February’s going to be a busy month for concerts in the Valley. Case in point: this week’s packed schedule of shows, which includes the 13 gigs we’ve chosen to feature in the following list.
Over the next seven nights, you can partake in the power-pop of indie darlings The New Pornographers, enjoy the introspective hip-hop of Atmosphere, or get your eardrums rattled by Crobot.
Other notable shows happening from Monday, February 3, to Sunday, February 9, include performances by iconic emo act Dashboard Confessional, R&B singer Xavier Omar, djent metal artists Periphery, trance king Armin van Buuren, jam-band Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and more.
Details about each of these gigs can be found below. For even more live music happening around the Valley this week, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
PeripheryMonday, February 3
The Van Buren
Periphery are one of those bands who are difficult to forget. You remember them because of their musical prowess. The heavy yet delicate mix of poly-rhythmic patterns and climactic melodies. The unexpected tumultuous flow of the music, and variation between raw screams and soaring vocals. The members – vocalist Spencer Sotelo, guitarists Misha Mansoor, Mark Halcomb, and Jake Bowen, and drummer Matt Halpern – are progressive in every sense of the word.
Periphery are a djent movement pioneer, often compared to a younger, heavier Dream Theater. The members self-produce everything they do, and since their self-titled debut a decade ago, they have released several other albums. Their latest, Periphery IV: Hail Stan, came out last April. They’re scheduled to perform on Monday at The Van Buren. Plini and Arch Echo will open the 7 p.m. show. Tickets are $27.50 to $30. Lauren Wise
AtmosphereTuesday, February 4
Over the last few cycles of extreme bravado in hip-hop, MC Slug, producer Ant, and their assorted Atmosphere affiliates have been the pillars of hip-hop’s most navel-gazingly emotional quadrants. That’s not to say the duo haven’t maintained a certain degree of rap’s hypermasculine energy. It’s just that the intensity of the MC’s lens (usually projected onto hyperbolic accounts of achievement) is instead projected inward, where violent fantasies are subbed out for an extra dose of Dashboard Confessional-style self-obsession and/or loathing. The result has been entire albums spent languishing over the trials of life and mulling over the winding worries wandering through the rapper’s delicate psyche. They’re currently touring in support of their latest album, 2019’s Whenever, and visit the Marquee Theatre on Tuesday night. The Lioness, Nikki Jean, and DJ Keezy open the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $26. Matt Preira
C.W. StonekingTuesday, February 4
Australian artist C.W. Stoneking manages to combine blues, boogaloo, and calypso music without coming across as a throwback. It is easy to imagine Josephine Baker shaking her famous banana skirt to his exotic songs. “I just played old blues stuff really for a long time – that was the whole focus of my life really for pretty long – and then I just started writing songs. I guess I just got impatient; I started looking for other music that would give me a thrill,” says Stoneking.
Stoneking has successfully explored varied sounds on all three of his albums, King Hokum, Jungle Blues, and Gon’ Boogaloo, tapping a rich blues sound combined with more Caribbean and African influences. Stoneking brings the blues to Valley Bar on Tuesday evening. Local Americana band Blood Feud Family Singers will open the 8 p.m. concert. Tickets are $15. Gladys Fuentes
The New PornographersWednesday, February 5
The New Pornographers have been making power pop for two decades. Oddly, guitarist, vocalist, and frontman Carl “A.C.” Newman attributes the longevity of the band to the fact that many of their members have other successful projects (such as vocalist Neko Case’s solo career) that take time away from it. “We’re not a band that tours eight months out of the year,” Newman says. “That made it to where we don’t grow to hate each other.” The band formed Canada in 1997 and attracted attention with their debut, Mass Romantic. Now they’re on the road promoting their eighth album, In the Morse Code of Brake Lights. They’ve never had a hit single, per se, but every album seems to yield songs that people really want to hear again and again. The New Pornographers’ music is timeless and happy, and they're scheduled to stop at Crescent Ballroom on Wednesday night for an 8 p.m. show. Diane Coffee opens. Tickets are $30 to $48. Eric Grubbs
CrobotWednesday, February 5
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale
Crobot are everything right about hard rock. The bearded group – whose self-described sound is “Dirty. Groove. Rock.” – definitely have been in demand on the festival and touring circuit, including opening for metal acts like Anthrax and Black Label Society. (Motörhead even tapped the Pennsylvania band to perform on their Motörboat cruise, back when the legendary band were still around.) Crobot feel just as comfortable in small clubs as they do in front of 20,000 in the blazing sun of a festival crowd, so their performance at Pub Rock Live on Wednesday night should be a rollicking affair. Like Machines and Stereo Rex share the bill and the show gets going at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12. Amy Harris
Pigeons Playing Ping PongWednesday, February 5
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Greg Ormont likes to get funky — and so does his band. The guitarist and vocalist for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong says his jam-centric group have been focused on having fun since their beginning in 2009. "We started out [at the University of Maryland] casually noodling and writing goofy songs," Ormont, a resident of Baltimore, recalls. "We were an acoustic duo, and eventually we got a drummer. Once we added bass and started practicing regularly, we found a friend's garage where we liked to hang out. We set up space heaters and wore warm clothes when we jammed out in the winter months, which is not the best for guitar tuning. We felt like the rite of passage was to play in a garage somewhere, and so we did. It was a relaxed and organic scene. We still like to keep that same lighthearted vibe."
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, who describe their music as high-energy psychedelic funk, are not afraid to let their musical freak flag fly. See for yourself when the band roosts at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Tickets are $21 to $31. Nick Hutchinson
Armin van BuurenThursday, February 6
The Van Buren
Trance music is as big as it's ever been. Just ask Armin van Buuren, who has been one of the EDM genre’s gurus. This Dutch superstar has been winning the hearts and minds of clubbers the world over with trance since the late ‘90s. Wherever van Buuren plays, he draws massive crowds of bliss-seeking trance acolytes. So if hands-in-the-air breakdowns and simple, shiny melodies over off-beat bass lines are what you seek, catch van Buuren’s performance at 9 p.m. on Thursday, which is fittingly happening at The Van Buren. Tickets are sold out but are available on the secondary market. Cory Casciato
Church of MiseryFriday, February 7
Club Red in Mesa
The Japanese knack for musical mimicry is evident in the works of Church of Misery, who 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 they're playing. The band have been around in one configuration or another for more than two decades now, and experience most definitely counts. 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 Friday. The concert is at 7 p.m. and Black Wizard, Grail, and MCLM open. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door. Michael Roberts
Dashboard ConfessionalFriday, February 7
The Van Buren
Chris Carrabba may have a new look, but the song remains the same. When we last saw the Dashboard Confessional singer, he was still sporting a clean-shaven face and his signature pompadour. Now, with a beard and long hair parted to the side, he is ready to bring new life to the songs that we have come to love the most.
At 44 years of age, Carrabba is celebrating 20 years of his signature alt-rock/emo band Dashboard Confessional with the release of a career-spanning collection, The Best Ones of the Best Ones, last week and a tour that comes to The Van Buren on Friday. He says that fans can look forward to hearing songs that he has avoided playing live for a long time, songs like "This Bitter Pill" and "The Brilliant Dance" from 2001's The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and Piebald will open. Admission is $35 to $38. David Fletcher
Xavier OmarSaturday, February 8
The Rebel Lounge
After a hiatus and a name change, Xavier Omar, the artist formerly known as SPZRKT, has re-emerged with a new sound and a more soulful voice. He’s switched out danceable beats of his past for a more dreamy sound. Imagine Khalid’s vocals mixed with the soothing rhythms of The xx. The change has allowed him to reach a wider audience, as evidenced by the number of listeners on his Spotify page. (For reference, his old alias only saw about 12,000 monthly listeners. Omar now commands around 1 million users streaming his catalog.) Omar often sings about his love for both God and his wife, which is very Chance the Rapper of him, but sans the grandiose gospel-inspired beats. But unlike Chance’s The Big Day, it’s Omar’s sincerity that keeps music lovers coming back for more. He’s performing on Saturday night at 8 p.m. at The Rebel Lounge. Parisalexa will open. Tickets are $22 in advance, $25 at the door. Barbara Smith
Dermot KennedySaturday, February 8
Arizona Federal Theatre (formerly Comerica Theatre)
At first listen, it’s obvious why Dermot Kennedy is often compared to fellow singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. The singers sound eerily similar, so it might take an extra listen to hear the difference between the two. But don’t let that comparison serve as a deterrent from this Irish-born crooner’s music. There are also hints of other musicians such as Hozier or Lewis Capaldi throughout his catalog. After busking across his country to get enough money to pay for studio time, Kennedy’s songs “Power Over Me” and ‘Impossible’ have been garnering significant attention with over 100 million streams on Spotify alone. He is also garnering buzz as a headliner for this year’s Coachella. Despite the drama in his songs, Kennedy is always moving forward. He's scheduled to perform at Arizona Federal Theatre on Saturday. SYML opens the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $29.50 to $35. Barbara Smith
Black Tiger Sex MachineSaturday, February 8
The Van Buren
It's going to be an absolute rager at Monarch Theatre when Canadian electronic dance music trio Black Tiger Sex Machine (a.k.a. BTSM) hit the Valley of the Sun. Their ridiculously aggressive style of dark EDM is accented wonderfully by the band's one-of-a-kind LED lighting rig and their custom-built light-up tiger masks. While the ornate technological tiger masks are an obvious nod to their electronic forefathers Daft Punk, BTSM aren't trendy hangers-on copping another group's style. Their bellicose dance tunes are about 10 notches more abrasive than anything the famed French duo have ever produced, and the tiger masks add just the right amount of mystique to the mix.
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But it isn't just some fancy stage props that have earned the group consisting of Marc Chagnon, Julien Maranda, and Patrick Barry spots at some of the country's premier music festivals. Their live shows come with a raw energy that is so transcendent it can even be felt through a computer screen watching their live videos online. Experience it for yourself on Saturday night when they perform at The Van Buren starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $40. Jeff Moses
GARZASunday, February 9
As half of the groundbreaking electronic duo Thievery Corporation, Rob Garza practically created and then popularized downtempo throughout the world. Their music is a slow-paced blend of electronic, bossa nova, jazz, dub, and other musical styles from around the globe. While Garza DJed before he met Eric Hilton before they formed Thievery, the last several years have seen the beatsmith producing dance tracks and focus on playing more solo gigs around the world. This weekend, he’ll bring his self-named collaborative musical experience GARZA to the Crescent Ballroom at 8 p.m. on Sunday night, which “explores a different musical palette of colors and textures” and “[blurs] the lines between ‘pop’ familiarity and electronic esoterica.” Tickets are $20 to $30. Adam Foster