The Nine Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend
Rihanna is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 1, at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Remember that big Rihanna show that was supposed to happen back in March (but wound up getting rescheduled due to RiRi's bout with bronchitis)? It's finally going off this weekend.
The R&B/pop star is bringing her ANTI tour to Talking Stick Resort Arena on Sunday, and according to everything we've seen, heard, and read, it's one helluva show that may (or may not) include a few guest appearances.
Other concerts on tap for this weekend include the annual celebration of International Jazz Day, a massive outdoor EDM festival at Big Surf, a gig by mashup kings The Hood Internet, and the chance to relive your high school prom (provided you went to rock, rock, rock, rock 'n' roll high school).
There are many more shows happening around town, of course, all of which can be found in our online concert calendar.
Forget the black-tie high-school hoedown — it’s all about the black eyeliner, black jackets, and black boots at the Punk Rock Prom. Curated by none other than the crusty radicals over at Casa Butthole Records, this dance will feature a host of locals ready to pour booze in your punch bowl. First up is Couples Fight, electropop tuned to bad relationship banter, followed by scuzzy punx Sad Kid (formerly known as Sad Boy Trumpet Club). Then there’s the lo-fi riot grrrl outfit Mrs. Howl, the self-described “ugly drunk Spanish punk” of Manoz Zuziaz, and the beach-bum surf punk of Rum Drinker. This show just also happens to be thrashy Gilbert quartet Heatstroke’s album release. It’s bound to be one of the most eclectic samplings of punk, in all its various formations, in this town in quite some time. The night will even include a photo booth, and prom attire is highly encouraged. TROY FARAH
The members of Orgone.
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 set up, 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. BREE DAVIES
STV SLV (left) and ABX of The Hood Internet.
Girl Talk may be a household name when it comes to mashups, but there are so many more talented DJs out there – DJ Earworm, Jaydiohead, and even Valley native Z-Trip, among countless others. Most fans that criticize Gregg Gillis for changing songs too quick would appreciate something like Chicago mashup duo The Hood Internet, which assembles mixes that are a bit longer, although co-founder STV SLV (pronounced “Steve Sleeve”) disagrees.
"It's fun to chop up a bunch of ideas and put them into a three-minute block or something like that, but three minutes is still pretty short,” he says, laughing. “It does seem long, but when you try to dance to it, you can groove a little better when the song's been going on for a little bit.” Better yet, pretty much all of The Hood Internet's mashups are available for free via its website and Bandcamp page. Check 'em out before heading to Valley Bar for the duo's gig this weekend, which will also feature locals W.A.S.H. and DJ Melo. MELISSA FOSSUM
Burgeoning hip-hop star Kevin Gates.
At the very beginning of his career, in 2007, Louisiana's Kevin Gates started working with the one and only Lil Boosie, another Louisiana native. Gates and Boosie worked hard in the studio, eventually cutting the track "Get in the Way," which garnered some attention for Gates' burgeoning rap career. Gates was unfortunately jailed in 2011, but after his release, was signed to Atlantic Records and taken under Young Money Entertainment's management wing. Gates was also featured as a member of XXL Magazine's 2014 Freshman Class, so you definitely know he's on the come up. TARA MAHADEVAN
Erez Eisen (left) and Amit Duvdevani of Infected Mushroom.
It’s hard to believe, but EDM wasn’t always the heavily commercialized glut we see raving in Mountain Dew commercials during the Super Bowl. Infected Mushroom, the psytrance DJ duo formed in the Haifa District of Israel, can remember when EDM was considered a fringe genre. But now, thanks to the rising popularity of the pair’s characteristic dance music, Infected Mushroom is enjoying larger crowds than ever, and the group’s momentum shows no sign of stopping. Aside from the addition of occasional touring musicians, Infected Mushroom is made up of Amit “Duvdev” Duvdevani and Erez Eisen, who stretch the limits of their Moogs to create deftly psychedelic dance tracks that rattle the mind. TROY FARAH
Doc Jones performs at International Jazz Day AZ.
Courtesy of International Jazz Day AZ Foundation
The festival will feature performers from Colombia, Trinidad, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Greece, the Philippines, and more, with everyone contributing their own special flavor of jazz to the mix. The headliner, though, lives right here in Arizona: Jesse McGuire, a jazz trumpeter who's performed for three U.S. presidents, as well as at many major sporting events, including the World Series game that earned the Arizona Diamondbacks their championship in 2001.
It will also sport "Afro-Cuban jazz" as this year's unique theme. Early in his life, McGuire performed with Dizzy Gillespie, the legendary trumpeter who helped popularize Afro-Cuban music in America, and McGuire will lead an all-star band to re-create the music he performed with Dizzy. Other performers will include saxophonist Dan Pinson, drummer Dowell Davis, and pianist Ioannis Goudelis, as well as Doc Jones and his daughter Nayo. STEVE JOZEF
While many young bands fear the sophomore slump, Los Angeles indie rockers the Mowgli’s are embracing it. The band is excited to finally release new songs into the world. “We’ve been playing the old songs for six years. It’s fun to play new songs,” explains Mowgli guitarist Josh Hogan. “I noticed we were getting lazy playing those old songs, so we’ve really had to focus on making sure to bring passion to them.”
Those old songs off their 2013 album, Waiting for the Dawn, earned the band a wide audience. The Mowgli's performed their hit single “San Francisco” on Jimmy Kimmel and Conan, and it even became the theme song for the 2012 World Series champs, the San Francisco Giants. All the touring they did after Waiting for the Dawn became inspiration for the band's latest LP, Kids in Love. “Hearing people’s stories was a huge influence for the songs. We have all been in that place where a band saved our world, so we try to keep being a positive, loving influence.” DAVID ROLLAND
Pool parties have become a major hallmark of the warmer months here in the Valley. So much so that it seems like every weekend during the spring and summer features a stylish poolside bacchanal of drinks, dancing, and DJs happening somewhere in either Phoenix or Scottsdale. Then there's Wet Electric, the daylong electronic dance music festival that amps up the pool party concept to unbelievable levels by taking over an entire water park, bringing in a stellar array of DJs and dance music artists, and attracting a rowdy crowd of thousands. Such will be the case with Wet Electric 2016, which will take place on Saturday, at Big Surf in Tempe.
As with previous edition's of the festival, the main stage will be set up in the park's wave pool, which will be manned by more than a dozen performers throughout the day and into the night. This year's Wet Electric will be headlined by gonzo DJ duo Dada Life, who are rather infamous for their obsession with bananas and champagne, as well as their habit of putting on entertaining spectacles during their gigs. They won't be the only EDM artists filling Big Surf with big beats, however, as the lineup also includes such names as 3LAU, Bro Safari, Destructo, Wiwek, Brandon Scott, Laffit Rivas, and others. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Who would have thought that Rihanna had an album like ANTI in her? When the album dropped earlier this year as a Tidal exclusive, fans expecting an album full of bangers in the vein of her 2015 single “Bitch Better Have My Money” (which is not on the album) instead got the ambitious, pensive, sprawling ANTI. The second track is an interlude called “James Joint,” and it’s straight out of left field in a ballpark on another planet. It sounds like an Esperanza Spalding cast-off, but it’s simple and complex, fiery and beautiful all at the same time. Though the album contains some legit hits — like “Work,” featuring Drake — the sounds on this album are more disparate and unusual than what we’re used to hearing from the “Umbrella” singer. The album might not be universally considered a masterpiece, but it also might be the first Rihanna album in years that both critics and fans can agree on. That’s a feat unto itself. DAVID ACCOMAZZO