Looking for a memorable show to see over the next few nights? Consider any of the following six options in our list of concert picks for this week.
As always, if you're looking for even more live music in and around the Valley, be sure to check out our comprehensive Phoenix concert calendar for even more choices for your concert-going dollar.
Pentagram – Monday, May 23 – Nile Theater
Pentagram are goddamn legends. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This is the band that pioneered doom metal in the ’70s and '80s at a time when the mainstream world still coming to terms with what Metallica and other speed-metal bands were doing Pentagram is the creative outlet for Bobby Liebling, who has overseen the band through a slew of lineup changes throughout the years. After a number of years
spent toiling in relative obscurity, the band experienced a renaissance of sorts following the 2011 release of the documentary Last Days Here, which chronicled Liebling’s addiction problems. Now the band is releasing albums and touring the country, including a stop at the Nile Theater in Mesa, which will provide the perfect confines for the heaviness Pentagram helped pioneer. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
DevilDriver – Monday, May 23 – Marquee Theatre
If heavy metal is at its core an angry outburst of aggression - youthful rage channeled into pummeling, loud, aggressive riffs - then what is left to fuel the fire as a band ages? DevilDriver isn’t the first band to ask itself, “What do we do now?” after the initial surge of camaraderie and shared artistic drive fades into a business-driven necessity to produce an album on a once-every-two-years schedule. Dez Fafara, the former Coal Chamber singer, has headed DevilDriver since 2003 and is the only long-tenured member, with the exception of guitarist Mike Spreitzer, who joined in 2004. DevilDriver released Trust No One earlier this month, featuring two new members, drummer Austin D’Amond and guitarist Neal Tiemann. But have no fear, DevilDriver fans: This album sounds pretty much exactly like every other DevilDriver album out there, which leads us to one question: When does a band become an assembly line, where the product supersedes the contributions of its individual members? DAVID ACCOMAZZO
Mayer Hawthorne — Tuesday, May 24 — Crescent Ballroom
Andrew Mayer Cohen, aka Mayer Hawthorne, approaches his music with the same zest as his culinary cravings. As a DJ, producer, singer, and songwriter, he reaches into various genres of music, but finds himself pulled back into soul every time. As a young kid, he performed as Michael Jackson for his family, sequined white glove and all. As an adult, his work with other artists he's looked up to, such as Pharrell Williams (on 2013's Where Does This Door Go), and Memphis soul legend Booker T. Jones, has helped him explore the depths of his own soul. His recently released album, Man About Town, which dropped in April on Vagrant Records, gets deeply personal on topics of love, loneliness, and heartbreak in the City of Angels. MICHELE MCMANMON
Tyler, the Creator — Wednesday, May 25 — Marquee Theatre
Tyler, the Creator is undoubtedly a crass man-child afflicted with arrested development. To him, a casual chat — perhaps over tea and crumpets — about sex, class, and religion must sound like a literal nightmare or a concoction fashioned by Rod Serling. He’s yet another dude in a line as long as the lunch rush at the DMV who's an asshole that should be punched in the throat for his personality. But he should at least also be given a bag of ice and a shoulder rub for his art. Tyler is rap music’s Peter Pan: He refuses to grow up, except musically perhaps, and his sole purpose is aimless fun.
His latest album, Cherry Bomb, has the rooted and recognizable workings of a Tyler, the Creator album. There’s a whole bunch of N.E.R.D., Pharrell Williams, and the Neptunes fan fiction. It’s loud and poorly mixed in spots because he just thinks it sounds better that way, bro. But there are flashes of a man all grown up, particularly when he hunkers down on the production and gets jazzy. You can expect this to be a rowdy show, as Tyler is the James Warren “Jim” Jones of the cult of rowdy for no-reason millennial idiots. It’s the hottest ticket in town for the night, and recommended if you can grin and bear it. H. DREW BLACKBURN
STRFKR and Com Truise — Thursday, May 26 — Marquee Theatre
When STRFKR first appeared nearly a decade ago, it was hard to tell where its brand of minimal electro-pop would land. But with musical mastermind and vocalist Josh Hodges at the helm, the band soared into its own, creating breezy and sweet songs, and tracks like “German Love” and “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” found homes in both the robust music blogosphere and Target commercials. Fast-forward to the present, many albums and tours later, and STRFKR is still churning out beautiful modular beats, carrying its signature bedroom-recording style more closely in line with the mainstream while managing to stay just below the surface in its own indie world. On new single “Never Ever,” the band follows a tried-and-true formula of combining Hodges’s sexy murmur with a throwback dance vibe — a promising sign that STRFKR won’t stray far from the silky, playful sound that makes it great. BREE DAVIES
Brett Dennen – Thursday, May 26 – Crescent Ballroom
With six studio albums under his belt, including the brand-new Por Favor, Brett Dennen has fully established himself as a troubadour interested in spreading the love — and, quite specifically, not the dour. Look, there's no getting around it: The 36-year-old singer and songwriter is a glass-half-full kind of guy. Nothing wrong with that. What's interesting, though, is how Dennen can effortlessly take any subject and make it sound downright peppy. His songs thrive on that transformation: What may seem like a breezy, bare-footed tune is often detailing something deeper, something more socially conscious, or even spiritual.
“I wanted to make something that was emotional as well as thoughtful — meaning being very precise with the lyrics and the music. I wanted to keep it simple, get my point across, and have the lyrics mean different things on different levels. But also keep it very personal,” Dennen stated in a recent interview regarding Por Favor. “I also wanted to have spirituality in the songwriting as well. Not just write about my personal experience but to also have a thread going through all the songs of the presence of spiritual acknowledgement of some sort.” KELLY DEARMORE
Editor's note: this blog has been updated since its original publication.