The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Lee Fields and the Expressions are scheduled to perform on Saturday, September 2, at Crescent Ballroom.
Lee Fields and the Expressions are scheduled to perform on Saturday, September 2, at Crescent Ballroom. Courtesy of Paradigm Talent Agency
It’s going to be one wild weekend in the Valley – and plenty busy to boot.

In addition to all the festivities, pool parties, and club events associated with Labor Day weekend, there’s a full slate of concerts that will take place from Friday, September 1, to Sunday, September 3. That includes gigs like The Growlers and Too $hort at The Van Buren, Lee Fields and the Expressions at Crescent Ballroom, Idina Menzel of Frozen fame at Comerica Theatre, and all the industrial DJs and musicians at the annual Fetishball.

Local bands Fayuca and Lenguas Largas also have shows this weekend, and there will be a tribute to the late Tyler Hedstrom of Anarbor at Wasted Grain in Scottsdale on Saturday night.

More details about all of these events can be found in the following rundown of the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. (And for even more shows, be sure to check our our extensive online music listings.)

click to enlarge The Growlers know how to shine. - COURTESY OF ONE BEAT PR
The Growlers know how to shine.
Courtesy of One Beat PR
The Growlers
Friday, September 1
The Van Buren

Listening to the music of The Growlers is a bit like listening to oldies radio before that format was taken over by music from the '80s rather than being dominated by classic pop songs from the late '50s through the mid-'60s. There's a touch of rockabilly, a hint of early psychedelic garage rock and a dash of surf guitar. It also sounds as though the band's guitarist learned a trick or ten from Lonnie Donegan. Like The Strange Boys, The Growlers sound out of time, retro in the same sense that there is a retro aesthetic to the films of David Lynch — minus the mind-warping sense of the bizarre, of course. The strangeness of The Growlers is more subtle, tuneful, and catchy, but no less eccentric. Tom Murphy

click to enlarge The members of Oh Sees. - JOHN DWYER
The members of Oh Sees.
John Dwyer
Oh Sees
Friday, September 1
Crescent Ballroom

San Francisco psychedelic rock band Oh Sees released their new album, Orc, last month on Castle Face Records, a label co-owned by the band’s primary songwriter John Dwyer. This marks the band’s 19th album since the project was founded in 1997. Those 20 years have seen many changes, with 2017 ushering in their latest phase and shortened moniker. The band had been known as Thee Oh Sees since 2008. It’s the seventh band name they’ve used while several iterations of band members have rotated around Dwyer. The name change could mark a banner year for them though, as they’ve landed on a tight foursome of Dwyer, Tim Hellman, Dan Rincon, and new drummer Paul Quattrone from !!!. The tracks on Orc are as sweeping as they are menacing, with Dwyer’s snarky vocals over muddy guitar riffs and the driving energy of the band’s dual drummers. Ashley Harris

click to enlarge Tucson's Lenguas Largas. - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
Tucson's Lenguas Largas.
Courtesy of the artist
Lenguas Largas
Saturday, September 2
The Rebel Lounge

Know how some bands have great records, but then their live show leaves you going “meh,” and wondering how none of that action translated to the stage? Tucson’s Lenguas Largas is not one of those bands. These lively garage rockers infuse their hooky tunes with threads of hazy and dreamy pop — sometimes. Other times, they’re driving through those tracks with punch and power. And more times than not, it’s a feisty combination of all of the above. In fact, what this band brings to life on their recordings is cranked up superbly at their live shows, with a wake-the-dead type of drive and focus, sometimes by differing numbers of band members. One thing that keeps the momentum from slipping is that the band has a couple of drummers. Two seems to be the current number, but in the past they’ve had more. At times, there’s one drummer using regular sticks to play, and the other using maracas, and the two sounds work together like fuel. It all makes for a show that’s impossible to sit still through from a band you won’t want to ignore once they ignite their instruments. Get ready to get sweaty; they’re the perfect band for a shakin’ rock ’n’ roll dance party. Amy Young

Too $hort
Saturday, September 2
The Van Buren

It's undoubtedly for the better that pimp culture has taken a backseat to personal independence in the rap vernacular, but that doesn't mean we can't reminisce with one of the iciest players to ever turn a ho out on record (we're using technical terminology here). At 51, Too $hort is a veteran, having been one of the first Bay Area rappers to rise to prominence after dropping his first cassette in 1985. It was titled Don't Stop Rappin', which turned out to be fitting since he's released 20 albums to date, including 2012’s No Trespassing and this year’s The Pimp Tape, both independent releases that still managed to raise some big stars for the occasion: 50 Cent, G-Eazy, T.I., Juicy J, Snoop Dogg and, of course, E-40. All of that speaks to $hort Dog's commitment to craft, which in this case involves lacing strip-club beats with timeless braggadocio. Chris Martins

The late Tyler Hedstrom. - MATTHEW WILSON
The late Tyler Hedstrom.
Matthew Wilson
Tyler Hedstrom Memorial Show
Saturday, September 2
Wasted Grain in Scottsdale

This year has been a rough one for Valley band Anarbor. In July, the group’s 17-year-old drummer, Tyler Hedstrom, took his own life. To celebrate his life, the band will host the Tyler Hedstrom Memorial Show, bringing together music, friends, family, and fans. The lineup features Sundressed, Justin Reece, The Secret Destroyers, and Headstrum, a band led by Tyler’s brother Alex Hedstrom. The concert is at Wasted Grain, 7295 East Stetson Drive in Scottsdale. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 through Brown Paper Tickets. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

click to enlarge Dada Life fans going bananas during the EDM duo's show earlier this year. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Dada Life fans going bananas during the EDM duo's show earlier this year.
Benjamin Leatherman

Dada Life
Saturday, September 2
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Dada Life has successfully built an EDM kingdom of their own, which could only be called Dada World, where the beats are massive and the preferred currency is bananas. As such, the nominally Swedish duo supplies a hefty dose of whimsy within a scene forever on the verge of taking itself too seriously, for which their fans have rewarded them handsomely. But all the ape masks, banana costumes, and oversize champagne bottles would all be so much mush if Dada didn’t deliver where it counts, namely with plush electro jams tricked out to the gills with billowing synths and their patented “sausage fat” bass. Dada Life enjoys nothing more than partying like it’s the end of the world, or the end of the summer. This weekend, they’ll have the honor of helping wrap up Talking Stick’s summer-long Release pool party series with plenty of champagne and bananas. Chris Gray

Read on for even more "can't miss" concerts and music events this weekend, including Lee Fields and the Expressions, Idina Menzel, and Fayuca.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.