The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Lindsay Stirling will be home for Christmas.
Lindsay Stirling will be home for Christmas. Jim Louvau
Like the old Christmas song says, there’s really no place like home for the holidays. Just ask any of the homegrown superstars who will return to their old stomping grounds this weekend for shows.

After spending most of 2017 touring, Valley residents Lindsey Stirling, Futuristic, and John O’Callaghan ot The Maine will perform for hometown crowds this weekend before spending the holidays with their nearest and dearest.

Other highlights of this weekend’s music offerings include holiday shows from bands like The Sugar Thieves and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, as well as a few unique dance parties.

Details about each of these events can be found below in our rundown of the 10 best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. And for even more live music happening around the Valley the next few nights, hit up our online concert calendar.

click to enlarge The swingin' cats of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. - DON MILLER
The swingin' cats of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
Don Miller
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party
Friday, December 22
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

You may remember Big Bad Voodoo Daddy from the late '90s swing craze and the man-bible flick Swingers. For the uninitiated, the band was one of the most popular nouveau-swing bands of that era, standing right next to Royal Crown Revue, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and Cherry Poppin' Daddies on the pop charts and countless national tours. You couldn't turn on a television without seeing models jumping and jiving for The Gap or even ranch dressing by the summer and fall of 1998.

After the fad subsided, many of the bands moved on to more mainstream sounds, but the Voodoos stayed resolute to their sound and continued on. So this weekend dust off your fedoras and party like it's 1998 along with the band, who will bring their “Wild and Swingin’ Holiday Party” to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Friday night. Go, daddy, go. Craig Hlavaty

click to enlarge DJ R3ll headlines this year's Mary X Mas. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
DJ R3ll headlines this year's Mary X Mas.
Benjamin Leatherman
Mary X Mas
Friday, December 22
Nile Theater in Mesa

The holidays are a time of traditions, including gathering together with your nearest and dearest for revelry of some sort. That’s especially true of the local raver scene, which turns out en masse around Christmas each year for the annual Mary X Mas dance party.

The infamous holiday-themed event, which is put on by local rave promoter Matt Dunn, has been taking place almost every year since 1999 and offers kandi kids and dance music fiends the chance to dance amid a Christmas-inspired wonderland. This year’s version of Mary X Mas takes place on Friday, December 22, at the Nile Theater in Mesa, and will feature more than a dozen DJs, as well as snowball fights and other holiday fun.

The lineup includes sets from headliner R3ll and locals like Sam Groove, DJ Sid, Mangled, I Am Stranger, Blakeland, Disco Stu, Butters, Madd Diamonds, Impact, and Skwalien. The soundtrack will offer many rave-friendly genres, such as hardstyle, breaks, happy hardcore, dubstep, bounce, electro, future house, psytrance, and bass house. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the party goes until 2 a.m. Benjamin Leatherman

Better load up on your partying spells. - WARNER BROS.
Better load up on your partying spells.
Warner Bros.
Yule Ball
Friday, December 22
The Van Buren

Those who can distinguish between wizards and Muggles, this is the holiday party for you. The Yule Ball re-creates the event from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in which Potter and his magical pals got gussied up to dance and toss back Butterbeer. That signature drink is on this evening’s special menu, along with others like Polyjuice Potion and Unforgiveable Curse shots.

Waiting for a chance to slip into your magical robes? Good — because it’s a costume party, with a contest for those who really want to do it up. While you’re feeling competitive, show off your Harry Potter knowledge, as the fun includes rounds of trivia. Order of the Phoenix performs live music and a special guest DJ will keep the Great Hall rocking.

This Hogwarts-inspired happening starts at 7 p.m. on Friday night at The Van Buren. Admission is $10 for 18 and older. Amy Young

click to enlarge John O’Callaghan of The Maine. - DAN COX/CC BY-ND 2.0/VIA FLICKR
John O’Callaghan of The Maine.
John The Ghost
Friday, December 22
Valley Bar

Vocalst John O’Callaghan has had a rather busy year. The Maine, his primary band, celebrated their 10th anniversary with a massive show at Crescent Ballroom that attracted 3,000 people. They also released a new album, Lovely Little Lonely, which earned praise from fans and critics alike and toured the world, including stops in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

O’Callaghan found time to branch out for other gigs, too, as John The Ghost. The side project features the vocalist opening a vein and musing over inner demons, personal issues, and darker thoughts. All of these are explored on the six-song EP Sincerely, John The Ghost, and an accompanying 90-page book, which came out in April to much acclaim.

O’Callaghan will bring the project to Valley Bar this weekend. Daisy and Palm Springs Eternal will open. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge The Sugar Thieves - CHADWICK FOWLER
The Sugar Thieves
Chadwick Fowler
The Sugar Thieves Christmas Show
Friday, December 22
Rhythm Room

While The Sugar Thieves play a lot of shows throughout the year, they only get to play songs from their holiday tribute album, How the Sugar Thieves Stole Christmas, once every 12 months. The band’s cover of “Santa Baby,” which features the rapt, sensual vocals of Meridith Moore, was featured on the compilation album Putumayo Presents Acoustic Christmas a few years back. The Sugar Thieves’ take on the seductive standard provides a superior alternative to Madonna’s overplayed holiday single from three decades ago.

Here’s hoping the Phoenix-based blues band will add the song to the setlist for this year’s Christmas show, when the Arizona Lindy Hop Society will bring some East Coast swing dancing to The Rhythm Room. Attendees will also have the opportunity to snack on barbecue, win door prizes, and indulge in free Christmas treats. The quintet will add a yet-to-be-named sixth musician to the band. It’s enough fun to make your heart grow three sizes. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the charity Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona. Jason Keil
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers