Things to Do

Phoenix's Best Concerts This Weekend: Gucci Mane, El Ten Eleven, Mikey Lion

Gucci Mane is scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 15, at Celebrity Theatre.
Gucci Mane is scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 15, at Celebrity Theatre. Gucci Mane
Up for spending an evening at a concert or a nightclub gig this weekend? If you’re vaccinated, boosted, masked up, and believe attending a concert is a manageable risk at a time when the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 is surging, there are notable shows happening this weekend in metro Phoenix.

Rap superstar Gucci Mane is due in town, as are blues guitarist Mike Zito, post-rock band El Ten Eleven,  EDM stars Kaskade and Mikey Lion, and Motown legends The Temptations and The Four Tops. This weekend will also see friends of the late Stefan Pruett stage a tribute show celebrating the life and music of the Peachcake frontman.

Keep your vax cards handy, as most local venues will require them in order to get through the door. (Visit the ticketing pages for each event for more information.)

Mike Zito at The Rhythm Room

One of the most lauded artists in the contemporary blues arena, Mike Zito began playing guitar at 5 years old. By the time the young musician was in his late teens, he had made quite the impression on his local St. Louis music scene. From the late 1990s until the early 2010s, Zito recorded his music independently, releasing eight albums before signing with Electro Groove in 2011. In 2013, Zito signed with Ruf Records and released Gone to Texas with his band The Wheel. The album conveyed the story of how Zito gained his sobriety while offering an emotional homage to the state that had left its imprint on the singer-songwriter for the rest of his life. His next two albums, 2016's Make Blues Not War and 2018's First Class Life both entered Billboard's blues charts in the No. 1 spot. Zito is scheduled to visit the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road, on Friday, January 14, for an 8 p.m. performance. Admission is $20. David Fletcher
click to enlarge Benjamin Busse (left) and Jan Friso (right) of Adana Twins. - EFFECT MGMT
Benjamin Busse (left) and Jan Friso (right) of Adana Twins.
Effect MGMT

Adana Twins at Shady Park

A German electronic powerhouse is crossing the pond to rock the Valley. The Adana Twins have taken their techno vibe to some of the biggest clubs on planet Earth, from DC-10 in Ibiza to Halcyon in San Francisco. On Friday, January 14, catch a set by the duo at Shady Park, 26 East University Drive. For a pre-show fist-pump, try the infectious tracks "Strange" and "Juicy Fruit," then kick off your weekend dancing the night away to this electronic dance music duo. Doors open at 9 p.m. and Michael Hooker and Nicholas William open the evening. Admission is $22.50. Liz Tracy

The Temptations and The Four Tops at Arizona Federal Theatre

Motown legends The Four Tops and The Temptations will play a double-headlining gig at Arizona Federal Theatre, 400 West Washington Street, on Friday, January 14. The two groups rose to fame in the 1960s and cranked out some of the catchiest earworms of the time. The Four Tops' "Reach Out (I’ll Be There)" and "I Can’t Help Myself" sent them up the charts while The Temptations' "My Girl" and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" got regular spins on the radio. Their concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $49.50 to $125. Diamond Rodrigue
click to enlarge Kristian Dunn (left) and Tim Fogarty (right) or El Ten Eleven. - FORCE FIELD PR
Kristian Dunn (left) and Tim Fogarty (right) or El Ten Eleven.
Force Field PR

El Ten Eleven at Crescent Ballroom

It's not experimental prog rock, it's not self-indulgent noodling instrumentals and it sure as hell isn't post-rock. What El Ten Eleven does do, however, is maintain their own lane. The rapport between guitarist/bassist Kristian Dunn and drummer Tim Fogarty is palpable, almost fraternal, and rightfully so – they've been working together for 20 years. The "power duo," as they've been affectionately coined, started in 2002 in Los Angeles, carving out hooky songs devoid of lyrics while maintaining an earworm quality. Hear El Ten Eleven’s latest efforts (including material from their upcoming studio album, New Year's Eve) during their gig at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, on Friday, January 14. Indie-pop band Sego opens the 8 p.m. concerts. Tickets are $16. K.C. Libman

Gucci Mane at Celebrity Theatre

With his craggy, sickly infectious flow and peerless swagger, Gucci Mane helped pioneer the hard, cold, snare-heavy trap style that simultaneously dominates mainstream and underground hip-hop today. In the span of over 70 mixtapes and albums — yes, you read that right — Mr. Mane has documented arguably the most singular journey in rap history, a gambit that runs from murderous Atlanta rivalries to prison and eventually release and redemption, including newfound moral perspectives and the shedding of addictions and some 50-odd pounds. There are no falsehoods in the rapper’s music, only tragic philosophies, hilarious brags, and an endless sea of gold and diamonds. He’s scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 15, at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. The 18-and-over show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $25 to $175. Jonathan Patrick
click to enlarge EDM superstar Kaskade. - UNITED TALENT AGENCY
EDM superstar Kaskade.
United Talent Agency

Kaskade at Sunbar

After Kaskade teamed up with Deadmau5 to release "I Remember" back in 2008, electronic dance music was never the same again. The track became one of the hottest progressive-house/trance tracks of the last decade. With it, Kaskade (who’s known in his home state of Illinois as Ryan Raddon) anchored his name on the marquees of famous dance clubs and EDM festivals around the world. Being twice voted the United States' best DJ, and receiving multiple Grammy nominations, has not distracted Kaskade from dropping hit after hit. This weekend, he’ll headline the Life’s Big Win fundraiser on Saturday, January 15, at Sunbar, 24 West Fifth Street. The event, which gets going at 7 p.m., will benefit the Chandler Kimball Foundation and will have sets by Kaskade, reggae band The Expendables, and electronica act Bardz. Admission is $121. Dylan White
click to enlarge The late Stefan Pruett of Peachcake and The Guidance. - COURTESY OF MIKE MCHALE
The late Stefan Pruett of Peachcake and The Guidance.
Courtesy of Mike McHale

Celebrating the Life & Music of Stefan Pruett at Crescent Ballroom

A Night Celebrating the Life & Music of Stefan Pruett was in limbo the past 18 months, finally getting the landing date of Saturday, January 15, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Pruett was the lead vocalist and co-founder – along with John O’Keefe – of Peachcake, a locally formed electronic pop band that ran from 2003 to 2013. After living with a congenital heart condition his entire life, he died of heart failure in June 2020. He lived in Los Angeles at the time, making music as The Guidance.

Mike McHale, a longtime friend of Pruett and onetime member of Peachcake, is spearheading the memorial event, along with “an incredible amount of people volunteering their services, talents, time, and efforts to make this show happen.” He will be performing Peachcake music as part of the night’s lineup along with a number of local musicians. A Claire Slattery, another friend of Pruett, will be DJing at the event and celebrating her friend through an array of tunes. Jeremy Dawson of Shiny Toy Guns and MXMX will be spinning the music of The Guidance, and Jez Danz is another of the night’s DJs. There will also be a special exhibit of costumes, props, posters, and photos from Stefan’s lifetime. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $15. Amy Young
click to enlarge DJ/producer Mikey Lion will be at Walter Where?House on Saturday. - OUT HERE VISUALS
DJ/producer Mikey Lion will be at Walter Where?House on Saturday.
Out Here Visuals

Mikey Lion at Walter Where?House

When the global pandemic kneecapped the music industry, electronic dance music producer Mikey Lion experienced a silver lining to this dark cloud: being forced off his breakneck touring schedule and into quarantine with family in San Diego allowed him to finish the debut album, For the Love. Leon dreamed up the concept behind For the Love in 2012 when he and his fellow co-conspirators behind the house and techno collective Desert Hearts threw their first party in San Diego. Alongside his brother, Porky, and their collaborators Marbs and Lee Reynolds, Leon wanted to create a judgment-free oasis built on the mantra “house, techno, love – we are all Desert Hearts.”

For the Love is a culmination of Mikey Lion’s nearly decade-long Desert Hearts journey, exploring themes of love, connectivity, and the roller coaster of finding and pursuing purpose in this tumultuous world. The nine-track album is his most ambitious release to date, careening through an underground multiverse of melodic floaters, ethereal synth atmospherics, and blistering techno thumpers that’ll leave listeners gobsmacked. He’s guaranteed to drop tracks from the album when he comes to Walter Where?House, 702 North 21st Avenue, on Saturday, January 15. Doors are at 9 p.m. and Sean Watson opens. Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 on the day of the show. Jaime Sloane

David Foster at Mesa Arts Center

Songwriter, producer, and composer David Foster is a modern-day musical Midas. He's collaborated with, produced for, and written for most of the world's one-name divas at one point or another: Whitney, Chaka, Barbra, Madonna, and, most prolifically, Céline. He's credited in varying roles on songs as timeless as Cheryl Lynn's "Got to Be Real," Houston's "I Have Nothing" and "I Will Always Love You,” and Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable.” (In other words, Foster comes by his nickname of “Hitman” honestly.) He’ll perform these songs (and others from his repertoire) at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 16, at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street. Tickets are $36 to $86. Celia Almeida
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.