The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Rise Against are scheduled to perform on Sunday, July 9, at Ak-Chin Pavilion.
Rise Against are scheduled to perform on Sunday, July 9, at Ak-Chin Pavilion. Travis Shinn
Yeah, yeah, we know. It feels a little weird to be talking about the weekend already, given that the previous weekend just ended. Consider it a quirk of the 2017 calendar and a twist of fate in your favor.

And if you’re interested in seeing a memorable concert this weekend after enduring a strenuous three-day work week, there are plenty of opportunities to do so.

Metalheads can get their kicks at DragonForce’s show on Sunday or raise a toast to local icon The Prophet of St. Madness fame on Saturday. Meanwhile, indie rock fans can welcome home Dogbreth or celebrate the release of The Technicolors’ latest album.

There are also big performances by Prince Royce, Doctor P, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and the one-two punch of Deftones and Rise Against.

And if you need any more live music options, there’s always our extensive online concert calendar.

The choice is up to you.

click to enlarge Prepare yourself: Guitar Wolf is coming. - TAKAYUKI MISHIMA
Prepare yourself: Guitar Wolf is coming.
Takayuki Mishima
Guitar Wolf
Friday, July 7
The Rebel Lounge

It’s been 30 years since power-trio Guitar Wolf formed in Japan. Of the original members Seiji (guitar), Billy (bass), and Narita (drums), it’s only Seiji who remains in the current lineup. Sadly, Billy passed away in 2005 from a heart attack. Nowadays, it’s U.G. on bass and Toru on drums, joining Seiji to play “jet rock ’n’ roll.” That’s the term the band coined to describe their sound, which borrows the noise and power of high-speed planes. Guitar Wolf play blistering, high-energy garage-rock tinged with punk angst and drive — and a rockabilly spirit. Their love of all those genres comes through in their diverse roster of covers, like MC5’s “Kick Out the Jams,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire,” and “Summertime Blues,” the Eddie Cochran classic. Whether it’s a recording or a live show, the band operates like a super-fueled stealth plane when delivering their solid rock. The “jet” theme even expands into a Jet Clothes line of fashion that includes straight-leg jeans, belts, and thick leather patches. The band has released more than 10 studio full-lengths, their last being 2016’s T-Rex from a Tiny Space Yojouhan, which contains raucous tracks like “Sea and Cola.” See ‘em set the already hot Phoenix on fire, along with ghoulish rockers Isaac Rother and the Phantoms. Amy Young

click to enlarge Local rock band The Technicolors. - DIRK MAI
Local rock band The Technicolors.
Dirk Mai
The Technicolors
Friday, July 7
Crescent Ballroom

The Technicolors are about to drop their latest recording, Metaphysical, and they’re doing it with a special album release party where you can hear the tunes and get the product right from the jump. The Phoenix-based band was formed by Brendan Smiley, who describes the record as “a collection of songs ultimately written about the void that exists between home and the places I want to go.” Recently, the Technicolors previewed a video for the new track “Impostor” on Interview magazine’s website. The song exemplifies the band’s penchant for mingling ‘90s rock and Brit-pop sensibilities. But this song in particular sheds a bit of the pop in favor of sharp, edgy, and noisy guitar sounds. The new direction adds a nice layer to the solid pop and indie-tinged rock they’ve been delivering for several years. After the summer, it looks like these rockers will hit the road with another locally-formed group, The Maine, for a slew of European shows in Germany, France, and Spain. Amy Young

click to enlarge Geoffrey Royce Rojas, better known as Latin heartthrob Prince Royce. - COURTESY OF RCA RECORDS
Geoffrey Royce Rojas, better known as Latin heartthrob Prince Royce.
Courtesy of RCA Records
Prince Royce
Saturday, July 8
Comerica Theatre

Even Geoffrey Royce Rojas knows the meaning of hard work and hustle. Today, todas las mujeres know him as the Latin Grammy-nominated bachata star Prince Royce. But just a few years ago, Rojas was a kid with a dream, juggling a full-time job, college classes, and late-night recording sessions in the studio. It was the kind of struggle that all aspiring musicians face, but unlike most pop hopefuls, he actually achieved his dreams, becoming a multiplatinum-selling artist and one of Latin music's bigger stars. In 2010, Rojas released his debut album, the self-titled Prince Royce. Almost an instant hit, the record was nominated for Best Contemporary Tropical Album at the 2010 Latin Grammy Awards. But Rojas' appetite for success wasn't satiated by the fame and recognition that he gained from Prince Royce — that was just the beginning. Shortly after his debut release, Rojas toured with Latin music reyes Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull in 2011. Using the exposure to his advantage, Rojas soon released his second studio album, 2012's Phase II, which achieved platinum status in the U.S. and Puerto Rico within six months of its release. In 2013, Rojas signed a record deal with Sony Music Entertainment to release his third studio album, Soy El Mismo, on Sony Music Latin, as well as his first English-language album on RCA Records. Meanwhile, aside from the music, Rojas is also famous for being a heartthrob, a certified papi. He's got that voz romantica and those dark brown eyes. He was even named one of the 50 most beautiful people of 2011 by People en Español, and then featured in the magazine's 2012 "Sexy Edition." In other words, feel free to swoon when attending Rojas' concert at Comerica Theatre this weekend. Laurie Charles

click to enlarge Local DJ duo NastyHumanz. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Local DJ duo NastyHumanz.
Benjamin Leatherman
Audio Bend V
Saturday, July 8
Location TBA

On any given weekend night, there’s a least one or two desert parties or clandestine ragers happening somewhere in or around Phoenix where those in the know can go hard and get wild until dawn. This weekend is no exception, as there’s an enormous all-night outdoor dance party scheduled to go down – and it’s a spectacular one at that. Audio Bend V, an event focusing on “future music,” will take place on Saturday, July 8, at an unspecified location south of the Valley and feature mix of DJs, electronic artists, and bands performing underneath the stars. Audio Bend events have been happening annually and — from what we’ve heard from its promoters — this year’s event is arguably its biggest yet. In addition to three stages, which will host close to two dozen different acts and artists, they’re also promising laser light shows, CO2 cannons, fire performances, visual effects, and live art displays. The entertainment lineup will include one man electronic band Barstool Astronaut, progressive psytrance producer Creative Mind, “alchemy beats” creator Davoid, hip-hop artist InkStained PageZ, EDM duo NastyHumanz, surf rock band The Drip Grinders, and drum ‘n’ bass slinger Atom Energy. Tons of locals will also be featured, such as Funknasty, Evolone, Grund, Glowver, J-Cha, Beta-Xtract, 7eve7, and Toxic Members. The event goes from 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. See or call 480-256-2363 on the night of the event for location details. Benjamin Leatherman

Dogbreth returns to its hometown this weekend. - STILLMAN BUSSELLE
Dogbreth returns to its hometown this weekend.
Stillman Busselle
Saturday, July 8
Trunk Space

If the people in Dogbreth look familiar, it’s because the band formed in Phoenix. The band played their superbly crafted indie rock and anthemic pop songs around town before some of the members relocated to Seattle in the last couple of years. That move now makes them a band from the Pacific Northwest that still includes some local players. When they were Valley-based, Dogbreth frequently played shows at Trunk Space. So bringing their Nice Try tour to downtown’s quintessential all-ages spot is nothing short of a homecoming. Dogbreth released their first record, Chookie, in 2011 and have been consistently productive since. In 2016, the band released Second Home on the California label Asian Man Records, and both fans and critics went cuckoo for the full-length. For good reason, too. It really shined a spotlight on their ability to combine the best elements of pop-punk and twee styles. That indie-pop sensibility deepens each song’s ability to stick to you like glue. Amy Young

Read on for even more great concerts this weekend, including Rise Against and Deftones, DragonForce, and Sir Mix-A-Lot.
click to enlarge Doctor P will make a house call to the Monarch this weekend. - COURTESY OF CIRCLE TALENT AGENCY
Doctor P will make a house call to the Monarch this weekend.
Courtesy of Circle Talent Agency
Doctor P
Saturday, July 8
Monarch Theatre

Over the course of nearly 13 years of careful construction, fine-tuning, and experimentation, Doctor P has developed a sound immediately recognizable in the dubstep world. It is forceful yet playful, like dancing in a thunderstorm. Doctor P admits he prefers the expressive confines of the studio to the showmanship of the stage, but that doesn't mean he phones it in. He's an honest-to-God DJ, mixing tracks, matching beats, and reading the crowd. He feels like the last of a dying breed, he says, but he thinks audiences really do appreciate it. "I've almost stopped doing dubstep so many times," he says. "Trap comes along and then house. Every time, I kind of do some track that goes away from dubstep; then, I remember I prefer dubstep and go straight back to it. It seems like there's not that many people left doing dubstep, but I feel like it's still the music that makes the most sense to me." Doctor P didn't get where he is by chasing trends or trying to be anything but himself. That's why, of all the guys who came and went with the times, he's still booked to bring his raucous energy to the big stage. It's what makes him an influencer despite what may be the hit du jour. Kat Bein

Prophet of St. Madness (left) onstage. - COURTESY OF SICPICPHOTOGRAPHY
Prophet of St. Madness (left) onstage.
Courtesy of SicPicPhotography
Prophet's 55th Birthday Celebration
Saturday, July 8
Pranksters Too in Scottsdale
St. Madness frontman Patrick Flannery has been around Phoenix’s metal scene long enough to qualify for icon status. Ditto for his band, which has been blasting fans with heavy metal thunder at venues across the Valley for 24 years now. And at every single St. Madness gig since 1995, Flannery has been front and center as his face-painted rock ‘n’ roll alter ego, The Prophet. As he told New Times in 2013, the makeup is a fun part of the band’s performances. “I've had so many people over the years say to me, ‘Your band is so good – if you just dropped the facepaint,’” Flannery stated. “I try to tell people, we're not about trying to become rock stars. We're about entertaining.” And this weekend, Flannery and the other members of St. Madness will continue to entertain as they celebrate his 55th birthday at Pranksters Too in Scottsdale. Local metal band Downhill Trend, Triple Play, Rez of War, and Guardians are also on the lineup. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Deftones return to Phoenix this weekend. - FRANK MADDOCKS
Deftones return to Phoenix this weekend.
Frank Maddocks
Deftones & Rise Against
Sunday, July 9
Ak-Chin Pavilion

There are two ways to look at this pairing of the odd nu-metal outsiders and the political punk powerhouse. One is to look at it and think, “that's weird, I would not peg those bands as potential tour mates.” The other is to look at it and get extremely excited, because while they may have sonic differences they're both among the best live rock acts you'll find. Deftones' keyboardist/sampler/turntablist Frank Delgado, however, doesn't think it's any weirder than when the band toured with Incubus last year. “Our whole existence has been like that. We're the band that is kind of like a thorn. We never really fit with whoever we bring or go out with," he says. "We like that. We stand out.” While Deftones have lived with their most recent album, Gore, for over a year now, Rise Against is hitting the road with an album that's just been released, and from the sound of it the songs they're playing off of it are working. “Some songs just don't translate well live, but these songs – 'Wolves', ' The Violence' and 'Welcome to the Breakdown' – are build for the live setting, so it's been amazing.” However weird it might look like from the outside, the tour is working, and there haven't been any mass exoduses of fans before the headliners. “We try to have our setlist appeal to our core fans, and then we try to throw in some slower songs that might appeal to Deftones' fans,” he tells us. “So far it's been great for both bands. People have been staying every show.” Cory Garcia

click to enlarge A quarter century later, he still likes big butts and cannot lie. - COURTESY OF BLK LIVE
A quarter century later, he still likes big butts and cannot lie.
Courtesy of BLK Live
Sir Mix-A-Lot
Sunday, July 9
BLK Live in Scottsdale

Rapper and producer Sir Mix-a-Lot is a valiant knight who's fought a long battle against waifish, modelesque beauty standards with his classic "Baby Got Back," the greatest anthem to generously plump booties since Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls." One could make the case that he's singlehandedly shaped society's body ideals into Kardashian proportions, and in turn hold him responsible for many a butt implant. With all these impressive achievements, it's hard to remember Mix-a-Lot was actually a platinum-selling artist before his anaconda wanted none. Unless you had buns. Hun. His 1988 album Swass had the moderately successful hit "Posse on Broadway," and then there's "Jump On It," which saves him from joining the one-hit-wonder club. He's also a hip-hop pioneer, particularly considering that late '80s Seattle was less hip-hop than Orange County is today (or, well, ever). Nothing brings more big booty to the dance floor like "Baby Got Back," so if that's your thing you'd be a fool not to make it out to BLK Live for his show. Eva Raggio

click to enlarge The metal maestros of DragonForce. - COURTESY OF METAL BLADE RECORDS
The metal maestros of DragonForce.
Courtesy of Metal Blade Records
Sunday, July 9
Club Red in Mesa

DragonForce, the London sextet that's been around since 1999, waves high the banner of power metal. But they take "epic" to a whole new level. On the metal scale of 1 to 11, they're more Tufnel than Tufnel himself. Lead guitarist Herman Li, originally from Hong Kong, likely has the fastest hands ever to have touched an Ibanez. What he is capable of seems inhuman — so much so that there was speculation at the outset of the band's career that they were speeding up their songs in the studio and weren't able to replicate them live. (Subsequent performances have proven this rumor false.) Most DragonForce songs clock in around the seven-minute mark because Li solos for about three minutes. And we're not talking gratuitous jam band improv solos; we're talking complexly structured and fully composed. Most lyrics of DragonForce songs are positive, upbeat messages. Think Shakespeare's Henry V pre-battle pep talk, and you get the idea. They’re also like Dethklok on happy pills. Li's speed and precision make him the real-life Skwisgaar Skwigelf, and his video game-inspired guitar effects sound like Pac-Man munching on amphetamines. Co-founder Sam Trotman — who also plays guitar — writes most of the band's songs, every one of them a rousing, triumphant marathon. Like a Rocky training montage on fast-forward, it is all so utterly ridiculous that it becomes enjoyable. Linda Leseman
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