Things to Do

Here Are the Biggest Concerts Coming to Phoenix in January 2022

Tool played a 14-song set at Gila River Arena on Saturday, January 18, 2020.
Tool played a 14-song set at Gila River Arena on Saturday, January 18, 2020. Jim Louvau
What a difference a year makes. Exactly 12 months ago, the Valley’s concert scene was largely on hiatus because of COVID-19 with only a handful of smaller shows happening while zero arena shows or tours were happening locally.

A year later, the pandemic is still causing snarls for live music in metro Phoenix, but larger shows and tour are happening once again. And music fans willing to take the risk have plenty of concerts worth checking out this month, including gigs by Tool, System of a Down, Skid Row, and Ludacris. The Maine will also stage its popular 8123 Fest after a two-year absence.

Read on for more details about each of these gigs or click over to Phoenix New Times’ online concert calendar for more live music happening in January.

Keep in mind, though, the ultra-contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire at the moment. Most local music venues are mandating proof of vaccination or a recent negative test to attend shows, and might also require masks or face coverings. Visit the ticketing pages for each event for more information.
click to enlarge Legend Booker T wrote a book. - PIPER FERGUSON
Legend Booker T wrote a book.
Piper Ferguson

Booker T. Jones at Musical Instrument Museum

It’s almost always impossible to not sound like a doofus when you’re trying to explain to someone what an instrumental song sounds like. After a few attempts, you usually end things with the statement, “You’d know it if you heard it.” That’s true for Booker T. Jones’ classic rock-and-soul instrumental, “Green Onions,” recorded by his then-band, Booker T. and the M.G.’s. Released in 1962, the track rose to No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and topped the R&B list. It saw some action again in the late ’70s after being included in The Who-based film Quadrophenia. Jones is a multi-instrumentalist, but his relationship with the Hammond B-3 organ is one that generally gets mentioned when he’s the topic of conversation. He’s played it, as well as the guitar, on his own efforts, as well as in the studio for a number of bands, including Willie Nelson, Elton John, and Rancid. He’s scheduled to perform a two-night stint at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard, on Thursday, January 6, and Friday, January 7. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. each evening and tickets are $49.50 to $59.50. Amy Young
click to enlarge Enjoy the spirit of Sublime with Badfish. - BADFISH
Enjoy the spirit of Sublime with Badfish.
Badfish

Badfish at Marquee Theatre

Bradley Nowell died of a drug overdose in 1996, but his band’s music remains adored more than a quarter-century later. Approximately six million people still listen to the Sublime on Spotify every month, keeping the Long Beach trio’s funky ska/punk/reggae/rock sound alive and well long after Nowell’s tragic passing. Fans can see Badfish – one of Sublime’s most renowned cover bands – celebrate 20 years of honoring the late Nowell and his music on Friday, January 8, at Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue in Tempe. The show is at 8 p.m. and tickets are $18. Matthew Keever

Supersuckers at The Rhythm Room

The Supersuckers started when, as a boy in Tucson, lead singer and bassist Eddie Spaghetti heard "My Sharona" by The Knack, which hooked him on rock 'n' roll. He formed The Supersuckers with a group of friends in the late '80s. That motley crew relocated to Seattle right when the grunge movement exploded to national attention. They signed to Sub Pop (the same record label Nirvana was on) but weren't easy to typecast into the super-serious, woe-is-me scene America came to associate with Seattle. The Supersuckers had a lighter tone and embraced the ridiculous, right down to Spaghetti's trademark cowboy hat. The band would eventually find its voice and build a two-decadelong career touring around the country. They’re scheduled to perform on Wednesday, January 12, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road. Americana artist Scott H. Biram opens the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $15 to $20. David Rolland

The Temptations and The Four Tops at Arizona Federal Theatre

Motown legends The Four Tops and The Temptations will play a double-headlining gig at Arizona Federal Theatre, 400 West Washington Street, on Friday, January 14. The two groups rose to fame in the 1960s and cranked out some of the catchiest earworms of the time. The Four Tops' "Reach Out (I’ll Be There)" and "I Can’t Help Myself" sent them up the charts while The Temptations' "My Girl" and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" got regular spins on the radio. Their concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $49.50 to $125. Diamond Rodrigue

Gucci Mane at Celebrity Theatre

With his craggy, sickly infectious flow and peerless swagger, Gucci Mane helped pioneer the hard, cold, snare-heavy trap style that simultaneously dominates mainstream and underground hip-hop today. In the span of over 70 mixtapes and albums — yes, you read that right — Mr. Mane has documented arguably the most singular journey in rap history, a gambit that runs from murderous Atlanta rivalries to prison and eventually release and redemption, including newfound moral perspectives and the shedding of addictions and some 50-odd pounds. There are no falsehoods in the rapper’s music, only tragic philosophies, hilarious brags, and an endless sea of gold and diamonds. He’s scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 15, at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. The 18-and-over show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $25 to $175. Jonathan Patrick

Guttermouth at Yucca Tap Room

For more than three decades, Guttermouth has been putting out a consistent brand of relentlessly taunting and taut SoCal pop-punk. From a band with a name like Guttermouth, you get exactly what you expect: a tenable testament to truth in advertising in the form of lowbrow tunes, a seemingly exhaustive and endless catalog of songs with titles like "Pee In the Shower" and "Surfs Up Asshole," taken from nearly a dozen albums, including three live albums, issued on at least three prominent punk imprints (Nitro, Epitaph, and Volcom). Oh, and lest you worry, age hasn't made these dudes any less cantankerous. If you need further proof, they’ll take the stage at Yucca Tap Room, 29 West Southern Avenue in Tempe, on Friday, January 21. Chaser, Squared, and First Front open the 8 p.m. gig. Tom Murphy
click to enlarge Maynard James Keenan performs with Tool at Gila River Arena on Saturday, January 18, 2020, in Glendale. - JIM LOUVAU
Maynard James Keenan performs with Tool at Gila River Arena on Saturday, January 18, 2020, in Glendale.
Jim Louvau

Tool at Footprint Center

Arizona music legend Maynard James Keenan kept himself busy during the pandemic with a Puscifer album and a pair of livestreamed performance films. But it's his band Tool he'll be kicking off 2022 when the rockers take the stage at Footprint Center, 201 East Jefferson Street, on Friday, January 21. Tool hasn't released an album since 2019's Fear Inoculum, but you'll no doubt hear highlights from the band's 30-year catalog. The show is sold out, but tickets are available for big bucks on the secondary market. Jennifer Goldberg
click to enlarge Rapper Ludacris is coming to the Valley. - EVA RINALDI/CC BY-SA 2.0/FLICKR
Rapper Ludacris is coming to the Valley.

Ludacris at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino

Atlanta native Chris Bridges, better known as Ludacris, is not only a rapper but also an actor and entrepreneur. The 44-year-old hustler has appeared in more than two-dozen feature films, which means he has more movies on his resume than albums. He’s also made several TV appearances on shows ranging from Law & Order: SVU to Empire. He still makes music, too, although his most recent record, Ludaversal, may have come out more than six years ago. In recent years, Ludacris has released a number of singles, including 2020’s “Found You” (which featured Chance the Rapper) and last year’s “Butter.Atl.” He’s set to perform on Friday, January 21, at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, 5040 Wild Horse Pass Boulevard in Chandler. The concert is at 8 p.m. and tickets are $45-$85. Sara Button
click to enlarge Soul and R&B singer-songwriter Allen Stone. - JACK MCKAIN
Soul and R&B singer-songwriter Allen Stone.
Jack McKain

Allen Stone at Crescent Ballroom

Allen Stone was raised by a preacher and then someone played him Songs in the Key of Life and now we have the tradition of Motown living within a long-haired ginger. According to the wisdom of Cartman, gingers have no soul ... so, this is all very strange. For when Stone opens his mouth and releases that angelic voice onto the world, you picture the sun rising over the horizon. Listen to tracks off Apart, his latest album, and you'd think he kidnapped Stevie Wonder and secreted him into the studio. With his ability to hit the highest notes capable by male earthlings, Stone’s music breathes life into your bones. He’s due at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, on Monday, January 24. Tickets for the 8:30 p.m. show are $32 to $132. Hank McCoy
click to enlarge Martin Sexton - COURTESY OF THE MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM
Martin Sexton
Courtesy of the Musical Instrument Museum

Martin Sexton at Musical Instrument Museum

Martin Sexton is a singer's singer. Whereas most male vocalists are tethered by timbre to a particular style, Sexton bends his voice with the fluid flexibility of a skilled instrumentalist, adapting to fit his frequent stylistic tangents with aplomb. An instrumental analogy is apt, as Sexton is equally likely to employ his vocal cords for nonverbal effect. For a lesser vocalist, it would be a dangerous enterprise, at best, to make such frequent use of potentially contrived-sounding techniques like scat singing, whistling, and (most alarmingly) vocal simulation of actual instruments. Sexton does it so casually and effectively, though, that it never feels out of place or affected. He's no slouch with an actual instrument, either, frequently relying on an acoustic guitar as backup to his vocal shenanigans. The guitar becomes an extension of his voice (or vice versa), and the two share the duty — and the spotlight — with equal verve and charm. Sexton’s latest visit to the Valley happens on Friday, January 28, when he’ll perform at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $44.50 to $59.50. Nick Hall
click to enlarge Singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth at Mesa Arts Center. - GIAN ANDREA DI STEFANO
Singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth at Mesa Arts Center.
Gian Andrea di Stefano

Kristin Chenoweth at Mesa Arts Center

Kristin Chenoweth is as perky and hilarious as she is gifted as a singer and actress. Having starred in various stage productions and television shows, ranging from Wicked and The Muppets Show on ABC, Chenoweth will play the role of headliner when she brings her musical revue-style show For the Girls to Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, on Saturday, January 29. Based on her 2019 studio album of the same name, it pays tribute to such legendary female singers as Dolly Parton, Barbra Streisand, Doris Day, and Judy Garland. Chenoweth will take the stage at 8 p.m. and tickets are $50 to $95. Laurie Charles

Steve Vai at Celebrity Theatre

First hired in 1979 by Frank Zappa as a music transcriptionist, guitarist Steve Vai has just about done it all. Whether as a solo artist or playing with everyone from David Lee Roth to John Lydon, Vai's sheer musical ability has never been questioned. Undoubtedly a hired gun, Vai's career is nevertheless a fascinating journey across genres and personalities. Touring in support of his upcoming album Inviolate (Vai’s first release since 2016’s Modern Primitive), he’s scheduled to rock Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, on Sunday, January 30. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert start at $40. Darryl Smyers

System of a Down at Footprint Center

These Armenian-American genre-benders are perhaps the ultimate déjà vu delight for Hotmail-era heshers. The only act on the planet that could both headline Ozzfest and serve as Borat's wedding band, they marry death metal's vomitoid guitars and Iron Maiden's galloping melodrama to imploring Old World harmonies and a twinkling, folksy embrace. They’re currently co-headlining a touring metalfest with Korn, which comes to Footprint Center, 201 East Jefferson Street, on Monday, January 31. It's possible that they're on the road again just for the money (particularly since they haven’t released an album more than 16 years) and probable that they'll play no new material, but so long as they unleash their rip-roaring sound, no one will even care. Russian Circles opens the 7 p.m. concert. Tickets are $64.50 to $144.50. Paul Rogers
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.