Kimya Dawson is scheduled to perform on Saturday, February 17, at the Trunk Space.EXPAND
Kimya Dawson is scheduled to perform on Saturday, February 17, at the Trunk Space.

The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Don’t look now, but festival season has begun in Phoenix. From now until May, an array of attention-grabbing outdoor concert and music events will take place across the Valley as local promoters take advantage of the nice weather.

And it kicks off this weekend with two such events, the annual Crush Arizona EDM extravaganza and the first-ever Fenix Beer y Music Fest. Both will feature lineups loaded with artists and acts performing in the great outdoors.

Music festivals aren’t the only concert action happening in Phoenix this weekend. Gigs by Kimya Dawson, Lee Ann Womack, Miranda Lambert, Bully, Curren$y, and Margo Price will also take place.

Details about each of these shows can be found below in our list of the best concerts and music events in Phoenix this weekend. And for even more options, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Expect to hear some Kesha tracks at the latest Guilty Pleasures night.EXPAND
Expect to hear some Kesha tracks at the latest Guilty Pleasures night.
Olivia Bee

Guilty Pleasures: Lady Gaga vs. Kesha
Friday, February 16
The Van Buren

Lady Gaga and Kesha have revolutionized pop music with their distinctive sounds, fashions, and personas. On Friday, February 16, DJs A Claire Slattery and Becktron (a.k.a. New Times’ arts and music editor Becky Bartkowski) will pay tribute to the artists during a 21-and-older dance party devoted to the two superstars.

During Guilty Pleasures: Lady Gaga vs. Kesha, the DJs will play hits from the two singers and mix in songs from popular artists such as The Weeknd, Gwen Stefani, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Pink, Lorde, Ellie Goulding, and Liam Payne. Fans of Gaga and Kesha can rep their fave with buttons given out during the dance party. The event starts at 9 p.m. and costs $5 per person. Laura Latzko

Country star Lee Ann Womack.
Country star Lee Ann Womack.
John Scarpati

Lee Ann Womack
Friday, February 16
Highlands Church in Scottsdale

It is impossible to think of Lee Ann Womack without immediately recalling her 2000 hit “I Hope You Dance." In the late '90s and early 2000s, Womack dominated the mainstream country charts with a slew of commercially friendly hits like “Ashes By Now” and “A Little Past Little Rock.” Later, she’d score a major pop-crossover success with syrupy, sentimental ballad “I Hope You Dance,” which would come to define her career as a country artist. Or at least that’s what everybody thought.

The Lee Ann Womack of today, and her sound, are decidedly different than they were 20 years ago. Now, the self-described East Texas girl is leaning hard into her classic country roots. In 2014, Womack’s The Way I’m Livin’ earned critical praise and a slew of Grammy nominations, especially for its standout single “Chances Are,” written by Hayes Carll. With that album, Womack transformed from a commercial country hitmaker into a bona fide queen of the new Americana sound.

This weekend, she’ll be in the Valley to perform at Highlands Church in Scottsdale as a part of the ongoing Arizona Musicfest. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $34 to $76. Amy McCarthy

Disco diva Evelyn "Champagne" King.
Disco diva Evelyn "Champagne" King.
Courtesy of MM Group

Valentines Super Love Jam
Friday, February 16
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Okay, you kind of screwed up. You totally forgot to pick up a gift or card for your S.O. on V-Day, despite hearts and flowers being available on practically every street corner. And now it’s time for damage control.

Besides working on your apology, consider picking up tickets to Art Laboe’s annual Valentines Super Love Jam, which swings through the Valley this weekend. If your better half is into old-school R&B, funk, and disco, they’ll definitely enjoy the chance to see such legends as Evelyn "Champagne" King, ZAPP, Deniece Williams, The Delfonics, Sly Slick and Wicked, The Moments, The Jets, Blue Magic, and Sunny Ozuna.

And if you’re lucky, you two will have a great time, allowing you the chance to get out of the doghouse. Benjamin Leatherman

Rap star Curren$y.EXPAND
Rap star Curren$y.
CJ Wallis

Curren$y
Friday, February 16
Club Red in Mesa

Curren$y has spent his career, which spans well over a decade, in the company of hip-hop’s major players like Master P, Lil Wayne, and Wiz Khalifa, each of whom took the rapper under his wing at different times. Because of that, the New Orleans native has been signed to and sought after by numerous major labels

Surprisingly, Curren$y’s never achieved much mainstream success. Instead, he’s cemented a longstanding status as an underground legend, selling out massive shows across the country and moving loads of mixtapes and albums via his own Jet Life record imprint, all the while appealing to the smoker’s club. Mikel Galicia

Experience peace, love, and EDM at Crush Arizona.EXPAND
Experience peace, love, and EDM at Crush Arizona.
Benjamin Leatherman

Crush Arizona 2018
Saturday, February 17
Rawhide Event Center in Chandler

As any local EDM kid will tell you, Crush Arizona is one of the biggest and longest-running dance music festivals in the Valley. The annual Valentine’s-themed event, which has been around since 2008, regularly attracts more than 10,000 eager dance music fans, many of whom come dressed as Cupid or in other love-inspired costumes or attire (read: lingerie, humorous T-shirts, and heart-shaped sunglasses).

And they also come to rage and get rowdy amid giant inflatable hearts decorating a ginormous tent-like structure. Needless to say, Crush is one of the more unique EDM events in the Valley. It’s grown tenfold over the last decade, outgrowing its previous venues, and now takes place at Rawhide Event Center in Chandler, and features a slew of top-shelf DJs and dance music artists.

This year’s edition of Crush Arizona, which happens on Saturday, February 17, will feature gigs by Kaskade, Carnage, Getter, Crankdat, Grandtheft, Volac, and others. Benjamin Leatherman

Orgone does '60s and '70s-style funk and soul and does it well.EXPAND
Orgone does '60s and '70s-style funk and soul and does it well.
Courtesy of Regime 72

Cocktail Jam feat. Orgone
Saturday, February 17
The Van Buren

While its members had been playing together long before Orgone was born, the Los Angeles funk band officially formed in 1999. Not long after its inception, the band added vocalist Fanny Franklin to augment its ornate instrumentation — the standard guitar, bass, and drum setup, fleshed out with a beautifully orchestrated horn section, congas, and more.

Though Orgone's origins as an instrumental band can clearly be heard in their funky, intricate noodling, it is Franklin's soulful vocal leading that brings the diverse group closer to its audience in a live setting. For fans of throwbacks like Booker T. & The M.G.'s and early Parliament Funkadelic, Orgone has a danceable spread just for you.

This weekend, Orgone will bring the funk to The Van Buren when they headline the Cocktail Jam, an evening of live music and libations that’s part of the Arizona Cocktail Week festivities. Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra and DJ M’Rocka will also perform. Bree Davies

Soft Shoulder performing in 2012.
Soft Shoulder performing in 2012.
Mike Bogumill

Shot in the Dark Benefit feat. Soft Shoulder
Saturday, February 17
{9} The Gallery

Soft Shoulder recently opened for the Arizona leg of the Thurston Moore Group’s national tour. But they’ve been making jazzy punk rock for more than a decade. (The former Sonic Youth guitarist and alternative music elder-statesman is reportedly a fan of the band and Soft Shoulder leader James Fella’s Gilgongo Records.)

Now, the Tempe trio are making some noise for the charity Shot in the Dark at a benefit concert for the local volunteer organization, which works to provide assistance to those affected by drug use. Shot in the Dark recently drew the ire of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who believes the collective’s safe needle exchange program sends the wrong message to those who need help the most.

The benefit show’s bill also includes Gilbert’s experimental rock duo RNA, alt-country band Gene Tripp, and the debut of Clay House. Jason Keil

Country singer Miranda Lambert.EXPAND
Country singer Miranda Lambert.
Courtesy of Sony Music Nashville

Miranda Lambert
Saturday, February 17
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Miranda Lambert has struck a delicate balance: Together with kindred artists like Jamey Johnson, she's made country music palatable once again to the sanctimonious scads of big-city, Tea Party-loathing dissenters, infusing the genre with a newfound sense of authenticity missing since the days of her legendary outlaw forefathers.

At the same time, she's managed to write earnest, heartfelt everyman ballads like "The House That Built Me," as well as gritty angst-filled anthems of empowerment like "Gunpowder and Lead" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" that resonate with rank-and-file fans of modern country, affording her truckloads of crossover appeal and street cred — not to mention a serious leg up on her contemporaries. Dave Herrera

Kimya Dawson performs at the Trunk Space this weekend.EXPAND
Kimya Dawson performs at the Trunk Space this weekend.
Jim Louvau

Kimya Dawson
Saturday, February 17
Trunk Space

Folk-punk singer-songwriter Kimya Dawson is retuning to the Valley for a show at Trunk Space, the local DIY venue where she often performs. The venue’s owner, Stephanie Carrico, is thrilled for Dawson’s return. “I am excited to have Kimya back because she is such a wonderful storyteller,” Carrico says. “Also, I think she is a great role model, especially for teen girls. She doesn’t pretend to be someone she’s not, and I really admire the honesty in her music.”

Dawson has been making music for more than two decades. From 1994 to 2008, with a break in the middle, she was part of the duo Moldy Peaches. During and since that project, she has made a bunch of solo records, including an album for kids called Alphabutt. Rock out with her at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 17, at Trunk Space. Tickets are $12. Amy Young

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

Fenix Beer y Music Fest
Saturday, February 17
Helio Basin Brewing Company

As you might’ve guessed by its name, this festival will serve up both brews and live performances. Seventeen local bands and acts will do their thing on two different stages during the 10-hour event, which kicks off at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Helio Basin Brewing Company.

The lineup will include sets by Fayuca, Black Bottom Lighters, Mouse Powell, The Pistoleros, Hot House Orchids, J.Rob the Chief, 3Nations, The Banter, Cori Rios, ¡Revíva!, Unfinished Business, and others throughout the day.

Meanwhile, the beer barons from Helio Basin and guest breweries Helton Brewing Company and Huss Brewing Company will serve up suds, and local artist Jessie Perry will also do live painting. They’ll also have tacos, something that every festival needs. Benjamin Leatherman

Margo Price's star is on the rise.EXPAND
Margo Price's star is on the rise.
Angelina Castillo

Margo Price
Sunday, February 18
Crescent Ballroom

Country music has been embracing women’s voices for quite some time now. Dating back to legends like Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Patsy Cline, country music — which, to be fair, was and remains a fairly male-dominated industry — has never shied away from showcasing its best and brightest, no matter the gender.

Which brings us to Margo Price, who plays the Crescent Ballroom this weekend. Price has almost become the face of the women’s country renaissance, despite the fact that her first full-length record, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, was released less than two years ago on Jack White’s Third Man Records; a second full-length LP, All-American Made, dropped last October.

Price has risen to fame, despite little commercial radio play, for a number of reasons. For one, she’s immensely talented. Secondly, her slow rise to success — from playing in empty bars and working side jobs to make ends meet — is a good story, one that affords her some credibility in the shiny Nashville scene.

Most importantly, she ranks among the most personal, poignant singer-songwriters in music today. Price’s songs touch on any number of personal topics, from living in poverty to serving jail time to the tragedy that was losing a child via a miscarriage. Clint Hale

Alicia Bognanno of Bully.
Alicia Bognanno of Bully.
Bz3rk/CC BY-SA 4.0/via Wikimedia Commons

Bully
Sunday, February 18
Valley Bar

If the title of Bully’s latest record, Losing, doesn’t say enough, then the album art definitely does. A black-and-white photograph depicts the Nashville-based rock band’s frontwoman, Alicia Bognanno, hidden under a bedsheet, hair sprawled across her downturned face and knees tucked against her chest. For anyone who’s ever had to let go of a partner or best friend, who’s returned home after time away to find it changed completely, or who’s watched the news in a state of despair, Bognanno’s picture is totally relatable.

Released in October 2017, Losing captures the angst and resignation of watching the world shift, not always for the better. That’s not to say the record is a downer. The songs are packed with energy, propelled by grungy distorted guitars and Bognanno’s gravelly screams. Fans of ’90s icons like Nirvana and Dinosaur Jr. will appreciate Bully’s nostalgic sound melded with modern humor and wit.

Most of the tracks on Losing clock in around three minutes, rising quickly to a loud and cathartic release. Standout song and album opener “Feel the Same” sets the tone with a vignette that shows both the hope and the futility of our cultural obsession with self-care and healing: “I cut my hair / I feel the same/ Masturbate / I feel the same / Hope you’re okay / I feel the same.”

So far, Bully’s current tour seems to mimic the album’s fast pace. Concertgoers at previous stops have noted that the band rumbles through their set list in just about an hour, rolling through fan favorites from the group’s 2015 breakthrough record, Feels Like, as well as the newer tunes. There’s been an overall quick tempo and lack of banter among the band members between songs. So don’t expect to hear silly stories about life on the road or personal reflections on songwriting when Bully plays Valley Bar. Bognanno is all business and no fuss on the stage.

Self-dubbed “slop pop” duo Diet Cig and noise rock four-piece Melkbelly will join Bully for the band’s Phoenix show. That should make for an interesting and energetic mix, with Diet Cig’s punny one-liners and chill vibes, and Melkbelly’s more chaotic and abrasive approach. All three groups are fronted by women who shred and sing, so it’s a refreshing lineup for anyone who loves grunge and is bored of dude bands (sorry, dude bands). Meagan Mastriani

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