Justin Martin is scheduled to perform on Friday, July 14, at Shady Park in Tempe.
Justin Martin is scheduled to perform on Friday, July 14, at Shady Park in Tempe.
Courtesy of Infamous PR

The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

There's a good chance that some of y'all might have a case of cabin fever right now. If so, we can't say we blame you, considering how ungodly hot and muggy it is outside right now.

The best way to remedy this situation? Consider leaving your air-conditioned santcum, if only for a few hours, to check out one of the “can’t miss” concerts happening around the Valley this weekend.

Seriously.

Most are taking place after darkness falls, which means more tolerable conditions, and all of ‘em are certainly worth your time and money.

Highlights of this weekend’s slate of concerts include performances by such notable names as Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth, Judy Collins, Goo Goo Dolls, and Craig Morgan.

There will also be a number of big DJs in town over the next few nights, including Justin Martin, Wolfgang Gartner, and all the dance music artist participating in the lastest Trapfest Phoenix.

Plus, you also have a chance to party without your pants.

Read on for the full rundown of all the big concerts happening in Phoenix this weekend, and be sure to hit up our online music listings for even more options.

Cupcake! co-promoter Betty Blackheart.EXPAND
Cupcake! co-promoter Betty Blackheart.
Benjamin Leatherman

Cupcake! Fuck Pants! Dance Party
Friday, July 14
Rogue Bar in Scottsdale

A few things to keep in mind if you’re attending the latest edition of monthly dance night Cupcake!, which takes place this weekend at the Rogue in Scottsdale. First off, there’s something of a fetish bent to Cupcake!, which means you’ll encounter plenty of corsets, pleather, and whatnot. Secondly, it’s an industrial-heavy affair, so expect to hear a cannonade of grinding and pounding music of a dark and noisy nature, courtesy of DJs like Betty Blackheart, Self.Destukt, and Kevin Void. Also, most importantly, you you don’t necessarily have to wear pants. The theme at Cupcake! this month is a “no-pants '90s-themed dance party,” which means wearing boxers, briefs, and similar undergarments is encouraged. Keep in mind, however, that even though Cupcake! features a sexy vibe, creepers won’t be tolerated. Consider yourself warned. Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix blues institution the Rhythm Room.
Phoenix blues institution the Rhythm Room.
Benjamin Leatherman

Girls Night Out!
Friday, July 14
Rhythm Room

This one-night extravaganza at the Rhythm Room is being touted as a “showcase of Phoenix blues-beltin’ women.” Its lineup stays true to that notion, as it features numerous local female-fronted acts (like Gypsy! Wild At Harp and Betty Jo and the Blueshounds), as well as songstresses and chanteuses like Nina Curri, Gail Phoenix, and Shannon Trotter. Others who are scheduled to perform at the event, which kicks off at 9 p.m., include Mansaray Blue-Pony, Elizabeth Greene, and Cherry Red, as well as Rochelle Raya and Lila Sherman from Sistahs Too. Benjamin Leatherman

Dirtybird Records co-founder Justin Martin.
Dirtybird Records co-founder Justin Martin.
Jemayel Khawaja

Justin Martin
Friday, July 14
Shady Park in Tempe

Justin Martin’s DJ sets turn dance floors into raucous bacchanals of animalistic joy. The co-founder of influential imprint Dirtybird Records, he’s often either the weirdest act at the EDM show or the rowdiest act at the house show, but his production work is an entirely more subtle and sensitive affair. Tracks like his breakout “The Sad Piano,” the feels-dance classic “Don’t Go,” and his remix of Henry Krinkle’s “Stay” are more likely to soundtrack a tender deflowering than a booty-bass blowout. This delicate dichotomy is proving to be a hallmark of Justin Martin’s 20-year career. Ghettos and Gardens, released in 2012, startled the dance community with its depth and moments of quietude amidst the squelchy basses, roaring low end and wonky glitches. Martin’s sophomore album, Hello Clouds, continues in this vein as a narrative built through songwriting, rather than a collection of dance-floor tunes rammed together. You know, like an actual album — something even the most renowned dance-music producers are often incapable of crafting. Jemayel Khawaja

Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: Judy Collins.
Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: Judy Collins.
Brad Trent

Judy Collins
Friday, July 14, and Saturday, July 15
Musical Instrument Museum
There are a handful of legends left in the world when it comes to the 1960s folk-music scene. Judy Collins is one of them. She's also known as "Judy Blue Eyes," which was a moniker bestowed upon her by Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and CSN&Y. The 77-year-old singer-songwriter with the golden voice and maker of literally dozens of studio albums (somewhere between two and three dozen, actually) is the voice behind songs like "Chelsea Morning" and "Send In The Clowns," as well as a stunning version of "Amazing Grace" from her 1970 album, Whales and Nightingales. Collins, who was nominated for a Grammy earlier this year for her work on her most recent record, Silver Skies Blue, will play the Musical Instrument Museum on back-to-back nights in mid-July. Tom Reardon

The DJ duo of Sultan + Shepard.
The DJ duo of Sultan + Shepard.
Drew Hadley

Sultan + Shepard
Saturday, July 15
The Pool at Talking Stick Resort

Before they were playing Tomorrowland Ibiza and enjoying residencies in Las Vegas, Sultan + Shepard were ravers living the PLUR life. Sultan's first dance-music show was Carl Cox and Danny Tenaglia; Shepard's was Fat Boy Slim in Paris — blazing starts for both. Now the duo is providing the inspiration for the next generation of kandi kids. In the early '00s, Sultan — born Ossama Al Sarraf — was about to go on tour with the legendary DJ duo Deep Dish. That marked Sultan a made man on Canada's dance-music scene. Shepard approached him after one of his sets at Club Living in Montreal, where Sultan played progressive and trance Sunday nights. This was pre-MP3, pre-SoundCloud, pre-flash drive, and pre-email. Sultan liked Shepard's promo CD, and they've been working together since. The two eventually moved to Los Angeles, where they gained more mainstream and main-stage success. The "let's do lunch" strategy worked — they linked with the Bruno Mars camp and were asked to remix a track that in 2014 got them nominated for a Grammy for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical. These days, they’re playing clubs, festivals, and even the occasional pool party, including the latest Release this weekend at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Elvis Anderson

Trap and EDM artist Snails will headline this year's Trapfest Phoenix.EXPAND
Trap and EDM artist Snails will headline this year's Trapfest Phoenix.
Courtesy of Circle Talent Agency

Trapfest Phoenix 2017
Saturday, July 15
The Pressroom

Trap music has been big in the electronic dance music scene for several years now, and it’s still going strong. For proof, you can look no further than the Beatport charts, which boasts numerous trap-oriented tracks and remixes. And there’s the continued existence of the annual Trapfest Phoenix, which takes place in the Valley every summer and stars a slew of EDM artists and DJs who specialize in trap-heavy mixes and sounds that fuse hip-hop with dirty and gritty bass. This year’s edition of Trapfest will take over The Pressroom on Saturday, July 15, and feature such headliners as Snails and Party Favor, both of whom have been burning up the Beatport charts, as well as clubs and festivals around the U.S., with their tracks. The lineup will also include performances by 4B, Two Owls, ATLiens, Bailo, Havok Roth, JSTJR, and Woolymammoth. The 18-and-over event kicks off at 8 p.m. and goes until 2 a.m. Benjamin Leatherman

Read on for even more big concerts happening this weekend, including Shawn Mendes, Goo Goo Dolls, and Dirty Heads.

Canadian-born pop star Shawn Mendes.
Canadian-born pop star Shawn Mendes.
Marco Torres

Shawn Mendes
Saturday, July 15
Gila River Arena in Glendale

Singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes is already pretty popular in his own right, but his most recent hit, "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back,” might be the song that sends him into the pop stratosphere. Less whiny than some of his other songs like "Mercy," "Stitches," and "Treat You Better," this ditty's got a fun, uptempo beat and cute lyrics about how inspirational it is to be in puppy love with a girl or something. The message is innocuous enough and Mendes (who will turn 19 this summer) is adorable enough that plenty of moms and daughters will jam out to the song in the car or jam intro Gila River Arena in Glendale this weekend for his concert. Fellow cutie-pie pop sensation Charlie Puth will open the evening. Katie Buenneke

Tower of PowerEXPAND
Tower of Power
Courtesy of Danny Zelisko Presents

Tower of Power
Saturday, July 15
Showroom at Talking Stick Resort

Now in its 50th year, this Oakland-born R&B group has become an institution. With a huge horn section and deep grooves, the Tower of Power sound is one of the most recognizable around. In their stage shows, they segue easily from funk to smooth jazz to blue-eyed soul. This ability to cross genres has brought them innumerable recording opportunities with widely diverse artists; few ensembles can claim to have recorded with Lyle Lovett and Aerosmith, but that's hardly a stretch for these men in black. Like their most famous single, these virtuosos seem to always know “What Is Hip,” and they keep refining it. William Michael Smith

Robby Takac (left) and John Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls.EXPAND
Robby Takac (left) and John Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls.
Bob Mussel

Goo Goo Dolls
Sunday, July 16
Comerica Theatre

The Goo Goo Dolls became victims of their own overwhelming popularity in the late 1990s. The singles “Iris” and “Slide” were played so often on rock radio stations that if Steve Jobs had not invented the iPod, some frustrated music fan surely would have concocted a digital music player on their own just to escape lead singer John Rzeznik crooning that he just wants you to know who he is. Most tastemakers cite the band’s early collaboration with The Replacements’ Paul Westerberg to explain why they haven’t traded in their copy of Dizzy Up the Girl. Nowadays, the post-grunge duo are better known for popping up in clickbait articles discussing their financial woes than they are for playing music that delights the ears of discerning music snobs. Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac continue creating albums that don’t exactly break new sonic ground, but they still know how to entertain an audience. Boxes, the group’s latest full-length, didn’t make the top 10. However, the record shows that after nearly three decades writing music, the Goo Goo Dolls can still craft a solid ballad. Jason Keil

The reggae-rockers of Dirty Heads.
The reggae-rockers of Dirty Heads.
Courtesy of Paradigm Talent Agency

Dirty Heads
Sunday, July 16
Marquee Theatre

There’s a certain strain of reggae fusion that has proved extremely popular in Arizona over the years, and few bands better exemplify that trend than Orange County band The Dirty Heads. The Dirty Heads are part of a bigger movement that, over the past decade, has seen reggae grow in popularity all over the United States. The fact that this landlocked state has embraced the music so enthusiastically points to a larger movement. For singer Dustin Bushnell, it’s gratifying to witness. “There’s a lot of music that comes out of California, especially Southern California, where we’re from,” he says. “That’s where Sublime was from. I think with a lot of younger people, that’s where they first find their reggae. They know Bob Marley, and then they listen to Sublime. From there, you can find that there’s a lot more reggae. We’ve seen it go all across the country now. Places we used to go when we were younger and no one was there — places that didn’t care about reggae — now you go there and the places are packed, and there are 20 local reggae bands, as well. It’s definitely growing.” This weekend, Dirty Heads will headline a night of reggae-inspired jams at Marquee Theatre along with SOJA (a.k.a. Soldiers of Jah Army), The Green, and RDGLDGRN. Brett Callwood

Wolfgang Gartner ain't your typical DJ.EXPAND
Wolfgang Gartner ain't your typical DJ.
Chelsea Lauren

Wolfgang Gartner
Sunday, July 16
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

Wolfgang Gartner eschews onstage gimmicks typical of electronic music concerts. While there's no shortage of DJs looking to be the center of attention, Gartner prefers to let his skills do the talking, showcasing the candy-colored, sawtoothed synths, and glitchy beats that fuel his laptop alchemy. When asked why he avoids such shtick, the electro-house guru says it helps him stand out from his desert-slinging, costume-sporting, hamster ball-surfing EDM brethren. "I don't throw cake at people. I don't wear a suit or a mask. I don't spray champagne. I don't get on the mic and stand on a table and yell at people to get the fuck out. I play music that I think people should hear and put a lot of organic, physical energy into it without gimmicks," Gartner says. "I feel like I'm one of the few people who has any integrity left in the DJ industry these days because it's all come down to people thinking audiences are so stupid that they're trying to get them anyway that they can – by throwing stuff at them or getting them to [form a] mosh pit. It's gotten to a point where it's ridiculous, and personally, I will never buy into that." Nicole Pajer

Country star Craig Morgan.EXPAND
Country star Craig Morgan.
Joseph Llanes

Craig Morgan
Sunday, July 16
BLK Live in Scottsdale

Craig Morgan calls to mind the archetype of the male country star – years in the game, a rack of number one hits, a massive song in current rotation. Morgan doesn't run by standards, though: He launched his musical career late, at 35 years old, served 10 years in the U.S. Army and another nine in the Reserves. In the midst of a career revitalization with the success of "Wake Up Lovin' You," his 2014 radio hit, Morgan is still wildly humble and youthfully hungry. And he’s shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. His most recent album, 2016’s A Whole Lot More to Me, ranked fairly high on Billboard’s country and indie charts, while its lead single, “When I’m Gone,” hit number 48 on the country airplay list within weeks of its release. You’ll probably hear it this weekend when Morgan performs poolside at BLK Live in Scottsdale. KC Libman

Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version to reflect that Dirty Heads' show was moved to Marquee Theatre from Mesa Amphitheatre.

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