The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

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
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.

click to enlarge Frank Turner in concert in 2015. - HENRY W. LAURISCH/CC BY-SA 4.0/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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

click to enlarge The DJs From Mars will invade Mill Avenue this weekend. - COURTESY OF S.K.A.M. ARTISTS
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. - DEAN KARR
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

click to enlarge Bruno Major brings his pop-infused R&B to Valley Bar on Friday. - KATIE SILVESTER
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
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Troy Farah is an independent journalist and documentary field producer. He has worked with VICE, Fusion, LA Weekly, Golf Digest, BNN, Tucson Weekly, and Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Troy Farah
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule
Diamond Victoria
Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise
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