The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Lorde is scheduled to perform on Friday, March 16, at Gila River Arena.
Lorde is scheduled to perform on Friday, March 16, at Gila River Arena. Andrew Whitton
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.

click to enlarge The members of Between the Buried and Me. - COURTESY OF VICTORY RECORDS
The members of Between the Buried and Me.
Courtesy of Victory Records
Between the Buried and Me
Friday, March 16
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

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

click to enlarge Noelle Doughty (left) and guitarist Gretchen Menn of Zepparella. - COURTESY OF ZEPPARELLA
Noelle Doughty (left) and guitarist Gretchen Menn of Zepparella.
Courtesy of Zepparella
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

click to enlarge Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra will stage a big celebration at The Van Buren this weekend. - KELSEE BECKER
Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra will stage a big celebration at The Van Buren this weekend.
Kelsee Becker
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

click to enlarge Oh, Lorde. - COURTESY OF CHUFFMEDIA
Oh, Lorde.
Courtesy of Chuffmedia
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

click to enlarge Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band headline day two of this year's Pot of Gold. - NEAL CASAL
Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band headline day two of this year's Pot of Gold.
Neal Casal
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

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Laura Latzko
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.