Lee Fields and the Expressions are scheduled to perform on Saturday, September 2, at Crescent Ballroom.EXPAND
Lee Fields and the Expressions are scheduled to perform on Saturday, September 2, at Crescent Ballroom.
Courtesy of Paradigm Talent Agency

The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

It’s going to be one wild weekend in the Valley – and plenty busy to boot.

In addition to all the festivities, pool parties, and club events associated with Labor Day weekend, there’s a full slate of concerts that will take place from Friday, September 1, to Sunday, September 3. That includes gigs like The Growlers and Too $hort at The Van Buren, Lee Fields and the Expressions at Crescent Ballroom, Idina Menzel of Frozen fame at Comerica Theatre, and all the industrial DJs and musicians at the annual Fetishball.

Local bands Fayuca and Lenguas Largas also have shows this weekend, and there will be a tribute to the late Tyler Hedstrom of Anarbor at Wasted Grain in Scottsdale on Saturday night.

More details about all of these events can be found in the following rundown of the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. (And for even more shows, be sure to check our our extensive online music listings.)

The Growlers know how to shine.EXPAND
The Growlers know how to shine.
Courtesy of One Beat PR

The Growlers
Friday, September 1
The Van Buren

Listening to the music of The Growlers is a bit like listening to oldies radio before that format was taken over by music from the '80s rather than being dominated by classic pop songs from the late '50s through the mid-'60s. There's a touch of rockabilly, a hint of early psychedelic garage rock and a dash of surf guitar. It also sounds as though the band's guitarist learned a trick or ten from Lonnie Donegan. Like The Strange Boys, The Growlers sound out of time, retro in the same sense that there is a retro aesthetic to the films of David Lynch — minus the mind-warping sense of the bizarre, of course. The strangeness of The Growlers is more subtle, tuneful, and catchy, but no less eccentric. Tom Murphy

The members of Oh Sees.EXPAND
The members of Oh Sees.
John Dwyer

Oh Sees
Friday, September 1
Crescent Ballroom

San Francisco psychedelic rock band Oh Sees released their new album, Orc, last month on Castle Face Records, a label co-owned by the band’s primary songwriter John Dwyer. This marks the band’s 19th album since the project was founded in 1997. Those 20 years have seen many changes, with 2017 ushering in their latest phase and shortened moniker. The band had been known as Thee Oh Sees since 2008. It’s the seventh band name they’ve used while several iterations of band members have rotated around Dwyer. The name change could mark a banner year for them though, as they’ve landed on a tight foursome of Dwyer, Tim Hellman, Dan Rincon, and new drummer Paul Quattrone from !!!. The tracks on Orc are as sweeping as they are menacing, with Dwyer’s snarky vocals over muddy guitar riffs and the driving energy of the band’s dual drummers. Ashley Harris

Tucson's Lenguas Largas.
Tucson's Lenguas Largas.
Courtesy of the artist

Lenguas Largas
Saturday, September 2
The Rebel Lounge

Know how some bands have great records, but then their live show leaves you going “meh,” and wondering how none of that action translated to the stage? Tucson’s Lenguas Largas is not one of those bands. These lively garage rockers infuse their hooky tunes with threads of hazy and dreamy pop — sometimes. Other times, they’re driving through those tracks with punch and power. And more times than not, it’s a feisty combination of all of the above. In fact, what this band brings to life on their recordings is cranked up superbly at their live shows, with a wake-the-dead type of drive and focus, sometimes by differing numbers of band members. One thing that keeps the momentum from slipping is that the band has a couple of drummers. Two seems to be the current number, but in the past they’ve had more. At times, there’s one drummer using regular sticks to play, and the other using maracas, and the two sounds work together like fuel. It all makes for a show that’s impossible to sit still through from a band you won’t want to ignore once they ignite their instruments. Get ready to get sweaty; they’re the perfect band for a shakin’ rock ’n’ roll dance party. Amy Young

Rap legend Too $hort.EXPAND
Rap legend Too $hort.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Too $hort
Saturday, September 2
The Van Buren

It's undoubtedly for the better that pimp culture has taken a backseat to personal independence in the rap vernacular, but that doesn't mean we can't reminisce with one of the iciest players to ever turn a ho out on record (we're using technical terminology here). At 51, Too $hort is a veteran, having been one of the first Bay Area rappers to rise to prominence after dropping his first cassette in 1985. It was titled Don't Stop Rappin', which turned out to be fitting since he's released 20 albums to date, including 2012’s No Trespassing and this year’s The Pimp Tape, both independent releases that still managed to raise some big stars for the occasion: 50 Cent, G-Eazy, T.I., Juicy J, Snoop Dogg and, of course, E-40. All of that speaks to $hort Dog's commitment to craft, which in this case involves lacing strip-club beats with timeless braggadocio. Chris Martins

The late Tyler Hedstrom.
The late Tyler Hedstrom.
Matthew Wilson

Tyler Hedstrom Memorial Show
Saturday, September 2
Wasted Grain in Scottsdale

This year has been a rough one for Valley band Anarbor. In July, the group’s 17-year-old drummer, Tyler Hedstrom, took his own life. To celebrate his life, the band will host the Tyler Hedstrom Memorial Show, bringing together music, friends, family, and fans. The lineup features Sundressed, Justin Reece, The Secret Destroyers, and Headstrum, a band led by Tyler’s brother Alex Hedstrom. The concert is at Wasted Grain, 7295 East Stetson Drive in Scottsdale. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 through Brown Paper Tickets. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

Dada Life fans going bananas during the EDM duo's show earlier this year.EXPAND
Dada Life fans going bananas during the EDM duo's show earlier this year.
Benjamin Leatherman

Dada Life
Saturday, September 2
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Dada Life has successfully built an EDM kingdom of their own, which could only be called Dada World, where the beats are massive and the preferred currency is bananas. As such, the nominally Swedish duo supplies a hefty dose of whimsy within a scene forever on the verge of taking itself too seriously, for which their fans have rewarded them handsomely. But all the ape masks, banana costumes, and oversize champagne bottles would all be so much mush if Dada didn’t deliver where it counts, namely with plush electro jams tricked out to the gills with billowing synths and their patented “sausage fat” bass. Dada Life enjoys nothing more than partying like it’s the end of the world, or the end of the summer. This weekend, they’ll have the honor of helping wrap up Talking Stick’s summer-long Release pool party series with plenty of champagne and bananas. Chris Gray

Read on for even more "can't miss" concerts and music events this weekend, including Lee Fields and the Expressions, Idina Menzel, and Fayuca.

R&B singer Lee Fields.EXPAND
R&B singer Lee Fields.
Courtesy of Paradigm Talent Agency

Lee Fields and the Expressions
Saturday, September 2
Crescent Ballroom

Must be a heavy deal having the specter of James Brown looming large over your shoulder for your entire dang 45-year career, but Elmer “Lee” Fields has taken that burden and kicked it into the stratosphere. The North Carolina born-and-bred singer can boast a gritty tone, tuff ’tude and authentic cool that many liken to Mr. Brown’s, so much so that he was nicknamed “Little JB” at one time. But Fields deserves much praise for the deepened style and hard-earned substance he brings to the classic soul-man strut, with which he’s graced frontline gigs with R&B big shots such as Kool & the Gang, Hip Huggers, O.V. Wright and Little Royal. And in recent years he’s been laying down badder and wiser-sounding Stax-Chess-Motown stuff on his own albums, the latest of which is titled Special Night. John Payne

Walshy Fire making it rain at the Ultra Music Festival in 2015.
Walshy Fire making it rain at the Ultra Music Festival in 2015.
Jacob Katel

Walshy Fire
Saturday, September 2
The Pressroom

Ever since joining Major Lazer, Miami's Walshy Fire has been circling the globe, dropping bass, and transforming international party people into wild, explosive, and twerk-elated versions of themselves. It's the logical progression for a Jamaican kid from Miami who picked up on music at an early age and never let go. He started with parties, then came clubs, then came festivals, then came stadiums. And after harnessing a solid global fanbase, the financial wherewithal to invest in himself, and plenty of business knowledge, he's founded his own label, Planet Raux. Walshy Fire is currently manufacturing and distributing conscious reggae and Miami bass for release around the world. And in the meantime, he's hosting Vice's "Noisey Brazil," slamming speakers with the new Major Lazer album, Peace Is the Mission, and ascending from performer to executive. This weekend, he’ll perform for a packed house at The Pressroom. Jacob Katel

EDM superstar Dash Berlin.EXPAND
EDM superstar Dash Berlin.
William Rutten

Dash Berlin
Sunday, September 3
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Dash Berlin, born Jeffrey Sutorius, has racked up a slew of awards and honors over the years, not mention a big bankroll and numerous festival and club appearances around the world. If you're into EDM, you've probably heard Dash Berlin's remix of Krewella's "Live for the Night." Although Krewella definitely fits into an electronic/pop music style, Dash Berlin's sets are typically straight up melodic trance with sparkling synths and tons of vocal tracks, all of which are laced together with a high-energy tempo and uplifting breaks. Dash's singles tend to be emotional songs with depth and an underlying message of love. It's all positive, melodic and just kind of flows. All of his most noteworthy tracks include vocals and legitimate song lyrics. His first successful single, "Till The Sky Falls Down," put him on the map after Armin Van Buuren included it on his Universal Religion mix album in 2007. Recent original tracks by Dash Berlin include "Jar of Hearts" featuring Christina Novelli, "Steal You Away" featuring Jonathan Mendelsohn and Alexander Popov and "Fool for Life" featuring Chris Madin, all of which were released in 2013. Amanda Savage

The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This WeekendEXPAND
Max Vadukul/Warner Bros. Records

Idina Menzel
Sunday, September 3
Comerica Theatre

She stole our bohemian hearts in Rent, and she left us all humming the tunes of Frozen for months. Now Idina Menzel (or is it Adele Dazeem?) is taking her Tony Award-winning pipes on the road, and making a stop in the Valley in early September to grace us with her gilded vocal cords. Dubbed “the Streisand of her generation,” she has captivated audiences around the world with her irresistible charm, wit and unparalleled vocal prowess. Throughout the tour, Menzel will lead audiences through a special journey of songs from classic pop, musical-theater favorites and her own catalog. This is one Wicked experience that will fill the crowds with Glee, so don’t “Let It Go” and miss this chance to see a living legend in concert. Sam Byrd

The musicians of local reggae-rock act Fayuca.EXPAND
The musicians of local reggae-rock act Fayuca.
Courtesy of the artist

Fayuca
Sunday, September 3
The Van Buren

Local reggae-rock stalwarts Fayuca will hit The Van Buren stage on September 3. This marks a milestone in the band’s journey as the first official local headliner at the new venue. They’ll be circling back to Phoenix for the show after the first few tour dates take them through New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, and California. The band has been playing together since 2004, using music to celebrate Latino culture and their own brand of bilingual rock. They signed to Fervor Records in 2013 and have released a studio album and live album with the label. Fayuca’s music has been featured on MTV, Univision, FOX Sports, and more. Fayuca’s 13-and-up show at The Van Buren will feature fellow Arizona locals Mouse Powell, Captain Squeegee, and Black Bottom Lighters. Ashley Harris

Chicago-based EDM artist Moon Boots.
Chicago-based EDM artist Moon Boots.
Courtesy of Paradigm Talent Agency

Moon Boots
Sunday, September 3
Bar Smith

Moon Boots maintains a mysterious persona appropriate for a being who's allegedly imbued with sentience in a top-secret NASA experiment, but here's what we know about him: He's based out of Chicago, he's signed on the French Express label, and he has a grasp on the sort of funky, dirty, soulful sound that many house DJs would give their sense of rhythm for. Moon Boots has been blowing up the underground scene all over the planet with his dance-floor-packing sets, mining throwback disco and funk to give his mixes sexy curves and an irresistible siren song. Listening to his compositions at your desk will lead to undeniable chair-dancing; listening at home will cause breakout breakdowns; and in a club setting, well, you'd better hope you don't scorch the soles of your feet so badly you can't walk the next day. Amber Taufen

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