Concerts

Here's Your Guide to the Best Fall Concerts in Metro Phoenix

Screaming Females are coming to Valley Bar this fall.
Screaming Females are coming to Valley Bar this fall. Christopher Patrick Ernst
Might sound contrarian, but fall is when things start heating up in metro Phoenix. From art shows and theatrical productions to must-see concerts, you’ll find something to do every single night of the week. It’s a fun problem to have, sure, but it also means an overwhelming number of possibilities. So we’re here to help you make the tough calls, rounding up everything we’re genuinely excited about this fall. Let’s start with live music, shall we? With the newly opened Van Buren downtown and major acts coming through small clubs and massive arenas, music fans are faced with an embarrassment of riches. Here are 35 upcoming concerts worth the price of admission.

September


Seu Jorge
Tuesday, September 5, at The Van Buren
$43-$56
Seu Jorge brought the Star Man down to Earth with his acoustic guitar and beautifully flawed Portuguese translations of David Bowie’s music in Wes Anderson’s underrated The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. His tribute tour celebrates the work of an artist who gave hope to the rebels and outcasts of the world. Jason Keil

Melvins
Tuesday, September 5, at Crescent Ballroom
$23.50-$25
The Melvins’ Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover have worked together longer than most marriages last. And they’re still making sweet, eardrum-shattering music together as the state of Washington’s greatest harsh music export. Music heroes from the ’90s are dropping like flies, but Buzz and Dale keep on shredding amps. Ashley Naftule

Grateful Shred
Friday, September 15, at The Van Buren
$10-$12
If you obsessed over the Grateful Dead doc Long Strange Trip, you probably wish one of two things: that you could’ve seen ’em back in the day, or that you could relive your favorite Jerry and Co. shows. Your chance for redemption comes in the form of L.A.-based tribute band the Grateful Shred. Lauren Cusimano


click to enlarge Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit - DANNY CLINCH
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit
Danny Clinch
Cigarettes After Sex
Saturday, September 16, at Crescent Ballroom
$16-$18
The dreamy, androgynous voice of Cigarettes After Sex’s Greg Gonzalez is the perfect addition to the lineup at the Twin Peaks Roadhouse. The band’s cover of REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Loving You,” which makes the ballad feel provocative, brought them the attention they needed to release a debut full-length album. J.K.

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit
Tuesday, September 19, at The Van Buren
$41-$56
You have a difficult musical choice on this mid-September evening: Enjoy U2 performing The Joshua Tree in a stadium or listen to Jason Isbell’s passionate songs from the former Drive-By Truckers member’s new album, The Nashville Sound. You can’t go wrong. J.K.

U2
Tuesday, September 19, at University of Phoenix Stadium
$35-$70, livenation.com
In 1987, U2 launched a tour in Tempe in support of breakout album The Joshua Tree. When they returned to the Valley at the end of that year, Bono, the Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton were the world’s biggest rock band, a title they arguably hold 30 years later as they celebrate the universalist spirit of The Joshua Tree in Phoenix. Jason P. Woodbury

Janet Jackson
Thursday, September 21, at Talking Stick Resort Arena
$26-$383, ticketmaster.com
People toss around the phrase “living legend” like anyone can be part of a family entertainment empire, win Grammys, Emmys, and Golden Globes, and dance and sing like she invented both. But there’s only one Janet Jackson — and her State of the World Tour comes to Phoenix for one night only. Becky Bartkowski

Toadies with Local H
Friday, September 22, at Crescent Ballroom
$25-$35
For those who loved tuning in to The Edge, rock radio hits from the ’90s still pack a punch. The upcoming Toadies and Local H show will pack a double dose of that sorta sound (and sentiment) into one of the Valley’s more intimate venues. L.C.

Ben Folds
Friday, September 22, at Marquee Theatre
$35-$249, luckymanonline.com
Yes, it was that Ben Folds who produced the title track of Kesha’s comeback Rainbow. If you would like pop music’s lovable misfit to play it or another one of his hits, send it to the stage via paper airplane. Folds’ setlist will be determined by this unusual delivery system. J.K.

Danzig and Deafheaven
Monday, September 25, at Marquee Theatre
$35-$67, luckymanonline.com
For metal fans, a Danzig or Deafheaven concert is an occasion to throw up your horns and rejoice. But bringing together the glass-jawed king of devil rock with the poster boys of “doomgaze” on one bill? That’s a headbanging blockbuster worth burning down a church for. A.N.

Depeche Mode
Wednesday, September 27, at Ak-Chin Pavilion
$28-$540, livenation.com
The monochromatic kingpins of goth makeout jams are coming back to the Valley for an evening of seductive and sly synth rock. While many of their ’80s pop contemporaries are coasting on old hits and nostalgia, Depeche Mode is still putting out new records that sound vital and fresh. A.N.

click to enlarge Ghosts of Bloodfest past. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Ghosts of Bloodfest past.
Benjamin Leatherman
October

The Shins and Spoon
Tuesday, October 3, at Comerica Theatre
$39.50-$50
It’s hard to decide who should be headlining this indie double bill. Sure, The Shins changed your life after you saw Garden State, but Spoon’s track record is hard to beat. Most of the country won’t get to witness this lineup, so stop your arguing and get your ticket already. J.K.

Flaming Lips
Thursday, October 5, at Comerica Theatre
$40-$150
These spacey, psychedelic-rock freaks put on a hell of a show, whether it’s stripped down and minimal or a multimedia extravaganza. There might be puppets. Hell, there may even be Miley Cyrus. It’s worth the price of admission to find out — and to hear a zillion beautifully unusual, twisted tunes. Amy Young

Bloodfest 2017
Saturday, October 7, at Location TBA
$15, squadupevents.com
There are raves, and then there’s Bloodfest, the under-the-radar and over-the-top affair where attendees are sprayed with gallons of crimson liquid while dancing the night away. Organized by rave scene veteran Matt Dunn, the annual event also features numerous local DJs, wall-to-wall hardstyle and EDM sets, and a surreal vibe unlike any other desert dance party. Benjamin Leatherman

Cake
Saturday, October 7, at the Arizona State Fair
Free with fair admission or $40-$60 for reserved seating
If there’s one thing that alternative band Cake does well, it’s weaving disillusionment, discontent, and wistful emotions into catchy tracks that are smart, subversive, and utterly listenable. Said songs populate Cake’s nine-album discography (including “Frank Sinatra,” “Never There,” and “Short Skirt/Long Jacket”) and are big hits during live shows, like their upcoming Arizona State Fair gig. B.L.

Loudon Wainwright III

Sunday, October 8, at Musical Instrument Museum
$35.50–$43.50
As part of the lineage of grumpy singer/songwriters including Warren Zevon, Randy Newman, and Father John Misty, Loudon Wainwright III writes songs about the aches and pains of life — both existential and physical. Age hasn’t softened his wit — his songs and new book bristle with biting commentary and hilarious and worn observations. J.P.W.


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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski
Lauren Cusimano is Phoenix New Times' food and drink editor. She is a journalist and food waste writer based in Tempe. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Contact: Lauren Cusimano
Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule
Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young