The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Panic! at the Disco is scheduled to perform on Friday, August 17, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.EXPAND
Panic! at the Disco is scheduled to perform on Friday, August 17, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Jim Louvau
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Watchu got going on this weekend? If you’re up for a concert adventure or down to see a show, there’s no shortage of live music events happening in the Valley.

That includes performances by Panic! At the Disco, blues legends Tail Dragger and Buddy Guy, all-female indie punk band T-Rextasy, and drummer extraordinaire Terry Bozzio.

Meanwhile, metalheads will pay tribute to the Abbott brothers, local DJs will square off, Valley rock act Katastro will take over The Van Buren, and touring EDM night Space Yacht will land in Tempe.

Details about each of these gigs can be found below. And for even more live music happening around the Valley this weekend, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Panic! at the Disco is scheduled to perform on Friday, August 17, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.EXPAND
Panic! at the Disco is scheduled to perform on Friday, August 17, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Jim Louvau

Tail Dragger
Friday, August 17
The Rhythm Room

James Yancy Jones, better known as Tail Dragger, originally hails from Altheimer, Arkansas, but relocated to Chicago in the 1960s. It was there he met the legendary Howlin' Wolf, who gave him his signature moniker, but it was the Windy City where he met local bluesman Bob Corritore too, in 1976, when the two performed a tribute to the late Wolf at the 1815 Club on Chicago's West Side.

The two share a clear rapport on collaborations like 2012’s Longtime Friends in the Blues. Featuring Tail Dragger's grizzled voice and Corritore's amplified harmonica, the record finds the duo joined by pianist Henry Gray, guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Chris James, and the rhythm section of bassist Patrick Rynn, and drummer Brian Fahey.

Corritore and Tail Dragger may be separated geographically (Corritore's owns the Rhythm Room here in Phoenix, and hosts a weekly blues program, Those Lowdown Blues, on local NPR-affiliate KJZZ), but their connection should be as clear as ever during their gig at Corritore's club on Friday, August 17. Local blues artists Mojo Mark, Dave Clark, Yahni Riley, and Frank Rossi will also participate. Jason P. Woodbury

Elder make a strange brew of doom and stoner metal riffs.
Elder make a strange brew of doom and stoner metal riffs.
Courtesy of Stickman Records

Friday, August 17
Club Red in Mesa

Elder started as a stoner/doom metal band, the kind of group you’d crank up on the hi-fi while rolling a fat blunt on your Ouija board. They fused the long, droning song lengths and bowel-shaking low end of doom metal with stoner metal’s love of fuzzy, Tony Iommi-esque riffs. Their first few records, starting with 2006’s self-titled split LP with psych-rock band Queen Elephantine, would sound right at home on a mixtape with Sleep, Kyuss, and Saint Vitus.

Frontman/guitarist Nick DiSalvo (back by drummer Matt Couto and bassist Chas Mitchell, who’d be replaced by Jack Donovan in 2008) sang with a growl that issued from the bottom of his gut. Never full-on Cookie Monster or the Tyrannosaurus-bellowing you’d hear on Thou records, DiSalvo’s voice was “clean” enough that you could pick up his lyrics. Obsessed with Conan the Barbarian and other classic fantasy works, Elder lyrics were full of references to lost worlds, “crimson immortals,” and foreboding temples and labyrinths. It’s not hard to imagine DiSalvo, Couto, and Donovan retreating to their van post-shows to bust out their D&D character sheets and roll some D20s.

It’s on 2015’s Lore (and 2017’s phenomenal follow-up, Reflections of a Floating World) that the band’s sound takes a quantum leap. In interviews leading up to Lore’s release, DiSalvo credits the influence of German psych-rock groups like Colour Haze and kosmichemusic (a.k.a. krautrock) on the band’s evolving sound. He also shouts out a surprising source of inspiration: Swedish composer Gustav Ejstes’ psych-folk project Dungen. There’s precious little metal to be found on Dungen’s 2004 breakthrough, Ta detlugnt, but the warm swoon and expansive sound of tracks like Ejstes’ “Festival” can be heard in the “new” Elder music.

What makes Lore stand out is how deftly it marries Elder’s love of heavy, stoned riffs with the grandiosity of prog and the woozy atmospherics of psych-rock. They also manage to evoke classic rock like Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy with their melodic sensibilities and epic, fleet guitar work without sounding like a tribute act. Like all the best hard rock bands, they’re able to strip the past for its best parts and reassemble those components into a faster, sleeker, and meaner heavy metal machine. Ashley Naftule

Terry Bozzio
Friday, August 17
Musical Instrument Museum

Drummer Terry Bozzio first came to prominence in the band of Frank Zappa, a manic presence propelling the group as featured in the movie Baby Snakes. Bozzio then went on to co-found the ’80s hit band Missing Persons before eventually landing with Jeff Beck. Since leaving Beck, Terry has spent much of his energy on the instructional website DrumChannel.com, along with assembling and playing the world’s largest tuned drum kit. The complete drum set, containing well over 100 drums, cymbals, and other percussion instruments, takes hours just to set up, and Bozzio makes sure to use every piece of it. If anyone’s ever said to you that drummers aren’t really that musical, an evening with Terry Bozzio and his massive kit will dispel that notion. Tom Meek

Sage Armstrong
Sage Armstrong
Courtesy of Circle Talent Agency

Space Yacht Phoenix
Friday, August 17
Shady Park in Tempe

The EDM freaks behind Space Yacht – the L.A. dance night famous for its uniquely rowdy affairs – is landing in the Valley this weekend. Launched in 2015 by DJ/producers Henry Lu, Rami Perlman and Ollie Zhang, the event has become notorious in the Southern California dance music scene due to its mix of wild times and next-level bass and house music artists.

Space Yacht has transformed into a touring event in recent years, touching down in such cities as Denver, Orlando, and San Diego. It visits Shady Park in Tempe on Friday night and will feature sets by Dombresky, Sage Armstrong, and Jace Mek. Local DJ Emilie Fromm (a.k.a. Blossom) will open. The music starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $25. Benjamin Leatherman

Grammy-winning blues legend Buddy Guy.EXPAND
Grammy-winning blues legend Buddy Guy.
Josh Cheuse

Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang
Friday, August 17
Celebrity Theatre

At age 81, legendary bluesman Buddy Guy remains fierce, determined, and in total command of his instrument, putting forth a tone that cuts through steel like butter while reminding listeners of the power of blues.

Like many great blues guitarists, Guy taught himself on a homemade guitar before eventually getting a “proper” instrument. And, like many postwar bluesmen, Guy left his southern home (Lettsworth, Louisiana) for Chicago. There, Guy became part of the influential Chess Records house band, backing Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, and others.

Ironically, label owner Leonard Chess disapproved of Guy’s live — and now signature — playing style. Thus, Guy’s one Chess release was too soulful to be considered a true blues album. Guy’s aggressive playing style utilizes feedback, distortion, and long solos, yet he is equally adept at providing a light touch and tone as the perfect counterpoint.

Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page cite Guy as a major influence. While Guy — and many blues artists — stumbled through the 1970s, his future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career was revived with Clapton’s help in the late 1980s. Glenn BurnSilver

A scene from the original Woodstock in 1969.EXPAND
A scene from the original Woodstock in 1969.
Mark Goff/via Wikimedia Commons

Woodstock Costume Party
Friday, August 17
Cactus Jack’s Bar

The original Woodstock is widely considered to be one of the most legendary and influential concert festivals in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. And local musician Billy Dutton and the other organizers behind this weekend’s Woodstock Tribute Festival at Cactus Jack’s are hoping to channel the spirit of the 1969 event. As such, the indoor and outdoor festival will feature acts like Supernatual (which pays homage to Santana) and Whose Who (who cover the songs of Pete Townsend and company), and Grateful Dead tribute act The Harvest. We’re betting that someone will even pay homage to Jimi Hendrix's memorable version of "The Star-Spangled Banner” at some point during the event. The party gets going at 4:20 p.m. (natch) and admission is $8 with costume, $10 without. Benjamin Leatherman

Brandon Urie of Panic! at the Disco.EXPAND
Brandon Urie of Panic! at the Disco.
Jimmy Fontaine

Panic! at the Disco 
Friday, August 17
Gila River Arena in Glendale

In the mid-2000s, all the kids were going crazy for emo — theater kids, mostly — and the biggest band of the moment was, without a doubt, Panic! At the Disco. You could not go to a single bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, quinceñera, or sweet 16 without hearing “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies.” You could not turn on MTV2 (they still played music videos — this was like, immediately pre-YouTube) without seeing the carnivalesque music video. You could not leave the school bus without hearing Brendon Urie’s tale of a wedding in which the bride was a whore — gasp! — and then chiming in with a “Haven’t you ever heard of closing the goddamn door?”

It was ludicrously tragic and tragically ludicrous, and just edgy enough to set us repressed Bush-era younguns off. It was so iconic that the other major emo band of the mid-2000s, Fall Out Boy, covered it on their **** Live in Phoenix album. Game recognize game.

Anyway, Brendon Urie’s kind of sick of the song now, and he mostly does musical theater — he recently did a stint in Kinky Boots on Broadway — but he’ll gladly play it for you when he and his troupe blow into town along with ARIZONA and Hayley Kiyoko. Douglas Markowitz

A scene from last year's Goldrush Music Festival.
A scene from last year's Goldrush Music Festival.
Benjamin Leatherman

Goldrush DJ Competition
Saturday, August 18
Monarch Theatre

Here’s a life tip worth remembering: When certain opportunities come your way, it definitely pays to be prepared. In the case of this weekend’s Goldrush DJ Competition, it would behoove the mixmasters participating in the contest to be as practiced and polished, especially if they want to win the event’s grand prize: a gig at one of the Valley’s biggest festivals of the year.

This showdown will feature 10 local DJs squaring off on Saturday night at Monarch Theatre for a chance to win an opening slot at next month’s Goldrush Music Festival. Each contestant better bring their “A” game – particularly when it comes to mixing, phrasing, performing, audience interaction, and using of technology – if they hope to prevail. The lineup of competitors includes Deux Yeux, Bardz, District13, Hazel, Krug One, Lecocq, STVTC, Doc Holliday, Hari Kari, and Sweet Boi. May the best DJ win.

The 18-and-over event starts at 9 p.m. (competing DJs are asked to check in at 8:30 p.m.). Admission is $10 with proceeds benefiting ChildHelp. Benjamin Leatherman

The late Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott.
The late Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott.
Courtesy Dan McNew

Abbott Fest
Saturday, August 18
Joe's Grotto

For more than a decade now, metalheads around the Valley have gathered every August to celebrate the life and music of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, the late guitarist of Pantera. Here in the Valley, the event were known as the annual “Dimefest” and took place the past several years at North Phoenix rock bar and hesher haven Joe’s Grotto. This year, however, the party will also raise a toast to Dimebag’s dearly departed brother, Pantera frontman Vinnie Paul Abbott, who passed away in June.

Now known as “Abbott Fest,” it will feature performances by close to a dozen bands on two different stages at Joe’s Grotto. As in year’s past, expect to see hard-hitting local musicians paying tribute to the Abbotts with deep metal grooves, shred-tastic riffs, and powerful vocals. While we can always expect to see some Pantera jams, we’re guessing plenty of original material will also be performed. The lineup includes sets by local Pantera tribute band Cowboys N Hell, as well as Fatal Malady, Scattered Guts, Empire of Dezire, Ironkill, Sick Black Automatic, Varkan, and others. Lauren Wise

The members of local band Katastro.
The members of local band Katastro.
Courtesy of Katastro

Saturday, August 18
The Van Buren

Katastro’s newest album, Washed, was a cathartic effort for the band, particularly their frontman, Andy Chaves. Last year, the vocalist endured a variety of personal and professional drama, including a breakup, mental health issues, struggles with drugs and alcohol, encounters with the law, and strained relations with his bandmates. “I went off the deep end for a little bit,” says Chaves in a recent article on the band.

An intervention and band powwow at a cabin in Heber allowed the band to clear the air, confront Chaves’ problems, and mull over Katastro’s future. It also helped lay the groundwork for Washed, a 12-track album featuring introspective songs where the singer comes clean with many of his issues and seems all the better for doing so. Washed also features Katastro taking a new direction, adding in more of a hip-hop emphasis to their reggae-influenced desert rock.

Many of the songs from Washed will be performed by Katastro during their gig at The Van Buren on Friday night, which will also feature Tyrone's Jacket, Barefoot, Aloha Radio, and Hollowpoint Vigils as openers. The show starts at 7:15 p.m. and admission is $14.99. Benjamin Leatherman

The prehistoric girl power of T-Rextasy.
The prehistoric girl power of T-Rextasy.
Andrew Piccone

Sunday, August 19
The Lunchbox

“Fuck that kid – He didn’t even know how to play the banjo right,” the “dashing dino dames” of New York’s T-Rextasy sneer on “Gap Yr Boiz.” An anthem about unimpressive dudes who’d rather yurt it for their “gap year” than make out, it’s a catchy, cathartic song that lets the ladies of T-Rextasy land some sick dunks on men.

While they share a name with a Marc Bolan tribute act in the U.K., T-Rextasy are more interested in getting glammed up and having fun than in exhuming the bones of glam rock. On 2016’s Jurassic Punk, they make good on their stated ambition to obliterate the patriarchy by unleashing eight irresistible earworms that lodge themselves in your brain like a velociraptor’s teeth in your throat.

Composed of Lyris Faron (vox), Lena Abraham (guitars), Vera Kahn (guitars), Annie Fidoten (bass), and Ebun Nazon-Power (drums), T-Rextasy’s bubblegum-punk music recalls the loose and playful spirit of old Olympia bands. Imagine Bratmobile singing about girl germs, or Beat Happening’s Calvin Johnson singing about hangmen and picnics, and you’ve got a feel for the kind of vibe that these prehistoric punkettes are going for. Just don’t call them twee: Their claws and fangs are way too sharp for that sort of thing. Ashley Naftule

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