12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

It's Super Bowl weekend, and that means there is a massive amount of concerts and parties to attend, should you either know the right people or have the right job. That said, we've tried to pick out some non-Super events this week as well, but unfortunately, unless you're rolling in dough, you'll be on the street straining for a glimpse of what it's like inside clubs in Metro Phoenix during the busiest weekend of the year.

Knife Party - Saturday, January 31 - the Pressroom With a name like Knife Party, someone was bound to get offended. We live in a hypersensitive world where it somehow makes sense to associate a dubstep duo from Australia with violence. That's why the band told MixMag, "I think people sometimes look too deeply into it -- we're not advocating any type of knife-related crime any more than Swedish House Mafia were advocating organized crime." But the only thing violent about this party is how aggressively it encourages dancing. The EDM bubble is still going strong for Knife Party. After a string of EPs, occasional singles, and a plethora of remixes (Nero, Labrinth, and Porter Robinson, to name a few), Knife Party finally released a full-length late last year. With tracks like "EDM Trend Machine" and "404," will have you glitching along in time to the two-step beat. Even "Micropenis" might get you getting down, so start ignoring Knife Party's penchant for terrible titles and start dancing. TROY FARAH

Fairy Bones - Saturday, January 31 - Rogue Bar in Scottsdale Saturday will be a dramatic night. It's the evening before the Super Bowl, and an entire city's worth of people from all over the world will have converged upon the Valley for a glorious weekend. Everyone who lives here can pretend they live in a city until Monday. With all the drama and intrigue that the big game brings, it is the perfect time for Phoenix synth-punk four-piece Fairy Bones to release its highly anticipated debut LP, . Named for singer Chelsey Louise Richard's penchant for theatrics. The evening chosen for the event brings added drama, as the band will find out whether the events surrounding the Super Bowl dramatically decreases its draw. The album showcases Richard's powerful pipes over surprisingly heavy instrumentals laid down by the Foos brothers Matt and Ben and Robert Ciuca. The name Fairy Bones and the mischievously cute singer exude connotations of upbeat dream pop, and though those elements certainly are present in the music, these kids still rock really hard. Perhaps some of that can be attributed to their collaboration with local super-producer Bob Hoag, who the band admits is almost like the fifth member. But the overall direction of the album, as well as the urgency of Richard's vocal performance, isn't the result of post-production magic. They were caused by a band fully prepared to step up with new and exciting music. JEFF MOSES

Wiz Khalifa - Friday, January 30 - Livewire

When Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa released the song "Black and Yellow" four years ago, he and his team figured at most, it would be a regional hit. Instead, it ricocheted the artist to mainstream pop stardom.

Ever since, he's been walking a tightrope. Khalifa toured relentlessly for a couple years as an indie artist, building an army of fans he calls the Taylor Gang. The devotees were less than pleased when Rolling Papers, his debut studio album on Atlantic, was studded with bubblegum ditties.

It should be fun to see how Khalifa's East Coast urban sensibilities mesh with the Grand Canyon state's libertarian, Wild West sensibilities at the Arizona State Fair. REBECCA HAITHCOAT

Lil Wayne - Friday, January 30 - Michael's Cafe

Few critically acclaimed artists make critics reevaluate that acclaim as frequently as Lil Wayne. Not in the sense that some of his albums are better than others--in the sense that some of his choices are so strange that they make us wonder if all that critical acclaim was ever deserved, or just some weird mass delusion. (Witness the reaction to his earlier claim that his "cum tastes like holy water," which I guess is supposed to be a good thing.)

Lil Wayne's mystique has always been his willingness to swerve in unexpected, inadvisable directions. Sometimes it leads him into innovative hip hop, and other times it leads him into oncoming traffic. DAN MOORE

Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, Rakim, others - Friday, January 30 - Celebrity Theatre

This concert would have been huge in 1989. Now, with the benefit of nearly three decades of hindsight, this concert is merely a collection of some of hip-hop's most influential and important pioneers. This is a little slice of history taking place during Super Bowl weekend, and it definitely is one of the more unique events taking place. PHOENIX NEW TIMES

Kid Rock - Friday, January 30 - Coors Light Bird's Nest

There is one vestige of the felled rap-rock era that just refuses to shrivel up and go away. This artifact of one of popular music's more unfortunate trend cycles remains so popular, in fact, that he still manages to sell out massive concerts.

Ladies and gentlemen, Kid Rock is still very much alive and kicking.

Most of Kid Rock's songs consist of samples from big American hits, like "Sweet Home Alabama." After taking a huge hit like this, or creating a rock song that sounds vaguely like another famous rock song, he then adds his frantic rapping on top, making sure to utilize the F-word as many times as possible. He's kind of like the Girl Talk of rock. SARAH STANLEY-AYRE

The Roots - Saturday, January 31 - Pepsi Hyped for Halftime

Like the old saying goes, the more things change, the more they wind up staying the same. Well, at least when it comes to The Roots. Back in early 1996, sort of around the time that Arizona hosted its first-ever Super Bowl, local artist Quincy Ross brought highly influential hip-hop act to the Valley for a free show inside the old Circles Records and. Fast forward 19 years and Questlove and company are still down with performing free concerts in downtown Phoenix. The night before they back up Jimmy Fallon at the Orpheum Theatre, The Roots will be the headlining band at Pepsi's Hyped for Halftime Stage inside Verizon Super Bowl Central. Local bands and artists will be featured all day (including Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra playing from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.) and The Roots go on at 8:15 p.m. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

DirecTV Super Fan Fest featuring Snoop Dogg and Imagine Dragons - Friday, Saturday 30 - Super Fan Stadium

With all due respect to Katy Perry, we're willing to wager that this joint (no pun intended) concert between the Doggfather and the blockbuster alt-rock band out in Glendale will arguably be one of the biggest performances of Super Bowl weekend, if for no other reason than the sheer enormity of both of the parties involved. Snoop and Imagine Dragons have sold at least a billion records combined and dominated the airwaves during their respective eras. In other words, you can expect a big crowd inside the Super Fan Stadium when they co-headline the final night of public concerts at the DirecTV Super Fan Fest. Young the Giant, American Authors, and Ingrid Michaelson are also scheduled to perform. Gates open at 5 p.m. Tickets are currently $125 each. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

Rolling Stone Party - Saturday, January 31 - The Venue Scottsdale

Speaking of esteemed forefathers of music, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith is scheduled to be the headlining performer along with electro-pop singer Charli XCX. You'll need a rockstar-like bankroll to get into the event as admission starts at $887.70 and goes up to a whopping $66,602.25 for a VIP table with your own security, hostess, private entrance, and other perks. Doors are at 9 p.m. See www.stubhub.com/super-bowl-party-tickets. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

CBS Radio's The Night Before - Saturday, January 31 - Talking Stick Resort Arena

Although the name of this concert makes it easy enough to glean the fact that its taking place the evening prior to Super Sunday, it doesn't exactly spell out its particular musical bent or lineup, which we're more than happy to do. It's scheduled to be an arena-sized shindig of radio-friendly country music kings, including the likes of Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line. They'll be joined by local boy Dierks Bentley and mixmaster Dee Jay Silver, who specializes in creating crowd-pleasing country music remixes and is signed to Sony Records. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $69-$149. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

The Weeknd - Sunday, February 1 - Maya Day and Nightclub

If for some reason you've still got some energy, money, or party-lust left by the time that the Super Bowl is over with and still happen to be hungry for live music, Maya in Scottsdale will cap off the weekend with one last blast on Sunday night. Hipster R&B (or PBR&B, if you must) artist The Weeknd is scheduled to both perform and host. Gates open at 10 p.m. General admission is $80 and VIP access is $125. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

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

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