Up for seeing a show? There are plenty to choose from around town. Here are our picks for best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. For more options, check out our comprehensive concert calendar.
Japhy’s Descent - Friday, December 4 - The Rebel Lounge
Japhy’s Descent’s last two albums have really been collaborative efforts between the band's four members and what seems like all of their friends in the Phoenix music scene. Between the the three discs that encompass their last two records — double album Moon/Noon and their Winnie the Pooh-themed 2014 release Christopher Robin — Martin Sugg, Travis Ryder, James Sharp, and Brian Neil really brought out as many of the Valley’s indie artists as they could. So for their new record Senseless they decided to cut out the outsiders and make it all about the four members and their collective chemistry. The new record has five songs representing the five senses.
Though there is a clear “theme” running throughout the album, guitarist Sugg says the band is not considering Senseless to be a concept record like their past two releases. Written in just two days, it was recorded half at STEM Recording and half at bass player Brian Niel’s home studio (Oak Street Studios), and with the more stripped-down recording process, emerges a far more stripped-down sound. All of the tracks on the record were recorded live with minimal overdubs on solos and backing vocals. Japhy’s Descent will be dropping Senseless on December 4 with a release party at Rebel Lounge featuring performances by synth punks Fairy Bones, rockers Captive Crooks, and Wyves. JEFF MOSES
Snoop Dogg - Friday, December 4 - Livewire
Snoop Dogg is one of the very few performers in hip-hop who can say he's watched the genre grow old with grace. From his tumultuous times at Death Row Records to a questionable signing with the No Limit label, Snoop has soldiered on through the years to become one of the game's greatest legends. His lyrics, his California swag and his consistent ear for head-banging rap beats continually put Snoop ahead of the class. His coolness is immeasurable, and he envelops his audiences with it at his shows. Well, that and marijuana smoke. Through it all, Snoop has built the Doggfather legacy and amassed a cult following that grows with every performance and carries his hip-hop message to the world. RU JOHNSON
Desert Frostover - Friday, December 4, and Saturday, December 5 - Marquee Theatre
The weekend offers a collection of some of the best local music around — we’re talking metal, hard rock, and then some. For just $15, you can experience both days, featuring more than 30 local bands and comedians — as well as help support the Wounded Warrior Project. Saturday is the day for metal, and it includes Howitzer, Pelvic Meatloaf, Sicmonic, Virulent, Lost in Lies, Souless, Kruffix, Deathgrip, Riot/Gear, Latency, Ella Kaye and Resurgence Girls. Friday night is tailored to more rock, reggae and indie, with Frequis, Black Bottom Lighters, Soundmankillz, The Black Moods, Volatile Minds, Tome, Atoms Fall, We Steal Copper, Run, Definitely Run, Makeshift Family, and Murkocet. LAUREN WISE
Tanlines - Saturday, December 5 - Valley Bar
The Brooklyn-based dance-pop duo Tanlines know exactly what you are saying about them on Twitter. They’re often answering tweeted fan questions. Fans, take solace in the knowledge that when you tweet that their catchy New Wave and hip-hop influenced hipster music makes your workday go by that much faster, guitarist Eric Emm and multi-instrumentalist Jesse Cohen are reading intently. They may even respond humorously to your critique. While Tanlines isn’t lashing out against their opinionated followers on social media, they’re savvy to how their audience consumes media on the Internet.
Their website resembles the recommendations page on Netflix. It comes complete with fake movie posters highlighting singles from their new album Highlights. Real movie posters represent where the next stop on their tour is, with the classic Coen Brothers’ comedy Raising Arizona standing in for their second performance at Valley Bar this year. Tanlines’ music shouldn’t be tied to your screen time anyway. Their rhythmic music is better suited for your morning run than putting together that TPS Report. And who knows? They might retweet that photo you took of them at their show. JASON KEIL
Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy - Saturday, December 5 - Talking Stick Resort
In the prog rock world, the formation of Emerson, Lake & Palmer in 1970 was like creating a sci-fi movie with Alien, Predator, and Godzilla. Basically, something all kinds of awesome that was like clickbait for music nerds. Keyboardist Keith Emerson was in The Nice and played a show in San Francisco with prog rock heavyweights King Crimson, where he met bassist Greg Lake. King Crimson was undergoing one of many lineup changes it would endure throughout the ensuing decades, and the two eventually added Atomic Rooster drummer Carl Palmer to the mix.
The result was a supergroup with staying power, sticking together the next 25 years. These days, Lake and Emerson aren’t on the best terms with Palmer, as Palmer put the kibosh on any reunion hopes in 2010. But Palmer is dramatically re-working the band’s catalog and touring relentlessly. The ELP Legacy show will be very different from an Emerson, Lake & Palmer show in the ’70s. But maybe seeing Emerson, Lake & Palmer songs performed on a guitar is not sacrilege, but evolution. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult - Saturday, November 5 - Pub Rock
My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult began as a film idea that Frankie Nardiello and Marsten Daley had that never fully came to fruition. The two met while touring with Ministry, and in 1987, inspired in part by disco, exploitation films, the industrial scene happening around them in Chicago and a mutual love for campy horror movies, the pair formed a creative partnership that produced something better than any movie they could have made. With Nardiello taking on the stage name of Groovie Mann and Daley performing as Buzz McCoy, the two larger-than-life characters have been making larger-than-life music and putting on incredibly entertaining and gloriously colorful (in every sense) shows ever since.
TKK, as the act is sometimes known, had a breakthrough hit with the irreverent "Kooler Than Jesus," and its 1991 album, Sexplosion!, made the band an underground sensation. In 1994, TKK appeared in the iconic film The Crow and did music for that accidental classic of sleaze Showgirls, which helped solidify the band's reputation even more as a noteworthy act, as the excellent soundtrack fared better in reviews than the film itself. Since then, Thrill Kill Kult has been on numerous tours and released five albums, including its 200 disc Death Threat. Early Satanic imagery and lyrical themes included in the humorously lurid aesthetic of the band, TKK has not been a group that has taken itself as seriously as it has the execution of its music and putting on a compelling live show. TOM MURPHY
Muse - Saturday, September 5 - Gila River Arena
Chris Wolstenholme, the bassist of Muse, has stated on the record that contributing to three of the soundtracks for the Twilight film series was like “selling your soul.” For the modern progressive pop-rock trio, the devil comes in the form of sparkly teenage vampires with good hair. Yet the band credits the films, inspired by the popular work of Glendale author Stephanie Meyer, for their popularity in America. With more than 17 million albums sold in an age when streaming reigns supreme, there is also the possibility that talent might have something to do with their success.
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Muse draws liberally from influences like Queen, Pink Floyd, and Radiohead, proving themselves fully capable of taking the musical reins. Wolstenholme, drummer Dominic Howard and guitarist, vocalist extraordinaire, and eccentric tabloid mainstay Matt Bellamy are bringing their latest tour to Meyer’s hometown in support of their most recent opus Drones. If creating singles for melodramatic, teen-targeted films allows Muse to write a heady politically-charged concept album, then making a deal with the same corporate demons that are the targets of Bellamy’s stadium anthems is worth the trouble. The music will manifest itself onstage with an audio-visual “in the round” experience. JASON KEIL
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Sunday, December 6 - Gila River Arena
’Tis the season for Christmas carols – and no one does caroling like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Backed by an over-the-top visual spectacular to awe audiences into returning every year and buying millions of their albums, the electric-rock orchestra’s audio/visual experience includes pyrotechnics, lasers and state-of-the-art lighting that makes the Christmas lights you ring around your window seem as inspired as rubbing two rocks together. Their tours typically attract millions of fans in 80-plus cities, making the Trans-Siberian Orchestra the one of the biggest tours of the year, next to Santa’s annual worldwide jaunt, of course. AMANDA PARSONS