U2 are scheduled to perform on Tuesday, September 19, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.EXPAND
U2 are scheduled to perform on Tuesday, September 19, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
Anton Corbijn

The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix This September

It’s finally the time of year most of us have looked forward to experiencing.

The end of another long, hot, grueling summer is in sight, things are starting to perk back up around the Valley, and a wide variety of much-anticipated events will be taking place.

And that most definitely includes all the big concerts happening in Phoenix, particularly during the month of September.

Over the next 30 days, venues around the Valley both big and small will be graced by any number of memorable shows and major concerts, not to mention fall tours, blockbuster acts, and music legends. And some of the big names headed our way this month include U2, Imagine Dragons, Depeche Mode, Janet Jackson, Idina Menzel, Death Cab for Cutie, Melvins, Ben Folds, and Fleet Foxes.

Whew.

We’ll even get a visit from Luis Fonsi, the Latin pop star behind the song of the summer, “Despacito.”

Here’s a look at all of the aforementioned shows, as well as many more, that will be happening in Phoenix in September. (And for even more shows taking place this month, check our our online concert calendar.)

Oh Sees in concert.
Oh Sees in concert.
Thomas Girard

Oh Sees
Friday, September 1
Crescent Ballroom

San Francisco psychedelic rock band Oh Sees released their new album, Orc, last month on Castle Face Records, a label co-owned by the band’s primary songwriter John Dwyer. This marks the band’s 19th album since the project was founded in 1997. Those 20 years have seen many changes, with 2017 ushering in their latest phase and shortened moniker. The band had been known as Thee Oh Sees since 2008. It’s the seventh band name they’ve used while several iterations of band members have rotated around Dwyer. The name change could mark a banner year for them though, as they’ve landed on a tight foursome of Dwyer, Tim Hellman, Dan Rincon, and new drummer Paul Quattrone from !!!. The tracks on Orc are as sweeping as they are menacing, with Dwyer’s snarky vocals over muddy guitar riffs and the driving energy of the band’s dual drummers. Ashley Harris

The members of The Growlers.EXPAND
The members of The Growlers.
Courtesy of One Beat PR

The Growlers
Friday, September 1
The Van Buren

Listening to the music of The Growlers is a bit like listening to oldies radio before that format was taken over by music from the '80s rather than being dominated by classic pop songs from the late '50s through the mid-'60s. There's a touch of rockabilly, a hint of early psychedelic garage rock and a dash of surf guitar. It also sounds as though the band's guitarist learned a trick or ten from Lonnie Donegan. Like the Strange Boys, The Growlers sound out of time, retro in the same sense that there is a retro aesthetic to the films of David Lynch — minus the mind-warping sense of the bizarre, of course. The strangeness of the Growlers is more subtle, tuneful, and catchy, but no less eccentric. Tom Murphy

R&B singer Lee Fields.
R&B singer Lee Fields.
Courtesy of Big Crown Records

Lee Fields and the Expressions
Saturday, September 2
Crescent Ballroom

Must be a heavy deal having the specter of James Brown looming large over your shoulder for your entire dang 45-year career, but Elmer “Lee” Fields has taken that burden and kicked it into the stratosphere. The North Carolina born-and-bred singer can boast a gritty tone, tufftude and authentic cool that many liken to Mr. Brown’s, so much so that he was nicknamed “Little JB” at one time. But Fields deserves much praise for the deepened style and hard-earned substance he brings to the classic soul-man strut, with which he’s graced frontline gigs with R&B big shots such as Kool & the Gang, Hip Huggers, O.V. Wright, and Little Royal. And in recent years he’s been laying down badder and wiser-sounding Stax-Chess-Motown stuff on his own albums, the latest of which is titled Special Night, which dropped earlier this year. John Payne

Rap legend Too $hort.EXPAND
Rap legend Too $hort.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Too $hort
Saturday, September 2
The Van Buren

It's undoubtedly for the better that pimp culture has taken a backseat to personal independence in the rap vernacular, but that doesn't mean we can't reminisce with one of the iciest players to ever turn a ho out on record (we're using technical terminology here). At 51, Too $hort is a veteran, having been one of the first Bay Area rappers to rise to prominence after dropping his first cassette in 1985. It was titled Don't Stop Rappin', which turned out to be fitting since he's released 20 albums to date, including 2012’s No Trespassing and this year’s The Pimp Tape, both independent releases that still managed to raise some big stars for the occasion: 50 Cent, G-Eazy, T.I., Juicy J, Snoop Dogg and, of course, E-40. All of that speaks to $hort Dog's commitment to craft, which in this case involves lacing strip-club beats with timeless braggadocio. Chris Martins

Ultra-talented vocalist Idina Menzel.EXPAND
Ultra-talented vocalist Idina Menzel.
Max Vadukul

Idina Menzel
Sunday, September 3
Comerica Theatre

She stole our bohemian hearts in Rent, and she left us all humming the tunes of Frozen for months. Now Idina Menzel (or is it Adele Dazeem?) is taking her Tony Award-winning pipes on the road, and making a stop in the Valley in early September to grace us with her gilded vocal cords. Dubbed “the Streisand of her generation,” she has captivated audiences around the world with her irresistible charm, wit and unparalleled vocal prowess. Throughout the tour, Menzel will lead audiences through a special journey of songs from classic pop, musical-theater favorites and her own catalog. This is one Wicked experience that will fill the crowds with Glee, so don’t “Let It Go” and miss this chance to see a living legend in concert. Sam Byrd

The sludge rockets of Melvins.
The sludge rockets of Melvins.
Chris Casella

Melvins
Tuesday, September 5
Crescent Ballroom

Though the Melvins have seen a lot of changes in their lineup, original members Buzz Osborne (vocals, guitar) and Dale Crover (drums) are still mainstays, holding it down and serving up hefty doses of the noise rock they’ve been playing for decades. When the band formed back in 1983, they did what a lot of new bands do — jammed out on covers of classic rock tunes by bands like Cream. They moved on to hardcore punk for a couple of years and then began to develop their signature sound, which keeps their brash punk rock roots alive through a slower, heavier, and sludgier sound that helped inspire the attention-grabbing grunge scene that started gaining attention in the late ’80s and blew up in the early ’90s. The Melvins were mixing it up with plenty of those folks from the jump. Drummer Dale Crover played on early Nirvana tracks, and Osborne, who is also known as King Buzzo, is the one who hooked Dave Grohl up with Cobain and crew. Last year saw the release of The Colossus of Destiny, a documentary about the band. And the band released a double album called A Walk with Love & Death. It includes Steven McDonald from Redd Kross on bass and other guests, like Teri Gender Bender from Le Bucherettes. Amy Young

Singer-songwriter Seu George will pay tribute to David Bowie at The Van Buren.
Singer-songwriter Seu George will pay tribute to David Bowie at The Van Buren.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Seu Jorge's The Life Aquatic: A Tribute to David Bowie
Tuesday, September 5
The Van Buren

Wes Anderson's 2004 flick The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou was a film full of memorable performances, but perhaps no one in the movie was a more effective scene-stealer than Brazilian musician Seu Jorge. Jorge appears throughout the film as the dutiful and soft-spoken sailor Pelé dos Santos. On several occasions, with an acoustic guitar in his arms, he belts out gorgeous Portuguese covers of David Bowie classics like "Rebel Rebel" and "Life on Mars?" In the liner notes to Jorge's accompanying album, The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions Featuring Seu Jorge, Bowie himself said, "Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese, I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with." Jorge’s touring tribute serves as an homage to Bowie and a celebration of the film that made Jorge's covers an international success. The stage will be decorated like the set of The Life Aquatic, and screens onstage will flash images from the film as Jorge sings. For Bowie fans, it'll be a special evening. For Wes Anderson buffs, it'll be a nostalgic stroll through a classic. For both Bowie and Anderson fans (a venn diagram that surely overlaps), it's a can't-miss event. Ryan Pfeffer

The Hooten Hallers
The Hooten Hallers
Courtesy of Hooten Hallers

The Hooten Hallers
Wednesday, September 6
The Rebel Lounge

In explaining The Hooten Hallers, it's best to begin with what this three-piece is not. The band, despite frequent media references to the contrary, is not a hillbilly band. It is from Missouri, not Appalachia. "You know, I don't know," says drummer Andy Rehm. "We are from a section of rural America, but I don't think any of us really identifies with the term hillbilly all that much. It's not a shameful term, but we were not raised in a traditional rural setting. More specifically, in an Appalachian setting, which is where the term, I think, comes from. The hillbilly word is strangely used." If anything, The Hooten Hallers' sound begins with Delta blues and builds upon that foundation, adding elements of everything from folk, country, and rock to soul, jazz, and marches to create a distinctly flamboyant sound. The music can be dark and lonely, wild and raucous, or just as easily breezy and carefree. "Really, the roots of the music we play come from that rural culture, that African-American culture in the South," Rehm says. Glenn BurnSilver

Working class country crooner Whitey Morgan.EXPAND
Working class country crooner Whitey Morgan.
Marc Nader

Whitey Morgan
Wednesday, September 6
Crescent Ballroom

If Waylon Jennings didn't exist, then Whitey Morgan wouldn't either. The same could be said for Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Cash, not to mention Buicks, twin fiddles, and class struggle. The mold should have been broken with the passing of honky-tonk's golden age, but, somehow, against all the corn pone that still fuels much of the revivalist scene, Morgan is absolutely in that mold. With a rich baritone that stands up to Dale Watson and a hard-as-forged-steel band that stands up to pure shuffles and trucker stomps, Morgan is a heavyweight, hard-country hitter. Tom Murphy

LifehouseEXPAND
Lifehouse
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Lifehouse & Switchfoot
Thursday, September 7
The Van Buren

There was a time when baby-faced white boys with husky voices seemed to rule the airwaves, whether they wielded rebellious, sneering attitudes, or softboi crooner vibes. Lifehouse's “Hanging by a Moment” is practically the epitome of the latter, while Switchfoot skirts the love songs for inspirational nice-guy fare. These bands share much more than names that combine two seemingly unrelated worlds, so if you're into the mellow rock of sensitive dudes with longing looks, bring an extra pair of panties to throw at the stage for this show. Taylor Estape

Jessica Hernandez
Jessica Hernandez
Doug Coombe

Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas
Friday, September 8
The Rebel Lounge

On their Instant Records debut, Secret Evil, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas shuffle together rockabilly and punk with a side of trombone for a distinctly modern take on the well-worn genres. But there's more promise in the ingredients than the results. There's no standout, torch-bearing track here, and the album can feel mired in overproduction. Still, Hernandez's vocals are strong, showing flashes of both Wanda Jackson and Amy Winehouse. And the sonic thumbprint the band has etched for itself deserves developing. It's easy to believe that the best is yet to come. Chris Kornelis

The current lineup of Death Cab for Cutie.EXPAND
The current lineup of Death Cab for Cutie.
Courtesy of Atlantic Records

Death Cab for Cutie
Friday, September 8
The Van Buren

After releasing eight studio albums, most bands settle into a comfortable routine. If you've been in the game for this long, the temptation to stick with what works is strong. But if there's one constant in life, it's that change will happen, and you either evolve with it or die. Faced with the biggest change in their career, Death Cab For Cutie chose to evolve. When founding member Chris Walla left the band, he didn't just leave a guitar- and keyboards-shaped hole in their sound: He was also the group's producer, whose sonic fingerprints are all over their recordings. The remaining trio of Ben Giddard, Nicholas Harmer, and Jason McGerr rolled with the punches and added two members to their lineup: Dave Depper and Zac Rae. An injection of fresh blood in the group has fired up the indie-rock veterans, who are taking the band's new evolutionary form out on tour as they prepare to work on their ninth studio album. Ashley Naftule

Latin pop singer Luis Fonsi. You may have heard his hit song "Despacito" this summer.EXPAND
Latin pop singer Luis Fonsi. You may have heard his hit song "Despacito" this summer.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Luis Fonsi
Sunday, September 10
Comerica Theatre

By the time Miami resident Luis Fonsi visits the Valley in September, his hit single, “Despacito,” might finally have been knocked off the top of the charts by a new challenger. However, it would take a monumental push, seeing as the track is entering its 15th consecutive week of dominating the Billboard Hot 100, is the most streamed song ever, and is accompanied by the first music video to reach 3 billion views on YouTube. Regardless, the ubiquitous, undeniable, inescapable song of summer 2017 has left an indelible mark on pop culture. Everyone wants a piece of it, from the Justin Bieber remix to the Sesame Street parody. The “Despacito” phenomenon, however, unlike the English-language translation of its title, did not happen slowly; it first appeared this past January, and the assault on the charts of all kinds was swift, achieving what many tracks never get close to in a fraction of the time. And you can bet it will get the crowd jumping during Fonsi’s gig at Comerica Theatre on September 10. Angel Melendez

The current lineup of Manchester Orchestra.
The current lineup of Manchester Orchestra.
Courtesy of Stateside Presents

Manchester Orchestra
Tuesday, September 12
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Born and bred in Atlanta (excepting a seven-year stint in Ontario), musician Andy Hull formed Manchester Orchestra as a solo endeavor that would include a revolving door of co-conspirators. The concept was titled, as the story goes, after the town whose sound he found most dreary. That would be Manchester, U.K., natch, home of morose outfit The Smiths, among others. After turning Northern England's joyful desperation into inspiration, Hull wrote and recorded his first full-length, recruited teenaged bandmate Chris Freeman, and set about the task of taking over the world one stage at a time. More than a decade on and the bright idea has become a bona fide blast of heated white light that has illuminated every crack, crevice, and cavern in the whole wild world. It's no secret that Manchester Orchestra's global shine is due to Hull and company's deeply set need to rock as loudly as possible, wherever and whenever permitted. That the glow shows no sign of lessening, either in strength or impact, is nothing more than a fact. John Hood

The musicians of Greensky Bluegrass.
The musicians of Greensky Bluegrass.
Dylan Langille

Greensky Bluegrass
Wednesday, September 13
The Van Buren

Greensky Bluegrass was formed in 2000 when Michael Bont, Dave Bruzza, and Paul Hoffman decided to learn to play the mandolin, banjo, and acoustic guitar together. "The band started out as people having fun playing music. All these years later, we're still having fun playing music," says member Anders Beck. "[My bandmates] got into bluegrass backdoor. They liked the Grateful Dead, and then they learned Jerry Garcia played bluegrass. All of a sudden that gets you into Bill Monroe, and the next thing you know the only thing you're listening to is Ralph Stanley." Beck joined the band a few years into its formation, adding his expertise with the dobro, a wood-bodied resonator guitar that he stumbled upon at a workshop at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. "I'd heard the instrument on lots of songs but didn't realize ... that was the sound I wanted to play. The dobro is the electric guitar of acoustic music. It has a little bit of horsepower." Though Greensky Bluegrass plays an old-timey brand of music, the band found a way to attract modern listeners. "Cover songs are a way for us to connect with the audience. You can lure in an audience when there's common ground. You like Prince or Michael Jackson? So do we. Then those new fans will listen to your original music." David Rolland

Read on for even more big concerts happening in September in Phoenix, including U2, Janet Jackson, Imagine Dragons, and Ben Folds.

Toad the Wet Sprocket is back.EXPAND
Toad the Wet Sprocket is back.
Courtesy of the artist

Toad the Wet Sprocket
Friday, September 15
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Formed in 1986 by high school chums Glenn Phillips – the group's designated singer, songwriter, and guitarist – drummer Randy Guss, guitarist Glen Todd Nichols, and bassist Dean Dinning, Toad the Wet Sprocket borrowed their unusual name from a fictional band profiled in a Monty Python comedy sketch. It was clear from the start, however, that they took their music seriously, and with their third album Fear, they scored a pair of certifiable hits "All I Want" and "Walk on the Ocean," kicking off a chart trajectory. Soundtrack appearances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and So I Married an Axe Murderer raised their profile, culminating in their fourth album, Dulcinea, which included another series of successful songs — "Fall Down" and "Something's Always Wrong" chief among them. In Light Syrup, a collection of B sides and rarities, and their initial swan song, 1997's Coil, followed, but a year later the band opted to call it a day. Sporadic one-off reunions took place in the first decade of the new millennium, eventually creating the momentum for an official full scale regrouping in 2009. Lee Zimmerman

EpicaEXPAND
Epica
Courtesy of the artist

Epica
Sunday, September 17
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Epica is not to be taken lightly. Yes, the Dutch symphonic metal band features string instrumentals and choral scores juxtaposed with mad-crazy guitar licks and death grunts. Yes, angel-voiced frontwoman Simone Simmons is fucking hot. Yes, she's featured prominently (and occasionally somewhat nekkid) on several of Epica's album covers. But despite all these less-than-brutal facts, Epica rocks — hardcore, balls-out. Because you know what's really brutal, and truly blacker than the blackest black, times infinity? I'll tell you: real-world evil. Emotion. The human condition. Lacuna Coil is also on the bill. Tara Nieuwesteeg

Michelle Zauner is Japanese Breakfast.
Michelle Zauner is Japanese Breakfast.
Ebru Yildiz

Japanese Breakfast
Monday, September 18
Valley Bar

For most people, their first exposure to Japanese Breakfast was the 2016 single "In Heaven." A three-and-a-half minute long swirl of sighing vocals, widescreen choruses, and twinkling instrumentation, at first blush it sounds like a sweet slice of dream-pop. And then you listen to the lyrics chronicling Zauner's coming to terms with her mother's death, and the song turns into a gut-wrencher. For anyone coming to terms with the loss of a loved one, it hits that unexpected Murakami sweet spot. Zauner's debut album, Psychopomp, continued that delicate balancing act between pop sweetness and harsh emotion. Already an emo vet as the former singer for Philadelphia's Little Big League, Zauner crafted an album that was achingly personal but packed with lo-fi pop hooks. It was an album that sounded like it was recorded in a basement with choruses that were born to ring out in auditoriums. Earlier this year, Japanese Breakfast created another moment of unexpected magic with "Machinist," the first single off Zauner's sophomore album. A synth-heavy, electro-pop song about falling in love with a robot, it's a striking departure from her past work. And yet, much like "In Heaven," it's the kind of song that sounds like you've been waiting your whole life to hear it. Ashley Naftule

U2 live in concerts.
U2 live in concerts.
Mathew Tucciarone

U2
Tuesday, September 19
University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale

In their first tour since summer 2015, Irish-born rock icons U2 will put on a show that they famously played on four separate occasions 30 years ago in the Valley (with the latter two at Sun Devil Stadium being filmed for the rockumentary Rattle and Hum). U2’s 1987 album, The Joshua Tree, was frontman Bono’s love letter to America and its traditional forms of music and will be played in its entirety, along with a selection of older hits and possibly snippets of the group's still-in-production album, Songs of Experience. The show is presented with a clear political message, but one that fits well with the equally political album. Nonetheless, reviews of the various shows on the tour have said the music is the driving force. Beck will open for U2 in Glendale but will likely be overpowered by nostalgic tracks like “With or Without You” and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," presented against an accompanying video specially made for each of Joshua Tree’s 11 tracks. Nicholas Bostick

Jason Isbell and the 400 UnitEXPAND
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Tuesday, September 19
The Van Buren

When Jason Isbell’s 2015 album Something More Than Free was released, the artist was in an obvious place of gratitude. After battling addiction, settling down with the love of his life, and having a child, Isbell’s time for happiness had come, and that joy was sonically and lyrically evident on the record. Two years later, though, Isbell has returned with The Nashville Sound, an album that flawlessly weaves the gut-wrenching, painful songs that he is so good at writing into a more measured perspective on the present. The title of the album, a reference to the lush ‘60s-era production from Nashville’s RCA Studio A, also serves as an indictment of present-day Nashville. As much as Isbell has refused to consider himself a part of what currently exists as country music, he is now, willingly or unwillingly, settling into his role as the torchbearer of a new, more progressive Nashville sound. More importantly than that, he’s settling into himself as a solo artist. Amy McCarthy

Singer-songwriter Stephen Kellogg.EXPAND
Singer-songwriter Stephen Kellogg.
Courtesy of Stateside Presents

Stephen Kellogg
Tuesday, September 19
Crescent Ballroom

Here's a reason the somewhat vague term "Americana" fits for a wide expanse of sounds and region-specific musical traditions: As expansive and eclectic as the country itself, Americana isn't a genre but a collection of shared sounds and ideas from coast to coast, from then till now. Singer-songwriter Stephen Kellogg set out to explore just how much place influences sound on his most recent album, the ambitious four-part South, West, North, East. Kellogg, who released six studio albums and live records in his decade fronting the Sixers, branched out on his own in 2012. After 2013's Blunderstone Rookery, he conceived the all-over-the-map project, hitting the open highway in search of the right sounds. Kellogg recorded each five-song section of South, West, North, and East in a different place, with different musicians and co-producers. South (recorded in Nashville and Atlanta) brings energetic Southern rock; West (recorded on a farm in Boulder, Colorado) features cowboy ballads and spacious production; North (recorded in a cabin in Woodstock, New York) steps toward the indie rock sound; East (recorded in Washington, D.C.) embraces the singer-songwriter tradition. In all, it's a collection that displays patience, versatility, wanderlust, and a keen understanding of the immense musical possibilities that exist under the Americana banner. Eric Swedlund

Reverend Horton Heat at Viva PHX 2017.EXPAND
Reverend Horton Heat at Viva PHX 2017.
Daniel Rose

Reverend Horton Heat
Wednesday, September 20
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

To characterize the musical stylings of the Reverend Horton Heat as simply rock 'n' roll is akin to saying the founder and leader of the popular rockabilly band, Jim Heath, likes playing the occasional live show. For more than the past quarter-century, the Dallas-based Heath and his two bandmates have created music that defies classification, but runs the gamut of country-fried rockabilly to zany psychobilly to slick surf-metal mayhem on an ever-evolving revival tour that has traversed nearly every major city, college town and jukebox joint in the U.S. multiple times. With notable songs, "Psychobilly Freakout," "Wiggle Stick," "One Time For Me," and "Big Sky," the Reverend Horton Heat has pockets of fans across the country and globe who flock to the band's shows every year to see the nitro-burning rock 'n' roll road show. Heath has lived through one bad marriage and one good, four drummers, six record labels, 11 studio albums, and more than 3,000 shows over 30 years, making the Reverend Horton Heat band one of the hardest-working and well-traveled groups in the land. From Boise to Brisbane, Atessa to Albuquerque, Rochester to Rotterdam, and Virginia Beach to Vitoria-Gasteiz, this band has left its mark, flying under the radar of mass pop pap and settling in comfortably as alt rock icons instead. Mark C. Horn

Ms. Jackson, if you're nasty.EXPAND
Ms. Jackson, if you're nasty.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Janet Jackson
Thursday, September 21
Talking Stick Resort Arena

In spite of having stayed fairly close to the spotlight over the past forty years by modern exposure standards, Janet Jackson is a reclusive pop star. From her Rhythm Nation days to the current chart-topping Unbreakable phase she’s entering, Jackson remains a bit of a mystery to the world. And while being a member of the Jackson-family dynasty may be part of her appeal, her success is all her own: Her soft yet powerful voice has been making hit records and selling out tours for decades. She’s a force to be reckoned with, a living historic model for each era’s musical peers, dancing, singing, and playing every part with precision. Still, it’s the duality of her emotional, bombastic anthems and shy, behind-the-scenes persona that makes Janet Jackson one of the most fascinating pop-machine juggernauts of the last half-century. Bree Davies

Ben Folds returns to the Valley with a twist on audience requests.
Ben Folds returns to the Valley with a twist on audience requests.
Kholood Eid

Ben Folds
Friday, September 22
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

King of the 88 keys Ben Folds has announced an extensive tour this fall, which includes a stop at Marquee Theatre in Tempe in late September. While his live performances are already highly interactive, Folds is flipping the script when it comes to planning this upcoming tour's set list. A few years ago, he encouraged his enthusiastic fans to — in lieu of shouting favorite songs for the encore — launch their requests on stage as a paper airplane. It quickly became a tradition, with Folds even providing the paper at some shows. This upcoming tour will feature an entire set of all "airplane requests" from the audience. Anything from his staggering career is fair game, including songs from Ben Folds Five. Fan favorites like "Brick" and "Army" will certainly have their fair share of planes, so we suggest taking the summer to revisit his catalog and (literally) throw in some deeper cuts ("Underground" or "Kate" perhaps?). Ashley Harris

Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes
Shawn Brackbill

Fleet Foxes
Sunday, September 24
Comerica Theatre

The Seattle-based indie folk band Fleet Foxes has been on a bit of a break during the past three years. Lead singer Robin Pecknold announced in 2014 he’d be taking some time away from the group to attend Columbia University. But in June, he burst back onto the scene with the release of Fleet Foxes’ third studio album, Crack-Up. It’s perhaps the most ambitious project by the band known for idyllic, floating tracks such as “Mykonos” and “Montezuma.” This time around, the band has gotten even bigger, with nearly 20 musicians playing dozens of instruments to create a darker and more complex sound. Songs “Third of May / Ddaigahara” and "I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar" are cavernous and sprawling affairs that break down into instrumental jams with hints of the neo-folk sound that made the band such a breath of fresh air in the mid-2000s. The show will feature only a taste of these new tracks, however, interspersed with fan favorites and Pecknold’s soothing falsetto. Beach House opens. Nicholas Bostick

Imagine Dragons
Tuesday, September 26
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Few – if any – bands in the past few years have had the ascent like Imagine Dragons have had. A few short years ago, if a group headlined venues like Comerica Theatre, then they were ready for even bigger locales. And with good reason. The Las Vegas natives have been as close to a sure bet on rock radio when it comes to their abundance of hits. If “Radioactive” put them on listeners’ radars, then “Demons” and “I Bet My Life” off the band’s sophomore effort Smoke + Mirrors cemented them as fixtures on many people’s dial. In the midst of a headlining arena tour, the group will bring its explosive live show that’s won them plaudits to Talking Stick Resort Arena to further prove that they aren’t a one-album wonder. Grouplove and K.Flay will open. Daniel Kohn

The members of PVRIS.EXPAND
The members of PVRIS.
Lindsey Byrnes

PVRIS
Tuesday, September 26
The Van Buren

Every now and again, an act like PVRIS comes along, ticking a bunch of boxes that should lead to a healthy career on modern radio: a crafty blend of electro-pop and pop-punk; a dark aesthetic that will push plenty of units at Hot Topic, and a singer with a voice just strong enough to make people stop and pay attention. (Check out their cover of Sia’s “Chandelier” for proof.) But success for PVRIS could be bigger than just being happy for a talented band making it; for young girls who don’t see themselves onstage often enough and for queer teens in love with a genre that hasn’t always been the most friendly to them, seeing a band like them succeed has a bigger meaning. Is thinking about the big picture premature? Perhaps, but just being able to have a picture to think about at all is a pretty big step. Cory Garcia

Music legends Depeche Mode.EXPAND
Music legends Depeche Mode.
Courtesy of Press Here Talent

Depeche Mode
Wednesday, September 27
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Founded in 1980, Depeche Mode is one of the relatively few active bands long-lived and prolific enough to count several subgenerations of fans. Some have been there since “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Everything Counts”; many more since the “Strangelove” and “Personal Jesus” era; some may have even hopped on, or back on, around Playing the Angel. Newcomers may have a hard time believing the same band is responsible for all three iterations (and a few more besides), but those who listen long enough tend to notice the commonalities that emerge: singer Dave Gahan’s brooding sensuality; Martin Gore’s economical, nakedly emotional songwriting, often preoccupied with sex and religion; and mystery man Andy Fletcher’s keyboard je ne sais quoi. Whatever it is, it’s made Depeche Mode a potent force in alternative music for more than 35 years – and counting. With their latest album, Spirit, dropping this past March, the group has hit the road once more and will return to the Valley area on September 27 for a concert at Ak-Chin Pavilion. Chris Gray

Chk Chk Chk, of !!!, if you must.
Chk Chk Chk, of !!!, if you must.
Erez Avissar

!!! (Chk Chk Chk)
Friday, September 29
Crescent Ballroom

“Dancing Is the Best Revenge,” proclaim !!! (usually pronounced Chk Chk Chk) on the band’s latest album, Shake the Shudder. If anyone would know that for certain, it’s this New York–based outfit. In 2003, the band made a splash with the single “Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story),” a dance-rock jam that also served as a slam against NYC’s cabaret laws. When their full-length Louden Up Now hit a year later, they included “Pardon My Freedom,” a protest of Bush-era conservatism made for the dance floor. With Shake the Shudder, released in May, they keep up the beat as much as the commentary, particular on the incredibly funky “Five Companies” (“Five companies, running everything I see around me”). No doubt, we need !!! as much now as we did in the early years of the 21st century. Liz Ohanesian

Melina Duterte, better known as Jay Som.
Melina Duterte, better known as Jay Som.
Cara Robins

Jay Som
Friday, September 29
Valley Bar

From the outside, Melina Duterte, who plays under the name Jay Som, appears to be an overnight success. At just 22, she has already positioned herself as indie rock’s newest critical darling. She earned the coveted Best New Music accolade from Pitchfork for her debut album, Everybody Works, which was released last month on Polyvinyl, the prestigious independent label that's home to American Football and Of Montreal. Mitski took her on her summer tour, and, more recently, the New Yorker found plenty of nice things to say about Duterte's intimate and innovative indie-pop sound. However it looks from the outside, all of the accolades (and the quickly growing fan base) are actually the result of years of trumpet lessons, family karaoke nights, and studying music theory, in addition to countless hours spent writing and recording songs alone in her bedroom — the best of which were compiled on 2016’s well-received Turn Into. Elle Carroll

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