The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Of Montreal is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 6, at Crescent Ballroom.
Of Montreal is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 6, at Crescent Ballroom. Ebru Yildiz
Cinco de Drinko is this weekend, y'all, which (as you'd expect) means a vast amount of parties. It's far from the only thing happening around the Valley over the next few nights, however.

On the concert front, there will be a ton of great shows happening, including gigs by Of Montreal, Rogue Wave, and King Tuff.

Meanwhile, Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day will also be in town with his new side project The Longshot, the touring Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular will visit Marquee Theatre, and local musicians will pay tribute to the late Brad Singer of Zia Record Exchange fame. 

Details about each of these shows (and a few more) 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.

[image-11] Too $hort
Friday, May 4
Club Red in Mesa

To paraphrase the artist: His name is Short, his game is long, he freaks these hoes, and sings these songs. Too $hort is Oakland’s poet laureate of pimp talk. Too $hort’s been dropping albums since 1985.

Rap careers tend to age quickly, with most artists getting out of the game by the time they hit 30. That’s not the case with $hort, who has endured and prospered while so many of his peers have either died or retired. Call him West Coast rap’s Energizer Bunny, ready to spit his filthy “cock tales” raps.

After decades of hustling, Too Short announced that 2018’s The Pimp Tape (his 20th album!) will be his last record. So he’s hitting the road to regale fans with stories about his XXX exploits. If you love dirty rap, you owe it to yourself to hear the $hort Dog bark one more time. Just be sure to leave the kiddies at home. Ashley Naftule

click to enlarge A scene from the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular. - RALPH ARVESEN/CC BY-SA 2.0, VIA FLICKR (CROPPED)
A scene from the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular.
Ralph Arvesen/CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr (cropped)
Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular
Friday, May 4
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

click to enlarge King Tuff's Kyle Thomas on growing up and letting his music follow. - OLIVIA BEE
King Tuff's Kyle Thomas on growing up and letting his music follow.
Olivia Bee
King Tuff
Friday, May 4
Valley Bar

With every release since King Tuff’s debut back in 2006, the poppy garage rocker has become a bigger contributor to the neo-psych scene. It’s all about evolution for the musician, whose real name is Kyle Thomas. On his latest record, The Other, swirling guitars, trippy organs, and an air of sentimentality have replaced some of the noise.

Part of that change stems from being true to his instincts. “I released Was Dead in 2007, and it had a lot of fans. I always felt a little pressure to live up to that record and continue to make records in line with that one.” Thomas says. “I was getting older and trying to make this music from when I was younger, and it didn’t make sense. I stopped worrying about that.”

Something else that’s new is the band. Now a five-piece, Thomas says that “since the whole record felt like a new chapter to me, I wanted everything to feel that way. I love the two guys I used to play with, but it was time for something different. There’s a lot of good energy.”

Expect an energetic live show, as usual. “People might think that since there’s not as much loud distorted guitar sound, the show will be mellow, but it isn’t, by any means. I think it’s got more energy in a lot of ways.” Amy Young

click to enlarge Zach Rogue and Pat Spurgeon of Rogue Wave. - TERRI LOEWENTHAL
Zach Rogue and Pat Spurgeon of Rogue Wave.
Terri Loewenthal
Rogue Wave
Friday, May 4
Crescent Ballroom

California-based Rogue Wave seemed poised to strike it big in the early to mid-aughts. Alongside bands like The Shins, Fruit Bats, and Tapes n' Tapes, they made catchy, melodic indie rock that was infectious enough to fill midsize clubs and populate the soundtracks of iPod commercials and dramatic television shows such as The O.C. Alas, like many of the bands from that time, the group never reached the commercial heights of some of its contemporaries. However, despite label changes, personnel shuffles and serious health scares, the band has persevered.

With seven albums under the belt, Rogue Wave has never really stopped making music in the decade-plus since their heyday. This spring, they're touring behind the 10th anniversary of their most beloved album, Asleep At Heaven's Gate. On May at Crescent Ballroom, Rogue Wave will perform the album in its entirety and likely include other favorites from the past and present. Come for the nostalgia and catch up on what the band has been up to in the interim, as well. Jeff Strowe

click to enlarge Billie Joe Armstrong is bringing his latest side project to Valley Bar this month. - PUNXIE89/CC BY-SA 2.0/VIA FLICKR
Billie Joe Armstrong is bringing his latest side project to Valley Bar this month.
The Longshot
Saturday, May 5
Valley Bar

Billie Joe Armstrong knows how to put the blitzkrieg in “Blitzkrieg Bop.” The Green Day frontman and pop-punk icon debuted his new band, The Longshot, with a sudden burst of releases and a tour announcement.

After dropping a three-track EP last month, Armstrong and company released a surprise full-length record called Love is for Losers on April 20. That same day, the band announced a string of small-club tour dates, including a show at Valley Bar on Saturday, May 5.

Teaming up with guitarist Kevin Preston, drummer David S. Field, and Green Day touring guitarist Jeff Matika on bass, The Longshot is going on tour to promote the debut album. With 11 tracks clocking in at 32 minutes, it's jammed with radio-ready rock 'n' roll.

Sonically, it’s got more in common with the polished sounds Armstrong and his Green Day bandmates embraced on American Idiot than the group's scrappier early work. Ashley Naftule
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Ernest Barteldes
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule
Chris Parker
Contact: Chris Parker
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young