February brings a packed calendar of events to the Valley of the Sun — the Barrett-Jackson car show is wrapping up, the Waste Management Open is kicking off, and the weather is gorgeous, prompting an array of other outside festivals and activities. It also prompts bands to get back on the road and start their spring tours. The Valley’s February music calendar is jam-packed, and I can’t wait — my birthday is on the fifth, and I tend to celebrate throughout the entire month.
From a handful of concerts that are all about focusing on the wolvesbest metal AZ has to offer, to legends like Megadeth, At the Gates, and Marty Friedman, to some acts that I feel are a bit underrated, like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Nervosa, we've got all your top metal shows for the month of February right here.
February 5 – Enforcer, Warbringer, and more – Club Red
13th Floor Entertainment Presents a solid line-up headlined by Sweden’s old-school metal group Enforcer. The show is rounded out by a variety of bands that range from old-school thrash to death metal to crossover, and includes Warbringer, Cauldron, Exmortus, SaintBreaker, and local act Violent Revolution.
February 6 – Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Crescent Ballroom
Canadian post-rock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor has been around since ’94, but the band’s influence in post-rock never ceases to amaze me. Last March they released their fifth album Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress, and have been touring ever since. They never quite broke into the mainstream, but their loyal fans routinely buy all the tickets to their shows.
February 6 – The Best Metal Show – The Blooze Bar
The Blooze Bar plays host to The Best Metal Show, which showcases a handful of the best local metal bands around. Get there early to see all the bands, including Sectas, Vex, Downhill Trend. Sponsored by The Best Clothing Company.
February 8 – Marty Friedman – The Rebel Lounge
If you haven’t seen Marty Friedman on his solo tour, then this is a show you need to get to. Guitar World magazine voted his first-ever solo record, Inferno, the best shred album of 2014, and his unique backstory story of finding immense success as a solo artist in another country and culture after leaving a multi-platinum band is legendary. In fact, there’s currently a documentary and biography in the works about him. The lineup is rounded out by Inferno, and Take Over and Destroy.
February 13 – The ReSurgence Girls – Joe’s Grotto
The ReSurgence Girls are celebrating the darker side of romance on Valentine’s weekend with their debut video release of Masquerade. I’d recommend splurging for VIP tickets at this show, which will also feature Tome, Three Seconds More, Interfate, Dead Light Shines, and Aperfectool.
February 13 – Homegrown Heroes Music Festival – Club Red
This event is all about celebrating the local scene with some bands that you may or may not have heard of. It’s a great way to get a taste of what is on the rise in the desert metal scene, from groove-based death metal to Expect to see an array of Arizona talent, including the Fatal Malady, The Audio Virus, Hounds of Tindalos, Ironkill, Artesyn, Fire Glass, Bekkoning, Empire of Dezire, Absolute Adversary, and Duntov.
February 17 – At the Gates – Marquee Theatre
Swedish melodic death metal act At the Gates was a major part of pioneering the Gothenburg sound. While they have broken up a few times over the years, they reformed in 2010 and released their first album in 19 years in late 2014. The band appeals to a wide range of fans due to their sound evolving over the years, from including string solos to being heavily influenced by American thrash to vocals that range from light and melodic to guttural and intelligible. Decapitated, The Haunted, and Harms Way will hit the stage before At the Gates.
February 19 – D.R.I., Sanitation Squad, and more – Club Red
Sanitation Squad brings a mix of rock ’n’ roll, metal, and thrash to the table. It is one of my new favorite local bands, so I’m particularly pumped to see the group performing at this show. Headliners D.R.I. combine hardcore, punk, and thrash for a crossover metal style, while Kill Comman, Potential for Manipulation, and Eye Rake round out the bill.
February 20 – Scott Rowe’s Birthday Bash – The Blooze Bar
Scott Rowe has been an influential figure in the local metal scene for years, and is probably best known to local metalheads as singer for his Alice Cooper Tribute band as well as Twelve Inch Tacks. The Blooze Bar will host his 53rd birthday bash, with music from MasHell, Twelve Inch Tacks, CO-OP (Alice Cooper’s son’s band), Scott Rowe’s Alice Cooper Tribute, and Desert Plains Judas Priest tribute. You might even see an appearance by the actual Alice Cooper here as well.
February 24 – Fleshgod Apocalypse – Joe’s Grotto
MPA & Locals and Legends Presents Fleshgod Apocalypse, a band that has brought Italy’s extreme death metal movement to an entirely new level. The five members have fused together different genres, combining elements of death metal, orchestra, classical, and film scores to create a sound that is extremely unique. From Cannibal Corpse to Mozart to film score composer John Williams, their influences may have a wide span, but the combination has created a mesmerizing concept that’s only growing stronger. The lineup includes Carach Angren and Abigail Williams.
February 26 — Blakk Mantra, Wolves of Winter, Vomitorium, and more — The Rogue Bar
Some of the metal bands on this bill may be a bit more obscure, but they are well worth checking out. Denver’s Blakk Mantra combines crushing riffs, thick, sludgy tones, and melodic vocals, while Phoenix’s Wolves of Winter are a perfect example of what to expect from classic desert doom metal. Vomitorium, Camel Enamel, Winter Monolith, and Concertina round out the bill — and the latter should be on your radar as a very talented up-and-coming Phoenix metal band.
February 27 – Megadeth – Comerica Theatre
Megadeth may need no introduction, and they are certainly no stranger to being front and center in the news; most recently it was because guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover decided to leave the band. Now replaced by Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler and Angra guitarist Kiko Loureiro, Megadeth’s 15th studio album Dystopia was released on January 22, and the band is hitting the road for the Dystopia World tour along with Suicidal Tendencies, Children of Bodom, and Havok.
February 27 — When Titans Collide III — Joe’s Grotto
This year marks the third annual When Titans Collide Concert Series, which has turned into a super beneficial event for the local scene and all the bands involved. It not only brings the Valley’s best metal bands together for a killer night of metal—all the ticket proceeds go straight to the bands. This year's event includes St. Madness, Destructured, Throw Logic, Absolute Threshold, and Footer.
February 27 – Play for Blood, Scattered Guts, and more – Rockbar
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Rockbar has slowly been adding more metal shows to their roster, but this might be the heaviest one to date, a veritable buffet of death, thrash and doom metal bands including Play for Blood, Scattered Guts, Altered Silence, Murkocet, and Within the Throes.
February 28 – Nervosa – Joe’s Grotto
I first heard Nervosa a few years ago, and fell in love. Not only is it an all-female brutal thrash metal band, but they’ve got that Brazil thrash element that you just can’t help but love. Final Hour Booking Presents this show, and other bands to hit the stage include F.U.M.E. BROTHERS, Yeii'tsoh, Bleed The Fifth, Souless, I Don't Konform, Voltrum, and HeadStrum.