The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

MGMT is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 20, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.EXPAND
MGMT is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 20, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Brad Elterman
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No plans this weekend? Consider attending one of the great concerts happening at music venues around the Valley. There will certainly be plenty of 'em happening.

MGMT will be in town, as will renowned guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, DJ/producer Sango, folk duo Of Sea and Stone, and Mexican pop/rock singer and songwriter Natalia Lafourcade.

Meanwhile, the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd will perform what quite possibly might be their final Valley performance ever, local resident Max Cavalera will bring Soulfly to the Marquee Theatre, and The Rebel Lounge will celebrate its third birthday.

Details about each of these shows can be found below. And for even more music events happening around town this week, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Lynyrd Skynyrd may or may not be playing their last Valley show this weekend.
Lynyrd Skynyrd may or may not be playing their last Valley show this weekend.
New Times file photo

Lynyrd Skynyrd
Friday, May 18
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Lynyrd Skynyrd survived as a band longer than anyone might have expected after the 1977 plane crash that killed three members, including frontman Ronnie Van Zant. But the musicians weathered the storm, carrying on, and expanding their legacy as a pre-eminent Southern rock band.

After more than 40 years of rocking and rolling in venues across America, and around the world, the legendary act is in the midst of their final tour. Earlier this year, Lynyrd Skynyrd group kicked off their Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour in early May, though sole surviving original member Gary Rossington says the band is "just winding it down a little bit."

Regardless of whether or not it's their final one, Lynyrd Skynyrd's tour brings them to the Valley this weekend. They're scheduled to perform on Friday night at Ak-Chin Pavilion. Bad Company, The Outlaws, and Jamey Johnson will open. Katie Moulton

One of the greatest Rolling Stones albums will be feted at The Nash this weekend.
One of the greatest Rolling Stones albums will be feted at The Nash this weekend.
Courtesy of The Nash

Union32 Plays Sticky Fingers
Friday, May 18
The Nash

When Union32 performs Sticky Fingers at The Nash this weekend, they will demonstrate that there is more to the landmark Rolling Stones album than the provocative Andy Warhol cover art, which featured a real metal zipper on a picture of a tight pair of jeans hugging a man’s genitalia.

The jazz quintet, led by Dr. Brett Reed, will explore the jazz arrangements and deeper musical meaning hidden in the 1971 record, known for its hazy song lyrics depicting dirty basements and allusions to drug use. Beyond the killer riffs of “Brown Sugar” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” are the country blues of “Wild Horses” and “Dead Flowers,” and the tenderness of “Moonlight Mile.”

Let the wild horses drag you away at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 18, at The Nash in downtown Phoenix. Tickets are $20 or $10 for students with ID. Jason Keil

Legendary guitarist Jimmie Vaughan.EXPAND
Legendary guitarist Jimmie Vaughan.

Jimmie Vaughan
Friday, May 18
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

For guitarist and songwriter Jimmie Vaughan, talent runs in the family. His younger brother, of course, was the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, a certifiable legend of blues rock. Both siblings started playing in their early adolescence, with Jimmie sitting in during jam sessions and club gigs at the age of 13. By 15, he was making a living performing at clubs and parties across his native Dallas. Although their father weaned the pair on country and western, they'd gain much more inspiration from the blues, including such legends as B.B. King and Johnny "Guitar" Watson.

In the mid-'70s, Jimmie formed The Fabulous Thunderbirds with harmonica player Kim Wilson. The T-Birds quickly became the band to see on the blues circuit. Vaughan inspired hundreds of guitarists to trade in their Les Pauls for vintage Stratocasters. Everyone from Robin Trower and Buddy Guy to Eric Clapton and Jimmy Rogers praised his stinging, understated style.

Since striking out on his own in 1994, Vaughn has released a half-dozen albums, including last year's Live at C-Boy's. The track listing reads like a hip mid-1960s jukebox. It includes some straight-up blues covers of Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Smokey Smothers, ballads such as "Frame for the Blues," several soul jazz classics, and a jazzy instrumental version of the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love." You're likely to hear a few of these during Vaughn's performance at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale this weekend. Tim Livingston

Phoenix Symphony Hall will be filled with Broadway hits this weekend.
Phoenix Symphony Hall will be filled with Broadway hits this weekend.
City of Phoenix

Live From Broadway
Friday, May 18, to Sunday, May 20
Phoenix Symphony Hall

1980s pop star Cyndi Lauper gave a shoutout to the #RedForEd movement during the Arizona teachers’ strike, and the Phoenix Symphony will return the acknowledgment by featuring two of the songs she wrote for the hit musical Kinky Boots during the orchestra’s Live From Broadway performances, which run from Friday, May 18, through Sunday, May 20.

Lauper’s “The Soul of a Man” and “History of Wrong Guys” are both on the set list as is a selection from Hamilton and plenty of Andrew Lloyd Webber classics, just in case you are the only person on the planet who hasn’t seen “Memory” performed on stage.

Well-traveled Stuart Chavetz is the guest conductor, and soloist Crystal Kellogg will hit the high notes. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 20 at Phoenix Symphony Hall. Tickets are $38-$129. Stuart Warner

Soulfly and Nile
Saturday, May 19
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

As the leader of Sepultura for over a decade, Max Cavalera helped put Brazil on the map. From the beginning, the outfit were clearly influenced by punk rock as much as by other metal bands, as evidenced by their socially conscious lyrics, grassroots efforts to get their music out into the world, and their disregard for strict genre conventions.

Shortly after the release of Sepultura's 1996 album Roots, Cavalera suffered a personal tragedy when his stepson was murdered. Cavalera, a longtime resident of the Valley, returned to music two years later with the eponymous Soulfly record – a piece of work that reflected his own search for spiritual meaning in times of great personal darkness.

Since their debut, Soulfly have been a different kind of metal band, not just in terms of lyrical content, but also for their unique use of guitar sounds and nontraditional instrumentation, an approach that Cavalera had begun on his last two Sepultura albums.

This weekend, Cavalera and Soulfly will stage a hometown show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe with support from legendary death-metal act Nile. Tom Murphy

The Gipsy Kings' current lineup.EXPAND
The Gipsy Kings' current lineup.
Courtesy of Impact Artist Management

The Gipsy Kings
Saturday, May 19
Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler

If nothing else, the Gipsy Kings hold the distinction of being the soundtrack to one of the great moments in comedic history. If you've never seen The Big Lebowski, you should stop what you're doing right now and change that. But those sane souls who have seen the Coen Brothers classic will remember the scene we're talking about. The immortal Jesus Quintana pulls up his purple socks, grabs a bowling ball, sensually teasing it with his reptilian tongue, then rolls a sultry strike — all in glorious slow motion. "Fuckin' Quintana," The Dude says. "That creep can roll, man."

The scene is perfect and hilarious in every way, but the glue holding the whole thing together is the Gipsy Kings' flamenco rendition of "Hotel California." Formed in the south of France in 1978, Gipsy Kings come from a Spanish Romani heritage. With 13 studio albums and a pair of live records to their name, the Gipsy Kings seek to use new technologies to distribute their old-world sounds. David Rolland

Kai Asa Savon Wright, better known as Sango.
Kai Asa Savon Wright, better known as Sango.
Courtesy of Paradigm Talent Agency

Saturday, May 19
Crescent Ballroom

Though Sango is widely regarded as a hip-hop producer, his beats-driven music is too complex to be tagged with only one label. As much modern bounce as it can have, his arrangements are often like modern tributes to old-school R&B. On his recent release, In the Comfort Of, tracks like “Sweet Holy Honey,” featuring Xavier Omär, and “Implications” are relaxed, each with a soulful, romantic feeling. As you get lulled by that softness, then all the layers that seemed subtle at first start to present themselves, highlighting Sango’s smooth skills. That latter track won’t make jazz fans sad, either, as a windy sax brings the tune to a close.

He also works in some sounds from Brazilian dance music, as well as computer noises. It’s not all listen-and-chill. The producer has tunes like “Esperado” on De Mim, Pra Você that are keyed-up enough for frenetic dancers to take a liking to. Sango has collaborated with a bunch of artists. He put his touch on contemporary R&B singer Tinashe’s “Cold Sweat,” and released a recording of his mixes of songs by The Weeknd, titled More Balloons. The live show lets you see the beat master in action. Amy Young

DJ Manchester in the mix at Shadowplay.EXPAND
DJ Manchester in the mix at Shadowplay.
Melissa Fossum

Shadowplay's Eighth Anniversary Bash
Saturday, May 19

Dance nights tend to come and go, which is simply a fact of life of any city's nightscene. Some events will start hot and bring in big crowds, only to fizzle out after only a year or less. Other joints will keep going strong and attract people year after year. The monthly Shadowplay night at Rips definitely falls into the latter category, as it's still going after nearly eight years of retro dance action.

Hosted by DJ Manchester, the event has served up a mix of '80s New Wave, post-punk, alternative, dark wave, and indie tracks on the third Saturday of almost every month since 2010. This weekend, Manchester will fete Shadowplay's eighth anniversary with an evening-long celebration that will include drink specials, a guest set by DJ Halo, and plenty of dancing. The music starts at 9 p.m., and admission is $5. Benjamin Leatherman

Natalia Lafourcade
Saturday, May 19
The Van Buren

In 2015, Mexican singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade's sixth album, Hasta la Raiz, won five Latin Grammys. Unlike some winners who let their trophies collect dust in a dark corner, Lafourcade proudly displays them.

“They are at home in the studio,” she says. “I put them on top of my piano. I gave one to my mother, and I gave one to my father. I wanted to have them in a place where I could see them, and remember all the people that were with me when I was working on Hasta la Raiz. It’s something that you did, and it talks about the work and all the energy you put into a project, but it isn’t just you.”

According to Lafourcade, the placement of the little golden gramophones celebrates family, friends, co-writers, and fellow musicians. This theme of collaboration is one she expands upon in her latest record, Musas.

The result is an enchanting album that mixes some very old-school Latin American sounds with Lafourcade’s modern pop sensibilities. The combination of original material seamlessly sitting alongside covers of classic Latin American tunes brings together a collection of odes so pretty it hurts. Standouts such as “Rocío de Todos los Campos,” “Soledad y el Mar,” and “Tú Si Sabes Quererme” are gorgeous compositions that make for a nostalgic, wistful experience. Angel Melendez

The Rebel Lounge is turning three.
The Rebel Lounge is turning three.
Courtesy of The Rebel Lounge

The Rebel Lounge Three-Year Anniversary Party
Sunday, May 20
The Rebel Lounge

Live music club The Rebel Lounge is throwing a party. That’s not a surprising announcement, as it is a festive spot any given night the place is open, being a destination for a diverse roster of live and touring bands, DJs, dance nights, and happenings where performance is at the core.

This time, though, the all-ages shindig on Sunday, May 20, is happening to celebrate the venue’s third anniversary. Bands The Sink or Swim, Rival Coast, Coyote Tango, and Dirty Sunset will take the stage in honor of the occasion. Party begins at 8 p.m.; tickets run $3 to $5.

Hitting this milestone is exciting for The Rebel Lounge’s co-owner Stephen Chilton. “The cool thing for me,” he says, “is the artist development side. We have seen bands play on our stage one or two times and then graduate to a bigger club on subsequent visits. That is great to watch.” Amy Young

MGMT in concert during their current tour.EXPAND
MGMT in concert during their current tour.
Jake Cox

Sunday, May 20
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

A lot of people came to Connecticut-born psych-pop group MGMT via their hit song, “Kids,” from their debut record Oracular Spectacular, released in 2007. You know it: “Control yourself / Take only what you need from it / A family of trees wanting to be haunted.” It was a song built for chanting; its anthemic edge encouraged it to be belted out at full volume. The door-opening track was a good foray into the music world created by Andrew VanWynGarden and Ben Goldwasser, who both handle vocals and multiple instrument duties. The pair met in college, and bonded over a mutual interest in noisy and experimental music.

Those are two components that have stayed consistent in their union, which now includes four full-lengths. Their self-titled 2013 release shows off a love of electro-noise. Songs like “I Love You to Death” and “Alien Days” employ sonic twists and pops that recall ’80s wave-y synth masters, like Gary Numan. Their latest, Little Dark Age, maintains that sensibility but envelops more of the pop sounds their earlier releases are known for; it is threaded from beginning to end with a jumpy and infectious drive. Though the two founders are the main force of the band, they are joined with a few more musicians to complete the touring lineup that you’ll see Sunday. Amy Young

Of Sea and Stone's Luke and Morgan Dierker.EXPAND
Of Sea and Stone's Luke and Morgan Dierker.
Alex Hutchinson Photography

Of Sea and Stone
Sunday, May 20
Valley Bar

Sometimes you swipe right on Tinder and get more than a date or a new significant other. The now-married Luke and Morgan Dierker got wedded bliss, but in one another, they also found the perfect bandmate. The folksy, Americana duo Of Sea and Stone met through that app and discovered that, in the most literal interpretation of the adage, they make beautiful music together. They’ve got a couple of full-length releases under their belt as rich with sadness as they are sweetness.

Both vocalists are engaging solo, but when they bring their voices together, there’s the money. United, the harmonies give the songs sticking power. Morgan’s high range, and bit of twang, wraps around Luke’s lower tones, and they blend upon contact.

The pair have garnered a lot of comparisons to the now-disbanded Civil Wars, which featured Joy Morgan and John Paul White doing their own brand of the indie-folk-Americana mix. That pair were acclaimed by fans and critics, so the compliment is worthy. Of Sea and Stone obviously find no issue with that correlation, as their self-titled record was mixed by Richie Biggs, who had his hands on a few of the Civil Wars’ releases. Amy Young

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