The Six Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend
Sam Outlaw is scheduled to perform on Friday, November 25, at Valley Bar.
Y’all awoken from your tryptophan-induced food comas yet? We sincerely hope so, since there’s plenty of things to do around the Valley this weekend.
And, just in case you’re wondering, none of 'em involve waiting in line outside of a big-box store, engaging in fisticuffs with other bargain seekers for affordably priced toaster ovens, or decking the halls with boughs of holly.
Instead, we've got a rundown of the best concerts to see this weekend that will be happening at Valley music venues. It includes the return of one of the Valley's seminal rock/punk bands, gigs by a couple of great hip-hop talents, and a performance by a jazz artist who transposes pop and radio hits into swing numbers and piano ditties.
In addition to the following six concerts, there's also No Volcano's much-anticipated release show for their latest album, Dead Horse Power, on Saturday and Orkestra Mendoza's show on Sunday, plus all the gigs you'll find in our extensively updated online concert calendar.
The Meat Puppets (from left): Cris Kirkwood, Shandon Sahm, and Curt Kirkwood.
Meat Puppets – Friday, November 25 – Crescent Ballroom
The Meat Puppets have a rich history of playing alongside legendary bands like Nirvana and Black Flag in the ’80s. In 1984, they opened for Black Flag during a massive tour of the States. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana attended one of these concerts and became a fan of the band’s second record, Meat Puppets II. The original lineup included Curt and Cris Kirkwood on guitar and bass and drummer Derrick Bostrom. Kurt Cobain invited the Kirkwoods to play on stage with Nirvana at the group’s legendary MTV Unplugged performance. Cobain covered their songs “Plateau,” “Oh, Me,” and “Lake of Fire.” After this stint, their ninth record, Too High to Die, went gold in 1994, and their song “Backwater” became their first and only single to hit the charts. The band broke up in 1996, and in 2006 reformed for the second time. The current lineup includes Curt and Cris Kirkwood, Cris’ son Elmo, and Shandon Sahm. KAYLA CLANCY
Sam Outlaw – Friday, November 25 – Valley Bar
Let’s get this out of the way: Sam Outlaw’s real name isn’t Sam Outlaw. The bills mailed to his apartment in Southern California are addressed to “Sam Morgan.” “Outlaw” is a nom de guitar selected after he quit his ad-sales job to pursue his dream of making “country music that doesn’t suck.” For some, that’s a deal-breaker. In every article about Outlaw, it’s the 800-pound gorilla in a 10-gallon hat. But it’s his way of aligning himself with the outlaw country popularized by George Jones, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard. “I know some people are like, ‘Fuck this guy, he’s coming out of LA using the name Outlaw,” Outlaw says. “I’ve had so many people, young and old, come up after the shows to say, ‘We talked shit on your name, then we came out and really liked your songs.' I may have cock-blocked myself a little with the Outlaw name.” His music stifles any lingering skepticism. Outlaw’s debut, last year’s Angeleno, boasted production and guitar lines from roots legend Ry Cooder, and other backing from Bo Koster (My Morning Jacket) and Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes). The star was Outlaw himself, who could go from ghostly to gritty on a minute-by-minute basis. His lyrics were wry and the production was ornate but unvarnished; it spit on the modern Nashville glossy. JEFF WEISS
Morgan Ritterbeck/Malice Collective
Tempe Art A Gogh-Gogh – Friday, November 25 – Yucca Tap
Similar to other shopping centers throughout the Valley sprawl, Danelle Plaza in Tempe is going to be populated with a slew of people on Friday, November 25, during Black Friday. Their M.O. for being there, however, won’t be to duke it out for deals, but rather to partake in a multitude of music and culture being offered during the latest edition of Tempe Art A Gogh-Gogh. Bands and DJ will perform at most of the spots and shops at the plaza, which is located at the southwest corner of Mill and Southern avenues. Flagstaff’s DJ Emmett, for instance, will be spinning vinyl inside Double Nickels (natch) while Andy Warpigs, TOSO, Meet the Sun, and Harrison Hufman will perform at Fiftyone West next door. Meanwhile, the Yucca Tap Room will feature music from Playboy Manbaby, the Echo Bombs, Snailmate, and others. HotRock SupaJoint hosts the event, which starts at 6 p.m. and is free to attend. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Young Thug (a.k.a. Jeffrey Lamar Williams)
Young Thug – Saturday, November 26 – Marquee Theatre
There’s no denying that Young Thug is a unique voice in hip-hop. At 6-foot-3-inches tall, perhaps the most iconic image of the rapper is the album cover for his 2015 project No, My Name Is Jeffery, which featured the rapper in a light-blue-and-white ruffled dress by Italian designer Alessandro Trincone, his hand resting on a hat that looks part-lampshade, part-Japanese folding fan. It’s swaggering androgyny, and his music has resonated most with the under-25 crowd that has been blowing up gender roles all across the country. With Kanye West’s blessing (the two have recorded a few songs together, and Young Thug has a part on “Highlights” from West’s The Life of Pablo), Thug has become a true oddball in rap. The “David Bowie of hip-hop” comparisons aren’t far off the mark. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
Yelawolf – Saturday, November 26 – Club Red
To many rap fans, Yelawolf is the classic underdog story. Signed to a major label and then dropped, Yelawolf released a couple of mixtapes before catching the ear of Eminem, which paved the way for his breakthrough. The heavily tattooed, Alabama-bred artist continues to climb into the conscience of fans, helped by the inclusion of his single “Till It’s Gone” on Sons of Anarchy, while blending hardcore rap, bluegrass and country to create a sound that goes far beyond conventional Southern rap. He released his Hotel EP last month, and his current tour is showcasing new material from his upcoming Trial by Fire album, which is slated to be released in early 2017. For now, the rapper continues to build a larger audience on the road while keeping an eye on his burgeoning offstage business ventures in his adopted home of Nashville. DANIEL KOHN
Scott Bradlee brings his Postmodern Jukebox to Mesa this weekend.
Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox – Sunday, November 27 – Mesa Arts Center
Scott Bradlee, a jazz pianist who's been recording vintage-style cover tracks from his basement apartment, takes today’s pop hits, puts them in a time machine, and sends them back to the present from the Golden Age of swing, jazz, and soul. You’ll recognize the lyrics, but the song itself is a whole new tune. Whether you've stumbled across his addictive YouTube channel or are intrigued by the twists Bradlee puts on your favorite radio hits, his unique set is worth checking out this weekend at Mesa Arts Center. “This is going to be a trip back in time,” Bradlee says. “If you imagine back in the 1940s, the Golden Age of Hollywood and going to a New Year’s Eve party with Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, that’s what our show is. It’s a variety show. We have multiple singers and emcees, a tap dancer, and incredible musicians.” Postmodern Jukebox started in Bradlee’s living room in Queens, where it has remained since 2013. As a kid, Bradlee was naturally drawn to older styles of music like jazz, swing, and Motown, but he didn’t have many peers who shared his interest. Since they were all listening to the pop tracks on the radio, he thought it'd be interesting to join that conversation by taking the contemporary songs they played on repeat, and transforming them into older styles to sound like the kind of music he loved. MICHELLE DE CARION
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