The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Ruthie Foster is scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 6, at the Musical Instrument Museum.
Ruthie Foster is scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 6, at the Musical Instrument Museum. Mary Keating-Bruton
So, how’s it going with those New Year’s resolutions of yours? If any of ‘em have to do with becoming more active or getting out more, this weekend’s lineup of concerts and dance events will offer you the chance to do both.

Yo Gotti will be in town to perform, as will singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster, over-the-top blues act Rick Estrin and the Nightcats, and virtuoso pianist Emanuel Ax. Oh, and Muggles will flock to Symphony Hall to hear a live performance of the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets score.

A number of theme nights and dance parties also will take place, including ones inspired by Stranger Things and guilty pleasure songs we know you secretly adore.

Full details of all these events can be found below in our rundown of the best concerts and music events in Phoenix this week. And for even more gigs happening around town, check out our live music listings.

Courtesy of Revere Music Group
Kap Slap
Friday, January 5
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

Electro-house producer Kap Slap is known for his bootlegs and mashups, which began gaining popularity while he was in college; he even started touring while still a full-time student. Now 27 and graduated, Kap Slap is playing more shows than ever and focusing on creating original content for his fans.
This former EDM hobbyist is gaining speed, seeing an ever-growing following, and performing festival-worthy sets across the country. And his newest set will take place on Friday, January 5, at Maya in Scottsdale. Doors open at 10 p.m. and admission is free. Sarah Purkrabek

From left: Lorenzo Farrell, Rick Estrin, J. Hansen, and Kid Andersen. - KENT LACIN/ALLIGATOR RECORDS
From left: Lorenzo Farrell, Rick Estrin, J. Hansen, and Kid Andersen.
Kent Lacin/Alligator Records
Rick Estrin and the Nightcats
Friday, January 5
Rhythm Room

For more than 30 years, singer/harmonica player Rick Estrin – he of the sharp suits, high pompadour, thick black glasses, and distinct pencil-thin mustache – was best known for fronting the swing blues group Little Charlie and the Nightcats, named for leader/guitarist Little Charlie Baty.

Since Baty left amicably for “semi-retirement” in 2008, the rechristened Rick Estrin and the Nightcats have put out two studio efforts, 2009’s Twisted and 2012’s One Wrong Turn, along with 2013’s You Asked For It…Live! All three feature the much younger Kid Andersen (guitar), Lorenzo Farrell (bass/organ) and J. Hansen (drums/vocals). “But the age thing works out,” Estrin says. “Mainly because I’m so immature!”

Many of Estrin’s songs going back for decades also include a healthy dose of humor and irony, and it’s easy to see him as a kind of befuddled character in his own tunes.

The live record has him getting turned down for credit at a suit store (“Clothes Line”), seeing his romantic future dissolved (“My Next Ex-Wife”), frolicking with plus-size ladies (“That’s Big”) and wishing he had more to him on “Smart Like Einstein.” Even the band’s cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Too Close Together” forces him to switch back and forth between two suspicious girlfriends who live next door to each other.

“I probably do have more humorous songs than most blues artists. For me, I think this is such a great job, I get paid for being myself,” Estrin says. “I’m just expressing the way I see things a lot of times, and a lot of that is irony and humor. And some of it is just goofy! That’s just how my mind works.” Bob Ruggiero

'80s Holiday Hangover – New Wave Tribute Festival

Friday, January 5
The Van Buren

Any show that features sets by Depeche Mode, The Cure, Billy Idol, and David Bowie would be considered a blockbuster. And, most likely, one you wouldn’t want to miss, right?

Okay, next question: Would it matter if the aforementioned bands and musicians were all tribute artists? It really shouldn’t, considering they’re all quite skilled at mimicking their source material and are arguably the next best thing to the real McCoy.

No, seriously. The tribute bands that star in the ‘80s Holiday Hangover – including popular L.A. acts Strangelove: The Depeche Mode Experience and The Cured – are all adept at impersonating the sound, look, and feel of the actual artists.

Besides, after a few drinks you either won’t know the difference or simply won’t care, preferring to just have a good time instead of nitpicking. Electric Duke: A Tribute to David Bowie and Idol X: A Tribute to Billy Idol will also perform. Doors are at 7 p.m. and tickets are $15. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Relive the music and magic of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets this weekend. - WARNER BROS.
Relive the music and magic of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets this weekend.
Warner Bros.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Concert
Friday, January 5, to Sunday, January 7
Symphony Hall

Potterheads have likely exhausted any sense of discovery and wonderment watching the films based on J.K. Rowling’s series of books about the young wizard Harry Potter. One of them always seems to be playing on television at any given moment.

But the Phoenix Symphony might have just the thing to help you relive what it felt like to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the first time. As the movie plays on a giant screen, the orchestra will perform composer John Williams’ score live onstage.

Recapture the magic at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 6, at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street. Tickets are $40 to $99. For more information, visit the Phoenix Symphony website. Jason Keil

Yo Gotti
Saturday, January 6
Celebrity Theatre

Yo Gotti raked it up in 2017. With a double-platinum certification for his hit “Down in the DM,” Gotti — whose real name is Mario Mims — found his way to even more chart success before the year’s end. His single “Rake it Up,” which features Nicki Minaj, hit No. 8 on the Hot 100, and his most recent single, “Juice,” just debuted on the charts.

However, the Memphis native continues to stay grounded by remembering his roots. Recently, the rapper released a documentary called I Still Am, which follows the making of his latest record (also titled I Still Am) and the young Tennessee artists he mentors.

The documentary is meant to inspire his fans as well as children growing up in Memphis, Yo Gotti has said in recent interviews. While it remains to be seen what the new year holds for the rapper, there’s no debating what went down in 2017. Emily Roberts
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers