The Eight Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Playboy Manbaby is scheduled to perform on Saturday, February 25, at Trunk Space.
Playboy Manbaby is scheduled to perform on Saturday, February 25, at Trunk Space.
Eryn Wise

Watchu got going this weekend? Watching the Oscars perhaps? Getting outside to enjoy this nice stretch of weather? Great. Grand. Wonderful. If you'd rather check out a concert, we've got a few suggestions for you – eight of 'em, in fact. (And there even more waiting over in our online music listings.)

Here are our picks for the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend.

Landlady – Friday, February 24 – Valley Bar
Landlady hails from Brooklyn, and they are currently on tour for the double vinyl release of their new stunner, The World Is A Loud Place. If you’re looking for some unusual indie rock that involves every instrument found in a full orchestra with a moody trip-hop vibe, clashing with post-punk angles and dizzying percussive arrangements, this is your jam. There’s a certain degree of fascination in the slight neuroticism of Adam Schatz’ vocals that seem to tie the entire affair together, but it’s what he’s got backing it that makes it one of the most compelling albums of the year. Schatz’ quirky lead never sways and anchors each song without devolving into histrionics, while the music unravels and weaves back together again. Landlady has as much affinity for esoteric eclecticism as it does for a certain sense of psychedelia which they use to dabble in every genre available, with moments incorporating jazz, new wave or mid-1960s pop arrangements. With the sheer breadth of the record in mind, it is certain to be a fascinating ride live. Local rockers the Blank Waves snagged the opening spot for the show. MITCHELL HILLMAN

Pharoahe Monch – Friday, Februrary 24 – Last Exit Live
Erstwhile Organized Konfusion member Pharoahe Monch has spent the last decade and a half wandering the earth recording great hip-hop – everything from legendary room-destroying bangers like "Simon Says" to the casual, bouncing song-rap "Love," for J Dilla's The Shining. And although Monch might never achieve household-name status, he's one of a select few living legends who have managed longevity in hip-hop without getting stale. Among his unparalleled feats of verbal athleticism is dropping the word "triskaidekaphobia" (fear of the number 13) in verses more than once (originally on "Mayor," in 1999, and again, eight years later, on "Free"). These days, he's still touring in support of his most recent album, PTSD, which follows in the footsteps of 2011's W.A.R., with tight verses, incisive social commentary, and banging beats. TOM MURPHY

Captured! By Robots – Friday, February 24 – Yucca Tap Room
Insanity and chaos are on the horizon – and no, we don’t mean the sort being dispensed by our orange-skinned overlord in Washington, D.C. We’re referring to the insanity wrought by novelty rock act Captured! By Robots, which is partly a band and partly a bizarre performance art project by Jay Vance, also known as JBOT. What he's done here is build a band, literally, by building robots which eventually turned on him and held him captive, hence the name. He is their human slave and now they (wait, he?) tour the country and play at dive bars and holes in the wall. (Or as the C!BR website succinctly describes it: Two kick ass robots, one stupid human. Brutal pummeling music. End of story.) It's probably the weirdest thing you'll see all year unless you saw GWAR; then, it will be the second weirdest thing you've seen all year. With Via Vengeance, Dark Markers, and Dead Inception. H. DREW BLACKBURN

The members of Migos.
The members of Migos.
Cam Kirk

Migos – Saturday, February 25 – Celebrity Theatre
When you're in bumper-to-bumper traffic after a hectic day at work, the best thing to do is blast your radio so loudly you stop caring. Atlanta hip-hop group Migos' "Bad and Boujee" single is an ideal jam, causing your rear-view mirror to vibrate, your loose bumper to rattle, and the girls in the car next to you to shake their asses in their seats, almost causing an accident. It's just that damn good. "Bad and Boujee" is just the latest in a string of smash radio singles from Migos. Generating a hit isn't easy, but Lawrenceville, Georgia, natives Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset have mastered the act of turning any traffic jam into a party with their many club bangers. Critics have been on Migos' side since 2013, when they created their first bonafide banger, "Versace." The song, the debut single from their 2013 mixtape Y.R.N., placed the trio at 99 on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart and instantly became the song of that winter. "Versace" even caught the ears of Drake, who soon remixed the single and took it to a new level. His take on their breakthrough hit threatened to overshadow the trio, but Migos kept dropping new tracks, evolving and perfecting their rhythmic, hook-heavy sound. Along the way, several of the group's singles easily reached the Billboard charts. Their 2014 song "Fight Night" was nominated for BET's Hip Hop Awards for Best Club Banger, and later singles "One Time" and "Look at My Dab" inspired internet frenzies and memes. CRISTINA JEROME

Keeping the Rave Alive: Neon Nation – Saturday, February 25 – Club Red
You’ll never hear anything gentle, subdued, or soft coming out of the sound system during a Kutski set. As in ever. The British-born DJ prefers his beats to be hard, heavy, and relentlessly paced, which is why his mixes are a nonstop onslaught of stridently pounding sounds and grinding warbles that smash into your skull. Kutski is famous for his love of the harder electronic dance music genres, including hardcore and hard techno, which he blasts whenever possible, whether it’s at gigs or during his old BBC 1 radio show. Said genres are also a big part of his popular podcast, Keeping the Rave Alive, which draws its name from Kutski’s desire to foster underground dance culture. Lately, he’s been doing just that via the Neon Nation tour, which has been bringing hardstyle sounds and the rave aesthetic to clubs around the world. Its next stop is Club Red in Mesa on Saturday, February 25, and will feature Kutski and like-minded DJs like Mark Breeze and Nodari getting fists pumping, glowsticks waving, and eardrums melting for six straight hours. Performances will take place in both of Club Red’s theaters, and the lineup will include several local DJs — such as Displacement, Tempus, Axion, data.MAX, and Dark Mark — spinning everything from techno and trap to hard bass and happy hardcore. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

Moose Blood – Saturday, February 25 – The Rebel Lounge
If it weren't for the British accent of Moose Blood singer/guitarist Eddy Brewerton, you'd never know these guys were from the United Kingdom, given their worship of late-'90s American-style emo acts like Jimmy Eat World and Brand New. Their 2014 debut, I'll Keep You in Mind, From Time to Time, rewinds the clock 10 years to a time when muscular riffs mingled with delicate guitar passages and lyrics about being young and heartbroken or, conversely, head over heels in love, were de rigueur. "Do you want to come over late to my house and watch American Beauty in the dark," Brewerton sings on "Gum." "I'll hold your hand until the very end, and we'll stay up late until tomorrow starts." If lyrics like that make you nostalgic for 2002 or, perhaps, Deja Entendu, Moose Blood will delight. DAVE LAKE

Robbie Pfeffer of Playboy Manbaby does more than just sing.
Robbie Pfeffer of Playboy Manbaby does more than just sing.
Melissa Fossum

Playboy Manbaby – Saturday, February 25 – Trunk Space
After about half a year of delays, Playboy Manbaby is finally releasing its latest album, Don’t Let It Be. The band has been all but bursting to share the songs with the public; Donald Trump’s ascendency to power no doubt prompted the early release of “You Can Be Fascist, Too,” a razor-sharp take on the mindset of the president’s base. But come February 25, the wait will be over, and the release comes with good news for the band: The group now has a deal with Lolipop Records, a well-regarded indie label based in Los Angeles. That shows a promising upward trajectory for the group, and maybe pretty soon the rest of country will be getting to know a band that for a long time has been a treasured local gem. DAVID ACCOMAZZO

Dark Star Orchestra
Dark Star Orchestra
Courtesy photo

Dark Star Orchestra – Sunday, February 26 – Livewire
It oughta come as no surprise that certain outfits are embracing the cover band concept and reaping rewards as a result. Consequently, there's a veritable cottage industry that flourishes via tributes to the Beatles (natch), Pink Floyd, the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and a host of others. In many cases, the original band is defunct, and now they, the tribute band, can recreate every note and serve as the next best thing. Still, one has to credit Grateful Dead tribute band Dark Star Orchestra with earning more than a hint of actual legitimacy. Keyboard player Rob Barraco performed with the Dead bassist Phil Lesh in his band Phil Lesh and Friends and also toured with the reunited band that went by the abbreviated name the Dead in 2002 and 2003. Likewise, guitarist Jeff Mattson has also played with Lesh, as well as onetime Grateful Dead vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux. Singer Lisa Mackey claims to having seen more than 200 Grateful Dead shows since 1973, while bassist Kevin Rosen says he's seen 93. Drummers Rob Koritz and Dino English swear their devotion as well. Even so, the most essential factoid that contributes to their cred may well be the number of shows DSO has performed as a unit. Consider the fact that in their full 30 years of activity, up until the point that Jerry Garcia shed his mortal coil, the Dead accumulated 2,318 concerts, a total that Dark Star eclipsed long ago, and in only about half the time. LEE ZIMMERMAN


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