Electronic dance music fans are in for a big weekend. In addition to all the normal club nights and DJ gigs happening around Phoenix, a slew of big-name EDM artists and producers are due in town over the next several nights.
That includes such folks as Laidback Luke, Kennedy Jones, Autograf, and Nora en Pure, all of whom will be behind the mixers at local venues this weekend. Bass music fiend Xilent will also pay a visit to the Valley, as he’s scheduled to headline the Bass Splash pool party on Friday night at BLK Live.
As for you non-EDM heads out there, there are plenty of other concerts and music events happening this weekend, including performances by Merchandise, Emperor X, Take Over and Destroy, Monte Pittman, and The Regrettes.
Full details for all of these music events can be found in the following list of the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. (As always, you can check out our online listings for even more shows.)
Friday, June 9
Go to the Emperor X show and you could end up more than just an audience member. You could get called up to play an instrument on one of the songs. Really. It’s happened before. The man who holds this fancy-sounding title and allows for such zesty live performance antics is Chad Matheny, a former math teacher who stopped pursuing a master’s degree in physics so he could go full time with the creation and performance of his indie folk ’n’ rock ditties. No surprise; he’s been making music since childhood, getting his first Casio keyboard at age 9. Earlier this month, Emperor X released his eighth full-length since dropping The Joytakers’ Rakes/Stars on the Ceiling, Pleasantly Kneeling back in 1998. Oversleepers International is the newbie, and its 11 songs include a couple of folk-punk numbers like “Wasted on the Senate Floor” and “Riot for Descendant Command” that echo the tumultuous political climate. Both should be big hits with fans of local favorites AJJ, or the seminal folk-punker Billy Bragg. Others, like the title track and “God Save Coastal Dorset,” have driving vocals reminiscent of Doug Martsch of indie pioneers Built to Spill. But where that band is heavily guitar-driven, the Emperor X songs play to his passion with multiple sounds that are quietly disjointed when it comes to timing — interestingly off-kilter. Amy Young
Friday, June 9
BLK Live in Scottsdale
Summertime in the Valley means pool parties, and lots of ’em. As a matter of fact, it seems like there are at least three or four stylish swim soirees happening around town each and every weekend during the hotter months, especially in Scottsdale. That includes music venue and bar BLK Live in North Scottsdale, which happens to feature a pool on premises. This weekend, the spot will host Bass Splash, one of its biggest pool parties of the summer. The event — which takes place on Friday, June 9 — is a night swim and, as you’d expect, will feature an emphasis on DJs and bass music. Headlining the event will be Xilent, the Polish electro-house, drum ’n’ bass, and dubstep producer behind such hit tracks as “”Choose Me II” and “Boss Wave,” who will reportedly be making his first-ever appearance in Arizona. Other DJs scheduled to perform at the party include BetaXtract, RWDY, Kromatik, Notahuman, PhunkNasty, and Sonik. And according to promoters, there will also be mermaids at the event, as well as vendors and body painters. The bass starts blasting at 8 p.m. Benjamin Leatherman
Take Over and Destroy
Friday, June 9
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe
Up until their newest self-titled record was released last month, this local quartet had carved out their niche in the metal genre by residing in a middle ground between the thrashy death-n-roll of popular Swedish metal acts such as Entombed and the goth-rock corners of the music spectrum occupied by seminal acts such as Sisters of Mercy. Their latest still features moments bordering on the heavier end of the genre, but the gothic atmospherics of their sound are amplified this time around. Vocalist Andrew Leemont leans on goth-rock croons a little more but can still efficiently deliver razor-gargling barks when the moment calls for it; he also stepped in to deliver delightfully creepy organ work after Pete Porter moved from keyboards to bass prior to this album. The result is a compelling record that carries a moody death-rock aura overloaded with killer riffs. Jason Roche
The Monte Pittman Experience
Friday, June 9
Monte Pittman has been a guitarist in Madonna’s touring band since her Drowned World Tour in 2001. And for many of those years, he was also a member of Prong, the bicoastal band founded by former CBGB sound man Tommy Victor. The apparent disconnect between his two guitar gigs doesn't seem to faze Pittman much. To hear him tell it, people are a little surprised to learn Madonna has a guitarist at all. "When I first started playing with her, people were like, 'I didn't even know that Madonna needed a guitar player,'" Pittman says. "But there's actually so much stuff in those tracks, there's so much going on and it's so strategically placed, if you took it away, you'd miss it.” Pittman joined Prong in early 2000 and played on its 2003 LP, Scorpio Rising, and switched mostly to bass for 2007's Power of the Damager, but after that, Madonna's touring picked up again. "Prong was one of my favorite bands learning to play guitar. Still is. I was like, 'I can't believe I'm in a van showering at truck stops, and I'm happier than I've ever been playing clubs with Prong.'" Even with his stints with Madonna and Prong, Pittman has managed to work in a solo career and release eight albums, including last year’s Inverted Grasp of Balance. This weekend, Pittman will stop by the Listening Room for an intimate gig. Chris Gray
Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular
Friday, June 9
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Although Waters, Gilmour, and company are no longer touring as a band, Pink Floyd fans have a good opportunity to experience the band's music in a theatrical format in this show that covers the band's career, from classics like Dark Side of the Moon (with visual imagery from The Wizard of Oz) and The Wall to tunes from discs like Atom Heart Mother and Wish You Were Here. The concept of the show — created about 30 years ago by Steve Monistere and laserist Tim Walsh — is to bring the songs to life by using laser-generated images played on a screen where other film clips roll. The result is impressive, and the only thing you miss is having an actual live band onstage. Audiences enjoy the gimmick, which has been consistently touring for more than three decades now. The music is, of course, the soul of the show, and attendees are encouraged to sing along with timeless tunes that have become part of not only the soundtrack of an era, but also of an entire generation of fans who followed the group throughout the years. Ernest Barteldes
Nora en Pure
Friday, June 9
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale
For a 25-year-old who waited until after she finished her undergraduate studies before really diving into the dance music scene, the intuitive Daniela Niederer may still be green, but she's quickly carved out her own summery, melodic house niche in the ever-evolving, often overly dark electronic music realm. And it's currently taking her all over the world, from Coachella to a stop this Friday at Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale. The South Africa-born, Switzerland-based indie-house DJ/producer, who performs as Nora En Pure, creates sunny, uplifting productions and mesmerizing deep-house sets translate to both intimate club venues and massive festival settings with equal magic. Her 2013 breakout hit "Come With Me" introduced the world to her refreshing brand of deep indie-house and spent seven months in the Beatport Top 100. Nora has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past couple of years as the EDM craze has shifted gears from big-room bangers to a more toned-down, tropical house sound. Falyn Freyman
Read on for even more concerts happening this weekend, including DJ Quik, Merchandise, and The Regrettes.
Saturday, June 10
Livewire in Scottsdale
No one could ever question DJ Quik’s authenticity. Twenty-five years ago, Quik was the Piru Blooded G-Funk pioneer: a Jheri-curled, Compton-hatted, gangsta rap Apollo. He called himself "America'z Most Complete Artist" and had the chops to prove it. He produced, engineered, rapped, and played guitar and keyboards. Swagger like Superfly, funk like Roger Troutman, the fearless adrenaline of Eazy-E. In January 1991, he dropped his official debut, Quik Is the Name. The influential album emerged during a transitional period between the first wave of gangsta rap and the ascension of G-funk. Every label relentlessly trawled Compton and South Central for the next would-be superstar. A quarter-century later, Quik Is the Name remains an indelible coming-of-age rap album, filled with raunchy tales and silky refinement. Already a production sorcerer, Quik chopped loops from Kleeer and Cameo, Betty Wright and Blowfly, adding scratched hooks and nimble cadences. It’s the gangsta-rap iteration of every teenager’s dreams: awash in easy money, Givenchy sweatsuits, beautiful women, and all the illicit substances you can imbibe. Jeff Weiss
Saturday, June 10
Kennedy Jones infuses his music with every energy booster that exists in dance music. He samples hip-hop, falls into trap beats, and hits on a progressive house drop before spiraling right back into a light melody or heavily independent bass line. The next moment, he’s throwing in a unexpected vocal clip from songs like “Move Your Feet” by Junior Senior or Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Every set, Jones proves that he’ll play what he likes, no matter what it is. But don’t worry. Part of his charm is making it work, even if it’s mariachi leading to a house-y interlude. The weirdest part? You’ll find yourself loving every second of it. Sarah Purkrabek
Saturday, June 10
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale
Laidback Luke didn’t make his name in music first: Originally, he was known for his graffiti. After learning to play real guitars and pianos as a teenager, Luke would often get frustrated that he wasn't as good at music as his brother and the rest of the family. Then he turned 15, and taught himself how to make music with a computer and later began remixing well-known dance hits and producing his own songs. The producer and DJ is now world-famous for his electro and progressive house beats, as well as his many remixes of popular tunes. Laidback Luke has collaborated with the likes of Diplo, Lil Jon, Swedish House Mafia, Example, and Hardwell, and, of course, played festivals and joints around the world, including Surrender Nightclub in Las Vegas, where he now holds a residency. He's also a legit kung-fu master. This weekend, he’ll headline the latest Release pool party at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Sarah Purkrabek
Saturday, June 10
Bands with a single common noun as their name are usually either attempting to remain obscure or have a shit idea of what makes for good marketing. Of course, that’s true only until they hit it big and bury both Merriam-Webster and Oxford in Google search results. British bands have been brilliant at this trick over the years: Blur, Elbow, Foals, etc. Merchandise, the 4AD trio that employs a decidedly U.K. sound, is looking to be the next great SEO champion. Formed a decade ago, the current lineup includes Carson Cox (vocals and electronics), Dave Vassalotti (guitar and electronics), and Pat Brady (bass). According to an interview the band did with The Guardian a few years ago, Merchandise described its early music as something that "sounded somewhere between Erasure, Suicide, and Otis Redding coming out of a Japanese keyboard.” Influenced by everything from hardcore and punk to Miles Davis and Nina Simone, Merchandise has reinvented itself once again, delving into the brooding, wintry alternative rock of Interpol and Morrissey (Cox’s voice sharing more than a passing resemblance with the latter). Angel Melendez
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Saturday, June 10
Shady Park in Tempe
When attending a live show, an artist’s visual component can prove to be just as important as the sounds coming from the speakers. Brightly colored lights, lasers and graphic visuals projected on a screen are commonly seen, but how often are the artists actually building their own stage aesthetic with their own hands? Chicago-based Autograf began as an art project, then morphed into a musical group playing live electronica. For each show, members Jake Carpenter, Louis Kha, and Mikul Wing conceptualize and create visuals to complete their unique ambience. Autograf incorporates its art projects during live performances and around the city of Chicago. For one of its first projects, the group built an 8-foot tall Andy Warhol-inspired sculpture of a soup can for the stage. More recently, the group created a series of street-art pieces around Chicago that revolved around their latest single, “Don’t Worry." The artists incorporated inspirational as well as whimsical sayings like "Don’t worry, live life" or "Don’t worry, eat ice cream" into their creations that went up last month. They have even added lights to their instruments to better engage the audience and create a more interactive experience. Riley Cowing
Sunday, June 11
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale
L.A. rock quartet The Regrettes — consisting of Lydia Night (lead vocals/guitar), Genessa Gariano (guitar), Sage Chavis (bass), and Maxx Morando (drums) — started last January when they were still barely a band. The songs on debut album, Feel Your Feelings Fool! are smart, occasionally sarcastic, and oftentimes quite endearing. On "A Living Human Girl," Night tackles the pressure of trying to fit into the perfect-girl mold and turns it into an anthem of empowerment. "I fall in love with people once a day," she croons. "Oh, but if you ask me out, I'm still allowed to say no way." The Regrettes are young, ranging in age from 16 to 19, but that's not terribly unusual in the history of rock. Also, they aren't novices. Their very much a product of 2016, offering the sound of young, socially aware people sharing their frustration and elation with heavy energy and a no-fucks-given attitude. They are also the band you want to hear if you're intent on keeping that spirit alive in 2017. Liz Ohanesian