ThirdSpace's Grand FinaleFriday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20
During its five-plus years of existence in the downtown Phoenix scene, ThirdSpace’s current home along Grand Avenue has been a hub of art, culture, and music. Scores of local bands, musicians, rappers, DJs, and artists have performed at the bar and restaurant, helping to add to its creative verve and downtown’s cultural fabric. This weekend, ThirdSpace will still play that role, albeit for one final time at its current location.
As you may have heard, ThirdSpace is leaving its longtime home on Grand for a currently undetermined new location. Before departing, however, its proprietors are putting on one final weekend of performances.
It starts on Friday, July 19, at 8 p.m. with latest staging of monthly hip-hop night The CoolDown, which will feature raps and rhymes by Optimystical and others. ZeeDubb and Lord Kash will host and DJ Extract will be in the record decks. And then, starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, local musicians and bands like Estevan, Zack Phillips, Dinosaur Love, and Puppy and the Hand Job will perform at ThirdSpace. The trio of DJ Gnarly Brown, DJ Rey Rey, DJ This Just In will also be in the mix. Both events are free. Benjamin Leatherman
The Claypool Lennon DeliriumSaturday, July 20
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Les Claypool has always done things, well, his way. Whether with Primus, his main band, or any number of side projects, including the Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, Oysterhead (featuring Phish’s Trey Anastasio, though perhaps Claypool’s most accessible project), or Sausage, Claypool has always looked outside rock conventions for something a little different. For the last couple of years, he’s occasionally joined forces with Sean Lennon in The Claypool Lennon Delirium, a project that explores and extrapolates on the musical incantations of 1970s-style heavy progressive rock. Yet, the music cannot be so simply defined. The pair’s debut album, The Monolith of Phobos, is alternately psychedelic, spacey, gritty, progish, metalish (“Cricket and the Genie Movement 2” sports some wicked Black Sabbath-like riffs), Beatles-esque (there’s no hiding Sean’s harmonic connections), and kind of weird in creepy, scary, fun ways. Tickets for their Saturday night show at the Marquee Theatre, which starts at 8 p.m., are $29.50-$49.50. Particle Kid opens. Glenn BurnSilver
Cracker and Camper Van BeethovenSaturday, July 20
David Lowery will work double duty as the frontman of both Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven when both bands visit Crescent Ballroom on July 20. It’s nothing new, considering the Texas-born rock musician has toured the world with both of his bands for decades. Camper was a college rock staple in the 1980s, and Cracker had mainstream success in the ’90s thanks to singles such as "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)" and "Low." Think of this show as killing two birds with one stone. Some people prefer one band over the other – and there are plenty of others who like both – so this should make longtime fans quite happy while attending this show on Saturday night, which starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25-$38. Eric Grubbs
Stranger Things '80s NightSaturday, July 20
The Van Buren
Unless you’ve been stuck in The Upside-Down the past few weeks, you’re undoubtedly aware that season three of Stranger Things is out. Given the show’s rampant popularity – 40 million people have already watched the latest episodes according to Netflix – it isn’t much of a shocker that the folks at The Van Buren are putting on a Stranger Things '80s Night at the venue this weekend to coincide with the latest chronicles of Hawkins, Indiana.
Much like the show, the party, which takes place on Saturday, July 20, will be steeped in Reagan-era nostalgia. The DJ duo of Jeffery and Bractune will spin '80s tunes and songs from the show throughout the night. As you’d expect, '80s attire and Stranger Things costumes are encouraged. There will also be a photo booth and character buttons for the first 300 patrons. Start time is 10 p.m. Admission is $10 in advance, $15 to $18 at the door. Benjamin Leatherman
Beck and Cage the ElephantSunday, July 21
“Loser” be damned – at this point, it’s hard to argue that Beck is anything but an elder statesman of American rock music. For proof, look no further than his win for Album of the Year at the 2015 Grammys, where he beat out Beyoncé’s self-titled album (but also Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran, so it was kind of a down year overall). He’ll be joined at Ak-Chin Pavilion on Sunday, July 21, by two excellent openers. First, Spoon will celebrate their recent greatest hits collection with a set studded with favorites, from “Do You” to “I Turn My Camera On” to “Can I Sit Next To You.” Next, Cage the Elephant will ensure that there’s no rest for the wicked at a show that’s sure to be scorching hot (and not just because of the temperature). Their concert at Ak-Chin Pavilion starts at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $29.50. Douglas Markowitz
CommonSunday, July 21
The Van Buren
As a young musician, Common launched his rap career in the early '90s. His 1994 sophomore album, Resurrection, took his skill as a spoken-word poet and set it to the jazz-inspired beats of his friend and producer No ID. The album was hailed for its lyricism and helped to define the sound of hip-hop at the time. Today, many consider the project a classic.
Poetry-driven content has defined Common’s musical career. Resurrection’s breakout single, "I Used to Love H.E.R," is a creative dedication to his love of a woman. At the close of the last verse, it’s revealed that the song is not about a woman at all, but is really a love letter to hip-hop. It was this kind of lyrical maturity and honesty that became part of his musical identity. He raps with a vulnerability that most rappers work hard to disguise.
Undeniably, he’s had his fair share of controversy and isn’t above engaging in a good rap beef now and again. Drake drama aside (Common targeted Drake on his single "Sweet" and things went south from there), Common is on a continuous journey of self-exploration and fulfillment, giving fans much more than music to look forward to. He’s scheduled to perform at The Van Buren on Sunday night. Nicole Bus opens. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35-$199. Alma Schofield