Things to Do

Best Phoenix Concerts This Weekend: Weezer, Beach Bunny, Jinjer

Weezer is scheduled to perform on Saturday, December 11, at ALT-AZ's Ugly Sweater Holiday Party.
Weezer is scheduled to perform on Saturday, December 11, at ALT-AZ's Ugly Sweater Holiday Party. Shawn Murphy
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.
click to enlarge Anthony Del Grosso (left) and Kevin Jordan (right) of This Wild Life. - EPITAPH RECORDS
Anthony Del Grosso (left) and Kevin Jordan (right) of This Wild Life.
Epitaph Records

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
click to enlarge Add some mariachi to your holiday merriment in Scottsdale. - MARIACHI SOL DE MÉXICO®️ DE JOSÉ HERNÁNDEZ
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
click to enlarge The musicians of Beach Bunny. - BRANDON HOEG
The musicians of Beach Bunny.
Brandon Hoeg

Beach Bunny at Crescent Ballroom

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 found on the secondary market. John Amar
click to enlarge Rivers Cuomo of Weezer. - KELSEE BECKER
Rivers Cuomo of Weezer.
Kelsee Becker

ALT-AZ's Ugly Sweater Holiday Party at Mesa Amphitheatre

For the better part of 30 years now, Weezer has been a household name. The pop-oriented rock quartet — fronted by the one and only Rivers Cuomo – got its first taste of mainstream success in 1994 with “Undone (The Sweater Song),” which became a favorite on college campuses. Since then, the band has put out more than a dozen studio albums, but not all of their discography has been celebrated (read: anything that’s not the Blue Album or Pinkerton). Undeterred, Weezer has pressed onward, and are still touring and performing. Cuomo and company are scheduled to headline the annual Ugly Sweater Party put on by local alt-rock radio station ALT-AZ 93.3 on Saturday, December 11, at Mesa Amphitheatre, 263 North Center Street. 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. Matthew Keever

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
click to enlarge Ukrainian progressive-metal band Jinjer. - NAPALM RECORDS
Ukrainian progressive-metal band Jinjer.
Napalm Records

Jinjer at Marquee Theatre

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
click to enlarge Singer-songwriter Marc Broussard. - LUCIA MEDIA GROUP
Singer-songwriter Marc Broussard.
Lucia Media Group

Marc Broussard at The Van Buren

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
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.