No plans this weekend? Consider attending one of the great concerts happening at music venues around metro Phoenix. Alt-rock favorites Weezer will headline ALT-AZ's annual Ugly Sweater Holiday Party at Mesa Amphitheatre and are likely to most of the hits you’ve heard on the radio.
Other notable shows happening from Friday, December 10, to Sunday, December 12, include gigs by pop-punk acts This Wild Life and Beach Bunny, soul/blues musician Robert Cray, genre-bending electronica artist Random Rab, progressive metal band Jinjer, and jazz singer Kurt Elling.
Read on for more details about each of these gigs or check out Phoenix New Times' online concert listings for more music events. Keep in mind, though, COVID-19 is an ever-present danger and multiple local venues require proof of vaccinations or a recent negative test result to attend shows. More info can be found on the ticketing sites for each concert.
Anthony Del Grosso (left) and Kevin Jordan (right) of This Wild Life.
This Wild Life at The Rebel Lounge
What started as a pop-punk band complete with wild guitar solos and fast-paced drums became two guys with acoustic guitars. As This Wild Life, Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso play a refreshing take on acoustic-fronted pop music. They’re known to do the occasional cover from early 2000s pop-punk, but really shine on their composed duets. When the two harmonize on songs like “Westside” or “Fade,” you might begin to wonder how they haven’t hit it big on the radio yet. They’re touring behind Ever Blossom, their recently released full-length on Epitaph Records, and are set to perform at The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road, on Friday, December 10. Arrows in Action and Taylor Acorn get things going starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22. Julian Hernandez
Robert Cray Band at Talking Stick Resort
Soul blues artist Robert Cray formed his first band in the 1970s at the age of 20 after seeing his heroes Freddie King, Muddy Waters and Albert Collins perform and deciding that the life of a bluesman was the life for him. Cray and company played mostly college towns throughout the '70s and early '80s, landing him an uncredited spot playing bass with Otis Day and the Knights in the film Animal House. Cray's big break came in 1986 with the release of Strong Persuader and its hit track "Right Next Door (Because of Me)" about infidelity and guilt. The album received a Grammy award, and Cray became a highly sought-after musician, earning spots playing with Keith Richards, Chuck Berry, and Tina Turner. Cray's work with others and as a solo artist led to his induction into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011. Cray plays Talking Stick Resort, 9800 East Talking Stick Way in Scottsdale, at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 10, in support of his most recent album, That's What I Heard, which helped solidify his place as the king of the soul blues. Tickets are $35 to $75. David Fletcher
Add some mariachi to your holiday merriment in Scottsdale.
Mariachi Sol de México®️ de José Hernández
A Merry-Achi Christmas at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Maybe you hear the words Christmas music, and the first thing that comes to mind is sleepy old holiday standards. Never fear, because holiday tunes with the big, bold sounds of mariachi music are headed to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street, Scottsdale. Maestro José Hernández is bringing Mariachi Sol de México to the venue’s Virginia G. Piper Theater for A Merry-Achi Christmas at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 10. They’ll be performing both holiday favorites and selections from the mariachi songbook. Tickets start at $39 for both in-person and live-streaming options. Lynn Trimble
Random Rab at Walter Where?House
If getting lost in a sea of trance-inducing beats and out-of-this-world mixing is what you crave, look no further than Random Rab. The genre-bending instrumental electronica artist and producer is proof that auditory stimulation in a large room full of dancing people can evoke emotion like no other while challenging listeners to think outside the box and work towards changing the world as a whole. It's a musical adventure worth taking. It will commence at 9 p.m. on Friday, December 10, during the Gem & Jam Pre-Party at Walter Where?House, 702 North 21st Avenue. Cloudchord and Unexpected Pedestrian will also perform. Admission is $18 in advance, $22 at the door. Britt Chester
Pop-punk outfit Beach Bunny’s happy-actually-pretty-sad spirit is on full display in their music, particularly on their first full-length album, 2020’s Honeymoon. The opening track “Promises” is meant for blaring with the car windows rolled down, windblown hair and all, screaming about an ex. Vocalist/guitarist Lili Trifilio’s vocals guide the production, set to lyrics less optimistic than Beach Bunny’s melodies suggest. At the top of the chorus, she sings: “Part of me still wants you.” A few bars later: “Part of me still hates you.” Despite covering lyrically gray areas, Beach Bunny’s songs are so colorful and energetic that you might find yourself smiling at the melancholy, dancing through it all, and hollering the lyrics (in no particular order) when they perform at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue on Saturday, December 11. The 8 p.m. show is sold out but tickets can be foundon the secondary market. John Amar
ALT-AZ's Ugly Sweater Holiday Party at Mesa Amphitheatre
Dig deep into your dressers and closest and don your ugliest holiday sweater as local alt-rock radio station ALT-AZ 93.3 will bring its annual Ugly Sweater Holiday Party out of the mothballs. The evening-long event at Mesa Amphitheatre, 263 North Center Street, will be headlined by alternative legends Weezer, so expect to hear all of their biggest radio hits from the '90s and 2000s. Female-fronted punk band The Regrettes and Phoenix-born pop wunderkind UPSAHL open. Gates are at 4:30 p.m. and tickets are $65 to $175. Benjamin Leatherman
Kurt Elling at Musical Instrument Museum
Over the course of his 26-year career, jazz singer Kurt Elling has released 16 albums, a majority of which have been nominated for Grammys. Renowned for his original compositions as well as his modern interpretations of standards, Elling has the unique ability to add meaningful lyrics to already meaningful works by jazz greats such as saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Herbie Hancock, and guitarist Pat Metheny. Yet it's Elling's delivery that's most impressive, for his vocals bring back memories of old-school crooners like Sinatra and Crosby while maintaining an emotional drive toward his own romantic lyrics. And Elling's singing is made all the more entertaining by his improvised (and somewhat ridiculous) scatting and ranting throughout his performances. Catch him in concert at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard, at 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 12. Tickets are $44.50 to $54.50. Jake Nelson
Ukrainian progressive-metal band Jinjer, fronted by vocal powerhouse Tatiana Shmailyuk, will play Tempe’s Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, on the heels of the group's fourth album, Wallflowers, which dropped in August. Deathcore band Suicide Silence and metal act All Hail the Yeti are also on the bill for the 7:15 p.m. show on Sunday, December 12. It’s $32.50 for general admission on the Marquee’s main floor and $67 for access to the balcony. (Note: This show was originally scheduled for The Pressroom. All previously purchased tickets will be honored.) Westword Staff
John Corabi at Last Exit Live
John Corabi is nothing if not prolific. The Philly-based singer and guitarist has been featured on 23 albums by 12 bands and has performed in the lineups of multiple rock acts, including Mötley Crüe, Angora, The Scream, and others. Currently the vocalist for The Dead Daisies, Corabi is coming to Last Exit Live, 717 South Central Avenue, on Sunday, December 12, for a solo acoustic set. Doors are at 6 p.m. and tickets are $15 in advance and $25 in advance. Diamond Rodrigue
Louisiana-based troubadour Marc Broussard has soul in his genes. The son of acclaimed guitarist Ted Broussard (of the Boogie Kings), Marc has seen his fortunes rise consistently ever since his first solo release in 2001. Broussard, previously involved with the Christian act Y, doesn't hide the influence spirituality has in his music, nor does he self-righteously proclaim his beliefs. His first hit, "The Wanderer," was a song about self-discovery using whatever means necessary. Over the years, Broussard's albums (including 2014's A Life Worth Living and 2017's Easy to Love) have fruitfully mixed funk, blues, and rock while incorporating strains of bayou legends Professor Longhair and Doctor John. Another key influence is Randy Newman, as Broussard's compositional flair and lyrical insight put him on a level shared with very few singer-songwriters. See if you agree when Broussard comes to The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, on Sunday, December 12. The show is at 8 p.m. and the Jamie McLean Band is the opener. Admission is $35 to $55. Darryl Smyers
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.