The 13 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Wyatt Pearson, better known as Electric Mantis.
Wyatt Pearson, better known as Electric Mantis. Colin Miller
It’s the final weekend of 2017 and, ultimately, your last chance of the year to let loose, go wild, or rock out.

If you’re game to do so, there are many different ways you can end the year with a bang instead of a whimper.

A multitude of New Year’s Eve celebrations happening across the Valley will cater to a variety of tastes, ranging from small and geeky to large and rowdy. You could hang out with the Roosevelt Row crowd at the annual Flannel Ball, party inside an art car at Crescent Ballroom and The Van Buren, or rage away with thousands of EDM fans at Decadence Arizona.

There are also concerts, too, including performances by hometown favorites Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, alt-rock gods 311, Hot Water Music front man Chuck Ragan, and gonzo McDonald's-themed metal tribute Mac Sabbath.
Details about each of these shindigs can be found below in our list of the best concerts and music events in Phoenix this weekend. (For even more options, hit up our online listings.)

It’s up to you. Just do us a favor and make it home safe and sound, all right? After all, you’ve got 2018 to look forward to.

click to enlarge Raise a toast with Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers this weekend. - CASSANDRA TOMEI
Raise a toast with Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers this weekend.
Cassandra Tomei
Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers
Friday, December 29
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Say what you will about Roger Clyne's talents (which are substantial): When it comes to instigating a party, the native Arizonan is skilled.

The stories surrounding the raucous Refreshments shows he was a part of back during the Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy days have been trumped by the kind of off-the-hook wingdings he hosts as frontman for the Peacemakers. The tequila-soaked "Circus Mexicus" beach blast held in Puerto Peñasco draws thousands of Peaceheads every year, for instance.

Suffice it to say, RCPM's performance in the Salt River Ballroom of Scottsdale’s Talking Stick Resort during New Year’s weekend is likely to be just as action-packed.

No opening acts are scheduled, so the band will devote the entire evening to songs from its extensive catalog, including crowd favorites “Banditos,” "Mekong," and "Nada." You’re also likely to hear the rollicking theme song to King of the Hill, which they penned back in the ‘90s. Be sure to raise your shot glass of Roger Clyne's Mexican Moonshine Tequila when that song is played, y’all. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Wolfgang Gartner ain't your typical DJ. - CHELSEA LAUREN
Wolfgang Gartner ain't your typical DJ.
Chelsea Lauren
Wolfgang Gartner
Friday, December 29
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

Wolfgang Gartner eschews onstage gimmicks typical of electronic music concerts. While there's no shortage of DJs looking to be the center of attention, Gartner prefers to let his skills do the talking, showcasing the candy-colored, sawtoothed synths, and glitchy beats that fuel his laptop alchemy.

When asked why he avoids such shtick, the electro-house guru says it helps him stand out from his desert-slinging, costume-sporting, hamster ball-surfing EDM brethren.

"I don't throw cake at people. I don't wear a suit or a mask. I don't spray champagne. I don't get on the mic and stand on a table and yell at people to get the fuck out. I play music that I think people should hear and put a lot of organic, physical energy into it without gimmicks," Gartner says. "I feel like I'm one of the few people who has any integrity left in the DJ industry these days because it's all come down to people thinking audiences are so stupid that they're trying to get them anyway that they can – by throwing stuff at them or getting them to [form a] mosh pit. It's gotten to a point where it's ridiculous, and personally, I will never buy into that."

And Gartner will live up to those statements this weekend at Maya during his shtick-free set on Friday night that will be big on beats. Nicole Pajer

click to enlarge Spafford. - TARA GRACER PHOTOGRAPHY
Tara Gracer Photography
Friday, December 29, to Sunday, December 31
Crescent Ballroom

Spafford have had a pretty amazing year. The Prescott act toured with Umphrey’s McGee, one of the prolific elder statesmen groups of the jam band scene. The jaunt included an appearance at the Marquee Theatre back in March. Spafford have become staples of the festival circuit, complete with a community of “Spaff-nerds,” a moniker coined by die-hards who keep coming back for the group’s improvisational, electro-funk style.

“It’s been a steady grind,” says keyboardist Red Johnson. “We’ve been chipping away at a common goal for many years. It’s an exciting thing, but I can’t really say it has been a huge surprise. It’s something that we all have worked really hard for, and watching it come to fruition right before our eyes is a huge deal.”

Bassist Jordan Fairless adds, “At this point, we’re still in awe of how far we’ve come.”

The quartet is saying goodbye to 2017 the best way they know how: a three-night get-down to bring in the New Year. The show on Sunday, December 31 is sold out, but tickets are still available for the performances on Friday, December 29, and Saturday, December 30. Jason Keil

DJ Blossom
Samuel Tooker
Full Moon Festival: Wolf Moon
Friday, December 29, to Sunday, December 31
Various Locations

Full Moon Festival’s organizers are changing things up for the latest edition of the popular monthly music and art extravaganza. This time, the festival will take place across three nights at a variety of spots around downtown Phoenix.

Everything else about the FMF remains the same, however, including its mix of DJs, musicians, artists, vendors, and culture vultures. Each night will have it’s own theme, as well as multiple stages of entertainment.

Club DWNTWN will host the first night on Friday, December 29, which will feature a “Royal” theme and performances by such DJs and acts as Blossom, Dungeon Destroyah, Stoneypie, Tokyo Not Japan, Occultus, Djentrification, Benji Fly, Aztech, Mic Maven, Swag Kingz, and Andy Warpigs. Doors are at 8 p.m. and admission is $19.

The festival will then move to The Icehouse art space for its second night on Saturday, December 30, and offer a “Raw” theme and sets from M-Q, Nasty Humanz, WOLFZiE, Cormac, Pidgeon Royal, Nu Groov, Keenan Mathias, Seafoam Sound, local DJ crew Techno Snobs, and others. Local producers will also battle for the chance to perform at next month’s Gem & Jam Festival in Tucson. The event runs from 8:08 p.m. to 3:33 a.m. Tickets are $20.

Finally, night three will coincide with the New Year’s Eve Block Party 2018 on Sunday, December 31, at Crescent Ballroom and The Van Buren. See below for more info about that particular event. Benjamin Leatherman

DJ Tristan/Iseult
Benjamin Leatherman
Häxan v Warlock
Saturday, December 30
The Rebel Lounge

The word “disco” typically conjures images of shimmery ’70s fashion and jerky, embarrassing dance moves. If that sounds terrible to you, don’t worry, you won’t find any of that at the Haxan v Warlock, A Doomed Disco-tech dance party. This event will bring the glorious gloom.

From the tunes to the vibe, you can feed your goth-y soul. The party will combine Haxan, a local dance night, with Warlock, a similar event that happens in Los Angeles. Which means that California DJ Xian Vox will lay down the dark wave sounds alongside Phoenix DJ Tristan Iseult.

Guests are encouraged to “dress to raise the dead” for this shadowy soiree that starts at 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 30, at The Rebel Lounge. Admission is $5. Amy Young

click to enlarge Ring in the new year with EDM action at Decadence Arizona. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Ring in the new year with EDM action at Decadence Arizona.
Benjamin Leatherman
Decadence Arizona 2017
Saturday, December 30, and Sunday, December 31
Rawhide Event Center in Chandler

Got anything scheduled for New Year's Eve just yet? If you’re an electronic dance music fiend, regular clubgoer, or kandi kid, your evening may have just gotten planned. Ditto for the night before.

Local EDM event promoter Relentless Beats has announced the first wave of DJs for this year’s Decadence Arizona, the two-night EDM festival and New Year’s Eve party that takes place during the final two evenings of the year.

As such, the 2017 version of Decadence Arizona will happen on Saturday, December 30, and Sunday, December 31, at Rawhide in Chandler. And according to Relentless Beats, which co-produces Decadence along with Colorado-based EDM promoter Global Dance, the 2017 lineup currently includes French house/nu-disco duo Justice, legendary trance DJ/producer Armin van Buuren, and masked electro/dubstep trio Black Tiger Sex Machine.

Others scheduled to perform include Steve Aoki, Destructo, TOKiMONSTA, Borgore, Boys Noize, Galantis, Crywolf, Madeon, Oliver Heldens, Party Favor, Sluggo, Snails, Zedd, and dozens more. Benjamin Leatherman
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers