Concerts in Phoenix August 13-16: Ski Mask the Slump God, Powerglove, Us the Duo, Big Business | Phoenix New Times

Things to Do

The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

From SoundCloud rappers to syrupy-sweet pop acts, this week’s concert list has it all.
Ski Mask the Slump God is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, August 14, at The Van Buren.
Ski Mask the Slump God is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, August 14, at The Van Buren. Courtesy of Republic Records
Share this:
From SoundCloud rappers and syrupy-sweet pop acts to a seriously harsh death metal tour, Phoenix’s concert offerings this week feature a little bit of everything.

There will also be gigs featuring metal versions of your favorite game music, vibrant jazz artistry, toe-tappin’ Western swing, evocative world music, and even anime-influenced hip-hop.

We’ll leave it up to you to decide which sound corresponds to which artist that’s included in the following list of the best concerts in the Valley this week.

As always, details about each show are included. And for even more live music happening around the Valley this week, you can check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

click to enlarge
Asleep at the Wheel in concert.
Patrick Carnahan
Asleep at the Wheel
Monday, August 13
Musical Instrument Museum

Freewheeling and eclectic, Asleep at the Wheel have been one of the most important forces of Western swing since the 1970s. More or less picking up the torch left behind by the king himself, Bob Wills, they have played a huge role in keeping the genre alive. They have not only kept these sounds from disappearing in country music, but also updated the art form.

Asleep at the Wheel’s live performances have received much critical acclaim, and you can expect to see around eight musicians on stage, a mere snapshot of a collective that has featured more than 80 members over the years. But there is no mistaking frontman Ray Benson for anyone else. Standing 6-foot-7, he has been towering over the band for almost five decades. Benson grew up listening to a variety of music, particularly jazz, and covers of songs by Louis Jordan and Count Basie have been particularly memorable over the years. On Monday, the group will swing through the Musical Instrument Museum on Monday night. Jeremy Hallock

click to enlarge
Powerglove mixes metal with your favorite old-school games.
Courtesy of Ticketweb
Tuesday, August 14
Club Red in Mesa

For those looking to have their faces melted with some Nintendo Power and metal, Powerglove will be on stage at Club Red in Mesa happy to do the honor. An instrumental power metal cover band, Powerglove takes classic video game themes, Saturday morning cartoon themes, and movie themes to update with a metal twist. Powerglove’s latest album, Continue?, includes tracks from video games such as Super Metroid, Kirby’s Dream Land, and Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. No matter how many times you grew up hearing these themes come out of your TV, you’ve never heard them like this. Brad LaCour

Ski Mask the Slump God
Tuesday, August 14
The Van Buren

In the druggy, seedy world of SoundCloud rap, nothing is certain. Your favorite rapper could be riding high (figuratively and literally) one day and be felled by a disappointing song or sexual assault scandal the next (the latter is unfortunately common). For now, out of all the Floridian artists riding the SoundCloud wave, Ski Mask the Slump God is on top for two reasons. First, he is an undeniably talented rapper. His cartoon-referencing wordplay is clever, and his speed and technical proficiency are close to that of fast-rap legends such as Twista and Busta Rhymes. For another, he actually seems focused on growing his career and putting out consistent projects. Time will tell, but this guy could make it. Douglas Markowitz

click to enlarge
Michael and Carissa Alvarado of Us the Duo.
Amanda Demme
Us the Duo
Tuesday, August 14
Crescent Ballroom

Michael and Carissa Alvarado, the two members who make up folk act Us The Duo, bring their plucky upbeat sound to Crescent Ballroom for their The Together Tour. The married musical act are busy promoting their five track EP, Together, a showcase for their relatable lyrics and soothing arrangements. The two have been busy: Their song "No Matter Where You Are" was featured in the animated movie Book of Life, and they were featured on the current season of America’s Got Talent. One part folk, one part pop, Us The Duo’s songs are guaranteed to stick with you long after you’ve left their show. Brad LaCour

Summer Slaughter Tour
Tuesday, August 14
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

The self-proclaimed “Most Extreme Tour of the Year” is on its way for the 11th year running. That's a long time to be extreme. The Summer Slaughter Tour has been slaying metal fans since 2007, and has been one of the only tours to provide a venue and platform for the more savage music fans among us. This year's visit to the Valley should be no different.

The event, which invades the Marquee Theatre in Tempe on Tuesday, promises to dish out as much brutality as its fans can handle. And with Between the Buried and Me as its headliner, the tour's musical offerings will range from progressive metal to death metal and tech-death. For an event that will feature a total of eight metal acts – including Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya, Erra, The Agony Scene, Allegaeon, and Terror Universal – this is sure to be one hardcore helluva time. Molly Mollotova
click to enlarge
L.A. power pop act, Tiny Stills
Megan Thompson
Tiny Stills
Wednesday, August 15
Trunk Space

If you like your rock and roll framed with a pop edge and hooky riffs, topped with a thick ’n’ gooey layer of sugary vocals, give Tiny Stills from Los Angeles a listen. The power-pop band lists ’90s rock and intrepid indie singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett as a couple of their influences. The latter is more evident in the Stills’ lyrical content than their sound. Their words don’t immediately hit hard like Barnett’s loaded missives, but they’re frank, nonetheless. As far as how the sounds of the 1990s fit in, it’d be a true surprise if singer Kailynn West didn’t have some Veruca Salt and Letters to Cleo CDs in her collection.

The band’s first release Falling is Like Flying happened in 2014 and through its sticky-sweet vocals, the songs explore the anxiety West experienced after being held up at gunpoint. The title track and songs like “Starting Over is a Lot Like Giving Up” explore life after picking up the pieces. With West as the constant, the group went through some lineup changes and now West has a solid crew in Harry Foster (bass), Zach Comtois (guitar), and Tony Thaxton (drums) as they tour to promote their most recent offering, Laughing Into the Void. Amy Young

click to enlarge
Jared Warren (center) and Coady Willis (right) of Big Business.
Courtesy of Joyful Noise Records
Big Business
Wednesday, August 15
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

If you were to mix the arena-style hard rock riffage of AC/DC with the drumming of Rush's Neil Peart, throw in some Man Is the Bastard-style crusty sludge and a teaspoon of Black Sabbath, and garnish it with a cup of minced Thin Lizzy, the music would sound like Big Business, a band that literally became half of the Melvins on their journey to the top.

Big Business's founding members — drummer Coady Willis and bass player Jared Warren — are living examples of rapper Rick Ross's positive affirmation that "success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."

Coady and Jared have been in one legendary indie-rock monster band after another: KARP (Kill All Redneck Pricks), Tight Bros From Way Back When, Broadcast Oblivion, and Murder City Devils. And from 2006 to just a few years ago, they were members of the Melvins, backing up Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover. It’s been a spell since the Big Business boys have dropped an album (2016’s Command Your Weather was their last), but the two rock just as hard and heavy as ever. Jason Handelsman

click to enlarge
Between the Buried and Me headline this year's Summer Slaughter Tour.
Courtesy of Victory Records
Nahko and Medicine For the People
Wednesday, August 15
The Van Buren

Formed in 2008, Nahko and Medicine For the People have spread their message of harmony and inner strength throughout the world. Though the members of the six-piece hail from all around the globe, the group has quickly bonded with not only each other but their steadily growing fanbase, which they refer to as their tribe.

Their sound encompasses a fusion of various cultural and musical influences each from their own personal journeys, making them a frequent addition to many major music festivals around the world. Led by frontman Nahko Bear, the ensemble has produced four albums thus far, including 2017’s My Name is Bear. This week, they pay a visit to The Van Buren on their latest tour. Indigenous hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl will open. David Garcia

click to enlarge
Local hip-hop artist Teek Hall.
Daniel Spiegelman Photography
Teek Hall (Double EP Release Show)
Thursday, August 16
The Rebel Lounge

How have you been spending your summer? Local rapper Teek Hall has been busy working on not one but two different EPs over the past few months, each focusing on a particular fandom he enjoys.

First, there’s Number One HeadBand, a five-song album inspired by the anime Afro Samurai. Each track is devoted to a different episode from the show and features clips peppered between verses by Hall, who said the EP “wraps things up into a nice little story” for those who have never seen the program.

The rapper’s other EP, The Art of Submission, is just as geeky and deals with professional wrestling. Specifically, submission holds famously used by legendary grapplers inside the squared circle. A track entitled “Hell’s Gate,” for instance, is about The Undertaker, while “Figure 4” covers Ric Flair and his most infamous faction, the Four Horsemen.

You can hear Hall perform songs from both EPs on Thursday night at The Rebel Lounge. Local MCs and hip-hop artists Sumo Corleone, M. Verse, Douglas Drew, Fresco Toldya, and KT Gipson will open. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge
Jazz singer and pianist Eliane Elias.
Courtesy of the MIM
Eliane Elias
Thursday, August 16
Musical Instrument Museum

Brazilian-born pianist/singer Eliane Elias, who's been nominated for six Grammys and won two, got an early start on the piano. By the age 12, she was transcribing solos from the jazz heavies, and at 15, she was teaching piano and improvisation. She moved to New York in the early '80s, hooked up with Steps Ahead, and then collaborated with her then-husband Randy Brecker on her first album, Amanda, which was dedicated to their daughter. Since then, she's released nearly two dozen albums, including 2011's Light My Fire, and her most recent effort, the excellent I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker). Jon Solomon
KEEP NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls. Make a one-time donation today for as little as $1.