7 Best Concerts to See in Phoenix This Weekend
Merle Haggard is honky-tonking in Phoenix this weekend.
Holy Saturday, Batman.
Walk around anywhere in downtown Phoenix this weekend, and you'll find music. With concerts at Civic Space Park, Portland Parkway, CityScape, and all the usual venues like Crescent Ballroom (which has a slew of great shows this weekend), you're pretty much guaranteed to have a good time. And why shouldn't you? We dwellers of the Valley of the Sun have only a limited amount of time to enjoy the great outdoors, so you might as well get your fill while you can.
Check out our concert recommendations this weekend, and browse our comprehensive concert listings for more.
Though they are not the Jesus Lizard Jr. that many have claimed, Pissed Jeans is a real and true combination of noise, punk, power, and testosterone. Interesting, to say the least, and straight-up rockin' if you dig the über-noisy Amrep Records-style sound. These four lads from Allentown, Pennsylvania, are the embodiment of primal rage. To the untrained eye, they certainly appear to be a nice bunch of young guys, but once they hit the stage, you'd better watch your back, because things tend to fly around a lot at their shows. Signed to venerable Seattle-based label Sub Pop, Pissed Jeans represents a nod to the aforementioned label's glorious past while maintaining a strong dose of "right here, right now" blue-collar angst. The original idea, at least according to Pissed Jeans singer Matt Korvette, was to do a band reminiscent of Flipper, the Crucifucks, or Stickmen with Rayguns. This is the first trip to Phoenix for the Pennsylvanians, each of whom became a first-time dad around the same time a few years ago. This newfound sense of self, though, has not changed the identity of the band, so expect a fantastic time at Crescent Ballroom. Locals Gay Kiss, who recently did a support slot for OFF! on a regional tour and Tucson's excellent Lenguas Largas, fill out the bill. --Tom Reardon
The crack janitorial staff at the CityScape better have their mops primed and timecards ready since both might get plenty of use come this weekend. We expect that it could take a bit of extra elbow grease and a bunch of overtime hours to get the typically squeaky clean downtown Phoenix retail complex, which is located at 1 East Washington Street, tidy after Life in Color rolls through on Friday, November 7. After all, the touring event hypes itself as the "world's largest paint party" and, as you can guess, involves splaying and splattering both its attendees and venues with an endless deluge of rainbow-colored liquid as electro-heavy dance music acts like Krewella, Cash Cash, and Futuristic Polar Bears perform. Needless to say, dropcloths are likely to get used as the beats get dropped and everything and everyone within the blast radius of the various paint cannons gets splashed with color. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Merle Haggard is a furry, freaky, thoroughly unpredictable and not necessarily all too pleasant specimen of Homo sapiens. Scarred by the death of his father when the singer was just 9 years old, Hag, as he is known, developed an ingrained criminal pathology and a lurid record as an incorrigible penitentiary escape artist. Nonetheless, he ultimately outsmarted himself and ascended to unquestioned status as one of hard country's most reliably brilliant, ornery and original artistic forces. With a flabbergastingly varied and achingly beautiful catalog of original compositions -- 38 of which have reached No. 1 on the Billboard country charts -- Hag's relentless drive and peerless skill as an interpretive vocalist burn as intensely today (at age 76) as ever they did. But he won't be around forever, Hoss, so drag your miserable butt down to Chandler for his appearance at Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino or suffer the honky-tonk consequences. --Jonny Whiteside
Yep, filmmaker John Hughes named Pretty in Pink, one of his classic '80s flicks, after the Psychedelic Furs song of the same name. The tune, from the band's second full-length release, Talk Talk Talk, was the musical backdrop to a film that illustrated the ups and downs of an angst-ridden teen romance that ultimately triumphs over classist obstacles. The song propelled the band into the mainstream, letting the masses know what a lot of alt-rock fans were already wise to -- these post-punkers from England, with their New Wave nuances, were delivering some powerful songs. Later hits included "Heartbreak Beat," and "All That Money Wants." The band formed in 1977 and has seen several lineup changes, but the band's core, vocalist/guitarist Richard Butler and his bassist brother Tim Butler, still leads the charge. Originally leaning more on the art-rock side, the band eventually settled into its signature sound of rough, plodding riffs and dynamic rhythms with Richard's gravelly, sultry vocals on top of it all. The Furs haven't released a new record since the '90s, but they still tour actively, performing a range of material highlighting their lengthy career. --Amy Young
Beginning at 10 a.m., the Local First's Certified Local Fall Festival kicks off a celebration of good weather, taking place at Portland Parkway. More than 100 vendors will crowd the park, and and beer and wine garden will provide lubrication for what should be a pleasant day in the park. A small sample of pleasant local musicians will provide the mild soundtrack for the festival, including Taylor Upsahl, the Sara McAllister Duo, Soul Country, Terraplane Station, and Loose Cannons Blues Band. --David Accomazzo
With the purpose of creating "shared arts experiences that encourage cultural understanding between people of the Americas," the CALA (Artistic Celebration of the Americas) Alliance has made it its mission to celebrate Latino art. Since 2011, the organization puts together the CALA Alliance International Festival, showcasing a wide array of performers, lecturers, artists, and chefs who embrace their Latino roots at the core of their artistic expression.
This year the focus of the festival is on the history and evolution of cumbia music.
All the events on Saturday will be free admission, which is great news particularly to music lovers. CALA has curated a distinguished lineup of performers celebrating cumbia on the main stage. Headlining the stage will be renowned producer Camilo Lara, the brain behind Mexican Institute of Sound. Lara isn't a stranger to Arizona. This will be the third time this year Lara makes the trip from Mexico City to Arizona to perform, certainly a beloved name in the desert.
Also on stage will be Tucson's increasingly popular Sergio Mendoza y La Orkesta, who should seriously start looking into real state here in Phoenix --it seems they're here at least once a month (and they'll be here next week as well for Los Dias de la Crescent on Saturday, November 15). We are not complaining, they're a blast every single time. A performer from last year's festival, DJ Lengua, will bring his prolific set of cumbia mixes, which are known for blending the traditional genres with the chaos of his hometown metropolis, Los Angeles. --Carlos Reyes
Mary Lambert has never held anything back in her music.
She burst onto the pop scene in a huge way as the out-and-proud hook lady on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' smash "Same Love." Lambert performed the hit at the Grammy Awards earlier this year before Madonna joined her onstage, just a taste of the stardom she's starting to cultivate as a solo artist with her major-label debut full-length album, Heart on My Sleeve.
Despite signing to a major label, she doesn't censor herself in "Secrets," a single embraced by Top 40 radio. Lambert further puts it all out there, calling out qualities some might be shy about, such as being bipolar, wearing mom jeans, and having some extra meat on her bones. --Nicki Escudero
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.
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