The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend
MarchFourth is scheduled to perform on Friday, June 2, at Crescent Ballroom.
So, got any plans for this weekend? Like maybe getting out of town (since it’s technically summertime and all), attending a Diamondbacks game (since they’re doing well this season), or just chilling out in front of Netflix (since there’s new flicks and shows on tap).
All three are cool with us. But if you’re down for catching a memorable concert, there are plenty of those happening, too.
If you’re into metal, both All Hail the Yeti and Vader will be grinding at gigs around the Valley on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Alt-radio favorites Bush also have a concert taking place this weeknd, as do country-pop superstars Lady Antebellum, jazz-swing act Hot Club of Cowtown, and burgeoning rap star XXXTentacion.
There are also dance music events and pool parties planned, including gigs by Crizzly and Lost Frequencies, as well as a cosplay rave.
Want to know what else is on tap? Check out our list of the best shows in Phoenix this weekend or hit up our extensive online concert calendar.
The members of Lady A: (from left to right) Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood.
Eric Ray Davidson
Friday, June 2
No doubt other critics do all sorts of mental gymnastics to rationalize listening to Lady Antebellum. This one decided the relentlessly sunny Nashville trio must function as some sort of control group, a way for folks like us to say of other pop-country artists, "Well, they're better than Lady Antebellum, anyway."
But there's nothing wrong with Lady A. Their über-wholesome brand of country music is far, far removed from the honky-tonks, redoubts of violence, heartache, and sin. It's so positive it barely seems even possible. They're very, very popular, as are their uptempo numbers like "Lookin' for a Good Time," "Our Kinda Love," and "Perfect Day.” Those songs alone are replete with images of skipping rocks, afternoons at the lake, nights by a campfire, the open highway, and even what sounds like a one-night stand in the making (risqué!). There's lots of action going on, but very little drama and zero conflict.
On the other hand, their best songs, such as bouncy single "Downtown" and monster crossover ballad "Need You Now," at least take place inside something approaching the real world: the singer scolding her partner to take her out once in a while (damnit), and then of course in the throes of that late-night phone call she knows she will regret in the morning, but just doesn't care. That's good stuff. Chris Gray
DJ S3RL will headline the Imaginationland Cosplay Rave this weekend.
Imaginationland Cosplay Rave
Friday, June 2
Club Red in Mesa
Now that Phoenix Comicon is most certainly in the rearview, it’s probably time you put your costume back in the closet, right? Not so fast, bub. There are still plenty of opportunities for folks to sport their geek-related get-ups in the days and weeks ahead, the first of which is happening this weekend over at Club Red in Mesa. The first-ever Imaginationland Cosplay Rave will take place on Friday, June 2, at the venue and offer electronic dance music fans of a geeky bent the chance to get down and go hard while wearing costumes.
Australia-born happy hardcore producer S3rl will headline the 18-plus event, which kicks off at 7 p.m. in Club Red’s east theater. The soundtrack will feature hardcore, gabber, and drum ‘n’ bass — and the lineup will include such local DJs as Rize, Mako, Maromi, Zeus, Underdown, and Kore. Benjamin Leatherman
MarchFourth performs at the Crescent in 2015.
Friday, June 2
What started in Portland, Oregon, as a Fat Tuesday party back in 2003 has evolved into a must-see national act. MarchFourth’s high-energy and rousing sounds bring to light the deepest grooves of funk, swing, rock, and jazz, and their style pulls from an array of influences, like Sergeant Pepper leading a freaky Cirque du Soleil performance from the bandstand or European Gypsy camps stumbling upon the rhythms of Brazilian jungle tribes.
Concertgoers at the Crescent Ballroom on Friday, June 2, may not know what they are getting themselves into, but after attending this weekend’s show, there’s a good chance that MarchFourth will be on your list of live favorites. Maybe it’s the five-piece percussion corps using harnesses made from bicycle parts, the seven-part brass section that includes trombone, trumpet, and saxophone, or the 20 musicians and performers donning mismatched marching band uniforms — including crowd-surfing stiltwalkers, or the fire dancers. Yes, fire dancers. Get thee to this show. Lauren Farrah
Skating Polly rolls into Mesa this weekend.
Saturday, June 3
Nile Theater in Mesa
The stepsister duo Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse met when their parents started dating. Soon, the pair were writing music together with instruments lying around the family home. “I was 12 or 13, and I was kind of like a moody teenager who thought I was too cool to hang out with my little sister,” Bighorse recalls. Obviously, she got over it pretty quickly, because in 2009, by the time she was 14, and Mayo was 9, the two had started Skating Polly in Oklahoma City.
“We just started bonding over music, and when we weren’t writing songs together, or drawing comics for our band,” Mayo says, “we’d go on walks to the park and each take an earbud and listen to Sleater-Kinney, The Dandy Warhols, Nirvana, or The Clash.” Along the way, while making their self-described “ugly pop,” the sisters have received acclaim from some of their musical heroes, including Exene Cervenka of X and Kat Bjelland of Babes in Toyland.
Skating Polly’s latest project is a three-song EP titled New Trick (released in April), a collaboration with Louise Post and Nina Gordon, co-frontwomen of Veruca Salt. The partnership gelled right away. “It usually takes a little time to feel comfortable to write songs with someone, to really be that vulnerable,” Peyton says, “but it came so naturally and quickly.” The result is moodily fun, fuzzed-out pop with layered harmonies. Peyton and Mayo, known for being multi-instrumental, bring an assured, raw emotional range to their music rather than prettily truncating it. As the lyrics in "Louder in Outer Space" suggest: “Can you hear that harmony? / I can hear it in my sleep / I can hear it even louder in outer space.” The band recently added brother Kurtis on drums, and New Trick was produced by Brad Wood (Liz Phair, Sunny Day Real Estate). Sativa Peterson
The members of All Hail the Yeti.
All Hail the Yeti
Saturday, June 3
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe
All Hail the Yeti breathe a welcome waft of Southern/stoner swing into metalcore’s twitching corpse, producing an intriguing take on this endlessly sliced ’n’ diced subgenre. Teetering between being a compelling blend of influences — including nu-metal, thrash, and ’80s metal — and a master-of-none mélange, what really elevates AHTY from the teeming trenches of angry underground metal is the L.A. quartet’s gift for insistent, almost poppy hooks, which, with more glossy production, wouldn’t have sounded out of place on heyday MTV. Certainly last year’s sophomore full-length, the semi-conceptual Screams From a Black Wilderness, is a vast, visceral leap forward from their eponymous 2012 debut, often hitting that bleak yet melodically memorable backwoods roar seldom heard since Corrosion of Conformity’s Deliverance nearly a quarter-century ago. Paul Rogers
Gavin Rossdale of Bush.
Sunday, June 4
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
The post-Cobain era of alternative rock was very kind to Gavin Rossdale and his band, Bush. The rock act’s multiplatinum debut record, Sixteen Stone, thrust them into the mainstream and made Rossdale the crush of 16-year-old girls around the world. And why not, considering he played the role of handsome-but-sensitive rock star very well? But let's face it, Bush happened to be in the right place at the right time, and how can you blame them? While they never achieved the commercial success of Sixteen Stone, they formed more of their own musical identity on 1999's The Science of Things before calling it quits after 2001's Golden State. After an eight-year break, Rossdale re-formed the band and was forced to replace original guitarist Nigel Pulsford and bassist Dave Parsons, who declined his invitation for a reunion. These days, the former grunge heartthrob is a family man who isn't looking to recapture the '90s and has no problem playing for 40-year-old women or the dudes who used to rock out to “Everything Zen” when it played on alt-rock radio hourly during Bush’s heyday. Jim Louvau
Read on for more fantastic concerts and gigs happening this weekend, including Hot Club of Cowtown, Vader, and XXXTentacion.
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