The 13 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Kate Nash is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 14, at the Crescent Ballroom.EXPAND
Kate Nash is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 14, at the Crescent Ballroom.
Christopher Dadey
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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.
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

Don't fear the reaper.EXPAND
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

Blunt Club resident Pickster One doing what he does best.EXPAND
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

Archy Ivan Marshall of King Krule and a friend.EXPAND
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

Peelander-Z brings its colorful chaos to Scottsdale in mid-April.EXPAND
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

Bubble Bobble will be a soapy fun.EXPAND
Bubble Bobble will be a soapy fun.
Benjamin Leatherman

Bubble Bobble X
Saturday, April 14
Club Red in Mesa

Ever been to a foam party before? It's one of the more unique nightlife experiences out there and involves endless amounts of soapy suds raining down upon the dance floor and covering all the club kids who are gathered there.

A few years ago, foam parties were all the rage as club owners and electronic dance music promoters put on such events with great regularity. The bubble eventually burst, however, as the masses lost interest. Meanwhile, the annual Bubble Bobble dance party have managed to survive, typically packing in EDM fans who are eager to frantically dance amid a sea of suds.

This weekend, the tenth edition of the party, Bubble Bobble X, takes place at Club Red on Saturday and it's co-promoter Brandon Emerson tells Phoenix New Times that they're planning a big blowout in honor of the occasion. “Everything's going to be bigger than ever,” he says.

Nine DJs will perform at the party, with legendary German techno/hardcore producer Dune, hard dance artist Hartshorn, and Philly's Mighty Mike Saga headlining. Local DJs scheduled to perform at Bubble Bobble X include Dark Mark, Sparrow, Realz, Raichu, Nasty Humanz, Realz, and D-Tragix. Both theaters at Club Red will be filled with bubbles and a bikini contest is also planned. Benjamin Leatherman

Indie pop singer-songwriter Kate Nash.EXPAND
Indie pop singer-songwriter Kate Nash.
Christopher Dadey

Kate Nash
Saturday, April 14
Crescent Ballroom

What happens when a British indie pop princess turns to ’90s-style alternative rock? That’s what London-born singer Kate Nash is trying to find out with her latest album, Yesterday Was Forever.

Following the success of her 2007 debut album, House Made of Bricks, Nash was an artist to watch, seeming like an alternative Lily Allen. But her second and third studio albums, My Best Friend is You and Girl Talk, proved that she was willing to take risks and experiment outside of mainstream pop music.

Her songs and style have morphed over the years from a young British up-and-comer talking about a boyfriend getting sick on her trainers (or sneakers, as we call them in America) to a strong-willed woman discussing mental illness. Nash is now venturing into acting, too, with a role on the Netflix series GLOW.

In fact, the songs off Yesterday Was Forever feel more inspired by the Breeders and Veruca Salt than Allen or Adele. So, while Nash’s British indie pop princess sound may be left in the past, her new alt-rock style is refreshing — and much needed for the here and now. Emily Roberts

Afroman in concert in 2011.EXPAND
Afroman in concert in 2011.
Chris Gilmore/CC BY-SA 2.0/via Flickr

Saturday, April 14
Club Red in Mesa

After Joseph Foreman made his first tape in the eighth grade – a tune about getting kicked out of school for his sagging pants – he embarked on a career of creating chilled-out, misbehavior-themed bangers under the moniker Afroman.

Since releasing his first album in 1998, Afroman has released 12 studio full-lengths and two EPs (with 2015's The N-Word being the most recent). He’s best known for the hit singles “Crazy Rap (Colt 45 & 2 Zig Zags)” and “Because I Got High” — the latter of which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance in 2002. Not one to be pigeonholed, Afroman was even part of the 2010 Gathering of the Juggalos lineup.

With his double-neck eighteen-string ax at his side, Afroman cranks out upbeat, hip-hop/funk tunes that feature good-humored verses, many of them focused on getting baked. John Nicholl

The Agents of Lust and their dirty deeds take over the Rogue in Scottsdale.EXPAND
The Agents of Lust and their dirty deeds take over the Rogue in Scottsdale.
Benjamin Leatherman

Lust in Hell: The Agents of Hell's Fifth Anniversary Party
Saturday, April 14
The Rogue Bar in Scottsdale

Whenever the Agents of Lust throw a party, it’s usually a messy, noisy, and chaotic night filled with scandalous activities, libidinous thrills, and freaky behavior. And they wouldn’t want it any other way.

The local fetish-oriented performance troupe has been staging such outlandish affairs over the last five years, which typically feature its members unleashing showers of sparks with metal grinders or staging debaucherous vignettes involving sex toys.

A similar scene is likely to unfold at Rogue Bar in Scottsdale this weekend during Lust in Hell, the troupe’s fifth anniversary party. Industrial, metal, and hard rock bands will perform – including Luna 13, The Audio Virus, Casket Snatch, and Acid Trash – as will various burlesque, belly-dancing, and performance artists. DJs Kevin Void and Plastic Disease will also be in the mix. The freaky fun starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $10. Benjamin Leatherman

ZZ Top
ZZ Top
Photo by Melissa Fossum

ZZ Top
Saturday, April 14
Arizona Bike Week at WestWorld in Scottsdale

If you have trace memories of immortal blues-rock combo ZZ Top, it's probably of two bears with long beards spinning guitars, a drummer without a beard (named Beard), and legs ("she's got . . . 'em"). A few years before that, though, just before punk broke, Circus Magazine described the band as "blue-collar nihilistic" and "cornered animals gone nasty.”

This was the period when Lemmy started Mötorhead by playing a lot of ZZ Top covers, recalling the brutal, lysergic roots of the psychedelic trio's origins and most of its formative years. Third LP Tres Hombres is easily one of the top albums of 1973, its road-tested swelter-boogie featuring a balls-out tribute to a bordello (first hit, "La Grange"), along with garage-gospel ("Precious & Grace") and the origins of cow punk ("Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers").

Inspired by greats like John Lee Hooker and the Stones, Billy Gibbons (vocals, guitar), Dusty Hill (bass, backing vocals), and Frank Beard (those oh-so-tight drums) spent several '70s LPs being as soulful and organically powerful as peyote and barbecue. That's right up 'til 1979's Degüello, when the robot-rock set into their video-ready rhythms and they became ubiquitous on MTV three years later.

Everything they did was as infectious as venom, but real riff fans grit their teeth at those stupid jokes these days about facial hair and synthesizers, knowing deep in their hearts that ZZ Top was as important as AC/DC and Sonic Youth, and sounded like both, often at the same time. Chris Estey

Sunday, April 15
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Formed in 1996, Nightwish gained instant popularity in their native Finland with the 1997 release of their first album, Angels Fall First. Eventually, Nightwish achieved international success with album sales in excess of over 8 million worldwide, yet the group has struggled to achieve popularity and recognition here in the States.

Nightwish delivers chugging distorted guitars, double-bass kicks, fast tempos, and time changes – the signature traits of any metal band. But the act's songs also include classical structures and arrangements and have featured an orchestra and a choir, bolstering a classically trained female vocalist – all of which has earned them a "symphonic metal" designation, a tag the members are comfortable with. Brandon Marshall

Country music king Clint Black.
Country music king Clint Black.
Kevin Mazur

Clint Black
Sunday, April 15
Chandler Center for the Arts

Hailing from Long Beach, New Jersey, by way of Kirby, Texas, Clint Black is coming back to the Valley for some boot-scootin’ fun. The silk smooth baritone took his inspiration from the likes of Waylon Jennings, George Strait, and Willie Nelson, so it comes as no surprise that Black was a fixture on the country music charts in the ’90s and early 2000s.

Black’s style is a far cry from the bro-country pop that seems to be the choice du jour nowadays, opting to sing a more traditional brand of country filled with lonely nights, ruined relationships and the occasional beer. His most recent album, 2015’s On Purpose, was a welcome surprise after a nearly decade-long gap between albums, and luckily lived up to Black’s legacy, reaching number 13 on the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums chart. So if you’re looking to dust off your dancing boots, then this is a show guaranteed to get you and your friends two-stepping into the night. Nicholas Bostick

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