The 13 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Against Me! is scheduled to perform on Sunday, September 17, at The Van Buren.
Against Me! is scheduled to perform on Sunday, September 17, at The Van Buren. Casey Curry
It’s going to be a busy weekend in Phoenix when it comes to concerts. And by that we mean even busier than normal.

Big-name acts like Against Me!, The Stone Foxes, and Future Islands all have gigs taking place during the next few nights at local music venues .

Meanwhile, SunSquabi will be at Shady Park in Tempe on Friday, electronic/noise artist Perturbator is headed for Club Red in Mesa on Saturday, and experimental act GoGo Penguin will be at the MIM on Sunday. Add in an Alice in Wonderland-themed rave, visits from rapper Bishop Lamont and alt-rockers Toad the Wet Sprocket, and you’ve got yourself a packed weekend full of shows.

Read on for more details or hit up our online concert calendar for even more music events this weekend.

click to enlarge Josh Fairman (left), Kevin Donohue (center), and Chris Anderson of SunSquabi - AMANDA PIELA
Josh Fairman (left), Kevin Donohue (center), and Chris Anderson of SunSquabi
Amanda Piela
Friday, September 15
Shady Park in Tempe

It shouldn’t seem surprising a band with SunSquabi’s pedigree would come from Boulder, Colorado. Even the band’s name has a kind of stoner mountain vibe to it. Yet, SunSquabi is not exactly stoner rock, at least not in the sense of bands (Fu Manchu, Kyuss, Eagles of Death Metal, etc.) typically labeled with that moniker. Why? Because the music is a trippy blend of jazz, funk, cosmic disco, classic rock, and hip-hop fused together with looping technology, live improvisation, and a willingness to take chances.

Boulder has long been a hotbed for musical improvisation, a place where String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, and Big Head Todd and the Monsters all rose to national prominence. Like those bands, SunSquabi harnesses an improvisational/jamming approach that allows the band to follow any whim or sudden directional shift within set song structures. What sets SunSquabi apart is working off a live looping platform that offers bassist/synth player Josh Fairman and guitarist/keyboard player Kevin Donohue the ability to switch instruments midstream, adding musical layers on the fly. Glenn BurnSilver

click to enlarge Toad the Wet Sprocket is back. - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
Toad the Wet Sprocket is back.
Courtesy of the artist
Toad the Wet Sprocket
Friday, September 15
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Formed in 1986 by high school chums Glenn Phillips – the group's designated singer, songwriter, and guitarist – drummer Randy Guss, guitarist Glen Todd Nichols, and bassist Dean Dinning, Toad the Wet Sprocket borrowed their unusual name from a fictional band profiled in a Monty Python comedy sketch. It was clear from the start, however, that they took their music seriously, and with their third album Fear, they scored a pair of certifiable hits "All I Want" and "Walk on the Ocean," kicking off a chart trajectory.

Soundtrack appearances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and So I Married an Axe Murderer raised their profile, culminating in their fourth album, Dulcinea, which included another series of successful songs — "Fall Down" and "Something's Always Wrong" chief among them. In Light Syrup, a collection of B sides and rarities, and their initial swan song, 1997's Coil, followed, but a year later the band opted to call it a day. Sporadic one-off reunions took place in the first decade of the new millennium, eventually creating the momentum for an official full-scale regrouping in 2009. Lee Zimmerman

click to enlarge Maurizio Colella, better known as EDX. - COURTESY OF SIRUP ARTIST AGENCY
Maurizio Colella, better known as EDX.
Courtesy of Sirup Artist Agency

Friday, September 15
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

There are many ways for dance-music artists to make a name for themselves, such as blowing up dance floors as a globe-trotting DJ, crafting original tracks as a production wizard or fixing and remixing others' material into new forms. Italian-born EDX carved out his niche with that last option. He's built a reputation as a "genius" (according to Mixmag) by taking good tracks and remixing them into greatness. His style is a high-gloss, club-smashing take on progressive house that incorporates the best elements of trance without undue indulgence in its excesses. You've heard his stamp on work by a diverse range or artists including Dubfire, Deadmau5, Mary J. Blige, Armand van Helden, Steve Angello, Roger Sanchez, Laidback Luke, Armin van Buuren, Kool & the Gang, Kaskade and Lauryn Hill. He's not just a whiz at remixing; he can also work a crowd pretty well live in a club. Hear for yourself when he plays Maya in Scottsdale on Friday. Cory Casciato

click to enlarge The members of Future Islands. - TOM HINES/BILLIONS
The members of Future Islands.
Tom Hines/Billions
Future Islands
Saturday, September 16
The Van Buren

The music of Baltimore-based synthpop trio Future Islands is meant to be experienced live. The group’s interactive shows are bursting with energy, as frontman Sam Herring has a background in performance art and draws inspiration from the likes of Elvis Presley, Ian Curtis, and James Brown. Herring’s improvisational style — ranging from almost uncomfortable eye contact with audience members to weird interpretive dancing and growling — has gone viral and even landed him in the hospital a few times.

Future Islands’ songs pair heartbreaking, earnest lyrics with bouncy beats, so be prepared to move and be moved. Their fifth and most recent album, The Far Field, is propelled by dynamic bass lines, sparkling synths, and pure emotion. The upbeat tracks ease listeners into somber stories of lonely mountain drives, breakups, and unshakeable anxieties. Meagan Mastriani

click to enlarge James Kent of Perturbator. - DAVID FITT
James Kent of Perturbator.
David Fitt
Saturday, September 16
Club Red in Mesa

Paris musician James Kent is at the forefront of a recent movement of electronic music artists that have developed followings among heavy metal fans. Performing under the name Perturbator, Kent puts together aggressive synth-wave compositions that aesthetically evoke a world where the characters of Blade Runner down a bunch of energy drinks and hold an Ultimate Fighting tournament.

Initially self-releasing his music through Bandcamp and SoundCloud, Kent’s haunting songcraft positions him as a next-generation cyberpunk Giorgio Moroder, but the layout and buildup of his best tracks also match the power and atmosphere of contemporary heavy metal. Kent genre-hops even more than that on his latest effort, as he seamlessly puts together instrumental odes inspired by ’70s disco, ’80s film scores and ’90s industrial. Jason Roche

click to enlarge Cigarettes After Sex want to know if it was good for you. - EBRU YILDIZ
Cigarettes After Sex want to know if it was good for you.
Ebru Yildiz
Cigarettes After Sex
Saturday, September 16,
Crescent Ballroom

Not many band names are self-explanatory. You might dig Modest Mouse, The Smashing Pumpkins, and The Arctic Monkeys, but their monikers don’t exactly capture what those bands are about. It’s different for Cigarettes After Sex. The El Paso band’s ambient pop sound is as cool and relaxing as a post-coital smoke.

Front man and songwriter Greg Gonzalez’s dreamy vocals pair off with a simple lineup of delayed lead guitar, ambient reverb, and barely-there bass lines. Although the majority of the songs are about love, they aren’t always rosy. “We had made love earlier that day with no strings attached / But I could tell that something had changed how you looked at me then,” Gonzalez sings on one track. “Well I know full well that you are the patron saint of sucking cock,” he intones on another.

The band has mastered a balance of sweet romance reminiscent of old-school love songs offset with the inescapable realities of modern-day dating, like nude iPhone videos, casual hookups that become something more, and black lipstick. Lindsay Roberts

click to enlarge Emo/post-hardcore act Touché Amoré. - COURTESY OF EPITAPH RECORDS
Emo/post-hardcore act Touché Amoré.
Courtesy of Epitaph Records
Touché Amoré
Saturday, September 16
The Underground in Mesa

Touché Amoré has been one of the shining stars of the emo/post-hardcore scene over the last few years. Their style sits comfortably alongside the genre's mainstream forerunners from the past decade like Thursday, but just as easily places them among heavier, more aggressive counterparts like Converge. Sitting on that middle ground has led the the L.A. band to underground acclaim as well as crossover success.

Their 2013 record, Is Survived By, hit No. 85 on the Billboard 200, which is a pretty damn impressive showing for a band that credits little-known screamo acts like Ampere as inspirations. "It's all kind of overwhelming," says front man Jeremy Bolm. "When the band started, I never thought it would be anything outside of playing house shows ... it's pretty crazy." That is where Touché Amoré started, but the band has quickly evolved into something much bigger. They've upgraded from house shows to playing mid-level venues. Perhaps some of their success can be attributed to their lyrics, which Bolm writes with a stunning emotional honesty that truly resonates with fans. Corey Deiterman

Read on for even more great concerts this weekend, including Against Me!, Bishop Lamont, and The Stone Foxes.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Phoenix New Times