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Billy Joel, Cardi B and the best concerts in Phoenix this December

The final month of 2023 will also offer gigs by Rod Wave, Nai Palm, Yussef Dayes and Queens of the Stone Age.
Cardi B is scheduled to headline TikTok in The Mix on Dec. 10 in Mesa.
Cardi B is scheduled to headline TikTok in The Mix on Dec. 10 in Mesa. Atlantic Records
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The last month of every year is typically the busiest, which is completely understandable given we’re hip-deep in the holiday season.

December 2023 will be no exception. Phoenix’s concert calendar is filled with big shows this month. The two biggest are Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks bringing their stadium tour to Chase Field on Dec. 8 and the TikTok in The Mix global music event on Dec. 10 at Sloan Park in Mesa featuring Peso Pluma and Cardi B.

Other notable names coming to the Valley in December include Rod Wave, Nai Palm, Yussef Dayes, Queens of the Stone Age and Gladys Knight. There are also holiday concerts and music events like Alt AZ 93.3’s Ugly Sweater Pary and the latest Arizona Hip-Hop Festival.

Details about each of these gigs can be found below in our list of the best concerts in Phoenix this December. For more live music in the Valley, check out our listings.

Yussef Dayes

Monday, Dec. 4
Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave.
Jazz may not have the cultural prominence it once held, but the genre is still alive and well. Modern artists like Makaya McCraven, Kamasi Washington and Esperanza Spalding are keeping the torch burning, not to mention the fact Andre 3000 surprised fans and critics alike recent by releasing a compelling album of flute-driven spiritual jazz music. You can also add Yussef Dayes, the British-born composer and drummer whose fluid mastery behind the kit has made him an in-demand player in South London’s vibrant jazz scene. Heavily influenced by reggae, Afrobeat and grime, Dayes put out his debut solo album, “Black Classical Music,” in September. The 19-song release is as expansive as it is emotionally expressive. Dayes’ band lays down plush layers of ambient textures and cosmic tones while he action-paints with his drums, splashing dynamic rhythms over their melodic wash. It’s music you can sink into, music that can carry you downstream, as alive and vital as the birds singing outside your window. With Green Lantern; 7:30 p.m., $40 via ticketweb.com. Ashley Naftule
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Armor for Sleep
Equal Vision Records

Armor for Sleep

Monday, Dec. 4
The Nile Theater, 105 W. Main St., Mesa
New Jersey’s Armor for Sleep established a distinct presence within the mid-2000s indie/alternative scene by captivating audiences and critics alike with their emotive blend of emo-rock and dream-pop. Their music intricately wove haunting melodies together with introspective and poignant lyrics, notably showcased in their breakthrough 2003 album on Equal Vision Records, "Dream to Make Believe." Armor for Sleep put out a few other albums before calling it quits in 2009 for more than a decade (including 2005’s "What to Do When You Are Dead" and 2007's "Smile for Them"), but “Dream to Make Believe” remains their best-loved release. Their latest tour celebrates its 20th anniversary and features Armor for Sleep performing every song on the album. Get a taste of the nostalgia and raw emotion when the band rolls into Mesa’s Nile Theater on Monday night. With The Early November & The Spill Canvas; 6:30 p.m., $25-$100 via simpletix.com. Benjamin Leatherman

Queens of the Stone Age

Tuesday, Dec. 5
Arizona Financial Theatre, 400 W. Washington St.
Queens of the Stone Age were born in the desert, molded by it, sandblasted and baked into something as smooth and sharp as a cactus needle. QOTSA mastermind Josh Homme built his guitar hero bonafides with the majestic stoner rock band Kyuss, playing shows powered by generators out in the desert by Palm Springs. Queens of the Stone Age’s eighth studio album, 2023’s “In Times New Roman,” is a spiritual return to form for Homme’s early years. While he still retains the incisive, groove-driven guitar style that defines QOTSA, there’s a twilight atmosphere, a moodiness to “In Times” that harkens back to those days in the desert. Eschewing the shiny production of 2017’s “Villains,” this record brings the Queens back down to their earlier, angrier sound. Homme sounds like a man lost in the wilderness, trying to claw his way back to civilization one immaculately played riff at a time. Crank up the volume, spark up a fat one and watch the sun go down as the Queens show you where the most comfortable shadows lie. With Spiritualized; 7 p.m., $29.50-$200 via livenation.com. Ashley Naftule

Davina and the Vagabonds

Tuesday, Dec. 5
Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd.
Davina and the Vagabonds are a whirlwind of bluesy, jazzy and rootsy fun in the vein of Squirrel Nut Zippers, Asylum Street Spankers or many similar acts mining the broad pantheon of Americana. Centered on the magnetic presence and intoxicating vocals of songstress/pianist Davina Sowers and backed by brass musicians and a Hammond B3 organ, the five-member ensemble create a potent concoction of neo-soul, jazz and swing bubbling over with energy and verve. It’s fun, lively music guaranteed to cause toes to tap in the audience at the Musical Instrument Museum when Davina and the Vagabonds amble through this month. 7 p.m., $44.50-$49.50 via mim.org. Benjamin Leatherman

Nai Palm

Tuesday, Dec. 5
Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave.
Forget the wordplay in her stage name: Nai Palm’s music doesn’t burn. The Australian singer-songwriter has an unusual style. Her voice and guitar playing is extremely fluid; listening to songs off her 2017 album “Needle Paw,” they seem to blur together, melting softly into melodic soundscapes where songs bleed into each other and Palm’s voice becomes just as much of a wordless instrument as the guitars, piano and other spare instrumentation swirling around her. Born in Melbourne, she made a name for herself in her native country as part of Hiatus Kaiyote, an experimental jazz/funk band. Her solo work veers off from the maximalism of her band to embrace a more stripped-down, abstract style. Her strange style has garnered her some unexpected fans, like Drake (who featured Palm’s vocals on his 2018 record “Scorpion”). Deeply influenced by soul music, classic rock and Indigenous art, Palm combines them into a sound that is otherworldly, like the sort of thing you half-remember in a dream. 7:30 p.m., $35-$48 via ticketweb.com. Ashley Naftule
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Rod Wave is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, December 13, at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale.
Ticketmaster

Rod Wave

Tuesday, Dec. 5
Desert Diamond Arena, 9400 W. Maryland Ave., Glendale
Trap soul might sound like a spell from a DandD session, but it’s a thriving sub-genre of hip-hop. A fusion of soul, trap and R&B, it mines the dark, claustrophobic energy of trap music and injects it with an uplifting positivity. One of the movement’s biggest trailblazers is Florida rapper Rodarius Marcell Green, better known as Rod Wave. He rose to fame in 2019 after making an impression on TikTok with the heart-on-sleeve confessional "Heart on Ice,” which later became a hit. With a singing voice that’s dexterous and soft, Green spits a dizzying amount of syllables while sounding humble and remote. While he’s not a household name, his records have consistently hit the Billboard charts and he's landed an impressive roster of guest stars on tracks, including two of his major inspirations guest on his albums: E-40 and Kevin Gates. Rapping over guitars and piano-heavy tracks, Wave is almost a classic singer-songwriter. Instead of singing out of Laurel Canyon, though, he’s pitching melodies from the trap. With Ari Lennox, Toosii and Eelmatic; 8 p.m., $44.50-$224.50 via ticketmaster.com. Ashley Naftule

Blondshell

Thursday, Dec. 7
Valley Bar, 130 N. Central Ave.
“Logan’s a dick, I’m learning that’s hot,” Sabrina Mae Teitelbaum sings on “Veronica Mars,” the opening song on her debut album as Blondshell. The subject matter is fitting: like the cult TV show, Blondshell is trying to pull off a tricky balancing act of being both retro and modern. Veronica Mars tried to thread the needle of being a noir detective show while also tapping into the teen drama zeitgeist at the time; Blondshell is aiming to be both a modern pop act while drawing heavily from '90s alt-rock. You can hear totemic artists from the era like PJ Harvey, Liz Phair and even Belly in Teitelbaum's laconic vocals and seesaw guitar riffs, turning on a dime from pretty and contemplative to something crunchier and harder edged. While '90s appropriation has been a hot trend over the last few years, Teitelbaum sets herself apart from other revivalists by her dark wit and love of Britpop. There’s a bit of Pulp cheekiness in her lyrics and barbed Elastica pop hooks in her songwriting. Blondshell is something old and something new. With Pleasure Cult; 7:30 p.m., $16 via ticketweb.com. Ashley Naftule

Gladys Knight

Friday, Dec. 8
Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St.
R&B/soul queen Gladys Knight has achieved legendary status in the music industry. With a career spanning more seven decades, she's renowned for her powerhouse vocals and emotional depth, earning her the title "Empress of Soul." After rising to fame as the namesake lead singer of Gladys Knight and the Pips, she was the voice behind such timeless hits as "Midnight Train to Georgia," "Neither One of Us," and "Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me." Her velvety voice effortlessly navigates between gospel-infused fervor and soulful balladry. After her band retired in 1988, the multiple Grammy Award-winning singer persisted in performing as a solo artist. 8 p.m., $45-$125 via etix.com. Benjamin Leatherman

Fear

Friday, Dec. 8
Nile Theater, 105 W. Main St., Mesa
Fronted by the garrulous and imposing Lee Ving, L.A. punk icons Fear are the musical equivalent of junkyard dogs snapping on chains. Fear classics like “Let’s Have a War” bridge the gap between the Sex Pistols and Motorhead, full of bile and macho fury. The band’s fearsome live energy and stage presence made them poster boys for the American punk rock scene, which is why they turn up in such genre documentaries as “The Decline of the Western Civilization.” Their first two albums with Slash Records remain a high-water mark for this style of caveman punk. Few bands provide a more fitting soundtrack for a bad night out than Fear. With Jughead's Revenge, Unstable Youth & TV Tragedy; 6 p.m., $30 via simpletix.com. Ashley Naftule

Silverstein

Friday, Dec. 8
Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe
You can’t get much more emo than singing “If this is life then why does it seem like dying?” Silverstein’s Shane Told belts out that pithy bit of existential angst on “Slow Motion,” one of the standout songs on 2022’s “Misery Made Me.” Over 20 years, the Ontario band have refined and honed their post-hardcore style, developing a strain of emo rock that features the whining, emotive singing you expect from any self-respecting tears-in-my-Monster-Energy band. Silverstein contrasts those vocals with a more unpredictable musical style that touches on post-rock, hardcore, even bits of dream pop. They know how to knit together languorous atmospheric soundscapes just as much as they know how to knock out a three-chord rager. Like their namesake, Shel Silverstein, they’re adept at mixing menace with magic. Dust off your Chucks and powder up your tightest pants so you’ll be ready to thrash, pogo and stand for hours when Silverstein plays Marquee Theatre this month. With Stray From the Path and Avoid; 7:30 p.m., $30.50 via seetickets.us. Ashley Naftule
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The Klezmatics
MIM

The Klezmatics

Friday, Dec. 8
Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd.
There's a world of influences mixed into the globe-trotting tunes of The Klezmatics: Afro-Caribbean and Balkan rhythms, Yiddish lyrics, Latin stomps, jazzy Dixieland riffs, punk politics, and (of course) traditional klezmer arrangements. Members of the NYC-based ensemble use a wealth of instruments, ranging from fiddles and accordions to nyckelharpas, gadulkas and tamburitza. The result is energetic, lively and heartfelt music described as “clarinet-wailing, hyper-thumping soul music of the Jewish diaspora.” Another key influence for The Klezmatics has been the late Woody Guthrie. The folk legend’s artistry has been baked into the DNA of their sound and provided the lyrics for their 2006 album "Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanukkah." As the story goes, lyrics for numerous unpublished songs inspired by the Jewish holiday he wrote in the '40s and '50s with his mother-in-law, Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt, were unearthed by his family and provided to The Klezmatics to record and perform. They’ve become a staple of the ensemble's annual holiday tour, which fittingly visits the MIM every December. 7:30 p.m., $44.50-$54.50 via mim.org. Benjamin Leatherman
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Billy Joel during a 2019 performance at Chase Field.
Jim Louvau

Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks

Friday, Dec. 8
Chase Field, 401 E. Jefferson St.
Divorcees and recovering coke addicts, your time is now. Two songwriting legends are combining their powers of introspection, melody and narcissism for an arena show full of era-defining hits. On paper, the two couldn’t be further apart: Stevie Nicks the witchy woman, a metaphysical siren with a hard edge underneath all those whirling shawls, and Billy Joel, the Long Island boy with a chip on his shoulder the size of Manhattan, whose songs live and breathe in the quotidian muck. What brings them together is a shared history of rock star hubris and good times, a knack for writing incredible songs and simply staying alive and active while so many of their contemporaries flamed out. Nicks and Joel fans attending their tour stop at Chase Field can expect some collaborations and surprises. Joel has been singing the Tom Petty parts in Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and Nicks has guest starred in Joel’s set to sing “And So It Goes.” They’ve also been adjusting their setlists from city to city, so you can look forward to hearing some rarely performed tracks from the pair. 7 p.m., $225-$750 via ticketmaster.com. Ashley Naftule
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Arizona Hip Hop Festival founder Justus Samuel.
New Times Archive

Arizona Hip-Hop Festival

Saturday, Dec. 9
Monarch Theatre, 122 E. Washington St.
Bar Smith, 130 E. Washington St.
After nearly a decade of showcasing up-and-coming rappers from the Phoenix scene, the Arizona Hip Hop Festival is staging its final edition this month. Promoter and Justus Justus Samuel, who stepping back from the local hip-hop community to focus on other projects, says they’re going out in style. As with its first nine editions, the locally focused event will feature by a slew of talents from throughout Arizona. This year’s lineup will include sets by more than 150 rappers, MCs and DJs on five different stages at neighboring downtown Phoenix venues Monarch Theatre. Vendors, live artists and b-boy and b-girl dancers will also be a part of the event. Noon, $40 at the door. Benjamin Leatherman
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British rock band The Struts.
Ticketmaster

The Struts

Saturday, Dec. 9
Gila River Resorts & Casinos: Wild Horse Pass, 5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler
British invasions seem to happen in waves. The first are where you get the heavy hitters: your Beatles, Stones, Oasis,  The Smiths. Next comes more culty favorites like Manic Street Preachers, Elastica and Fairport Convention. Then there’s the dreaded third wave, those British bands that seem to have been manufactured in a lab by the U.K. music press to be the Next Big Thing: The Libertines and The Struts. They have all the Anglophile selling points: handsome singers! Stylish clothes! Tasteful and noticeable influences! But you can’t help but feel like you’re getting tofu when you order a steak. The Struts are very much a third-wave rock band, but they make the best of it. Drawing on a love of The Strokes and Def Leppard, the Struts make a very English version of cock-rock. Singer Luke Spiller invests a lot of “oh, behave” dandy energy into his singing while guitarist Adam Slack runs through an arsenal of good-time riffs that does an impeccable job of reminding you of five other songs you like. Much like The Libertines, The Struts make great music for feeling debauched and continental. If you want to feel worldly while getting drunk enough to make out with a stranger at a rock show, The Struts have got you covered. With Mac Saturn; 8 p.m., $35-$95 via ticketmaster.com. Ashley Naftule
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Rapper Cardi B will co-headline TikTok in The Mix.
Atlantic Records

TikTok in The Mix

Sunday, Dec. 10
Sloan Park, 2330 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Mesa
After conquering the social media world and pop culture in general, TikTok is staging its first-ever “global music event” later this month in (checks notes) the occasionally sleepy Valley suburb of Mesa. Thousands of influencers, TikTok users and music fans will descend upon Sloan Park for the event, which will feature performances in the round from hitmaking rapers Peso Pluma and Cardi B, pop singer Niall Horan, Brazilian-born vocalist Anitta and R&B singer-songwriter Charlie Puth. Emerging artists Sam Barber, LaRosa, Kaliii and Lu Kala are also scheduled to perform during the event, which will be streamed worldwide via TikTok Live (natch). 4 p.m., $25-$60 via tixr.com. Benjamin Leatherman

Los Yesterdays

Wednesday, Dec. 13
Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave.
Los Yesterdays have some serious soul bonafides. Guitarist Gabe Roth and bassist Tom Brenneck are Daptone Records musicians who’ve backed greats like Charles Bradley and the late Sharon Jones. Roth and Brenneck bring their soulful string-strumming and plucking to the party while Victor Benavides contributes velvety crooning and Gabriel Rowland keeps it moving with his in-the-pocket drumming. Los Yesterdays are less of a band than they are a time traveler. Sit back, cue up one of their indelible cuts like “Tell Me I’m Dreaming” or “Nobody’s Clown,” and close your eyes. You’ll feel yourself astral projecting to the glory days of Stax and Motown in no time. For all their retro leanings, their music sounds utterly contemporary thanks to their song’s immaculate productions, the forcefulness of their playing and Benavides’ go-for-broke soul man stylings. Head on down to  Crescent Ballroom and let the timeless power of soul music sweep you away and work its sweaty, loving magic on you in mid-December. 7:30 p.m., $30-$40 via ticketweb.com. Ashley Naftule

Alt AZ 93.3 Ugly Sweater Holiday Party feat. Neon Trees

Thursday, Dec. 14
Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe
If you listened to rock radio in 2010, Neon Trees were inescapable. The Utah-based quartet hit it strong right out the gate with their debut album “Habits,” whose single “Animal” was about as ubiquitous as actual trees. Tyler Glenn’s impassioned voice singing “what are you waiting forrrrrr” was everywhere. That’s a tough act to follow, but the Utah band have carved out a niche as reliable workhorses, putting out a series of albums that deftly weave together New Wave influences with 21st-century studio polish, open-hearted lyrics and catchy hooks. Their most recent album, 2020’s sardonic “I Can Feel You Forgetting Me,” finds the Neon Trees dimming their lights a bit. It’s an intriguing departure from their past work as they embrace a darker tone and more muted style. The songwriting is still catchy but the storytelling is a bit more abstract and haunting, the tempos are slower, the vibes are fucked. It’s perfect music for a long, dark winter. With Alexsucks; 8 p.m., $25-$55 via seetickets.us. Ashley Naftule
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Musician and actor Rick Springfield.
Jay Gilbert

Rick Springfield

Friday, Dec. 15
Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St.
We probably wouldn’t swear to it in a court of law, but we’re starting to suspect that pop-rocker Rick Springfield struck some sort of deal with the devil before his career. How else would you explain the Australian-born musician and actor’s boundless talents and perpetually youthful appearance? (Seriously, he’s reaching his mid-70s and looks decades younger.) His recurring role as Lucifer on TV’s “Supernatural” could’ve been him winking at the Faustian bargain he made to become a Grammy-winning artist and a heartthrob of suburban housewives everywhere. All jokes aside, both Springfield and his music have aged very well, as hits like “Speak to the Sky,” "Affair of the Heart,” “Love Somebody” and (of course) “Jessie's Girl” still slap today. With The Black Moods; 7:30 p.m., $35-$70 via etix.com. Benjamin Leatherman

Pink Martini

Friday, Dec. 15
Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler
Pink Martini’s blend of Latin music, jazz and classical music is the perfect antidote to everything that’s happened in the past year — it’s music that celebrates the world’s diversity while honoring the deep musical traditions formed by musicians long passed. Founded in Portland, Ore., in the mid-’90s, the group features multiple singers and around a dozen horn players, all skilled in the Neapolitan blend of styles that is practically the perfect lounge music. The group’s debut album, 1997’s “Sympathique,” became a worldwide success, earning the group awards from countries as far away as France. The group is a callback to the early half of the 20th century, when America still searched outward for culture, and singers like Eartha Kitt and Doris Day sampled world culture for songs like finger foods at a fine gala. If anything, Pink Martini is a reminder to the world that Americans still can appreciate music not served on a blue plate under an American flag. With China Forbes; 7:30 p.m., $56-$86 via ticketmaster.com. David Accomazzo

Arizona

Saturday, Dec. 16
The Van Buren, 401 W. Jefferson St.
Arizona is a throwback to the days when SEO wasn’t a thing and bands could give themselves hilariously generic names like Asia and Europe and The Music without a care in the world for the absolute hell search engines would one day put them through. The boys in Arizona — who hail from the great state of New Jersey — aren’t afraid of getting buried by the Copper State in search results. You have to admire their chutzpah. Speaking of which, the music doesn’t have much in the way of chutzpah: It’s pretty straightforward electropop. Less Imagine Dragons, more Imagine Geckos. The songs are catchy, though, and there’s a real sense of space in their songs, an open horizon they play in that does make one think of the desert. Their songs wash over you like the waters of the river Lethe, soothing and satisfying while scrubbing your memory of them clean. With Fly By Midnight; 8 p.m., $87 via livenation.com. Ashley Naftule
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Brother Ali
Brandon Marshall

Living Legends and Brother Ali

Tuesday, Dec. 19
Nile Theater, 105 W. Main St., Mesa
Later this month, The Nile will play host to some underground rap heavy-hitters. Brother Ali and the Living Legends should be familiar names to any “backpack rap” aficionado. If you listened to El-P records before Run the Jewels, if the names Rhymesayers or Def Jux mean anything to you (or if you’ve ever found yourself saying that you liked Atmosphere before “You” started playing on the radio constantly) then you’ve probably already bought a ticket to this show anyway. For the rest of you: What you need to know is these guys are a hip-hop dream team. The loquacious and lyrically crafty Brother Ali drops quotables like clouds drop rain. Cali heroes Living Legends are the rare supergroup worthy of that appellation, bringing together a Voltron's worth of MCs to spite poetic and venomous barbs, boasts and beatitudes on the mic. Will the indie-rap-loving crowd at this show be as insufferably up their own asses as this blurb? Possibly. Will the music be so good that you won’t care? Most definitely. With Reverie; 8 p.m., $30 via tixr.com. Ashley Naftule

Reason

Friday, Dec. 22
Valley Bar, 130 N. Central Ave.
“Porches in my vision, got my hood still in my oculus,” Reason flows on “Faded Off Poor N Riches!,” the kaleidoscopic opening to 2023’s "Porches." A moody rush of poetic and contemplative verses, Robert Lee Gill Jr. (a.k.a. Reason) reflects on how he was shaped by his surroundings while trying to envision a wider world beyond them. It’s only fitting that he shares a record label with Kendrick Lamar, as he shares a love of writing knotty, dense lyrics with Kung-Fu Kenny himself. But whereas Kendrick can often go off into verbal gymnastics, displaying an explosive ability to switch flows and vocal energy at the drop of a hat, Reason is more laidback. He’s a stealth bomber to Lamar’s Top Gun pilot: Reason doesn’t showboat but his metaphors and insight can blow you away. Reason came up the old-fashioned way: mixtapes. Reason’s socially conscious and introspective raps (not to mention his ear for off-kilter yet memorable beats) caught the ears of the underground, and after a star-making turn on the Black Panther soundtrack and collaborations with Ab-Soul and Ari Lennox, Reason is now a formidable solo artist in his own right. With Xian Bell, Matt Poison and Ronnie Dijon; 7:30 p.m., $20-$40 via ticketweb.com. Ashley Naftule
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Swing into the holidays with Squirrel Nut Zippers.
Concerted Efforts

Squirrel Nut Zippers

Friday, Dec. 22
Scottsdale Center For The Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St.
The Squirrel Nut Zippers may have risen to fame during the same late-'90s swing revival that made Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy a thing, but the North Carolina-born band have always stood apart from their zoot suit-wearing brethren. The Zippers offer more than just a sonorous brass section, mixing dollops of gypsy jazz, klezmer and Delta blues into their eclectic sonic cocktail. (Their spirit animals are admittedly more Django Reinhardt and Tom Waits than Louis Prima.) Similar eclectic choices can be found in the band’s holiday offerings, as their 1998 album “Christmas Caravan” included such songs as “A Johnny Ace Christmas” (an ode to the '50s R&B singer who played Russian roulette during the season and lost) and the lonesome country ditty “Gift of the Magi.” Both songs are featured on the Squirrel Nut Zippers’ current tour, which sees the band performing "Christmas Caravan" in its entirety along with tunes from their 2018 seven-inch “Mardi Gras for Christmas” and various hits. 8 p.m., $38-$48 via scottsdaleperformingarts.org. Benjamin Leatherman
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The scene at a previous Mary Xmas rave.
Benjamin Leatherman

Mary Xmas

Saturday, Dec. 23
Endgame, 1233 S. Alma School Drive, Mesa
The local raver scene turns out en masse around Christmas each year for Mary Xmas, the infamous holiday-themed dance party that dates back to 1999 and offers kandi kids and EDM nerds the chance to dance in a Christmas-inspired wonderland. Recent years have seen the event staged as a desert party, but the 2023 edition is happening inside Endgame in Mesa. There will be three stages, snowball fights and other holiday fun. The lineup includes sets from more than a dozen local DJs — including Phunk Nasty, Sid Snow, Osiris, Carmen Rae, Lilac Silk, Chillix, Dublin, Eggo, ESPX, Flex and Hexagon Honey — and the soundtrack will include many rave-friendly genres, ranging from happy hardcore to drum ‘n’ bass. 8:30 p.m., $20 via eventbrite.com. Benjamin Leatherman
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Virgil Rene Gazca, better known as That Mexican OT.
Audible Treats

That Mexican OT

Wednesday, Dec. 27
Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe
Texas-born rapper That Mexican OT has a Southern hip-hop flow that’s as smooth as the fur on a cheetah and just as fleet-footed. Virgil Rene Gazca (a.k.a. That Mexican Outta Texas) raps like there’s a bomb implanted in his chest that will detonate if he lets up on the gas for even a minute. That verbal dexterity is on full display in his breakthrough cut “Johnny Dang” where Gazca’s voice is flipping with the gravity-defying grace of a luchador. He’s so impressive on the mic that he almost outshines a local legend: Texas O.G. and grills icon Paul Wall. The Houston elder keeps pace with Gazca, rapping with his inimitable laidback drawl. If Gazca is the young lion eager to show you all his crazy moves, Wall raps like a seasoned vet who knows less is more. With a debut album, “Lonestar Luchador,” out on the streets, That Mexican OT is just getting started. Catch up with him if you can. 8 p,m., $41.95-$65 via seetickets.us. Ashley Naftule

Paris Chansons

Thursday, December 28
Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd.
Paris Chansons play a variety of French hits, dating back to the 1930s, when songbirds like Edith Piaf walked the earth, and into the modern era. They also touch on the work of other French pop greats like Serge Gainsbourg and the ye-ye singers of the ’60s, who took Phil Spector’s girl group music and gave it a Gallic twist. Although the band is dedicated to sharing French classics, they’re also committed to sharing these old standards in new ways. They’ll do so again during a late December performance at the Musical Instrument Museum. 7:30 p.m., $44.50-$49.50 via mim.org. Ashley Naftule
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The members of Daft Punk tribute One More Time.
Benjamin Leatherman

One More Time: A Tribute to Daft Punk

Friday, Dec. 29
Sunbar, 24 W. Fifth St., Tempe
One More Time does a spot-on imitation of Daft Punk in concert and does it well. Phenomenally well, even, from the identical re-creations of the iconic helmets and jumpsuits of the Grammy-winning and quasi-robotic French electronica duo (including neon versions inspired by "Tron: Legacy") to the pyramid-like staging that's straight outta the act's landmark Alive 1997 tour. One More Time has Daft Punk down so well that it even mimics its flair for anonymity, asking that New Times keep the duo's real names on the down-low. Since forming in the late 2000s, the tribute act has wowed crowds across the country with its set of mixing, editing, and playing Daft Punk tracks. Catch them going harder, faster, stronger at Tempe nightclub Sunbar in late December. 8 p.m., $22.75 via tixr.com. Benjamin Leatherman
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Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers have a two-night stint at Crescent Ballroom at the end of December.
Frontline Touring

Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers

Friday, Dec. 29 and Saturday, Dec. 30
Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave.
If Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers being tapped to write a song for the Diamondbacks in 2007 wasn’t already a sign that the band are an Arizona institution, their induction into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2019 sealed the deal. Rubbing shoulders with Alice Cooper, Glen Campbell, Stevie Nicks and Meat Puppets, Clyne and his band look right at home. “Right at home” sums up the vibe of the Peacemakers' music. Their blend of Southern rock, Americana, classic rock and power pop is like chicken soup for your ears: hearty, nourishing and fortifying. There’s not much in the way of surprises in a Roger Clyne set in 2023, but that isn’t the point, is it? You don’t go to the Grand Canyon expecting it to be radically different. You go to experience an immutable Arizona landscape, eternal and unchanging and reliable. You can get all that at a Roger Clyne show. With Prefect (on Dec. 29) and The Jons (on Dec. 30); 7:30 p.m., $42-$79 via ticketweb.com. Ashley Naftule
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Steve Aoki
Shore Fire Media

Decadence Arizona 2023: The Sky Realm

Saturday, Dec. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 31
Phoenix Raceway, 7602 Jimmie Johnson Drive, Avondale
All manner of New Year’s Eve parties will go off during the final weekend of December, including this annual two-night electronic dance music event at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale on Friday and Saturday. More than three dozen DJs, producers, and EDM artists are scheduled to perform across multiple stages at this year’s Decadence Arizona, which is equal parts music festival and NYE blowout. Some of the biggest names on the lineup include Steve Aoki, Adventure Club, Chris Lake, Flux Pavilion, Cosmic Gate, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Claptone, Bonnie X Clyde, Illenium, Loud Luxury, Subtronics and Black V Neck. There will also be “Weird and Wonderful” performers, an art walk, various activations and other distractions. 6 p.m., $129-$1,099 via tixr.com. Benjamin Leatherman
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Send 2023 out in style with Straight No Chaser.
Ashley White PR

Straight No Chaser

Sunday, Dec. 31
Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St., Mesa
All good things become terminally dorky over time. There was a time when a capella was cool, even sexy: the golden age of doo-wop music when a handful of smooth cats could lay down a pillow fort of plush sound. A capella in the 21st century is the province of nerds; after all, it’s no coincidence that "The Office" writers made uber-dorky Andy Bernard an a capella guy. But some groups keep the flame of “a capella is good, actually” alive. None hold that flame higher and tighter than Indiana’s Straight No Chaser. Dressed to impress with voices of bass and honey, SNC have made the genre fun again. Combining serious vocal chops with a wry comic sensibility, the group burst onto the scene when a video of them doing a comedic take on “The 12 Days of Christmas” went viral in 2006. Since then they’ve racked up billions of streams and netted a few gold records, with their Christmas records in particularly high demand. They’ll bring holiday cheer to Mesa Arts Center’s Ikeda Theater on New Year’s Eve. And while SNC love to crack wise onstage, their take on a capella music ain’t no joke. 6 p.m., $49.50-$79.50 via mesaartscenter.com. Ashley Naftule
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