Here are our picks for best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. For more options, check out our comprehensive concert calendar.
No Limit Takeover - Saturday, January 30, at Arizona Events Center in Mesa
In October, JustUs Samuel announced that his label, Respect the Underground, would build a partnership with the entertainment empire of hip-hop mogul Master P., and after P.'s involvement in November's Arizona Hip Hop Festival, the partnership is really starting to take shape. Of course, economic growth is one of the key points for both RTU and No Limit, but P. and Samuel say helping lesser-known Arizona rap acts grow and mature to their full potential is a key tenet of their association. Adding Master P.'s name and the prestige of attaching No Limit to last November's hip-hop festival helped RTU sell tickets, even without the legendary rapper performing. The tycoon's real contribution to the fest was his seminar for up-and-coming rappers and industry people to sit down in a room with him and have a chance to pick his million-dollar brain on how to achieve success in the rap game. The seminar was such a hit that P. and Samuel have decided to do it again when the hitmaker comes back to the Valley to headline the No Limit Takeover. Besides the Master's first-ever show in Arizona, there will be two stages of up-and-coming talent performing throughout the afternoon and into the night not only for the crowd, but also No Limit A&R reps. JEFF MOSES
Jason Alexander and the Phoenix Symphony - Saturday, January 30, and Sunday, January 31 - Symphony Hall
Our apologies to the versatile, seasoned, and Tony-winning Broadway star, but it is virtually impossible to write a piece about Jason Alexander without mentioning the C-word.
Costanza, that is. Alexander’s name is synonymous with that of George Costanza, the Larry David-iest character this side of the social assassin himself. But the performer gets back to his roots — and on the stage — this weekend at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street. Expect a show that blends songs, jokes, and, we’re willing to bet, a few Seinfeld stories. BECKY BARTKOWSKI
Los Lobos w/ Ballet Folklórico Mexicano - Saturday, January 30 - Chandler Center for the Arts
East L.A. is where Los Lobos hail, and the band wears its Mexican heritage on its sleeve as proudly as the neighborhoods in which they grew up. Now, the band is teaming up with Ballet Folklórico Mexicano to produce a multimedia celebration of history, featuring music, dance, and other mediums.
Trivium - Saturday, January 30 - Pressroom
Guitarist and lead vocalist Matt Heafy was around 13 or 14 when Trivium formed in Orlando in 2000, and only 17 when Trivium released their debut album, Ember To Inferno. Over the past decade, Heafy and the other members of Trivium have come a long way, from constant experimentation (each album has its own very different sound) to the evolution of their songwriting and musical prowess.
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Rounded out by lead guitarist Corey Beaulieu (who came on board right after Ember to Inferno) bassist Paolo Gregoletto (2004-present) and drummer Nick August (2010-present), the band is still in their 20s, but they've achieved what most musicians their age only dream of. The name "trivium" even suits their accomplishments, translating to a three-way intersection that combines metalcore, melodic death metal and thrash. LAUREN WISE
Hot Club of Cowtown - Sunday, January 31 - Musical Instrument Museum Theater
Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies and Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys combined the au courant hot jazz with the fiddle music of their Southwestern upbringings and invented Western Swing in the early 20th century. Similar influences and instincts led to something called rock 'n' roll a couple of decades later, yet Western Swing remains a classic American dance music that never sounds dated.
Asleep at the Wheel revived it 40 years ago (and are still swinging full-speed ahead) and the Hot Club of Cowtown are damn fine 21st-century practitioners. Fiddler and smooth singer Elana James and Djangoe-sque guitarist Whit Smith met through a 1996 Village Voice ad seeking compatible pickers and realized their blend was a match — the kind that starts a fire. Add one upright bassist (currently Jake Erwin) and they had themselves a combustible trio that nailed Bob Wills' tunes ("Ida Red"), Hoagy Carmichael ("Stardust") and original compositions. MICHAEL SIMMONS