The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

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

click to enlarge DJ/producer Tyson Illingworth, also known by his stage name TyDi. - COURTESY OF CIRCLE TALENT AGENCY
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

click to enlarge Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent. - NEDDA AFSARI
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

click to enlarge The members of Hippo Campus. - SARAH HESS
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

click to enlarge The Marquee Theatre in Tempe. - PHOENIX NEW TIMES ARCHIVES
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
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers