The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Incubus is scheduled to perform on Saturday, August 12, at Ak-Chin Pavilion.EXPAND
Incubus is scheduled to perform on Saturday, August 12, at Ak-Chin Pavilion.
Jim Louvau
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What’s on tap for the Valley’s concert scene this weekend? Plenty, if you happen to dig rock ‘n’ roll legends.

Dennis DeYoung of Styx will be at Mesa Arts Center on Friday, and drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer fame is bringing his latest project, Dead Cross, to the Marquee in Tempe on Saturday. Meanwhile, renowned axeman Paul Gurvitz takes over Pranksters Too in Scottsdale, and both Incubus and hometown heroes Jimmy Eat World play Ak-Chin Pavilion over on the west side that same night.

Other notable gigs this weekend include Straight No Chaser and Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox at Comerica Theatre, Kaytranada at The Pressroom with The Gaslamp Killer and Sango, and the return of the locally focused Warped Your Fest. Hip-hop artists both burgeoning (Bryson Tiller) and old-school (Artifacts) also have big gigs.

Details about all of these shows can be found in the following rundown of the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. (And be sure to hit up our online music listings for even more events around town.)

The teachers-turned-punkers of No Small Children.
The teachers-turned-punkers of No Small Children.
Courtesy of No Small Children

No Small Children
Friday, August 11

For years, Nicola Berlinsky had been a fan of her colleague Lisa Pimentel’s music. A musician in her own right, Berlinsky (who also worked as a fourth grade teacher in the L.A. area) had seen her friend perform live, which inspired her to dust off her drum kit. In 2012, the duo decided to join forces creatively. The duo decided to call the project No Small Children, an ode to the fact they didn’t have young kids of their own. They also decided on a sound. “We wanted to be a punk band,” says Pimentel, formerly the drummer of Boston-based, all-female punk outfit Heidi. “Then we just kind of went from there.” Five years since forming, No Small Children – which includes Pimentel’s sister Joanie, also a teacher, on vocals and bass – have released three albums on top of continuing to teach at the private school. They gig consistently, even during the school year, and they manage their time tightly in order to squeeze in recording sessions. In 2016, No Small Children scored its biggest success yet when the trio’s punk cover of “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. played over the end credits of last year’s all-female revival of the blockbuster film franchise. And this year, they released their fifth album, Radio, and are in the midst of a summertime tour. Since No Small Children doesn’t have to to worry about their next paycheck, the trio’s laidback vibe allows them to soldier on making music as a “fun little project.” Daniel Kohn

Bryson Tiller, rap star on the rise.EXPAND
Bryson Tiller, rap star on the rise.

Bryson Tiller
Friday, August 11
Rawhide Event Center in Chandler

Bryson Tiller's debut album, T R A P S O U L, sounds like it was written by an established artist in his prime. The Kentucky R&B artist's rise came seemingly out of nowhere. At first it might seem like Tiller is piggybacking on the surge in melody-driven rap in recent years (see: Fetty Wap and Travis Scott). But Tiller's vocal talent doesn't ever seem like an afterthought, and his melodies are infectious and catchy. His lyrics are petty in a fashion similar to Drake, but he maintains an undercurrent of regret and second-guessing as he sings about lavish lifestyles and the one who got away. H.E.R. and Metro Boomin will open the show at Tiller’s August 11 concert at Rawhide in Chandler. Matt Wood

Scott Bradlee and his Postmodern Jukebox have teamed up with Straight No Chaser.EXPAND
Scott Bradlee and his Postmodern Jukebox have teamed up with Straight No Chaser.
Braverijah Gregg

Straight No Chaser & Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox
Friday, August 11
Comerica Theatre

Both acts sharing this double bill have unique musical stylings, yet they also share much in common. Both gained a following for their fresh interpretations and covers of popular music, and both have found most of their success due to online followers from social media. So it only made sense for the two to join forces for a musical tour-de-force, right? Straight No Chaser's Charlie Mechling agrees when talking about Postmodern Jukebox and their joint tour. "It’s kind of a similar thing to what we do. It’s a great night, a ton of great music and a ton of fun. It’s a great party show," he says. Mechling wouldn't reveal the set list, but he did at least give a few clues as to what audiences can expect to hear. "We’ve got some songs that have become classics for us that will be in the show. One of those is 'I’m Yours/Over The Rainbow,' but we’ve added another song into it," he says. "We’re bringing back some classics that people have asked us when we’re going to do again. It’s a mix of old and new." Mechling also spills the beans, slightly, on a few of the Postmodern Jukebox songs, saying the group has a great version of Radiohead's "Creep" and Sia's "Chandelier" among its vast repertoire of hits. What else will be on tap when Straight No Chaser and Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox visit Comerica Theatre this weekend? Guess you’ll have to show up and find out. Sam Byrd

Kaytranada performs at Art Basel in Miami in 2015.
Kaytranada performs at Art Basel in Miami in 2015.
Karli Evans

Friday, August 11
The Pressroom

There aren't too many musicians left like Kaytranada, not in the big leagues, anyway. His sound is hard to classify as anything more than head-knockin', and the Montreal-born DJ/producer loves to break the rules. He makes headlines for his noiseless drops, like his 2014 Whatever mixtape project, which he just dumped a file of 19 tracks onto the internet with hardly a word. "Free music rules the world," he stated at the time. "You don't get a lot of checks from albums anyway, only if you're a pop star. If you're an indie artist, I think you should still drop music for free and then get your money from the shows and other shit you're doing." But even his roots-first style of hip-hop and electronic dance music can't be free all the time, which is why you’ll have to pay to see him perform at The Pressroom on Friday night along with fellow DJ/producers The Gaslamp Killer and Sango. Kat Bein

Dennis DeYoung (center) with August Zadra (left) and Jimmy Leahey (right).EXPAND
Dennis DeYoung (center) with August Zadra (left) and Jimmy Leahey (right).
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center

Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx
Friday, August 11
Mesa Arts Center

To many classic-rock fans, it would seem a bit of unnecessary clarification to bill a Dennis DeYoung show as "Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx." After all, since DeYoung is the band's main vocalist, chief songwriter, and keyboardist, anyone with a ticket to the show surely knows they will hear the headliner belt out classics like "Lady," "The Grand Illusion," "Babe," "The Best of Times," "Come Sail Away," and – yes – "Mr. Roboto" in that utterly distinctive voice. From the time in 1972 when Styx began (though he had been playing with some members in other-named bands since 1961), DeYoung was the group's strongest creative force in a lineup that also included vocalist/guitarist Tommy Shaw, guitarist James "JY" Young, and the rhythm section of brothers Chuck and John Panozzo on bass and drums. And he was happy with that. Because the band dipped their musical toes in pools of straight-ahead rock, ballads, and prog during their '70s and '80s heyday, there seemed to be a Styx song to fit any mood. And it's that versatility that DeYoung feels boosted the band's career. Despite all that success, though, DeYoung himself felt that his name alone doesn't have enough familiarity; thus the extra wording he is allowed to use when after some messy legal wrangling upon his unceremonious 1999 ouster from the band. After all, it's his legacy, too. Bob Ruggiero

Warped Your Fest: The Sequel
Friday, August 11, and Saturday, August 12
Trunk Space

When you’re running a record label, a festival’s a great way to get some exposure for the bands whose tunes you’re trying to turn people on to. That formula is nothing new, especially these days when festival culture is an intrinsic part of the musical landscape. The key is to make it so awesome that fans will come back the following year to soak up more of the music that moves them. Local label Warped Your Records managed to make that happen. It’s hosting Warped Your Fest: The Sequel on Friday, August 11, and Saturday, August 12, at downtown’s all-ages DIY venue, Trunk Space. The festival shines a spotlight on a bunch of Phoenix’s indie bands, as well as some visitors from Flagstaff and Tucson, keeping it an all-Arizona affair. You can spend $8 per day to attend, and $14 gets you a two-day wristband.

A mix of bands is featured on the bill. The label has worked with some of them, and others are acts the organizers admire. Sets will happen on two stages, simultaneously, throughout the course of the festival, in Trunk Space’s main room and basement space. A couple of clothing vendor pals will set up shop both days. Colin Bauer heads up Warped Your Records, and Aaron Ponzo serves as the label’s intern. The two are looking forward to bringing the event back again. Mostly because, as Ponzo says, “They are all our friends and we really like them.” Red Tank!, Childhood Asthma, and Logan Green are on the bill. Diners, Closet Goth, The Harrison Hufman Band, and Amateur Hour are, too. (Those bands have released tapes through Warped.) Others in the lineup have been included on some of the label’s cassette compilations. Amy Young

Read on for even more big concerts this weekend, including a double bill featuring Incubus and Jimmy Eat World, as well as gigs by Dead Cross, Artifacts, and J Boog.

Local rock stars Jimmy Eat World.EXPAND
Local rock stars Jimmy Eat World.
Jimi Giannatti

8 Tour feat. Incubus & Jimmy Eat World
Saturday, August 12
Ak-Chin Pavilion

The boys are back in town. The boys? We mean hometown heroes Jimmy Eat World. And the town is the rockers’ native city of Phoenix. To be fair, Jimmy Eat World have never really left this music scene or forgotten the place they call home. Since debuting with their self-titled album in 1994, the band have continued to make music and tour for the last couple of decades and then some. But don’t expect complacency from the band that defined the emo genre with the album Clarity. In an interview with Rolling Stone last year, Jim Adkins says that playing music for so long has been both a good and a bad thing. “As a band, we came to a place where we realized that in order to really grow, we needed to check ourselves and check on some of our default responses to musical problems that come up,” Adkins says. Fans will have a chance to see that growth in action when Jimmy Eat World return to the Valley for a concert featuring Incubus and Judah and the Lion. Emily Roberts

Hardcore punk/heavy metal supergroup Dead Cross.
Hardcore punk/heavy metal supergroup Dead Cross.
Robin Laananen

Dead Cross
Saturday, August 12
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

“I wanted to be a part of something that was just relentless,” explains renowned drummer Dave Lombardo about his latest project, metallic punk battering ram Dead Cross, whose music he likens to the experience of getting one’s skull bludgeoned by a power tool. The band began in an explosive flash, like a bomb going off. In 2015, Lombardo had a tour and studio time booked for his previous band, hard-edged alt-rockers Philm, when that group went kaput. Instead of canceling the shows and recording sessions, producer Ross Robinson suggested that Lombardo instead jam with some like-minded ragers: bassist Justin Pearson and drummer Gabe Serbian from grindcore subverts The Locust, as well as guitarist Michael Crain from Locust-affiliated punk group Retox. With Serbian switching to vocals, Dead Cross was born. The band just released its self-titled debut album, which features “We’ll Sleep When They’re Dead,” a two-minute riot of strangulated guitars, shit-fit vocals, and some of the most unhinged, go-for-broke playing that Lombardo’s laid down in years. Jason Bracelin

Global Dance DJ & Dancer Competition
Saturday, August 12
Monarch Theatre

Competition, as the old saying goes, tends to bring the best out of people. As such, you can bet that the local mixmasters and selectors that will participate in the Global Dance DJ Competition on Saturday, August 12, will bring it and bring it hard to the Monarch Theatre. Each will serve up their “A” game while auditioning for an opening spot at this year’s Global Dance Festival Arizona, which takes place next month. Competitors will be will be evaluated on their skills on the mixers and abilities to rock the crowd, among other criteria. And one of the cats they’ll have to impress is Dark Mark, winner of last year’s Global battle, who is returning as a judge. Meanwhile, local go-go dancers will also audition and compete during the evening for their own chance to perform at the festival. (The field is limited to females ages 18 and over. Club attire is required.) You can visit the Relentless Beats website for more info on both competitions. Benjamin Leatherman

Paul Gurvitz and the New Army
Saturday, August 12
AMEHOF Hall at Pranksters Too in Scottsdale

You may or may not have heard Paul Gurvitz, despite the fact he’s had a storied career in rock music. Along with his brother, Adrian Gurvitz, he played with Ginger Baker in The Baker Gurvitz Army and later with Moody Blues' timekeeper and poetry slammer in The Graham Edge Band. Y'see, back in the excessive '70s when even drummers put out solo albums, they needed frontmen to ensure you wouldn't get a whole album of "Toad," and that required hiring U.K. journeymen like Paul Gurvitz, who had U.K. chart success in Gun and The Knack, which didn't record "Banana Man" or "My Sharona." If you're still struggling for the whys, pull out that box set called Nuggets 2 and see Paulie G was the weepy lead vocalist in Rupert's People, who recorded a woe-is-he "Whiter Shade of Pale" imitation called "Recollections of Charlie Brown." You probably won't hear that gem, but just ask yourself, would Gurvitz be in showbiz 50 years if he couldn't at least pass for a rock legend? Serene Dominic

Sunday, August 13
The Rebel Lounge

New Jersey takes a good share of ribbing. It’s not unwarranted. The Dirty Jerz definitely has some things to answer for — teased hair and Snooki, to name a couple. On the flipside, New York’s neighbor has produced some awesome entertainers, including the currently touring old-school hip-hop act Artifacts, who are sometimes known as the Brick City Kids. The group consists of El Da Sensei, Tame One, and DJ Kaos. They came together in Newark nearly 30 years ago. As graffiti artists, it’s only fitting that the group’s first hit, “Wrong Side of the Tracks,” dealt with being a tagger. The single’s off Artifacts’ 1994 debut Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and it’s a boastful ode to the lifestyle. “The ink I use might stink but you gotta think / I got my props Hoppes ’cause my tags don’t shrink.” On the group’s next release, 1997’s That’s Them, Artifacts revisited the subject matter on “Return to da Wrongside,” highlighting a bleaker evolution. “… But in this rhyme, I’m the prime suspect / Handcuffed for the stuff I ain’t hit yet / It seems the neighborhood block watch got open like a box top / Wanted their props and called up the cops.” They split up shortly after that, but the crew got back in action in 2009 and released some new tracks available on Soundcloud. Amy Young

Reggae/soul singer J Boog.EXPAND
Reggae/soul singer J Boog.
Courtesy of Press Junkie PR

J Boog
Sunday, August 13
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

It has been a long musical journey for reggae/soul singer J Boog since his start making beats in his garage. Born Jerry Afemata, he was raised in a tight-knit Samoan community in Compton, California, where instead of gangster rap and hip-hop, his home radiated with the reggae of Bob Marley, as well as Polynesian music. “We used to bump some cat named Fiji growing up. He was one of the guys we latched onto because he was Polynesian and we were Polynesian. I was always like, hell yeah, this guy is it.” By chance, Fiji himself, George Veikoso, discovered him through mutual friends and asked the young singer/producer to come to Hawaii to record with him. J Boog left Compton behind, traveling the world and making music with the likes of legendary producer Don Corleon (Rihanna, Pitbull, Nicki Minaj), who produced his breakout hit “Let’s Do It Again.” J Boog’s most recent album, last year’s Wash House Ting, is an amalgam of different influences, including Boog's frequent tour mates Rebelution and SOJA, and has contributions from a mix of Jamaican and European producers such as Jr. Blender, DJ Frost and Gramps Morgan. Like his sound, there’s also some R&B flavor, influenced by artists like Mint Condition, Erykah Badu and D'Angelo — but mostly the album is reggae, the genre that remains his biggest influence. Juan Gutierrez

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