Concerts

The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Bishop Briggs is scheduled to perform at Alt AZ 93.3's Dia De Los Alt on Friday, September 22, at Mesa Amphitheatre.
Bishop Briggs is scheduled to perform at Alt AZ 93.3's Dia De Los Alt on Friday, September 22, at Mesa Amphitheatre. Jabari Jacobs
Guess what, you guys. It’s officially fall in Phoenix. For proof, look no further than the arrival of all the outdoor music festisvals.

Three of ‘em will be taking place around the Valley this weekend, including Alt AZ's big Dia De Los Alt celebration at Mesa Amphitheatre on Friday, the two-day Unity Kickoff Festival at Shady Park in Tempe, and the latest Global Dance Festival Arizona, which happens at Rawhide in Chandler.

There are plenty of notable concerts happening indoors as well, such as Jared & The Mill at The Van Buren, Zola Jesus at Valley Bar, Deerhoof at Crescent Ballroom, Fleet Foxes at Comerica, and The Perceptionists at The Rebel Lounge.

Read on for more details about each event or hit up our online concert calendar for even more music events this weekend.

click to enlarge Ben Folds returns to the Valley with a twist on audience requests. - KHOLOOD EID
Ben Folds returns to the Valley with a twist on audience requests.
Kholood Eid
Ben Folds
Friday, September 22
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

When you go to a Ben Folds show, you expect it to be highly interactive, with lots of singalongs and banter between Folds and the audience. But Folds is flipping the script when it comes to planning his fall tour set list. A few years ago, he encouraged his enthusiastic fans to — in lieu of shouting favorite songs for the encore – launch their requests on stage as a paper airplane. It quickly became a tradition, with Folds providing the paper at some shows.

His upcoming Marquee Theatre show will feature a set entirely composed of “airplane requests” from the audience. Anything from his staggering career is fair game, including songs from Ben Folds Five. Fan favorites like “Brick” and “Army” will certainly have their fair share of planes, so we suggest throwing in some deeper cuts (“Underground” or “Kate” perhaps?). Ashley Harris

click to enlarge Nika Roza Danilova, a.k.a. Zola Jesus, is coming to downtown Phoenix. - TIM SACCENTI
Nika Roza Danilova, a.k.a. Zola Jesus, is coming to downtown Phoenix.
Tim Saccenti
Zola Jesus
Friday, September 22
Valley Bar

The world has changed a lot since the release of the 2014 Zola Jesus album Taiga. That record was the only one that Nika Roza Danilova, a.k.a. Zola Jesus, has put out with well-known experimental-music label Mute, which she doesn't regret working with. But for her forthcoming album, 2017's Okovi, she is returning to the smaller independent label that nurtured her early career, Sacred Bones, an imprint started by Caleb Braaten.

That sort of homecoming extended beyond just going back to a record label that offered familiarity and comfort. Since the rise of Zola Jesus as a buzz artist in underground circles, Danilova has lived alternately in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington.

She has written spacious, emotionally cathartic music that parallels and perhaps informs some of the minimal synth, atmospheric post-punk, goth rock, and industrial music that has emerged as a cohesive scene over the past decade. Danilova even worked with industrial-music legend J.G. Thirlwell on the 2013 remix album of her earlier material, Versions. Tom Murphy

click to enlarge Benny Bennasi takes over Maya Day & Nightclub this weekend. - MAK MANAGEMENT
Benny Bennasi takes over Maya Day & Nightclub this weekend.
MAK Management
Benny Bennasi
Friday, September 22
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

Internationally renowned DJ and producer Benny Benassi played for his first crowds in the '80s, but what really blew him up was 2003’s “Satisfaction.” He’s released more than a few albums and won several awards, including a Grammy for his remix of “Bring the Noise.” Though Benassi has been killing the game for over a decade now, he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, putting on hundreds of club gigs worldwide each year, playing festivals like Ultra and Spring Awakening, and landing at Maya in Scottsdale this weekend for a Friday evening set inside its nightclub. One thing’s for sure: After all these years of practice, Benassi knows how to throw down. Sarah Purkrabek

The Toadies formed almost three decades ago, but they're as busy as ever. - MATT COOPER
The Toadies formed almost three decades ago, but they're as busy as ever.
Matt Cooper
Toadies
Friday, September 22
Crescent Ballroom

September is a busy month for the Toadies. The alternative band kicked off a 47-date, 29-state tour earlier this month that has them crisscrossing the U.S. until early November. Plus, they released their new album, The Lower Side of Uptown, via Kirtland Records. It's the follow up to 2015's Heretics and is the Toadies' seventh album overall.

For The Lower Side of Uptown, the Toadies enlisted the help of producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith and mixer Rob Schnapf. Smith and Schnapf have a long history of working together for the Toadies. Smith produced the band’s 2012 album Play. Rock. Music., and Schnapf produced Heretics and Feeler and co-produced Rubberneck and Hell Below/Stars Above.

“Since our last album was a stripped-down, mainly acoustic recording, we had kind of assumed that sound would play at least a part of this new album, perhaps mixed in with our more traditional loud rocking sounds,” Toadies drummer Mark “Rez” Reznicek says. “But once we started making music, it sort of took a life of its own and became an altogether heavier affair.” Jesus Jimenez.

click to enlarge British-born pop songstress Bishop Briggs. - CHAD KAMENSHINE
British-born pop songstress Bishop Briggs.
Chad Kamenshine
Alt AZ 93.3’s Dia De Los Alt
Friday, September 22
Mesa Amphitheatre
The folks from local alternative radio powerhouse 93.3 Alt AZ will debut the station’s annual Dia De Los Alt concert and festival this weekend. And they’re bring in a variety of big-name acts and artists to the Mesa Amphitheatre for the occasion.

The lineup will include New York City-based indie pop act Bleachers, British-born indie singer Bishop Briggs, and alt-rock favorites Sir Sly. Local rock band Rival Coast will have the honor of opening the event, which starts at 3 p.m. Tickets are $39. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Dirty Sunset is celebrating the release of its latest album this weekend. - RACHAEL SMITH/RAYSQUARED PRODUCTIONS
Dirty Sunset is celebrating the release of its latest album this weekend.
Rachael Smith/RaySquared Productions
Unity Kickoff Festival
Friday, September 22, and Saturday, September 23
Shady Park in Tempe

This two-day confluence of art and music is significant for a few reasons. First, it’s the biggest event that Shady Park has hosted in its two-year history of existence. Secondly, the event celebrates the launch of the locally focused Unity Through Community nonprofit and collective, which hopes to “[provide] shared creative tools to practicing craftspeople and curious newcomers.”

According to co-founder Robert “Fun Bobby” Birmingham, it also seeks to provide opportunities for local artists and musicians. “We’re all about empowering creativity for the mind-bending evolutionary benefits it provides people. We believe in artists, idealists, crazy, out-of-the-box thinkers,” he says.

The festival, which takes place both inside and outside of Shady Park, kicks off on Friday with performances from Marvel Years, The Greenhouse Project, The Real Seals, Dr. Delicious, The Hourglass Cats, Dirty Sunset, Clint Stevens Band, Jerusafunk, Sunset Voodoo, and others.

Day two of the event will offer sets by Catharsis, Grave Danger, Banana Gun, Walt Richardson Band, Ghetto Cowgirl, The Haymarket Squares, ILL Choppo, Sara Robinson Band, W.A.S.H., The Sugar Thieves, The Woodworks, Japhy's Decent, Page the Village Idiot, and The Riley Rainbow Family Circus. Tickets are $15 to $20. Benjamin Leatherman
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