The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

This weekend’s concert calendar is busy with big gigs.

Katy Perry will bring her latest tour to town, as will Outkast member Big Boi, punk act Unwritten Law, guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel, country music legend Marty Stuart, and the always entertaining Morris Day and the Time.

Several dance parties will also take place over the next few nights, including the latest editions of Necrotek and Emo Night PHX.

Details about each of these shows and parties can be found below in our list of the best concerts and music events in Phoenix this weekend. And for even more options, check out our online concert calendar.

Morris Day at a 2012 concert.EXPAND
Morris Day at a 2012 concert.

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
Friday, January 19
Musical Instrument Museum

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Multitalented Mississippi-born country artist Marty Stuart is one of the last true hillbillies in Nashville. Picked by Clarence White to be in Lester Flatt's band when he was only 12 years old, Stuart also toured with Johnny Cash for years.

He eventually went solo and was seen by some as Nashville's answer to West Coast boy Dwight Yoakam. While Stuart has released some soul-stirring gospel records (including 2005's Soul's Chapel) and experienced periodic mainstream success with songs like "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'" and "Hillbilly Rock," he eventually gave up on being a radio hitmaker and returned to his hard-country roots.

Theses days, Stuart continues to perform gigs with the Fabulous Superlatives, his backing band since 2002, performing at venues large and small around the country. They’ll visit the Musical Instrument Museum this weekend on their latest tour. Deke Dickerson opens. William Michael Smith

Katy Perry performing in December 2017.
Katy Perry performing in December 2017.
Brandon Marshall

The Magician
Friday, January 19
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

Magic isn't real. At least not in the sense of pulling rabbits out of hats. Or cutting ladies in half. But music is one of the rare and mysterious mediums in our world that can render man spellbound. With just a melody and a beat, a night can be transformed from mundane to extraordinary, especially when The Magician's in town.

This Belgian DJ/producer, born Stephen Fasano, started his career as one-half of Aeroplane before going it alone as a solo artist. Over the last several years, he’s built his name as a tastemaker with his Magic Tapes mix series and is probably best known for his 2014 track “Sunlight,” which charted in both his home country and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, his remixes and original tracks prove he can deal slick tropical grooves and disco-era feels just as easily as he blends them.

This weekend, he’ll appear at Maya in Scottsdale for a Friday night set in the venue’s nightclub. Doors open at 10 p.m. and admission is $10. Kat Bein

Patrons of Emo Night PHX.EXPAND
Patrons of Emo Night PHX.
Jim Louvau

Friday, January 19

Tristan Iseult has a thing for playing music that’s dark and moody. Hence the often doomy and gloomy soundtrack the local DJ spins at such nights as HÄXAN or LILITH. This weekend’s Necrotek is in a similar vein.

The monthly affair will involve Tristan Iseult and other locals unleashing industrial and various “dystopian beats for a necrotic society” from different eras in multiple rooms at Club DWNTWN on Friday, January 19. Onetime Sadisco* member ///she/// and Addiction’s DJ AKA will spin EBM and industrial from before 2000 in the “N:/ retrospective room” at the downtown Phoenix nightclub. Meanwhile, Tristan Iseult and The Rev. DJ Razorslave will serve up industrial, techno, body music, and dark electronics from 2000 onward in the “N:/futurist hall.”

The 21-and-over party starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $5 before 10 p.m., $8 thereafter. See Necrotek’s Facebook page for more info. Benjamin Leatherman

Big Boi is doing fine on his own, thank you very much.EXPAND
Big Boi is doing fine on his own, thank you very much.
Courtesy of Epic Records

Katy Perry
Friday, January 19
Gila River Arena in Glendale

Katy Perry is in a tough spot. Her practice of bolting together influences – from Beyonce to Britney Spears to Taylor Swift – to achieve a kind of democratic pop sound is on its last legs. On last year’s Witness, Perry’s fourth studio album, the seams really started to show. The music achieved something almost impossible: It managed to sound outdated and hopelessly trend-conscious all at once. The lyrics, a saving grace for many a pop auteur, were hovering somewhere between uninspired and outright embarrassing. So where does Perry go from here?

That’s what makes this concert so fascinating. Perry, like most pop superstars, is at her most human, her least sleek and commercially put-together, when performing live. This is where you get to see the person at the heart of the marketing machine.

The trademark veneer of 21st-century pop sometimes makes it easy to forget that, behind all those layers of business acumen, studio precision and compromise, lives an artist. An individual with ideas to express and emotions to share. Who is Katy Perry, really? What is she trying to say? Here’s how you’ll find out. Jonathan Patrick

Marty Stuart (center right) and the members of the Fabulous Superlatives.EXPAND
Marty Stuart (center right) and the members of the Fabulous Superlatives.
Alysse Gafkjen

Tommy Emmanuel
Saturday, January 20
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

As guitarists go, there are few who match the style and technique of Tommy Emmanuel. A developer of a complex and unique finger-picking style, he began his career as an in-demand session player before branching out to record and tour on his own. The accolades have rolled in. Chet Atkins called him “fearless” while awarding him the esteemed honor of “Certified Guitar Player.”

Emmanuel’s playing has also bestowed upon him the dual high honors of being a certified Kentucky Colonel and a Member of the Order of Australia in his native land. Dig through his intensive YouTube page and get familiar with how he turns standards and traditional tunes into something original and complex. Tthe research will be a good precursor to his performance this weekend at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Jeff Strowe

Marty Stuart (center right) and the members of the Fabulous Superlatives.EXPAND
Marty Stuart (center right) and the members of the Fabulous Superlatives.
Alysse Gafkjen

Morris Day and the Time
Saturday, January 20
BLK Live in Scottsdale

Prince may have been one of the most generous monarchs in human history. Not only did he shower us with an avalanche of amazing records, the artist also used his producing and songwriting powers to raise up scores of other musicians. He elevated Sheila E to hitmaker status and gifted bands like The Bangles hit songs. For a time in the 1980s, Prince was the fairy dust factory, and everybody close to him got a sprinkle. But nobody got a bigger dose of the magic stuff than Morris Day.

On screen in Prince’s Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge, Day played the heel — a pimped-out, dapper egomaniac with style to burn. His persona on record wasn’t far removed from that. This is the guy who regularly boasted, “Ain’t nobody bad like me!” and backed that up with infectious hits like “Jungle Love” and “Jerk Out.”

Starting out as one of Prince’s band members in a high school group, Day has since made a place for himself in the musical landscape. An elder statesman of R&B and funk, he’s shared the stage with Rihanna and continues to tour the country with his band, The Time. Ashley Naftule

The members of The HillBenders.
The members of The HillBenders.
Maranie Staab

Unwritten Law
Saturday, January 20
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

San Diego punk band Unwritten Law left its high-water mark on commercial music charts in the early 2000s with its subsequent LP singles "Seein' Red" and "Save Me," and while the band hasn't appeared in the mainstream limelight since then, a devout fan base has kept them alive and well.

They’ve endured numerous lineup changes over the years – including losing members like Ace Von Johnson, Tony Palermo, John Bell, and Rob Brewer – but have kept on going. And even though he last time the rockers released any new music was seven years ago, 2011’s Swan, they released an all-acoustic comp via digital download a couple of years back and have been touring extensively with their current lineup of Scott Russo, Wade Youman, Jonny Grill, and Chris Lewis. Caleb Haley

DJ Tristan Iseult
DJ Tristan Iseult
Benjamin Leatherman

Big Boi
Saturday, January 20
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

Almost every interview of Big Boi over the last several years seemingly involves the hip-hop artist being asked about the one thing every hip-hop head has been praying for since 2006's Idlewild: "When will there be an Outkast reunion?"

The short answer? Not any time soon. According to many reports, it seems like Big Boi is down to bring the group back. But Andre 3000 wants to keep Outkast in the past, stating that he's "not the type that prescribes to nostalgia."

But, frankly, Big Boi doesn't need Andre 3000. He's been dropping tracks left and right in recent years, collaborating with fresh voices in the biz, and continues to release albums post-Outkast. Three Stacks, on the other hand, seems more preoccupied with grooming.

Big Boi will perform this weekend at Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale this weekend. The Cool Kids will open.

Guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.EXPAND
Guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.
Courtesy of High Road Touring

Emo Night PHX
Saturday, January 20
The Rebel Lounge

By now, you’ve likely read in articles about bands like the Hotelier, Modern Baseball, and The World Is A Beautiful Place & I’m No Longer Afraid To Die, emerging young groups blending earnest sentiments with variations on post-hardcore and pop punk themes — there’s an emo revival afoot. But here’s the rub — “emo” never really left. Nothing so amorphous can truly vanish.

Scan the roster of bands on the playlists of Daylight Heist, the two-man DJ team comprised of Cody Reyher and Joe Strelsky that serve as residents of The Rebel Lounge’s Emo Night PHX, and you’re certain to spot a variety of bands that qualify as emo. And they’re united more by feel and appeal than actual musical style. And perhaps that’s why the emo designation endures. Beyond its stylistic signifiers (octave chords, crybaby lyrics), emo has always been whatever its listeners ask it to be.

At the latest edition of Emo Night PHX on Saturday, January 20, Daylight Heist will be joined by Buddy Nielsen of Senses Fail, who will perform a special DJ set. The party starts at 9 p.m. and admission is $5 in advance, $10 at the door. Jason P. Woodbury

Guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.EXPAND
Guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.
Courtesy of High Road Touring

Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry
Saturday, January 20
Higley Center for the Arts

South by Southwest co-founder Louis Jay Meyers certainly had the connections; the longtime musician and producer saw his landmark music festival take off like nobody’s business. But still it took decades to find the right bluegrass band to realize his dream of infusing Pete Townshend’s rock opera with some banjo, dobro, and mandolin.

Valley residents will get a chance to experience the first look when The HillBenders bring their bluegrass re-imagining of The Who’s legendary rock opera Tommy to Higley Center for the Arts in Gilbert this weekend. HillBenders guitarist Jim Rea describes it as “bluegrass meets rock and roll” and says they got to meet Townshend. “Oh man, it was remarkable. He’s a rock and roll legend,” says Rea. “It was a huge deal.”

The performance takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 20. Tickets are $23 to $44.80. Susie Tommaney

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