The Phoenix Rock Lottery returns this weekend.
The Phoenix Rock Lottery returns this weekend.
Michelle Sasonov

The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

There’s a helluva lot of live music happening in the Valley this weekend, including a number of high-profile concerts.

Just off the top of our heads, the annual Phoenix Rock Lottery will make its return, St. Vincent is staging her first Arizona show in almost four years, Woodstock legend Melanie Safka will perform, and country superstar Brad Paisley will serve up some crooning.

Other highlights of this weekend’s concert offerings include performances by The Texas Tenors, infamous Arizona punk act Malignus Youth, piano duo Stephanie and Saar, and indie pop band Hippo Campus.

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

DJ/producer Tyson Illingworth, also known by his stage name TyDi.EXPAND
DJ/producer Tyson Illingworth, also known by his stage name TyDi.
Courtesy of Circle Talent Agency

Friday, January 26
Maya Day & Nightclub

At 16, most of us are just working on learning how to drive and getting a fake ID. Australian house technician Tyson Illingworth, better known as TyDi, was busy polishing his skills on the decks, winning his first DJ competition and getting his first residency soon after. (Kind of makes your adolescence look sort of lame by comparison.)

"I was real fortunate to experience success at an early age," Illingworth says. "At 18, I was named No. 1 DJ in Australia for two years in a row." And it's been uphill since. He was named No. 48 in the industry by prestigious DJ Mag in 2011, among other honors.

The worldwide recognition has opened the door to several world tours and breakthrough albums like 2011's acclaimed Shooting Stars. His newest track, "You Don’t Really Love Me,” debuts this week and is the first single off his upcoming album, Collide, which will feature a mix of orchestral and electronic dance music. Illingworth might drop a few tracks from the album during his gig at Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale on Friday night. Kareem Shaker

Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent.EXPAND
Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent.
Nedda Afsari

St. Vincent
Friday, January 26
The Van Buren

Ever since Annie Clark emerged in 2007 with St. Vincent’s Marry Me, she’s had a certain mystique. The pale and willowy musician plays the guitar with a ferocity that makes her a guitar god in her own right, and it’s as hard to pin her personal life as it is to guess what she might do next.

As her sound has changed, so has her St. Vincent persona. With each new release, she has moved toward David Bowie status, trying on new looks and pushing the boundaries of her art. Consider the album cover of her 2014 self-titled record. She looks like an imperious witch-queen from an Alejandro Jodorowsky sci-fi movie. It’s a look that placed her a million miles away from the more “human” every-person she cultivated on earlier releases.

With her newest album, Masseduction, Clark has fully embraced her sci-fi superhero side, with a dark bob, vinyl dresses, and thigh-high boots. It might seem counterintuitive, but this newly constructed persona accompanies some of the most intensely personal music Clark has ever made. Ashley Naftule

Saturday, January 27
Musical Instrument Museum

Melanie Safka is too successful to be a cult artist and too obscure to be famous. A prolific and prodigious singer-songwriter, she’s released over 30 albums and made a splash on the charts with folky hits “Brand New Key” and “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain).” And she’s such a charismatic performer that Ed Sullivan paid her the ultimate compliment: that he had not seen such a “dedicated and responsive audience since Elvis Presley.”

Despite all these feathers in her cap, Melanie’s name usually doesn’t get dropped when people start reminiscing about the 1960s and icons like Joan Baez and Janis Joplin. But it should. Melanie’s voice is every bit as dynamic and her songwriting every bit as complex and catchy as either of them.Melanie’s come a long way since that time.

She’s gone from being one of only three women to play Woodstock to touring packed auditoriums where fans of all ages flock to hear the singer’s vast songbook. She may not be a household name, but for the people who know her work, Melanie’s voice sounds like home. Ashley Naftule

The members of Hippo Campus.
The members of Hippo Campus.
Sarah Hess

Hippo Campus
Saturday, January 27
The Van Buren

Remember the panic that ensued when parents everywhere discovered that the song “Pumped up Kicks” was not actually about cool sneakers?

Similarly, Hippo Campus’ disturbing lyrics on “Suicide Saturday” are belied by a bopping tempo and sugary melody. Not many bands can blissfully croon about serious issues, but with the help of a breezy bassline and playful, guitar-driven indie pop rock, Hippo Campus pull it off. The lyrics, “Cocked father’s gun, like the oldest son / She could try, she could try it” are cloaked in a bubbly pop sound.

The Minnesota band released their first full-length album, Landmark, in February 2017. The record features a single called “Boyish.” It’s about a severely broken family, with a cheating mother and a 30-year-old brother living in the basement. But it takes a few listens to notice the juxtaposition between the content and the fun synth-filled intro. Since the band’s formation in 2013, Hippo Campus have grown and matured, especially when it comes to lyrical composition. But they still rely on the catchy mainstays of cheery guitar paired with dreary lyrics that merit close listening. Lindsay Roberts

The Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
The Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Phoenix New Times Archives

Pot of Gold Local Band Showcase
Saturday, January 27
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

The Pot of Gold Festival is coming to Rawhide Event Center in Chandler, with Sturgill Simpson and Phil Lesh taking the stage on the second day of what looks to be the jam band event of the year. Arizona-based bands are getting in on the action as well.

The Pot of Gold Local Band Showcase is a preview of the festival’s local lineup, which includes Mind Upside, Christopher Shayne, DL Marble, Chad Rubin, Mills End, Sugarwater, and Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold. According to Donny Johnson, general manager of Lucky Man Concerts, the evening’s ticket sales and attendance at the showcase will determine when each band will perform at the festival.

Support your favorite band starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 27, at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Admission is $12. Jason Keil

Brad Paisley
Saturday, January 27
Gila River Arena in Glendale

When Brad Paisley isn't writing and performing sweet, tender songs that make women melt into a big pile of mush — or even haunting songs about death — he's writing some hilarious, off-the-wall, kind of stupid songs about the things happening to or around him.

That's the charm of Paisley, though: He's the perfect balance of sweet and salty. While other country crooners might be singing about a woman's tight jeans and lipstick (not that Paisley doesn't sing about that, too), Paisley's strength is observing his surroundings and singing about them with some, or a lot of, humor sprinkled in. In late January, Paisley will perform at Gila River Arena in Glendale with support from openers Dustin Lynch, Chase Bryant, and Lindsay Ell. Paige Skinner
Phoenix Rock Lottery
Saturday, January 27
Crescent Ballroom

Just after sunrise on Saturday, January 27, a group of 25 Phoenix-area musicians with different styles and backgrounds will gather at the Crescent Ballroom. Many will be meeting each other for the first time, as veterans with decades of writing and touring experience shake hands with young creatives just starting out in the industry.

Moments later, the musicians will be randomly sorted into five brand-new bands. They’ll have just one day to work together to compose three original songs and learn a cover that they will perform that night to a full house. When the bands return to Crescent Ballroom and take the stage that night, they’ll no longer be strangers, but rather collaborators and possibly even friends. This is the Phoenix Rock Lottery.

The beloved event turns five this year, and the lineup is packed with well-known and emerging talent. The participants cover broad swaths of the local scene, ranging from James Pope of the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra and Scott Hessel of the Gin Blossoms to Anna C. of Willetta and Seth Smades of Luxxe. Groovy soul beats could be shuffled together with rock guitar, spacey synths, and folksy vocals. And nobody really knows what it will sound like.

That’s part of the magic of the Rock Lottery and why it continues to feel fresh with each edition. Meagan Mastriani

Pianists Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia.
Pianists Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia.
Courtesy of Stephanie and Saar

Arizona Bach Festival: "The Art of the Fugue" feat. Stephanie and Saar
Saturday, January 27
Central United Methodist Church

The compositions of Bach have been quietly ringing throughout the Valley for the past couple weeks. Husband-and-wife pianist duo Stephanie and Saar will close out the Arizona Bach Festival on January 27.

Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia will play a two-piano arrangement of Bach’s unfinished final work, “The Art of the Fugue.” The piece is composed of many fugues and canons – musical techniques that involve a theme that's repeated at different increments of time across voices. Bach had made these styles popular and often wrote fugues until they became out of fashion. “The Art of the Fugue” is often regarded as Bach’s homage to that technique.

The New York-based duo is scheduled to perform at Central United Methodist Church at 7:30 p.m. (with a pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m.) on Saturday, January 27. Tickets are available for $23 in advance or $25 at the door. The performance will wrap up 16 days of Bach masterclasses and concerts in metro Phoenix. Tanner Stechnij

JC Fisher (left), Marcus Collins (center), and John Hagen of the Texas Tenors.
JC Fisher (left), Marcus Collins (center), and John Hagen of the Texas Tenors.
Courtesy of Chandler Center for the Arts

The Texas Tenors
Saturday, January 27
Chandler Center for the Arts

Power trios are nothing new in rock ‘n’ roll, but for opera, they’re a relatively rare combination. In the spirit of ensembles like the Three Tenors and the Irish Tenors come the cowboy-hatted studs the Texas Tenors.

Since their debut in 2009 on America’s Got Talent, Marcus Collins (the blond one), John Hagen (the one with the thick goatee), and JC Fisher (the one with the thin goatee) have performed more than 1,000 concerts in countless countries with their unique blend of country, gospel, classical and Broadway tunes. “I loved both country music and classical, and my buddies could never figure out why,” Fisher stated in a 2014 interview (those buddies are now clamoring for free concert tickets). “And the fact that we wear cowboy hats and boots is very intriguing to some people, especially internationally, and especially in China. There, the No. 1 TV show is Walker, Texas Ranger!”

This weekend, the trio is scheduled to stop by at Chandler Center for the Arts on Saturday, January 27. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $48 to $68. Bob Ruggiero

Malignus Youth
Saturday, January 27
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

Punk rock fans in metro Phoenix have probably heard of Malignus Youth. But there’s a good chance they’ve never had a chance to see the band play live — nor own one of the group’s releases, which is a shame.

The legendary Sierra Vista band made up of James Martin (guitar, vocals), Octavio Olaje (vocals), Tom Shelden (bass/vocals), and Mike Armenta (drums/vocals) got started in 1987 when the members were all teenagers. Over the first few years of the band’s career, they were able to cement a place in Arizona music lore with one of the more original sounds in punk. Because of the band’s distinct sound and message, it’s safe to say that Malignus Youth fans are a rabidly devoted bunch who typically feel a deep connection with the band.

With tightly intricate vocal harmonies, thought-provoking lyrics, and complex, yet melodic riffs, Malignus Youth’s positive approach to punk rock was (and still is) unlike that of any other band out there. The best description of their sound might be: a dash of Descendents, a pinch of Bad Religion (when they were still interesting, pre-Suffer era), and a punch (remember Al Pacino’s cooking how-to in Donnie Brasco?) of Rudimentary Peni.

Now you’ve got an idea of what they sound like — though Malignus Youth are more interesting than each of those bands. Tom Reardon

BeauSoleil avec Michael DoucetEXPAND
BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet
Courtesy of the Roots Agency

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet
Sunday, January 28
Musical Instrument Museum

BeauSoleil, sons of Louisiana's Bayou country and the number one Cajun music band in the world (according to Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion anyway), has proven that precept time and time again over the course of their near three decade career. Named in honor of of Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, who led the Acadian resistance to British deportation efforts beginning in the mid-1700s, the band remains as determined as ever to keep their native traditions alive.

The historical reference has served as something of a springboard for the band throughout its career as they achieved milestones of their own in becoming one of the most recognized and admired Cajun bands. Aside from numerous appearances on soundtracks and television shows, they've performed with any number of musical admirers, ranging from Mary Chapin Carpenter to the Grateful Dead. Still, any attempt to classify them as strictly Cajun inevitably comes up short. Throughout their career, they successfully pushed its boundaries, incorporating rock, pop, jazz, calypso, French romanticism, and blues into their multihued palette. Lee Zimmerman

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