Top Five Concerts in Metro Phoenix This Weekend, May 16 to May 18

Keys N Krates bring their "trap band" stylings to town this weekend.
Keys N Krates bring their "trap band" stylings to town this weekend.

There are always shows in Phoenix, here, we humbly recommend five you should check out. If none of these strike your fancy, check out our comprehensive concert listings for many more options.

Sister Lip - Friday, May 16, and Saturday, May 17 - Sail Inn

Sister Lip is one of those bands on the Phoenix scene that can play just about any show. Since its inception in September 2012, the all-female act has found itself at touring authors' book-signings, variety shows, the state fair, and just about anywhere that will give the band a stage for its jazzy blues-rock. One show the women have yet to play, however, is their own CD-release party. But this month, a Sister Lip studio recording finally will come to fruition, and the group has been marinating in the music scene long enough to know that there are no second chances at a first album release. With that in mind, the quartet, who are known as four of the classiest musicians in town (for proof, check their booking schedule), decided to use this show to pay homage to a historic Tempe venue. The EP will be titled Thanks for the Mondays in honor of Sister Lips' "neverending" Monday residency at the now-defunct Long Wong's at the Firehouse in Tempe. The show also will feature performances by many of Sister Lips' regular Monday night conspirators, including Andy Warpigs, Japhy's Descent, TKLB?, and Bacchus and the Demon Sluts. --Jeff Moses

  Mariachi Vargas de Tacalitlán - Ovations Live! - Friday, May 16

Mariachi music is always fun. Well, almost always. Perhaps, not for a person with a pounding hangover, but otherwise, always fun, passionate, festive and often emotionally compelling. Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan are bringing true celebration to the Winspear Opera House, 2100 Ross Ave., 8 p.m. Tuesday and you don't want to miss it. At 113 years young, the seemingly undisputed "world's greatest mariachi group" has seen a lot of changes over the years as they've revolutionized and reinvented the Mariachi wheel time and again--always with the unbridled joy and pride of Mexico. It's often said, but this time it's true: This is the kind of show you have to experience to believe.--Dianna Wray   Keys N Krates - Saturday, May 17 - The Monarch Theatre

Okay, here's a quick and dirty history of trap music, courtesy of our sister paper, LA Weekly. The music started as a subgenre of hip-hop, named after the slang term "trap," a place where one would go to buy drugs. Atlanta rappers seemed to pioneer what would become called "trap" -- guys like Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy. As the trap sound became popular in hip-hop, electronic music producers began appropriating the sounds into their songs, increasing the mainstream exposure of the music.

In that context, meet Keys N Krates, the world's first "trap band." The Toronto trio formed in 2008 and features a drummer, a synth player, and a DJ, all coming together to produce sounds that seem to have no business coming from an instrumental trio. The band somewhat reluctantly accepts the "trap band" label, saying its influences range from house music to mainstream hip-hop, but the results are aggressive and make for a surprisingly engaging listen. Plus, how can you not be intrigued by a band who makes a music video playing their songs to skeptical Mennonites?-- David Accomazzo   Bill Frisell - Saturday, May 15 - Musical Instrument Museum Theater

In every musical idiom there are performers who transcend the genre and, at times, the music itself. Jazz guitarist Bill Frisell ranks among them. In fact, to call him a jazz musician is in itself limiting, as Frisell -- who began playing surf music as a teen and later worked with John Zorn and other jazz visionaries -- stretches easily beyond jazz, but in such a manner that often defies categorization in a confoundingly good way. Frisell's subtlety is his strength, the way he seems to bend his aura, guitar, and tone around every set musical idea and concept to forge a fresh identity that is constantly shifting, reaching, and stretching for some new end of the rainbow of imagination. Of course, that end never comes, and Frisell, undaunted, keeps journeying onward. It's jaw-dropping how he does it. With his current tour focus, the ghost of John Lennon should feel blessed to be, uh, re-imagined, by Frisell. Melodies hail from a familiar place, but also somewhere strange and beautiful. In fact, many of the compositions Frisell re-envisioned for All We Are Saying contain the slightest hint of the original, which is the wondrous hidden beauty of it all. Don't miss it. -- Glenn BurnSilver


Journey, Steve Miller Band, Tower of Power - Sunday, May 18 - Ak-Chin Pavilion

Long relegated to pop-culture punch line and music-critic whipping boy, Journey still stands among the most commercially successful American musical acts of the last four decades. The band's meat-and-potatoes arena rock has inspired snickers from the cool kids, then became a badge of ironic hipster cool, and has always been the heartfelt soundtrack of middle-American blue-collar life. As Ramona S. Diaz's documentary Don't Stop Believin' illustrates, Journey's songs have even resonated with struggling people around the world, a point illustrated by the film's central story: the band's search for a replacement for lead singer Steve Perry, whose vocal pyrotechnics on songs like "Open Arms," "Faithfully," and "Don't Stop Believin' " prove almost impossible to match. Thanks to the reach of YouTube, the band found their guy -- in Manila. Arnel Pineda, a Filipino cover singer who specialized in Journey songs, was ready to throw in the towel on his career when he received the call to audition. -- Ernest Hardy

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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