Here in Phoenix, September means “back to school” for both kiddos and collegiate-minded folks. For us metalheads, however, it means “back to shows.”
And believe us, there are plenty of heavy metal and hard rock concerts happening in Metro Phoenix this month.
The summer provided a long stretch of hot mosh pits and scattered shows across the Valley (not to mention some epic performances by Guns N’ Roses, Slipknot, Rob Zombie, and Deftones), but September will offer even more metal shows at bars and venues around the Valley and prove to be worth the wait. The weather starts to cool off (slightly), and numerous fall tours are in full swing.
Every single week this month brings a wealth of head-banging, devil-horn rockin’ bands, from the Stoner Rock Special and Scottsdale Metal Fest, to legends like Black Sabbath and Alice in Chains.
Here’s your list of September’s top metal and hard rock concerts in the Valley of the Sun.
The Great Southern Massacre Tour – Thursday, September 8 – Joe’s Grotto
Okay, I didn’t just put this event on here as someone who loves Pantera nostalgia. This is one killer line up—plus it’s presented by Coldcock Whiskey, Heavy Metal Television, and Syntheticide Entertainment, so what’s not to love? The headliner is Convalescence, a Toledo death metal/deathcore band that’s toured with the likes of Ill Nino and Motograter and is currently poised to release their new full-length album Poison Words. Also expect to see a supporting line up of bands like Apothica, Dead Eyes Always Dreaming, Ashes of Arson, Vindicate, and Came to Conquer.
Phoenix and Dragon, Indogen, and more – Friday, September 9 – Joe’s Grotto
It’s no surprise that Phoenix and Dragon frequently make our list of the top metal shows each month – their talent, precision, and history can always be counted upon to deliver an epic performance. That's likely to be the case once again when the band headlines a night at North Phoenix rock haven Joe's Grotto on September 8. Local and touring acts Indogen, Arrogant Bastards, Sedan Sedan, and Dreams and Doorways round out the bill.
Phoenix Stoner Rock Special – Saturday, September 10 – Tempe Tavern
The Tempe Tavern is the perfect place to host something like the Phoenix Stoner Rock Special – from their killer wings to their frequent drink specials, there’s always something to indulge in here. Catch this showcase of some of the best stoner rock that Arizona has to offer, which will star local bands Concertina, Wolves of Winter, Old Fashion Assassin, and special guests El. Oh, and did we mention that it’s completely free to attend? Rock on.
Scottsdale Metal Fest – Sunday, September 18 – The Rogue Bar
The Scottsdale Metal Fest is back for another round of music and mayhem. Brought to you by the heshers of Final Hour Booking, this evening-long extravaganza on September 19 boasts a lineup featuring bands from all over the southwestern region, like headlining crossover thrashers Taipan (whose first official music video featured members from Ministry, Soulful, Megadeth, and more) and New Mexico’s Signal 99, as well as Vile Descent, Ninth Plague and Half Past the Revolution, all of which hail from California. Local support will be provided by Krovak, F.U.M.E. Brothers, Riot/Gear, Sinister Plagues, Intent, and Drozera.
The End: Black Sabbath – Wednesday, September 21 – Ak Chin Pavilion
Metal legends Black Sabbath need little in the way introduction, considering their iconic stature and wide degree of influence over the rock world. The band last performed in Phoenix here three years ago, and their live show is spot on. And while they're saying this show will be their final performance ever (hence "The End" tagline), we all now how that usually goes. Sure, Ozzy might putter around the stage, constantly looking like he’s about to pitch forward into the pit, but his voice still gets the job done along side legends Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. Will this indeed be Black Sabbath's final show ever? Only time will tell.
Lord Dying, Black Fast, Child Bite – Thursday, September 22 – Pub Rock
Portland, Oregon’s Lord Dying is synonymous with the phrase “heavy riffs.” Comprised of members from Black El, Creamins, Portals, and Le Force – and only about a year old – they’re all about the shredding, the sludging, and the dooming. And you may have heard of Black Fast from the “Unsigned and Unholy” MetalSucks feature, but this Midwestern progressive thrash act has shared the stage with such acts as Lazarus AD, Havok, and Warbringer.
Tengger Cavalry, Incite, and more – Friday, September 23 – Club Red
If you’ve never had an introduction to black folk metal — or local legends Incite, for that matter — this is the show to check out. Presented by longtime Valley metal promoter 13th Floor Entertainment, the headliner is the unique Tengger Cavalry, which blends transition with modern metal: Mongolian horse-head fiddle and the nomadic music of Central Asia with heavy rock and overtone throat singing. Meanwhile, the Arizona quartet Incite is all about the technical shredding, power grooves, and strong vocals of Richie Cavalera. Deathgrip, Charonincentive, and other special guests will also perform.
Whitechapel, Oceano, Alterra, and more – Saturday, September 24 – Club Red
Tennessee deathcore band Whitechapel has released three studio albums since forming in 2006; each one meticulously crafted, produced, and released to the masses — who endlessly fall in love with the three-guitarist element. Oceano is a fixture on the Chicago extreme metal scene, and are known for some serious brutal, guttural jams. The lineup will also include Alterra, Hounds of Tindalos, A Lapse of Ethos, and Kruffix.
Trivium – Saturday, September 24 – Marquee Theatre
Florida thrash metallers Trivium have always had a strong underground following; from its inception in 2006, to seven studio albums, to frontman Matt Heafy’s prominent influence in the industry. But with their October 2015 album Silence in the Snow they brought their music to a whole new level. And whaaaat? Industry leaders Sabaton and locally loved Soundmankillz round out the bill.
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Kataklysm – Sunday, September 25 – Joe's Grotto
Canadian death metal act Kataklysm has become known for their extremely fast blast beats style, even dubbed as “northern hyperblast” by some magazines. One of my favorite things about this band isn’t just the impressive drumming though; it’s the fact that they incorporate some impressive melody and movie quote samples as well. Dirt Over Lime and Violent Revolution will also hit the stage.
Alice in Chains – Friday, September 30 – Talking Stick Resort
While I personally don’t lump Alice in Chains into the heavy metal realm (I have a specific distaste for grunge), they do have a prominent place in influencing many heavy metal bands. And okay; the late Layne Stanley was in the top 30 heavy metal vocalists of all time by Parader magazine at one point. Their live show presents an energy and technicality that is just as good as some of the best stadium heavy metal bands touring today—which is maybe one of the reasons Metallica called them one of their influences for releasing 2008’s Death Magnetic.