Y’all really should get outta the house this weekend. Seriously. We’re in the final stretch of reasonable weather before things really get rotten for the next few months. Plus, there are plenty of events happening around the Valley.
And, yes, that includes a bunch of “can’t miss” concerts.
Here are some of the highlights: Jazz legend Ron Carter, who’s played bass alongside countless greats during his storied career, will be at The Nash. Elsewhere in downtown Phoenix, the epic movie scores of composer John Williams will be celebrated, and popular alternative Latin night Clandestino! will make its return and feature two notable bands, La Inédita and La Diabla.
There are even more music events over the next several days, which you can discover for yourself by checking out our online show listings or our rundown of the best concerts happening this weekend.
Friday, May 12
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale
Robin Trower, who came into prominence with British psych/progressive and
Friday, May 12
When a band is named after a knight’s foot armor, you can probably bet on two things: It’s either a power metal
Friday, October 12
Blue October’s Justin Furstenfeld has entered his 40s with an aggressively joyful mindset. He’s established himself as a husband and a father, and his music has consequently turned another corner to reflect as much. “I wouldn’t say this is a happy album,” Furstenfeld says of Home, Blue October’s latest album. “It’s me saying, 'This is what I want out of life, and I’m going to get it. So just move out of the way if you’re trying to keep me from it.’” His band’s last album, 2013’s Sway, was about rebirth and sobriety. Having learned to walk on his own two feet again, Furstenfeld says Home is about finding inner peace and making the most out of the rest of his life. And his goal is to show fans that he can be just as creative and passionate of a songwriter when he’s in a good place as he was when he was in a dark one. Home is brimming with feelings. But happy songs are an especially difficult variety, because they can come across as bubblegum. Furstenfeld knows this, so instead of just writing an upbeat song, he dove into his happiness, sought out the demons underneath, and wrestled them down. Matthew Keever
Friday, May 12
Treasure Fingers is a moniker that belongs to Ashley Jones, a man who's already had a fair amount of success as part of Evol Intent, one of the jungle scene's premier production outfits in the U.S. Not content to rest on his laurels, Jones has opened up the playbook for his turn as Treasure Fingers. There may be a hint of his drum-and-bass roots, but Fingers' aesthetic absorbs everything and spits out a mind-fucking mélange of a mix, a dance-floor diversion that destroys the lines among wildly divergent styles. Everything and anything is fair game, from Daft Punk and Justice to Architecture in Helsinki and Squarepusher. It's an approach that might make dance-music purists sneer, but goddamn if it isn't a stupid amount of grin-inducing, butt-shaking fun. Britt Chester
Devin The Dude
Friday, May 12
Club Red in Mesa
In March, Devin the Dude released his ninth album. If you swear by the melodicism of Devin Copeland, then you already knew this. If you subscribe to his nature as underground hip-hop's greatest, most relatable, eternally high rap yeoman, then you might have missed this bit of information. It happens. Devin will forever be attached to the idea of being underrated. Unlike plenty of his contemporaries who debuted more than two decades ago, the Dude never chased fame. If his rap money covered his weed and beer, he was perfectly fine. His is the kind of calm demeanor you don't see with many a rapper. Curren$y has a lavishness attached to his stoned demeanor, but Devin's lifestyle feels far more achievable. For every rap about sputtering out, he backs it up with a wise tale about getting some ass or smoking the day away. Two years ago, the rudest thing happened to Devin: Somebody robbed him of all his home-studio equipment. He promised fans new material in November, but it never materialized. Instead, Acoustic Levitation, his new album, arrives backed by heavy bass guitars and enough quixotic blues that big-voiced background singers are now back en vogue. Brandon Caldwell
The Music of John Williams
Friday, May 12, to Sunday, May 14
Composer John Williams has accomplished a lot over the course of his long career. The Juilliard graduate labored as a jazz pianist for several years, composed many television themes, and wrote a number of well-regarded classical works — including a cello concerto performed by Yo-Yo Ma. He has appeared as a pianist and conductor on recordings with Itzhak Perlman and the legendary Boston Pops Orchestra. His fanfare for NBC’s presentation of the Olympics fills the ears of the sports-watching public every two years, and the network’s evening news theme bears Williams’ discernible style. Of course, Williams is better known for his collaborations with former Phoenix resident Steven Spielberg and film director George Lucas. His bass note motif gave the water an ominous feeling in Jaws, he composed a dire march for Darth Vader in Star Wars, and his music underscored the excitement of the adventures of Indiana Jones. Conductor Robert Franz and the Phoenix Symphony will recreate these anthemic scores at the Orpheum Theatre. Williams’ work on the Harry Potter and Home Alone films will likely be covered, but don’t be surprised if his compositions for Gilligan’s Island are overlooked. Jason Keil
Saturday, May 13
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by Ron Carter’s extensive history. His empathetic, warmly intuitive bass lines have been documented on more than 2,000 albums since he left his Michigan home and relocated to New York City in the early ’60s. After getting his start with such luminaries as Chico Hamilton and Eric Dolphy, Carter is most often remembered for his stint in the Miles Davis Quintet, in which his rolling, rambling double-bass patterns gave the all-star band its earthy anchor. Unlike so many other jazz musicians from that era, though, Carter has continued to be wildly prolific and relevant through his extensive career as a bassist and cellist, not only as an esteemed sideman but also as a bandleader. He’s composed the scores to numerous films and has the chops to mix jazz and classical music styles. This weekend, he'll perform at The Nash in downtown Phoenix along with the other members of his Golden Striker Trio, pianist Donald Vega and guitarist Russell Malone. Falling James
Saturday, May 13
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe
No Volcano’s sound is an intriguing mix of styles and genres, from pop, to choppy art punk, to relentless post punk, to rock ’n’ roll that’s sometimes glam-y and sometimes throws a bit of sexy swagger in your face. No Volcano’s sound is successful because they know how to take such a broad mix and serve it up smoothly, without confusion. There’s some glorious chaos, that’s for sure, but it is part of the mix, creating more awe than surprise. Though their sound isn’t worlds away from their last release, Dead Horse Power, it shows some of the evolution that comes from a well-explored union. “We wanted it to be a little harder and darker than our last release,” singer/guitarist Jim Andreas says. “And we do feel like we achieved that.” Bassist Jake Sevier said that the prolific band doesn’t like to keep a lot of things in limbo. “We develop our ideas into songs, play them live, record them, and then move on — it feels like we’re raising something,” he says. “If something doesn’t work for all of us, we don’t move forward with it.” The band’s members (Andreas on vocals/guitar, Chris Kennedy on drums/vocals/keys/guitar, Jeremy Randall on guitar, and Sevier on bass) have all been around the musical block. Some of the four have played together in different combinations over the years, and they have all been in one or more local acts, including Trunk Federation, Colorstore, Letdownright, and King Fathand. Their chemistry is a mix of that experience along with an appreciation for each other’s talents. Amy Young
DMC Phoenix DJ Battle
Saturday, May 13
The Rebel Lounge
If you’ve ever seen local mixmaster Les Sias in action, it’s pretty apparent he knows his way around a set of record decks. As DJ Les, his turntablist alter ego, the dude’s on point when it comes to cutting, scratching, beat-juggling, and executing other trickery during his highly creative and highly entertaining sets. This weekend, Sias will use all these skills while weaponizing his wax and facing off against several other turntablists during the DMC Phoenix DJ Battle on Saturday, May 13, at The Rebel Lounge. More than a dozen different scratch kings and turntable pros from around Arizona and throughout the Southwest, including several local DJs, will participate in the competition, which is part of the long-running DMC World Championships. The annual DJ battle, which has been put on by Britain’s Disco Mix Club since 1986 and is widely considered to be one of the world’s premier turntablism competitions, features regional qualifiers in more than a dozen cities around the globe. “The DMC is, I feel, the purest of the DJ battles. It’s for the legit DJ fans that admire scratching, beat juggling, body tricks, and wordplay,” Sias says. “It’s the most respected competition out there because it’s so raw, pure, and has been around for a long time.” Sias and his fellow competitors will each have a few minutes to impress a panel of six judges, including renowned turntablists Roli Rho and DJ Swamp, with their stage presence, scratching skills, trickery, and overall showmanship. At stake is a berth
Clandestino: Return of the Cumbia!
Saturday, May 13
If you love cumbia and are in the mood to shake your ass till you drop from exhaustion, then Clandestino is the event for you. Following a short hiatus, the DJ night is back with a jam-packed evening of what it does best: shining a light on modern fusions of various styles of Latino music. The word clandestino means clandestine or underground. And it describes where you’ll venture to get your groove on to the tune of live bands and DJs spinning. From a downtown alley, you’ll descend a flight of stairs to the basement hangout that is Valley Bar. The dimly lit music venue sets the tone for a fiery night of rhythmic sounds. Clandestino’s comeback includes Peru’s La Ineditá who mix Chicha — the Peruvian cumbia sound — with ragga and dancehall for a little Jamaican flair. Also on the roster of live acts is La Diabla. The mask-wearing band from Tijuana performs their psychedelic cumbia that’s rumored to lock audiences in a trance. Expect to see Nicolas Parades, a.k.a. DJ Nico, running the event and showing off his skills, as well as sharing DJ duties with a few guests guaranteed to keep the energy up and the bodies in motion. Amy Young
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Sunday, May 14
In an alternate universe, Mtendere Mandowa's creative fusion could have made him one of L.A.'s most famous young chefs. Had he stayed in culinary school at Cal State Pomona, it's unlikely that we'd know Mandowa as Teebs, the Brainfeeder-signed producer and painter known for gorgeous beats and neo-psychedelic acrylic canvases. The 30-year-old hip-hop producer is as relaxed as his music, which often approximates the Buddhist calm of wind chimes or water rippling. Born in the Bronx to parents from Malawi and Barbados, his life is a study of melding cultures, consonants and raw materials. At the end of the last decade, his musical career began to flourish. The founding member of the My Hollow Drum Collective, he was selected to attend the Red Bull Music Academy. Shortly thereafter, his dreamlike sketches reached the ears of Flying Lotus, who immediately signed him to his then-nascent Brainfeeder imprint. If there's a guiding theme to his pursuits, it's an experimental streak and search for simplicity. Some songs are little more than stripped-down acoustic guitar strums and aqueous drums. He still produces on an obsolete but somehow functional 1998 PC. "I want to give people a break from their reality ... to give them that split-second freak-out and throw them off their game," Teebs says. "There's more out there than the same daily grind. I want to offer a space to sit alone and look in the mirror and try to figure everything and anything out." Jeff Weiss