With temperatures expected to reach 95 degrees this weekend, we wouldn’t blame you for staying indoors with the A/C going during the daytime. After dark is a different matter, though. There are ample reasons for heading out for some nighttime adventures, not the least of which are all the great concerts taking place around metro Phoenix from Friday, March 25, to Sunday, March 27.
Artists like R&B star Lucky Daye, singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz, rappers Benny the Butcher and Xavier Wulf, and '80s New Wave favorites Modern English are just some of the names scheduled to perform this weekend.
There are a few other noteworthy gigs happening this weekend, which you can read all about below. (And for even more live music in the Valley, check out Phoenix New Times’ online concert listings.)
Benny the Butcher at The Nile Theater
Buffalo, New York-born rapper Benny the Butcher, who's part of the Griselda and Black Soprano Family hip-hop collectives, is bringing his latest tour to the Valley on Friday, March 25, on the heels of his latest releases, Tana Talk 4 and Pyrex Picasso. Originally scheduled to take place at the Pressroom in Tempe, the show has been moved to the Nile Theater, 105 West Main Steet in Mesa. Tickets for the 8 p.m. concert, which will feature special guests sharing the bill, are $30 to $135. Westword Staff
Hailing from Oklahoma, Christian rockers MercyMe self-released six records before "I Can Only Imagine" caught the ear of INO Records (which has since rebranded as Fair Trade Services). Written by lead vocalist Bart Millard, the track imagined what the great beyond would be like for his father who had recently died of cancer. Since then, the band has released nine studio albums and sold millions of records. See them perform at Glendale’s Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue, on Friday, March 25, with support from openers Rend Collective and Andrew Ripp. The concert is at 7 p.m. and admission is $23.75 to $150. Matthew Keever
A couple of years ago, Texas-born singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz opened for Steve Martin when his bluegrass band taped an Austin City Limits episode. At that point, she wasn't even 21 yet, already had a Sugar Hill Records debut under her belt (2009's Song Up in Her Head), and had just enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music. No big deal. Since then, the Americana/bluegrass/folk artist has released several critically acclaimed albums, won a few Grammy Awards (including Best Americana Album for 2020’s World on the Ground, and been called “a songwriter of uncommon wisdom.” Her most recent album, Blue Heron Suite, has been just as lauded as her previous releases. Jarosz is scheduled to perform at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26. Tickets are $49.50 to $59.50. Audra Schroeder
New Orleans-born singer-songwriter has a yen for fusing elements of the R&B and soul music he was raised on (including such artists as Prince, Stevie Wonder, and Rick James) with more modern sounds. It worked out well for him so far, as his 2019 album Painted Black was beloved by critics and music lovers alike. His latest release, CandyDrip, which dropped earlier this month on RCA Records, has already cracked the top five of Billboard’s R&B albums chart. In other words, expect a big crowd at this concert on Saturday, March 26, at The Van Buren,401 West Van Buren Street, in downtown Phoenix. Doors are at 7 p.m. and rising R&B star Joyce Wrice opens. Tickets are $27.50 to $102.50. Benjamin Leatherman
Producer and beatmaker Simon Green, better known as Bonobo, has become one of the most respected names in electronic music. Once an obscure DJ on the roster of the U.K.'s Ninja Tune Records, Green routinely packs venues and tops festival lineups around the world. Phoenix is no exception: Bonobo is scheduled to perform a DJ set at Walter Where?House, 702 North 21st Avenue, on Saturday, March 26. He's also an unlikely superstar. While Green's records — including 2017's Migration — have their share of danceable moments, he's no Top 40, party-banging DJ. His music steers toward the ethereal, often borrowing soundscapes from far-off cultures. His tunes are is catchy, but also profound. Hear it for yourself this weekend. Fellow electronic music artist Mârama opens. Doors are at 9 p.m. and tickets are available on the secondary market. Chris Walker
PHX AM After-Party feat. Xavier Wulf at Marquee Theatre
Once a member of the formidable Raider Klan with SpaceGhostPurrp, Denzel Curry, Chris Travis, and more, Xavier Wulf is at once a child of the gritty Memphis, Tennessee, rap scene and a pioneer of the current SoundCloud-assisted rap underground. His dark, anime-assisted visuals and Three Six-inspired flow and voice on songs like “Check It Out” mean he fits in perfectly with scene favorites like $uicideboy$ and fellow Seshollowaterboys member Bones. When this Wulf howls at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, on Saturday, March 26, while headlining the official after-party for the annual PHX AM skateboard competition, it’ll be hard to sleep on him anymore. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and Psycloptopus and Sativan are also scheduled to perform. Tickets are $20. Douglas Markowitz
Ricardo Arjona at Footprint Center
Ricardo Arjona isn't your average Latin pop star. Don't expect to catch him staring longingly into the camera or frolicking in the surf with some leggy beauty in his music videos. If you're hoping for a heartthrob, look elsewhere — though we've been told he has a certain rugged appeal. In fact, Arjona's really only lumped into the category of Latin pop because the term folk doesn't properly translate to Spanish. His music is about as pop as "Like a Rolling Stone." The 58-year-old Guatemalan singer-songwriter has built his nearly four-decade career on a mix of heartfelt love songs and biting social commentary. And there's no better example than 2005's Adentro, which led off with two very different singles, "Pinguinos en la Cama," a pop track about a relationship grown stale, and "Mojado," a song about the plight of immigrants. You might hear both songs during Arjona’s concert at Footprint Center, 201 East Jefferson Street, on Saturday, March 26, which starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $55.99 to $195.99. Paul Torres
Members of Phoenix’s blues and R&B scene are teaming up to support one of their own. Local artists and acts like Hans Olson, Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns, and others are scheduled to perform on Sunday, March 27, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road, during the “Going to Memphis” fundraiser. The concert will help drum up cash to help send Charles Mack, the local blues guitarist and vocalist who performs as Cros, to May’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Mack, who won the Phoenix Blues Society’s Blues Challenge earlier this year, will be representing the Valley in the competition. The fundraiser starts at noon and admission is $10. Benjamin Leatherman
With fears of nuclear war once again looming in the background, this may be the best time to revisit everyone's favorite song about making love to the sound of an atomic bomb drop, "I Melt With You" by British new wave band Modern English. Often derided as a so-called one-hit wonder, Modern English released albums consistently through the ’80s and mid-’90s despite breaking up twice and having contractual issues with its record label. Singer Robbie Grey toured as Modern English with a completely different lineup throughout the 2000s before getting most of the original band back together before its 2016 release Take Me to the Trees. That is the lineup you will see on Sunday, March 27, at the Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road. Tucson indie band Xixa opens the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $25. David Fletcher
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer for Phoenix New Times where he primarily focuses on arts, culture, music, and nightlife. He began writing for New Times in 2003 and joined the staff full-time in 2005. Prior to that, he contributed to magazines such as Tips & Tricks and The Wrestler. Benjamin has earned multiple awards from the Arizona Press Club including an award for sports enterprise reporting in 2009 and an award for statewide arts reporting in 2014. He holds a bachelor’s of arts in journalism from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.