The Butcher Babies are scheduled to perform on Friday, June 15, at Club Red in Mesa.
The Butcher Babies are scheduled to perform on Friday, June 15, at Club Red in Mesa.
Hristo Shindov

The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

No plans this weekend? No problem. There's plenty going on over the next 72 hours, including a multitude of must-see concerts and music events.

And there's something for a variety of tastes.

Heshers who are hoping to headbang can check out female-fronted acts The Butcher Babies at Club Red in Mesa, or all-girl tribute band The Iron Maidens at the Marquee in Tempe.

If you're more into soulful sounds, however, indie R&B singer-songwriter Bruno Major will be at Valley Bar, while renowned local ensemble Samuel L Cool J will reunite for one night only over at Crescent Ballroom.

There's also a Cure/Smiths dance party featuring Lol Tolhurst, a gig by rising hip-hop stars Sheck Wes and Valee, a vist by Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, and an outdoor rock fest with REO Speedwagon and Chicago.

Oh, and some DJs that may or may not be from Mars will invade Mill Avenue in Tempe. True story.

Details about each of these shows and events can be found below. And for even more live music happening around the Valley, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Frank Turner in concert in 2015.EXPAND
Frank Turner in concert in 2015.
Henry W. Laurisch/CC BY-SA 4.0/via Wikimedia Commons

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls
Friday, June 15
The Van Buren

Frank Turner has been known as a relentlessly positive and charmingly optimistic individual for most of his career, despite having taken a long and arduous road to musical acclaim. He achieved recognition as the singer of London-based hardcore band Million Dead before dismantling the group and going solo in 2005.

His first full-length, 2009’s Love Ire and Song, showcased the singer-songwriter as a cross between an English Bruce Springsteen and Billy Bragg. His lyrics were earnest and honest, taking in the absurdity of the world and spitting out truths like “Life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings.” Turner’s optimism waned on 2013’s Tape Deck Heart, where, for the first time, he seemed dejected and frustrated by a life on the road and failing personal relationships.

On his more recent albums, including 2015's Positive Songs for Negative People, he strikes a balance between addressing the trials of life, and singing loudly and defiantly as a way of coping with them. Andy Thomas

The Iron Maidens
Friday, June 15
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

All-female tribute bands are a dime a dozen these days, but the Iron Maidens have been the best at making a successful career out it. Like their male predecessors, the Maidens have toured the world and become a global phenomenon. Led by vocalist "Bruce Chickinson," this is the rare tribute act that is worth going out of your way to check out live, which you can do at the band's show at Marquee Theatre in Tempe on June 15. Jason Roche

The DJs From Mars will invade Mill Avenue this weekend.EXPAND
The DJs From Mars will invade Mill Avenue this weekend.
Courtesy of S.K.A.M. Artists

DJs From Mars
Friday, June 15
Aura Nightclub in Tempe

What is it with European DJ/producers and masks? Sure, it's sort of a rhetorical question but one that bears asking. Although the phenomenon of donning bizarre facial disguises while performing isn't securely limited to beat-jugglers from Europe (Deadmau5 being a prime exception), there's been an inordinate amount of masked mixmasters from said continent for more than a decade now. Like the helmet robots of Daft Punk, for instance, as well as Italian twosome Bloody Beetroots, Belgium's Dr. Lectroluv, and U.K.-based EDM artist SBTRKT.

Then there are the DJs From Mars, who don't hail from the red planet (as their moniker suggests), but rather from Turin, Italy. Whenever the duo of Max Aqualuce and Luca Ventafunk play out, they typically wear box-like headgear resembling emoji. While such adornments might seem strange in everyday life, both the DJs From Mars and their masks will help add to the colorful nightlife fun on tap at Aura Nightclub in Tempe this weekend.

The pair are scheduled to perform at the Mill Avenue nightspot on Friday, June 15. Doors open at 9 p.m. and its strictly a 21-and-over affair. Admission is $5 to $10 in advance. Benjamin Leatherman

The Butcher Babies mean business.
The Butcher Babies mean business.
Dean Karr

Butcher Babies
Friday, June 15
Club Red in Mesa

It's been 10 years since Butcher Babies first burst into the metal world. And the female-fronted metal act has changed a bit in that time.

Frontwomen Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd first gained notice on YouTube in 2009 performing Pantera's "Fucking Hostile” while wearing leather pants and electrical tape over their nipples as an ode to Plasmatics singer Wendy O. Williams, whose band, the Plasmatics, had a song called "Butcher Baby." While it was the Butcher Babies’ most infamous aspect, it's something they ultimately ditched a few years back while revamping their stage personas beyond gimmicks and titillation.

Butcher Babies’ sound has evolved as well, becoming deeper and more profound, as exemplified by their most recent record, 2017’s Lilith. Their metal-fu is still strong, however, as the act channels the spirit of Alice Cooper and other metal icons, offering an awesome display of brutal power and a compelling blend of thrash, and punk while Harvey and Shepherd exude a confident aura that is at once mesmerizing, penetrating and alluring. Lauren Wise

Bruno Major brings his pop-infused R&B to Valley Bar on Friday.EXPAND
Bruno Major brings his pop-infused R&B to Valley Bar on Friday.
Katie Silvester

Bruno Major
Friday, June 15
Valley Bar

Indie R&B singer-songwriter Bruno Major is on a headlining tour this summer just a couple of months after wrapping up his opening spot with English pop star Sam Smith's UK tour. The London-bred musician's debut album, A Song for Every Moon, has been described as a pop-infused R&B collection of highly emotionally charged tracks.

The tour will visit Valley Bar this weekend for a solo show on Friday, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 online, $15 at the door. Diamond Victoria

CO-OP's got a new album out and are ready to celebrate.
CO-OP's got a new album out and are ready to celebrate.
Courtesy of EMP Label Group

CO-OP (Album Release Show)
Saturday, June 16
Club Red in Mesa

"Desert rock" couldn’t describe CO-OP better. The band's influences range from Corrosion of Conformity to Soundgarden, but there’s no bigger impact that comes to mind than Alice Cooper. And that's no coincidence, as CO-OP frontman Dash Cooper is the shock rocker’s son.

Dash's vocals blend whiskey-drenched outlaw, ’90s grunge, and modern-day soaring hard rock (gotta love that Cooper family howl). All that works well with the band's hooky, melodic measures and hard-hitting, shreddy breakdowns. CO-OP have been gaining ground, opening for national acts like One-Eyed Doll, hosting Alice Cooper cameos, and signing with Dave Ellefson's EMP Label Group in 2016.

The company recently released the band’s new self-titled album, which features vocals from Alice and guitar work by Joe Perry of Aerosmith. CO-OP will celebrate its release on Saturday at Club Red in Mesa. Sinshrfit, Paranova, Riot/Gear, and Underwater Time Machine will open. And don’t be surprised if Alice also shows up, as he’s known to both appear and perform at CO-OP’s shows. Lauren Wise

The Cure vs. The Smiths Dance Party
Saturday, June 16
The Van Buren

Goth-pop institution The Cure has been The Robert Smith Show for most of its existence. With his red lips, chalk-white skin, and finger-in-the-electric-socket hair, Smith is an iconic presence and supremely gifted songwriter. Aside from The Smiths, it’s hard to think of any UK band from that era who could be relied on to deliver one beguiling hit after another. But while he’s always been the captain of The Good Ship Cure, he used to have a steady first mate in Lol Tolhurst.

Co-founding The Cure with Smith in 1976, Tolhurst acted as the band’s drummer from Three Imaginary Boys through Pornography (a run of stone-cold post-punk classic LPs). Transitioning from skins to keys, he became the band’s keyboardist until he was dismissed from The Cure during the recording sessions for Disintegration.

Considering his long tenure in the band during one of their most fertile creative periods, who better than Tolhurst to act as a selector at a Cure dance party? The Cure vet will be doing a guest DJ set at Hang The DJ’s The Cure vs. The Smiths Dance Party, joining DJS Borisimo and Xan Renn to spin New Wave jams all night long. Ashley Naftule

Chemicals of Democracy will perform at this year's Annefest on Saturday.
Chemicals of Democracy will perform at this year's Annefest on Saturday.
Courtesy of Chemicals of Democracy

Annefest 2018
Saturday, June 16
Joe's Grotto

North Phoenix rock bar Joe’s Grotto has always been a major haven for heshers. For proof of said statement, look no further than the staging of the annual AnneFest this weekend at the venue. Kicking off at noon on Saturday, this all-day event will rock the Grotto’s black-painted walls with 13 hours of nonstop thunderous sounds from upwards of 20 different bands and solo musicians performing on two different stages.

The lineup includes such metal, hard rock, and tribute acts as Lovedrive, Throw the Switch, DemiAura, Benedictum, Empire of Dezire, Hollywood Punks, Chemicals of Democracy, Hermanos Cabrones, Latency, Images of Eden, Sectas, Fatal Malady, Braced4Impact, and others. Oh, and by the way, the festival is free to attend. Rock on. Benjamin Leatherman

Sheck Wes & Valee
Saturday, June 16
Club Red in Mesa

Watching Sheck Wes’ videos, you get the impression he doesn’t really take the rap game seriously. “Mo Bamba” sees him riding around on a Rascal while sporting a broken leg. “Live SheckWes Die SheckWes” features a snowball fight, and a foreboding intro read by a British narrator about how Sheck Wes is the future of music in a dystopian society. It’s hard to tell if he’s joking sometimes. But even so, the talent and ability of the Harlem rapper and occasional model — he walked in Yeezy Season 3 — shine through. Is Sheck Wes the future? We can only hope. He'll be at Club Red this weekend along with Chicago-born rapper Valee, who was recently signed to Kanye West's label GOOD Music. Douglas Markowitz

Summer Soul Spectacular feat. Samuel L Cool J
Saturday, June 16
Crescent Ballroom

A throwback to Motown and vintage R&B with a dash of soul and gospel for flavor, Samuel L Cool J certainly has the power to getcha groovin'. Featuring a whopping multitude of musicians from all corners of the Valley and boasting a high-energy horn section and retinue of female backup singers, the act is definitely worth checking out this on Saturday night during the Summer Soul Spectacular at the Crescent.

That’s because it might be your last to see them in concert, at least for awhile. Maybe forever.

Samuel L Cool J was founded back in 2014 by rhythm guitarist Joel Marquard (of the Gospel Claws and the Through & Through Gospel Review, and lead vocalist Haendel Balzora. The R&B/soul revue were a favorite of the local scene for years, played out regularly, and released their tunes on cassette (a tape called Vol. 1) and vinyl (a split 45 featuring the bluesy ditty “Slip and Slide”).

Despite their success, Samuel L Cool J went on hiatus after Marquard moved to Idaho and Balzora headed to Brooklyn. This weekend, both musicians will be back in the Valley to bring Samuel L Cool J back to life for one night only. And according to the Facebook page for the event, they’ll be doing it to “save your SOUL!!”

The salvation begins at 9 p.m. Openers include Emby Alexander and Marquad’s latest band Spiritual Warfare and the Greasy Shadows. Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the door. Troy Farah

REO Speedwagon in concert in 2015.
REO Speedwagon in concert in 2015.
Jim Louvau

REO Speedwagon & Chicago
Sunday, June 17
Ak-Chin Pavilion

What's crazy about REO Speedwagon's 1980 hit machine/Trans-Am heavy-petting mood-setter High Infidelity, is that the band was nine albums and 13 years into its career when it scored this millions-selling monster.

The Beatles may have made more records in a shorter period of time, but what would you rather hear in a roller rink arcade while pining away for some older girl as your pitifully small Icee leaks syrup onto the buttons of a Space Invaders? "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" or "Keep On Loving You?" I guess it matters most where your nostalgia comes from, but either way, nostalgia will be the driving force behind one's decision to see the band. Speaking of which, yes, Kevin Cronin is still singing, but no, he doesn't still have that perm.

This summer, REO Speedwagon is touring the US of A with fellow classic rock kings Chicago. They’ll visit the Valley in mid-June for a show at Ak-Chin Pavilion. Tickets start at $19 and include all the nostalgia you can handle. Steve Steward

Nora en Pure will perform poolside at Maya Day & Nightclub this weekend.EXPAND
Nora en Pure will perform poolside at Maya Day & Nightclub this weekend.
Courtesy of MFM Booking

Nora En Pure
Sunday, June 17
Maya Day & Nightclub

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 (better known as indie dance producer Nora En Pure) 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 later this year to club gigs around the world.

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.

On Sunday afternoon, she'll be taking over the decks at Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale during the weekly Soundwave Pool Party. Gates open at noon and admission is $10. Falyn Freyman

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