It is still Africa-hot out, but at least now that school is in session some good bands are visiting Phoenix and the surrounding areas. Let’s face it, why would any artist want to come here anytime from June through August? I keep hoping to see a Band of Horses or Interpol date added, I would be pretty upset if they joined the list of bands I feel are part of the silent Sound Strike brigade.
Let’s focus on the artists that are coming to play in Arizona during the month of September!
Thursday September 2 – Smashing Pumpkins – Venue of Scottsdale. It is the humble opinion of this writer that this band has been irrelevant since Siamese Dream, but according to the information I read on Silver Platter, this is a free show. The band’s only original member is Billy Corgan, but for free I may go.
Saturday September 4 – Autumn’s End – Joe’s Grotto. After not having played live in quite a while local metal band Autumn’s End will be playing their third show in about a month, having just recently headlined Metalhead Fest IV at the Venue of Scottsdale August 21. These guys kick some serious ass live, delivering a highly brutal and intense set anytime they play. The Metalhead Fest IV concert showcased new guitarist Steve Jasinski. Autumn’s End has been hard at work creating new material, so this will be a good show to check out and see how things are progressing.
Saturday September 11 – The Father Figures – Icehouse Tavern. A new venue for me to check out where the old Tower Plaza Mall used to be. I have not seen the Father Figures since their killer set at St. Georges Day months ago. You obviously never read this blog if I have to explain to you why you need to go see these guys live. Just do it or bad things shall happen to you.
Wednesday September 15 – Alberta Cross – Rhythm Room. When I first listened to the band’s first full-length album Broken Side of Time I was not overly impressed. However, Alberta Cross is one of those bands that require repeated listens, because the disc has really grown on me with its mesh of rock and roll, blues and country. The band is opening for Dead Confederate at this show.
Wednesday September 15 – Autolux – The Clubhouse. I wish I could remember when I saw this band and whom they opened for, but I do remember being very impressed with the wall of sound they created live. I recall a style that reminded me of classic shoegaze mixed with alternative rock and roll. The one album I own from the band, Future Perfect, is very good.
Friday September 17 – Arizona Fall Frenzy Day One – Tempe Beach Park. I have been reading that Stone Temple Pilots, or at least vocalist/rehab visitor extraordinaire Scott Weiland, is already a hot mess live on this latest tour. The Cult is one of the opening bands, a favorite of mine from the 80’s psychedelic rock era with the release of Love, but when I saw them play that album in its entirety last year at Celebrity Theatre I was disappointed with singer Ian Asbury’s performance. I wholeheartedly believe in supporting Arizona music festivals, but this night just does not cut it for me.
Friday September 17 – Modern English – The Compound Grill. The majority of people in this world think the band was a One-Hit Wonder. If that is truly the case, the fact Modern English created what I still consider to be the greatest song OF EVER with “I Melt With You” makes them a relevant band 28 years after the release of that single. However, their 1981 album Mesh and Lace was a very good album, a fine addition to the 4AD Records catalog. Two concerts featuring bands from my teenage years playing on the same night, what a dilemma! However, there is still another show on this evening …
Friday September 17 – The Walkmen and Japandroids – The Clubhouse. This is the show I will be going to that evening! I have not had an opportunity to see either band yet, so a chance to see these two bands on the same bill is pretty sweet. The Walkmen play a pretty lush style of indie pop with some pretty nice orchestral type arrangements. Japandroids absolutely smoke on disc, so I can only imagine how great they sound live. Psyched for this show!
Saturday September 18 – Arizona Fall Frenzy Day Two – Tempe Beach Park. Day Two of Arizona Fall Frenzy is a no-brainer, this is a killer line-up! Devo may not be headlining, but that is the main band attracting me to this concert. I have never seen this legendary band live, definitely stoked that years after they originally broke up they reunited and are not only playing again but putting out new material! Primus is back as well, a great live band and a band that will always be relevant with the mastermind Les Claypool at the helm. Weezer is headlining this concert. While they may not be a personal favorite of mine, I cannot deny after seeing them open for the Foo Fighters a few years ago that not only do they put on a great show, but they have one of the most devoted fan bases I have ever witnessed. Their fans know every word of every single song, a lot of fun to watch as a casual follower of Weezer.
Thursday September 23 – Helmet – The Clubhouse. Let’s see, one, two, three, four, five – yep, I have seen this band five times over the years. Shows one through four were mind-blowing experiences, with concert number four the best of the set with their encore of the first four songs, in order, from their second album Meantime. Helmet took the best qualities of punk rock, added in the best elements of metal and created a frightening style of music that destroyed every sense used to experience music. I absolutely loved them for years, but as with many good bands they eventually disbanded. The fifth time I saw them they played a show at The Brickhouse in downtown Phoenix and were terrible. I hope this show is not a repeat of that travesty.
Friday September 24 – The Pixies – Mesa Amphitheatre. One of my all-time favorite studio bands also happens to be one of my all-time disappointing live bands. I only saw The Pixies once, years ago down in Tucson during the tour for Trompe Le Monde. Killer music, but a pretty lifeless performance from a band that was on its way to dissolving. When they reunited and played sold-out shows at the Dodge Theatre a few years ago I ignored an opportunity to go see them, but not this time. The Pixies will be playing their watershed second full-length album Doolittle in its entirety during the show! Many critics site Surfer Rosa as the band’s best album; I am partial to Doolittle, so needless to say I am extremely stoked for this concert.
Saturday September 25 – Michael Franti and Spearhead – Marquee Theatre. I saw Spearhead at Coachella in 2009, so I can recommend this show. My problem is anytime I think of Spearhead it makes me miss the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Michael Franti is quite an artist!
Sunday September 26 – Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – Orpheum Theatre. I saw some incredible bands, including Band of Horses, A Place to Bury Strangers, Snowden, The Fratellis, The Pomegranates, Jukebox the Ghost and TV on the Radio at the Monolith Festival in 2008 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO. The performance of the weekend may very well have come from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings with their wonderful style of retro soul. Sharon Jones is the consummate entertainer, putting 100% of her energy into every song both vocally and physically. She brings people up onstage to dance with her, all the while belting out each tune with extreme grace and power. Folks, this show has a great chance of being my concert of the year, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are that incredible live!
Sunday September 26 – ZZ Top – US Airways Center. Too bad “That Little Ol’ Band From Texas” is playing the same night as Sharon Jones, because I would love to see these guys again. This trio of musicians have been together for 40+ years, incredible by today’s rock and roll standards. Playing what I believe to be the best combination of blues and rock and roll in the industry, ZZ Top continues to put on an amazing performance in concert. I saw them a few years ago at the Dodge Theatre and they smoked. If nothing else, the opportunity to see Billy Gibbons hammer on the guitar is reason enough to see this band perform. ZZ Top will be opening for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on this evening.
A heck of a month my friends, and even more is forthcoming! The end of summer and brutal temperatures usually brings about a stellar fall and winter concert season. Put October 14 on your calendar right now!
Thanks for reading, now get out to some shows. Cheers!