To be honest, there isn’t any sort of cohesive theme to this week’s DevilPass. But rather, it’s an amalgamation of all the idiosyncrasies which make this city so vital. A grunge-rock expat goes soft, two brutal acts push the limits of genre by simply slowing down and thinking, an increasingly-popular musician returns to his poetic roots, a tightly-knit community celebrates one of its greatest successes moving on up, and an edgy theater examines the intimacies of an underappreciated group of savants. Together, this diverse array provides the greatest definition of downtown Phoenix.
- Sunday, Nov. 4
- 7:30 p.m. Show
- Comerica Theatre: 400 W. Washington St.
- Getting there: Walk — Fourth Avenue and Washington Street
- Price: $94.50
Recommended if You Like: Pearl Jam, ukulele, Into the Wild
Though Nirvana held the world’s gaze for much longer following grunge’s 1990s boom, it was Pearl Jam that sold the most albums and garnered the most global attention. Selling 13 million copies in the U.S. of their debut album Ten, and going at least gold with every album afterward, the band clearly hit the pinnacle of rock. Through all of this was lead singer Eddie Vedder, known the world-over for his Muddy Waters-style growl and yell, the driving force behind many of the band’s songs. As he and the band aged though, Vedder began to branch out, gaining attention in some circles for his softer side. The soulful croon of the middle-aged rocker wooed an entirely new generation of fans, as Vedder contributed solo tracks to a series of movie soundtracks in the 1990s and 2000s, culminating in 2007’s “Into the Wild.” For that soundtrack, Vedder earned both Grammy and Golden Globe nominations. In 2011, Vedder provided his long-awaited solo followup, the folksy “Ukulele Songs,” which reached number four on the Billboard Top 200. After a postponement a few months back, Vedder is finally coming to the Valley for his solo concert debut.
- Tuesday, Nov. 6
- 7:00 p.m. Doors, 8:00 p.m. Show
- Crescent Ballroom: 308 N. Second Ave.
- Getting there: Walk — Second Avenue and Van Buren Street
- Price: $15 in advance at statesidepresents.com and Stinkweeds: $17 at the door
Recommended if You Like: F*cked Up, the Replacements, the Civil War
Progressive hardcore. Until a few years ago, few would venture to guess that those two words would ever be used in concert with one another. However, thanks to the groundbreaking work of bands like Titus Andronicus, Ceremony, Blacklisted and F*cked Up, the genre of hardcore is receiving new life. This Tuesday, Ceremony and Titus Andronicus will be bringing their unique brands of thoughtful mosh-friendly to the teeming masses at Crescent Ballroom. In 2010, Titus released their enormous sophomore full-length, “The Monitor,” garnering Best New Music designation from the tastemakers at Pitchfork, and landing on dozens of major year-end album lists. The 65-minute concept album drew parallels between the American Civil War and lead singer Patrick Stickles’ romantic relationships, utilizing historic quotes and old-timey instruments to ground the heady story arc. As for Ceremony, the band paid their dues over several years on venerated hardcore labels Deathwish Inc. and Bridge 9, before taking a leap with 2010’s “Rohnert Park.” The still-heavy record drew comparisons to Joy Division and Mudhoney thanks to atmospheric sounds and slower tempos. Then in 2012, the band took a leap forward yet again, signing to major indie label Matador Records, releasing the even more progressive “Zoo.” Titus Andronicus and Ceremony are two bands at their respective creative peaks, and there’s no better time than now to catch them together in downtown Phoenix’s premier music venue.
- Sunday, Nov. 4
- 7:30 p.m. Doors, 8:30 p.m. Show
- Lawn Gnome Publishing: 905 N. Fifth St.
- Getting there: Walk — Fifth and Roosevelt streets
- Price: $15 in advance at statesidepresents.com, Stinkweeds, Lawn Gnome Publishing or at the door
Recommended if You Like: Nine Inch Nails, spoken word, Slam
Downtown’s defacto poet laureate Aaron Johnson knows how to get things done. Less than a year into opening his own storefront, the poet, author, performer, publisher and all-around nice guy has hosted well over 100 performances and events of all shapes and sizes. All that hard work has culminated in this Sunday’s performance at the venue, where Johnson and Lawn Gnome will welcome spoken-word’s greatest crossover success, Saul Williams. The American poet and musician has earned acclaim for his work with acts as diverse as The Fugees, Nine Inch Nails and Allen Ginsburg, singing, writing, speaking and even acting his way into the spotlight. Touring both with a backing band and solo, Williams can work all sides of the brain with his eloquent wordplay. And fresh off last year’s music show at the Crescent Ballroom, Williams will be heading into Lawn Gnome’s backyard to showcase his spoken word side, to the excitement of downtown’s entire poetry community.
- Thursday, Nov. 1
- 6:00-9:00 p.m.
- monOrchid: 214 E. Roosevelt St.
- Getting there: Walk — Second and Roosevelt streets
- Price: FREE
Recommended if You Like: Co+Hoots, childlike fun, local stars
After a few months in their temporary home at monOrchid, local co-working space and creative hub Co+Hoots is moving into its new, more spacious digs along Washington Street. But before leaving, the widely-celebrated institution is throwing one last community party. Resident movers and shakers Stacey Champion of Rogue Green, Ken Boe of Get Your Phx, Dorina Bustamante of Continental Shift, man-about-town Jim McPherson and Wayne Rainey of monOrchid are banding together to give Co+Hoots a proper sendoff. Among the promised free fun is ping pong, a cake walk, free raffle, Twister and karaoke from the ever-popular Mobile Karaoke Unit. The family-friendly event will be a true moment of celebration, representing several of downtown’s greatest success stories, all in one place, showing the power of the power of the local community.
- Friday-Sunday, Nov. 2-4
- 8:00 p.m. show (Friday and Saturday), 2:00 p.m. show (Sunday)
- Herberger Theater Center: 222 E. Monroe St.
- Getting there: Walk — Second and Monroe streets
- Price: $31-$47 in advance (Friday and Saturday) at atphx.org; Pay What You Wish (Sunday)
Recommended if You Like: chamber music, Beethoven, new arrivals
With all the attention afforded rock and hip-hop stars and their pop counterparts, the intimate stories of classical musicians often are ignored. But with their production of Opus, Actors Theatre aims to refocus the attention of the world on arguably the most talented musicians around. Opus follows a string quartet, reeling from the abrupt, forced departure of one of its original members, scrambling to find its center once again. The group quickly finds a young female replacement, and immediately dives straight into grueling practice for a performance at the White House. As the new group arrangement struggles to adjust to one another, each member is forced to reexamine exactly what they do. The play’s Arizona debut is perfect for Actors Theatre, known across the state for bringing together cutting-edge acclaimed shows much like this one, which earned a Barrymore Award for Most Outstanding Play when it debuted in 2006.
Events compiled by Connor Descheemaker