This weekend will see bands like indie rockers Slow Pulp, ‘90s alt-radio favorites Everclear, and colorful indie pop band MisterWives performing at music venues around metro Phoenix. Other notable concerts happening from Friday, November 19, to Sunday, November 21, include jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum, singer-songwriter Paul Thorn, and electronic dance music legend Paul Van Dyk.
Punk stalwarts Lagwagon are also stopping at The Rebel Lounge for a two-night stint and will play two of their biggest fan-favorite albums in their entirety.
Details about each of these gigs can be found below. For more live music taking place in the Valley this weekend, check out Phoenix New Times‘ online concert listings. Keep in mind, though, that Arizona is in the midst of a Covid-19 surge right now and multiple 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.
Kirk Whalum at Chandler Center for the Arts
Kirk Whalum is a son of the Civil Rights era. He was just 9 years old when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, only blocks away from the Whalum family home in Memphis. His legendary and prolific career, which began in Houston more than four decades ago, has allowed him to see the world and know its people. He’s personally experienced King’s vision of “The Beloved Community” and expressed that vision through his 2019 album, Humanité. Whalum is scheduled to perform at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue, on Friday, November 19. He’ll be playing songs from a career that launched at local haunts in his hometown and went on to include more than two dozen albums, a Grammy, and session and touring gigs with artists like Barbra Streisand, Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross, and, most notably, Whitney Houston. Tickets for the 8 p.m. concert are $48 to $68. Jesse Sendejas Jr.
Paul Van Dyk at Sunbar
Few DJs are as accomplished as Paul van Dyk. Or as legendary. Over the span of his 38-year career, the German-born artist helped lay the groundwork for electronic dance music’s modern era, produced several influential albums, and redefined the genre of trance. He’s also won a slew of awards (including a Grammy), played enough gigs around the world to be considered one of the most traveled DJs of all time, and even survived personal tragedy (specifically, a 20-foot fall in 2016 that nearly claimed his life). In other words, simply calling him a “superstar” only scratches the surface. Some DJs might be content to rest on their laurels, but Van Dyk has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. He continues to play numerous festivals and club gigs around the world, including a performance at Tempe’s Sunbar, 24 West Fifth Street, on Friday, November 19. Openers like Sean + Xander, Pharm.G., and Joseph Harding get going at 9 p.m. Tickets are $27. Benjamin Leatherman
Everclear at Celebrity Theatre
Art Alexakis is almost refreshingly honest. In an era when a number of bands of yesteryear cling to relevance in an era that long ago passed them by, Alexakis is more than aware of Everclear’s standing in the annals of rock music. Rather than trot out a bunch of new tunes when they roll through the Valley this week, Alexakis and his Everclear bandmates are going the opposite route. The band’s current setlists consist almost completely of songs from their 11-album discography (save for covers of “Molly’s Lips” by the Vaselines or Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”) and include such signature hits as “Father of Mine,” “Santa Monica,” “Everything to Everyone,” and “I Will Buy You a New Life.” In other words, if you’re going to Everclear’s concert on Friday, November 19, at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, it’s likely for the nostalgia. Hell, opening act Wheatus – another relic of the ’90s – are the current opening acts for Everclear. The show is at 8 p.m. and tickets are $30 to $40. Clint Hale and Benjamin Leatherman
Slow Pulp at Valley Bar
After releasing its debut album Moveys in late 2020, Slow Pulp seems to be on a mission to prove itself the most eclectic indie band going. The band’s discography has it all: acoustic ballads, indie electro-pop, a one-minute instrumental nod to former NFL quarterback Brett Favre, even a newly released cover of Sum 41’s ’90s classic “In Too Deep.” Considering Slow Pulp’s exponential rise in the last calendar year and the coveted Phoebe Bridgers co-sign the band received this fall, Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue, almost seems too small a venue for their show on Saturday, November 20. But with tickets at just $14 before fees, it’s also a great opportunity for local indie fans to get in on the ground floor of the next big thing. Mamalarky opens the 8 p.m. show. Gannon Hanevold
Strangelove at Marquee Theatre
From leather jackets to vintage synths, Strangelove’s tribute to Depeche Mode’s OG lineup is heavy on the details and made for hardcore Modies. Singer Leo “Ultra Dave” Luganskiy does a spot-on impersonation of Dave Gahan’s croon while Brent Meyer as “Counterfeit Martin” (a.k.a. DM’s Martin Gore) handles the keyboards, vocals, guitar, melodica, sequencing, and percussion. Rounding out the lineup are Julian Shah-Tayler as “Oscar Wilder” (who apes Andy Wilder) and James Evans as “InTheFletch” (a.k.a. Andy Fletcher). Strangelove’s resemblance, both visually and sonically, to Depeche Mode is amazing. This weekend, they’ll amaze a nostalgia-seeking audience inside Tempe’s Marquee Theatre, 730 South Mill Avenue, on Friday, November 19. Doors are at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. General admission is $27. Liz Ohanesian
Postmodern Jukebox at Mesa Arts Center
Postmodern Jukebox started in founder and composer Scott Bradlee’s living room in Queens. As a kid, he was drawn to older styles of music like jazz, swing, and Motown, but he didn’t have many peers sharing his interest. Since they were all listening to the pop tracks on the radio, he thought it’d be interesting to join that conversation by taking the contemporary songs they played on repeat and transforming them into older styles to sound like the kind of music he loved. The result is a large ensemble that takes modern-day pop hits, puts them in a time machine, and sends them back to the present from the Golden Age of swing, jazz, and soul. You’ll recognize the lyrics, but the song itself is a whole new tune. Whether you’ve stumbled across Postmodern Jukebox’s addictive YouTube videos or are intrigued by the twists put on your favorite radio hits, their unique sets are worth checking out at 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 20, at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street. Tickets are $35 to $75. Michelle de Carion
MisterWives at The Van Buren
In a music culture where the single most respected musician on the planet might well be Beyoncé, pop sensibilities are valuable currency. These are exciting times to be a fan of a well-crafted hook and an indelible melody, even if the majority of bands trying to create those things can’t manage anything truly worthwhile. That’s because we occasionally wind up with a band like New York’s MisterWives: a trio equally capable of bombast and precision, one that earns its clap-along choruses with inventive, soul-inflected grooves and unexpected rhythms. The act released their EP Reflections in early 2014 to hype from many a media outlet, and have followed up with performances around the country. Their most recent album, Superbloom, dropped in 2020 and the band is scheduled to perform on Saturday, November 20, at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street. Frances Forever will provide support for the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $29 to $104. Kiernan Maletsky
Paul Thorn Band at Musical Instrument Museum
In Paul Thorn’s life he’s been the son of a preacher, a worker in a furniture factory, was discovered by Miles Copeland and opened for Sting before becoming an independent artist who also creates visual art. The latest release by the Southern rock, country, Americana, and blues singer-songwriter, Never Too Late to Call, came out over the summer and is his 12th studio album and first release of original music in six years. It shows listeners where Thorn is at now and his recent journey that brought him here. The songs range from Thorn losing his sister — the inspiration for the title track — the ups and downs of marriage, the mesmerizing wildness of James Brown, and drinking to name a few. He’ll perform selections from the album, as well as other songs from his lengthy discography, during his concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 20, at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard. Tickets are sold out but are available through resellers. Gladys Fuentes
Los Angeles Azules at Arizona Federal Theatre
Legendary cumbia sonidera group Los Angeles Azules revolves around the Mejia Avante family, who are proud natives of Iztapalapa, one of the boroughs of Mexico City. Founded in 1983, their legacy includes 30 albums and spans multiple generations. The current rotation consists of more than a dozen band members, which include multiple singers, horn players, keyboard players, percussionists, and more. A majority of their songs involve matters of the heart, such as love, longing, and heartbreak. But even the saddest songs in their repertoire sound lively and upbeat. “Como Te Voy A Olvidar,” “Nunca Es Suficiente,” “Niña Mujer,” “El Liston De Tu Pelo” and “17 Años” are just a few of the litany of hits played during their concerts. Los Ángeles Azules have performed innumerable shows around the world, including sets at Coachella in 2018 (they’re the only cumbia band to have played the festival). LAA’s travels will bring them to Arizona Federal Theatre, 400 West Washington Street, on Saturday, November 20. Their performance begins at 8 p.m. and admission is $48.50 to $125. Marco Torres
Lagwagon at The Rebel Lounge
The campy, retro album covers of Southern California’s Lagwagon always betrayed the smart punk rock within. The band has written about lost love, forlorn disappointment, and unanswered questions in a way that’s emotionally upfront without being self-indulgent (a rare feat in the emo-filled late ‘90s and 2000s). Two of the band’s best-loved albums from their ample back catalog, 1997’s Double Plaidinum and 2003’s Blaze, are being celebrated during Lagwagon’s latest tour, which visits The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road, for a two-night stint this weekend. They’ll perform one album in its entirety each evening, playing everything from Blaze on Saturday, November 20, followed by Double Plaidinum on Friday, November 21. Doors open at 7 p.m. both nights and Red City Radio and The Venomous Pinks will provide support. Tickets for Saturday are $32 while Sunday’s show is sold out (unless you want to hit up the secondary market). Nick Keppler and Benjamin Leatherman