In the case of the former, comedy metal act Steel Panther, Norteño legend Ramon Ayala, and actor-turned-country-singer Hollywood Yates will all be in concert at metro Phoenix music venues. When it comes to the latter, you can catch REZZ, Steve Aoki, Nora En Pure, and Destructo slinging beats around town.
Full details about each of these gigs can be found below in our list of the best concerts from Friday, July 2, to Sunday, July 4. And for more music events happening throughout metro Phoenix, check out our online listings.
Steel PantherFriday, July 2
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, 480-829-0707
What if, in a perfect world, the music genre you love the most was the only one in existence and lived on forever? Steel Panther imagines this to be true, and this weekend the glammish four-piece brings a full-on heavy-metal throwback show to Tempe’s Marquee Theatre on Friday.
The best part? Steel Panther isn't just a tribute — it is also an equal mockery of the sometimes androgynous, hair-dominating days when Poison and Mötley Crüe owned MTV. The band gets it right by aiming right at the crotch of the genre, zeroing in on the humor of the oversexed days of Sunset Strip hair metal while balancing it with original and true-to-form hook-heavy songs.
Just imagine: 10 years from now, some dudes born in the '90s will be wearing greasy mops and smoking fake cigarettes on stage, attempting to pull off a semi-accurate Strokes tribute, and it won't be nearly as funny. Steel Panther’s show on Friday starts at 8 p.m. with an opening set by The Bayou Bandits. Tickets are $32 to $62. Bree Davies
Summersesh 2021Friday, July 2
Rawhide Event Center, 5700 West North Loop Road, Chandler, 480-502-5600
We know him, we love him, and he’s heading to the Valley during the Fourth of July weekend to delight a horde of electronic dance music fans via another massive, boundary-pushing set at Rawhide in Chandler. Over the past decade, the 43-year-old rock-star DJ, Dim Mak label head, and pizza entrepreneur Steve Aoki helped define EDM while launching the careers of some of the genre’s biggest artists and becoming one of the highest-paid DJs in the world. He’ll headline Summersesh 2021 outdoor event on Friday and his performance is likely to include plenty of crowd-surfing and cake-throwing antics. Jauz, 4B, SayMyName, Lost Kings, and Nostalgix will also perform at the 18-plus event, which starts at 8 p.m. General admission is $52.50 and VIP tickets are $125. Falyn Freyman
Ramón AyalaFriday, July 2
Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, 602-267-0186
Many artists have their signature instruments: Stevie Wonder makes magic on the piano/keyboard, Carlos Santana wails with his electric guitar, and Willie Nelson serenades us with notes from Trigger. In the same respect, the stories of love, heartbreak, and nightlife sung by Ramón Ayala are accompanied and defined by his trusty accordion, earning him the regal nickname "El Rey del Accordion" (the king of the accordion).
The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, who’s typically backed by his band Los Bravos Del Norte, is widely known for defining modern Norteño, a regional musical style born in northern Mexico where accordions and bajo sexto guitars are prominently featured. Since debuting in the early ‘60s, Ayala’s recorded more than 100 albums during his career and had a number of signature hits (with subject matter ranging from politics and crime to life, love, and loss), including such songs as “Tristes Recuerdos,” “Tragos Amargos,” “E Federal de Caminos,” and “Un Puño de Tierra.”
Even at the age of 75, Ayala’s voice and finger dexterity are as lively as ever, and you can see for yourself when he comes to Celebrity Theatre on Friday night. The concert starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $45-$125. Marco Torres and Benjamin Leatherman
Nora En PureFriday, July 2
Sunbar, 24 West Fifth Street, Tempe, 480-687-8409
Music producers found themselves caught in a catch-22 during the pandemic: Instead of blasting their works at festivals and nightclubs, they were largely at home producing new music they couldn't play to the crowds. And yet, Nora En Pure (born Daniela Di Lillo) continues to evolve and reflect on her steadfast skillset. "When I think back, certainly my sound has changed with the trends, starting with the more commercial deep house and now more progressive," Di Lillo says. "Now it feels like deep house is sounding like how it did back in the day."
The South African-born, Swiss-based DJ has been hypnotizing the world with her unobtrusive deep-house soundscapes for over a decade and earning her the accolade, "Queen of Deep House." At the moment, the listener can appreciate Nora En Pure's sounds via her latest EP, Monsoon. "During the last year or two, I've been playing slightly more into the progressive sound," Di Lillo says. "I'm not quite there yet, or I may never go there, but I like this mix between deep and a little more power from progressive."
This weekend, she's headlining on Friday night at Sunbar in Tempe with support from local DJs Cormac and Waste Wisely on Friday, and Michael Hooker and RachEP on Saturday. The gigs begin at 9 p.m. and admission is $30 to $40. Grant Albert
AREZZONASaturday, July 3
Rawhide Event Center, 5700 West North Loop Road, Chandler, 480-502-5600
The Cult of REZZ, the collective name for the fanbase of DJ/producer Isabelle Rezazadeh, numbers into the tens of thousands. Its members gather both on social media (there’s even an official Facebook group) or at her gigs. They'll flock to the Rawhide Event Center in Chandler on Saturday night for AREZZONA.
Originally scheduled for March 2020, the thrice-postponed outdoor event will be headlined by Rezazadeh with opening sets by G Jones, CharlesTheFirst, Of the Trees, and Youms. Thousand of 18-and-over EDM fans in attendance will mimick REZZ's signature look of LED-laden glasses while raging to a soundtrack of electronica, breaks, leftfield bass, dubstep, and trap. Gates open at 8 p.m., and the event goes until 2 a.m. General admission is $50 and VIP tickets are $125. Benjamin Leatherman
Hollywood Yates and the HitmenSunday, July 4
We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, 10438 WeKoPa Way, Scottsdale, 480-789-4957
If the mustachioed countenance of Don “Hollywood” Yates looks familiar, it’s only because he’s appeared in various TV programs and movies over the last two decades. The actor, wrestler, and onetime professional bull rider stole the show as “Wolf” on NBC’s 2008 revival of American Gladiators and has also had guest roles on shows like Austin & Ally, CSI: NY, and I'm in the Band. Back in the early 2000s, he laid the smack down as one of the grapplers in local indie promotion Impact Zone Wrestling and even appeared on an episode of WWE Raw. These days, he’s still performing, albeit as a country singer in his band Hollywood Yates and the Hitmen, playing rodeos, music festivals, and stages across the U.S. They’ll be at the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Scottsdale for a free Independence Day show, which kicks off at 6 p.m. Benjamin Leatherman
DestructoSunday, July 4
Shady Park, 26 East University Drive, Tempe, 480-474-4222
Destructo (a.k.a. Gary Richards) has been DJing and producing his own killer tracks since the early '90s. Richards knows how to put together a tight show, because he knows how to keep a crowd bouncing till the wee hours. He’s witnessed a lot of trends over the years and he believes most crowds are ready for the next thing. They just need someone fearless enough to take them there. “I'm always trying to challenge people and get them to hear new things and bring new things to the table,” Richards says. If you’re down, he’ll be at Shady Park for this weekend’s TreeHouse Sunday session. Start time is 3 p.m. and Ekonovah and Animate will open. A cover will be charged at the door. Kat Bein