If you're into wild St. Patrick's Day parties featuring all green everything (including the beer), this weekend offers an overabundance of that sort of thing. It also promises plenty of memorable concerts, most of which will have nary a shamrock in sight.
Topping the list is Lorde's much-anticipated performance at Gila River Arena in Glendale on Friday night, her first gig in the Valley in almost four years. Another artist making a long-awaited return is influential pianist and composer Burt Bacharach, who's playing Wild Horse Pass in Chandler on Saturday.
Your other options for live music this weekend include celebrating the release of Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra's new album, being blasted with demonic rock by Watain, or catching all-female Led Zeppelin tribute Zepparella.
There's also the three-day Pot of Gold music festival at Rawhide Event Center in Chandler and its wide variety of artists and acts.
Details about each of these gigs can be found below in our rundown of the best concerts in the Valley this weekend. And for even more music happening around town, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
Between the Buried and Me
Friday, March 16
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
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Between the Buried and Me don’t know the meaning of the word “enough.” Each song crafted by the North Carolina five-piece rewrites the rules of progressive metal — which doesn’t have that many to begin with — by setting their formidable technical skills loose across a vast stretch of musical terrain roughly bordered by Queen, At the Drive-In, and Dream Theater.
Since their 2002 self-titled debut, each of BTBAM’s nine studio albums have registered a higher chart debut than its predecessor, through 2015’s Coma Ecliptic. Now the group might have outdone themselves with Automata, a two-part concept album that packs just as much hardcore sound and death growls as the rest of their discography. Chris Gray
Friday, March 16
Last Exit Live
If you've ever wondered what Led Zeppelin would sound like through the voices, riffs, and beats of four badass women, then you need to catch Zepparella live. And you can do so this weekend when they invade Last Exit Live on Friday night.
This Led Zeppelin tribute band is one of the best — and for good reason. Vocalist Noelle Doughty, guitarist Gretchen Menn, bassist Angeline Saris, and drummer Clementine bring the magic and intensity of the bluesy, psych rock band to life with unique skills and interpretations. The Sara Robinson Band will open the evening, which kicks off at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $17 on the day of the show. Diamond Victoria
Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra (Album Release Party)
Friday, March 16
The Van Buren
The joy of seeing Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra live cannot be overstated. At times, their shows border on spiritual experiences. With a lineup led by the mystical lead singer Camille Sledge, the band sports no fewer than a dozen members in its current incarnation and is pure magic onstage.
This weekend, PAO celebrates the release of their new album, Laugh to Keep From Crying, at The Van Buren. According to the band, it will be “a massive party that brings together the funkier parts of the PHX music community for a night of LOVE + DANCING + SOLIDARITY!!” And like PAO itself, it's likely to be a mix of emotion, energy, and activism. Prepare to have your mind blown.
Openers include The Stakes, Jerusafunk, Vox Urbana, Arouna Diarra, DJ Tony Culture, and Djentification. The party starts at 7 p.m. and admission is $10. Proceeds benefit local charity Save Our Schools Arizona. Mitchell Hillman
Friday, March 16
Gila River Arena in Glendale
Artists coming off highly successful debut albums often experience growing pains when it comes to follow-ups. Not Lorde. With Melodrama, Lorde took what made Pure Heroine great and elevated the writing, production, and style. With help from pop producer of the moment Jack Antonoff, she created a coming-of-age album that epitomizes modernity.
Lorde fights with the uncomfortable truths of adolescence and sings about ex-lovers, drinking, and drug use with the sincerity of a 20-something who’s been scorned by each.
Which is why Melodrama is an apt title. In “Homemade Dynamite,” she sings of a violent car accident that results in her hypothetical blood splattering on the concrete: “Might get your friend to drive, but he can hardly see / We’ll end up painted on the road / Red and chrome / All the broken glass sparkling.” These upsetting, self-destructive scenes are conveyed with a dance-y, sexy aura.
In 2013, Lorde’s Billboard-topping “Royals” was inescapable. After lying low, she returned with “Green Light,” the lead single from Melodrama. It didn’t repeat that same chart success. Maybe it’s the somewhat grating, complicated production. Or perhaps people have trouble confronting the often cringe-worthy truths of growing up. Either way, with Melodrama, Lorde dives in fearlessly. Tanner Stechnij
Pot of Gold Music Festival 2018
Friday, March 16, to Sunday, March 17
Rawhide Event Center in Chandler
What once was a one-day outdoor concert featuring Flogging Molly every St. Patrick’s Day has transformed into a massive three-day festival starring artists and bands from multiple genres. This year’s edition of Pot of Gold will span the entire weekend and feature a different lineup each day.
Friday will be all about hip-hop and rap, with artists like Russ, Dej Loaf, PNB Rock, They., Pouya, and Ski Mask the Slump God scheduled to perform. Saturday, however, will be a mix of jam acts (Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band, Midnight North), country (Cody Jinks), bluegrass (The Infamous Stringdusters), and soul (St. Paul and the Broken Bones).
Sunday wraps things up with a variety of rock, including the reggae-influenced sounds of Dirty Heads and Pepper, the bluesy stuff of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and the surf grooves of Donavon Frankenreiter. Superstar rapper O.T. Genasis will also perform.
Gates open at noon each day. General admission is $75 on either Friday or Sunday and $100 on Sunday. Multi-day packages are $135 to $220. VIP access is $230 to $545 per day or $699 for the whole weekend. For much more info about the festival, check out our extensive Pot of Gold guide. Benjamin Leatherman
Saturday, March 17
The Underground in Mesa
Rock music has lost much of its cultural relevance since the turn of the millennium, leaving behind politics and letting rap take over as the unofficial genre of protest music. Though Kendrick Lamar and Run the Jewels assail the powers-that-be (as they should), there are no Sex Pistols or Talking Heads.
Instead, we have Ought, a four-piece band with members from the United States and Australia, who met in Canada. Ought is quite possibly the last great political rock band, even if the members aren't overt about it.
Since the band burst onto the North American music scene in 2014, Ought has mainly described modernity and how it’s crushing all of our souls. The group's two albums and one EP express the hopeless optimism of millennials who are caught in the gears of a system they feel powerless to fix and obligated to fight. In a sense, the band was born in protest: It was formed at McGill University in Montreal shortly before the 2012 student protests against tuition hikes in Quebec known as the "Printemps Érable" ("Maple Spring," a French pun on "Arab Spring").
In the bandmates' subsequent work, they've been able to draw from both that political unrest and Montreal's robust rock legacy. On their records, one can hear influence from not only the post-punks of the late '70s and early '80s but also the desperate existentialism of Arcade Fire and the caustic, apocalyptic sound of Constellation Records label-mate Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Douglas Markowitz
TRL '90s House Party
Saturday, March 17
The Rebel Lounge
MTV’s Total Request Live embraced hip-hop, grunge, boy bands, and bubblegum pop. Rebel Lounge’s TRL ’90s House Party pays homage to the show with songs Carson Daly probably knows by heart.
On Saturday, March 17, A Claire Slattery will spin tunes by popular artists and bands like Nirvana, NSYNC, Mariah Carey, the Backstreet Boys, Coolio, and Destiny’s Child.
Attendees are encouraged to dress in their favorite ’90s attire (ahem, overalls and scrunchies) for the free, 21-and-over party at The Rebel Lounge. Doors open at 10 p.m., and the fun starts at 10:30. Party on, Garth. Laura Latzko
Saturday, March 17
Dr. AJ Chandler Park in Chandler
Alien Ant Farm found fame the old-fashioned way: It latched onto a novelty tune (specifically, a cover of Michael Jackson's “Smooth Criminal”) and rammed it into America's ears. But the SoCal band's follow-up single, "Movies," showed that it had a dribble of substance. AAF toured hard, gave 100 percent at shows, and tried not to take itself too seriously.
They're still touring to this day and will headline this year's ShamRockFest in Chandler on Saturday. Equal parts outdoor concert and St. Patrick's Day party, the event will also feature sets by such local bands as Wyves, Highest Conspiracy, Carvin Jones, August in Stereo, and Pride Through Strife will also perform. Gates open at 11 a.m. General admission is $10 to $13 and VIP tickets are $80. Geoff Harkness
Saturday, March 17
Wild Horse Pass & Casino in Chandler
Although his upbeat songs and brilliant music career seem the definition of the philosophy "do what you love and success will follow," Burt Bacharach says that, despite the success he's achieved through it, writing music is not always fun for him. "Music is what I do, but I am very hard on myself as a writer," Bacharach says. "So sometimes I can't say it's a lot of fun doing it."
We think he's just being humble. We would believe that statement coming from most people. But not from a man whose musical career spans six decades and includes a staggering number of chart-topping songs, numerous creative collaborations, and a surprise or two that shakes up his image every so often. From Burt Bacharach, we don't buy it for a minute.
It sounds like he's having fun to us. Creating the soundtrack to The Blob? Fun. Collaborating with musicians such as Elvis Costello, Ronald Isley, and Dr. Dre? Fun. Working with Marlene Dietrich and making cameos in all three Austin Powers movies, including on top of a bus, no less, in International Man of Mystery? More fun. And even though he's produced a large volume of songs over the years, he hasn't had a stinker yet. Stephanie Durham
Soundwave Pool Party feat. Timmy Trumpet
Sunday, March 18
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale
We had that unseasonable cold snap in recent weeks, but things are back to normal and plenty warm. In other words, it's the perfect sort of weather to hang out in or around the pool at Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale.
The spot’s annual Soundwave Pool Party series has returned for the season, and one takes place on Sunday, March 18. Headlining the affair will be Timmy Trumpet, the Australian-born electronic dance music DJ/producer who specializes in mixes of house, psytrance, and Melbourne bounce, many of which feature him playing his namesake instrument. He’ll do just that at Maya during the party, which starts at noon. Admission is $10. Benjamin Leatherman
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Sunday, March 18
Club Red in Mesa
"The gigs are the most righteous manifestations of the forces behind Watain, and we will always see them as a kind of ritual, where the inner spiritual darkness is channeled. Everyone who attends a Watain gig must expect nothing but blood, fire, and blackest death!" That's Watain frontman – principal flagellant and master of rituals is more accurate, really – Erik Danielsson speaking to the gravity with which the band members approach their shows/rituals.
Formed in the late 1990s in Uppsala, Sweden, Watain are one of the better examples of "true black metal": mercurially cultish, steadfastly incendiary, and sonically brutal. And it will undoubtedly be the most accurate expression of the genre you're likely to see anytime soon. Andrew Flanagan