Jim Adkins at the inaugural Phoenix Rock LotteryEXPAND
Jim Adkins at the inaugural Phoenix Rock Lottery
Cole Kiburz

6 Best Concerts in Phoenix this Weekend

Like a hibernating sasquatch, the Phoenix music scene, missing for a few weeks, is raging back with a vengeance this weekend. There are not only a boatload of shows, but there are two major music events, the Phoenix Rock Lottery at Crescent Ballroom and the final Valley Fever show, a showcase of local country music talent, no less, at Yucca Tap Room.

Check out our picks for the weekend below, and browse our comprehensive concert calendar for more options.

Machine Head - Friday, January 16 - Club Red

If you're a Machine Head fan, you definitely can't miss this show. Dubbed "A Night with Machine Head," this concert is just two hours of full-blown metal, with no other bands or openers on the bill. It's the first time the band has been in the Valley since the release of Bloodstone & Diamonds this past summer. Catch some killer solos from shredder Phil Demmel, and hope that glowering frontman Robb Flynn is in a good mood. LAUREN WISE

Phoenix Rock Lottery - Saturday, January 17 - Crescent Ballroom

The best club show of 2014, the Phoenix Rock Lottery, is preparing for its 2015 offering featuring another all-star cast of local musicians teaming up for a one-of-a-kind evening of music. This year's class will feature some really exciting new prospects, like Matthew Foos of synth punks Fairy Bones, Mickey Pangburn of folk rockers The Prowling Kind, David Cosme of space cadet thunder-pop five-piece Playboy Manbaby, and Emma Pew of desert-rock headliners Black Carl. Some of the returning blue chippers include Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World, Danny Torgersen of Captain Squeegee, Bob Hoag of The Love Me Nots, and Robin Vining of The Sweetbleeders. The way it works: On the morning of the event, all 25 of the musicians will meet, and a lottery will be held to place them into five five-piece bands. Each quintent then will be responsible for writing three original songs and learning one cover to be performed later in the evening. Then (as if going out to catch some of Phoenix's most celebrated musicians collaborating weren't enough) all the proceeds will be donated to Rosie's House, whose mission it is to bring music education to the underserved youth of Phoenix. The lottery may be an annual event, but the individual show is one of the few true once-in-a-lifetime experiences in the local music world. JEFF MOSES

Valley Fever: Quarantine - Saturday, January 17 - Yucca Tap Room in Tempe The local country music scene tends to fly under the radar around these parts, but since 2006, DJs Dana Armstrong and Johnny Volume have hosted Valley Fever, a Sunday night concert series at Yucca Tap Room that features local bands, touring bands, and a whole lot of obscure, dusty vinyl records. For years now, Valley Fever has hosted Quarantine, an all-day country showcase. A veritable who's who in local country will perform, including Flathead, Tony Martinez Band, Kevin Daly's Chicken & Waffles, and many more -- more than a dozen acts in total. The music starts in the afternoon and runs until closing time, and there will be few better opportunities to get a taste of what local country musicians are up to these days. 

Styx - Saturday, January 17 - Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino The soundtrack for the summer of 1979 -- at least in one neighborhood in what then was North Phoenix -- was dominated by Styx's Pieces of Eight, which was released at the beginning of the previous school year. We listened on cassette while playing baseball in the backyard and absorbed the songs to the point of saturation. "Renegade" was the obvious favorite because it was a story of death without redemption, just like every one of our backyard baseball games. After that summer, there wasn't much reason to pay attention to Styx. They continued to crank out records, of course, and with the limited radio choices in the Valley of the Sun, there always was a new Styx song, especially one of their signature power ballads, being played somewhere by a wistful prog rock fan who was lucky enough to become a DJ. To their credit, the prolific band always looked and acted like a real band and usually had one or two really catchy songs on each album. At least until the fateful Kilroy Was Here was released in 1983. Then it all went to domo arigato hell. TOM REARDON

Henry Gray - Saturday, January 17 - Rhythm Room

Henry Gray, last of the great Chicago blues pianists, will celebrate his 90th birthday in Phoenix. Gray has played for more than seven decades with many of the blues greats and traveling the world entertaining blues lovers. His beautiful blues were known for unique chording, which gives an edge that disrupts listeners. He also is known for his great boogies and shuffles. His Louisiana voice is known for enticing listeners. Women love Gray and Gray loves women, marrying a woman 30 years his junior. His blues friends heard him say that you shouldn't put two older people together. "You don't get a spark with two dead batteries," he told them. Gray played with Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed and Jimmy Rogers. He described all of them as nice, but said Little Walter was crazy because of his marijuana use and Howlin' Wolf was demanding. "Howlin' Wolf was strict on the music, on how we dressed and didn't allow anybody cigarettes. He would buy us all clothes to make sure we looked nice," he said. Nice is the key word because that's how most of his fellow bluesmen describe Gray. STAN BINDELL

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain - Sunday, January 18 - Ikeda Theater

If you've never caught one of this Brit orchestra's concerts live -- or, even on YouTube -- then we're not sure how you've managed to find a modicum of happiness in the world. Before you expire in your misery, therefore, get thee to the Cerritos Center and fill your head up with the most unusual, brilliant and happiness-inducing music you've never heard. Covering everyone from Otis Redding to Nirvana (with crowd-favorite, Ennio Morricone's "The Good the Bad and the Ugly" always in tow), it's positively uke-madness whenever these limies get together, and this time, they're even inviting you to bring in your four-stringer and join them in a uke-a-long. God Save the Queen. STACIE DAVIES

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

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