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Best Phoenix Concerts This Week: Bad Bunny, Gorillaz, Wu-Tang Clan

Virtual band Gorillaz this week will stage their first show in the Valley since 2010.
Virtual band Gorillaz this week will stage their first show in the Valley since 2010. Nasty Little Man
Metro Phoenix’s concert calendar this week isn’t lacking in big names. Over the next several nights, there will be performances by such blockbuster acts as Bad Bunny (a.k.a. Spotify’s “most listened-to artist” the past couple of years), legendary rappers Nas and Wu-Tang Clan, and virtual band Gorillaz. Gigs by rockers Foxy Shazam and Hawaiian music icons George Kahumoku Jr. and Daniel Ho also add to a busy week.

Read on for details about each of these concerts or click over to Phoenix New Timesonline listings for more live music in the Valley from Monday, September 26, to Thursday, September 29.

Gorillaz

Monday, September 26
Footprint Center, 201 East Jefferson Street
Before we became the Planet of the Bored Apes, we were living in the Gorillaz’s world. Long before NFTs were a cursed spasm in some tech bro's mind, Blur's Damon Albarn and Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett came up with a much cooler take on digital art and goofy avatars. Crafting a virtual band made up of cartoon characters, Albarn and Hewlett produced music videos and live shows that mixed the energy and aesthetics of street art with manga influences, comic books, and Saturday morning cartoons. Of course, none of this would matter if the music was garbage. Thankfully, these Gorillaz throw hits instead of their own shits. Collaborating with hip-hop legends like De La Soul and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Albarn has written some indelible jams for his Not Ready for Hanna-Barbera hipsters. What’s even more surprising is how at home Albarn’s voice is on these songs: His laconic Britpop crooning adds a melancholy, disaffected energy that fits these animated rock stars like an oversized glove on Mickey’s hand. With a star-studded new album, Cracker Island, on the way in 2023 (featuring contributions from Thundercat, Stevie Nicks, Beck, Tame Impala, and Bad Bunny), Gorillaz are sure to make us go bananas. With EarthGang, 7:30 p.m., $65-$165 via ticketmaster.com. Ashley Naftule

Bad Bunny

Wednesday, September 28
Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street
It takes an artist with a huge following and a certain level of popularity to fill an enormous venue like the 48,519-person Chase Field, but Latin trap and reggaeton rapper Bad Bunny certainly qualifies. For proof, look no further than the fact Spotify crowned him as the most listened-to artist in the world in 2020 and 2021. Or the fact his concert at the downtown Phoenix stadium is sold out (don’t worry, tickets can still be purchased on the secondary market). Not bad for someone who grew up in the barrios of Puerto Rico, and was forced to wear a rabbit costume to school (hence his moniker). Bad Bunny’s rise to enormous fame happened over the past five years. In 2017, he made more than a dozen appearances as a featured artist on Billboard's Hot Latin Song charts. The following year, he collaborated with Cardi B and J Balvin on the track "I Like It" and with Drake on "Mia.” And in 2020, he put on a star-making performance alongside Jennifer Lopez at the Super Bowl. Since then, Bad Bunny’s fame has only grown as he released two hit albums (2020's El Último Tour Del Mundo and 2022's Un Verano Sin Ti), landed a recurring role on the Netflix show Narcos: Mexico, and even competed as a WWE superstar at WrestleMania. No joke. With Deorro, 7 p.m. Benjamin Leatherman

Foxy Shazam

Wednesday, September 28
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
Foxy Shazam are an eclectic, unapologetic, brash, over-the-top rock band. On any of the seven studio albums they’ve put out since 2005, they’ve let songwriting show through rather than just showmanship. Their most recent release is this year’s The Heart Behead You. The nine-track effort includes songs like “Dancing With My Demons,” which shows off their glammy, hard-edged signature sound, as well as the softer “I’m In Love.” As is the norm for any act that’s been around as long as Foxy Shazam has, their current tour features a mix of cuts from the album with older favorites. Thumpasaurus and Shamon Cassette open the evening. 7:45 p.m., $25/$30 via seetickets.us. K.C. Libman
click to enlarge
The exterior of the Musical Instrument Museum in north Phoenix.
MIM

Masters of Hawaiian Music

Wednesday, September 28
Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard
You might only know Tia Carrere from her movie career, which includes her breakthrough performance as rock guitarist and mega-babe Cassandra in 1992’s Wayne's World. Thing is, she’s also an accomplished and esteemed vocalist who has released multiple albums of Hawaiian music with record producer and musician Daniel Ho, who provided accompaniment on the ukulele and slack-key guitar. The two are currently touring with fellow Grammy Award-winning slack-key guitarist George Kahumoku Jr. as the Masters of Hawaiian Music. Shows feature instrumentation by Ho and Kahumoku, dubbed by The New York Times as “virtuosic keepers of a cultural flame,” and showcase the folk musical stylings of the islands while Carrere provides vocals. It’s an evening of breezy fun that doesn’t require an eight-hour plane ride to experience. 7 p.m., $44.50-$54.50 via mim.org. Benjamin Leatherman

Wu-Tang Clan and Nas

Thursday, September 29
Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue
Wu-Tang is for the children — '90s children, that is. Still legends in the year 2022, one can’t deny that the heyday for Long Island’s mightiest band of Shaolin roughnecks was the 1990s, when RZA, GZA, Raekwon the Chef, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, and the rest of the Clan could do virtually no wrong. Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, RZA's Liquid Swords, Ghostface Killah's Supreme Clientele, and the entire group's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) were albums released either individually or collectively that served as the sharp tip of a very large iceberg of bops. Wu-Tang are once again on the swarm, touring with fellow '90s rap legend Nas. The tour is a study in contrasts: The Wu have a sprawling library of classic hits, Nas has one (2003's "I Can"). The Wu are chaotic on wax and in concert, like a sprawling Shaw Brothers kung-fu fight scene. Nas, the lone samurai, is all cold precision: a wordsmith who can cut you to the core with a single line. He has his share of releases over the years, but the true steel is 1994's Illmatic, one of a handful of albums in any genre that deserves to go up on the next Voyager satellite when we send the aliens our species' latest mixtape. With Busta Rhymes; 8 p.m., $29.50-$330 via livenation.com. 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.
K.C. Libman
Contact: K.C. Libman
Ashley Naftule

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