Things to Do

Best Phoenix Concerts This Weekend: Steve Aoki, Flume, Sebastian Yatra

Steve Aoki is scheduled to perform on Saturday, September 3, at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale.
Steve Aoki is scheduled to perform on Saturday, September 3, at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Shore Fire Media
In the mood for a major rager this weekend? If so, party monster, you’ve got several different places to do so. The Labor Day weekend festivities will feature top-tier DJs like Steve Aoki and Flume dropping beats at big events around the Valley.

If that ain’t your scene, though, there are other notable performances worth attending from Friday, September 2, to Sunday, September 4, including shows by Latin pop star Sebastián Yatra, singer-songwriter Maddie Poppe, and the Valley’s Anarbor.

More details about each of these gigs are below. And for more live music in the Valley this weekend, click over to Phoenix New Times' concert calendar.
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Latin pop singer-songwriter Sebastián Yatra.
Universal Music Latino

Sebastián Yatra

Friday, September 2
Arizona Financial Theatre, 400 West Washington Street
If slow and steady always wins the race then Sebastián Yatra is a shoo-in for pop’s gold medal. The Medellin-born, Miami-grown singer-songwriter is a balladeer at heart. No matter how much his Latin pop music is adorned with trap or EDM elements or Jonas Brothers guest spots, strip it all away and you find a bedrock of sultry slowness. In an era where the torch singer and the late-night crooner hold little in the way of cultural cachet, Yatra has made bank and topped charts as a man of many ballads. Singing primarily en Español, Yatra came into prominence with his smash single “Traicionera” in 2018, but had been preparing for his big moment most of his life. He’d been steeped in music from an early age, learning how to sing and play guitar and piano before he was old enough to go to high school. Dropping out of business school to pursue music full-time was a gamble, which paid off handsomely for the velvet-voiced Yatra, who now finds himself an in-demand Spanish singer working with the likes of Daddy Yankee, Ricky Martin, and the Jonas Brothers. 8 p.m., $29-$149.50 via livenation.com. Ashley Naftule

Maddie Poppe

Friday, September 2
Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard
Clarksville — whether it be the one in Iowa or its twin in Tennessee — bears two points of pop cultural pride. The first is getting name-checked in “Last Train to Clarksville,” one of the Monkees’ finest; the other is the birthplace of Maddie Poppe, who hails from the Iowa version and made a name for herself as American Idol’s Season 16 winner. Before wowing American Idol’s judges in 2018 with her “Rainbow Connection” audition and sealing the win with a lovely rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s immortal “Landslide,” Poppe had been grinding away as an independent singer-songwriter. Getting her start playing the fairground circuit, she worked as a stagehand to pay the bills while writing songs for her debut album Whirlwind. Listening to songs like “Going Going Gone,” it's a shock that she’s an American Idol champ. Not because she’s bad or anything, but merely restrained. She doesn’t belt to the rafters with a look-at-all-my-octaves voice like so many TV singers do; she sings her beguiling mix of pop rock and folk with a tasteful subtlety that beckons you to come closer. 7:30 p.m., $33.50-$49.50 via mim.org. Ashley Naftule.
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Dim Mak founder, superstar DJ, and party guru Steve Aoki.
Jim Louvau

Steve Aoki

Saturday, September 3
Talking Stick Resort, 9800 East Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
Steve Aoki has pretty much done it all in the electronic dance music world. He’s created dozens of bangers, some of which have flirted with the mainstream (like the 2015 Linkin Park collaboration "A Light That Never Comes”). Beyond that, Aoki’s become a rock star of the genre, headlined blockbuster festivals, founded influential EDM label Dim Mak, gave multiple artists their biggest breaks, and became one of the highest paid DJs on the planet. He also knows how to put on a show, turning his gigs into massive ragers where surfs the crowd in inflatable boats and tosses numerous sheet cakes onto fans. Expect him to instigate such a scene when he headlines the final Release After Dark pool party at Talking Stick Resort this weekend. R3LL and Peachy Keen open. 5 p.m., $50 via ticketmaster.com. Benjamin Leatherman
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Slade Echeverria (left) and Danny Stravers of Anarbor.
Yellowbox Films

Anarbor

Saturday, September 3
Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue
In 2003, a group of young men from Chandler were driving back from summer school. On the spot, they decided to start a band. Seven years later, Anarbor scored their first mainstream hit, “Let the Games Begin," from their first studio album The Words You Don't Swallow released in 2010. This song was used daily on ESPN's SportsCenter and on the MTV reality series The Hills. Just a year before that they contributed a track for the movie Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins called “You and I.” Although the latter song was a needle drop on the soundtrack, it solidified their appeal to young rock fans of the time. This week, the band released their fourth in-studio effort, Love & Drugs. This 11-track collection is a transformation of sorts from the soft punk band that started out playing to becoming the pop alternative masters they are today. One of the songs from the album, called “Letter in a Suitcase,” best exemplifies this transition. With a smooth intro and almost ballad-like landscape, the hook broadsides the listener with an unexpected hard-edge dance beat and distorted vocals, perfectly counterbalancing the melancholy nature the lyrics convey. This duality honors their earlier fanbase while giving new listeners an introduction to their adopted mainstream sound. With Good Boy Daisy and Trubbleboy; 7:30 p.m., $18/$20 via seetickets.us. Timothy Rawles

Flume

Saturday, September 3
Phoenix Raceway, 7602 Jimmie Johnson Drive in Avondale
You can't blame local concert promoter Relentless Beats for booking this show on the grounds of the expansive Phoenix Raceway in Avondale. It's a smart move, given how Flume's popularity has skyrocketed over the past several years and his gigs in the Valley have drawn enormous crowds. Plus, the Australian-born DJ/producer's hypnotic and high-energy mixes of trap music, electro, deep house, and bass are too big to be contained indoors. The 18-and-over outdoor EDM show will feature a festival-like atmosphere with an enormous stage and multiple DJs in the mix, including openers TSHA and Sega Bodega. Flume has been in the EDM biz since 2010 and is currently touring behind his latest album, Palaces, so he’ll have plenty of material to drop during his headlining set. 8:30 p.m., $54-$120 via tixr.com. Benjamin Leatherman

Gloria Trevi

Saturday, September 3
Arizona Financial Theatre, 400 West Washington Street
Gloria Trevi is known as the “supreme diva of Mexican pop” and comes by the moniker honestly. The vocalist has been performing and recording since the mid-1980s when she debuted as a member of the all-female ensemble Boquitas Pintadas. Trevi went solo after the group broke up in 1988, connecting with legendary producer Sergio Andrade, and releasing her debut ¿Qué Hago Aquí? the following year to much success. Since then, she’s released more than a dozen albums (the most recent being this year’s Isla Divina), wowing critics and fans alike with her remarkable vocal talents and charismatic stage presence, and selling more than 20 million records. 8 p.m., $43-$203 via livenation.com. Benjamin Leatherman
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule
Timothy Rawles