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Best Phoenix Concerts This Week: Slipknot, Japanese Breakfast, Rüfüs Du Sol

1November 2021

Didn’t get enough costumed fun over Halloween? The masked metalheads of Slipknot will invade the Valley when they bring their Knotfest Roadshow to Ak-Chin Pavilion this week. The action-packed show will help kick off November’s concert lineup and also include sets by Killswitch Engage and Fever 333.

Other noteworthy music events happening from Monday, November 1, to Thursday, November 4, include electronic music trio Rüfüs Du Sol and singer-songwriter Julien Baker at The Van Buren, shoegaze-inflected artist Japanese Breakfast on the Coca-Cola Sun Deck at Sun Devil Stadium, and JJ Grey and Mofro at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Read on for more details about each of these gigs or click over to Phoenix New Timesonline concert calendar 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 Indie singer-songwriter Julien Baker. - NOLAN KNIGHT

Indie singer-songwriter Julien Baker.

Nolan Knight

Julien Baker at The Van Buren

Julien Baker’s solo records don’t go down as smoothly as those of Lucy Dacus or Phoebe Bridgers, her collaborators in the indie-rock supergroup boygenius. Baker’s alt-folk is full of sharp edges and darkly self-reflective lyrics. On her latest, Little Oblivions, she has expanded her sonic palette, creating a larger world for her hauntingly beautiful songs to live inside. Baker comes to The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, on Monday, November 1. Dehd and Katie Malco open the 8 p.m. show, which is $25 before taxes and fees. Gannon Hanevold

click to enlarge Corey Taylor of Slipknot. - BRANDON MARSHALL

Corey Taylor of Slipknot.

Brandon Marshall

Knotfest Roadshow at Ak-Chin Pavilion

Metal band Slipknot’s Knotfest Roadshow pulls into Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue, on Tuesday, November 2. The show will include opening acts Killswitch Engage, Fever 333, and Code Orange. For decades now, Slipknot has been known for putting on breathtaking stage shows that are every bit as big and ballistic as the band itself. Coming out of Iowa, Slipknot burst onto the metal scene in the late ’90s with their self-titled debut album, catching the eyes and ears of listeners with terrifying masks and three percussionists. While metalheads will always debate just how metal any particular metal band might be, one thing that can’t be denied about Slipknot is how much power there is behind the nine-piece band. Slipknot’s most recent album, We Are Not Your Kind, came out in August 2019, and the band recently revealed it’s working on new material, which percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan has described as “God music.” Tickets are $29.50 to $99.50 for the 5:30 p.m. gig. David Fletcher

click to enlarge Japanese psychedelic folk/rock band Kikagaku Moyo. - RIOT ACT MEDIA

Japanese psychedelic folk/rock band Kikagaku Moyo.

Riot Act Media

Kikagaku Moyo at The Rebel Lounge

Cutting their teeth busking on the streets of Tokyo in 2012, Kikagaku Moyo (Japanese for “geometric patterns”) quickly established a free-flowing brand of rock music that incorporates everything from avant-garde folk to Indian raga to prog-heavy Krautrock — always certain to maintain a psychedelic quality to each component. By the time of 2016’s House in Tall Grass (released under their own label, Guruguru Brain), the band had become international darlings of the psych community. Yet, true to the psych-rock ethos, it’s Kikagaku’s live reputation that truly propelled them to that point, as the band’s relentless touring schedule (spanning across nearly every continent) has molded the five member’s live set into an immersive experience that’s certain to floor its audience night after night. They’re rolling into The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road, on Wednesday, November 3. Doors are at 7 p.m. and Los Èsplifs opens. Tickets are $20. Connor Fields

click to enlarge Angels and Airwaves lands in downtown Phoenix this week. - JONATHAN WEINER

Angels and Airwaves lands in downtown Phoenix this week.

Jonathan Weiner

Angels and Airwaves at The Van Buren

Angels and Airwaves — the interstellar art-rock outfit started by a founding member of the pop-punk outfit blink-182 — just released its first new record since 2014. On Lifeforms, Tom DeLonge made a conscious effort to return to his band’s earlier sound while incorporating some new elements like punk and hardcore. The final result has largely appeased critics and longtime fans alike, breathing new life into a group that fell into a creative rut after 2007’s I-Empire. Fans of UFOs and tales of unrequited love can see AVA at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, on Wednesday, November 3. Bad Suns and My Kid Brother open the 7:30 p.m. gig. Tickets are $43 to $48. Matthew Keever

click to enlarge JJ Grey in concert. - COURTESY OF ALL EYES MEDIA

JJ Grey in concert.

Courtesy of All Eyes Media

JJ Grey and Mofro at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

After just a few notes, anyone witnessing JJ Grey in action can’t help but notice how strong his stage presence is. He doesn’t need pyrotechnics or an elaborate stage show or costumes to pull a crowd in. All he needs is a microphone, a harmonica, and a guitar or two, and he’ll pull the crowd down to his world of dirty, authentic Southern grooves and deep-fried soul lyrics. Grey epitomizes what a frontman should be, and the rest of Mofro kick out grooves that would make a dead man dance like his reanimated life depended on it. His lyrics are reminiscent of the great Southern poets: Fiercely personal, universal, and political without a hint of superiority or peachiness. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street, will host a performance by Grey and Mofro at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 3. Tickets are $35 to $42. Jonathan Cunningham

Ryan Caraveo at Crescent Ballroom

Inside the main room of Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, the hip-hop of Seattle’s Ryan Caraveo will be on full display during his show on Wednesday, November 3. Caraveo has been making his name solid by the day, and he’s performed at venues across the country. His latest album, this year’s Northend Sweetheart, is pretty hook-heavy and solid. Pop artist Dempsey Hope will share the bill as the opening act for the 16-and-over show. Doors are at 7 p.m. and admission is $17. David Garrick

Reagan Youth at Yucca Tap Room

Arguably, the world has changed a lot since Reagan Youth was formed in 1980. But the legendary punk band’s only remaining original member Paul Bakija believes otherwise. Even though the faces and situations have changed, we’re still facing the same exact mess that we were 40 years ago. It was in NYC in 1980 that he linked up with original Reagan Youth frontman Dave Insurgent. Tragically, Insurgent committed suicide in 1993. The band was already broken up for three years with no plans to reunite until a persistent street buddy told Bakija he had booked a Reagan Youth show. New musicians were recruited and decades later, Reagan Youth is still gigging. They’re set to perform at Yucca Tap Room on Wednesday, November 3. Heavy Breather, Corky’s Leather Jacket, and Action Hammer will provide support. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Jose Flores

click to enlarge Electronic act Rüfüs Du Sol. - LEFAWN HAWK

Electronic act Rüfüs Du Sol.

LeFawn Hawk

Rüfüs Du Sol at Arizona Federal Theatre

There’s a freeing quality to Rüfüs Du Sol’s music. The Australian trio produces music that feels like you’re gazing past a cotton-candy sunset over the horizon while shedding a tear. Something’s in the water in the land Down Under. Aussie imports like Tame Impala taught us music could flow slowly through the speakers, while music turned fantastical with the electro-pop duo Empire of the Sun. Rüfüs Du Sol flows from the same vein, blurring genre homogeneity with powerful language and deep rhythm. Over the last decade, the group combined electronic elements with live components via the thunderous vocals and guitar riffs of Tyrone Lindqvist, surfaced synth and keys patterns from Jon George, and James Hunt’s soul-hitting percussion. They’ll visit Arizona Federal Theatre on Thursday, November 4, along with electronic duo Flight Facilities. The show is at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $59.50-$149.50. Grant Albert

click to enlarge Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast - PETER ASH LEE

Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast

Peter Ash Lee

Japanese Breakfast at Sun Devil Stadium

Michelle Zauner surfaced on the scene back around 2016 with a pair of sturdy, shoegaze-inflected indie-rock records released under the name Japanese Breakfast. She has since revealed herself to be someone with far more eclectic interests and talents. An essay about her mother’s death was published in the New Yorker in 2018 and later became a memoir, Crying in H Mart, which was released earlier this year. And the new Japanese Breakfast record, Jubilee, which dropped in June, is an adventurous departure from Zauner’s previous sound.

The moody, mournful tones have been replaced by something more playful, percussive, and orchestral (Zauner worked with a variety of collaborators on Jubilee, including Alex G, Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum, and Crying’s Ryan Galloway). In some places, the record evokes the ecstatic art-rock of Kate Bush; elsewhere, as on “Be Sweet,” you might think you’re hearing a long-lost ’80’s-era Madonna dance-pop jam. Sasami Ashworth, a former Cherry Glazer member who makes music heavy with synths, reverb, and hushed vocals under the name SASAMI, opens. Tickets are $23 for her performance at 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 4, on the Coca-Cola Sun Deck at Sun Devil Stadium, 500 East Veterans Way in Tempe. David Hudnall

click to enlarge The musicians of jazz-funk collective Snarky Puppy. - STELLA K.

The musicians of jazz-funk collective Snarky Puppy.

Stella K.

Snarky Puppy at Mesa Arts Center

Grammy-winning Jazz-funk collective Snarky Puppy works in a musical passage channeled by Incognito and Groove Collective rather than the one that, say, Robert Glasper and Esperanza Spalding have moved through. At its best, the band swings on the finest line between R&B and jazz, a place where there’s room to develop a signature aesthetic and singular sound. These days, jazz seems to be a label slapped on anything that isn’t category-ready or commercial-radio-friendly. The musicians in Snarky Puppy are highly trained and could very well play any number of things, including true improvisational jazz. But in its current formation, this band’s fusions are really concocted treats. What Snarky Puppy did really well at Hailey’s was build beats from their spongy percussive core, drizzling them with infectious keyboard riffs, and then letting the soloists (on keys, tenor sax, trumpet or guitar) coat these confections with sugary improvisations. Catch them in concert at 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 4, inside the Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street. Tickets are $38 to $68. Walton Muyumba

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