Things to Do

Phoenix’s Best Weekend Concerts: Smashing Pumpkins, Jane’s Addiction, Descendents

Smashing Pumpkins are scheduled to perform at Footprint Center on Friday, November 18.
Smashing Pumpkins are scheduled to perform at Footprint Center on Friday, November 18. Paul Elledge
It’s a big weekend of shows in the Valley for music fans of a certain age (read: aging Gen Xers). A pair of ‘90s alt-rock hitmakers — Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction — are headed to town, as are old-school punkers Descendents (formed in 1977) and Tucson-born hard rock/cowpunk band The Supersuckers (who date back to the late ’80s).

There are more than throwback acts coming to local venues over the next few nights, though, as soul-rapper and producer Oddisee and country music superstar Zac Brown are also scheduled to perform.

Read on for more details about these gigs, pop some Advil for your aching back, and check out Phoenix New Timesonline concert listings for more live music from Friday, November 18, to Sunday, November 20.
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Descendents will descend upon downtown Phoenix this weekend.
Live Nation

Descendents

Friday, November 18
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
“If growing up means being like you, then I don’t want to be like you,” Milo Aukerman sneered on 1985’s “I Don’t Want To Grow Up.” The song (and album of the same name) feels like a mission statement, one that Cali punk godfathers the Descendents have lived up to over the course of 45 years of playing three-chord wonders. Taking a listen to their latest album, 2021’s 9th & Walnut, it’s striking how much they still sound like the snot-nosed brats that gave the world Milo Goes to College in 1982. Aukerman’s voice sounds a little more sanded down by time but the guitars still buzz like caffeinated hornets, and Bill Stevenson’s teenage caveman beats still thud with unerring precision. Like The Ramones and Motorhead before them, Descendents have found a sound that doesn’t need to evolve because it’s fully formed and compelling no matter what year you drop it in. Descendents might be older and wiser, but they haven’t forgotten the bratty spite that makes their work so bracing. All these years later and they still don’t want to be like you; that makes all the difference. With Prince Daddy and the Hyena; 8 p.m., $40/$42 via livenation.com. Ashley Naftule
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Rob Birmingham, better known to locals as "Fun Bobby."
Lisa Allen

Fun Bobby's 55th Birthday

Friday, November 18
Yucca Tap Room, 29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe
Rob “Fun Bobby” Birmingham is the Phoenix music community’s cool uncle, elder statesman, and biggest booster. Catch the longtime bartender and promoter during one of his shifts behind the stick at the Yucca and he’ll happily fill your ears with tales of his favorite Valley bands (past or present) while filling your glass. Birmingham turns 55 this weekend, and while his emotions are mixed about getting older (“I’m almost a senior now, which blows my mind,” he says), he’s celebrating the occasion by bringing in local indie acts Wyves, No Volcano, and The Breakup Society for a big blowout. Also performing is Bourbon Witch, a supergroup of local rock musicians, with Birmingham singing lead vocals and raising a ruckus while wearing green face paint and carrying a devil’s pitchfork. Because that’s just how he rolls on his birthday. 8:30 p.m., $15 via ticketweb.com. Benjamin Leatherman
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The Supersuckers perform in 2017.
Frank Schwichtenberg/CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

The Supersuckers

Friday, November 18
The Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road
The Supersuckers formed in 1988 in Tucson and have been getting listeners fired up via blistering rock ’n’ roll tunes fused with country punk and raucous guitar riffs for more than three decades, save for an extended hiatus in the late 2000s. Already known for their rowdy musical nature, the Supersuckers are due at the Rhythm Room this weekend and their members are as ready as ever to tear up a room with revved-up, fierce songs. As Eddie Spaghetti — a founding member who handles the bass and vocal duties — tells Phoenix New Times, the Supersuckers have always excelled at not sucking despite being together for so long. “It feels great to be as good at our job as we are after all these years,” he says. “We know exactly what we need to do. There’s no fat to trim, no wasted movement.” Local rock bands The Earps and Volk will provide support. 8 p.m., $17/$20 via seetickets.us. Amy Young
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Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins is back on stage.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Smashing Pumpkins and Jane's Addiction

Friday, November 18
Footprint Center, 201 East Jefferson Street
Gen Xers rejoice. Smashing Pumpkins and Jane's Addiction, the bands behind such jams you rocked out to throughout the ‘90s, have teamed up to offer y’all a night of nostalgia for the era when they (and probably you) were at the peak of relevance. That’s not to say their sets will only include older material. Smashing Pumpkins are in the midst of releasing Atum: A Rock Opera in Three Acts, an ambitious project consisting of three albums that will drop over the next six months (the first one came out earlier this week). Meanwhile, Jane’s Addiction, touring with most of their original lineup (save for a COVID-stricken Dave Navarro), have been working on their first new songs in more than a decade. That being said, the crowd at Footprint Center is likely to cheer a little louder and rock a little harder when they hear the Pumpkins play “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” or Perry Farrell and Co. bust out with “Been Caught Stealing” or “Mountain Song.” With Poppy; 6:30 p.m., $74-$94 via ticketmaster.com. Benjamin Leatherman

Oddisee and Good Compny

Saturday, November 19
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
Odysseus may be one of the greatest heroes of Greek myth but the dude sucked at being a good leader. As protagonist of "The Odyssey," he led a ship full of men with a 100 percent mortality rate. Washington D.C. soul-rapper and producer Oddisee has had much better luck keeping his five-piece backing band safe from rampaging cyclops and sirens. Mixing together jazz, funk, soul, and high-energy go-go beats into his signature, Oddisee and his band Good Compny have been writing their own for-the-ages epic one album at a time. While Amir Mohamed el Khalifa (a.k.a. Oddisee) has made personal warmth, positive energy, and pastoral vibes a cornerstone of his identity as a musician, his music is also informed with a bracing political perspective (2020’s Odd Cure is one of the great, here’s-what-life-is-like-right-now rap pandemic records). Oddisee’s music harkens back to classic Daisy Age hip-hop greats like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest (with DJ Jazzy Jeff himself popping up on several Oddisee tracks). Yet it sounds aggressively modern with his nimble wordplay and do-it-yourself approach to recording and producing music. Odysseus may have invented the Trojan Horse but he could never beat Oddisee in a rap battle. With Habit Blcx; 8 p.m., $20/$23 via seetickets.us. Ashley Naftule
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The Zac Brown Band will wrap up its latest tour in the Valley.
Danny Clinch

Zac Brown Band

Saturday, November 19
Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street
Over the last several decades, country music has made a gradual but inexorable slide into a pop music hellscape. The glory days of outlaws and badasses like Willie, Waylon, and Wanda are long gone, replaced by a nonstop stream of polished and preening superstars performing tunes closer in spirit to Top 40 than the true country of yesteryear. Georgia-born musician, songwriter, and vocalist Zac Brown is one of the lone exceptions to this trend, as his Americana/country-rock songs offer more heartfelt composition, spirited lyrics, and musicianship mixing in elements of bluegrass and hints of reggae. It's worked well for him, as his namesake band has won multiple Grammys and released six hit albums (three of which have gone platinum). This weekend, Brown’s band wraps up its Out in the Middle tour will a massive show at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. With Sam Hunt; 6 p.m., $30-$149 via ticketmaster.com. Benjamin Leatherman


The Cult

Sunday, November 20
Gila River Resorts & Casinos: Wild Horse Pass, 5040 Wild Horse Pass Boulevard
Imagine if AC/DC, the ghost of Jim Morrison, a New Age store, and Bauhaus somehow fused together into one entity. The ridiculous Voltron of cock-rock vibes, watered-down goth, and bad poetry that would result from that unholy union would be England’s The Cult. Built on the creative tension between singer Ian Astbury’s yowling Morrison cosplay and guitarist Billy Duffy’s sick riffing, The Cult have put out a bunch of lousy records. They also wrote “She Sells Sanctuary,” a goth-rock song so transcendentally good that NASA should put it on a gold record and send it up into space as a gift to other intelligent life in the universe. The majesty of "She Sells Sanctuary" aside, the first few Cult albums are also full of hard rock gold. You can't go wrong with 1985's Love and 1987's Electric. Cuts like "Love Removal Machine" may sound like AC/DC B-sides but Astbury sings them with the unhinged gravitas of a man who has never seen This Is Spinal Tap, and wouldn’t recognize himself in it if he did. Still, he did write “She Sells Sanctuary.” Anyone who writes a song that good is allowed to be a little ridiculous. 8 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Ashley Naftule
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young

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