The Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Charley Crockett is scheduled to perform on Sunday, January 14, at Crescent Ballroom.
Charley Crockett is scheduled to perform on Sunday, January 14, at Crescent Ballroom. Lyza Renee
In search of something cool to do this weekend? If you’re up for seeing a show, the good news is you’ve got a variety of options.

This weekend's concert calendar includes performances by Too Short, K.Flay, Walshy Fire of Major Lazer fame, TV Girl, and Tuvan throat-singing group Huun-Huur-Tu.

And if you'd like to get your groove on, both a disco dance party and old-school hip-hop night will be going down.

Details about each of these gigs can be found below in our list of the best concerts and music events in Phoenix this weekend. And for even more options, check out our online concert calendar.

TV Girl
Friday, January 12
The Rebel Lounge

If The Jetsons were reality, it’d be easy to picture some space-age teen trying to wow Judy Jetson with a mixtape full of TV Girl songs. A Los Angeles-based trio, TV Girl makes music that sounds simultaneously futuristic and retro. They blend ’60s-style pop melodies with electro-dance vibes and samples, creating a weird kind of introspective indie dance music. Imagine Belle & Sebastian trying to follow in the footsteps of indie dance-rock acts like St. Etienne and Screamadelica-era Primal Scream.

TV Girl’s music sounds so playful and disorienting because of their deft sampling skills. Disembodied voices from yesteryear bob in and out of the mix, creating an anything-goes atmosphere that recalls classic sample-heavy albums like Paul’s Boutique and 3 Feet High and Rising.

On the band’s latest album, Who Really Cares, TV Girl use their blissful sound to subversive effect. They sing songs about safe words, lovers who fake orgasms, and heaven as a bedroom, while backed by music that sounds like it could soundtrack a kids’ TV show. Ashley Naftule

click to enlarge The musicians of Huun-Huur-Tu. - COURTESY OF RIOT ARTISTS
The musicians of Huun-Huur-Tu.
Courtesy of Riot Artists
Friday, January 12
Musical Instrument Museum

What exactly does throat singing sound like? Think of a swarming mass of Africanized bees buzzing inside a long narrow pipe, a deep baritone rumble ebbing and flowing in relation to the opening. That's kinda close. The singing – technically the sound's created by the singer singing both the note (drone) and the drone's overtone(s), producing up to several notes at once – also can sound like a flute, bird, horse, or whistle, though the bee-like hum is most famously recognizable.

Hailing from Tuva, a tiny Russian Federation republic on the Mongolian border, Huun-Huur-Tu formed in 1992, though the tradition of throat singing dates back hundreds of years, initially developed by nomadic herders who sang to accompany themselves in the beautiful and mysterious landscape of the Tuvan steppe.

And it is from that inspiring phenomenon of vertical light rays shining down from the late-day or early-morning clouds across an endless horizon – stunning, like this hauntingly exquisite music – that Huun-Huur-Tu takes its name. Indigenous instruments such as the cello-like igil, khomus (Tuvan jaw harp), dünggür (shaman drum), three-stringed doshpuluur, and others, eventually were added as musical accents to what initially was a vocal-only affair for herders. Western instruments – even electronics – have found a place within this traditional folk music. Glenn BurnSilver

The Concrete Piñatas Experience
Friday, January 12
Last Exit Live

Dion Mastrangelo, the producer better known as The Premonist, released the shadowy hip-hop album Concrete Piñatas last October. Featuring vocals by Cashtue and DoneOne and a smattering of spoken samples, it’s an album that requires some of the best audio and visual artists in the Valley to bring it to life. Thankfully, Avenue of the Arts is up to the challenge.

Last Exit Live will transform into a “twisted church brought to life,” according to the collective’s MC and co-promoter Michael Rodriquez. They will debut the new video “MACH10” from the outfit’s upcoming untitled album. Hosted by Joey Baggs, the evening will also feature performances by O.P.M. and FATED, with DJ Psycho Pat at the turntables, and a mashup of cumbia dance music from DJ Les 735 and drummer Rafa Calaka.

There will be free giveaways — as well as artwork on display and available for purchase from El Spawk, Steve Caballero, and others creatives. Additional surprises are in store for what might be the most exciting church mass you’ve ever attended. Jason Keil

Old School! '90s R&B and Hip-Hop Dance Party
Friday, January 12
Crescent Ballroom

Hip-hop fans, rejoice. A lot of landmark albums are celebrating a major anniversary this year, which is cause enough for celebration. To wit: Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders are all turning 25. Meanwhile, discs like OutKast’s Aquemini, Big Pun’s Capital Punishment, and Hieroglyphics’ 3rd Eye Vision are celebrating their 20th anniversary.

There’s a good chance you’ll hear tracks from many of these influential albums playing over the sound system of the Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, during the Old School! '90s R&B and Hip-Hop Dance Party on Friday, January 12.

As you'd probably guess by the name of the event, local DJs Slick 76 and Jorge Melo will spin up retro hip-hop and R&B hits throughout the evening, including joints and jams by many of the aforementioned acts. You might also hear tracks from such ‘90s faves as Beastie Boys, Warren G., Ice Cube, Usher, Tupac, and the Notorious B.I.G. The party starts at 10 p.m. Admission is $3 in advance, $5 on the day of the event. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge The members of Stabbing Westward. - COURTESY OF 13TH FLOOR ENTERTAINMENT
The members of Stabbing Westward.
Courtesy of 13th Floor Entertainment
Stabbing Westward
Friday, January 12
Club Red in Mesa

When you're from rural Illinois and take style cues from Robert Smith, you can expect to be misunderstood.

In 1986, industrial rock band Stabbing Westward felt a swift move to the Windy City was in order for this very reason. It took until 1994 for the band to make a mark, but the wait was worth it when Ungod was released. Stabbing Westward enjoyed success throughout the '90s, but in 2002 went on indefinite hiatus. In 2016 they reunited for their 30th anniversary and are continuing to play throughout 2018.

This weekend, they make a long-awaited return to the Valley for a show at Club Red. Locals Paranova, There Is No Us, Amnestic, and Swindy will open. Diamond Victoria

click to enlarge DJ Mercurius FM - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
DJ Mercurius FM
Benjamin Leatherman
Good Times: A Disco Party for Boys and Girls
Friday, January 12
Rips Bar

Disco music was a part of an American subculture that brought together people of different backgrounds to express themselves freely. During Good Times: A Disco Party for Boys and Girls on Friday, January 12, DJs Mercurius FM and Fact135 will try to create an atmosphere similar to Studio 54 – albeit a much tamer version, where you can let go of your troubles and boogie to the music.

Mercurius FM is an electronic DJ with 12 years of experience, and Fact135’s a scene veteran with over 20 years behind the turntables. The duo will play a mixture of hit songs and lesser-known music. A special guest DJ will also join the pair on the decks.

The event starts at 9 p.m. at Rips. There is no cover, and the club will have free pizza and drink specials. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Laura Latzko
click to enlarge Walshy Fire of Major Lazer during the group's headlining set at the Mad Decent Block Party in Phoenix. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Walshy Fire of Major Lazer during the group's headlining set at the Mad Decent Block Party in Phoenix.
Benjamin Leatherman

Walshy Fire
Saturday, January 13
BLK Live in Scottsdale

Ever since joining Major Lazer, Miami's Walshy Fire has been circling the globe, dropping bass, and transforming international party people into wild, explosive, and twerk-elated versions of themselves. It's the logical progression for a Jamaican kid from Miami who picked up on music at an early age and never let go.

He started with parties, then came clubs, then came festivals, then came stadiums. And after harnessing a solid global fanbase, the financial wherewithal to invest in himself, and plenty of business knowledge, he's founded his own label, Planet Raux.

Walshy Fire is currently manufacturing and distributing conscious reggae and Miami bass for release around the world. And in the meantime, he's hosting Vice's "Noisey Brazil," slamming speakers with the new Major Lazer album, Peace Is the Mission, and ascending from performer to executive. This weekend, he’ll visit BLK Live in Scottsdale for what’s sure to be a high-energy show. Jacob Katel

Too Short
Saturday, January 13
The Van Buren

To paraphrase the artist: His name is Short, his game is long, he freaks these hoes, and sings these songs. TooShort is Oakland’s poet laureate of pimp talk. Too Short’s been dropping albums since 1985.

Rap careers tend to age quickly, with most artists getting out of the game by the time they hit 30. That’s not the case with Short, who has endured and prospered while so many of his peers have either died or retired. Call him West Coast rap’s Energizer Bunny, ready to spit his filthy “cock tales” raps.

After decades of hustling, Too Short announced that 2018’s The Pimp Tape (his 20th album!) will be his last record. So he’s hitting the road to regale fans with stories about his XXX exploits. If you love dirty rap, you owe it to yourself to hear the Short Dog bark one more time. Just be sure to leave the kiddies at home. Ashley Naftule

click to enlarge Dan Bejar of Destroyer. - FABIOLA CARRANZA
Dan Bejar of Destroyer.
Fabiola Carranza
Saturday, January 13
Crescent Ballroom

Dan Bejar is best known for his work in the New Pornographers. But before co-founding that band in 1999, he performed and recorded as Destroyer — something he still does today.

Although the project now comprises a full band, early Destroyer was just Bejar with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica. On those early home recordings, it feels as though he’s trying hard not to sound like yet another singer-songwriter peddling hackneyed methods and premises. The name of the band is apt, as Bejar switches up his approach, gear and recording methods with each new record to avoid getting stuck in a creative rut. Tom Murphy

click to enlarge Candlebox - COURTESY OF PARADISE ARTISTS
Courtesy of Paradise Artists
Saturday, January 13
Last Exit Live

Forming in 1990 and hailing out of Seattle, Candlebox was compared, for better and worse, with bands that were a part of the then burgeoning grunge scene. With more in common with classic rock acts such as Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, Candlebox was labeled "grunge lite" even though not one member ever claimed any connection to bands like Nirvana or Mudhoney.

But lead singer Kevin Martin and the rest of the Candlebox had the last laugh – at least commercially – as the band's self-titled debut sold more than 4 million copies. Songs such as "Change" and "You" are still in regular rotation at numerous men's clubs across the country.

However, following the band's third unenthusiastically received effort, 1999's Happy Pills, was thought by many to be the band's swansong. After a few years apart, though, Martin and guitarist Peter Klett were producing a Candlebox compilation when they decided to resuscitate the band. Candlebox released three albums of new material since then, including 2016’s Disappearing in Airports, tour constantly, and refused to be snuffed out. Darryl Smyers

click to enlarge K.Flay brings her introspective songs to The Van Buren. - HIGHRISE PR
K.Flay brings her introspective songs to The Van Buren.
HighRise PR
Sunday, January 14
The Van Buren

The first time you hear L.A.-based alt-pop and hip-hop artist K.Flay, two things stand out: Her introspective, witty songwriting is refreshingly subtle yet bold. And her honesty borders on uncomfortable. Whether it’s her sucking her sorrows away in “Wishing It Was You” or shredding rhymes with Marshall Mathers-like calculation and speed in “Champagne,” K.Flay has made waves since releasing her first mixtapes at the age of 19.

Influenced by Shirley Manson, Tame Impala, Missy Elliot, and Liz Phair, the artist fell into music haphazardly in college. In an argument, someone challenged her to write a song. Within a few years, she signed with a major label, parted ways with it, and then independently released 2014’s Life As a Dog. It cracked the Top 20 Billboard rap albums chart. In 2016, Crush Me was released on Imagine Dragons’ frontman Dan Reynolds’ label, and last year’s Every Where Is Some Where nabbed two Grammy nominations.

K.Flay’s throaty vocals, defiant spirit, breezy rhythms, and textural vibes makes the listener feel interconnected to something deeper than pop, rock, and hip-hop. “That experience is subjective and in the books of our lives, we are both protagonist and narrator,” she says. “And narrators have incredible power.” Lauren Wise

Charley Crockett honed his street-smart blues with a decade of cross-country travel. - DANIEL DRIENSKY
Charley Crockett honed his street-smart blues with a decade of cross-country travel.
Daniel Driensky
Charley Crockett
Sunday, January 14
The Rebel Lounge

Charley Crockett was destined to be an outsider. A mixed-race kid born into poverty in Texas, he found refuge in the in-between spaces, first among the squatters of New Orleans and then as a busker in New York’s subways. He couldn’t have been anything but a blues musician.

After a decade spent on the lam, waiting out a bad record contract in Los Angeles, Crockett returned to his home state and began making music that’s rich with Southern flavor, a musical gumbo of Delta blues, honky-tonk, gospel and Cajun jazz. It’s the manifestation of a hard-lived life and it’s earned the attention of many in music, including kindred spirit and fellow blues artists like Leon Bridges. Eva Raggio
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.