Flor de Toloache is scheduled to perform on Saturday, February 3, at Tempe Center for the Arts.
Flor de Toloache is scheduled to perform on Saturday, February 3, at Tempe Center for the Arts.
Andrei Averbuch

The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Got any plans this weekend? You just might after reading our rundown of the biggest and best concerts happening in Phoenix over the next few nights.

It contains a dozen different shows happening at various Valley music venues, including performances by Passion Pit, The Octopus Project, Flor de Toloache, and Tyler, The Creator.

We’ve also got the lowdown on AJJ’s much-anticipated Desert Trash event at The Van Buren, Kid Koala's multimedia-laden show at the MIM, and a few of the acts playing the Coors Light Birds Nest up at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Details about each of these shows can be found below in our list of the best concerts in Phoenix this week. And for even more options, check out Phoenix New Times' concert calendar.

Isabelle Rezazadeh (a.k.a. Rezz)EXPAND
Isabelle Rezazadeh (a.k.a. Rezz)
Bryan Dellosa

Friday, February 2
The Van Buren

When electronic dance music artist Isabelle Rezazadeh, better known as REZZ, rolls through Arizona this weekend, she’s in for a busy visit. In contrast to the name of her hit single, “Relax,” Rezazadeh will be doing anything but while in our neck of the woods.

The 22-year-old DJ and producer, who’s been dubbed the “new queen of the dark techno scene,” will pull double duty on Friday, February 2, when she performs in two different cities across our state on the same night. No joke. After starting out the evening filling the Rialto Theatre in Tucson with her bass-heavy mixes of dubstep, glitch hop, electronica, drum ’n’ bass, and the aforementioned dark techno, she’ll beat feet to the Valley to cap off her evening by headlining an 18-and-over show at The Van Buren.

It’s nothing new for Rezazadeh, who began her DJ career at the age of 16 and has been going full-tilt boogie ever since, particularly after she dropped her 2015 EP Insurrection on the Skrillex-run OWLSA Records. Since then, she’s released her efforts on Deadmau5’s label mau5trap, including last year’s full-length studio album, Mass Manipulation. Expect to hear Rezazadeh spin tracks from the album at her Van Buren gig, which will feature opening sets by Eprom, SAAS, and Limbo. Benjamin Leatherman

Ladysmith Black MambazoEXPAND
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Shane Doyle

Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Friday, February 2
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

By the time Paul Simon featured Ladysmith Black Mambazo on his 1986 album Graceland, the a cappella group, led by founder Joseph Shabalala, had been together for more than two decades and had established itself as the most successful singing group in South Africa.

The band was already rather prolific before teaming up with Simon, and in the 30 years since Graceland, Ladysmith has released a slew of recordings. Sixteen of those have been nominated for Grammys, including a 2016 nomination for Best World Music Album for Music From Inala. The album, which was recorded live around the United Kingdom and Moscow over the course of two years, gives insight into just how powerful and uplifting Ladysmith Black Mambazo can be in a live setting. Jon Solomon

Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit.EXPAND
Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit.
Courtesy of Sacks & Co.

Passion Pit
Friday, February 2
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Like many bedroom-recording success stories of the past decade, Passion Pit began in 2007 as Michael Angelakos’ unknown, one-off musical project. But the songs he created for a college girlfriend became the EP Chunk of Change, which led to shows, a record deal, and the formation of a full band. Evolving from laptop beats and the childish, chorus-of-voices approach that MGMT made famous, Passion Pit went on to produce commercial-friendly alterna-pop for the masses.

Through a rotating cast of instrumentalists, the act has always remained Angelakos’s affair: He’s the principal songwriter and composer of everything that is Passion Pit. A few years ago, the musician went public with his battle with mental illness, but that action only seemed to strengthen his fan base. Bree Davies

Friday, February 2
Coors Light Birds Nest at Waste Management Phoenix Open

OneRepublic is pretty consistent. As a band, they generally stay out of the spotlight. We never see them in the news, never see any controversial interview quotes – they're just that kind of band. However, the medium most friendly to OneRepublic is the radio, and people may not realize how prevalent their music has been on the Top 40 airwaves over the past decade.

The Colorado-formed band has a lot of hits: "Apologize," "Counting Stars," "Love Runs Out," "Good Life," "Stop and Stare," "Secrets," and many more. The secret to OneRepublic's muted yet explosive success is lead singer Ryan Tedder, whom many people may not know spends a big chunk of his time writing songs for other pop stars.

And Tedder is in a league of his own. Having written huge hits like Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone," Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love," Beyonce's "Halo," and Adele's "Rumour Has It" – seriously, check out the full list – he is definitely up there with full-time songwriters like Dr. Luke and Max Martin as one of the most renowned and accredited go-to men in pop music. It wouldn't be bad to have an ear like his, huh? Ivan Guzman

The Stakes' Five-Year Anniversary
Friday, February 2
Crescent Ballroom

In our experience, the average lifespan of a local band runs anywhere from a few months to a few years. So the fact that The Stakes are still going strong after a half-decade of performing is worthy of celebration. As is everything the local hip-hop/rock/jazz act has accomplished in that time.

Over the last five years, The Stakes have released a pair of well-received albums, performed hundreds of shows (including gigs at such festivals as Viva PHX and Bisbee’s Sidepony Express), and opened for acts like The Roots. They’ve even been through a few lineup changes (although the core of the band has always included emcees Lord Kash and ZeeDubb, pianist Ben Scolaro, and drummer Kevin Phillips).

This weekend, The Stakes will celebrate their first five years while looking ahead to the future. Fellow locals Jerusafunk, Hyperbella, The Geibral Elisha Movement, and Tru Gang will open. The party starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Benjamin Leatherman

Eric San, better known as Kid Koala.EXPAND
Eric San, better known as Kid Koala.
Courtesy of Billions

Kid Koala
Friday, February 2, to Sunday, February 4
Musical Instrument Museum

Nufonia Must Fall was turntablist Kid Koala's 2003 dialogue-free graphic novel that told the story of a headphones-wearing robot that falls in love with an office girl. In 2016, the Montreal DJ brought his vision to life with help from a dozen artists and technicians, led by Oscar-nominated production designer K.K. Barrett (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Lost in Translation, I Heart Huckabees, Her). It's now a touring production, which will spend four nights at the MIM in early February. Puppets are projected on a screen as they re-create each scene from the book on miniature sets. Kid Koala performs a live score along with a classical quartet. Siran Babayan
Tyler, The Creator
Saturday, February 3
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Tyler, the Creator is undoubtedly a crass man-child afflicted with arrested development. To him, a casual chat – perhaps over tea and crumpets – about sex, class, and religion must sound like a literal nightmare or a concoction fashioned by Rod Serling. Tyler is rap music’s Peter Pan: He refuses to grow up, except musically perhaps, and his sole purpose is aimless fun.

The rapper and founder of the Odd Future hip-hop collective has become a cultural force unto his own who’s constantly earned attention for his bizarre antics and bold moves. Just recently, the L.A. Times called him a “hip-hop game changer” and heralded his abilities to reach an audience via the Internet and for his accomplishments as an artist, producer, promoter and burgeoning fashion designer.

Tyler’s also gotten props for Flower Boy (a.k.a. Scum Fuck Flower Boy), his new full-length album that features various collaborations and appearance by Kali Uchis, A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, and Pharrell Williams, as well as fellow Odd Future member Frank Ocean, across its 14 tracks. It's earned major praise from critics, ranging from The A.V. Club to XXL, for its “open-hearted lyricism and wide-scoped productions.”

Tyler’s currently touring in support of the album and will visit the Marquee Theatre in Tempe this weekend. Vince Staples will open. The show is technically sold out but tickets are available on the secondary market. H. Drew Blackburn

Members of The Octopus Project.EXPAND
Members of The Octopus Project.

The Octopus Project
Saturday, February 3
The Rebel Lounge

Theremins, video games, and film scores — Austin’s the Octopus Project have many projects. A sci-fi quartet of multi-instrumentalists, the band have been releasing a steady string of inventive and hyperactive albums since forming in 1999. The band has become so good at producing their iconic sound that they’re in demand as film and video game composers.

It’s not surprising that they’re sought-after composers. The Octopus Project make music that’s highly visual. Using a mix of electronic and analog equipment, they blur together drum machines, guitars, percussion, keyboard, synths, and theremins to create a sound that’s as pixelated and manic as an old-school arcade game. Yvonne Lambert’s theremin playing is one of the band’s signatures. She uses her instrument’s wobbly UFO sounds to add a kitschy and retro element to the band’s energetic, Devo-inspired songs.

The Octopus Project are also known for putting on sensory overload inducing live shows. Psychedelic lights and projections of original video art and clips from old movies like I Am Cuba take the audience on a disorienting journey through the band’s kaleidoscopic music. Ashley Naftule

Sean Bonnette and Ben Gallaty are AJJ.EXPAND
Sean Bonnette and Ben Gallaty are AJJ.
Erica Lauren

Desert Trash Party feat. AJJ
Saturday, February 3
The Van Buren

Folk-punk band AJJ will return to Phoenix on Saturday, February 3, to present Desert Trash, a party they curated that features a lineup full of “friends and heroes.” This multimedia event will be hosted by Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall fame. Turns out the legendary sketch comedian is a fan of the band, who came up playing the Trunk Space, and sent them a fan letter last year.

Desert Trash's roster of bands predominately comprises Arizona acts. AJJ will share the stage with Xiu Xiu (solo), Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, Chris Farren, Karima Walker, and Sundressed. The list of bands is still being finalized and more acts will be added soon. But we do know that AJJ will perform with the band's lineup, and as the original duo of Bonnette and Ben Gallaty.

In addition to the music and comedy, the party will feature exhibitions curated by local artist J.J. Horner presented throughout the venue, a live screen-printing demonstration from Tucson’s Tanline Printing, and a pop-up skate park courtesy of the folks from Valley-based Cowtown Skateboards. Amy Young

Superstar rapper Nelly.
Superstar rapper Nelly.
Courtesy of Epic Records

Nelly & Zedd
Saturday, February 3
Coors Light Birds Nest at Waste Management Phoenix Open

The annual Coors Light Birds Nest concert series up at the Waste Management Phoenix Open always features a high-profile electronic dance music artist in its mix of performers. This year, it’s Zedd, the Russian-born DJ and producer who’s performed at clubs and festivals worldwide and created electro-house tracks that have racked up countless listens, millions of downloads, and even a Grammy awards for the track “Clarity.”

Rap star Nelly also has a few Grammys of his own for “Hot in Herre” and "Shake Ya Tailfeather.” Both songs are among the wealth of hits he’s put out over the last 18 years, ranging from "Country Grammar (Hot Shit)" and “E.I.” back in the early 2000s to more modern-day songs like “Millionaire” and “I Don’t Want to Go to Bed.” Odds are you’ll hear most of these during his set on the final night of this year's Birds Nest, as well as his most recent single, “Die a Happy Man.” Benjamin Leatherman

All-female mariachi band Flor de Toloache.
All-female mariachi band Flor de Toloache.
Andrei Averbuch

Flor de Toloache
Saturday, February 3
Tempe Center for the Arts

New York’s all-woman mariachi band Flor de Toloache is appropriately named. Translate the moniker and it means “toloache flower,” a Mexican medicinal plant known for its healing properties and use in magical practices, like the creation of love potions.

There’s plenty to soothe and hypnotize you in this group’s fusion of traditional mariachi music with modern sounds. They’ve mixed things up with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, opening for his new band The Arcs, and joining them on stage. They tackle country in their recent song “Long Gone Girl,” where horns and strings weave around sweet vocals delivered with a twang. The harmonious background singers deepen the song, popping in some “yeehaws” that drip with sugar and soul.

The versatile group started in 2008, led by founder Mireya I. Ramos and founding member Shae Fiol. Both sing. Flor de Toloache originally started out as a trio, but now operate as a full mariachi band. They’ve toured the world extensively the last few years, and it’s not just fans they’re collecting. In 2017, the band picked up the Latin Grammy award for Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album for Las Caras Lindas, which blends the country sound with touches of soul and Latin jazz. Amy Young

Black Sabbitch in concert.
Black Sabbitch in concert.
Timothy Norris

Black Sabbitch
Saturday, February 3
Club Red in Mesa

After five loud decades together, Black Sabbath played their last Phoenix show in 2016. For fans still eager to raise metal horns to the sky while headbanging to “War Pigs” live, there’s the touring quartet Black Sabbitch.

They are ready to melt faces with flawless renditions of “Paranoid” and “Snowblind.” If the tribute band’s name didn’t give it away, the main difference between the greatest heavy metal band of all time and these younger Los Angeles-based counterparts is a few Y chromosomes.

Formed seven years ago by seasoned musicians Angie Scarpa and Blare N. Bitch, the group were picked by Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne to play the inaugural Ozzfiesta in 2015 (only to see the festival canceled when Ozzy had a medical issue). The band, which includes Melanie Makaiwi and vocalist Sarah Pinzon, are eager to scratch that itch you’ve had since Sabbath hung up those instruments for good. Jason Keil

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