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Best Phoenix Concerts This Weekend: Russ, Danzig, Ray LaMontagne

Russ is scheduled to perform on Friday, May 6, at Mesa Amphitheatre.
Russ is scheduled to perform on Friday, May 6, at Mesa Amphitheatre. Lucky Man Concerts
This weekend, local fans of hip-hop artist Russ will finally get to see his thrice-rescheduled show at Mesa Amphitheatre after waiting more than two years. Speaking of long-awaited events, Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale is bringing back its EDM-friendly RELEASE pool party series, albeit as a nighttime event, starting with a kickoff event on Saturday night headlined by Dutch DJ duo Showtek.

Other noteworthy music events in metro Phoenix over the next 72 hours will include performances by punk band Danzig and singer-songwriters like Ray LaMontagne, Sondre Lerche, and Juanes.

Details about each of these shows and music events can be found below. And for even more concerts in the Valley this weekend, visit Phoenix New Timesonline music listings.
click to enlarge Latin pop singer-songwriter Juanes. - UNIVERSAL MUSIC LATINO
Latin pop singer-songwriter Juanes.
Universal Music Latino


Friday, May 6
Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 North Maricopa Road, Maricopa, 480-802-5000
Colombian singer-songwriter Juanes makes his anticipated return stateside for the first time in over two years with his Origen tour, which comes to Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino in Maricopa this weekend. The Colombian artist has promised fans a retrospective journey through some of his greatest hits, as well as performing cuts from his latest studio album, Origen. Notably, his performance will be a stripped-down, intimate musical experience meant to be an escape from the screen-centric lives his fans have had to lead during the pandemic. Tickets for the 8 p.m. concert are $64.50 to $99.50. Olivia McAuley


Friday, May 6
Sunbar Tempe, 24 West Fifth Street, Tempe
Being featured on mixes from electronic heavyweights Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Hardwell, and Above and Beyond, Audien has brought his trance-inspired music into the pop world. His remixes of Halsey, Coldplay, and Bastille garnered him the attention of Lady Antebellum for that act's collaborative crossover "Something Better." Audien combines uplifting pop tendencies and trance-synth riffs in his mixes and tracks, which you’re likely to hear on Friday night at Sunbar in Tempe. Local DJs Brett Ortiz, Slick Floyd, and Human Music open the 9 p.m. gig. Tickets are $26. Dylan White

Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys

Friday, May 6
Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road, Phoenix
Rockabilly's endurance continues to defy those who regard the genre's resurrection as more of a fashion statement than a musical movement. While you'll probably see less gingham and grease in local clubs these days, interest in rockabilly's rabble-rousing sounds remains solid. Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys are a fine example of why this music continues to please: The Southern California outfit led by the amiable, appealing Big Sandy (born Rusty Williams) approaches it with a dexterity and musicianship that makes the stuff look easy. While Sandy's sound — a kind of retrobilly fused with a big-band flair, peppered with occasional excursions into country, swing, and even calypso — is certainly rooted in nostalgia, there's a timeless quality to it. It could be the band's smooth, almost seamless delivery, or the way the tunes make you want to take to the dance floor. Then again, maybe it's just Big Sandy's big ol' smile. The band’s concert on Friday at the Rhythm Room starts at 8 p.m. and Brea Burns and the Boleros open. Admission is $20. Laura Bond


Friday, May 6
Mesa Amphitheatre, 263 North Center Street
Atlanta-based rapper Russ will make his way to the Mesa Amphitheatre in early May as part of his ongoing The Journey is Everything Tour. Shake the Snow Globe, Russ’ 2020 studio album, showcased a more melody-focused direction for the 29-year-old. Last year saw the release of his newest album, Chomp 2, and just last month, the rapper put out an extended version of his smash hit “Handsomer,” which topped the Billboard charts. Tickets for Russ’ Mesa Amphitheatre are sold out, but you can still score some through resellers. Gates open at 6 p.m. Olivia McAuley and Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Wouter and Sjoerd Janssen of Showtek. - TICKETMASTER
Wouter and Sjoerd Janssen of Showtek.


Saturday, May 7
The Pool at Talking Stick Resort, 9800 East Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
Brothers Wouter and Sjoerd Janssen, better known as electronic dance music duo Showtek, have worked with the likes of Major Lazer, Noisecontrollers, Hardwell, and Tiësto to produce a number of hit singles over the past decade. Their biggest track to date, "No Money No Love," was a collaboration with David Guetta that dropped back in 2014 and charted well in Europe. If you're into some bass house, electro, and hard dance, the Janssens are scheduled to headline the first RELEASE pool party in three years on Saturday night at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Gates open at 5 p.m. and Israeli DJ/producer Gattüso will also perform. Tickets are $30. Dylan White and Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne. - RCA RECORDS
Singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne.
RCA Records

Ray LaMontagne

Sunday, May 8
Arizona Federal Theatre, 400 West Washington Street
This weekend, raspy-voiced New England troubadour Ray LaMontagne brings his considerable talents and current tour to downtown Phoenix. Although his recorded work sometimes falls into muddled, hazy messes, LaMontagne’s live shows have a magical quality to them. His most recent album, 2020’s Monovision, came out a few months into the pandemic and has been praised for the craftsmanship of its songs. American Songwriter called LaMontagne’s performance as “comfort food to established followers who should welcome this most organic return to his roots.” You can’t ask for anything more from an artist whose body of work only gets richer with each release. Local concertgoers may just witness something truly special at Arizona Federal Theatre on Sunday night during the concert, which starts at 7:30 p.m. with an opening set by Sierra Ferrell. Tickets start at $25. Angel Melendez and Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche. - TONJE THILESEN
Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche.
Tonje Thilesen

Sondre Lerche

Sunday, May 8
Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue
Had he come of age in the '70s during the golden age of the singer-songwriter, Sondre Lerche (pronounced "Sonder Lerkay") would likely be an international star rather than a Norwegian phenom/cult favorite. Lerche took to music early and recorded his acclaimed debut Faces Down at 18. It displayed versatility and pop sophistication well beyond his years, exploring Beatles-esque melodies, swelling Brill Building elegance, the sentimental soft rock of Harry Nilsson, and even Brazilian bossa nova. His willowy tenor possesses the fey air of a cool autumn breeze, at times suggesting a less theatrical Rufus Wainwright. Indeed, Lerche's unassuming manner and sly lyrical wit tend to imbue his songs with unpretentious everyman charm. His debut made him a star in Norway and found critical support in America, though somewhat diminished by Lerche's wide-ranging tastes; subsequent albums explored jazz, and punchy new wave rock and movie soundtracks. His latest release is the ambitious art-pop double album Avatars of Love, which came out last month and got rave reviews from Brooklyn Vegan and NPR. Lerche's current tour in support of the records comes to Valley Bar on Sunday evening. Indie-pop duo mmeadows opens the 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are $18. Chris Parker

Crystal Gayle

Sunday, May 8
Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street
When we were growing up in the late '70s and early '80s, Crystal Gayle was many things to us. For one, she was a style icon. Oh, how we wanted ankle-length hair. So shiny, so lovely, so long. She was also the first of many artists whose song lyrics were completely lost on us. Singing along with "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue," we just couldn't understand how whatever Crystal Gayle was singing about was making her brown eyes blue, and our brown eyes, no matter how hard we wished, always stayed that way. Soul-crushing. Hear Gayle sing her classics when she comes to Celebrity Theatre this weekend. Fellow country music old-schoolers the Gatlin Brothers share the bill. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $35 to $65. Rhonda Reinhart
click to enlarge Danzig hits the Valley this month. - PAUL BROWN
Danzig hits the Valley this month.
Paul Brown


Sunday, May 8
Mesa Amphitheatre, 263 North Center Street
New Jersey-born vocalist Glenn Danzig originally gained popularity fronting horror-punk bands Misfits and Samhain. The former got going in the late ’70s, and its releases (with hits like “Astro Zombies” and “Night of the Living Dead”) are staples in old-school punk record collections. In 1987, the veteran rocker formed Danzig, which he currently fronts, trading in those hooks that made the Misfits tunes catchy for a turn to the heavier side. Later, the style got a bit more industrial and experimental. No matter the style, the music is cut with his bellowing voice and affinity for dark themes. Danzig takes over the Mesa Amphitheatre on May 8 along with Tiger Army, Cradle of Filth, and Crobot. Gates open at 4 p.m. and tickets are $50 in advance, $55 at the venue’s box office. Amy Young
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.