The 9 Best Metal Shows in Metro Phoenix this February

Otep is coming to the Valley on Valentine's Day.
Otep is coming to the Valley on Valentine's Day. PR Brown
February in the desert: The holidays are over, we’ve had our four days of winter (and a few weeks of rain), and the tufts of grass are greener than ever. Some people might think that February is supposed to be the month of love and romance — but for others, it’s a pure month of meeetaaal. There’s nothing better than spending Valentine’s Day at a metal show — or, tailgating in a strip club parking lot listening to metal with a bottle of whiskey. Because that’s also equally fun.

There are a ton of shows this month from pioneers of metal like Crowbar, to local events like the Lo Dough Show and When Titans Collide, to legends like Uli John Roth, Mayhem, and Otep.

Wednesday, February 8 – Mayhem – Club Red

Psyko Steve presents this killer show, where you can be sure to find a heavy dose of your black metal fix. Norway's Mayhem needs little introduction; formed in 1984, they’re seen as one of the pioneers of the Norweigian black metal scene, with a career that has not only been controversial – think violent stage performances, animal blood, and actual murder and suicide in the mix — but an incredible raw sound that has paved the way for hundreds of black metal musicians. Inquisition started as a thrash metal act in the late '80s, then eventually evolved into unfiltered black metal. Black Anvil rounds out the bill.

Thursday, February 9 – DED, Ella Kaye, As Thick As Thieves, and more  Pub Rock Live

98 KUPD presents the Lo Dough show, featuring DED, Ella Kaye, As Thick As Thieves, and Vindicate. Heading off the commonly heard nowadays phrase “if you’re not pissed off, then you’re not paying attention,” Phoenix’s own DED has promised to bring their aggressive, horror-meets-honesty hardcore energy to the stage. Interestingly enough, they go off the premise that they’re pissed off that hardcore isn’t as authentic as it used to be – and all the while, they just released their first single, “FMFY,” in December 2016. It will be interesting to see where these guys go with their take. Local heavy hitters Ella Kaye also take the stage, as well as the beloved As Thick As Thieves and more.

Saturday, February 11 – When Titans Collide – Joe’s Grotto

Get ready for another addition of Titans Collide Concert Series. In its fourth year, this is a show that was built for bands and fans, by bands and fans. For just $5,  fans get to see a lineup of stellar local acts, including Sectas, Dutch Roseberg Theater, Tricus, Empire of Dezire, Throw the Switch, and more. Check out the $1 raffle that includes a $25 gift certificate for some free studio time at the Library Studios, and lots of swag from sponsors like the Best Clothing Company, Soundphoria, That Metal Station, Parabol Mind Media, and Expand Your Mind Photography.

Sunday, February 12 – PHX Music Sticks Together – Joe’s Grotto

Not only is it amazing that this is a free show, but it supports one of the coolest chicks on the metal scene, the one and only Crystal Nonya. Concertina is one of my favorite local heavy metal acts, with a band of solid musicians who aren't old enough to drink. Latency will be playing here for the first time in a year, and then we have the incredible, artistic Vex. If you haven’t seen those guys live, you’re really missing out –keep an eye out for the badass cello.

Tuesday, February 14 – Otep – Club Red

For 17 years, Otep Shamaya has been crushing crowds, steady and provocative. Along with three other male musicians in the band, Otep tours incessantly, and every one of her seven albums touches a different tone and concept. Known for being extremely political, controversial, and an activist, she claimed to quit the music industry with the release of Hydra a few years ago, but was reeled back in by Slipknot’s DJ when he talked her into signing to his label. She always puts on a kickass live show, and with everything happening in politics right now, I’m sure she’ll have a lot to say. The Convalescene, Dead Light Shines, Glass Creatures, and the Kennedy Curse round out the bill.

Wednesday, February 15 – Uli John Roth – Club Red

Okay, okay — so Uli John Roth isn’t particularly metal, but if you think he hasn’t had a huge influence on the genre, then you better re-examine your knowledge. The German guitarist first became known as the Scorpions guitarist, but eventually became an early pioneer of neoclassical metal and inventor of the Sky Guitar. He went on to form Electric Sun, and he has played with many symphonies throughout the world. Roth’s style is a fantastic mix of classical music and Jimi Hendrix, and his live show is fine-tuned. Even more exciting? Our own local symphonic progressive metal band Phoenix & Dragon are opening up for him, a suitable pairing. Throttle Head, Rocket 211, and Frankenshred complete the lineup.

Sunday, February 19 – Crowbar – Club Red

There are two things you can almost definitely count on when it comes to Crowbar: Kirk Windstein’s focus and passion, and a look into some of the best metal to come out of New Orleans. The band’s catalog spans more than 27 years of influencing and pioneering the sludge, doom, and stoner metal genres. That's twenty-seven years of delicious, creeping, low-keyed melodies, insightful songwriting, and hardcore punk interludes. The band is currently in town promoting their 11th studio album, late 2016’s The Serpent Only Lies, and have been switching up their set list quite a bit, according to Windstein. And Crowbar is a well-oiled albeit sludgy machine; the band is heading out almost immediately after this show to support Suicidal Tendencies on tour, then have a U.K. and European tour in spring, and follow it up with a Summer of Doom tour in the U.S. Souless, Murkocet, Sounds Like Murder, and Foundation Unknown will be hitting the stage beforehand.

Tuesday, February 21 – Havok, Exmortus, and more - Club Red

Colorado thrashers Havok may not be the fastest to put out some records — since forming in 2004, they’ve released two, 2009’s Burn and 2011’s breakthrough Time Is Up — but the band’s major influence on the New Wave of Thrash metal scene and live show make up for it. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Sepultura, Anthrax, Behemoth, and Death Angel, as well as more than a few times with their fellow showmen Exmortus. Exmortus is all about the technical death metal riffs, the complex drumming, and twin lead guitar attacks. This band is great in the sense that you get a little taste of everything: death metal, prog metal, thrash, American heavy metal, and neoclassical. Solid local acts Extinction AD, Sicmonic, and Intent round out the bill.

Wednesday, February 23 – Suicide Silence – Joe’s Grotto

Deathcore trailblazers Suicide Silence are always a favorite of mine when they come through town; not only do they put on a killer live show and have an extensive, rich catalog of songs to play around with, you can tell that their blood, sweat, and tears truly is in the name of their music and overcoming adversity. When lead vocalist Mitch Lucker died in a motorcycle accident in 2013, the band used the strength from each other to grow closer and strong, instead of breaking away. Eddie Hermida was a gracious, powerful replacement when they started performing again in 2014, and the album You Can’t Stop Me served as an intro to the vocalist. Playing at Joe’s Grotto for its intimacy, the band has a listening party for the new album immediately after the show, open to all who attend, along with the band members. The band’s self-titled album is set for release the day after this show, and appears to focus more on cleaner vocals rather than the guttural screams and growls; the release of the second single earlier this month brought some intense backlash from the fans who aren’t too happy with the band taking such a sharp left turn away from their usual style. Take a listen above and see what you think.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise