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Best Phoenix Concerts This Weekend: PC’s Celebration of Life, Open Mike Eagle, No Mana

Open Mike Eagle is scheduled to perform on Friday, January 6, at Valley Bar.
Open Mike Eagle is scheduled to perform on Friday, January 6, at Valley Bar. R. Gardiner
The first weekend of 2023 will offer a pair of shows paying tribute to dearly departed music legends. On Friday, the Yucca Tap Room will host a massive celebration of the life, legacy, and contributions of beloved local bassist Paul “PC” Cardone. Dozens of bands and musicians from the Tempe scene are scheduled to perform during the daylong event. Two nights later, the Rhythm Room will mark the birthday of Elvis Presley with sets by numerous local rockabilly, blues, and Americana acts.

Other highlights of this weekend’s live music calendar include shows by rapper Open Mike Eagle, local post-hardcore legends Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and DJ/producer No Mana.

Read on for more details or check out Phoenix New Timesonline concert calendar for more gigs happening from Friday, January 6, to Sunday, January 8.
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Chad Crawford (left) and Pouyan Afkary of Scary Kids Scaring Kids.
Equal Vision Records

Scary Kids Scaring Kids

Friday, January 6
The Nile Theater, 105 West Main Street, Mesa
If you were following local music in the mid-2000s on MySpace and elsewhere, you knew about Scary Kids Scaring Kids. Formed in 2002 as a six-piece post-hardcore/emo band by a clutch of Gilbert high-schoolers, SKSK put out the self-financed debut EP After Dark, and became regulars at Valley rock haunts. Three years later, they were signed to now-defunct label Immortal Records, released the well-received LP The City Sleeps in Flames, played Warped Tour multiple times, and were wildly successful before disbanding in 2009. In 2019, five years after vocalist Tyson Stevens died, the band reunited to celebrate the 15th anniversary of The City Sleeps in Flames. Last year, SKSK released Out of Light, their first album in more than a decade, with each song featuring a different guest vocalist, including Sianvar’s Donovan Melero and Dead American’s Cove Reber. They’re currently touring with Craig Mabbitt of Escape the Fare on vocals. With Bite The Hand and Winterhaven; 7 p.m., $22 via Benjamin Leatherman

Open Mike Eagle

Friday, January 6
Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue
Suffering doesn’t necessarily make for great art, but divorce can be one helluva muse. The music canon is full of spiky, bitter, and astonishing records that emerged from the smoldering wreckage of somebody’s marriage: Marvin Gaye’s Here My Dear, Richard and Linda Thompson’s Shoot Out The Lights, and pretty much every Fleetwood Mac album from 1977 to 1987. Add to that pantheon of heartbreak Open Mike Eagle’s Anime, Trauma, and Divorce, the rapper’s dark 2020 album. Open Mike Eagle has made a name for himself in the 2010s for being one of the last of the “backpack rappers” — a defiantly nerdy wordsmith with a knack for crafting cutting punchlines and delivering dense sociopolitical commentaries on albums like Dark Comedy and the hilariously caustic Brick Body Kids Still Daydream. Anime found the rapper looking inward, brutally self-critiquing himself with the same wit and wordplay he turned outward on earlier albums. His newest album, Component System with the Auto Reverse, pulls inspiration from his old ’90s rap mixtapes. If his 2020 album was about losing everything, Component System is about starting over and rebuilding your world after watching it go up in smoke. With Serengeti and Video Dave; 7:30 p.m., $17-$20 via Ashley Naftule
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The one, the only, Paul 'PC' Cardone.
Jeff Newton

PC's Celebration of Life

Friday, January 6
Yucca Tap Room, 29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe
In 2014, a who’s-who of local music participated in a three-night series of shows in honor of longtime Tempe bassist Paul “PC” Cardone for his 50th birthday. On Friday, January 6, many of those same bandmates and friends will come together again, in joy and sorrow, for a Celebration of Life concert at Yucca Tap Room. Cardone, 58, died in his sleep at his home last November. With his death, the Phoenix music community lost a friend. A mentor. A figure of unfailing kindness and encouragement. And in the words of his friend and roommate, Ryan Probst, “a fucking badass musician” who played in numerous bands, including Sara Robinson Band, Satellite, Chocolate Fountain, Cigarettes, and many more.

The event will be one of the biggest, most significant concerts in Tempe music history. The bill includes dozens of musicians from 30 years of the Tempe scene, all of whom are bands Cardone played in and/or artists he befriended and appreciated: Banana Gun, Banshee Bones, The Black Moods, C3, Dead Hot Workshop, Dry River Yacht Club, Future Exes, Ghetto Cowgirl, Greyhound Soul, Haley Green Band, Jason DeVore of Authority Zero, Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms, The Slims, Strange Young Things, The Sugar Thieves, and more. Tickets are sold out online, but there are an extremely limited number of tickets that will be released at the door at 2 p.m. Jennifer Goldberg
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The Iron Maidens
Alex Solca

The Iron Maidens

Saturday, January 7
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
As far as concepts for tribute bands go, you can’t get much more simpler and satisfying than The Iron Maidens. Formed in 2001, the California band is an all-female Iron Maiden tribute act. They shred just as hard as their source material, with singer Kirsten “Bruce Chickinson” Rosenberg matching her inspiration note for note on vocals. The Iron Maidens work hard to give fans the full British new wave Metal experience, right down to having Maiden’s ghoulish mascot Eddie show up during shows. While you can expect the Maidens to play fierce renditions of classics like “Number of the Beast” and “Run to the Hills,” the tribute act also distinguishes themselves by putting on an intensely theatrical show with vignettes interspersed between songs. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, considering several members of the band come from musical theater backgrounds. The line between nerd and metalhead is as thin as a knife on a ceremonial altar, and the Iron Maidens walk that line with style and humor. With The Jack, Doubleblind, Empire of Dezire, and Six Million Dead; 8 p.m., $25-$55 via Ashley Naftule
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Blues haven The Rhythm Room reopens in late August.

Elvis Birthday Celebration

Sunday, January 8
The Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road
It’s been more than 40 years since Elvis Presley shuffled off this mortal coil and the undisputed king of rock ’n’ roll is still being feted to this day. To wit: A grip of local rockabilly, blues, and Americana artists will pay tribute to the King with an Elvis Birthday Celebration on Sunday evening. Local pinup queen Brenda Lee will emcee the affair, which will include performances by Kenny Love and the Rockerfellas, Elgin MacMillan, Pat Roberts, Brea Burns, Brian Fahey, Frosty and Friends, Jacob Woodside, Jamie Waldron, Che Nemeth, Tin Can Screamers, The Ukebillies, and venue owner Bob Corritore. Every artist will cover songs from Presley’s vast repertoire. 5 p.m., $10 at the door. Benjamin Leatherman
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Jennifer Goldberg is the culture editor and Best of Phoenix editor for Phoenix New Times.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule

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