Six Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

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Looking for a great show to see this week? Here are our picks for the best concerts worth checking out this week in Metro Phoenix. For more options, visit our comprehensive online concert calendar.

Electric Six - Tuesday, March 15 - The Rebel Lounge

Most of America got to know Electric Six in the video for the 2003 single “Gay Bar,” which featured the sextet’s members gyrating and cavorting while dressed as hot-pants-clad Abraham Lincoln impersonators. That song, from the band’s debut, Fire, represents the height of its commercial success, but not its creativity. In the 12 years since, Electric Six has released 11 albums, from the hyperactive, funk-filled I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being the Master to the guitar-driven Mustang. But its members, who perform under stage names like Dick Valentine and Smorgasbord, have never lost their playfulness. ADAM ROY

Wheelchair Sports Camp - Tuesday, March 15 - Last Exit Live

Kalyn Heffernan is 24 years old, weighs 53 pounds, and measures three feet, six inches tall. She's light enough to carry, compact enough to hide under a winter coat, and is sometimes mistaken for a child. But Kalyn, who has the brittle-bone disability osteogenesis imperfecta, is hardly innocent, precious, or inconspicuous: The Colorado native dabbles in graffiti, cusses gloriously, and has a septum piercing. She raps, scribbles rhymes, and has been known to cover the viral YouTube video "My Vagina Ain't Handicapped." If you ask—and even if you don't—she'll eagerly lift her shirt to show off the words "CRIP LIFE" inked on her stomach, an homage to Tupac Shakur's THUG LIFE tattoo.

Kalyn is the founding member of Wheelchair Sports Camp, a fledgling jazz-hop trio cheekily named after a week-long youth-disability program she attended growing up and, by her own admission, "corrupted." The Denver-based band consists of Kalyn and two able-bodied friends from college, Abigail "Abi" McGaha Miller, a towering and talented saxophonist/vocalist, and Abi's Marvel Comics-nerd older brother, a mountain of a drummer named Isaac. Although both siblings are far more experienced musicians than Kalyn, they will comfortably concede that this project is "Kalyn's show." CAMILLE DODERO

Autolux - Wednesday, March 16 - Crescent Ballroom

It's easy to describe Autolux by placing them alongside the big names they have toured with: Queens of the Stone Age, the White Stripes, Secret Machines, Nine Inch Nails. It's easier to place the LA-based trio's music — a moody mix of shoegaze, dream pop, and '90s alt-rock — alongside underrated luminaries like My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth. For the uninitiated, these comparisons loom large; for Autolux fans, they are irrelevant. The band has been active for 15 years and released just three full-length albums — 2004's Future Perfect, 2010's Transit, and this year's Pussy's Dead — but their collective fingerprints are smudged all over some of the most interesting music of the last two decades. Drummer Carla Azar, who has banged skins for John Frusciante, PJ Harvey, Bright Eyes, and Jack White's solo band, brought vocalist/bassist Eugene Goreshter together with Failure and Lusk guitarist Greg Edwards to form Autolux in 2000. 

Since then, Autolux has played Coachella and several All Tomorrow's Parties events, as well as shows with the Flaming Lips, Thom Yorke's Atoms for Peace, and Portishead. The unquestionable anchor of the band is Azar, whose world-class drumming chops keep the songs grounded in rock-and-roll grit while her mates drone and fuzz around her. Azar famously shattered her elbow in 2002 in a fall from the stage after Autolux opened for Elvis Costello, which led to experimental surgery and eight titanium screws in her arm. Watching her play, it's easy to picture Azar as a music-minded cyborg — her arms snap tautly from snare to cymbal with little follow-through or recoil, Terminator-style, killing fills like the Governator hunting down John Connor. KYLE CAVANESS

Intronaut - Thursday, March 17 - The Underground

Plenty of metal bands play heavy riffs, but the four men comprising Intronaut layer those riffs with a stunning musical dexterity. Albums like 2013's Habitual Levitations show a group walking a delicate balance between stoner-doom and polyrhythmic jazz-fusion structures. They're able to pull it off because guitarists/vocalists Sacha Dunable and Dave Timnick roar mightily and rain down riffs that appeal to fans of acts like Mastodon and Isis. Bassist Joe Lester provides a strong underpinning that makes one want to head-bang — without losing the groove. Drummer Danny Walker, meanwhile, is one of the most versatile percussionists in metal, able to transition seamlessly from ferocious, double-bass pounding to the slower stuff. Pretty impressive. JASON ROCHE

Quilt - Thursday, March 17 - Valley Bar

This Boston band's take on prog manages to surprise — like when sporadic clucking lightly breaks through the spirited melodies. Blending assertive bass lines with fuzzed-out guitar riffs and hypnotic tales about cowboys and crosses, Quilt creates an atmosphere that combines the lo-fi aesthetics popular now with the breezy sounds of classic psych-folk. MARTIKA FINCH

Pot of Gold Music Festival - Thursday, March 17, and Saturday, March 19 - Rawhide in Chandler

Last year’s Pot of Gold Music Festival featured four days of music. This year’s is down to just two, but Lucky Man Concerts is making them count, doubling down on hip-hop for a festival that promises two of the most significant rap concerts that will happen in Phoenix in 2016. Future, who dominated hip-hop in 2015 more than anyone not named Drake or Kendrick, headlines Thursday night, and renowned hitmaker Big Sean will headline the Saturday edition. It’s hard to decide which day offers more excitement — indie hip-hop legends Atmosphere, reggae-influenced Dirty Heads, Ty Dolla $ign (who had a minor DJ Mustard-produced hit, “Blase,” that featured Future), and ska legends Fishbone will join Future on Thursday. On Saturday, reggae-rockers 311 and Rebelution will join the party, as will reggae singer Protoje, rappers Rae Sremmurd and Earl Sweatshirt, and locals Katastro and Mouse Powell. DAVID ACCOMAZZO

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