The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend
Moving Units will pay tribute to the music of Joy Division on Saturday, March 18, at Valley Bar.
It’s going to be one busy weekend. Naturally, there will be more Saint Patrick’s Day parties on Friday than you can shake a shillelagh at, fella, each offering a bounty of green beer and enough shepherd’s pie and corned beef to feed all of County Clare.
Meanwhile, the latest Pot of Gold music festival will be going off down at Rawhide on both Friday and Saturday with performances by its biggest lineup to date.
Those aren't the only live music highlights of the weekend, however, as Moving Units are also bringing their tribute to Joy Division to Valley, dance music artist and former Phoenix resident Ghastly is returning to his hometown, and Woodstock artist Melanie is celebrating her 70th birthday at the Rhythm Room.
Read on for the lowdown on each of these shows, as well as the rest of our picks for the best concerts this weekend. You can also hit up our online music listings for even more gigs happening over the next 72 hours.
Action Bronson will be one of the featured acts at the Pot of Gold music festival this weekend.
Pot of Gold 2017 – Friday, March 17 & Saturday, March 18 – Rawhide
Good news for local Flogging Molly fans: after a three-year absence, they’re resuming their tradition of performing in the Valley in honor of the Irish drinking holiday. The famed Celtic rock band is scheduled to appear during the second night of the Pot of Gold Music Festival, the massive two-day outdoor concert event at Rawhide over Saint Patrick’s Day weekend that will star a huge assortment of rock, punk, indie, and hip-hop acts. The first night of the festival on Saturday, March 17, will feature rappers G-Eazy, Desiigner, Action Bronson, Rae Sremmurd, and Smokepurpp on one stage, all while Sublime With Rome, 311, Matisyahu, Mystic Roots Band, and Katchafire hold it down on a second stage. Flogging Molly will co-headline an equally loaded lineup on Saturday, March 18, along with Death Cab for Cutie, NOFX, Fitz and the Tantrums, Less Than Jake, X Ambassadors and several other notable bands. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Electronic dance music artist and onetime Valley resident Ghastly.
Courtesy of Circle Talent Agency
Ghastly – Friday, March 17 – Shady Park
Like any electronic dance music artist who’s skyrocketed to fame, there are plenty of wild rumors and curious stories associated with bass music producer Ghastly. Some are actually true. Like, for instance, the fact he was raised on a goat farm over in Buckeye and started crafting beats at the age of 16 before moving to LA and living out of his van while attempting to break into the EDM biz. Here’s another fact: Ghastly, whose real name is David Crow, has spent the last seven years building an impressive catalog of bass-heavy tracks, including many he’s created for Skrillex’s OWSLA label and in collaboration with such artists as Getter, Brillz, and Zomboy. This weekend, Ghastly will return home to the Valley to help hype up and promote the upcoming Phoenix Lights festival. He’ll be the featured performer at Shady Park on Friday, March 17, during the latest “Sightings: On the Road to Phoenix Lights” event. Local DJ Gerry Gonza will open the evening, which starts at 9 p.m. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Deorro eschewed dreams of becoming a trauma surgeon for EDM.
Deorro – Friday, March 17 – Maya Day & Nightclub
Learning music production and DJing was an obsession for Erick Orrosquieta, better known as Deorro. As a teenager growing up in Southern California, Deorro took the bus four days a week down to Guitar Center, where the employees let him experiment with a display DJ mixer. He was still crossfading from one track to the next until a stranger showed him how to mix tracks and beat-match. Parties led to club nights, and Deorro cultivated a following among house-music enthusiasts. He worked for promoters handing out flyers, and worked his connections until he was booked to play various high-profile gigs. As he carefully built a team around him, it became apparent that the prudent choice would be to give up his onetime dreams of being a trauma surgeon and go with plan B: making music. Six years later, Deorro is an international success story. He’s a regular at EDM’s biggest festivals, and his original productions — many released through his own label, Panda Funk — are staples in his peers' set lists. He may not be saving lives in a hospital, but he’s still safeguarding people in his role as a mentor to the DJ community. PATRICK SHANNON
The Songs of Joy Division feat. Moving Units – Saturday, March 18 – Valley Bar
The disco-hybrid style of bands like Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party — sometimes also called “dance-punk” — never quite got enough traction to qualify as a Big Rock Moment, but it was at least more exciting than other passing turn-of-the-millennium trends. Among the groups that formed in the early 2000s and remain active, Moving Units may have had the most interesting trajectory. Known for songs like “Between Us & Them” and “X and Y,” the L.A. trio reemerged from a nine-year recording break — during which time front man Blake Miller became a successful DJ who scored with remixes of Le Castle Vania and Steve Aoki tracks — with last year’s Damage With Care (Metropolis). Their latest release, Collision With Joy Division (RSRCH), is an exceedingly faithful, album-length tribute to one of Moving Units’ primary influences, the proto-goths and New Order precursors whom many would also call the original dance-punks. Their current tour, which stops at Valley Bar this weekend, is along the same lines, featuring a full set of Joy Division covers from the album. They’ll follow it up with a a set of Moving Unit songs. CHRIS GRAY
Melanie performs at the Listening Room last fall.
Melanie's 70th Birthday Party – Saturday, March 18 – Rhythm Room
Though best known for her folk-pop ditty "Brand New Key," (also known as "the roller skate song in Boogie Nights") Melanie Safka hasn't stopped making music over a five-decade span. Her latest original album, 2010’s Since You Never Heard of Me, is full of the wry, sturdy songs that have defined her oeuvre (when the bouncy, not-very-characteristic roller skate hit is removed from equation). These days, Safka finds herself spending a lot of time in Arizona (she lives here "about as full time as a traveling musician lives anywhere full time") and being here has given her a chance to be with her children and regroup. "Art and career don't always go together," she explains. Her daughter Jeordie, a talented singer-songwriter in her own right, will make a guest appearance during Safka’s 70th birthday party this weekend at the Rhythm Room. JASON P. WOODBURY
Bloodfest returns this weekend.
Bloodfest Leprechaun Massacre – Saturday, March 18 – Location TBA
Can't wait another six months or so until the next Bloodfest rave happens? Turns out you won’t have to, as a special “Leprechaun Massacre” edition of the infamous blood rave will take place on Saturday, March 18, at a yet-to-be-announced location. Fetish performance art troupe the Agents of Lust will unleash their usual extreme theatrics while Grund, Koliri, Evil Stu, and other local DJs spin hard electro, bounce, and other pounding genres all night long. And, yes, just like at any other Bloodfest party, countless amounts of crimson liquid will be sprayed on the crowd. Its also going to be the only place you can see a leprechaun getting slaughtered on Saint Patrick’s Day, which has got to count for something. The bloody good time runs from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next morning and it’ll cost $15 to attend. 602-359-7160 on the night of the event for the location. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
The EDM duo of Posso.
Courtesy of AM Only
Posso – Saturday, March 18 – Salt
The two chicks that make up Posso are all about following their creative spirits. Designers at heart, the Posso team contributes to style websites and even has their own line of luxury leather products. Their creativity bleeds into music, as well. As a DJ duo, Posso takes whatever they can get their hands on and remixes it into a medley of progressive-edging-towards-‘90s house and ‘80s-inspired synth-pop. The Posso girls may have their hands in several different creative outlets, but they shouldn’t be dismissed as dabblers. Previous sets prove it: Posso is serious dance music. Or at least, seriously fun. SARAH PURKRABEK
Courtesy of Metal Blade Records
Cattle Decapitation – Sunday, March 19 – Club Red
“A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat”: If nothing else, San Diego metal extremists Cattle Decapitation can boast some of the best song titles in the grindcore business. This band needs titles like that to convey its outrage and disgust at all the hypocrisy and corruption with which this wicked world continues to infect our puny little minds. The veteran crew’s kinda schizo sound spans the black-/grind-/death-/grotesquerie-metal areas of endeavor, with running lyrical themes regarding the impending apocalypse and how to either stun it into submission or hasten its sickly creep with artful (tuneful, even) brutality. This major night of creative noise also features sets by False Flag, The Exiled Martyr, and Vermin.. Recommended if you like bashing your own skull ’til your brain pops out. JOHN PAYNE
Nick Hakim – Sunday, March 19 – Valley Bar
The first time you hear Nick Hakim's voice, you're transported. Mixing soulful tones with Brooklyn-style electronic beats, Hakim creates a sound that you can sink into with enough complexity to merit listen after listen. His debut double EP, Where Will We Go, was wise beyond its years, and the single "Bet She Looks Like You," from his upcoming album Green Twins, is an intriguing harbinger of the artist's music to come. Hakim is sure to deliver a show both intimate and heartfelt, with lots of subtle embellishments. Go, relax and enjoy the magic. KATIE SULLIVAN
Renowned bluesman Mike Zito.
Mike Zito and the Wheel – Saturday, March 18 – Rhythm Room
“I think the blues is fresher than ever if you consider the blues to be a broad-based American art form,” says Mike Zito, the St. Louis rocker who cofounded Royal Southern Brotherhood. “If you think that it's only blues if it sounds like the 1950s, then you're probably going to be let down. I don't know that staying true to the roots of a genre is very creative, and it's certainly not what the originators did.” While his allegiance to blues music is beyond reproach — he's earned plenty of nominations and wins from the Blues Music Awards for his contributions to that genre — Zito has made it clear he's not content following any single trajectory. Indeed, Zito has proved that the blues still has plenty of room to grow and expand, critics and purists be damned. His struggles with addiction and homelessness would certainly give cause to sing the blues, and to do so from a very real and personal place. Yet, on his brilliant new album, the aptly titled Keep Coming Back, Zito stakes a claim to being not only an expressive purveyor of genuine R&B but also an accomplished rocker and balladeer. He sings from the gut as well as true-life experience. LEE ZIMMERMAN
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