Up for seeing a great concert this weekend? If so, we’ve got a few suggestions for y’all. As a matter of fact, we’ve got 13 of 'em, and the list includes shows from a wide variety of genres and formats, from emo and dream pop to blues and folk.
If you need even more options, be sure to check out our extensive live music listings online. In the meantime, here are the 13 best concerts happening this weekend in Phoenix.
Phantogram – Friday, September 30 – Marquee Theatre
If past performances are anything to go off of, you can expect one hell of a light show to accompany Phantogram on their latest tour in support of their new album, Three. Get your fill of bright flashes and an artsy AV backdrop while drinking in the band’s fuzzy dance tunes. On Three, Phantogram seems to be dipping into the dark side more and more with moments that seem ripped from the Eric Serra discog. The album’s first single, “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore,” in some ways parodies what the band did before, with abrupt transitions from the more familiar saccharine soprano of frontwoman Sarah Barthel into intense, pulsing electronica. Where once it seemed these two aspects of the band existed separately, popping out intermittently in individual songs, the New York-based duo has coalesced into a singular sound. Don’t get it twisted, though: Three just might be Phantogram’s most stylistically diverse offering yet, with clear influences from blues, hip-hop, and gospel injected into their trip-hoppy, dream-poppy aesthetic. HEATHER HOCH
Okkervil River – Friday, September 30 – Crescent Ballroom
Fragile beauty, fierce intelligence, dry humor, and a singularly poignant style have accumulated across nine albums — plus their unforgettable collaboration with '60s psych avatar Roky Erickson, 2010’s True Love Cast Out All Evil — to establish Okkervil River as one of the Southwest’s most accomplished indie acts of the young century, and front man Will Sheff one of the most fertile singer-songwriters in his field. For the brand-new Away, Okkervil’s first album since 2013’s The Silver Gymnasium, Sheff recruited a new group of players (many from New York’s jazz/avant-garde world) to record a batch of songs he had written quickly while on a kind of sabbatical to process events in his personal life like the death of his grandfather. Sheff is also the sort of musician who writes his own media bio (of course he does); of Away he says, “It’s not really an Okkervil River album, and it’s also my favorite Okkervil River album.” With Landlady. CHRIS GRAY
Emo Night Phoenix – Friday, September 30 – The Rebel Lounge
By now, you’ve likely read in articles about bands like the Hotelier, Modern Baseball, and The World Is A Beautiful Place & I’m No Longer Afraid To Die, emerging young groups blending earnest sentiments with variations on post-hardcore and pop punk themes — there’s an emo revival afoot. But here’s the rub — “emo” never really left. Nothing so amorphous can truly vanish. Scan the roster of bands promised for the playlists of DJ xSADBOYx at Rebel Lounge’s monthly Emo Night Phoenix. There are OGs like Braid and Mineral, only one generation removed from Dischord Records’ Rites of Spring and Embrace, the first bands to be saddled with the “emo” tag, but beyond that it’s a mixed bag. Coheed and Cambria play progressive rock more in common with Rush than Blink 182; AFI’s gothy pop punk traces straight back to the Cure; experimental art rockers At the Drive In land somewhere between the MC5 and Fugazi at its spaciest. The list goes on, full of bands which are united more by feel and appeal than actual musical style. And perhaps that’s why the memo designation endures. Beyond its stylistic signifiers (octave chords, crybaby lyrics), emo has always been whatever its listeners ask it to be. JASON P. WOODBURY
Alice in Chains – Friday, September 30 – The Pool at Talking Stick Resort
It's hard to believe that 10 years have passed since former Comes with the Fall lead singer William DuVall took the helm as the vocalist for Alice in Chains. It was a move that proved questionable for Alice in Chains fans at the time. How could the group stand to replace Layne Staley's epic howls? Staley, who passed away in 2002 from drug addiction, and his eerily cathartic croons were a centerpiece of the storied, chart-topping grunge act. Despite the naysayers, founding members guitarist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney persevered with AIC's new lineup, touring some and subsequentally putting out a new album in 2008 titled Black Gives Way to Blue. Tearing a page from hard rocking Aussie troupe AC/DC's illustrious comeback, the album won record-charting accolades (certified gold by the RIAA). Part of the reason for the success was due to the band's ability to stick to their guns, delivering an effort that was just as gloomy and brooding as its predecessor — a self-titled effort released 14 years prior — that never sounded calculated or deliberate. ALEX RENDON
Hannah Gill and the Hours – Friday, September 30 – Last Exit Live
“All through high school, I was the biggest choir dork. I remember I was so self-conscious because I had such a deep voice. When I was 13 or 14, I kind of realized I could ‘make this sound.’ [Prior to this revelation] I was trying to mimic the other girls with the pretty, high voices. I came into my own around that time because I realized it was okay to sound the way I did,” says Hannah Gill, who comes to the Valley with her band, the Hours, to open for Brendan James at Last Exit Live on September 30. The talented 19-year-old, who currently resides in New York City, has never done a West Coast tour and is excited to get out to the left coast and take in the sights. “I’m very excited; I’ve never been to Phoenix. I’m going to take lots of pictures and get lots of souvenirs. I lived in Houston, Texas, for six years. I miss good Mexican so much,” shares Gill, who we hope will have better luck finding a burrito than Adele did when she last visited. Gill, whose voice sounds similar to a cross between Adele and the late Amy Winehouse, is a force to be reckoned with, and is seemingly wise beyond her years. Catch Hannah Gill and the Hours in a tiny venue while you still can. TOM REARDON
Rhythm Room’s 25th Anniversary Party – Friday, September 30, and Saturday, October 1
While speaking with Rhythm Room owner Bob Corritore for our oral history of the venue’s first 25 years, the renowned bluesman laid a rather evocative quote on us. “I feel like the ghosts of all these great performances are just floating around the Rhythm Room, and when someone comes in to play blues or roots music, they know this is where Billy Lee Riley or Ronnie Dawson or Jimmy Rogers played,” he says. “And there's this unspoken spiritual vibe that happens when you've got echoes of those great performances embedded in your walls.” This weekend, the Rhythm Room will get a few more memories added to the mix when the blues joint hosts its two-night anniversary party. Homegrown artists from around Arizona dominate the first night, which will include performances by Soul Power Band, Dave Riley and Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band, Mike Eldred Trio, Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns, Bad News Blues Band, The Rocket 88s, and The Sugar Thieves. Night two will feature such blues legends as Billy Boy Arnold, Henry Gray, and Alabama Mike. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Wake Up Call Music Festival – Friday, September 30, to Sunday, October 2 – W Scottsdale
Music festivals aren’t exactly a new thing. Woodstock, anyone? In fact, long-running ones, like Coachella, going strong since 1993, have inspired a hearty annual calendar of multiact, multiday concert destinations. Whether you want your music delivered via stages at a remote desert site like the aforementioned Coachella or by running around to various venues in the heart of a big city, like South by Southwest, you’ve got options. The W Hotels Worldwide chain is about to give you another. WAKE UP CALL: A W Hotels Music Festival marks the first-ever hotel music festival of its kind. The weekend-long event launches at the W’s Scottsdale location, with a follow-up fest to take place in Las Vegas after those digs are complete in 2017. This sleek and modern spot, a beloved go-to for the Scottsdale party crowd, will host a nonstop mix of live performances, meet and greets, pool parties, VIP lounges, and pop up events. Scheduled acts include Bebe Rexha, De La Soul, Matoma, and Mayer Hawthorne. Cee Lo Green will also make the scene to do a DJ set for attendees. AMY YOUNG
Dweezil Zappa – Saturday, October 1 – Talking Stick Resort
Although he had a nonconformist father in Frank Zappa, guitarist Dweezil Zappa has proved to be a traditionally loving and devoted son, keeping his father’s work alive through extensive tours with the group Zappa Plays Zappa. But paying so much homage kept Dweezil from making his own music, and there was a gap of nearly a decade between the release of his 2006 album, Go With What You Know, and last year’s Via Zammata’. The recent record shifts from exotically serpentine guitar tangles and orchestral, instrumental passages to funky jazz pomp, metallic psychedelia and Queen-like prog. There are even down-to-earth indie-pop songs layered with Beach Boy-style harmonies. Where his father might have made these juxtapositions more jagged for shock value, Dweezil differs by weaving it all together seamlessly in an openly heartfelt manner. FALLING JAMES
Tour De Fat 2016 feat. Dr. Dog – Saturday, October 1 – Tempe Beach Park
Starting with 2005’s Easy Beat, Philly six-piece Dr. Dog could be counted on to deliver one reliably Beatlesque album — melodic, eclectic, and charismatic — every two years or so, a pattern that held through 2013’s B-Room. Now, their “new” album happens to be their very first recording, Psychedelic Swamp (Anti-). Starting in the late ’90s, founders Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken worked piecemeal over a number of years and self-released the album (with close to three dozen songs) in 2001. By streamlining the track list and re-recording the more salient tunes, Dr. Dog has done something similar to a comic-book “origin story”: reintroducing a familiar character with added context and perspective, which can’t help but cast them in a slightly different light. Here, Dr. Dog have modernized themselves without losing touch with that initial spark of inspiration that has made them one of indie rock’s most consistently enjoyable 21st-century bands. This weekend, they'll be the headlining act at the Tour De Fat's stop in Tempe. CHRIS GRAY
Residual Kid – Saturday, October 1 – The Rebel Lounge
The members of Residual Kid from Austin, Texas, are all 17 years old or younger. Despite their youth, it is impossible to ignore their sheer power of the songs — they're something more than you'd expect out of three guys who have yet to get out of high school. Often compared to grunge bands of the early '90s, Sonic Youth, or whatever shoegaze band a particular music journalist favors at the time of writing, the best way to say it might be that Residual Kid would sound at home on SST — vaguely unclassifiable but with a footing in punk. The group made a big splash in 2012 and 2013, including a tour opening for Peter Murphy. Other claims to fame include working with Steve McDonald and J Mascis, as well as recording at the Beastie Boys' Oscilloscope Studios with Andre Kelman, who is known for his work with Cat Power, The Julie Ruin, Phoenix, and, of course, the Beasties themselves. Not bad for a band whose members aren’t even eligible to vote yet. TOM MURPHY
MC Chris – Sunday, October 2 – Crescent Ballroom
Nerdcore, my ass — if you want to hear someone rap about comic books or science fiction or anime, you can pick up an album by MF DOOM or Del the Funky Homosapien instead of glomming onto some kid who's too caught up in geek culture to learn how to flow. mc chris (remember, all lowercase when you spell the man's name) is a notable exception: Despite being a pioneer of the nerdcore scene, he's expressed numerous reservations about being lumped in with the more one-movement in his wake. And while his uber-nasal high-pitched voice (as heard on classic episodes of [adult swim] series Sealab 2020 and Aqua Teen Hunger Force) and enthusiasm for all things dork have made him a star among the Internet People set, all his Star Wars and D&D references are spit with a lyrical agility and a sharp-tongued sense of humor that set him miles above his peers. NATE PATRIN
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Tycho – Sunday, October 2 – Marquee Theatre
Tycho makes the type of music you might hear in a Zach Braff movie. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl twirls her hand outside of a car while it's buzzing down the freeway; Braff smiles and says something like "you're as beautiful as the limitlessness of life." Scott Hansen's project — now a three-piece band — is bright, ambient, and uniquely fecund. It's no wonder: He's also a graphic designer, photographer, and visual artist as well. As a matter of fact, the florescent scenery that fills the music video for his hit track, “See,” is absolutely no mistake, it's a carefully constructed tableau befitting his carefully constructed sounds. H. DREW BLACKBURN