Cinco de Mayo weekend is here, which means parties aplenty. The next few days and nights don’t necessarily have to be spent tipping back the tequila and making regrettable life choices, however. Instead, you could attend one of the many non-Cinco shows happening from Friday, May 3, to Sunday, May 5.
Soundcloud rapper and rising hip-hop star Juice WRLD will be at Mesa Ampitheatre in Mesa on Saturday and it’s bound to be a packed show. Meanwhile, indie rock band Broncho will perform at Valley Bar while Panda Funk DJ/producer Deorro will headline the first Release pool party of the year at Talking Stick Resort.
Other concert highlights of Cinco weekend include the KWSS Spring Fundraiser at Last Exit Live, Thank You Scientist at The Rebel Lounge, Hayes Carll at Crescent Ballroom, and Chromeo doing a DJ set during Maya Day & Nightclub’s sixth anniversary.
Details about each of these shows can be found below in our list of the best shows and music events happening in the Valley this weekend. And for even more live music around town, head over to Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
Beach FossilsFriday, May 3
It’s been a couple of years since the Brooklyn indie pop band Beach Fossils released their album Somersault, but that hasn’t kept them off the road. With three tours under their belt in 2018, including a three-week tour across Asia, the band looks set to continue their residency on the road with a stop at Crescent Ballroom. Electronic experimenter George Clanton, also known for his vaporwave project ESPRIT, will open for the band. Fans are likely to love his mood-setting soundscapes, full of samples and melodies that ooze with nostalgia for the early days of the internet. Why Bonnie will also open Beach Fossils' Friday night show at Crescent, which starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25-$40. Julian Hernandez
KWSS Spring FundraiserFriday, May 3
Last Exit Live
Local nonprofit radio station KWSS is ultimately a DIY endeavor. As such, the folks blasting out tunes at 93.9 on your FM dial need to dig up some cash now and again to help keep their broadcast on the air. Hence this weekend’s “Plus One” fundraiser at Last Exit Live, which will offer a selection of local bands and musicians (many of whom are played on the station regularly). The main stage inside the venue will host performances from Ben Anderson, Jane ‘n’ the Jungle, and Scattered Melodies, while the patio will feature acoustic sets by Frequency Principle, Mill’s End, Sophie Dorsten, and JAM. A raffle will be conducted for such prizes as gift cards from local businesses, items autographed by bands like KONGOS and The Black Moods, and even swag from local record label 80/20. The music starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Benjamin Leatherman
Juice WRLDSaturday, May 4
Los Angeles rapper Jarad Higgins, better known as Juice WRLD, is starting 2019 on a high. His sophomore studio album, Death Race for Love, debuted at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart in early March and continues to hover near the top. Dropping at a time when sad rap seems to have reached mainstream acceptance, Death Race for Love further blurs the lines between emo, trap, and the rest of hip-hop. Joining him at Mesa Amphitheatre on Saturday for his album tour are fellow hype rappers Ski Mask the Slump God and Blueface. Doors open 5:30 p.m. and admission is $49.95. Julian Hernandez
BronchoSaturday, May 4
The garage-rock renaissance may have had its day, but Broncho is still riding the wave. The Oklahoma band has proven to be more than just a jangly throwback, though, adding the dissonance of post-punk into its noisy mix. Singer and guitarist Ryan Lindsey’s nasally growl tops off the band’s unique sound.
The group has been around since 2010 and has released two records, gaining some traction after the song “It’s On” appeared at the end of an episode of HBO’s Girls in 2014. As for the name? Broncho is the moniker of a fictional character in one of the band’s songs — a piece of a musical puzzle that is still being put together as the Western punk outfit’s star rises. Catch them at Valley Bar on Saturday night. Gus D. Wynns and the Breakers will open. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Bree Davies
DeorroSaturday, May 4
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale
Learning music production and DJing was an obsession for Erick Orrosquieta, better known as Deorro. As a teenager growing up in Southern California, Deorro took the bus four days a week down to Guitar Center, where the employees let him experiment with a display DJ mixer. He was still crossfading from one track to the next until a stranger showed him how to mix tracks and beat-match.
Parties led to club nights, and Deorro cultivated a following among house-music enthusiasts. He worked for promoters handing out flyers, and worked his connections until he was booked to play various high-profile gigs. As he carefully built a team around him, it became apparent that the prudent choice would be to give up his onetime dreams of being a trauma surgeon and go with Plan B: Making music.
Seven years later, Deorro is an international success story. He’s a regular at EDM’s biggest festivals, and his original productions — many released through his own label, Panda Funk — are staples in his peers' set lists. He may not be saving lives in a hospital, but he’s still safeguarding people in his role as a mentor to the DJ community. This weekend, you can see him perform during Talking Stick Resort’s first Release pool party of the summer on Saturday. Gates open at noon. Tickets are $30-$60. Patrick Shannon
Roger Clyne and the PeacemakersSunday, May 5
The Van Buren
Local jangle-pop favorites Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers are planning a special Cinco de Mayo performance and celebration on The Van Buren’s outdoor patio on Sunday afternoon. Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts, The Cole Trains, and other bands will also perform and there will be both tacos and tequila (including Clyne’s signature Mexican Moonshine) available for purchase. The 21-and-over event starts at noon. Tickets are $32 for general admission, $62 for a VIP meet-and-greet package with RCPM. Benjamin Leatherman
Thank You ScientistSunday, May 5
The Rebel Lounge
Thank You Scientists are one of the more unique acts in rock, as they consist of seven musicians playing instruments ranging from a shamisen and sitar to a theremin. Classifying the act into one particular genre wouldn't do them justice. Ostensibly, they’re considered a mix of progressive rock, post-hardcore, and jazz fusion, but listening to their music, you'd probably agree that they sort of transcend those labels.
During their sets, Thank You Scientist are able to groove their way through their catalog of songs while providing a stage presence that demands your attention, purely to hear what would come next. Their frenetic and kinetic sound features off-tempo changes, kinky riffs, and unpredictable sonic twists that makes you want to keep listing.
Make no mistake, the somewhat odd instrumentation that this self-described “seven-headed monster” utilizes doesn't seem as though it would draw much attention from metal fans, but it does. And Thank You Scientist are just as popular with the indie types as well. You might encounter both crowds during the band's show at The Rebel Lounge on May 5. Kindo, In the Presence of Wolves, and Fifth Density will open. Doors are at 7 p.m. Tickets are $16.50-$20. Austin Paetow
Hayes CarllSunday, May 5
What It Is, the latest album from country/folk artist Hayes Carll, contains more of his trademark wry and thoughtful lyrics delivered by his singular sounding vocals. A highlight among many on the album is “Jesus and Elvis,” which marks the return of the Almighty One in Carll’s growing discography. One of his best-known hits is “She Left Me for Jesus.” This one’s got an entirely different tone. It’s a moving, poignant tune. Add “Bible On the Dash,” which he co-wrote with Corb Lund, and Carll notes Jesus “comes up a fair bit” in his work. “No, I’m not a particularly religious guy. I’m trying to be a spiritual guy but with limited success. I’m trying to improve in that area,” he said. “You know, you don’t have to explain who Jesus is and there’s certainly a lot of material there.” Carll will be at Crescent Ballroom on Sunday night. Ben Dickey opens. The show is at 8 p.m. and admission is $20 in advance, $30 at the door. Jesse Sendejas Jr.
ChromeoSunday, May 5
Maya Day & Nightclub In Scottsdale
Maya Day & Nightclub is celebrating both its six-year anniversary and Cinco de Mayo this weekend, and they’re bringing the heat with a DJ performance by Chromeo, the electro-funk-loving Canadian duo of David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel. While the actual set time for Chromeo’s performance hasn’t been announced, festivities at the club are expected to begin at noon. Dancing in a pool can look pretty ridiculous and it’s certainly not an easy task, but with Chromeo on the decks, it won’t be hard to get those feet moving. Gates open at noon. Tickets are $10. Julian Hernandez
The Cactus BlossomsSunday, May 5
"We’re kind of always starting over again.” That’s how the Cactus Blossoms describe the next chapter of their band. Brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum have been refining their unique brand of Americana for nearly a decade, with each step forward expanding their sound and their musical horizons. With new LP Easy Way, they once again break barriers and push themselves into grandiose new territory.
“The [release] we did back in 2011, we recorded in nine or 10 hours or something,” Torrey remembers. “We had just started playing around the Twin Cities right at the same time. A couple years later, we met JD McPherson and he wanted to produce a record with us. We recorded You’re Dreaming, which came out on Red House Records, a 30-year-old folk label from St. Paul. Then, we got out of our contract with Red House and started our own label. Easy Way is the first one that we’ve released [ourselves]. This is our first time running everything.”
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McPherson, a rhythm-and-blues master with a similar ear for the older sounds that Torrey and Burkum focused on, produced the duo’s Red House debut back in 2016. The prestigious folk label gave The Cactus Blossoms a shining endorsement for their skills and authenticity, but also gave potential listeners a well-defined expectation of the boundaries of their sound. With Easy Way, Torrey and Burkum go far beyond this invisible barrier. Their show on Sunday at Valley Bar gets going at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Gerrit Feenstra
ZeddSunday, May 5
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale
Anton Zaslavski isn't what you'd call an ordinary DJ. Far from it. Yes, the Russian-German beatsmith is a gifted producer and maestro of the mixers who has rocked unforgettable sets inside numerous nightclubs and at many of the world's top festivals (including Ultra, Nocturnal, and Electric Zoo). But during his musical career, the artist known as Zedd has followed a somewhat curious journey. Zaslavski was classically trained on both the piano and drums as a lad, spent time as a percussionist in a post-hardcore/metal band, and has drawn inspiration from everything from electronic acts like Justice to chamber music when creating his punchy EDM soundscapes. This weekend, his journey brings him to Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, where he'll headline one of the first Release pool parties of the season. Gates are at 1 p.m. Tickets are $40-$60. Benjamin Leatherman