8 Best Concerts to See in Phoenix This Weekend

Sage Francis is scheduled to perform on Saturday at Crescent Ballroom.
Sage Francis is scheduled to perform on Saturday at Crescent Ballroom.
Anthony St. James

A few people have seen fit to inform us recently that there's not much happening this weekend. Its an erroneous opinion, frankly, but an understandable one. With all the major music festivals of the springtime having come and gone, one might think that Phoenix is pretty much a wasteland between now and the end of the quickly approaching summer.

That couldn't be further from the truth. There are plenty of great concerts this weekend, if you know where to find them. And we certainly do. Hence the following compilation of eight options for y'all to attend over the next three nights. (And if you need more, check out our comprehensive online concert calendar.)

AZ MetalFest - Friday, May 8 - Club Red

This night of metal at Mesa's Club Red truly celebrates the best of old school and newer bands that run the desert scene. There's Flotsam and Jetsam, local thrash legends that have been making impressions with their killer live shows and hard-charging sound since 1981. They've certainly had a lot of ups and downs, but shared the stage with such acts as Megadeth and Mercyful Fate during the process. Rounding out the rest of the bill for AZ Metalfest is a melting pot of bands influenced by your favorite metal and hard rock bands: Chemicals of Democray, Downhill Trend, Ghost 211, Altered Silence, Warhead, and She Murdered Me - the latter of which has only been around a couple years, and have already shared the stage with bands like Deicide and Moonsorrow. LAUREN WISE

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Walk the Moon - Friday, May 8 - Crescent Ballroom

For a band that was playing club gigs and smaller venues within the last year or two, Walk the Moon has done extremely well for itself. Six years after its formation, the Cincinnati indie rock act is selling out venues across the country. The recorded versions of its hits and songs -- including the currently inescapable radio favorite "Shut Up and Dance" -- are good, but seeing these guys perform them live is simply impressive. Musically, Walk the Moon is reminiscent of early era Talk Talk, and lead singer Nicholas Petricca's powerful and expertly controlled falsetto has a richness reminiscent of Mark Hollis, especially on tunes like "Tightrope" with its HEALTH-like, noise-laced intro. "Fixin'" finds lead guitarist Eli Maiman channeling a bit of Robin Guthrie with his ghostly, gently swirling guitar tones. TOM MURPHY

Editor's note: The show is currently sold out but tickets are available online via StubHub and similar sites.

Fuck Cancer Benefit - Saturday, May 9 - Joe's Grotto

For many of us, the very idea of saying "fuck you" to cancer is nothing short of catharsis. The disease has affected every one of us in one way or the other, and more often than not it is deeply personal. The good folks at Joe's Grotto are doing something about it by making their North Phoenix nightclub available for the Fuck Cancer Benefit show, featuring some of the Valley's best hard-rocking bands.

The lineup this year includes Crushed, which in band years, may predate the disease itself. Also on the bill: the lovely and wicked Venomous Pinks, who released one of the coolest EPs of 2014 and continue to get better and better. These two local favorites are joined by Sectas, Volatile Minds, Mill's End, Mental Cases, Don't Panic, and Twisted Theorem. If you like to rock out for a good cause, head over to Joe's Grotto and pony up some dough to help fuck the disease that has fucked so many of us out of time with people we love. The show starts at 6 p.m. to accommodate the many bands giving up their effort and energy for a tremendous cause. TOM REARDON  

Sage Francis - Saturday, May 9 - Crescent Ballroom

"You gave me language as a gift," Sage Francis announces on "Thank You," from his 2014 album, Copper Gone. "I turned it against you/I was stupid, I was young/I was hanging by my Judas tongue," he confesses, turning his youthful arrogance into a belated form of redemption as he gives credit to an unnamed mentor. The Rhode Island rapper, who also runs hip-hop label Strange Famous Records, has always had mixed feelings about society and fame, as reflected in his three ambivalently titled albums for Epitaph Records: A Healthy Distrust, Human the Death Dance and Li(f)e. But even the Sage one isn't beyond the need for guidance: "I was ignorant, passed out on the spacebar. ... I'm an idiot, self-deprecating author. ... You edited the words from the grave and beyond." FALLING JAMES

LUST 2015: The Final Chapter - Saturday, May 9 - Mind's Eye

Fair warning: Anyone who might be of a puritanical or prudish bent will want to stay far, far away from the Mind's Eye Rehearsal Studios in Mesa this weekend. Ditto for folks that are easily offended by nudity, profanity, blasphemy, or unrepentant auditory deviancy. Those who happen to find those sorts of things enticing, or have a particularly morbid curiosity, should don their sexiest and trashiest outfits and head for Mind's Eye on Saturday, May 9, for an evening of utter debauchery and depravity during Lust 2015: The Final Chapter.

This hedonistic hootenanny, which is the bizarre and bawdy brainchild of fetishistic performance troupe The Agents of Lust, is part rave, part concert, part art show, and all kinds of wrong (and we mean that in the nicest way possible). "It really is all about lust," says co-organizer Rance Granthrax Jorgensen. As such, the adults-only affair will include DJs like Dark Mark, SID Snow, and Kevin Void spinning industrial music and hardstyle, as well as gigs by local industrial metal bands Soundmankillz and Slut, fire spinning, risque dancing, grind shows, and even special "lust marriages." The members of the Agents of Lust -- including Karla Kaoz, Trink, Heather Nance, Lord Brucifer, and Granthrax -- will also perform. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

Kongo Shock - Saturday, May 9 - Pranksters Too

Maybe its just us -- or perhaps its something in the air -- but its seems like there a few local '90s-era bands of the punk and ska variety have caught reunion fever in recent months. To wit: the sneering gutter punks of Flagstaff's Ernie's Rubber Ducky reunited for a special performance back in late March, as did riot grrl favorites Burning Bush. This weekend, iconic Phoenix ska act Kongo Shock will follow suit when they return to the stage and once again blast some upbeat, third wave-inspired tunes. Twelve years after their last reunion, and almost two decades since ska's last heyday in the late '90s when they regularly haunted such bygone spots as Boston's in Tempe, the homegrown septet is reuniting for reportedly "one last performance" with their original lineup at Pranksters Too in Scottsdale. Fellow ska band The Effects (featuring Kongo Shock member Shadrach Powell) and The Medieval Knievals will also perform. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

See also: 17 Years After Splitting, Phoenix Ska Band Kongo Shock Returns

Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet - Sunday, May 10 - MIM

BeauSoleil, the favorite sons of Louisiana's Bayou country and the number one Cajun music band in the world (according to Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion anyway), has proven that precept time and time again over the course of their near three decade career. Named in honor of of Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, who led the Acadian resistance to British deportation efforts beginning in the mid 1700s, the band remains as determined as ever to keep their native traditions alive.

The historical reference has served as something of a springboard for the band throughout its career as they achieved milestones of their own in becoming one of the most recognized and admired Cajun bands. Aside from numerous appearances on soundtracks and television shows, they've performed with any number of musical admirers, ranging from Mary Chapin Carpenter to the Grateful Dead. Still, any attempt to classify them as strictly Cajun inevitably comes up short. Throughout their career, they successfully pushed its boundaries, incorporating rock, pop, jazz, calypso, French romanticism, and blues into their multi-hued palette. Their latest effort, From Bamako to Carencro is no exception, and easily one of their most accessible efforts to date. LEE ZIMMERMAN

Sepultura - Sunday, May 10 - Joe's Grotto

For more than a quarter of a century, these legendary Brazilian musicians have been serving up a mix of hardcore, punk, thrash metal and tribal that's become an unmistakable brand to metalheads. If you've never seen them live than this 30th anniversary show is the time to do it--plus, Sepultura always seem able to predict the winds of change in the genre. The bill is rounded out by Destruction, Arsis, Boris the Blade, The Last Ten Seconds of Life, Micawber, Starkill, Deathgrip, Xpansion Theory, Ashes of Dead, and Wrath. LAUREN WISE

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

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

Joe's Grotto

13825 N. 32nd St.
Phoenix, AZ 85032



Club Red

1308 W. University Dr.
Mesa, AZ 85201



Pranksters Too

7919 E. Thomas Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251



Musical Instrument Museum

4725 E. Mayo Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85050



Mind's Eye Rehearsal Studios
Crescent Ballroom

308 N. 2nd Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85003



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