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Best Phoenix Concerts This Week: Nita Strauss, 100 Gecs, Toosii

15November 2021

This week, you can watch costumed hyperpop duo 100 Gecs get weird, rocker Nita Strauss prove why she’s one of the best female guitarists in the world, or rapper Toosii serve up songs like “Sapiosexual” and “Poetic Pain” on stages around the metro Phoenix area.

The Valley will also witness an invasion of bands with capitalized names in the days ahead as punk act METZ, synthpop/coldwave duo BOAN, and indie-pop trio COIN are all scheduled to perform at local concert venues. Other concert highlights happening around town from Monday, November 15, to Thursday, November 18, include shows by Dale Watson, Evanescence, and The Black Angels.

Read on for more details about each of these gigs or check out Phoenix New Timesonline concert listings for more music events. Keep in mind, though, that the Delta variant of Covid-19 is an ever-present danger right now and multiple local venues are requiring proof of vaccinations or a recent negative test result to attend shows. More info can be found on the ticketing sites for each concert.

click to enlarge Nau'Jour Grainger, better known as Toosii. - ANDREW THOMAS CARROLL

Nau’Jour Grainger, better known as Toosii.

Andrew Thomas Carroll

Toosii at Marquee Theatre

Toosii is a rapper on the rise. In just this year alone, the North Carolina-based artist saw his hit single “Love Cycle” go gold, released his seventh mixtape Thank You for Believing, spit bars in 2021 BET Hip Hop Awards cypher, and made the XXL Freshman Class. Toosii (born Nau’Jour Grainger) has been earning looks since getting signed to South Coast Music Group in 2019, dropping his breakthrough track “Red Lights” (a song about the murder of his grandfather) and the fire mixtape Who Dat. More albums and mixtapes have followed and the self-described “hood romantic” (who told The Source earlier this year that he “[makes] music for the street dudes but at the same time I make music for the ladies”) racked up more than 250 million combined global streams in 2020. Not bad for an artist who was booed offstage at the age of 16. Toosii will kick off his week with a gig at Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue in Tempe, on Monday, November 15. Doors are at 7 p.m. and tickets are $30. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Early 2000s rock radio favorites Evanescence. - NICK FANCHER

Early 2000s rock radio favorites Evanescence.

Nick Fancher

Evanescence and Halestorm at Arizona Federal Theater

Pianist and singer Amy Lee is the voice, face, and driving heart behind the operatic rock band Evanescence. Their fame took off with Fallen, the album that brought chart-topping hits such as “My Immortal” and “Bring Me to Life.” Evanescence has seen some lineup changes since then, and after a hiatus that started in 2009, they returned to the stage in 2014. Now their back with a new album, The Bitter Truth, and is touring alongside metal/hard rock band Halestorm, which is fronted by lead singer/guitarist Lzzy Hale. Both bands roll into Arizona Federal Theatre, 400 West Washington Street, on Monday, November 15. All-female alternative rock act Plush opens at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $39.50 to $99.50. Diamond Rodrigue

click to enlarge Hyperpop duo 100 Gecs will sneak into the Marquee Theatre on Tuesday. - MIKEY JOYCE

Hyperpop duo 100 Gecs will sneak into the Marquee Theatre on Tuesday.

Mikey Joyce

100 Gecs at Marquee Theatre

When you first listen to a 100 Gecs record, you might come away with a sense that this has to be a joke. “Money Machine” sounds like a blown-out bass track sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks, while “Stupid Horse” brings back memories of your regrettable high-school ska phase. “xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx” — a title that reads more like an early 2000s AIM username — leans into happy hardcore, and “Hand Crushed by a Mallet” feels like a chaotic remix of a pop-punk song. Yet somehow, Dylan Brady and Laura Les make it all work. As millennials’ cultural clout begins to wane, Gen Z has stepped up to reshape music in its own image: a genreless amalgamation of influences that seems to point to the future while at the same time imagining living in a world where dial-up modem sounds were still a thing — and 100 Gecs are leading the way. 100 Gecs music tends to push the listener into one of two camps: They either love it or hate it. And age tends to play a significant factor, with older millennials dismissing it as “zoomer music.” Decide for yourself on Tuesday, November 16, when 100 Gecs comes to Tempe’s Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, for an all-ages show starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $23 to $65. Jose D. Duran

Dale Watson at The Rhythm Room

Dale Watson is the archetypical country-music artist. There’s a reason he’s often referred to as the “real deal.” Yet, despite the obvious associations, Watson claims he isn’t a country artist. In fact, he’s adamant that country music, at least in the traditional sense, no longer exists. While he’s stayed true to his roots after growing up on a diet of George Jones, Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Cash, Watson separates himself from the so-called country music that is clogging up the airwaves. He calls himself an Ameripolitan, an artist playing music in the four traditional country music senses — honky-tonk, rockabilly, Texas swing, and outlaw country. Retro, perhaps, yet there’s no denying the appeal of his music. There’s a down-home, down-to-earth, real-life feel to Watson’s songs. These are not written by some suits sitting in an air-conditioned room in Nashville, but rather a man living on the road, going to real places with real people and real situations. He’ll amble into the Valley this week for a performance at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 17. Admission is $20 in advance, $24 at the door. Glenn BurnSilver

click to enlarge Psych-rock vanguards The Black Angels. - ALEXANDRA VALENTI

Psych-rock vanguards The Black Angels.

Alexandra Valenti

The Black Angels at Crescent Ballroom

As one of the pioneers of psych-rock’s renaissance of the 2010s, Texas-born band the Black Angels have taken listeners on trippy sonic journeys for more than a decade. Taking elements that made the genre famous, its members make widescreen psychedelic noise without sounding dated. From mind-expanding melodies, dreamy lyricism and an almost indistinguishable wall of sound, the band creates a buzzy soundscape without the lengthy, audience-taxing solos usually heard from similar acts. These are the kind of musicians who blend into the music; there’s no overpowering rock-star personalities or celebrity cult following here. Each member leans into the song and that collective outpouring is the performance. Their sets and the various songs on the five albums the Black Angels have released since 2004 sets are deeply reflective experiences whether or not mind-altering substances are involved. Catch them live on Wednesday, November 17, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. L.A. Witch opens the 8 p.m. gig. Tickets are $27.50. Kristy Loye

Biha/CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons” class=”uk-display-block uk-position-relative uk-visible-toggle”> click to enlarge Nita Strauss performing in 2016. - BIHA/CC BY-SA 4.0/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Nita Strauss performing in 2016.

Nita Strauss at The Rebel Lounge

Fans of Alice Cooper and fierce female rockers are familiar with Nita Strauss. The 34-year-old guitarist and former member of tribute band The Iron Maidens has been shredding axes in the legendary shock-rocker’s band since 2014 and has gotten the spotlight in recent years for her enormous talents. No less a source than Guitar World magazine has listed Strauss as one of its “10 Female Guitar Players You Should Know” in 2018. That same year, the WWE tapped her to perform at WrestleMania and released her solo debut album Controlled Chaos to critical acclaim. Strauss is scheduled to take the stage at The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road, on Wednesday, November 17. CO-OP, the local metal band fronted by Dash Cooper, and Black Satellite share the bill. The show is at 8 p.m. and tickets are $22. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge The members of indie-pop trio COIN. - PARADIGM AGENCY

The members of indie-pop trio COIN.

Paradigm Agency

COIN at The Van Buren

In 2012, indie-pop band COIN started playing shows around their hometown of Nashville, quickly accumulating fans in the process, later releasing two EPs, Saturdays and 1992. Despite the obvious talent on display with these releases, it wasn’t until 2015 that the eyes of the national music scene fell upon the still-young quartet with their single “Run,” a blistering three-and-a-half-minute pop-rock gem that induces involuntary head-bopping and energetic nostalgia. Swirling synth lines and memorable sing-along choruses supported by tight musicianship became COIN’s M.O. The summer 2015 release of the band’s self-titled debut full-length capitalized on this success, drawing positive reviews from national music outlets like Billboard. Since then, COIN’s success has only grown as they’ve released two more LPs: 2017’s How Will You Know If You Never Try (which ranked high on the charts and featured the hit single “Talk Too Much”) and 2020’s Dreamland. Their sound has also gone in new directions, including a wider inclusion of synthesizer, a slightly more new-wave song structure, more powerful and honest lyrical ideas. They’ll be in concert on Wednesday, November 17, at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street. Valley opens the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are sold out but can be found on the secondary market. John Nicholl

click to enlarge Chris Slorach (left), Alex Edkins (center), and Hayden Menzies (right) of METZ. - NORMAN WONG

Chris Slorach (left), Alex Edkins (center), and Hayden Menzies (right) of METZ.

Norman Wong

METZ and Preoccupations at Crescent Ballroom

Want to mosh? Let’s mosh. The Canadian punk-rock act METZ thrives in chaos, its shows a rowdy concoction of aggressive percussion and guitar-heavy angst. They’ll be joined at this show by fellow Canadians Preoccupations, whose post-punk sound — a bit of New Order, a little ’70s art-rock — is mellow by comparison. Their show on Thursday, November 18, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue starts at 8 p.m. with an opening set by Facs. Tickets are $20 before fees. Gannon Hanevold

Skream at Sunbar

Sure, Skream could have taken an alias. Perhaps when he wanted to spin techno, he could go by Whisper or under DJ Euphoria for his house endeavors. But the U.K. DJ/producer’s dubstep legacy is not preserved in amber for archaeologists to dig up millennia from now. In the early 2010s, anyone in search of dubstep’s signature whomps and teeth-shattering drops had juggernauts like Skrillex and Excision to provide relief. But Skream hit differently. His U.K. dubstep and garage sounds were less cataclysmic — more gritty and dystopian. It was head-bobbing, not fist-pumping. Today, Skream is still Skream, but he grew more tentacles during his 24 years on the scene, dominating the techno, house, and disco sounds. He’ll soar through the soundscapes during his headlining set at Sunbar, 24 West Fifth Street in Tempe, on Thursday, November 18. Anatta and Jeff O’Neal open the evening starting at 8 p.m. Admission is $26. Grant Albert

BOAN at The Rebel Lounge

Austin, Texas-based BOAN is an electronic duo consisting of Jose Cota and Houston-raised vocalist Mariana Saldaña. Don’t let the electronic description fool you into thinking that they are an EDM act; BOAN is more like a Spanish-speaking Crystal Castles. Their synth-pop tracks like “Freaksnake” and “Secretos” have been described as deep, dark, and romantic. The duo emerged from now-defunct darkwave trio Medio Mutante and have released only one album, 2015’s Mentiras, which got love from listeners, bloggers, and critics alike. BOAN comes to The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road, on Thursday, November 18. Body of Light and Secret Attractions will provide support. Doors are at 7 p.m. and tickets are $15. Jack Gorman

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