Big Surf is going to be packed with people this weekend, and they'll be doing more than just hitting up the waterslides. A pair of music festivals will take over the Tempe waterpark on back-to-back days, each offering its own vibe and music selection.
The annual Wet Electric takes place on Saturday and will feature such electronic dance music superstars as Adventure Club, Bro Safari, Crizzly, and Dr Fresch. The following day, local radio station Alt AZ 93.3 will hold its first-ever Band Splash, which will include sets by indie and alternative acts like Dreamers, The Unlikely Candidates, and Banners.
Other highlights of the Valley's concert calendar this weekend's include gigs from La Santa Cecilia, Toots and the Maytals, Paul van Dyk, and rappers Sage Francis and B. Dolan. Playboy Manbaby will also headline a two-day release party for a star-studded local comp at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe and KWSS personality Dani Cutler will celebrate her birthday in style at Last Exit Live.
Details about each of these shows can be found in the following rundown of the best concerts this weekend. And for even more music events happening around town, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
Paul van Dyk
Friday, April 27
Maya Day & Nightclub
Few DJs are as accomplished as Paul van Dyk. Or as legendary. Over the span of his 38-year career, the German-born artist helped lay the groundwork for electronic dance music’s modern era, produced several influential albums, and redefined the genre of trance. He’s also won a slew of awards (including a Grammy), played enough gigs around the world to be considered one of the most traveled DJs of all time, and even survived personal tragedy (specifically, a 20-foot fall in 2016 that nearly claimed his life). In other words, simply calling him a “superstar” only scratches the surface.
While some DJs would be content to rest on their laurels, Van Dyk apparently has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. He’s currently in the second phase of his From Then On tour in support of his 2017 album of the same name, and will perform at Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale, on Friday, April 27. Doors are at 10 p.m. and local DJs Danny Stephen and Munition will open. Benjamin Leatherman
The Plus One Show
Friday, April 27
Last Exit Live
If you’ve been to a local show, chances are you have seen KWSS 93.9 FM radio personality Dani Cutler hanging out with her friend and go-to “plus one,” Cheyenne. With the disc jockey’s birthday coming up, her concert companion came up with a way to celebrate the host’s special day: Instead of telling a friend about a great local band, bring them to a show at a discount so they can experience the music firsthand. Cutler, a champion of the Phoenix music scene, wanted to test out the concept. So she put together a variety of musicians and booked a venue.
Included on this stacked lineup are country-folk duo Twofold Marie, the jangly electric-pop act People Who Could Fly, retro soul band The Glides, and the moody atmospheric rockers of El West. If dancing is your thing, then you can get down to the funky rhythms of Scattered Melodies. Jason Keil
Club '90s - Selena Night
Friday, April 27
The Van Buren
If there was one word to describe Selena Quintanilla – from her style to her music – it would be iconic. Celebrate the Tejano queen’s legacy on Friday, April 27, with a night of endless bidi bidi bom bom during Selena Night at The Van Buren. Dance, sing, and enjoy an evening full of Selena jams from the ’90s mixed with other cumbias and Latin anthem throwbacks just like the ones Mom would blast during her Sunday morning cleaning routine.
The celebration begins at 9:30 p.m. at The Van Buren. The event is 21 and over, and tickets are $12 in advance, $18 at the door. Melina Zuñiga
Straight Outta Comp Vol. 2 Release Party feat. Playboy Manbaby
Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe
Playboy Manbaby have been playing, touring, and dropping records for more than five years. They recently did the latter, unleashing Lobotomobile on the public. The 11-song full-length is available digitally and in limited-edition quantities on vinyl, cassette, and CD.
The band features Robbie Pfeffer on vocals, TJ Friga on guitar, Chris Hudson on bass, Chad Dennis on drums, Austin Rickert on sax, and Dave Cosme on trumpet and percussion.
Together, the band creates jumpy, raucous music — topped with sharp, thought-provoking lyrics — that pulls in a few different apples from the punk rock tree, from artsy to hardcore. Their multiflavored sound maintains a ska vibe at times with its horn section and other times those noisemakers lend themselves to help bust out garage rock dripping with the spirit of the ’60s.
This weekend, Playboy Manbaby will headline a two-day release party at the Yucca Tap for Lumberjerk Record's compilation album Straight Outta Comp Vol. 2. Other local bands scheduled to perform include Palm Springs Eternal, Willetta, Map, Fine China, Jordan Murawa, and A Blackbird En Route on Friday; and Porn Bloopers, No Volcano, Sun System, and Elna Rae on Saturday. Doors open at 8 p.m. both nights and admission is free. Amy Young
Phoenix Symphony feat. Jeffrey Kahane
Friday April 27, to Sunday, April 29
Phoenix Symphony Hall
Binged-watched the fourth season of Mozart in the Jungle already? Replayed Amadeus for the eighth time? And still you can’t get enough of Wolfgang? There’s good news. The Phoenix Symphony is offering three performances of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22, from Friday April 27, through Sunday, April 29, with internationally acclaimed guest soloist Jeffrey Kahane. And Kahane won’t just be playing the Steinway. He’ll be conducting as well, from his piano bench during the Mozart, then stepping up to the podium to lead the orchestra in performances of Bartok’s “Concerto of Orchestra” and Dvorak’s “Nocturne for Strings.”
The concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Phoenix Symphony Hall. Tickets range from $25 to $93. Stuart Warner
Wet Electric 2018
Saturday, April 28
Big Surf in Tempe
You could have an electronic dance music festival literally anywhere, and fans who dig flailing to persistent beats will most likely show up. Hold it at a 20-acre waterpark with an enormous wave pool, waterslides, and cabanas, and you’ve taken the whole soiree next-level. That’s what presenters Activated Events and Relentless Beats do.
Together, they’re responsible for Wet Electric, a one-day festival that takes over Big Surf Waterpark in Tempe on Saturday. It’s a massive pool party gone wild, with a soundtrack provided by a packed schedule of electronic music acts from around the world.
There’s Crizzly, the San Antonio DJ and producer who mixes hip-hop and dance music, mixing intense sounds from both of those genres to create a palpable energy. Canadian electronic dance music duo Adventure Club are also on the bill. Christian Srigley and Leighton were getting crowds fired up playing hardcore pop-punk before stepping into the electronic music arena. Dr. Fresch should keep things at a frenetic pace. The award-winning DJ’s mixes have been killing it in the club scene for more than a decade. Dance or splash to plenty of other performers, including Codes, Loud Luxury, SNBRN, and Lavelle Dupree. Amy Young
Toots and the Maytals
Sunday, April 29
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Toots and the Maytals have been around since reggae's very beginnings. In fact, the Kingston crew, founded by Frederick "Toots" Hibbert in the early '60s, is widely credited with giving the genre its name via a 1968 ditty called "Do the Reggay." The Maytals' ska origins live on in what remains their most famous song, "Pressure Drop," which appeared in Jimmy Cliff's definitive reggae movie The Harder They Come (1972) and, when covered by The Clash and The Specials, helped form an important bridge between original and second-wave ska as well as punk rock.
Seminal '70s LPs Funky Kingston, In the Dark — including a stunning rendition of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and a remake of Hibbert's account of his time in prison, "54-46 Was My Number" — and Reggae Got Soul further cemented the Maytals' status as reggae royalty, and (albeit with different rosters) the group has never left the road for very long ever since. Chris Gray
Alt AZ 93.3’s Band Splash
Sunday, April 29
Big Surf in Tempe
Big Surf has achieved legendary status in the Valley, and for good reason. The Tempe waterpark is home to the first wave pool ever built in America, and it’s been a go-to spot for locals to seek relief from the summertime for almost 50 years. It also has a significant history as a concert venue.
True story. From the ’70s onward, Big Surf has hosted gigs by such notable bands as Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Deep Purple, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
And come Sunday, April 29, you can more names to that list, thanks to the fact that ALT AZ 93.3 will put on its Band Splash festival at Big Surf, 1500 North McClintock Drive. The daylong event will feature sets by artists and acts like Dreamers, Robert DeLong, The Unlikely Candidates, Banners, and Mikky Ekko, all of whom will perform on a stage set up in the wave pool. Naturally, swimsuits are encouraged. Gates open at noon. General admission is $25, VIP tickets are $75. Benjamin Leatherman
Sage Francis & B. Dolan
Sunday, April 29
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale
Part conspiracy theorist, part activist, B. Dolan is a multifaceted force to be reckoned with. As a rapper, the East Coaster brings his slam poet style to life with post-apocalyptic stories of a desolate earth, utilizing beats from the dubstep to marching band variety to take on his science fiction world and the realities of current political landscapes and social issues.
In many respects, Dolan is a kindred spirit to fellow rapper Sage Francis, who's material is largely politically oriented and is also on a lyrical crusade to change the world (or, at least, change some minds). The two woke artists, who collaborated on the now-defunct website Knowmore.org, are teaming up for the “Epic Beard Men Tour,” which rolls through Pub Rock Live this weekend. Ali Cashius Jr. and Cory Hill will open. Bree Davies
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La Santa Cecilia
Sunday, April 29
Chandler Center for the Arts
If there is one band that represents the multicultural mix of the Southwest, it's La Santa Cecilia. Since its Latin Grammy nomination in 2015, the LA-born group has been representing its city at major festivals in Texas and New York. They're also picking up the attention of critics, through pieces on NPR's All Things Considered and Latino USA.
Further, their hybrid of Latin, rock, and world music has caught the attention of groups like Cafe Tacuba, Lila Downs, Ozomatli, and Los Lobos, all of whom have had La Santa Cecilia open shows for them in recent years. Anyone who has attended their concerts can attest that lead singer Marisol "La Marisoul" Hernandez has one of the most powerful voices in any city, in any genre. Eddie Cota