Things to Do

The Cure, $NOT and the best concerts in Phoenix this week

The Cure is scheduled to perform at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale on Thursday, May 18.
The Cure is scheduled to perform at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale on Thursday, May 18. Anne-Marie Forker/Alamy Stock Photo
It’s a big week for local goths and rivetheads of a certain age, as post-punk/alt-rock legends The Cure and German industrial band KMFDM are both scheduled to perform in the Valley this week. If you’re not in the mood to mope it up or stomp around in 18-eye Doc Martens, other live music options from Monday, May 15, to Thursday, May 18, include rap star $NOT, hyperpop act 100 Gecs, and synth-loving costumed theme bands TWRP and Magic Sword.

Read on for complete details about each of these gigs or check out Phoenix New Times’ concert calendar for more live music around town this week.


Monday, May 15
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
Let's get it out of the way first: KMFDM stands for "Kein Mitleid Für Die Mehrheit," a German phrase that roughly translates to "no pity for the majority." But KMFDM founder Sascha Konietzko is perfectly okay with the popular theory that his band's name stands for "Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode." The German-born singer and synth wizard has claimed he started that rumor himself when the band first came to America from Paris in the late '80s. Konietzko’s always described KMFDM's sound as "ultra-heavy beat," but the band's been branded with the "industrial" label for years. But more has changed for KMFDM over the years than just the definition of "industrial." After several lineup changes and a complete (albeit temporary) disbandment in 1999, Konietzko is now the sole original member and continues the group's legacy of weaving elements of EBM, industrial, techno, and metal into dark, danceable songs. In the last six years, KMFDM has released three albums — 2017’s "Hell Yeah," 2019’s "Paradise," and 2022’s "Hyëna" — all of which have been well-received by fans. With Chant and Lana Del Rabies; 7:30 p.m., $35-$68 via Niki D’Andrea


Monday, May 15
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
If you only became aware of NYC-born and Florida-raised rap artist $NOT after hearing his 2019 track “Billy Boy” in the series premiere of “Euphoria,” allow us to catch you up on his career. Influenced by the likes of Xavier Wulf, Three 6 Mafia and Tyler, the Creator, $NOT was one of the many SoundCloud rappers who made their bones on the platform within the last several years. His big break came in 2018 with the release of the single “Gosha,” which showcases his mumble-rap style and penchant for sharp and witty lyricism. The track went viral, earning him national attention and a gold record. $NOT eventually inked a deal with 300 Entertainment and released his two most recent albums on the label, including 2022’s Ethereal, which charted as high as No. 66 on the Billboard 200. With Night Lovell, DC the Don, Micro, and Eem Triplin; 8 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Benjamin Leatherman

100 Gecs

Tuesday, May 16
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
“Put emojis on my grave,” 100 gecs vocalist Laura Les sings on “Dumbest Girl Alive,” the bracing opening track to their sophomore album “10,000 gecs.” Following the critical and commercial success of 2019’s "1000 gecs," their latest record finds Les and Dylan Brady twisting their volatile hyperpop sound into strange new shapes. A dizzying blend of samples, booming drums, emo vocals, crackling electronic textures, nu-metal guitar riffs, and lyrics that could pass as dril tweets, 100 gecs are masters of an experimental pop sound that sounds like it crawled out of a pool of radioactive shitposts. In one of the album's most surprising left turns, 100 gecs go full-on ska on "Frog On the Floor," playing a horn-heavy nerdy jam that wouldn't sound out of place on an album of Weird Al originals. They also take a page out of the Red Hot Chili Peppers playbook with the elastic slap bass on “Doritos and Fritos,” a song that sounds like Les Claypool trying to write an anime theme song. It’s not even the third-weirdest song on this stunning record. 8 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Ashley Naftule

TWRP and Magic Sword

Wednesday, May 17
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
A tour featuring these two theme bands offers more colorfully weird costumes, geeky references, and fantastical origin stories than you can shake a shtick at, not to mention a lot of dynamic, synth-powered rock. TWRP are a squad of four electro-rockers who may or may not be robots from the future who bear a strong resemblance to the Canadian band formerly known as the Tupperware Remix Project. Consisting of Doctor Sung (keytar), Lord Phobos (guitar), Commander Meouch (bass), and Havve Hogan (electronic percussion), they crashed through the space-time continuum just as easily as they smashed together ‘70s funk and AOR, ‘80s electronica, and ‘90s kids show themes to create their giddy tunes. Magic Sword, on the other hand, are a trio of space knights adorned in black cloaks and glowing masks who craft the sort of retro synth sound suitable for an ‘80s sci-fi epic. It’s no wonder their signature track “In The Face of Evil” was used in the trailer for "Thor: Ragnarok." 8 p.m., $25-$85 via Benjamin Leatherman

The Cure

Thursday, May 18
Desert Diamond Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue
For all his reputation as a sad sack purveyor of musical misery, has the ’80s produced a better writer of love songs than Robert Smith? While The Cure frontman has penned numerous miserablist classics (few artists can boast a bummer body of work more sublime than the man who wrote the albums “Faith,” “Pornography,” and “Disintegration”), he’s also a master at crafting brilliant pop songs full of romance and irresistible melodies. Who wouldn’t sell their soul to the nearest devil in exchange for writing songs as good as “Just Like Heaven,” “Friday, I’m In Love,” “In Between Days,” and “Lovesong”? Aside from his commitment to his messy aesthetic (age be damned: he’ll live to 100 and still have those red lips and finger-in-an-electric-socket hairstyle), Smith’s other major admirable quality is his willingness to stick it to Ticketmaster. He's one of the few modern big-name touring acts who has repeatedly pushed back hard against the company’s monopolistic business practices and advocated on behalf of his fans not getting price-gouged at the box office. Smith may be a lover but he’s also a fighter. With The Twilight Sad; 7:30 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Ashley Naftule

Hayley Kiyoko

Thursday, May 18
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
Singer, dancer, and actress Hayley Kiyoko has brought pop music to the masses since her teens. At age 16, she became a founding member of the all-female pop group The Stunners, known for their aptly named single “Bubblegum.” Over the next few years, she starred in a few different Disney Channel projects, including playing a bassist in a fledgling pop-rock band in the made-for-TV movie "Lemonade Mouth." Like Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, and other teenage triple threats who emerged from the House of Mouse, Kiyoko went on to pop stardom. She began releasing a series of EPs starting in 2013 with the self-produced album “A Belle to Remember.” The follow-up EP, 2015’s “This Side of Paradise,” was the source of the track “Girls Like Girls,” Kiyoko’s biggest hit and her way of coming out as a lesbian. She’s since become an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights while expanding into more of an electropop sould, both of which were explored on her 13-track debut, 2018’s “Expectations.” Kiyoko’s currently touring in support of her latest album, last year’s “Panorama.” With Ill Peach and Allison Ponthier; 7 p.m., $25-$35 via Benjamin Leatherman
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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule

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