Thelma and the Sleaze is scheduled to perform on Sunday, August 27, at Valley Bar.EXPAND
Thelma and the Sleaze is scheduled to perform on Sunday, August 27, at Valley Bar.
Courtesy of the artist

The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Feeling like the summer will never reach its conclusion? Yeah, us too.

The good news is that the summertime in the Valley will end … eventually. The bad news, however, is that it won’t be for another month or so. Maybe even longer.

Don’t fret, though, we’re almost there. And in the meantime, there are plenty of things happening in the Valley to distract y’all.

There are concerts going on at local venues both big and small this weekend. Post-metal band Pelican is due at the Crescent Ballroom on Friday, for instance, and the kids of local indie act Snailmate are back from their latest tour.

And then there are all the shows contained withing the following list of the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend, including performances by guitar god Marty Friedman, as well as Dierks Bentley, The Adicts, Thelma and the Sleaze, and The Fixx.

Plus, The Van Buren will have big gigs all three nights.

For even more events happening in the Valley music scene, hit up our online concert calendar. In the meantime, here are the 12 best shows happening this weekend in Phoenix.

Legendary metal axeman Marty Friedman.
Legendary metal axeman Marty Friedman.
Takaaki Henmi

Marty Friedman
Friday, August 25
The Rebel Lounge
Heavy-metal guitarist Marty Friedman is now many years removed from the 1990s Megadeth albums that made him a household name among headbangers of the era. These days, Friedman mostly plies his trade in his adopted homeland of Japan. He has spent the last decade-plus ingratiating himself within the Japanese music scene as a go-to heavy hitter when J-pop groups like Momoiro Clover Z need a shredding guitar solo to spruce up a track. His star still shines brightly on solo albums that blend the more eclectic pop influences of his Japanese surroundings with the guitar histrionics that helped propel Megadeth on classic albums such as 1990’s Rust in Peace. His most recent effort, 2017’s Inferno, features guest appearances from Shiv Mehra of Deafheaven fame and Jinxx from Black Veil Brides. This month, Friedman will visit The Rebel Lounge for an evening of metal. Jason Roche

DJ M2 of Groove Candy.EXPAND
DJ M2 of Groove Candy.
Benjamin Leatherman

Groove Candy's 11-Year Anniversary Party
Friday, August 25
Casablanca Lounge in Scottsdale

Back in 2006, hip-hop/neo-soul party Groove Candy started out as weekly put on by local radio personality Karlie Hustle and DJ M2 at now-defunct Tempe spot The Door. It was the place to see and be seen in the local hip-hop community and featured appearances and performances by some big names at the time. A lot’s changed with Groove Candy since those days (including bouncing around to multiple clubs and going from a weekly to an occasional one-off) but it still remains one of the more notable joints in the Valley. This weekend, the Groove Candy crew, which still includes DJ M2, will celebrate its 11th anniversary at Casablanca Lounge in Scottsdale with plenty of hip-hop, classics, and soulful grooves. Local band Ear Candy, which features Vaughn Willis, will perform a special Jay-Z tribute until 11 p.m., followed by spins from M2, Tricky T, and Sir-Plus. Local rap legend Pokafase will host. There’s no cover before 11 p.m. if you RSVP. Benjamin Leatherman

Jeff Montalvo, better known as Seven Lions.EXPAND
Jeff Montalvo, better known as Seven Lions.
Courtesy of Primary Talent

Seven Lions
Friday, August 25
The Van Buren

If you’re a music fan in the Valley, it’s probably a safe bet you’ve heard about downtown Phoenix’s newest concert spot, The Van Buren. The 1,900-person-capacity venue, which is located at 401 West Van Buren Street, made its official debut this week and will feature a wide variety of musicians from several different genres during its first month of existence, including artists of the indie rock, alternative, folk, indie pop, funk, and soul variety. The sounds of electronic dance music will also pulse through the 20,000-square-foot venue, courtesy of Seven Lions. The superstar DJ/producer — renowned for his intricate and imaginative mixes of melodic dubstep, electro-house, and trance — will have the honor of being the first EDM artist to gig at The Van Buren when he visits the venue on Friday, August 25. And based on his previous performances — which are high-energy romps filled with dope grooves, killer drops, ambient melodies, and trippy imagery — we’re guessing it will be a memorable night, the first of many at The Van Buren. DJs Brett Ortiz, Highline, and J Paul will open the 18-and-over show. Benjamin Leatherman

Berlin will be taking people's breath away at BLK Live this weekend.EXPAND
Berlin will be taking people's breath away at BLK Live this weekend.
Courtesy of BLK Live

Berlin
Friday, August 25
BLK Live in Scottsdale

Berlin was one of the first synth-pop bands in the history of the genre, gigging around Los Angeles in the mid-‘80s during a time when its music was out of step with the dominant forms of the underground. “People were like, 'What the fuck is that?'" recalls Berlin singer Terri Nunn. “What was happening at the time was skinny ties and power pop and punk. We were neither one, and it took a while.” Berlin's biggest hit came along in 1986, when the band recorded the Giorgio Moroder-Tom Whitlock-penned “Take My Breath Away” for the soundtrack of the film Top Gun. But tensions within the band resulted in a 1987 split following what was then its final album, Count Three and Pray. Nunn moved on to a solo career and had an unlikely pairing with one of the most popular dark post-punk bands of the '80s, Sisters of Mercy. Berlin reunited briefly for the VH1 program Bands Reunited in 2004, but Nunn has since kept Berlin together without the original lineup and has embraced newer electronic music including EDM, which informed the sound of the 2013 album Animal. Tom Murphy


Blackjack x2
Friday, August 25, and Saturday, August 26
Nile Theater in Mesa

Local electronic dance music promoter Hades Entertainment is doubling down with its latest event, the two-night bass-heavy affair Blackjack. Like many Hades events, it has its roots as an under-the-radar dance party. “The first one took place as a rave back in 2010,” says Hades co-promoter Sam Groove. “It was this annual event up until 2013 when it went on hiatus for awhile.” They decided to revive Blackjack, however, albeit as a two-evening event encompassing an entire weekend (hence the “x2”).

Besides offering local EDM fans the chance to dance on back-to-back nights, Groove says it also helped resolve a minor booking issue with Blackjack’s headliners. “We had opportunities to book both Squnto and Dubloadz, but they were only available on separate dates,” he says. “So we figured instead of putting together one show with half of what we wanted, we could go with the crazy idea of having two shows over the whole weekend. And since [Blackjack] has been inactive for awhile, it's a good way to revive it.” And the soundtrack on both nights will be big on bass, with genres like dubstep, riddim, and trap music blasting from the sound system at the Nile Theater in Mesa. “This is definitely a bass music show,” Groove says. Benjamin Leatherman

decker. returns with a new record.EXPAND
decker. returns with a new record.
Courtesy of decker.

decker. & Paper Foxes (Dual Record Release Party)
Saturday, August 26
Crescent Ballroom

Brandon Decker wanted to accomplish three goals when he and his decker. bandmate Amber Johnson went to New York City last September: Get a booking agent, a label, and management. After playing 20 shows in 23 days, including a monthlong residency at Rockwood Music Hall, they eventually scored a professional hat trick. Personally, Decker now knew he could make it anywhere. “Being from Sedona, having a monthlong residency there seemed unlikely,” he recalls, “We hatched that plan and did it in nine months. It was a proud accomplishment for Amber and me.”

Now, Decker is set to release Into The Red, a collection of songs from his psychedelic folk band’s previous releases and two new recordings. Unlike his preceding self-released efforts, the album is being distributed nationally by the Brooklyn label The Royal Potato Family. While Into The Red is an effort to acquaint newcomers to Decker’s musical past, there is also a sense of immediacy on the record in the form of the timely protest track “Matchstick Man.” It is the first time the singer-songwriter has set out to make a political song. “I feel like when the election took place, it seemed there was no other option than to make a statement concerning our times,” he says. This weekend, Decker will perform at Crescent Ballrom during a dual release party celebrating the debut of Into The Red and Paper Foxes’ new album, Devil on My Shoulder. Jason Keil

Read on for even more great concerts this weekend, including Dierks Bentley, Lord Huron, Sylvan Esso, and Thelma and the Sleaze.

Homegrown country superstar Dierks Bentley.EXPAND
Homegrown country superstar Dierks Bentley.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Dierks Bentley
Saturday, August 26
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Dierks Bentley’s career is a stack of relentless touring and music releases, paralleled by awards, nominations, and honors that reflect just how much fans continue to eat up his work. The prolific country singer and songwriter — and Arizona native — won in the Breakthrough Video of the Year category at the 2004 CMT Awards for “What Was I Thinkin’?” And he nabbed that same honor again in 2014, for the song “Drunk on a Plane.” Less bluegrass, the latter song is reflective of the Bentley that most people know. It’s from his certified platinum 2014 album Riser. The track maintains an upbeat tempo while telling the story of a groom-to-be who’s ditched at the altar and takes his honeymoon trip solo, leading him to bonding, via booze, with strangers on the plane. Instead of exploring the benefits of drowning sorrows in cocktails with strangers and turning the bad into a party in the sky, he lets some of the heartbreak come through, and it becomes a welcome component to the song.

But Bentley’s not always so humble. “Somewhere on a Beach,” from 2016’s Black, is slightly spiteful as a man lets his ex-girl know that he is currently somewhere on a beach with someone new who “has got it going on / We drink all day / And party all night.” Adding insult to injury, the new love interest also “has got a body / And she’s naughty / And she got me like you ain’t ever got me.” Bentley’s songs aren’t prone to extremes, and that keeps him a relatable magnet for the masses of country music fans. Bentley’s bringing his What the Hell world tour to Arizona, and like any of his visits to the area, it’s a homecoming celebration. Amy Young

The musicians of Lord Huron.EXPAND
The musicians of Lord Huron.
Josh Sanseri

Lord Huron
Saturday, August 26
The Van Buren

Nearly two years after the release of Strange Trails, indie-folk outfit Lord Huron’s sophomore album found second life thanks to the buzzy Netflix teen drama 13 Reasons Why. The dreamy song “The Night We Met” was placed in a crucial scene in the show’s arc, and it caused a new surge of interest in the Los Angeles band. The track hit No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Rock charts and crossed over 100 million streams on Spotify. While the show was a big boost to the band’s profile, Lord Huron have been steadily rising since the band’s debut in 2012. They’ve grown from a solo project to a full band, while going from performing at small clubs to Coachella and Outside Lands. Lord Huron will play the fourth-ever show at The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix with The Wild Reds. Tickets are sold out, but you can always hit up the secondary market in order to see the show. Ashley Harris

The Adicts in concert.EXPAND
The Adicts in concert.
Christian Ditsch

The Adicts
Saturday, August 26
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Calling The Adicts “punk stalwarts” is quite the understatement. The British band has been around a staggering 40 years, delivering more than a dozen studio and live albums and touring constantly. Their shows are packed with anthemic punk tracks from the band’s vast catalog. Don’t expect a run-of-the-mill grimy show, though. The Adicts are wildly cinematic, with lead singer Keith “Monkey” Warren dressed in spooky Clockwork Orange-inspired sequined suits and face paint, shooting confetti into the crowd. Alongside favorites like “Viva La Revolution,” you might hear some new music, too. The band announced earlier this month that they’ve signed to Nuclear Blast Records to release a forthcoming album, And It Was So. A teaser photo from a recent video shoot featured a snare drum covered in confetti. So you can be sure that these old jokers (as they’d want to be called) still have some tricks still up their sleeves. Ashley Harris

Rock/New Wave band The Fixx.EXPAND
Rock/New Wave band The Fixx.
Liz Linder

The Fixx
Saturday, August 26, and Sunday, August 27
Musical Instrument Museum

Once upon a time, music was the main focus of MTV’s programming. When the channel launched in 1981, it was built on the success of music videos. London band The Fixx was one of many who benefited from having videos in regular rotation on the channel during those early years. “Stand or Fall” and the slightly spooky “Red Skies” from the band’s first full-length release, Shuttered Room, rocketed to popularity. The band’s New Wave sound leaned a little more toward the rock side, aligning them with prominent acts of the time like The Cars and The Police, rather than some of the dance-y New Wave acts like Culture Club. The hits didn’t stop there. The Fixx’s next release, Reach the Beach, was huge. Songs like “Saved by Zero” and “One Thing Leads to Another” became Top 40 hits, the latter shooting up to No. 4. The band had seven more releases between 1983 and 2003 and didn’t put anything new out until 2012’s Beautiful Friction. They are currently touring with original members Cy Curnin (vocals), Jamie West-Oram (guitar), Adam Woods (drums), and Dan K. Brown (bass). Brown had left the band in ’94 and jumped back in the mix in 2008. Amy Young

Amelia Meath (left) and Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso.EXPAND
Amelia Meath (left) and Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso.
DL Anderson

Sylvan Esso
Sunday, August 27
The Van Buren

Though they formed only in 2013, Raleigh-based outfit Sylvan Esso have rocketed into the psyche of indie-rock fans. But the group almost never happened. Amelia Meath, of Appalachian folk trio Mountain Man, and Nick Sanborn joined forces after Meath asked the producer also known as Made of Oak to remix a song of hers, to which he added a few more parts. The singer was impressed enough with the result that they put aside their solo endeavors to work on their own, electronic-based project. The group's self-titled album landed at No. 39 on the Billboard 200 and has been praised by numerous outlets, proving the decision to leave their solo careers behind, at least for the time being, was a prudent one. Daniel Kohn

Thelma and the Sleaze deliver plenty of badass substance to match their trashy style.
Thelma and the Sleaze deliver plenty of badass substance to match their trashy style.
Jamie Hernandez

Thelma and the Sleaze
Sunday, August 27
Valley Bar

They’re an all-female band with music videos that include bikini-clad girls wrestling and shoving hot dogs in each other’s mouths, albums with titles such as Heart Like a Fist and These Boots Won’t Lick Themselves (the latter containing a pair of songs called “Cum” and “Motortits”), and a look that falls somewhere between '70s biker chic and '80s slacker. Aesthetically speaking, Thelma and the Sleaze live up to their name and then some. More important, the Nashville-based trio deliver plenty of badass substance to match their trashy style. The band’s bio says that it's a “power trio sludge fest Thin Lizzy creeps on us” and that their interests include “daisy dukes, knife fights, leather daddies.” From social media to some incredibly creative and hilarious concert posters, a lot of what Thelma and the Sleaze put out there is funny, weird, and very entertaining. But the music itself is brazen and muscular, and bandmates Chase Noelle (drums), Lauren Gilbert (guitars/vocals), and GiGi Gallagher (bass) work hard at their craft. Angel Melendez

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