The 13 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

MRCH will celebrate the release of their new album at Valley Bar on Saturday, October 14.
MRCH will celebrate the release of their new album at Valley Bar on Saturday, October 14. Frank Thomas
Watchu got going on this weekend? Hopefully something fun, considering there are few (if any) reasons to stay glued to the furniture at home.

If you need some options, we’ve got several to offer, particularly of the live music variety.

For starters, there’s the Arizona State Fair’s concert series (which includes performances by Gin Blossoms and Jake Miller this weekend). Meanwhile, hitmakers Macklemore and Harry Styles have shows, reggae icon Damian Marley will be at The Van Buren, and local band MRCH will celebrate the release of their new album.

The Halloween party season will also kick off this weekend with the BOO! Arizona dance music festival down at Rawhide, while the annual PHX Ska-Punk Bowling fest will be happening in Tempe.

Details about each of the events, as well as other notable shows, can be found below in our rundown of the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. (And for even more live music happening in Phoenix, hit up our online listings.)

click to enlarge
Singer-songwriter and violinist Andrew Bird.
Cameron Wittig
Andrew Bird
Friday, October 13
Mesa Arts Center

Like with 2012’s Break It Yourself, Andrew Bird’s latest indie pop album Are You Serious finds the classically trained violinist and singer-songwriter cruising gentle waves of indie rock while romantically toying with the English language à la Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde.

While the A.V. Club may have called this a “slight” record that takes “no musical risks,” the powerful effect of an absurdly talented and genius musician choosing relatively simple foundations — as Bird does with the bluesy groove of “Capsized” and the brutal passion of “Left Handed Kisses,” his lyric-driven duet with Fiona Apple — is both bold and admirable.

Risky arrangements or not, Bird unleashes flourishes of instrumental virtuosity throughout Are You Serious, and he will no doubt do the same at Mesa Arts Center. Adam Perry

click to enlarge
Nicholas Rattiga and Jacob Rubeck of Surf Curse.
Matthew James Wilson
Surf Curse
Friday, October 13
Crescent Ballroom

There’s a new wave of bands – if you’ll pardon the expression – who are equally inspired by the classic surf-pop reveries of The Beach Boys and the fuzzed-out minimalism of The Ramones. Even the names of such groups as Wavves and Best Coast evoke the beach, and you can get a rough idea of Surf Curse’s sound before they’ve even played a note.

Hailing from the notorious surfing hotbed of Henderson, Nevada, Jacob Rubeck and Nicholas Rattigan don’t gush about the ocean as much as, say, Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino. Instead, “Beach Whatever,” from the duo’s Sad Boys EP, is a more droning and mysterious entreaty. “Haunt Me” is a short, lo-fi love song that’s closer to the arty abruptness of Wire than the pop-punk power of The Descendents. Falling James

click to enlarge
EDM artist Chris Lake.
Courtesy of Good Question
Chris Lake
Friday, October 13
Shady Park in Tempe

Never heard of UK DJ-producer Chris Lake? Then you're hopelessly out of the loop, because he's one of the more renowned EDM stars in the world. Some notable stats: two Billboard Dance Airplay Chart number ones, several U.S. Dance Chart top tens, and "the best thing to come out of Scotland since Mylo," according to BBC Radio 1 über-tastemaker, Pete Tong.

But Lake prefers to hype his music, not his accolades. And following 2005 vocal house smash "Changes," he would go on to remix Madonna, Kylie Minogue, and Black Eyed Peas, while banging out his own chart-topping anthemic house originals. In 2010, Lake teamed with Italian producer Marco Lys for the full-length album Cross The Line. With its infusion of electro-house, disco, and everything from bebop jazz and Latin to music of the American South, it was an ambitious work that offered a little something for everyone.

And while Lake hasn’t dropped any official follow-ups to Cross The Line in the past seven years, he’s stayed plenty busy, including collaborating with artists like Steve Aoki and Anna Lunoe, as well as touring the world. This weekend, he visits Shady Park with Noise Frenzy as a part of his “Lose My Mind” tour. Sean Levisman

PHX Ska Punk Bowling
Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

Maybe its because both are lowbrow pursuits with a fondness for cheap beer, gaudy apparel, and making a racket, but bowling and punk rock go together as naturally as your fingers in the holes of a 12-pound Brunswick ball. The two have been pin pals for a couple of decades or more, as evidenced by the rowdy shows held at rundown alleys like Chicago's famed Fireside Bowl from '94 onward. (Here in the Valley, the bygone Tempe Bowl was infamously the site of many a wild show in that era.) And, of course, there's the renowned Punk Rock Bowling festival that brings thousands to Vegas every summer.

It helped to partly inspire a homegrown takeoff of the event, PHX Ska/Punk Bowling, which launched in 2013 in Tempe and proved popular enough to take place every year since. Typically, the event features multiple nights of both ska and punk music at local venues with 10-pin action happening at a nearby bowling alley.

This year’s event spans the entire weekend with two straight nights of shows at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe. L.A. punk act The Generators will headline the first show on Friday, October 13, which will also include sets by Antagonizers, C:28, Upstart 33, We Might Be Wasted, and Kill Your T.V. The following evening’s festivities on Saturday will include The Untouchables, Apathy Cycle, Los Lerpes, Skull Drug, Bowcat, Falcon A, Reason Unknown, Rundown Roommates, and Jahfunkdafied.

Actual bowling will also take place during the weekend, specifically on Sunday, October 15, at AMF Tempe Village Lanes, although you should refrain from slam dancing in the alleys like they did at Tempe Bowl back in the day. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge
Macklemore at the March Madness Music Festival back in April.
Jim Louvau
Saturday, October 14
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Seattle-born rapper Ben Haggerty, better known to most as Macklemore (or Professor Mack Lemore, if you’re way old-school) is a polarizing figure in the hip-hop world, to say the least. And while opinions about his talents and stature may vary from person to person, the fact remains that he’s had a phenomenally successful career thus far.

His biggest success to date, of course, is 2012's smash-hit The Heist, a collaboration with Ryan Lewis. Maybe you remember the hit song “Thrift Shop” (poppin’ tags, anyone?) or “Same Love.” Four years later, the duo released the follow-up, This Unruly Mess I've Made.

Macklemore’s career without Lewis hasn’t been as prolific, however. As a matter of fact, before his latest record, Gemini, dropped last month, he hadn’t released a solo album in more than six years. Macklemore’s making up for lost time, however, by touring relentlessly in support of Gemini, including playing the Marquee in Tempe this month. Sara Button

click to enlarge
Harry Styles
Harley Weir
Harry Styles
Saturday, October 14
Comerica Theatre

If you’ve dated Taylor Swift, aged out of the biggest boy band ever, and inherited fame and fortune sometime during puberty, what kind of art do you make? That’s what former One Direction member Harry Styles’ 2017 has been about – about delivering an album that shows the world just who grown up Harry Styles really is.

And the answer to our aforementioned question? He’s a nostalgic, and romantic about well-worn, tried-and-true rock ‘n’ roll — the kind that came on vinyl records, the type that muddled emotion with ego and drew fairly straightforward conclusions about things like rebellion, love, sex, and power.

Freed up by the One Direction breakup, Styles is at once exploring new territory and familiarizing himself with traditional song forms. However, the dramatic nature of his life story remains Styles' greatest hook. Jonathan Patrick
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Phoenix New Times