Of Montreal is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 6, at Crescent Ballroom.EXPAND
Of Montreal is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 6, at Crescent Ballroom.
Ebru Yildiz

The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

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.

Of Montreal is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 6, at Crescent Ballroom.EXPAND
Of Montreal is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 6, at Crescent Ballroom.
Ebru Yildiz

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

A scene from the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular.EXPAND
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

King Tuff's Kyle Thomas on growing up and letting his music follow.
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

Zach Rogue and Pat Spurgeon of Rogue Wave.EXPAND
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

Billie Joe Armstrong is bringing his latest side project to Valley Bar this month.
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

Deorro eschewed dreams of becoming a trauma surgeon for EDM.
Deorro eschewed dreams of becoming a trauma surgeon for EDM.
Rephlektor

Release Pool Party feat. Deorro
Saturday, May 5
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Learning music production and DJing was an obsession for Erick Orrosquieta, better known as Deorro. As a teenager growing up in Southern California, Deorro took the bus four days a week down to Guitar Center, where the employees let him experiment with a display DJ mixer. He was still crossfading from one track to the next until a stranger showed him how to mix tracks and beat-match.

Parties led to club nights, and Deorro cultivated a following among house-music enthusiasts. He worked for promoters handing out flyers, and worked his connections until he was booked to play various high-profile gigs. As he carefully built a team around him, it became apparent that the prudent choice would be to give up his onetime dreams of being a trauma surgeon and go with plan B: making music.

Seven years later, Deorro is an international success story. He’s a regular at EDM’s biggest festivals, and his original productions — many released through his own label, Panda Funk — are staples in his peers' set lists. He may not be saving lives in a hospital, but he’s still safeguarding people in his role as a mentor to the DJ community. Patrick Shannon

Deorro eschewed dreams of becoming a trauma surgeon for EDM.
Deorro eschewed dreams of becoming a trauma surgeon for EDM.
Rephlektor

Desert Daze Caravan II
Saturday, May 5
The Van Buren

Shimmery psych-pop singer-songwriter Ariel Pink delivered his 12th album last year, named after and dedicated to Bobby Jameson — an L.A. musician thought dead for 35 years until 2007, when he resurfaced to pen an autobiography. Pink is always thinking outside of the box, and his live shows are a must-see.

That includes his upcoming gig headlining Desert Daze Caravan II at The Van Buren on May 5. He won’t be the only must-see act on the lineup, however, as DIIV, Nanami Ozone, Acid Mothers Temple, and Yoo Doo Right are also scheduled to perform. Diamond Victoria

The late Brad Singer (center) with his children Bryan (upper left), Caitlin (lower left), and Zachary (right).EXPAND
The late Brad Singer (center) with his children Bryan (upper left), Caitlin (lower left), and Zachary (right).
New Times archives

Tribute to Brad Singer
Sunday, May 6
Rhythm Room

The late Brad Singer is a legendary figure in the Valley’s music scene whose claims to fame are numerous. Before his untimely passing in May 1998, the local entrepreneur was involved with numerous projects that reflected his lifelong love of music. Besides starting Zia Record Exchange in 1980, Singer founded a distribution company (Impact Music), a local label (Epiphany Records), and pop culture publication (The Planet).

He also was one helluva nice guy who profoundly impacted numerous lives. Or as former Phoenix New Times scribe Gilbert Garcia wrote in 1998, “Singer was a point of intersection for an entire music community.”

“It was hard to think of any key Arizona music figures who had not crossed paths with Singer — either by working at one of the eight Zia locations in the state, or by recording for his beloved label, or by borrowing money from Singer for a recording project, or accepting funds from him to keep a radio show on the air, or possibly just by engaging him in a musical debate at [defunct Tempe bar] Long Wong's,” Garcia wrote. “His death … left a palpable void in the community.”

This weekend, members of Singer’s family (including his kids Bryan, Caitlin, and Zachary) will put on a memorial concert at the Rhythm Room celebrating his life and legacy. Many friends and associates of Singer’s will perform, including Hans Olson, Brian Smith, Kevin Daly, Bob Corritore, Lawrence Zubia, and Dead Hot Workshop. The music starts at noon and admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes.EXPAND
Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes.
Ebru Yildiz

Of Montreal
Sunday, May 6
Crescent Ballroom

Out of all the Elephant 6 bands, who would have thought that Of Montreal would have been the one group to go the distance? Emerging from the same Athens, Georgia, scene that spawned Neutral Milk Hotel, Kevin Barnes’ band shared the Elephant 6’s love for ’60s pop and psychedelia. But they quickly outgrew their Sgt. Pepper fetish and evolved into one of indie rock’s most adventurous groups.

Since the breakthrough of 2007’s Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, where Barnes fully embraced his inner Bowie and turned into a compelling theatrical performer, the group have become a dynamite live act. From confetti cannons to backup dancers in sumo wrestler suits, Of Montreal shows feel like watching a kids’ show on bad acid. It’s a perfect visual complement to the music, which melds psychedelia with New Wave, glam, and dance music.

For the group’s 15th album, 2018’s White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood, dance music is Barnes’ muse and the engine that powers its six songs. Taking inspiration from the extended dance mixes pop stars dropped in the ’80s, Barnes shows off the out-of-left field songwriting chops that made him a go-to producer for modern pop stars like Solange and Janelle Monàe. Ashley Naftule

Ozomatli is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 6, at the Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival in downtown Phoenix.EXPAND
Ozomatli is scheduled to perform on Sunday, May 6, at the Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival in downtown Phoenix.
Courtesy of Paradigm Talent Agency

Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival
Sunday, May 6
Downtown Phoenix

Reflecting the urban polyglot of its Los Angeles home, Ozomatli purveys a Latin dance party fueled by horns and covering a seamless expanse of hip-hop, jazz, rock, funk, and salsa. The vibrant sound is impressive live, and the band won a Grammy for their third album, 2004's Street Signs.

Like the Mothership if it had landed South of the border, Ozomatli's shows are ablaze with booty-motivating bounce, light-hearted attitude and effortless groove. Conga lines form spontaneously in the audience and the infectious energy is attractive enough to even draw back-row Bobs and Bettys into the action.

You might just see such a scene unfold this weekend when Ozomatli performs at the Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival on Sunday, May 6. The annual event, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, will offer a variety of entertainment and activities, including sets by El Chicano, Tierra, and Latin Breed. Hours are from noon to 10 p.m. General admission is $10 and VIP tickets (which includes closer seating for performances and other perks) are $40 to $60. Chris Parker

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