11 Best Concerts to See in Phoenix This Weekend
Marisa Rondstadt, who's playing Last Exit Live on Saturday, October 25.
There's a little bit of everything this weekend, including a band called 40lb Vagina. Seemingly all the local bands you're used to seeing playing around town are up at the Apache Lake Music Festival. There is a three-day R&B and smooth jazz festival, the Arizona Jazz Festival. And there is also a giant metal show that will be taking over the parking lot near Cityscape between Jefferson and Washington.
Basically, if you find yourself alone on your couch this weekend, the problem isn't a lack of things to do.
Check our our recommendations, and browse our comprehensive concert listings for more options.
Sure, this moody, broody band used to feature actress Shannyn Sossamon, but even without the celebrity, this group has built up a lot of buzz in the past year. With just its 2010 debut, The Fool, and the widely acclaimed 2014 self-titled follow-up, the band has cemented its place in the hearts of music snobs for many reasons. For fans of Souxie and the Banshees, Portishead, and Julianna Barwick, Warpaint's darkly ambient, minimalistic approach to song composition, paired with its haunting, moaning harmonized lyrics, make the songs perfect for pensive fall and winter nights spent alone. As far as beats are concerned, expect a mixture of simplistic and funky with about-face time changes to keep the overall murky, ethereal style interesting. Arty and angsty in all the right ways, Warpaint is a band about whom you'll be bragging that you saw when those lists of the best albums in 2014 start rolling in and Warpaint is on almost every one of them. Don't say we didn't warn you. Eighteen bucks is a small price to pay for all those cool points. --Heather Hoch
From treadmills to paint guns, OK Go has always been pushing the creative envelope with DIY music videos. For their latest single "The Writing's On the Wall" from their new Hungry Ghosts album, they were faced with the challenge to pushing the envelope a little further.
Using more than 20 illusions, 70 crew members, and going through about six takes before deciding on "the one," the music video for "The Writing's On the Wall" weaves in and out and over and under through a warehouse of carefully-placed shapes, carefully-painted walls, and delicately-planned timing to portray the one-shot wonders of OK Go's collective imagination.
The new album, which was released October 14, explores a more electronic side to the more pop-rock-driven group. When asked why the band decided to dive into electronic music, OK Go member Tim Nordwind responded, "For the past four years, we've been touring and making videos and we have computers everywhere at our disposal. We would program bass sounds out of synthesizers instead of unpacking the bass." --Mandi Kimes
What could be better than a beautiful lake, some great music, and the opportunity to spend a few days jamming out, fishing, and camping? For many, there isn't anything much better, and the Apache Lake Music Festival offers the opportunity to combine several different pleasure about 60 miles from Phoenix at the Apache Lake Marina and Resort on Friday, October 24, and Saturday, October 25.
This year, the festival features local talent like Dry River Yacht Club, Playboy Manbaby, and the Haymarket Squares, among many others. Playboy Manbaby's manic amalgamation of ska, punk, and performance art brings a unique twist to the festival, which also features many of the Valley's most talented jam, Americana, and roots rock bands.
In addition to Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, local prog-rockers Captain Squeegee and Gilbert's CooBee Coo also are playing the festival for the first time this year. Recently signed to Fervor Records, CooBee Coo's polished sound and catchy riffs should be a great treat for those looking for the "safety in numbers" alt-rock that is so popular among youngsters and oldsters alike these days. Should be hearing them on the newly revamped KDKB any time now. --Tom Reardon
In a weekend packed full of festivals and major events, the Arizona Jazz Festival slides in with possibly the biggest lineup of them all. For three nights and two full days, the festival presents virtually every genre jazz has spun off -- R&B, soul, neo-soul, funk-fusion, and more are all fully represented -- and while there's not much traditional jazz, the festival does present a slew of supremely talented headliners, like Boyz II Men and Brian McKnight. It's also a chance to hear live the syrupy smooth jazz you get at lounges across America, if you're into that sort of thing. But for each cheese-master like Peter White on the bill, there's a band like Moonchild, a neo-R&B group that's as fresh as anything coming off the West Coast these days. If you're a fan of R&B, you likely won't find a better opportunity for live music than the Arizona Jazz Festival. --David Accomazzo
Back in 1992, New Times scribe Robert Baird wrote this of the Gin Blossoms' name:
Alcohol has played a significant role in the life of the Gin Blossoms. The name comes from the nasty skin condition associated with long-term drinking. [The now deceased Doug] Hopkins and bassist Bill Leen came up with the idea after seeing a photo of W.C. Fields' blooming nose and cheeks in Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon II. When you listen to the Blossoms reminisce, many of their favorite war stories -- using their guitars to poke holes in the ceiling above the stage at Long Wong's, for example -- were fueled by power drinking. No secret among the Valley's music community, Hopkins' struggle with the bottle had a lot to do with his acrimonious exit from the band.
The Gin Blossoms might be decades removed from the booze-fueled drama that surrounded the band's formative years, but they still have what it takes to put on a good show. Just last year, New Times' Dan Moore wrote, "The Gin Blossoms know exactly what they are, and they're good at it." So check out their show at Gila River, and take bets as to when in the set they'll play "Hey, Jealousy." --David Accomazzo
When you're born into the Ronstadt clan, chances are good you're going to pursue a career in entertainment, given the sheer amount of musical savvy that flows through the family's blood. It's something that Bob Simon of NPR brought up earlier this year when interviewing vocalist Marisa Ronstadt, the family's latest prodigy, asking if everyone with her last name has to try their hand at music, like her renowned older cousin Linda. "Not necessarily," she replied. "There are many [Ronstadts]." True, but it surely would be a waste, which is why we're glad she's been honing her considerable chops for most of her life. Weaned on Latin music, funk, '60s pop, and Motown (in addition to her father's penchant for social activism), Marisa spent a portion of her childhood performing with bilingual youth ensemble called The Amigos. During post-adolescence, she toured with Tucson indie bands before moving to Los Angeles and collaborating with the Chicano rockers of Quetzal and Latin alternative band Monte Carlo 76. Ronstadt's latest project, The Know-It-Alls, blends her many influences in its hybrid of indie pop, R&B, soul, and funk, which is just as genre-spanning as Linda's was back in the day. And Marisa is gifted with a voice just as golden, and it soars in songs like "Sweetest Melody," "Save Me," and "Freedom." The apple, it seems, doesn't fall very far from this family tree. --Benjamin Leatherman KUPD's Big Red Night of the Dead - Saturday, October 25 - Downtown Phoenix
With the exception of maybe Ozzy Osbourne's or Rob Halford's respective birthdays, few yearly celebrations dotting the Gregorian calendar are as explicitly metal as Halloween. Metal's varied subgenres share the holiday's exaltation of creepy things, phantasmagoria, death, hailing Satan, costumes, or any combination thereof. So when local hard rock radio powerhouse KUPD puts on one of its "Big Red Night of the Dead" concerts, it not seems only fitting but downright obligatory to attend. And the trio of bands headlining this year's event in the parking lot bounded by First, Second, Washington, and Jefferson streets provide the sort of relentlessly hard-edged sounds conducive to the holiday's dark aesthetic. Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz of metalcore quintet Killswitch Engage is big on performing in silly outfits, including going as a garbage can or sporting a miniskirt/fishnets/beret ensemble, while the groove metal fiends of Five Finger Death Punch do brisk business selling latex masks of the band's mascot Knucklehead. And although the Danish-born members of psychobilly/metal fusion Volbeat hail from a country that didn't start celebrating Halloween until the '90s, they do a wicked cover of "Angelfuck" by the Misfits, the unofficial band of the scary season. --Benjamin Leatherman
The Melvins' Buzz Osborne, a tireless musician who -- with drummer Dale Crover and assorted other musicians -- creates music with the frequency of rabbits breeding, manages to release at least an album per year. Except for the familiar pudding-thick guitars and mostly distorted vocals (sorry, Buzz, but it's true), not one sounds completely alike (see, I do listen). With Hold It In, Osborne has joined forces with Butthole Surfers guitarist Paul Leary and bassist JD Pinkus. The addition has allowed Osborne to journey in new directions, including the ironic pop of "You Can Make Me Wait," which might sound familiar to Butthole Surfers fans. Written by Leary, the vocoder vocals of the song and almost accessible beat are unmistakable Butthole. --Glenn BurnSilver
The show is sold out, but if you check the event's Facebook page, you might be able to buy an extra ticket off somebody. Interest in this show was so high that the organizers added another day, so if you can't finagle a ticket for Friday, you can always try Saturday. But why do people care so much? Grant and the Geezers was a beloved punk-rockabilly band from the '80s that hasn't played a show in ages -- founding member Kevin Daly plays around town in bands like Maricopa Prison Prison Band and Kevin Daly's Chicken and Waffles -- and the Zany Guys released one of the most important punk records to ever come out of Phoenix. Also of note, this show functions as a coming out of sorts for ThirdSpace, the coffee/wine/little-bit-of-everything joint on Grant Avenue, which will try its hand as a music venue for the first time. --David Accomazzo
Carnifex translates to "executioner" in Latin, and they do offer up that foreboding feeling on stage. The band has released five albums since 2007, most recently Die Without Hope in May, and it's all about the drama. The extreme deathcore act's lyrics are always based around negative emotions, such as self-destruction, hatred, heartbreak, betrayal, but the band's instrumentation has evolved greatly since their first album, when they often didn't even incorporate elements like guitar solos or choruses. --Lauren Wise
Update 8:30 a.m.: When this list first published, there were 10 recommendations. Now there are 11.
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.
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