The Nine Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Cyndi LauperEXPAND
Cyndi Lauper
Courtesy of Webster PR

Here are our picks for the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. For more options, check out our comprehensive concert calendar.

Cyndi Lauper – Friday, October 7 – Talking Stick Resort

In terms of animal comparisons, Cyndi Lauper would best be categorized as a chameleon, considering the way she’s adapted and changed her sound over the last few years. However, as far as personality goes, she’s a leopard — a leopard who doesn’t change her spots or give a damn what people think. Case in point: her latest record, Detour. It’s an apt title, since it’s a country album. Yes, you read correctly: country. It isn’t the first time the 62-year-old New Wave songstress has changed course musically. In 2008, she released Bring Ya to the Brink, a full-blown EDM record, and in 2010 she had the number-one bestselling blues album, Memphis Blues. It might seem odd to those who haven’t followed her career since the '80s, when the pink-haired Queens native was writing catchy and earnest pop songs. That being said, she’s excelled in every new direction she’s taken and her upcoming Phoenix performance should be a testament to that. For starters, Lauper still has the pipes to nail every note. There are 20-something-year-old singers out there who aren’t half as talented. Her sometimes raspy, smoky voice lends itself well to the country-western she’s embraced, as evidenced by the number of classic covers she’s performed on her current tour, such as Wanda Jackson’s “Funnel of Love” and “Walking After Midnight” by Patsy Cline, one of Lauper’s personal heroines. ANGEL MELENDEZ

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

Playboy Manbaby, Father Figures  Friday, October 7 – Crescent Ballroom
Playboy Manbaby and Father Figures have teamed up with local label President Gator to release a seven-inch EP featuring new songs from both bands. These two groups make an unlikely team — both ostensibly fall somewhere under the vast "punk rock" umbrella, though they are each part of two local scenes that don't often overlap. Yet both bands offer some of the best and catchiest tunes being made by Valley bands, and this concert features another local favorites on the bill as well: Snake! Snake! Snakes! will be joining the two co-headliners, as will California-based artist Wyatt Blair. DAVID ACCOMAZZO

Rum Drinker
Rum Drinker
Benjamin Leatherman

Endless Bummer Fest - Friday, October 7 - 51 West
Casa Butthole Record Collective doesn't just have one of the more memorable names in Phoenix music. The collective, run by Josue Rodriguez of Rum Drinker, is also one of the more oddball and interesting musical collectives in Phoenix, putting out cassettes and digital releases for music made by self-proclaimed "Phoenix-Area Weirdos." The collective is hosting a giant bash called Endless Bummer Fest, which will feature 20 local bands: Heatstroke, Rum Drinker, Sad Kid, Andy Warpigs, Dadadoh, Sugar Skull Explosion, Songs Lacking Talent, Jessie Williams, The Cult of The Yellow Sign, The Blank Waves, Dinosaur Love, Degenerate Waste of Space, Scaups, Sunn Trio, Joobs ???? Rap, Bacchus and The Demonsluts, Requiem, Trash Mullet, Diego Galvan and KILL YOUR TV. DAVID ACCOMAZZO

Tears for Fears – Friday, October 7 – Comerica Theatre
While Tears for Fears wasn't the most credible name to drop during the Brit band's 1980s heyday, their tunes have time-traveled well. What they lacked in cartoonish image and overt star power, TFF more than compensated for with sheer singability and mainman Roland Orzabal's fastidious production. Early singles like "Mad World" and breakthrough "Shout" are as era-evocative as a Rubik's Cube, yet their sheer ambition and melodrama have proved enduringly endearing ("Mad World" was supersuccessfully covered by Gary Jules 20 years later). 1989's "Sowing the Seeds of Love," perhaps the pinnacle of Orzabal's grandiose designs, likewise stands up as an ultramelodic masterstroke Oasis would die for. Tears for Fears return to remind us that the best New Wave bands were, after all, triumphs of content over form. PAUL ROGERS

Valley QueenEXPAND
Valley Queen
Photo by Megan McIsaac

Valley Queen – Friday, October 7 – Last Exit Live
“How come every hour feels like Sunday?” singer-guitarist Natalie Carol wonders in a languid daze on “Make You Feel,” the B-side of Valley Queen’s 2014 debut single, produced by Lewis Pesacov (Fool’s Gold, Best Coast). The Arkansas transplant instills a lulling romantic mood, her clear voice arcing slowly like a comet over her band’s gentle ’70s country-rock backing. The LA quartet pumps up the soul on their 2015 follow-up, “Who Ever Said,” a retro ballad distinguished by Carol’s persuasively hopeful entreaties. Bassist Neil Wogensen and drummer Gerry Doot lock into low-key classic-rock grooves that are lit up by guitarist Shawn Morones’ lap-steel glow. They’re just as affecting when they strip down acoustically for the folk-blues lamentation “Pulled by the Weather.” FALLING JAMES

Big & Rich
Big & Rich
Courtesy of Webster PR

Big & Rich – Saturday, October 8 –Arizona State Fair
Talk to Kenneth Alpin of country duo Big & Rich about his influences, and you’ll be surprised. Alphin’s got an eclectic taste in music, and as he rattles off recent songs that he finds either inspirational or just downright intriguing, there might not be a country song to be found. Among his choices are AWOLNATION’s “Sail,” Alex Clare’s “Too Close,” Bastille’s “Pompeii,” and Avicii’s collaboration with Aloe Blacc. It’s a left-of-field list that calls to mind what made Big & Rich so popular in the first place. On Horse of a Different Color, the duo’s 2004 debut record, Alphin and John Rich brought together rapping, spoken word, and full-out cock rock on an album that shook the foundation of radio country. The duo kicks off the Arizona State Fair concert series this year, which will feature artists as diverse as Alpin’s tastes. Iggy Azalea, the Flaming Lips, Cheap Trick, Charlie Puth, and MC Magic are among the acts slated to play alongside the carnival rides and fried food. K.C. LIBMAN

Failure
Failure
Jim Louvau

Failure – Saturday, October 8 – Livewire
In 1990, when glam metal was the biggest thing going in Los Angeles, Failure formed, influenced by post-punk and experimental music of the previous decade. By the time of its debut album, 1992’s Comfort, Failure had become part of the early-’90s alternative-rock explosion. But the group wasn’t satisfied with merely riding a trend, and its records became increasingly ambitious and adventurous. Fantastic Planet, the band’s final recording before its 1997 split, was a brilliantly realized concept album in an era when pedestrian themes dominated the alt-rock world. Failure reconvened in 2013, and was a featured artist at Riot Fest in 2014. To the group’s credit, it also started writing new music that further pushed boundaries, and 2015’s The Heart Is a Monster is as vital an effort as any in Failure’s impressive back catalog. TOM MURPHY

Springtime Carnivore
Springtime Carnivore
Eddie O'Keefe

Springtime Carnivore – Sunday, October 9  Valley Bar
Gravity gave Greta Morgan a gift and a broken fibula. Working as a skilled tightrope tripper, fatigue set in from constant touring in the circus and she fell three stories. Recovering in the wake of her broken dreams, she taught herself piano and created Springtime Carnivore. "I've been playing ever since," Morgan said in a letter to fans. "Inside me were all these songs about all these things I've seen and all these places I've been. Just came pouring out like tears." It's a nice origin story, but it's not exactly true — as in, it's totally false. As a founder of indie rock groups The Hush Sound and Gold Motel, Greta Morgan Salpeter wanted to break away from her past, so she hijacked her own narrative and dropped the third name. TROY FARAH

ZZ Top – Sunday, October 9 – Talking Stick Resort
Known as much for an abundance of facial hair as for the music, Houston's ultimate blues-rock masters' astounding career hasn't slowed down much over 45 years. ZZ Top has never lost the ability to combine a hip-shaking groove and some of the most tonally unique and technically awing blues riffs around. Recently, Gibbons was exposed to a new generation of music lovers after being featured in the HBO series Sonic Highways, which was directed by Dave Grohl. KRISTIN LOCKHART

Use Current Location

Related Locations

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Talking Stick Resort

9800 E. Indian Bend Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85256

877-724-4687

www.talkingstickresort.com

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Valley Bar

130 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

602-368-3121

miles
Livewire

7320 E. Indian Plaza
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

480-970-6980

livewireaz.com

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Last Exit Live

717 S. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-271-7000

www.lastexitlive.com

miles
Comerica Theatre

400 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

602-514-2919

www.comericatheatre.com

miles
Crescent Ballroom

308 N. 2nd Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

602-716-2222

www.crescentphx.com


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