The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Memorial Day Weekend
Steve Aoki is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 26, at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale.
Mitch Schneider Organization
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The geeks down at Phoenix Fan Fusion won’t be the only people dressing up and hitting the town this weekend. Juggalos and Jugalettes will don their makeup and head to the Insane Clown Posse show at The Pressroom, and Game of Thrones fans will flock to Kristian Nairn’s Rave of Thrones gig at The Van Buren.
The concert calendar for Memorial Day weekend also includes renowned DJs playing at pool parties, Vanilla Ice and his fellow ‘90s artists bringing their nostalgia tour to town, and rock legends like L.A. Guns doing their thing.
Here’s a look at the 11 best concerts and music events happening in Phoenix from Friday, May 24, to Monday, May 27. And for even more shows happening around town, check out Phoenix New Times’ online concert calendar.
I Love the '90s Tour Friday, May 24
Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler
If you feel like the '90s were just a little too recent to be looking back on with generational fondness, you’re wrong. When The I Love the '90s tour, which features a variety of throwback artists and acts, rolls into Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler, an age-and-reference-specific dance party will ensue, in which everyone, and I mean almost everyone, will dance and party to the likes of Vanilla Ice, Rob Base, Coolio, and Tone Loc. Admittedly, the experience might feel slightly voyeuristic, watching those who came of age in the era of slap-bracelets and Yo! MTV Raps diving wholeheartedly into the soundtracks of their childhoods. K.C. Libman
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L.A. Guns Friday, May 24
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
The story of this band is a long and complicated one, but what you need to know is that they essentially used to make up half of Guns N’ Roses. In 1984, they combined with members of Hollywood Rose to form the iconic rock band. After lots of breakups and reformations, the band currently include Tracii Guns, one of the original members. After 36 years in the industry, they’re still going strong and will be at the Marquee on Friday night. The show is at 6:30 p.m. Color of Chaos, Scott Rowe and Redrum, Monaghan Dixon, and Dead West will open. Tickets are $25 to $55. Angelica Cabral
The symphony is coming to Roosevelt Row.
Symphny: monOrchid Friday, May 24
We’re all used to seeing symphonies perform in giant music halls, like Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix. But the Phoenix Symphony is trying something new, performing a concert in a far more intimate venue where people are accustomed to seeing art exhibits instead of listening to live orchestral music. True North Studio and Phoenix Symphony are presenting Symphny: monOrchid at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 24. It’s happening at monOrchid, where you can also see murals by local artists and a large-scale dress-form sculpture that’s illuminated at night. Maestro Tito Muñoz will lead musicians in performing space-themed music, from classics to movie tunes. Tickets to the hourlong concert are $10, and there will be a cash bar. Lynn Trimble
Daft Punk tribute act One More Time
One More Time: A Tribute to Daft Punk Saturday, May 25
The Van Buren
Is there room for two Daft Punks in the world? Really, there’s barely room for the one, at least psychically — but One More Time found a tribute-band-shaped space somewhere in there and managed to cram in their own Daft Punk light-up pyramid.
Founded well before the release of Random Access Memories, One More Time keep the Alive 2007 era, well, alive more than a decade later in 2019, delivering what will one day be called the “classic” Daft Punk live experience.
They've got all the details handled, including some particularly deft costume changes, and they come with enough power to push through an hour-plus set of Daft Punk hits, sleeper hits, and even some original remixes. Harder, better, faster, stronger? Well, definitely hard and fast and strong enough. One More Time will take over The Van Buren for their annual Memorial Day weekend show. EDM duo W.A.S.H. will open. Doors are at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Chris Ziegler
Odd Squad Family Saturday, May 25
Club Red in Mesa
"Fighting for the odd, and inspiring the rest," is the credo of local hip-hop group Odd Squad Family. Consisting of members N.U.B.S., Snowman, and A-Factor, the trio strives to spread positivity through their music. A rare genetic condition has left N.U.B.S. without any limbs, and Snowman has albinism, features which have created unique struggles for the rappers, who turn those into bars. In July 2016, Odd Squad Family was rocked by tragedy as Frosty, the youngest founding member of the group and Snowman's brother, died. The outpouring of love that the group received from fans was immeasurable, and Odd Squad Family continue to carry the soul and spirit of the late member within their musical efforts. With music that's honest, relatable, and inspiring, it's hard not to love Odd Squad Family. Nicole Latino
Courtesy of Ticketmaster
The Millennium Tour Saturday, May 25
Gila River Arena in Glendale
It's true: You have a chance to see B2K, Mario, Pretty Ricky, Lloyd, Ying Yang Twins, Chingy, and Bobby V this month, which should give you more than enough R&B to keep you satisfied until the next parade of stars comes to town. Honestly, we wish more rock acts would rip off this format, because when it comes to bang for your buck, shows like this are hard to beat. Go scream for your favorite when the tour hits Gila River Arena in Glendale on May 25, and make sure you've got someone to slow-dance with when the time comes. Cory Garcia
Evan Dando of The Lemonheads
Courtesy of Fire Records
The Lemonheads Sunday, May 26
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Once upon a time, Evan Dando was the fresh-faced savior of indie-rock. And boy, oh, boy did the girls find the Lemonheads front man dreamy. That whole idea would've been utterly sickening — no boy bands in indie rock, please — had the fellas not embraced his act's tunes, too, nodding along at the songs as the girls they brought to Lemonheads shows swooned to daydreams of Dando.
Some 20 years later, though, Dando is back on the touring circuit, certainly hoping to have the nostalgic embrace the chance to relive the '90s. Except this ain't no standard reunion show fare — something the Lemonheads threw together to make a quick buck. No, the Lemonheads are still producing — and, better yet, still producing quite well. Their 2006 self-titled release was actually good and not just another record to be had in your complete Lemonheads collection and 2009’s cover album Varshons (and its recently released follow-up, Varshons 2) both earned praise from critics. Tough to say how the show will go — Dando's got a reputation for being hit-and-miss live — but you have to respect a band that keeps on trucking because it can, and not just because its members want to. Pete Freedman
Steve Aoki is coming back to Scottsdale.
Courtesy of MSOPR
Steve Aoki Sunday, May 26
The Pool At Talking Stick Resort In Scottsdale
We know him, we love him, and he’s heading to the Valley during Memorial Day weekend to delight a horde of electronic dance music fans via another massive, boundary-pushing set at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Over the past decade, the 41-year-old rock-star DJ, label head, pizza entrepreneur, and now fitness-app guru Steve Aoki helped define EDM while launching the careers of some of the genre’s biggest artists and becoming one of the highest-paid DJs in the world. He’ll headline the Release pool party at the resort on May 26, and his performance is likely to include plenty of crowd-surfing and cake-throwing antics. Falyn Freyman
Kristian Nairn, a.k.a. Hodor from Game of Thrones, will hold down the decks at The Van Buren this Sunday.
Courtesy of The Van Buren
Rave of Thrones Sunday, May 26
The Van Buren
Sure, Game of Thrones is finally over, and sure, maybe it unleashed an untold amount of insufferable nerd rage onto the unsuspecting populace thanks to its popularity with both basement-dwelling geeks and your normie coworkers, but for all of you still into the dragon show, there’s a unique opportunity: an EDM extravaganza themed after the HBO mega-hit that’s set to take over The Van Buren this Sunday. Kristian Nairn, a.k.a. the guy who played Hodor, will be on the decks. And don’t worry: Dragons may not be real, but this event 100 percent is, and it's sure to be just as fire as King's Landing got during episode five (oops, spoiler). Douglas Markowitz
Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope of Insane Clown Posse.
Insane Clown Posse Sunday, May 26
More than most of this country's musical groups, Insane Clown Posse has an American-dream backstory — but not the kind that makes for typical Hollywood movie material. Joseph Bruce had been involved with gangs; to get out, he became a professional wrestler. Disillusioned with the nonsense of that world, Bruce ultimately teamed up with Joseph Utsler to make hip-hop.
From there, ICP grew into arguably the most successful DIY band of all time, and one of the few to have a massive cult following, attracting disaffected youth from the largely forgotten poverty-stricken segment of American society.
Addressing social issues that affect the poor while also writing cartoonish horror raps, ICP have never forgotten their roots — and always deliver an unforgettable spectacle of a show, especially after they break out the Faygo. Expect them do so again during their Sunday night show at the Pressroom, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Rittz, MushroomHead, Mac Lethal, Kissing Candice, DJ Paul, and Ouija Macc will open. Admission is $35 to $50. Tom Murphy
Dan Griffith, better known as EDM artist Gryffin.
Gryffin Monday, May 27
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale
Dan Griffith, a.k.a. Gryffin, has played Coachella, Ultra Music Festival, and on Monday, he’ll be at Maya in Scottsdale to headline the Soundwave pool party on Memorial Day. Born and raised near Silicon Valley in northern California, he is the son of an electrical engineer. He was studying engineering at the University of Southern California when he became interested in dance music. After seeing Skrillex, he downloaded music production software. He was a natural, his longtime relationship with the piano and guitar having groomed him to be a quality producer. By his own admission, he veers toward a pop sound — and considers himself a “melody guy.” He calls his music “cloud house,” which is an EDM and future house cousin. Check out his sound while parting poolside at Maya. Gates open at noon. Admission is $20. Elvis Anderson