So, did y’all survive inauguration weekend relatively unscathed? Maybe you watched it, maybe you boycotted, or maybe you marched. Whatever route you wound up taking, congrats on making it through the first few days of the shit-show, better known as the Trump presidency.
While we can’t promise you that the next four years are going to be easy, tolerable, or fun, we can certainly offer you some suggestions on how to make the time pass by quicker, including recommending some noteworthy and important shows happening.
This week, for example, features a return to the Valley by singer/songwriter Katy Davidson, as well as performances by outlaw country artist Cody Jinks, all-female punk band Go Betty Go, post-hardcore supergroup Sianvar, and hip-hop superstar Juicy J.
For even more live music options, hit up our online concert calendar. In the meantime, here are the nine best concerts in Phoenix this week.
Cody Jinks – Monday, January 23 – Crescent Ballroom
As outsider cultures go, outlaw country and metal have a lot more in common than meets the eye. For Cody Jinks, the country singer-songwriter whose rich, Josh Turner-esque baritone once served double duty as the screaming lead of Fort Worth, Texas, thrash metal band Unchecked Aggression, this common thread goes beyond the music. Jinks’ latest release, I’m Not The Devil, is an independent release that cracked both the Billboard Top 50 and the Country Top 5 with a number-four debut last year. Keeping in line with real country music’s current draw, as red dirt acts and throwback darlings alike dominant critical conversations, Jinks’ sound draws from what makes the genre great while maintaining some left-of-center grit. There’s a certain plodding swing to Jinks’ music that recalls early Jamey Johnson or Shooter Jennings, a pace that’s made to wear boot heels into the aging floor of a honky-tonk in a dusty Texas town. “Loud and Heavy,” Jinks’ most popular track to date, evokes that Western sound with imagery of a monsoon as an allegory for anxiety. It’s definitely music to drink to, but it’s also nuanced and layered in a way that radio country has not been for quite some time. The response to Jinks’ approach, and his subsequent popularity, is evident; his Crescent Ballroom show is a sellout in a city where country music is revered. Whether it’s Phoenix or Texas, the thunder rolls on just the same, and Cody Jinks’ music sure provides a hell of a soundtrack for life’s ups and downs. K.C. LIBMAN
Dear Nora – Monday, January 23 – Trunk Space
Singer/songwriter Katy Davidson is mostly associated with the Pacific Northwest, where she established her indie rock band Dear Nora and played with YACHT and the Gossip. But before all that, her music took root in Arizona, where she grew up. Just outside of Cave Creek, she got her start playing along with Liz Phair and Pearl Jam CDs. Davidson started Dear Nora in Portland, Oregon, in 1999, but her 2004 album Mountain Rock, reissued with bonus material on vinyl on January 13 by Orindal Records, is her “Arizona album.” Recorded mostly in Catalina, north of Tucson, in the winter of 2003, a desert feel permeates the album. It’s open and lonesome, noisy and sweet, its songs inspired by the vast mountain ranges of southern Arizona and, in the case of the beatific “Oxygen & The Mellow Stuff,” stoned adventures onto desert hiking trails. It’s fitting that when Davidson decided to convene a band to tour in support of the Mountain Rock reissue, things got very Arizonan, very fast. She enlisted some of Arizona’s brightest musical exports to the Northwest: singer/songwriter Stephen Steinbrink, Zach Burba of indie pop band iji, and Gregory Campanile, known for his writing, solo work, and as a member of Reindeer Tiger Team and Bieula. She met each individually, their paths intersecting at Phoenix venues like Modified Arts and the Trunk Space, and on the road, as they toured the same circuit of all-ages arts spaces and house shows. JASON P. WOODBURY
The Seratones – Tuesday, January 24 – Valley Bar
We caught the Seratones at a SXSW showcase in 2015 and have been eagerly awaiting the Shreveport rock ensemble's emergence as bona fide headliners. That moment has arrived. Led by the huge voice of rhythm guitarist A.J. Haynes, who will remind locals of Kam Franklin of the Suffers, the band won first place in the 2013 Louisiana Music Prize competition and recently signed to roots label Fat Possum Records, who quickly released the band's hard-rocking 7-inch ("Necromancer"/ "Take It Easy"), produced by roots rock guru Jimbo Mathus. Singled out as one of Paste magazine's Top 20 new bands of 2015, the Seratones appear to be on much the same trajectory as Alabama Shakes, another rocking foursome fronted by a strong black female voice. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
Sianvar – Tuesday, January 24 – Pub Rock
Blending together members of Dance Gavin Dance, Stolas, Hail the Sun and A Lot Like Birds, Sianvar proves to be the post-hardcore supergroup fans didn't know they needed. Donovan Melero (vocalist and drummer for Hail the Sun) puts his sticks aside and delivers falsetto-like vocals weaved throughout good old fashioned screamin' and hollerin', while Will Swan (Dance Gavin Dance) and Sergio Medina (Stolas) make up the rhythm and Michael Franzino (A Lot Like Birds) the bass. After releasing their first full-length LP, Stay Lost, last year, Sianvar landed themselves six spots on Billboard, including a debut at No. 5 for Top New Artist. DIAMOND VICTORIA
Pepper – Tuesday, January 24 – Livewire
There may be no band which carries the torch – er, huge burning doobie – passed on by the late Bradley Nowell of Sublime moreso than Pepper. And that includes Sublime themselves, who now tour with a replacement front man named Rome. That's not to say though, that Pepper is a Sublime rerun. They are reminiscent of Sublime at times, for certain, but if ones gives Pepper a fair and open minded listen though, it becomes clear that they are doing their own thing, connected to their own inspiration. They have their own peppery flavor, so to speak. Their place as lineage holders is achieved by virtue of their explosiveness and commitment to having a really good time and helping others do the same. Pepper is a party on wheels and fans across the globe await their arrival year after year with joints rolled and beers on ice. TRAVIS NEWBILL
Lemuria – Wednesday, January 25 – The Rebel Lounge
Sometimes, we need a little fast-paced pop-punk in our lives — even if we're going through a tragic, emo breakup. Three-piece band Lemuria boasts a melodious, sing-along discography (like Dinosaur Jr. and Superchunk before them) fashioned from the sweet soprano of winsome frontwoman Sheena Ozzella, the sharp croon of drummer/vocalist Alex Kerns, and the quavering bass of Max Gregor. But the band's fundamental themes of heartache and longing (often at the hands of long-distance relationships gone sour) imprint a noisy, unvarnished punk amid sweet indie-pop sentiment. And their versatility has garnered them a gamut of fans. At a Lemuria show, you may witness a crust punk bum-rush the stage arm in arm with a straightedge hardcore kid while chanting unassuming lyrics like "I want my hands in your hair" or "Maybe I should wear lipstick too." Lemuria just has a true crossover appeal. JESSICA MILITARE
Powerman 5000 and Orgy – Wednesday, January 25 – Club Red
You might look at these two bands and scoff that they are on this list as a top show—but you can’t deny that both of these bands have the ability to get crowds pumped up with timeless classics (think Powerman’s “When Worlds Collide” and Orgy’s “Blue Monday”), and that they bring heavy metal attitude to the table. Plus, both bands are rumored to have new music coming out soon; Orgy’s Jay Gordon even rounded up a new lineup for the band earlier this year. Death Valley High, Knee High Fox, As Thick As Thieves, and Interfate are also on the bill for this show at Club Red in Mesa. LAUREN WISE
Juicy J – Thursday, January 26 – Livewire
There is nothing subtle about Juicy J. He doesn’t just party; he turns the fuck up. He doesn’t just drink, he gets wasted. He doesn’t just do drugs, he gets trippy, mayne! About the only thing he doesn’t do is say no to ratchet pussy. But above all, this dude entertains at a level that is surpassed by very few, which is his most redemptive quality. During performances, Juicy comes across as the pied piper of ratchet rap. With Mike Will Made-It’s hard-hitting beats backing up his hypnotic rhymes, Juicy takes total control of his fans, smoking and drinking with them, and inviting the females (and one or two lucky dudes) up to dance around and behind him onstage. The performance is hyper-interactive and energetic, which is why you will never suffer through a bad Juicy J show. He makes sure you are having a good time. MARCO TORRES
Go Betty Go – Thursday, January 26 – The Rebel Lounge
Four mild-mannered women enter a phone booth and emerge as superheroes. If you’ve ever wanted to see something like that, be at Rebel Lounge on Thursday night for the Go Betty Go show. According to drummer Aixa Vilar, live shows help transform Go Betty Go from ordinary citizens into super-powered wonder women. “We love to play. It’s so inspiring, especially now that we don’t do it full-time, to just have a normal life,” she says. “Sometimes we feel like superheroes because we go out and have a rock show. It’s like there’s this whole other side to us that we can get into.” There was a time when Vilar and her bandmates – bassist Michelle Rangel, guitarist Betty Cisneros and vocalist Nicolette Vilar, Aixa’s sister – were a full-time band. After forming in 2001, their infectious songs and energetic live shows boosted them to national prominence. SideOneDummy Records signed them and they toured incessantly on the strength of their EP Worst Enemy and a full-length, Nothing Is More. In 2012, the band reformed after a lengthy hiatus and released the crowdfunded EP, Reboot, last year. We first caught GBG at the 2004 Warped Tour. We showed up to see Flogging Molly and The Casualties, but were enthralled by a big sound coming from one of the small stages and got an up-close view of Betty’s faster-than-a-speeding-bullet guitar-rock meanderings. Aixa and Michelle held the beat down like it was a prison escapee. Nicolette’s soaring vocals were authoritative and commanded our attention. Like we said, they’re superheroes. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
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