Things to Do

The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

J. Cole is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, August 21, at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
J. Cole is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, August 21, at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Courtesy of Dreamville
Up for seeing a concert this week? If so, we’ve got a few suggestions for y’all – 12 of ‘em, in fact, which include shows from a wide variety of genres.

To wit: Hip-hop star J. Cole, prolific rocker Jack White, reggae legends Steel Pulse, freak folk act Timber Timbre, and the Tuareg musicians of Tinariwen all have performances at Valley music venues this week.

Other names scheduled to perform over the next few nights include Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker, Tyler Hilton, Flor de Toloache, and Rick Springfield.

Let it never be said there’s nothing to do in the Valley during the dog days of summer.

Details about each of these gigs can be found below. And for even more live music happening around the Valley this weekend, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

click to enlarge Viceroy, the self-proclaimed "Sultan of Summer." - COURTESY OF APA AGENCY
Viceroy, the self-proclaimed "Sultan of Summer."
Courtesy of APA Agency
Night Swim feat. Viceroy
Monday, August 20
Maya Day & Nightclub

"Summer all the time" is Viceroy's motto. The San Francisco-based dance music producer loves Hawaiian shirts. And he's all about that beachy groove, not so much that heavy drop, though he's still made it to the stages of many major EDM festivals.

Now, while the rest of America gets ready for the inevitable transition to overrated pumpkin-spice-everything-hoodie-lookin'-ass-basic-bitch mode, we get to ride high in our short-shorts and sandals, jammin' to Viceroy's mixes of sun-kissed pop, house, and R&B when he headlines this week’s Night Swim at Maya in Scottsdale.

Collabs are a regular thing for Viceroy, because nothing says summer anthem like an infectiously singable hook. You can find it in a few of his more recent releases, including “Caught Me a Rhythm” (which features Marc E. Bassy on vocals), or “1999,” Viceroy’s track with singer EMAN8. But whoever the featured vocalist may be, you can bet Viceroy's party tuneage will be sexy, effervescent, and irresistibly fun yet deceptively refined. After all, he's got a passion for sharing his perfect pop with both Top 40 fans and highbrow music types. Kat Bein

[image-11] Moonlight Magic
Monday, August 20
Valley Bar

This ensemble of seasoned local musicians is a great band to get woozy to. Or maybe, they’re the ones causing those woozy sways with breezy original tunes. Their sounds keep you moving; their infectious blend of exotica, lounge, and surf-y sounds are breezy and hypnotic. The band consists of Ruth Wilson on bass, Eddy Detroit on drums and percussion, Andrew Jemsek on organ and accordion, and Jamie Paul Lamb on guitar. Each has a lengthy resume of musical projects.

With a collective wardrobe any respectable lounge lizard would envy, this band doesn’t stick to playing in traditional venues. They’ll cram into the packed downtown tiki bar Bikini Lounge to play right in the middle of the party crowd. Another awesome way to catch them is atop the Clarendon Hotel, performing at the venue’s rooftop bar with the wind carrying their sounds into the infinite view. Or you could swing by their gig at Valley Bar on Monday night, which starts at 7 p.m. and is completely free. Amy Young

click to enlarge Forming Stories - ALEXANDER THOMAS REINHARD
Forming Stories
Alexander Thomas Reinhard
J. Cole
Tuesday, August 21
Talking Stick Resort Arena

J. Cole gets a lot of hate. Fans of the new generation of SoundCloud rappers such as Lil Pump have felt that the North Carolina rapper’s followers look down on SoundCloud rap for its lack of depth. Maybe it’s true that “Gucci Gang” doesn’t have the same complex outlook on drugs and depression that Cole possesses on his album KOD, where he tries to express the idea that turning to drugs is the worst way to deal with pain. The pitched-down lyrics of his alter-ego kiLL edward on “The Cut-Off” speak to this – “Gimme drink, gimme dope / bottom line, I can’t cope.”

Cole’s point is that when deep in depression, people do whatever they can to “kill our demons,” which is one way to read the record’s title. But when faced with pain, Cole says on the album’s intro, we should “choose wisely.” On “FRIENDS,” he advises listeners ”don’t medicate, meditate.” And in the song “1985 (Intro to ‘The Fall Off’),” what fans may interpret as hate toward the new wave of rappers is actually just friendly advice. He urges that they try to think about the impact their art has on the youth and avoid glorifying the use of hard drugs. Cole doesn’t hate the young rappers – he’s even interviewed Lil Pump – all he wants is for them to choose wisely. Julio Lugo

click to enlarge Timber Timbre have been releasing evocative slow-burners since 2006. - CARO DESILETS
Timber Timbre have been releasing evocative slow-burners since 2006.
Caro Desilets
Rick Springfield
Tuesday, August 21
Celebrity Theatre

There is literally only one reason to go to a Rick Springfield show in 2018, and that’s if you wanna hear “Jessie’s Girl.” What kind of person wants to hear “Jessie’s Girl” in 2018? People who graduated from high school in 1982 whose lives have been downhill ever since (although pretty much everyone’s lives have gone downhill in the last few years, so that’s relative).

We’ll give you another reason to get excited for Rick Springfield: he has a surprisingly robust acting resume. He started off on General Hospital in the early ‘80s, just as his music career started popping off. Lately, he’s had a bunch of roles in prestige TV shows such as Californication, Supernatural, and the polarizing second season of True Detective. He also had a part in the Meryl Streep-starring, Jonathan Demme-directed movie Ricki and the Flash as a musician in the titular cover band.

Still not enough? The bill also features Loverboy, Greg Kihn, and Tommy Tutone, so you’ll be able to hear “Working for the Weekend,” “Jeopardy,” and “8675309” as well. That’s at least four good songs! Douglas Markowitz

click to enlarge The ultra-prolific Jack White. - DAVID JAMES SWANSON
The ultra-prolific Jack White.
David James Swanson
Timber Timbre
Wednesday, August 22
Valley Bar

Taylor Kirk’s croon flows out of speakers like codeine syrup. Slow, thick, and trippy, the Timber Timbre (pronounced tim-ber tam-ber) singer’s voice destabilizes their music. Skilled at putting together dark soundscapes that pull sonic elements from doo-wop, the blues, and Lynchian noir, the band makes music that’s like an elegant bottle that Kirk keeps trying to escape from.

Based in Canada, the trio of Kirk, Mathieu Charbonneau, and Simon Trottier have been releasing evocative-slow burners since 2006’s Cedar Shakes. While they’re named for the cabin they used to record in, Timber Timbre make music for city boys and girls. It’s sinewy, nocturnal music that’s meant to soundtrack long nights wasted away in dark bars with velvet paintings of Elvis on the wall, cold-blooded music for lounge lizards looking to keep a low profile.

“Oh, it’s a bad, bad ritual,” Kirk sings on 2011’s Creep On Creepin’ On. “Oh, but it calms me down.” His band is the sound of people relaxing into their bad rituals: pouring one too many drinks, having that smoke you swore off, calling that lover whose number shouldn’t still be in your phone. Ashley Naftule

Steel Pulse
Wednesday, August 22
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Hailing from Birmingham, England, by way of the West Indies, Steel Pulse is the first – if only – reggae band to perform at an American president's inaugural celebration (specifically, Bill Clinton’s in 1993).

As trivial as Steel Pulse's rank is among ultra-roots purists who kneel before the holy trinity of Bob Marley, Culture, and Burning Spear, the outfit started out with the lofty intention of most rastas: burning down Babylon, then salting the ashes.

In the good old Thatcher-baiting days, Pulse would dress like vicars, coach footmen, and powder-wigged aristocrats, sharing eclectic bills with U.K. rabble-rousers like the Clash, the Stranglers, Generation X, and the Police. Along the way, however, the protest-minded vision of frontman David Hinds branched into watered-down crossover territory such as synth-soaked party anthems.

From their 1978 debut, Handsworth Revolution to the Grammy-garnering Babylon the Bandit, the ever-changing lineup has dabbled in jazz, Latin grooves, contemporary dancehall lite, and even a killer Jah-slanted take on Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl." John La Briola
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers