6 Best Concerts to See in Phoenix This Weekend

Rob Zombie plays Westworld on Friday, September 19.
Rob Zombie plays Westworld on Friday, September 19.
Victor Palagano

People of the Valley of the Sun, fear not. Yes, you have suffered. Through July, with average high temps of 107 degrees, you have persevered. Through August, much of the same. Then in September, you weathered another type of extreme weather, as rainwater filled up city streets and turned neighborhood streets into swimming pools. But now, as nighttime temperatures tantalizingly dip below 85 degrees, there is relief in site. And with the lowered mercury of the fall comes a slew of much more promising nightlife options. This weekend offers dozens of highlights from today through Sunday, and if you can't find anything to do, you're not looking hard enough. So check out our recommendations, and browse our comprehensive concert calendar for even more options.

Rob Zombie - Friday, September 19 - Westworld

Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare runs from September 19 through November 1. There's three different twisted haunted houses based on Rob Zombie's horror films and characters; the Bloody Boulevard, a themed midway with freakshows, activities, games and more; and a line up of concerts through the Halloween season. Opening night is a perfect time to go and check out the creepy scene, as well as get a tasty dose of Rob Zombie's live show, filled with pyrotechnics, creepy costumes, scantily clad women, and horror clips. --Lauren Wise

Mickey Avalon - Friday, September 19 - Crescent Ballroom

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Mickey Avalon is constantly loaded.

He's loaded with clever rhymes and catchy hooks, played by DJs to writhing Hollywood club kids who don't understand that half of the dark memories Mickey shares are actual experiences. When he started rapping around 2004, he was loaded with the burden of family members dying; of drugs and that all-too familiar feeling of being lost. In 2012's Loaded, he brought us a soundtrack to live out our most debauched rock 'n' roll fantasies, dripping in hedonistic energy and comical admissions.

Anyone who is a Mickey Avalon fan -- or foe -- knows about the electro-influenced Hollywood glam-rapper's past. Some would say it's drenched in decadence, but to me it's the opposite. Even now with his success, he seems to relish the gritty, back-alley way of doing things. Sometimes it seems to relate more to rock music than rap, so maybe that's where his broad appeal comes into play. 30 years after Iggy Pop described himself as "a street-walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm" on the Stooges' 1973 hit "Search and Destroy," Mickey Avalon has brought that same stance to the stage--as well as Iggy's tradition of upholding an underground following early in his career with a somehow sickly sweet yet forbidden lyrical imagery. --Lauren Wise

LIVEStyle PHX Battle of the DJs - Saturday, September 20 - Comerica Theatre

Got a question for y'all, and it might not be an easy one to answer -- which of the PHX's many scratchers, mixers, spinners or beat junkies happens to be the top DJ around? It's something we've often wondered ourselves, and topic that's been debated quite endlessly in clubs, at gigs, or behind the decks. And while this weekend's LIVEStyle PHX Battle of the DJs won't necessarily decide, once and for all, who's the best of the best in the Valley, it will certainly strengthen such a claim by whoever emerges as the winner.

A total of 10 locals will face off at Comerica Theatre on Saturday during the showdown, which is organized by Top 40 station Live 101.5. Each finalists will get 10 minutes to "hype the crowd and get the judges jumpin'" with their originality, creativity, technical savvy, and party-rocking abilities in hopes of securing a $1,000 cash prize and a guest gig on the station. Some of Phoenix's more prominent and exceedingly talented selectors are involved in LIVEStyle competition, such as the Bumsquad's DJ Area4, local DMC champ LES735, Blunt Club regular Reflekshin, and The Pulse's DJ SkreamCutZ. Other finalists include DJayT3, DJ Éclair, Stealth Bomber, DJ Av, Jeff Jones, and DJ Pete. The records roll starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $5. -- Benjamin Leatherman  

Jason Aldean - Saturday, September 20 - Ak-Chin Pavilion

For the most part, modern-day country music is a polished, calculated affair in which most stars keep their place and speak their part. Jason Aldean, however, is an outlier in the best way possible. As one of the highest-grossing touring acts in country music today. Whether it's in tabloids, interviews, or songs, Aldean also is one of the most outspoken artists, his mouth as ever-present as his straw cowboy hat and denim-decked stage presence. He's also a musician who despite less than 10 years in the mainstream spotlight, is one of those guys who's written more hits than you realize. Jason Aldean's set lists can surprise concert attendees just because of the sheer number of top 10 country hits he's amassed since 2005. With the release of Old Boots, New Dirt, his follow-up to 2012's Night Train, just around the corner, Aldean's sure to pull out a few new numbers on his Phoenix tour stop as well. Love him or hate him, Aldean may just be that rare performer today who holds himself with enough grit to embody what's left of the outlaw persona, both onstage and off. 
--K.C. Libman

The Aquabats - Saturday, September 20 - Marquee Theatre

The Aquabats are 20 this year.

If that sounds crazy to you, imagine what that means to its members: That's 20 years of tights-wearing, gravity-defying, villain-fighting, rock & roll shenanigans on stage. Led by the M.C. Bat Commander, backed up by Crash McLarson, Jimmy the Robot, Ricky Fitness and Eagle "Bones" Falconhawk, this 'super'-team never really planned on staying together for two decades. And yet here they are: middle-aged men in superhero costumes, entertaining kids and kids at heart everywhere. Guess the adage is true: Time does fly when you're having fun. --Lilledeshan Bose

Rival Sons - Sunday, September 21 - Pressroom

Nowadays, the revival of bluesy psychedelic rock and soul from the 1960s and '70s has found a strong following -- maybe it's the fuzzy twang of the guitar, the vocals that just drip with angst and passion. Either way, Rival Sons, founded in 2009, introduced its brand in the right place at the right time.

Then again, you may have not heard of the Long Beach act -- even though they've released three albums within three years and played shows with such legends as Judas Priest, KISS, and AC/DC. Fans of the genre always seem to have endless new music to keep up with, whether it's relentless releases by The Black Keys or Jack White, or the countless new bands that emerge each year channeling that Jim Morrison-esque persona.

Currently promoting their fourth album Great Western Valkyrie, Rival Sons' sound has evolved in an impressive way, tighter and smarter, offering an album full of call and response mechanics, catchy verses, roadhouse stylings, prominent guitar solos, and Doors-type keyboards. Frontman Jay Buchanan's straightforward lyrics range from happy-go-lucky jams to storytelling, like "Belle Starr," where outlaws are being judged by a Nordic goddess. --Lauren Wise

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

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Comerica Theatre

400 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

602-514-2919

www.comericatheatre.com

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WestWorld of Scottsdale

16601 N. Pima Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

480-312-6802

www.scottsdaleaz.gov/westworld

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Marquee Theatre

730 N. Mill Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85281

480-829-0707

www.luckymanonline.com

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Crescent Ballroom

308 N. 2nd Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

602-716-2222

www.crescentphx.com

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