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This Is the Biggest Weekend for Concerts in Phoenix Since the Pandemic Began

Fishbone is scheduled to headline the Back to the Beach festival at Big Surf in Tempe on Sunday, May 30.
Fishbone is scheduled to headline the Back to the Beach festival at Big Surf in Tempe on Sunday, May 30. New Times archives
After more than a year of waiting, we’re on the cusp of the biggest weekend for concerts and music events in the Valley since the pandemic began. No joke. The next three days and nights will feature a mix of big names and notable shows, including three music festivals, long-awaited gigs, and a slew of superstar DJs dropping beats.

Big Surf in Tempe will stage rock and punk concerts in its wave pool on back-to-back days featuing iconic bands like Fishbone, Ozomatli, Pennywise, and Face to Face. Elsewhere, Celebrity Theatre will host its first indoor show since March 2020 and local electronic dance music promoter Relentless Beats is planning a big outdoor DJ fest at Rawhide. It's also Memorial Day weekend, which means tons of pool parties in the mix.

Details about each of these concerts, as well as other notable shows happening from Friday, May 28, to Monday, May 31. Read on for all the details and don’t forget to bring your mask (just in case).



The Originals

Saturday, May 29
Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480-829-0707


The Origials offer everything you could want in a Reel Big Fish tribute act. They mimick the superstar third-wave ska band’s look and sound, right down to the cheesy Hawaiian shirts and antics of lead singer Aaron Barrett. Their songlist is also loaded with hits and deep cuts from throughout RBF’s discography, from radio-friendly tracks like “Sell Out” (natch) and “Take On Me” to such relative obscurities as “Beer,” “S.R.,” and “I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too.” See for yourself when The Originals visit Tempe’s Marquee Theatre on Saturday night. Openers include Action Hammer, Epic XVIII, and The Upchuck. The show starts at 5:30 p.m. General admission is $15 and balcony seating is $25. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge The Darts stage their first show in more than a year on Saturday. - KELLY SAHR
The Darts stage their first show in more than a year on Saturday.
Kelly Sahr

The Darts

Saturday, May 29
Yucca Tap Room, 29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe, 480-967-4777


Let's get to the point, shall we? The Darts fucking rock – and deliver on the promise to “make your head slam and your feet shake.” Comprised of vocalist/Farfisa organist Nicole Laurenne (formerly of Love Me Nots and Motobunny), guitarist Meliza Jackson (decker.), Christina Nunez (Love Me Nots), and new drummer Velvet Hammer (Surfbroads), the all-female garage rock act will return this weekend from a lengthy performance hiatus caused by the pandemic for its first show in more than year at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe. They’ll play their brand of noisy, sexy songs during the set, including material for their upcoming album (which will be recorded this fall with famed local producer Bob Hoag of Flying Blanket Recording in Mesa). The show start at 9 p.m. with opening sets by Thee Oh No’s and The Vooduo. Admission is free. Phoenix New Times

click to enlarge Punk icons Face to Face. - NATHANIEL SHANNON
Punk icons Face to Face.
Nathaniel Shannon

Punk in the Park Music Festival

Saturday, May 29
Big Surf, 1500 North McClintock Drive, Tempe, 480-994-2297


Tempe’s Big Surf may have announced it will be closed to regular patrons this summer, but the popular water park won't be entirely vacant this weekend. A pair of festival-like outdoor concerts will take place within Big Surf’s historic wave pool (which will be drained of water), starting with the inaugural Punk in the Park festival on Saturday. Boasting a lineup loaded with iconic bands – including Pennywise, Face to Face, Strung Out, Good Riddance, H2O, Voodoo Glow Skulls – the event is likely to see the mohawk crowd out in force (after all, we hear they like hanging out in empty pools). The Bombpops and Slaughterhouse share the bill. Gates open at 1 p.m. Tickets are $49. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge The otherworldly EDM duo ATLiens. - APA AGENCY
The otherworldly EDM duo ATLiens.
APA Agency

ATLiens

Saturday, May 29
Sunbar, 24 West Fifth Street, Tempe, 480-687-8409


Earthlings of the Valley, you’re about to receive a visitation from a pair of bass oddities, as the dance music beings known as ATLiens will descend from the heavens and invade your space during Memorial Day weekend. The otherworldly duo won’t be bearing messages of peace and intergalactic unity, but rather auditory assaults of trap-laced dubstep and bass that will probe minds and induce massive amounts of headbanging and fist-pumping.

Consider acquainting yourself with their colonization procedures, or checking out their Soundcloud page to prepare. They’ll land at Sunbar in Tempe on Saturday night with a few local DJs assisting them in their takeover. Doors open at 9 p.m. and admission is $23. Benjamin Leatherman



Big Bagg Fest

Saturday, May 29
Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, 602-267-0186


After shutting down more than a year ago because of the pandemic, Celebrity Theatre is bringing back indoor concerts this weekend, starting with the Big Bagg Fest on Saturday. Headlined by Billboard-charting rapper Moneybagg Yo, who’s previously released such hits as “All Dat” (the 2019 track featuring Megan Thee Stallion), “Me vs. Me,” and “Said Sum.” Chicago-based hip-hop artist Rockstar Rodie (the artist behind such hits as “Man 2 Be” and “Rockstar”) will provide support. The 2,650-person venue will be at full capacity for the show, which starts at 7 p.m. (Face masks are strongly encouraged, though.) Tickets are $60 to $85 for general admission and $235 for VIP seating. Benjamin Leatherman



Under Construction feat. Fisher & Chris Lake

Saturday, May 29, and Sunday, May 30
Rawhide Event Center, 5700 West North Loop Road, Chandler, 480-502-5600


Local promoter Relentless Beats will stage its first outdoor EDM festival since the pandemic at this two-night event that will be headlined by DJ/producers Fisher and Chris Lake, who will perform b2b sessions both nights. Expect plenty of beats and bass, as well as different openers each evening, including Testpilot and John Summit on Saturday and Dubfire, Lee Foss, and Anabel Englund on Sunday. Gates open at 8 p.m. both nights. Tickets are $50 for daily general admission and $125 for daily VIP admission. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Angelo Moore of Fishbone. - NEW TIMES ARCHIVES
Angelo Moore of Fishbone.
New Times archives

Back to the Beach Music Festival

Sunday, May 30
Big Surf, 1500 North McClintock Drive, Tempe, 480-994-2297


Formed in 1979, Fishbone sprung up unexpectedly from Los Angeles's urban core, rocketing to cult stardom on the West Coast's rock scene. However, despite tons of buzz and big predictions, this funky ska-punk crew never really scored major mainstream success. Still, 42 years later, the iconic band is still going strong. These days, there are only two founding members left in Fishbone's lineup: bassist John Norwood Fisher and lead singer Angelo Moore. And over the years, there have been nine other defections, several near-breakups, and plenty of roster swaps. But before all that upheaval, Fishbone was a hard-traveling, reasonably harmonious outfit.

This weekend, Fishbone pays its latest visit to the Valley to headline Back to the Beach festival at Big Surf on Sunday. Chicano rock act (and fellow L.A. residents) Ozomatli is also scheduled to perform along with local ska band Tone Lizard Kings, “Klezploitation” group Jerusafunk, and singer-songwriter Wade Cota. Start time is 2:30 p.m. General admission is $45 and VIP tickets (which include three complimentary alcoholic drinks, access to front of stage viewing and shade areas with seating, a commemorative lanyard, and other perks) are $100. Jacob Katel


Gryffin

Sunday, May 30
Maya Dayclub, 7333 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale, 480-625-0528


Born and raised near Silicon Valley in Northern California, Dan Griffith (better known as DJ/producer Gryffin) is the son of an electrical engineer. He was studying engineering at the University of South California when he became interested in dance music. After seeing Skrillex, he downloaded music production software. He was a natural, his longtime relationship with the piano and guitar having groomed him to be a quality producer.

By his own admission, Griffith veers toward a pop sound – and considers himself a “melody guy.” He calls his music “cloud house,” which is an EDM and future house cousin. Press play on his 2016 hit “Heading Home” and imagine two smiling models walking down the beach and blowing kisses at the camera. Or try “Whole Heart” and envision a couple holding each other close with a setting sun in the distance. As the beat becomes more urgent, their lips touch in a moment of passion. His latest, “Feel Good,” features the familiar voice of Daya — she starred on “Don't Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers.

So far, Griffith has played Coachella, Ultra Music Festival, and the Electric Daisy Carnival in Vegas. On Sunday, his travels bring him to Scottsdale to headline a Memorial Day weekend pool party at Maya. Gates are at noon and tickets are $60 to $75. Elvis Anderson

click to enlarge Ali Shirazinia, better known as techno/house artist Dubfire. - RELENTLESS BEATS
Ali Shirazinia, better known as techno/house artist Dubfire.
Relentless Beats

Dubfire

Sunday, May 30
Shady Park, 26 East University Drive, Tempe, 480-474-4222


From the mid-'90s to the mid-2000s, there were few electronic dance music acts as big as Deep Dish. The Washington D.C. power duo of Ali “Dubfire” Shirazinia and Sharam Tayebi helped lift house music from the underground to the mainstream via glossy pop production value and infectious vocal hooks. But the pair split up in 2006. And while Sharam continued a pop approach to dance music, Dubfire's solo career gave him the freedom he'd always sought to explore cutting-edge electronic sounds and technologies. He has since reinvented himself as one of the most innovative artists and tastemakers on the international techno scene.

This weekend, Dubfire will get behind the decks during the latest TreeHouse Sundays at Tempe’s Shady Park. Local DJ/producers Juheun, Disco Zombie, and JD Mak will open the afternoon event, which gets going at 3 p.m. Tickets are $33. Sean Levisman

click to enlarge EDM producer SNBRN is scheduled to perform on Memorial Day at Maya. - SNBRN'S FACEBOOK
EDM producer SNBRN is scheduled to perform on Memorial Day at Maya.

SNBRN

Monday, May 31
Maya Dayclub, 7333 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale, 480-625-0528


SNBRN is a prime example of the bedroom producer turned touring goliath. Coming from sunny Southern California, the producer caught his first taste of major attention via his remix of Morgan Page’s “In the Air” and deep-house flips of Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” and Ace of Base’s ’90s single “All That She Wants,” which he collaborated on with fellow producer Klatch.

SNBRN’s no stranger to crafting slick, garage-leaning beats, having produced for more than a decade. In 2013, he dropped his first original track, "Cool Beans." Since then, the Internet has been exploding with praise for the producer, racking up thousands of plays on SoundCloud and other platforms. It’s been a long journey for SNBRN, who maintained a rigorous touring schedule prior to the pandemic, a tireless output, and an eagerness that many of the best EDM producers have. This weekend, he’ll perform at Maya in Scottsdale during the venue’s Memorial Day pool party. Gates open at noon and admission is $15 to $30. Steve Vaynshtok
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.