Things to Do

Best Phoenix Concerts This Weekend: Kenia Os, Innings Fest, Grieves

Green Day is scheduled to perfrom on Saturday, February 25, at Innings Festival 2023 in Tempe.
Green Day is scheduled to perfrom on Saturday, February 25, at Innings Festival 2023 in Tempe. Jonathan Weiner
Welcome to the unofficial start of the spring concert season in the Valley. The two-day Innings Festival dominates this weekend’s live music lineup — owing to its all-star headliners Green Day and Eddie Vedder — but the baseball-themed music extravaganza ain’t the only game in town. Other options awaiting concertgoers include shows featuring YouTuber turned pop/R&B singer Kenia Os, hip-hop artist Grieves, Alice in Chains vocalist/guitarist Jerry Cantrell, and rappers The Grouch and Eligh.

There will also be a punk-filled charity gig benefitting the residents of Periwinkle Mobile Home Park, the reunion of local post-rock band Batter the Drag, and performances by Emotional Oranges and Mwenso and the Shakes.

Read on for full details about each concert or click over to Phoenix New Timesonline listings for more live music happening from Friday, February 24, to Sunday, February 26.

The Grouch and Eligh

Friday, February 24
The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road
Three decades or so after their debuts, MCs The Grouch and Eligh are still both revered and respected in the underground hip-hop world for their talents. The California-born MCs (The Grouch was born in the Bay Area while Eligh hails from L.A.) have both been members of famed hip-hop collective/supergroup Living Legends since the mid ’90s and famously teamed up as a duo on four different albums, the latest of which is 2021’s What Would Love Do. Like their other releases, the 16-track project showcases each artist’s respective signature styles (Eligh’s staccato-filled flows and The Grouch’s sharp rhymes), as well as their usual positive energy and plenty of boom bap beats. This weekend, the duo swing through the Valley for a 16-and-over show put on by local hip-hop shop Trill and promoter Universatile Music. 8 p.m., $24 via Benjamin Leatherman
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Residents of Periwinkle Mobile Home Park protesting their pending eviction by property owner Grand Canyon University.
Katya Schwenk

Periwinkle Mobile Home Park Benefit Concert

Friday, February 24
Yucca Tap Room, 29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe
Punk ain’t just about thunderous anthems and righteous pits. There’s also the ethos of the genre, which (depending on your perspective) includes empathy for the downtrodden and taking direct action to assist them in their plight. This weekend, local punk acts 80*D, Mike and the Molotovs, Ape Gone Bad, and Birth of Monsters will do just that when they stage a charity concert benefitting the beleaguered residents of Periwinkle Mobile Home Park. As New Times has previously reported, property owner Grand Canyon University is set to folks living in the west Valley trailer park, which is located next to the school. The show is free but donations will be accepted and given to the residents to offset moving costs. (Here’s hoping someone performs a cover of “Let’s Lynch the Landlord” by the Dead Kennedys.) 8 p.m. Benjamin Leatherman

Kenia Os

Friday, February 24
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
In 2018, Mexican-born pop/R&B vocalist Kenia Guadalupe Flores Osuna, known to fans as Kenis Os, parlayed her career as a massively popular YouTuber (she currently boasts 7.2 million-plus subscribers) into a music career. After releasing multiple tracks both independently and on the Mexico-based label Lizos Music for a few years, Osuna broke through to greater fame in 2021 when tracks like "La Noche" and "Joder" (a collaboration with rapper Snow Tha Product) went gold in her native country. Last year, she signed with Sony Music Mexico, released two dance-pop albums on the label — Cambios de Luna and K23 — and co-hosted the MTV Millennial Awards with Kali Uchis. Osuna is set to visit the Valley this weekend on her North American tour in support of K23. It's a 13-and-over show, befitting her largely teen and tween fanbase. 8 p.m., $44.50 via Benjamin Leatherman


Saturday, February 25
Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue
The vibes are melancholy and sleepy on Grieves’ Canopy, the rapper’s most recent album. Dropped in 2021, the record is mostly instrumentals: a twilight world of head-nodding, pill-popping, and moody introspection. It foregrounds Benjamin “Grieves” Laub’s knack for beat-making, but he's no slouch on the mic either. The Seattle rapper can spill knotty yarns full of deft jokes and sly boasts, immersing himself in thickets of language like a kid swimming in a McDonalds’ ball pit. On albums like Running Wild and Winter & the Wolves, Grieves has established a particular vibe: low-key, verbose, and contemplative. An indie-rap contemporary of artists like Atmosphere and Chris Webby, Grieves has set himself apart as the wallflower of the pack, off rapping in his own insular world. Some rap records are a party unto themselves; a Grieves joint is a mellow experience spent with good company, chopping it up as you wait for the edibles to kick in. We expect his Valley Bar gig this weekend will offer similar vibes. With Mouse Powell, Zac Ivie, and Dumb Luck; 7 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Ashley Naftule

Jerry Cantrell

Saturday, February 25
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
Jerry Cantrell has a prime seat at the table waiting for him in Grunge Valhalla when he eventually passes away. As the founder, lead guitarist, and main songwriter behind Alice in Chains, Cantrell was the architect for one of the era’s nastiest and most compelling flavors of rock — a dopesick grunge sound steeped in heavy metal. Of all the big grunge acts, none were more harrowing and bleak, both musically and lyrically, than AIC; few could also hit moments of beauty and grace that hit as hard as Cantrell and the late Layne Staley did when they would harmonize together. While AIC remains active with William DuVall replacing Staley, Cantrell has also kept busy releasing a string of solo albums. His latest, 2021’s Brighten, finds him paying homage to his classic rock and pop heroes. Nods to the Beatles and Tom Petty abound on Brighten, as does a surprisingly reverent cover of Elton John's "Goodbye." For a man who’s spent much of his career submerged in darkness, Brighten is the sound of him coming up for daylight. With Thunderpussy; 8 p.m., $50-$80 via Ashley Naftule

Batter The Drag’s Reunion Show

Saturday, February 25
Yucca Tap Room, 29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe
The reunion of a beloved local band always cause for celebration, particularly if they’re as fantastic as Batter the Drag. The post-rock act, which formed in 2002, played innovative, complex, and rip-roaring tunes filled with what then-New Times writers described as “dissonant chord arrangements, oddly satisfying harmonies, and jagged rhythm changes [executed] with technical deftness to make musicians in the crowd grin while not alienating the average listener.” They hit stages at venues in both Phoenix and Tucson and recorded two well-received albums with famed local musician/producer Bob Hoag before calling it quits in 2006. After 16 years away, the foursome — which includes lead vocalist/guitarist Ryan Richardson, bassist Wes Volkman, guitarist Jeff Ruoss, and drummer Chad Martin — returns to the stage this weekend. The music world and local scene may have undergone many changes since they last performed, but Batter the Drag’s music is likely just as potent as ever. With Dead Canyon, Joint Chief, and Gift Horse; 8 p.m., free. Benjamin Leatherman

Mwenso and the Shakes

Saturday, February 25
Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue, Chandler
World music is a vague, all-encompassing term for a genre but it suits Michael Mwenso. Few bands are more worldly in a geographic sense than Mwenso’s The Shakes: the Sierra Leone-born musician fronts a group with players hailing from London, South Africa, Madagascar, France, Jamaica, Hawaii, and Greenwich Village. Inspired by classic American musicians like James Brown, Muddy Waters, and Fats Waller, Mwenso has carved a special groove out for himself as the singer and bandleader for The Shakes, who make effusive, rhythmic music that is as intense as it is joyous. Mwenso and his collaborators play a unique blend of jazz, blues, tropicalia, and African music. The guitars vamp, the drums bang out irresistible polyrhythms, and the pianos shuffle and boogie while Mwenso’s boisterous vocals carry it all home. Based in Harlem, Mwenso and the Shakes play music that knits together the sensibilities and sonics of four continents into one seamless party-rocking sound. 7:30 p.m., $29-$39 via Ashley Naftule
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Innings Festival returns to Tempe Beach Park this weekend.
Kelsee Becker

Innings Festival 2023

Saturday, March 25, to Sunday, March 26
Tempe Beach Park, 80 West Rio Salado Parkway
This year’s Innings Festival is what you’d call a grand slam. The baseball-themed event, which merges coincides with the beginning of spring training in the Valley, boasts a roster of rock ‘n’ roll all-stars, including such enormous names as Green Day, Eddie Vedder, The Offspring, Marcus Mumford, The Pretty Reckless, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. (The rest of the lineup includes the likes of Mt. Joy, The Revivalists, Hazel English, Magic City Hippies, Annie DiRusso, Umphrey's McGee and Paris Jackson.) Add in appearances by numerous Major League Baseball veterans (such as Arizona Diamondbacks legends Matt Williams and Randy Johnson), various baseball-inspired activities, and a curated selection of food, and you’ve got the makings of one of the Valley’s most memorable annual music festivals. General admission and VIP tickets are technically sold out, but you can find them on the secondary market if you’re willing to pay major league prices. (Click here for our complete guide to the festival.) 12:30 p.m., $333-$1,500 via Benjamin Leatherman

Emotional Oranges

Sunday, February 26
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
If you’ve ever watched RuPaul’s Drag Race, odds are good you’ve heard Emotional Oranges. Their sultry R&B groove “Motion” was used by the show as a theme song starting in 2018. It’s a slinky, low-key track that gets under your skin, thanks to the smooth throwback beats from “A” and the warm vocals of “V.” R&B is fueled by star power, but the duo behind Emotional Oranges deliberately cultivate an air of anonymity by concealing their identities behind pseudonyms. While they make keep themselves at a distance, the music they make beckons you to come closer. Formed in 2017 in Los Angeles, the two Oranges developed a sound that combined elements of R&B, neo-soul, and pop music. The music is plush and honeyed while the lyrics have a sharp bite to them, ruthlessly gnawing at sex and relationships and the compromises people have to make to get by in life. It’s that winning combination of sweet melody and bitter truths that makes the Emotional Oranges so affecting. 8 p.m., $25 via 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

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