Things to Do

The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week (And New Year's Eve)

The Iron Maidens are scheduled to perform on Monday, December 31, at BLK Live in Scottsdale.
The Iron Maidens are scheduled to perform on Monday, December 31, at BLK Live in Scottsdale. Alex Solca

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click to enlarge Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix.
Lynn Trimble
Phoenix Symphony's New Year's Eve Celebration
Monday, December 31
Symphony Hall

New Year’s Eve is filled with a variety of traditional activities, including ball drops, midnight countdowns, and donning all those peculiar-looking hats. Appropriately enough, the Phoenix Symphony has its own set of traditions for the last night of the year. Led by conductor Stuart Chafetz, the PSO performs a variety of Broadway favorites and Strauss waltzes before capping things off with a rendition of “Auld Lang Syne.” This year, they’ll feature the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein, as well as a mix of swing and big band hits. Vocalists Kathy Voytko and John Cudia will provide accompaniment. The celebration starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $25-$125. Benjamin Leatherman

The Hot Sardines
Tuesday, January 1
Musical Instrument Museum


While the swinging selections of ragtime and jazz that the Hot Sardines perform may tend to be more than 100 years old, their audience is definitely not. "We see people from 18 to 80 in our shows … this music really does cross demographic lines,” says singer Elizabeth Bougerol. “That's one of the reasons, I think, these songs have endured so long.”

Bougerol first met pianist Evan "Bibs" Palazzo in 2007. There was an immediate musical connection and over the next few years, the Hot Sardines came together with a strong focus on early jazz. Their chosen genre isn't the most popular in America, but it's the one the Sardines most enjoy. “In the U.S., it's a little bit on the fringe. It's not popular music in this day and age; it's not in the pop spectrum. Our approach to this music, first and foremost, is that when this music was first being played, it was pop music. It was what everyone was listening to,” she says. “It's easy to re-historicize things, but really, this is just pop music. At its origins, jazz is pop music. A hundred years from now, someone might think of Deborah Harry and Justin Bieber as being from the same era,” she tells us, “but actually there was lots and lots of time between them. A lot of differences, too.” Olivia Flores Alvarez



Mondo Generator
Wednesday, January 2
The Rebel Lounge

Mondo Generator started life as a Kyuss song, and the Nick Oliveri-penned tune offers a decent blueprint for the band it would later become: The Oliveri-fronted incarnation of Mondo tends more toward shouted, almost hardcore-style vocals, but otherwise you're going to get pretty much what you expect from a Kyuss-spawned Queens of the Stone Age side project. (Other QOTSA members including Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, and Mark Lanegan have also clocked time in Mondo.) In other words, Queens-style heaviness all around, only less subtle, a little dumber and a lot of fun. Cory Casciato

click to enlarge The eclectic and influential Leo Kottke. - ON TOUR PR
The eclectic and influential Leo Kottke.
On Tour PR
Leo Kottke
Thursday, January 3
Musical Instrument Museum


Leo Kottke is weird in the best possible way. And his career has been, too. No one's ever accused Kottke of being a pop star. But somehow, he's managed to parlay his awesome aptitude on the acoustic guitar, a knack for instrumental intricacy that's undeniably complex yet somehow warm and inviting, and occasional vocals that amusingly and defiantly stick to the low road into a half-century-long career. His debut long-player, 6- and 12-String Guitar, arrived in 1969, and he released a steady stream of material for decades while quietly influencing generations of pickers, as the dozens of online videos showing amateur players trying to master his licks demonstrate.

Over the years, Kottke, who lives in Minnesota, has become a hero to famous musicians, too, including Phish's Mike Gordon, with whom he's recorded two albums, 2002's Clone and 2005's Sixty Six Steps. But Kottke, who's in his early seventies, remains hilariously unaffected by the esteem in which he's held. He seems satisfied to occupy his own particular reality, which is different enough from the one the rest of us occupy to render his commentary both insightful and delightfully bizarre. Michael Roberts
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers