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Best Phoenix Concerts This Weekend: KONGOS, Gatecreeper, Carla Morrison

Carla Morrison is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 15, at the Van Buren.
Carla Morrison is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 15, at the Van Buren. Chris Cruz
Anyone who’s ever believed the Valley isn’t a breeding ground for music stardom need only look at this weekend’s concert calendar to learn that line of thinking is a complete fallacy. Alt-rockers KONGOS, death metal band Gatecreeper, and Latin singer-songwriter Carla Morrison, all of whom have Valley ties and fall under the “local artists made good” category, all have concerts scheduled in over the next few nights.

And for those in the mood to rage, gigs by a slew of big-name electronic dance music DJs and artists will be happening at venues ranging from the newly opened Darkstar in Tempe to the pool party havens in Scottsdale.

If big beats or hometown favorites aren’t your thing, there are also concerts starring rapper T-Pain, indie-pop trio Bad Bad Habits, and rock legend Robby Krieger this weekend.

Details about each of these shows can be found below. And for even more concerts in the Valley from Friday, May 13, to Sunday, May 15, visit Phoenix New Timesonline music listings.

Bad Bad Hats

Friday, May 13
Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue
If you sent a T-800 terminator back in time to convince Regina Spektor to pursue a different career — phlebotomist, mortgage underwriter, etc. — there would probably be a whole lot fewer bands. Bad Bad Hats would probably be one of them. The Minnesota-born trio led by frontwoman/guitarist Kerry Alexander puts its own fun ’90s alternative indie rock/pop-punk spin on it. Its most recent full-length, Walkman, came out in 2021. Touring with The Ophelias, they’re due at Valley Bar this weekend. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $18. John Bear
click to enlarge KONGOS is heading back to the Valley for an intimate show. - JONNY MARLOW
KONGOS is heading back to the Valley for an intimate show.
Jonny Marlow

KONGOS

Friday, May 13
Last Exit Live, 717 South Central Avenue
The four brothers who comprise KONGOS may have been born in South Africa and currently reside in Texas, but since they graduated from high school here, attended Arizona State University, and cut their teeth in Phoenix’s music scene, we're claiming them as a local act who made it big. KONGOS is most famous for its smash hit "Come With Me Now," which was used in numerous commercials and trailers. Their most recent album, 1929, Pt. 2, was released in 2019. It's been a couple of years since Dylan, Johnny, Jesse, and Daniel Kongos left the Grand Canyon State for Texas, but they’ll be back this weekend for an intimate concert at Last Exit Live. Local rockers the Deadbeat Cousins are the opening act. Doors open at 7:30 and the show is sold out. Jennifer Goldberg
click to enlarge T-Pain will be at The Van Buren. - LIVE NATION
T-Pain will be at The Van Buren.
Live Nation

T-Pain

Friday, May 13
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
A lot of folks know T-Pain for his Auto-Tune-assisted vocals and era-defining hits. In the decade-plus since he changed the late-night finessing game forever with songs such as "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')," he’s released three albums and won the first season of The Masked Singer. Regardless of the methodology or even the medium, T-Pain always delivers the goods. Tickets for his upcoming show at the Van Buren are available through the secondary market. Jesse Scott
click to enlarge Claude VonStroke will be on the decks for five hours straight on Friday night. - SHAUNA REGAN
Claude VonStroke will be on the decks for five hours straight on Friday night.
Shauna Regan

Claude VonStroke

Friday, May 13
Walter Where?House, 702 North 21st Avenue
Claude VonStroke, founder of influential EDM label Dirtybird Records, has a saucy take on house music; he flirts with genres from all over the spectrum, nodding to hip-hop, garage, and soul while infecting the dance floor with his playful, upbeat style. He's long been a presence on the festival circuit, but – unlike many festival staples – VonStroke and his protégés don't play the latest tunes. They're too busy scoping out the sound of the future and sculpting it into their own creations, envisioning and defining the cutting edge of what's hot in the house world. Hear for yourself on Friday night when VonStroke performs a five-hour “open to close” set at Walter Where?House from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are still available on the secondary marked. Amber Taufen

Robby Krieger

Friday, May 13
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
When most people tell the tale of the Doors, Jim Morrison's enigmatic personality, poetic flair, and early death generally take center stage. However, without Robby Krieger's blues-gone-psych guitar work, it is far less likely that the Lizard King would figure so prominently in the annals of rock history. After all, "Light My Fire," "Love Me Two Times," "Touch Me," and "Love Her Madly" all bear Krieger’s name in the writing credits. This weekend, Krieger is set to take the stage at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre to perform songs from throughout the Doors’ catalog, as well as select covers including a reggae-influenced take on “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” It's a rare opportunity to see a performance by a founding member of one of the bands that truly impacted the course of music history. A jammed-out, trippy time is sure to be had by all with Krieger's deft guitar playing at the helm. The concert starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $38 to $68. David Von Bader
click to enlarge Legendary composer John Williams helped score the soundtrack to your childhood. - TASHTISH/CC BY 3.0/WIKIMEDIA
Legendary composer John Williams helped score the soundtrack to your childhood.
TashTish/CC BY 3.0/Wikimedia

Jurassic Park in Concert

Friday, May 13, to Sunday, May 15
Phoenix Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street
It’s an event 65 million years in the making. The Phoenix Symphony will wind down its current season with a trio of blockbuster concerts celebrating Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1993 film Jurassic Park. Led by conductor Tito Muñoz, the orchestra’s musicians will perform John Williams’ triumphant score live to picture as an HD version of the movie is screened. There will also be themed activities before each concert, like the chance to dig up fossils or get photos with a roaming dinosaur. Performances will take place at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14, with a matinee show at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 15. Tickets for each concert are $34 to $102. Benjamin Leatherman

Bad Boy Bill

Saturday, May 14
Darkstar, 526 South Mill Avenue, #201, Tempe
The story of DJ Bad Boy Bill (born William Renkosik) reads like the story of house music itself, and namely how this once geo-specific Chicagoan music subculture disseminated itself across the greater American and international cultures to become the mainstream phenomenon it is today. Schooled in the Chicago house boom of the mid-'80s, fledgling DJ Bill first made a name for himself by distributing promo mixtapes out of his car. In the future, he would become widely credited as the founding father of the mixtape after an entire generation of DJs caught on to this effective medium of self-promotion by word-of-mouth. Getting recruited by prominent radio jockey and house legend Farley Jackmaster Funk at Chicago’s WGCI in the late-'80s would land Bill his first of many radio gigs, where he’d hone the rapid-fire DJ chops that made him famous. In the '90s and 2000s, Bill continued delighting listeners worldwide touring heavily across the globe and releasing a prolific series of compilation records, his five-volume Bangin' The Box series being one of the best-selling in EDM history. These days, he’s still producing and touring and is scheduled to drop beats this weekend inside Darkstar in Tempe. McWhite and Joe Label open the 9 p.m. gig. Tickets are $23. Sean Levisman
click to enlarge Local death metal band Gatecreeper. - HAYLEY RIPPY
Local death metal band Gatecreeper.
Hayley Rippy

Gatecreeper

Saturday, May 14
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
It’s almost impossible to go to a metal show nowadays without seeing at least one person repping Gatecreeper. The local death metal band’s ever-flowing stream of merch, such as the free “Honk if you’re horny for Gatecreeper” stickers or the one-off local gig posters, is as synonymous with its brand as its sound at this point. They’re currently in the midst of their nationwide headlining tour with 200 Stab Wounds, Narrow Head, and Fearing in support of their latest release, Unexpected Reality. The album showcases the band’s sonic spectrum, formed by Eric “The Darkest Cowboy” Wagner and Israel Garza on guitars, Matt Arrebollo on drums, and Alexander Brown on bass. While there’s a good serving of old-school death metal that would sound at home on a 1990s Swedish release, there’s also an 11-minute-plus track that’s as death-doom as it comes. Gatecreeper’s tour invades Crescent Ballroom on Saturday. Tickets for the 7 p.m. gig are $20. Justin Criado
click to enlarge Americo Alejandro Garcia, better known as Boombox Cartel. - RELENTLESS BEATS
Americo Alejandro Garcia, better known as Boombox Cartel.
Relentless Beats

Boombox Cartel

Saturday, May 14
The Pool at Talking Stick Resort, 9800 East Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
L.A.-based DJ and producer Americo Alejandro Garcia, also known as Boombox Cartel, fuses electronic elements like booming bass with hip-hop, trap, and Latin music to create his high-energy jams. Since his debut in 2012, he’s been quite prolific, releasing a number of EPs and scores of tracks over the past decade. If you’d like to hear his EDM talents for yourself, Garcia is scheduled to perform at Talking Stick Resort’s latest Release After Dark pool party on Saturday night. Gates open at 5 p.m. and Juelz will warm up the crowd. Tickets are $30. Benjamin Leatherman

Carla Morrison

Sunday, May 15
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
Every time Carla Morrison returns to the Valley to perform, it's a bit of a homecoming: She attended high school at Marcos de Niza and took music classes at Mesa Community College in the early 2000s before dropping out to perform with friends in Tempe indie rock trio Babaluca. They built a local following for three years before Carla moved to Mexico City to pursue her solo career. Since then, she's won multiple Latin Grammy Awards as a singer-songwriter, played to growing crowds as a solo artist, and released three studio albums and a handful of EPs. This weekend, her Valley fans will get a chance to watch her perform again when she pays a visit to the Van Buren in downtown Phoenix on Sunday. The show starts at 8 p.m. with opening sets by Estereomance and singer-songwriter Irene Diaz. Tickets are only available through resellers. Yezmin Villarreal

Adventure Club

Sunday, May 15
Maya Dayclub, 7333 East Indian Plaza, Scottsdale
The Montreal-based Adventure Club is a duo that started as a pop-punk act. Quickly outgrowing that hybrid, Christian Srigley and Leighton James started making electronic music, their first foray into it being a remix of Brand New's "Daisy." Adventure Club's breakout release, though, was a remix of "Everything to Me," by Lips, which was accompanied by a fantasy/superhero music video. Rather than just sculpting chill atmospherics between bass drops, Adventure Club employs methods used in dubstep, creating textured melodies with transitions that tend to flow instead of tempos that merely stop, start and stutter. The duo’s latest album, Love // Chaos, features their latest forays into melodic dubstep. They’re scheduled to headline this weekend’s Sunday Drip pool party at Maya in Scottsdale. Gates open at noon and admission is $35. Westword
click to enlarge The musicians of La Santa Cecilia (from left): Miguel "Oso" Ramirez, Marisol "La Marisoul" Hernandez, Alex Bendana, and Pepe Carlos. - HUMBERTO HOWARD
The musicians of La Santa Cecilia (from left): Miguel "Oso" Ramirez, Marisol "La Marisoul" Hernandez, Alex Bendana, and Pepe Carlos.
Humberto Howard

La Santa Cecilia

Sunday, May 15
Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue, Chandler
If there is one band that represents the multicultural mix of the Southwest, it's La Santa Cecilia. Since its Latin Grammy nomination in 2015, the LA-born group has been representing its city at major festivals in Texas and New York. They're also picking up the attention of critics, through pieces on NPR's All Things Considered and Latino USA. Further, their hybrid of Latin, rock, and world music has caught the attention of groups like Cafe Tacuba, Lila Downs, Ozomatli, and Los Lobos, all of whom have had La Santa Cecilia open shows for them in recent years. Anyone who has attended their concerts can attest that lead singer Marisol "La Marisoul" Hernandez has one of the most powerful voices in any city, in any genre. La Santa Cecilia’s latest Valley performance happens at 7 p.m. on Sunday at Chandler Center for the Arts. Tickets are $26 to $46. Eddie Cota
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.