The 13 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Kate Nash is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 14, at the Crescent Ballroom.
Kate Nash is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 14, at the Crescent Ballroom. Christopher Dadey
Let it never be said that the Phoenix music scene is boring … at least not this weekend.

Over the next few nights, you can rage away to EDM while swimming through a sea of foam, play human bowling with an ultra-colorful Japanese punk band, or watch debaucherous performance artists grind metal while industrial rock acts perform.

If you prefer live music experiences that are less about the spectacle, this weekend will also offer performances by such artists and acts as Kate Nash, ZZ Top, Alt-J, and Blue Oyster Cult. Other events on tap at Valley music venues include The Blunt Club's 16th anniversary and this year's DisruptFEST.

Details about each of these gigs can be found in our rundown of the best concerts in the Valley this weekend. And for even more music events happening around town, check out Phoenix New Times online concert calendar.

Gus Unger-Hamilton (left), Joe Newman (center), and Thom Green of Alt-J. - MADS PERCH
Gus Unger-Hamilton (left), Joe Newman (center), and Thom Green of Alt-J.
Mads Perch
Friday, April 13
The Van Buren

Since Alt-J’s inception in England in 2007, they have carefully curated three tantalizing records. The band’s latest LP, Relaxer, sits in the sonic limbo between an atmospheric seance and lo-fi dance party. Songs like “3ww” and “Adeline” transport the listener into mellow moods, which mount in primal percussive energy. The former’s lyrics state, “I just want to love you in my own language.” This is exactly what Alt-J’s genre-transcending sound achieves. How such a unique and abstract band not only exists but thrives in the pop world is the most curious part of all.

The band perfectly marries traditional rock instruments with modern elements of electronica. Synthesizers, samples, and beats keep the plot interesting amid a solid three-piece foundation of guitar, percussion, vocals, and keys. Then there’s the emotional essence and storytelling delivered delicately in vocals and worldly choruses. It’s all set in a range of both soft and hard vibrations. Say hello to the band of the future. Kayla Clancy

click to enlarge Don't fear the reaper. - COURTESY OF BLUE OYSTER CULT
Don't fear the reaper.
Courtesy of Blue Oyster Cult
Blue Öyster Cult
Friday, April 13
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Blue Öyster Cult are probably best known to casual fans for their hit singles “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper,” “Godzilla,” and “Burnin’ for You,” which remain in heavy rotation on classic-rock radio today. Historically they’ve been labeled a metal band, yet their music encompasses so much more, with elements of progressive and psychedelic rock mixed in with the hard stuff.

Their sound is unique and not easily categorized; many songs are downright strange and weird, in a good way. Founding members lead guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser and lead vocalist Eric Bloom just keep on trucking after numerous lineup changes; in a more just world, BÖC would be playing sold-out arenas and record an album of new material as their musical peers Black Sabbath did before retirement. Then again, it is nice for BÖC fans to see the band play intimate venues on this current trek and not have to pay an arm and a leg for the pleasure. David Rozycki

click to enlarge Blunt Club resident Pickster One doing what he does best. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Blunt Club resident Pickster One doing what he does best.
Benjamin Leatherman
The Blunt Club’s 16th Anniversary
Friday, April 13
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

A 16th birthday is one of life’s major milestones. It’s also a good excuse to put on a big-time blowout, which is what the folks behind The Blunt Club will do on Friday, April 13, in honor of the local hip-hop night’s 16th year of existence.

The party will take place at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe and feature DJs like Pickster One, Element, and PNyce in the mix. Tucson hip-hop group Jivin’ Scientists will headline, and Blunt Club promoter and painter Adam Dumper will serve up live art.

Just like any sweet 16 shindig, there will be a slew of gifts, including an exclusive four-inch vinyl record mixed by Pickster One and pressed by Lock Grooves.

“We just wanna do fun stuff like that and give back to our fans,” Dumper says. The records roll starting at 8 p.m. Admission is $5 before 10 p.m. and $10 after. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Archy Ivan Marshall of King Krule and a friend. - COURTESY OF TOUTPARTOUT
Archy Ivan Marshall of King Krule and a friend.
Courtesy of Toutpartout
King Krule
Friday, April 13
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Mumbling wunderkind Archy Ivan Marshall, better known as King Krule, makes music that’s hard to define. His latest album, The Ooz, is a sprawling 66-minute odyssey touching on a variety of different genres. King Krule mixes up a bit of punk, jazz, grunge, rap, and other sounds to create something that doesn’t quite sound like anything else.

The British performer is 23 and has already carved out a spot in the industry, working with other up-and-comers like Mount Kimbie. King Krule released his first album, the more conventional and easily definable 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, on his 19th birthday.

Despite his youth, Marshall rap-sings like he’s already been through a lot. In The Ooz, King Krule communicates his thoughts on depression and anxiety with poetic, austere lyrics. It makes for a heavy, tiring listen with little catharsis. He doesn’t make music to cry to. Instead, it leaves you cold, detached, and nearly hopeless. The album finishes with the smallest amount of optimism in its final track “La Lune.”

“It won’t be long till you’re inside,” he sings. “Till you’re inside my heart / To be with you, such a view /To be elevated to you.” Tanner Stechnij

Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14
Tempe Center for the Arts

Last year, Tempe Center for the Arts launched DisruptFEST, a two-night extravaganza featuring “super-charged experiences including provocative live theatre and music.” The event returns for a second go-round this weekend, with performances of a similar bent. Night one on Friday will kick off at 5:30 p.m. with a set from singer-songwriter Steff Koeppen in the 80/20 Lounge, followed by a performance of Keith A. Wallace's one-man show The Bitter Game at 7 p.m., and a gig by Captain Squeegee at 9 p.m.

Saturday's lineup will include a matinee performance of The Bitter Game, followed by music from Emily Grieve and Ben Anderson in the 80/20 Lounge starting at 5:30 p.m. DisruptFEST will then wrap up with a “celebration of Janis Joplin” by Amy Lynn and the Honey Mean at 8 p.m.

Tickets are available online via the TCA website and are $18 for each show or $30 for any combination of two shows. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Peelander-Z brings its colorful chaos to Scottsdale in mid-April. - BRIAN BYERS
Peelander-Z brings its colorful chaos to Scottsdale in mid-April.
Brian Byers
Saturday, April 14
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

When it comes to putting on a show, few bands put as much effort into their performances as Peelander-Z. Calling themselves a “Japanese action comic punk band hailing from the Z area of Planet Peelander,” the New York band thrashes out speedy and catchy tunes with titles like “Ninja High School” and “High Five Boy” while looking like they've come from another planet. Dressed in color-coded costumes that range from sentai suits to kimonos and monster outfits, Peelander-Z brings an outrageous B-movie atmosphere to their shows.

With members putting on tiger and squid outfits, the band punctuates their set with superhero/monster fights, unicycle riding, and even “human bowling.” You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the members of Peelander-Z turn themselves into human-sized bowling balls and pins and roll a strike on each other. You can see their Power Rangers-meet-Kaiju antics live and in person on Saturday, April 14, when they’ll turn Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale into their own personal Saturday morning cartoon show. 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.
Kayla Clancy is a musician, writer, and film photographer. In between travels, she lives in a cottage in downtown Phoenix and listens to psychedelic rock.
Contact: Kayla Clancy
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule