Ariana Grande and Jonas Brothers are swinging through the Valley for a second stop on their arena tours in a month that also brings Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s the Christmas Eve and Other Stories Tour, Angel Olsen and Catfish and the Bottlemen.
Here’s a look at those and other highlights of the month in Valley concerts, from Grande to much smaller concerts at the Trunk Space, Valley Bar and the Musical Instrument Museum.
The Christmas Eve and Other Stories Tour is playing two shows in one day at Talking Stick Resort Arena, performing the 1996 debut for which the tour is named. Al Pitrelli, their musical director and lead guitarist, told USA TODAY, “We are all so excited to bring ‘Christmas Eve and Other Stories’ back this year. It’s been eight years since we last performed it and I promise it will be our most amazing show ever.”
Details: 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. $44.75 and up. 602-379-7800, ticketmaster.com.
Olsen topped our Best Songs of 2016 playlist with “Shut Up Kiss Me,” an infectious throwback to the girl group era that somehow reminds me of Elvis Costello writing for the Shangri-Las. And the rest of “My Woman” more than lives up to the promise of that track, from the bittersweet ache of an atmospheric opener called “Intern” to an equally haunting closer titled “Pops.” By the time she gets to Phoenix, she’ll have followed through with “All Mirrors.”
Details: 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2. The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix. $32.50; $28.50 in advance. 866-468-3399, thevanburenphx.com.
Catfish and the Bottlemen
Singer Van McCann cites the Strokes and Oasis as primary influences (and you can definitely hear that) while saying his ultimate goal is to be bigger than both. So he already has the “talking like a proper British rock star” thing down to a science. But he also puts his music where his mouth is, packing album after album full of hook-filled rockers that should speak directly to the raised-on-Arctic-Monkeys demographic.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3. The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix. $33; $30 in advance. 866-468-3399, thevanburenphx.com.
This tour in support of “The Institute,” the first King Diamond studio album in 12 years, also features Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats with Idle Hands opening. So that’s three reasons you should check it out. Phoenix is the last night of the Danish metal legends’ latest U.S. tour. Much like the early days of fellow shock-rock hero Alice Cooper, King Diamond is also the name of the group’s lead singer, who formed this group after making a name for himself as the singer for Mercyful Fate.
Details: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4. Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix. $39.50 and up. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.
Angels & Airwaves
This is part of the Alt AZ Ugly Sweater Concert Series with I Don’t Know How But They Found Me. Tom DeLonge and his bandmates kicked off their first tour in seven years at this same venue in September. DeLonge founded Angels & Airwaves in 2005, while still co-fronting Blink-182, who replaced him in 2015 with Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba. Angels & Airwaves’ best-known songs include “The Adventure” and “Everything’s Magic.” They’re joined by I Don’t Know How But They Found Me and the formerly local Upsahl.
Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $40. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com.
Goo Goo Dolls
In 2018, they kicked off a tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of their biggest-selling album, “Dizzy Up the Girl,” at the Van Buren, playing the entire album for a sold-out crowd that sang along enthusiastically to every song on their quadruple-platinum triumph. This time, they’re back on the road in support of an album called “Miracle Pill” that John Rzeznik says inspired in part by feeling that taking a victory lap on “Dizzy” after all these year had “closed the book on that chapter”
Details: 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $35-$65. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com.
Lee Fields & the Expressions
The old-school Southern soul vibe of his latest album, “It Rains Love,” is a natural fit for Fields, who launched his recording career with a single called “Bewildered” as a teen in 1969. And he’s had 50 years of experience to draw on since that first recording session. American Songwriter praised him for keeping that “classic-soul flame burning,” going on to point out that “while other younger acts like Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed and Durand Jones & the Indications are working a similar vibe, there is nothing like hearing this music from someone who lived and breathed it in its heyday.
Details: 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5. Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. $25. 602-716-2222, crescentphx.com.
This Georgia native topped the country charts in 2012 with the double-platinum “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck,” a slide-guitar-fueled country-rocker about the fun one can have with a girl in a sundress, beer on ice and a truck parked in a field. We’ll leave the math to you. Despite its title, the followup, “Beer Money,” wasn’t as playful, but its beer-makes-everything-worthwhile vibe helped it crack the Top 10. Subsequent hits include “Hey Pretty Girl,” “More Girls Like You” and “Last Shot.”
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix. $34; Sold out. 866-468-3399, thevanburenphx.com.
‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today’
Christopher Cross, Todd Rundgren, Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, Jason Scheff of Chicago and Joey Molland of Badfinger are joining forces to salute the Beatles in a show called It Was Fifty Years Ago Today – Tour 2019 – A Tribute To The Beatles’ White Album. In addition to playing selections from the Beatles’ “White Album,” which actually turned 51 not long ago, they’ll play a handful of their own hits. The tribute’s musical director is Joey Curatolo (the musical director of RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles).
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St., Phoenix. $40-$299. 602-267-1600, celebritytheatre.com.
12/6: ‘Christmas with the Nelsons’
Matthew and Gunnar Nelson tell the story of three family Christmases in the lives of a family whose history of entertaining generations hit critical mass in the ’50s when “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” a sitcom based on their family, made the leap from radio to television. It was that show that launched the recording career of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer they call dad, the legendary Ricky Nelson. The Nelson brothers had their own hits in the early ’90s, recording as Nelson.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. Talking Stick Resort, 9800 E. Talking Stick Way, Salt River Reservation. $30. 480-850-7777, talkingstickresort.com.
Brooklyn Vegan says, “It’s become pretty common for beloved bands to reunite and make good albums again, but it’s still rare for bands to reunite and make something that may very well be their best album, and that’s exactly what Daughters have done.” They’re referring, of course, to the Rhode Island noise-rock sensations’ first album in eight years, the contagiously abrasive “You Won’t Get What You Want.”
Details: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. The Pressroom, 441 W. Madison St., Phoenix. $60 for a two-day pass. thepressroomaz.com.
This Australian singer-songwriter launched his career with a debut called “Jumping the Shark,” on which he adopted the persona of a washed-up showbiz hack to quite brilliant effect. On “Miami Memory,” Cameron let us in. As Paste wrote, “Though it’s his third album, ‘Miami Memory’ feels like we’re meeting Alex Cameron for the first time. This is the real him, not a perpetuated version masked by character. While unexpected, it’s not jarring in the least bit. It’s a warm introduction.”
Details: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Valley Bar, 130 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. $15. valleybarphx.com.
The singer-songwriter plays Tempe in support his first solo album in three years, an understated gem called “Caretakers.” It’s his first North American tour at the helm of a full band in more than three years, and that band includes members of dream-pop heroes Day Wave, including Jackson Phillips, who co-produced “Caretakers” with Yorn. They’ll feature songs from the new album as well as old favorites spanning Yorn’s almost 20-year career.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $35-$65. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com.
The Pineapple Thief
Led by Bruce Soord with Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree and King Crimson on drums, these British prog veterans are touring the States in continued support of 2018’s “Dissolution,” an album whose more haunting moments recall the brooding drama of Radiohead circa “OK Computer” without necessarily sounding like Radiohead. Kerrang! weighed in with “‘Dissolution’ is entirely convincing in its maturity and intelligence” while PopMatters called it “another idiosyncratic collection of rousing songwriting and remarkable instrumentation.”
Details: 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. Club Red, 1306 W. University Drive, Mesa. $30; $25 in advance. 480-258-2733, clubredrocks.com.
These L.A. indie rockers pulled in raves for their 2009 debut, “Gorilla Manor,” hailed as “a stunning debut, feeling simultaneously familiar and challenging” by MusicOMH.com. A decade later, they’re touring in support of a breathtaking new album, “Violet Street,” that makes the most Kelcey Ayer’s upper register on highlights ranging from an ethereal opener called “Vogue” to the string-laden lead single “Cafe Amarillo.”
Details: 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $28-. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com.
Bellion is headlining the second night of 101.5 Live’s Jingle Bash (with Max and Louis Tomlinson) in support of “Glory Sound Prep,” which includes the singles “Conversations with my Wife,” “JT” and “Stupid Deep.” The album features collaborations with Quincy Jones, Roc Marciano, RZA, B. Keyz and Travis Mendes. Billboard said, “Throughout the 10-track album, Bellion seamlessly intertwines sounds of pop, R&B, hip-hop and rock through his electrifying songs.”
Details: 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9. The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix. $65; $30 in advance. 866-468-3399, thevanburenphx.com.
Thomas launched his career as the voice of Matchbox Twenty, whose hits include “Push,” “3AM,” “If You’re Gone,” “Bent” and “How Far We’ve Come.” He also collaborated with Santana on the triple-platinum, Grammy-winning “Smooth,” which topped the Hot 100 for 12 consecutive weeks and spent 58 weeks on the chart. His best-known solo hits are “Lonely No More,” “This is How a Heart Breaks,” “Ever the Same” and “Her Diamonds.” He arrives in support a new album, “Chip Tooth Smile.”
Details: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10. The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix. $30; $30. 866-468-3399, thevanburenphx.com.
The Jonas Brothers
The Jonas Brothers reunion tour blew through tickets so fast, they had to add more shows the day they went on sale, including a second Talking Stick Resort Arena date. The tour is in support of “Happiness Begins,” their first new studio recording in a decade. It’s been six years since the brothers went their separate ways as solo artists. In a recent interview with Billboard, Nick said they reunited because “There’s a different magic when we’re together that I wasn’t experiencing.”
Details: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10. Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. Verified resale ticket prices vary. 602-379-7800, ticketmaster.com.
McPherson brings his festive Socks: A Rock N’ Roll Christmas Tour” to Crescent Ballroom, spotlighting tracks last year’s “Socks,” an 11-song holiday album whose retro rock and roll aesthetic should appeal to anyone who’s into Elvis Presley’s yuletide rockers. Variety responded with “McPherson’s album is so far ahead of the rest of the 2018 pack, everyone else is having to eat his Christmas dust. All tracks are originals, every one of them a keeper.”
Details: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10. Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. $25. 602-716-2222, crescentphx.com.
Son Little is LA’s Aaron Earl Livingston, a soulful singer-songwriter who first made a name for himself on the strength of his collaborations with the Roots and RJD2 before earning a Grammy for his work with on Mavis Staples on “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.” He’s touring on a new EP, “Invisible,” on the eve of releasing “Aloha,” a full-length followup to 2017’s acclaimed “New Magic.” Paste magazine praised “New Magic” dialing back “the busy modern rock production and psych-blues noise” of his debut “to reveal songwriting that is more classic yet less predictable, and enchanting in its spare intimacy.”
Details: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10. Valley Bar, 130 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. $18. valleybarphx.com.
This hip-hop icon exploded on impact with a featured rap on Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang.” And it wasn’t long before he’d made good on the promise of that entrance with such early hits as “What’s My Name?” and “Gin and Juice.” He topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 2004 with Pharrell on “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and returned to the top in 2010 as the featured guest on Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.” He arrives in support of an album endearingly named “I Wanna Thank Me,” whose highlights range from gritty social commentary to juvenile sex raps of the sort that should go well with those stripper poles you know he’ll bring on stage.
Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11. The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix. $59.75-$110. 866-468-3399, thevanburenphx.com.
These post-hardcore heroes are headed to Mesa with Touché Amoré and Empath in support of an acclaimed fourth album “Panorama.” Their first release on Epitaph, it’s a cathartic meditation on death, grief and healing to which the Skinny responded, “La Dispute are titans of their scene, but they’re also lyricists of the highest calibre, writing songs many will confide in. Album number four isn’t a drastic change in direction, but it reaches heights when their powerful words lash the mind.”
Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11. Nile Theater, 105 W. Main St., Mesa. $25. niletheater.com.
The actor, who picked up an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for his work as Jack Bauer in the TV series “24,” will bring his band to Phoenix in support of an album called “Reckless & Me.” The actor’s raspy voice sounds right at home on the Americana songs he tends to favor on his second album, produced by Jude Cole, which CMT praised as “a collection of freewheeling honky-tonk anthems that will speak to every outlaw soul.”
Details: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11. Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. $43; $38 in advance. 602-716-2222, crescentphx.com.
Mega Bog is Erin Elizabeth Birgy, a New York City by way of Seattle singer-songwriter whose musical aesthetic, as captured on this year’s brilliant “Dolphine,” is an idiosyncratic fusion of experimental music, chamber pop and cocktail jazz as sung by a woman who sings like a chanteuse who studied to Nico at art school. The Wire praised it as one of 2019’s leftfield pop gems, a record created with no detectable consciousness of a wider scene but with a bedroom-wide sense of possibility.
Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11. The Trunk Space, 1124 N. Third St., Phoenix. $15. thetrunkspace.com.
Due to overwhelming demand, the singer is returning to the Valley for a second stop on the Sweetener World Tour. Stereogum called the Sweetener Tour “the physical embodiment of her superb talent” while the Dallas Observer praised her “controlled yet expansive performance, a master class in Instagram-ready preening and phenomenal technical skill.”
Details: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12. Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. $60.20 and up. 602-379-7800, ticketmaster.com.
Their second album, “Hunted,” was Decibel magazine’s album of the year for 2016. They’re playing Mesa in support of last year’s “Desolation,” a doom-metal triumph with transcendent dual-guitar heroics topping a seemingly endless supply of classic old-school metal riffs. Kerrang! responded with “Throughout, layered vocals sit gloriously atop it all, like a doomed Bruce Dickinson” while PopMatter raved, “With ‘Desolation,’ Khemmis has now joined the heavy metal elite.”
Details: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13. Club Red, 1306 W. University Drive, Mesa. $15. 480-258-2733, clubredrocks.com.
Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding
Alice Cooper is reuniting with the three surviving members of the original Alice Cooper group – guitarist Michael Bruce, drummer Neal Smith and bassist Dennis Dunaway – to headline this Christmas Pudding fundraiser. They’re joined by film star Johnny Depp, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford, Joe Bonamassa, Nita Strauss. Gary Mule Deer, Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, Mark Slaughter of Slaughter, Comedian Jim Breuer, Sixwire, the Solid Rock Dancers and the Bucket Brigade.
Details: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St., Phoenix. $75-$175. 602-267-1600, celebritytheatre.com.
Her first album, “Infamous Angel,” was hailed in Rolling Stone as “an essential album of the ’90s.” She’s earned two Grammy nominations and her fans include such kindred spirits as Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and John Prine. Her tremulous vibrato may not be for everyone, but NPR has called her “one of the great voices in contemporary popular music.” Uncut hailed “The Trackless Woods,” her latest effort, as”one of those wonderful records that reveals more if itself with each successive play.”
Details: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix. $38.50-$48.50. 480-478-6000, mim.org.
The Canadian R&B duo of singer Majid Al Maskati and producer Jordan Ullman first made a name for themselves with a feature and a co-producing credit on Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” a six-times-platinum smash from 2013. They haven’t had much luck consolidating that exposure with followup hits of their own, but it’s not for a lack of perfectly accessible potential R&B hits on their first self-titled effort and 2017’s “The Space Between.”
Details: 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix. $35; $29.50 in advance. 866-468-3399, thevanburenphx.com.
The name of the tour is A Holiday Song Celebration. It features the quartet performing selections from “The Christmas Collection,” an album of holiday classics released in 2005 that was certified platinum. The album includes their renditions of “O Holy Night,” “Silent Night” and “White Christmas,” among others. Discovered and mentored by Simon Cowell, Il Divo became the first classical crossover artist to have an album hit the charts at No. 1 on Billboard.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17. Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix. $59.50 and up. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.
These dream-pop revivalists topped the Alternative Songs charts in 2009 with “Panic Room,” whose shimmering blankets of fuzz guitar did little to curtail the constant use of Smashing Pumpkins as a frame of reference. They’re touring the States in support of “Widow’s Weeds,” a Butch Vig production that Slant said “may lack the arena-sized atmospherics and anthemic party songs of past Silversun Pickups efforts, but with each additional listen the hooks sink in deeper and the melodies stay longer in your head.”
Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $36-$56. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com.
The Milk Carton Kids
Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan are touring the States in continued support of last year’s celebrated “All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do,” which Uncut called “a quietly audacious work, careful but not cautious, an expansive blend of woozy country, skewed folk and cracked torch songs.” In other words, it finds the duo playing to the strengths that made them darlings of the No Depression set.
Details: 7 and 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18. Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix. $38.50-$53.50. 480-478-6000, mim.org.
The heavy-metal supergroup returns to Phoenix in support of this year’s “Welcome Home,” their final album to feature founding member Vinnie Paul, who died last year at 54, on drums. Kerrang! called the album “a fitting farewell to an irreplaceable metal hero.” The tour will feature Roy Mayorga of Stone Sour on drums.
Details: 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19. The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix. $38; $34.50 in advance. 866-468-3399, thevanburenphx.com.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis
This project was launched as an alias for record producer/composer Chip Davis, whose calling card at that point was earning a co-writing credit on “Convoy,” a novelty hit about CB radio slang by C.W. McCall. It was nearly a decade after Mannheim Steamroller’s first album, “Fresh Aire,” that he tried his hand at a holiday album, going six-times-platinum with 1984’s “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas.” In 2016, Billboard published a list of biggest-selling Christmas albums of all time that featured two Mannheim Steamroller albums in the Top 5.
Details: 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 26. Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. $36-$81. 480-644-6500, mesaartscenter.com.
Injury Reserve Comes Home is how they’re billing this show by the formerly Phoenix-based hip-hop sensations who latest self-titled release is a welcome addition to a catalog packed with ambitious releases that offset experimentation with swagger and hooks built to last. The Line of Best Fits raved, “I can’t imagine there will be too many rap albums this year that better Injury Reserve’s debut. This is a band who can achieve the same volatility and straight-up ingenuity of Brockhampton on less than a quarter of the manpower.” They’re joined by Pro Teens, Tony Velour, Lil Qwerty, Dovi, Gasol and Separate Ways.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27. The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix. $25; $22 in advance. 866-468-3399, thevanburenphx.com.
How does Decadence follow its biggest year yet? With a star-studded EDM wishlist topped by Diplo, Skrillex, Dillon Francis and Zeds Dead. Arizona’s largest New Years celebration, a two-day blowout on three stages, also features sets by AC Slater, Adam Beyer, Blossom, Follow The Fish, Galantis, G Jones, GRiZTRONICS (GRiZ b2b Subtronics), Illenium (Ascend Live), Jamie Jones, Joyryde, Nora En Pure, Space Jesus and Tchami x Malaa: No Redemption.
Details: 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 30-31. Rawhide Event Center, 5700 W. North Loop Road, Gila River Reservation. $49 and up. 480-502-5600, relentlessbeats.com.
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