Things to Do

Best Phoenix Concerts This Weekend: Kevin Gates, Joyce Manor, The Killers

Kevin Gates is scheduled to perform on Friday, August 26, at Arizona Financial Theatre.
Kevin Gates is scheduled to perform on Friday, August 26, at Arizona Financial Theatre. Jimmy Fontaine
We're on the cusp of September, but there's still plenty of time left to get out and see a memorable summertime show. This weekend, your options include rapper Kevin Gates, groove/thrash metal act Five Finger Death Punch, alt-rock mainstays The Killers, and punk band Joyce Manor.

If you'd prefer to catch a concert poolside, electronic dance music sister act Nervo will headline Talking Stick Resort's Release After Dark affair. Local DJs also will be battling for supremacy, as well as a shot at a sweet gig.

Details about these gigs can be found below. And for more music events around the Valley from Friday, August 26, to Sunday, August 28, check out Phoenix New Times' concert calendar.
click to enlarge
Five Finger Death Punch, the band metal fans love to hate.
Travis Shinn

Five Finger Death Punch

Friday, August 26
Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue
Fresh on the heels of the release of their latest album, AfterLife, groove/thrash metal act Five Finger Death Punch are back on the road, ready to rock, and more than happy to raise a tattooed middle finger to their haters. If you’ve been listening to metal for a minute, no doubt you’re aware of the Las Vegas-born band’s polarizing status among heshers everywhere. Some call them sellouts, thanks in part to their rampant success since the mid-2000s. Others think they’re charlatans, posting 20-minute YouTube rants about how their music is “horrid, bargain-basement metal.” FFDP have heard it all — and couldn’t care less. Neither do their fans, who have caused the band’s releases to chart highly. (In fact, every Five Finger Death Punch album has made the top 10 of the Billboard 200.) They’re the same folks who will fill Ak-Chin Pavilion this weekend when the band rolls in with the legendary Megadeth, Mongolian folk metal band The Hu, and rap-rock act Fire From the Gods. Haters need not show up. 6:30 p.m., $29.50-$174.50 via Benjamin Leatherman

Kevin Gates

Friday, August 26
Arizona Financial Theatre, 400 West Washington Street
Kevin Gates isn’t exactly a household name, but he’s a big deal in the hip-hop world. The “2 Phones” rapper has enough clout to top the charts and make an appearance ringside on an AEW Dynamite episode, knocking out wrestler Tony Nese in one punch (not a big accomplishment, frankly, if you’ve ever watched Nese wrestle). But Gates, who spits rhymes with the deliberate pace and intensity of a hungry tiger pacing in its cage, isn’t quite in the upper echelon where the Jay-Zs and Futures of the world hold court. The Louisiana-born artist is too much of a wild card. With slick new album Khaza released in June, Gates has been trending recently more his horned-up stage dancing and tweeting strange platitudes like “Semen retention is The truth” than his music. But don't sleep on Gates the storyteller: One listen to this year's freestyle "Super General" sums up his appeal perfectly. A blistering confessional anthem, Gates raps about the dissolution of his marriage and sums up his tumultuous personal history over tinkling pianos and charging beats. It’s TMI rap: too vivid, too detailed, too harsh, and too compelling to turn off. With OMB Peezy, Hunxho, and DJ Chose; 8 p.m., $49.50-$55.50 via Ashley Naftule
click to enlarge
Attendees of Goldrush Music Festival.
Tony Cottrell Photography/Relentless Beats

Goldrush DJ Competition

Friday, August 26
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
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 for a chance to win an opening slot at October’s Goldrush Music Festival. All the contestants 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 Pat Riot, Daytona, Gr!ff, Stvrxd, DJ Fr3ckles, Not Your Shadow, Little Fohx, and Wingo. May the best DJ win. 7:30 p.m., $10 via Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge
The punks of Joyce Manor.
Epitaph Records

Joyce Manor

Saturday, August 27
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
Few bands have embraced “less is more” as ardently as Torrance, California's favorite sons Joyce Manor. The pop-punk band (fronted by singer/guitarist Barry Johnson) is allergic to releasing albums longer than 30 minutes. Joyce Manor's fourth studio album, 2016’s Cody, is their lengthiest player by far — clocking in at 24:30. The rest of their LPs don’t even hit the 20-minute mark. If this sounds like a criticism, it’s not. Joyce Manor can do more with 15 minutes than most bands can manage with 50. On albums like Never Hungover Again and this year's 40 oz. to Fresno, Joyce Manor sprint through a variety of manic tempos, singing catchy and heartfelt lyrics. Their music mixes the snotty bite of old-school bands like Wire and Descendents with the tunefulness of Lookout!-era Green Day. Joyce Manor never give you too much of a good thing — you’re always left reaching for the “play again” button, eager to give their 18-minute opus another listen. 7 p.m., $30/$35 via Ashley Naftule
click to enlarge
EDM sister act Nervo.
Chloe Paul


Saturday, August 27
Talking Stick Resort, 9800 East Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
We’re willing to bet there’s little, if any, sibling rivalry going on between twin sisters Miriam and Olivia Nervo. Why? Probably because the Australian-born twins rose to stardom in the music world together and have experienced mutual success in whatever they’ve done, whether it's singing, songwriting, producing, or DJing. It started at age 16, when both Liv and Mir inked a songwriting deal with Sony before going on to pen hit songs for themselves and such artists as Kesha, Ashley Tisdale, and UK pop star Rachel Stevens. In 2009, the pair helped write the Grammy-winning David Guetta/Kelly Rowland hit "When Love Takes Over" before diving into the dance music world as producers. Since then, the Nervo sisters have collaborated with Afrojack, Steve Aoki, R3hab, and others, as well as dropped multiple hit tracks themselves, including 2016’s "People Grinnin'." They also DJ, too, and have done so at clubs and festivals worldwide. This weekend, Nervo headlines the latest Release After Dark pool party at Scottsdale’s Talking Stick Resort with support from Lujan and MLBX. 5 p.m., $30 via Benjamin Leatherman

The Killers

Sunday, August 28
Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue, Glendale
If one wanted to find a single movie scene that encapsulates the weirdness of the early 21st century, look no further than the musical number in Richard Kelly's 2006 freakout Southland Tales. Pop star Justin Timberlake (playing a burnt-out U.S. sniper) lip-syncs to The Killers "All These Things That I've Done" while Busby Berkeley-esque dancers wheel around him. It’s a baffling piece of filmmaking where U.S. imperialism, the teenybopper industrial complex, new rock-pop royalty, and old Hollywood collide for five minutes. What makes this scene even weirder is that, a decade-plus later, The Killers are more culturally relevant than onetime superstar Timberlake. The "don't call them a Mormon band" Las Vegas group have managed to hang tough in the zeitgeist thanks to their surprisingly long catalog of hits and their signature song “Mr. Brightside” spending years on the pop charts. A lot of the 21st century has trended toward either ’80s pastiche or Springsteen homaging: The Killers are one of the few groups smart enough to build a career standing right in the middle of those two poles. They’re a little bit New Romantic, a little bit Heartland, and 100 percent earnest. 7:30 p.m., $25-$222 via Ashley Naftule
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule