The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

It's the weekend and you've got roughly 72 hours of free time at your disposal. So watchu going to do with it?

If you'd like to go to a concert, we've got a few suggestions – 10 of 'em in fact.

You can mosey on over to Chase Field to get rowdy with Kenny Chesney, feel the grooves with the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, dance the night away with Peking Duk, or soak up some culture during the latest Downtown Chamber Series performances.

The choice is up to you.

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

Kenny Chesney tends to attract a crowd everywhere he performs.EXPAND
Kenny Chesney tends to attract a crowd everywhere he performs.
Allister Ann

Trixie Mattel
Friday, June 22
The Van Buren

The most recent inductee into RuPaul's Drag Race Hall of Fame is coming to downtown Phoenix, and she won't be lip-syncing for her life. Instead, the co-star of Vice's The Trixie & Katya Show, Trixie Mattel will be performing her original country music.

She's scheduled to perform at The Van Buren on Friday, June 22. The stop is one of 39 shows that make up Mattel's Now With Moving Parts North American tour that is in support of her second studio album, One Stone. Mattel self-released the album in March and it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers charts.

Mattel has been lauded as a versatile performer and has one of the best careers post-Drag Race. From March 2016 to November 2017, she starred in a YouTube talk show called UnHhhhh with fellow Drag Race contestant Katya. The show was picked up by Viceland and re-branded for their cable program The Trixie & Katya Show. Tanner Stechnij

RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars winner Trixie Mattel is coming to Phoenix to perform a set of her original country music.
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars winner Trixie Mattel is coming to Phoenix to perform a set of her original country music.
Courtesy of Trixie Mattel

Emerald Knights 2 Tour featuring Mega Ran & Bag of Tricks Cat
Friday, June 22
Monarch Theatre

Sequel albums in hip-hop can be a tricky thing. For every successful continuation, like Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 2 or Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter II, there’s crap like Onyx’s Bacdafucup Part II that never should have seen the light of day.

Local hip-hop artists Mega Ran and Bag of Tricks Cat hope their newest collaboration, the recently released Emerald Knights 2, falls into the first category. And they’ve got every reason to believe so, considering the critical and commercial success of the album’s predecessor, 2015’s Emerald Knights.

Decide for yourself when Ran and Cat perform tracks off the album at the Monarch Theatre, 122 East Washington Street, on Friday, June 22. Doors open at 8 p.m. The Grind, Yosh, Justus and Roqy TyRaiD will open. Tickets are $10. Benjamin Leatherman

Legend City Studios in downtown Phoenix.EXPAND
Legend City Studios in downtown Phoenix.
Lynn Trimble

Gillian Welch
Friday, June 22
Orpheum Theatre

Like Uncle Tupelo, Gillian Welch sings imagined first-person accounts of some of America's least wanted. The first song on her first album is called "Orphan Girl." Pretty much every song sounds like a John Steinbeck novel put to music and features sparse accompaniment. Welch's music is rewarding and powerful, but not the kind of thing to listen to on a first date. Time: The Revelator is the best of her albums; Soul Journey is the only one that rocks a little. Mark Sanders

Jazz artist Danny Kusz.EXPAND
Jazz artist Danny Kusz.
Courtesy of Tempe Center for the Arts

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra
Friday, June 22
Last Exit Live

You know when you hear a song and you can't help but react? The bass syncs up with your hips, and the drums seem to tell your feet exactly when to move. Pretty much every single one of the songs by Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra (charmingly known as PAO by fans) holds this power to make you move. And we mean move. We dare you to sit still while this 15-piece orchestra does its jazzy thing, and singer Camille Sledge demonstrates the actual definition of funk. Sledge's energy alone is contagious enough to get your out of your chair and onto the dance floor. Just give in, and let PAO's rhythm move you. Phoenix New Times

Mega Ran (left) and Bag of Tricks Cat (right).
Mega Ran (left) and Bag of Tricks Cat (right).
Luis Perez

Downtown Chamber Series
Friday, June 22, to Sunday 24
Legend City Studios

Think the summertime is a dead period for classical music? Try telling that to the musicians of the Downtown Chamber Series. While it’s certainly true that most local orchestras and chamber ensembles generally take a hiatus from performing during the hottest months of the year, the folks who perform with the DCS, which is made up of a rotating lineup of local musicians, stage concerts even when it’s boiling outside.

Such shows typically take place inside urban galleries and art spaces around downtown Phoenix. This weekend's concerts will happen inside Legend City Studios and include performances of all 10 of Beethoven's glorious sonatas over three nights. Pianist Paula Fan and Phoenix Symphony concertmaster Steven Moeckel will be the featured guest performers. Each concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $10. Check out the DCS website for more info. Benjamin Leatherman

EDM godfather Tiësto.EXPAND
EDM godfather Tiësto.
Jordan Loyd

Peking Duk
Saturday, June 23
Valley Bar

Australian house music duo Peking Duk gave a giant nod to the ’80s in their video for “Wasted,” a single released earlier this year. Choreographed dance moves are just one part of the equation. Fashion wise, it is total Miami Vice, complete with white cotton suits worn over shirts unbuttoned to the waist — not a chest hair left unseen.

It’s not just the clothes that honor that decade. Musically, the poppy electro-ditty is reminiscent of the latter half of the 1980s, when radio rock bands like Journey and Starship cranked up the synth factor to mirror the popular new wave, dance-inspiring bands of the time. Yep, the title doesn’t lie, the song’s about being drunk — not just on booze, but on love, too. “I keep dreaming / I wanna get naked with you / I keep drinking / But I wanna get wasted on you.” It’s not a total heart-cruncher, but it does make its point.

Together, Adam Hyde and Reuben Styles are team Duk. DJs and electronic music producers, the two came together in 2010 to launch this project, and since have released a number of extended plays, remixes, and singles. Of the latter, a few have charted high on the Australian lists. Amy Young

EDM godfather Tiësto.EXPAND
EDM godfather Tiësto.
Jordan Loyd

Kenny Chesney
Saturday, June 23
Chase Field

Since his debut in the early '90s, country superstar Kenny Chesney has put out 20 albums, over half of which have been certified gold records, and he continues to tour and churn out music of the brash but catchy variety. As one of the most recognized of the genre in recent memory, Chesney's legacy only grows stronger as the years go by.

His legacy also includes performing for throngs of fans at stadium shows across the country, including gigs on his current tour. Chesney will visit Chase Field in downtown Phoenix, Saturday, June 23, for what's certain to be a packed house. Fellow country stars Thomas Rhett, Old Dominion, and Brandon Lay will open. Pablo Arauz

New Zealand-born roots reggae band Katchafire.EXPAND
New Zealand-born roots reggae band Katchafire.
Courtesy of Katchafire

Tiësto
Saturday, June 23
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

For more than 25 years now, Dutch-born DJ/producer Tiësto has been at the forefront of progressive house and trance music, constantly coming up with new, eclectic grooves and re-interpreting pop hits. In recent years, for instance, he’s worked with the likes of John Legend and Miley Cyrus.

The 49-year-old artist couldn’t be any more accomplished, considering he’s won Grammys, topped charts, headlined festivals, and moved millions of units and bodies with his high-energy dance jams. Needless to say, he’s certainly at the top of the DJ hierarchy, but is also a philanthropist, stadium headliner and brand developer.

Tiësto has also crisscrossed the globe dozens of times during his lengthy career, including gigging in Scottsdale on numerous occasions. His latest visit takes place on Saturday, June 23, when he headlines this weekend’s Release pool party at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Jeff Strowe

Singer-songwriter Gillian Welch.EXPAND
Singer-songwriter Gillian Welch.
Paxton X

Katchafire
Saturday, June 23
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Without Katchafire’s authentic island rhythms, stellar harmonies, and stoned guitar strumming, some would never get to witness New Zealand’s shiny contribution to the world of reggae. Though they started out as a Bob Marley tribute band (their name references Marley’s 1973 album Catch a Fire with the Wailers), this rastafied, Hamilton-based seven-piece matured into a respected, globe-trotting act with hit original material.

Though it’s been several years since their last release, a 2010 compilation titled Best So Far (and even longer since their last full-length album), Katchafire’s rumbling and soulful stage show proves that when it comes to reggae, the groove never fails to speak for itself. Their latest Valley show happens this weekend at the Marquee in Tempe. E.N. Young and Imperial Sound, EarthKry, Chad Rubin, Clint Stevens, Torn at the Seam, and Good Rust will open. Nate Jackson

Singer-songwriter Gillian Welch.EXPAND
Singer-songwriter Gillian Welch.
Paxton X

Phoenix Amplified Jazz Experience
Saturday, June 23
Tempe Center for the Arts

His name was Prince, and like his own song said, he was funky. Though the Minneapolis sensation has passed away, his style and spirit are alive and ever-inspiring other musicians. Danny Kusz is one of ’em. The saxophonist’s jazz blend incorporates Prince’s funk grooves and other sounds from that region to create sharp and velvety jazz tunes.

Neo-soul vocalist Tracy Cruz is also on the roster of the Phoenix Amplified Jazz Experience double bill, using her powerful voice to show why she took home the award for “Best Neo Soul Female” at last year’s Bay Area Black Music Awards. The soulful sounds abound, starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, at Tempe Center for the Arts. Tickets are $35. Amy Young

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