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It's going to be a packed week when it comes to concerts in the Valley, especially those of the indie rock and pop variety. Bands like Mogwai, Generationals, The Avett Brothers, Bad Books, and Snail Mail all have gigs taking place at local concert venues over the next couple of nights.

Other notable artists and acts hitting stages around town this week include Japanese metal band Boris, hip-hop duo Flynt Flossy and Turquoise Jeep, New Wave band The Fixx, pop singer-songwriter Grace VanderWaal, and emo kings Hawthorne Heights.

Details about each of these shows can be found below in our rundown of the 13 best concerts happening in the metro Phoenix area this week. And for even more live music happening locally, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

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Grant Widmer (left) and Ted Joyner (right) of Generationals.
Drew Stubbs and Joni Moore


Monday, August 19
Valley Bar

Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer have been making music as a duo called Generationals for well over a decade. Based out of New Orleans, they specialize in creating crafty, catchy, hook-filled indie rock that is tailor-made to soundtrack quirky Netflix shows, uptempo TV ads, or the day-to-day minutiae of life. With a steady output of singles and EPs, they've never really gone away, but they've just released Reader as Detective, their first full-length album in five years. It's a good mix of genres, and an album that continues their expert blending of the classic and contemporary. Mixed in alongside their staple of solid material, the new tracks should make for a nice night of tunes as they perform them in the dark confines of Valley Bar on Monday evening. Pure Bathing Culture opens the show, which starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Jeff Strowe

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Flynt Flossy in concert.
Dave Lichterman/Flickr Creative Commons

Flynt Flossy and Turquoise Jeep

Monday, August 19
Last Exit Live

Fast fashion YouTube video rap crew Turquoise Jeep exist in the same universe as Pee Wee's Playhouse, Paper Rad, and Yo Gabba Gabba!; like the aforementioned productions, they're colorful, control-freaked, and hands-on. Lead MC Flynt Flossy has a refreshingly lighthearted persona along the lines of Shock G, Sir Mix a Lot, and DJ Lance Rock, lyrically rife with double entendres and goosey figures of speech. Compared to the great big world of hip-hop and its endless procession of yachts, slabs, and brand-name everything, a turquoise jeep provides an apt description of their hands-on, arts-and-crafts-forever aesthetic. They’re scheduled to perform on Monday night at Last Exit Live. The show is at 8 p.m. The Stakes and Curtis Can't See will open. Admission is $15 in advance, $17 at the door. Tex Kerschen

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Post-rock heroes Mogwai.
Steve Gullick


Monday, August 19
Crescent Ballroom

Scottish post-rock heroes Mogwai are the band most instrumental rock groups that have started in the past decade want to be when they grow up. Beginning with 1997's epic Young Team and continuing with the release of the group's ninth studio LP, 2017’s Every Country's Sun, Stuart Braithwaite, Dominic Aitchison, Martin Bulloch, and Barry Burns have found inventive ways to avoid the sonic monotony that many guitar-driven instrumental rock acts eventually suffer from. Loud, quiet, loud, and back again is great, but Mogwai push the formula with each record, whether it is a proper studio album or a film score.

While lyrics in Mogwai numbers are really rare, the band still find ways to convey a rather sharp, sometimes perplexing, sense of humor. The song titles are often employed as vehicles to simply give the band a giggle, and nothing more, though so many titles are thought-provoking, especially the many songs bearing titles with seemingly religious connotations, such as "You Don't Know Jesus," "Devil Rides," and "Mogwai Fear Satan.” Mogwai are set to perform on Monday at Crescent Ballroom with Papa M and Night Tongue as openers. The music starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $29. Kelly Dearmore

The Fixx

Monday, August 19, and Tuesday, August 20
MIM Music Theater

The British New Wave band The Fixx, mostly remembered for hits such as "One Thing Leads to Another" and "Red Skies at Night," released a new album titled Beautiful Friction in 2012 after nine years of studio silence. The album received a warm welcome from critics and is still a great fit into the record collection of anyone who prefers to remember the band as they were 30 years ago. They’ll be in concert on Monday and Tuesday night at the MIM Music Theater. Showtime is at 7 p.m. both nights and tickets are $43.50 to $53.50. Diamond Rodrigue

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Japanese metal band Boris.
Miki Matsushima


Tuesday, August 20
Valley Bar

Like most things, the best metal comes from Japan. Named after a Melvins song, the trio of Atsuo, Takeshi, and Wata have been putting out incredible records since 1992, varying their style from awesome sludge anthems (Pink), full-length ambient metal works (Flood), and collabs with harsh noise god Merzbow. They'll swing by Valley Bar on Tuesday in support of their new double album, LOVE & EVOL. It's their first release with Jack White's Third Man Records, which will also reissue their classic LPs Feedbacker and Akuma no Uta. If you plan to attend, the show starts at 8 p.m. and Uniform shares the bill. Tickets are $21 in advance, $23 at the door. Douglas Markowitz

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Steve Earle (third from right) and the members of The Dukes, his touring band.
Tom Bejgrowicz

Steve Earle and The Dukes

Tuesday, August 20
Mesa Arts Center

Singer-songwriter Steve Earle has managed to ascend the pop-culture ladder to almost legendary heights since he hit the road as a teenager in the 1970s. Judging by the quantity of his output alone (including 17 albums of the rock, country, and folk variety), it's easy to assume the formerly incarcerated, now-rehabilitated drug addict is merely displaying the obsessive zeal that he once held for chemical thrills. This is especially true when one looks upon Earle's myriad artistic outlets over the past decade, where he continues to identify new ways to tell the stories that breed inside his restless spirit.

One would be hard-pressed to name an artist traversing as many imaginative paths as Earle currently does. Whether it's playwriting, hosting a radio show, authoring fiction, appearing in an acclaimed television series, or creating Grammy-winning records, Earle has used his imaginative pen to carve out his wildly varied space. As an outspoken opponent of all things politically conservative, Earle has also employed his sharp social consciousness to shape much of his work, to varying degrees of commercial and artistic success.

This week, Earle brings the current version of his long-time touring band, The Dukes, to Mesa Arts Center for a Tuesday night gig. The Mastersons open starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 to $55. Kelly Dearmore

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The Avett Brothers in concert in 2018.
Kelsee Becker

The Avett Brothers

Tuesday, August 20
Comerica Theatre

It’s an understatement to say Scott and Seth Avett wear their hearts on their sleeves. The Avett Brothers have bared their trials and tribulations on record and on stages across the world for 16 years, making some of the most honest, sincere, and transparent music you’ll hear. That heartfelt songwriting, coupled with folksy bluegrass instrumentation played at a rock 'n' roll pace, earned the band an ever-larger fan base that went from selling out small clubs to stadiums and amphitheaters over the course of a decade. Their travels bring the brothers to Comerica Theatre on Tuesday night. Lake Street Drive open the night, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 to $69. Mikel Galicia
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Rock legend Tom Keifer (center) and his backing band.
Luckyman Concerts

Tom Keifer

Tuesday, August 20
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Any discussion of hard rock, or even glam metal, from the 1980s is woefully incomplete without Pennsylvania's Cinderella receiving a good chunk of chatter. In 1988, Tom Keifer and crew began an impressive run of hitting high on the sales charts and video countdowns. Monster ballads such as "Nobody's Fool" and "Don't Know What You Got ('Til It's Gone)" still elicit open-throated, drunken singalongs when a bar's jukebox busts them out.

But as the 1990s began, Keifer faced a battle much tougher than any of the addictions he had overcome years prior due to the paralysis of his left vocal cord. A singer known for his ability to shatter glass with his raspy wail, it took years of surgeries and hard work to get back to a point he was comfortable singing. Now 58, those years of struggle culminated in his 2013 solo debut, The Way Life Goes. Keifer and his band will be in the Valley to perform at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe on Tuesday night with Dead West, Color of Chaos, and Dawn of the Rising sharing the bill. Doors are at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $30 to $60. Kelly Dearmore

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Kevin Devine, Andy Hull, and Robert McDowell of Bad Books.
Brian Manley

Bad Books

Tuesday, August 20
Crescent Ballroom

It started more than 10 years ago. Indie musician Kevin Devine toured with the indie rock darlings Manchester Orchestra in 2008, and by 2010, Devine and Manchester members Andy Hull and Robert McDowell formed Bad Books. The band’s formation was followed quickly by the release of their self-titled debut. The second album, II, was released in 2012, and now, after seven years, III has hit our streaming services.

The three are touring this summer to support their new album, which was released in June through Loma Vista Recordings. A stop in Phoenix – specifically Crescent Ballroom – is on Tuesday. Attendees of the show can expect lulling new singles like "Lake House" and "I Love You, I'm Sorry, Please Help Me, Thank You," as well as some old favorites like “Forest Whitaker.” Brother Bird opens and the show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $23.
Lauren Cusimano

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Lindsey Jordan of Snail Mail.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Snail Mail

Tuesday, August 20
The Rebel Lounge

Snail Mail frontwoman Lindsey Jordan, who has been playing guitar since the age of 5, has possibly one of the most impressive backstories you'll ever hear about. She dropped her first EP with Sister Polygon Records before touring with Priests, and Mary Timony of Ex-Hex was her guitar teacher. But the bio aside, Jordan herself is a delightful and impressive person, who seems like one of the best artists to get handed the keys to the future of indie rock.

When you catch Snail Mail live, you can't help but notice that Jordan is a shredder disguised; the way she plays shows an artist who could easily go harder than she is, and she plays her guitar like it owes her money. We were curious as to who she was inspired by because of that. In many ways, her playing is reminiscent of the works of Johnny Marr, Keith Levene of P.I.L., and John McGeoch of Magazine.

Watching Snail Mail perform, it's obvious that Jordan sings with her full heart. There's a heft to her songs that comes across in spades, something that makes anyone wonder how the songs can still carry such a weight so many years after they were written. See if you agree when Snail Mail perform at The Rebel Lounge on Tuesday. Choir Boy open the show, which is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door. David Garrick

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Grace VanderWaal in concert.
Miles Chrisinger

Grace VanderWaal

Wednesday, August 21
The Van Buren

At 15, most of us were still fantasizing about what we wanted to be when we grew up. Grace VanderWaal is already living that grown-up dream. When the Kansas native was just 12, she won the 11th season of America's Got Talent and has since released one EP and one full-length album. She's toured with Imagine Dragons and is set to star in the upcoming Disney movie Stargirl. VanderWaal is known for her unique and raspy vocals and often accompanies herself with the ukulele. Her 2017 indie-pop album Just The Beginning is a more amped-up collection of songs compared with her earlier EP. VanderWaal's charm surpasses her time on AGT, and she's likely to stick around the charts for a while. Catch her in concert at The Van Buren on Wednesday. Jade Jackson opens the show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29.50-$33. Diamond Rodrigue

Jimmy Thackery

Wednesday, August 21
The Rhythm Room

After a 15-year stint with the Washington, D.C. blues act The Nighthawks, Jimmy Thackery set out on his own in 1987. Since then, the guitarist, who’s shared the stage with the great Muddy Waters, has toured relentlessly. He has also been remarkably prolific, releasing nearly two dozen albums since his 1992 debut, Empty Arms Motel. Among those recordings are the excellent 2002 studio disc, Whiskey Store, and Whiskey Store Live, released four years later; both feature fellow bluesman Tab Benoit. All of that touring and recording clearly has sunk into Thackery’s fiery sound: He can play the hell out of the blues, whether running through an uptempo burner or injecting a ballad with his fierce fretwork. He will do so at 8 p.m. on Wednesday night at The Rhythm Room. Admission is $15. Tom Murphy

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The members of Hawthorne Heights.
Victory Records

Hawthorne Heights

Thursday, August 22
Crescent Ballroom

The Ohio natives of Hawthorne Heights have delivered punchy post-hardcore rock to fans for more than a decade. The band have also seen numerous lineup changes over the years but have settled nicely these days on a quartet including two original members — JT Woodruff on lead vocals and guitar and Matt Ridenour on backing vocals and bass. Hawthorne Heights' popularity took off in 2004, and last year's Bad Frequencies was their first album in several years. Although reluctant to label itself "emo" or "screamo," Hawthorne Heights certainly embodies some of those styles made popular in the early aughts by the likes of Taking Back Sunday and Brand New. Emery and Oh, Sleeper will open the evening, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22. Diamond Rodrigue
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