The 11 Best Metal Shows in Metro Phoenix in August
Guns N' Roses are coming. Get ready.
August. The hottest month of the year, bar none. At Back East Bagels in Tempe, there’s even a super-spicy sandwich called the August 22. But we’re almost through it: School is starting back up, football is around the corner, fall festivals and holidays are the light at the end of the tunnel. So we’ve got you covered with an array of indoor metal shows to keep you busy through this last stretch of blazin’ heat. I apologize in advance for the one outdoor show on this list, but what’re you gonna do? It is Slipknot and Marilyn Manson, after all.
From local legends like Flotsam and Jetsam to near-deities Guns N’ Roses playing intimate venues and arenas (respectively), to a showcase of some of the best black metal the desert has to offer, to a night of “the freakiest bands in Arizona” — there’s something for everyone. Horns up.
August 6 – Flotsam and Jetsam – Joe’s Grotto
This show will be one for the books, considering the weekend date, major headliner, killer supporting lineup, and intimate venue. Thrash metallers Flotsam and Jetsam have been melting faces since the early '80s in Phoenix and around the world, and are currently celebrating their 12th studio album release, May 2016’s Flotsam and Jetsam. Fun fact: Drummer Jason Bittner and bassist Michael Spencer just opened a cannabis dispensary in California. Brought to you by 13th Floor Entertainment, this lineup also includes Footer, Bleed the Fifth, Paradiso Falls, Deathgrip, and Empire of Dezire.
August 6 – Ruines Ov Abaddon, Morphesia, and more – The Rogue Bar
Final Hour Booking Presents brings you this show, chock full of all the black metal, death metal, and doom metal you could ever want — for just $10. In fact, it’s a great representation of desert/West Coast black metal. Expect to see Ruines Ov Abaddon and Morphesia, black metal bands from San Diego; BloodTrail, a Tucson death metal act; Azerine, a Tucson black metal band; Altarfier — a Tempe drone metal group; Chronovorus, a Tucson "doom noise" band; and Mutilatedtyrant.
August 11 – Periphery, Sikth, Chon, and Toothgrinder – The Pressroom
Between their intricate yet chaotic, triple-guitar attack shredding, mathematical complex grooves, and soaring melodies, the Washington, D.C.-bred Periphery is seen as one of the most progressive modern metal acts around today, particularly in the djent arena. If you’ve never seen Periphery live, you’re definitely missing out — guitarist Misha Mansoor is one of my favorite axe-men around right now. The bill is rounded out by an array of other progressive metal acts: Sikth (London), Chon (San Diego), and Toothgrinder (New Jersey).
August 13 – Summer Slaughter Tour – The Marquee Theatre
Cannibal Corpse is really upping the Summer Slaughter Tour game this year. While they need little introduction, their live shows are a great way to see the best of the band’s catalog. Yet another reason I love America: as a free country, there’s little chance of their music being banned like it has been in several countries around the world. While they haven’t released new music since 2014’s A Skeletal Domain, you can get to know the members, influence, and controversy with their authorized biography, Bible of Butchery, released in summer 2014. The other bands you can expect to see are well worth it as well: Nile, After The Burial, Suffocation, Carnifex, Revocation, Krisiun, Slaughter To Prevail, Ingested, and more. Get there early — I’m talking like 3 p.m. — to really get your metal fix.
August 13 – Soundmankill – Joe’s Grotto
Elite Live Entertainment and Phoenix Amazon Entertainment Present (yes, the Phoenix Amazon we all know and love!) a fantastic local lineup. The first time I saw headliner Soundmankillz was at Desert Frostover, and I was mesmerized. Not only is the band’s metal/electronic/rock style super unique, it was just heavy enough, and just catchy enough, to appeal to a wide audience. Metal trio There Is No Us features one of the top concert photographers in Phoenix screaming his lungs out into the microphone. While She Waits was created by an array of well-known Phoenix artists — think Tommy Gibbons and James Cole — and was nominated for best rock single by the LA Music Awards. Syde Project and Astral Light round out the bill, as well as the debut performance by Ciphered Existence.
August 15 – Guns N’ Roses Not in This Lifetime Tour – University of Phoenix Stadium
And we thought it would never come to be; we were convinced that it would be cut short by some temper tantrum, exhaustion excuse, or disagreement. But it’s actually, finally here. Never mind that nosebleed tickets run around $200 – the word on the street is the price is worth it. Whatever you decide, there’s no denying that this is probably the year’s most anticipated and talked-about tour. The reviews have been consistently impressive, and the performances seemingly solid and dripping with nostalgia. Catch this if you can — and fingers crossed for the added bonus of some friendly shredding between Slash and fellow opener Zakk Wylde.
August 20 – Dimefest – Joe’s Grotto
The yearly Dimefest, celebrating the birthday of the guitarist we all know, love, and dearly miss, is made even more poignant this year by the fact that it would’ve been Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott’s 50th birthday. Expect to see two stages of just about every hard-hitting local musician paying tribute to Dime by way of deep metal grooves, shred-tastic riffs, and powerful vocals. While we can always expect to see some Pantera and Damage Plan jams, I’m guessing there’s some amazing stuff in store for us this year — and stay to the end to close out the night with Cowboys From Hell, of course! Storm of Perception, Talk to Sheep, Nephilim, From Athens We Fled, 2 in the Chest, Asphalt Wasteland, Autolysis, and more will be performing. Getcha pull!
August 20 – Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Of Mice and Men — Ak-chin Pavilion
An outdoor show, I know, I know. All we can hope for is some awesome monsoon work to come into play here. As someone who has seen Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, and Of Mice and Men close to 10 times collectively, I will just say that I’m still considering attending this show. All three acts are have been consistently delivering superior performances this year, even with a handful of show cancellations due to Corey Taylor’s back surgery. But after barely any time went by, he was back up on stage. Tip: Splurge for the mosh pit on this one.
August 26 – Islander and more – Pub Rock Live
Within the last year, Islander is a band that has catapulted from almost obscurity to a staple on rock radio play. Wavering between alt, rap, and nu-metal, the band has toured with bands like Korn, Suicide Silence, and Nothing More, and Alternative Press called them “the new force in heavy rock.” Their album Power Under Control is due out later this year. Presented by 97.9 KUPD, this lineup also includes The Funeral Portrait, XXI, and Inept Hero.
August 27 — A Night of the Freakiest Bands in Arizona — Pub Rock Live
Presented by one of my absolute favorite Valley venues is a night of the “freakiest bands in Arizona.” But seriously guys — if you haven’t checked these bands out yet, this is the prime time to see some of the craziest, funniest, and most unique novelty musical acts in the desert. Okilly Dokilly has been getting national attention as the “world’s only Nedal band”— aka metal-infused Simpsons blasphemy. And, oh yeah: All the members dress like Ned Flanders. Goth Brooks is an industrial country mashup act that will have you simultaneously cracking up and impressed. And HotRock SupaJoint is a comedy/stonerock/hiphop musical act (and self-proclaimed “Arizona’s fakest rapper”). Clearly. And you can catch this freakshow for the low price of just $5.
August 31 – Deftones – The Marquee Theatre
While this band has been one of my favorites over the past few decades, I will say that their live shows aren’t as energetic as they used to be. However, what keeps their Valley date on this list is that the shows have turned into an amazing way to see their span of talent over the years; from classics like late '90s Around the Fur and early 2000s White Pony; to 2012’s Koi No Yokan and 2016’s Gore, their musical capabilities continue to captivate listeners: the thick bass lines, transitioning between Chino’s piercing wails and melting tones, the heavy guitar stylings, and the atmospheric instrumentation floating into violent breakdowns. Plus, I’m intrigued to see YelaWolf and Sister Crayon on this bill as well.
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