The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

MisterWives is scheduled to perform on Friday, September 29, at The Van Buren.
MisterWives is scheduled to perform on Friday, September 29, at The Van Buren. Courtesy of Photo Finish Records

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The members of Reel Big Fish. - JONATHAN THORPE
The members of Reel Big Fish.
Jonathan Thorpe
SanTan Brewing's Oktoberfest
Saturday, September 30
Dr. AJ Chandler Park in Chandler

With the coming of October inevitably comes the onslaught of Oktoberfest events and parties across the Valley. This particular celebration, which is being put on by the local beer barons at SanTan Brewing, has the honor of being the first one. It also boasts an impressive lineup of live music acts, which runs the gamut from rock and pop to country and even ska.

Speaking of the the Jamaican-born genre, alt-radio favorites Reel Big Fish, which broke through into the mainstream during the mid-’90s ska boom, will co-headline the event along with local rock stars Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. Other bands, local or otherwise, that are scheduled to perform at the affair include Ken Levine's Funkhaus Brass Band, Good Rust, Clint Stevens Band, Moment of Ruin, Darkness Dear Boy. Gates open at 3 p.m. General admission is $12-$15, veterans get in for $7, and VIP admission is $100. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Pete Hinz, Jeff Barthold, and Dana Stern of JJCnV. - FRANK C PHOTOGRAPHY
Pete Hinz, Jeff Barthold, and Dana Stern of JJCnV.
Frank C Photography
Saturday, September 30
Palo Verde Lounge in Tempe

Early on, Phoenix punk band JJCnV had to succumb to “the man.” When they formed around 2005, the trio were called Janis Joplin Crap N Vomit, but they were served a cease-and-desist letter by the Joplin estate.

Without skipping a beat, they simply abbreviated the name to JJCnV and let fans decide what they thought it meant (“Juggling Juicy Coconuts Never Vexes,” or “Just Jungle Curry, No Vitamins,” were among the favorites in our 2008 profile of the band).

That minor corporate run-in was just a blip in more than a decade of creative freedom, with the band releasing six albums on their own Flab Fjord label. When it came to recording their seventh, they appreciated being in charge of the timeline. “We took a bit longer recording this time around, and added a horn section called The Blowhards,” says drummer Jeff Barthold. “We really tapped into our younger selves, then took the diaries related to this experience and put them in a time capsule.”

That time capsule is the album Mono or Mono, which will drop on September 30, with a release show that night featuring Scorpion vs. Tarantula and The 16 Eyes at Palo Verde Lounge in Tempe. The eight-song album is a continuation of JJCnV’s unconventional style of punk, juxtaposing linear surf riffs and bombastic vocals with quirky song titles like “Bones Make Good Coals” and “Happyning” and “Abracadaver.” Ashley Harris

click to enlarge Michael Kaeshammer - COURTESY OF THE MIM
Michael Kaeshammer
Courtesy of the MIM
Michael Kaeshammer
Saturday, September 30
Musical Instrument Museum

For those not familiar with pianist Michael Kaeshammer's work, the 40-year-old German-born, Canadian-raised singer-songwriter who’s virtuosic piano playing, pristine vocals, glistening persona, and Fats Waller-inspired chops have made him famous.

No stranger to the lively and animated take on the blues, the debonair musician has been tickling the ivories in true New Orleans' boogie-woogie fashion since the age of 13. When asked how, as a pre-pubescent pianist, he stumbled upon the boozy bluesy sounds of New Orleans' Jazz, Kaeshammer attributes this to a youthful fascination with his dad's vinyl. Thumbing through Fats Waller, Clarence "Pine Top" Smith, and Meade "Lux" Lewis albums, a young Kaeshammer forged a childhood love affair with the Crescent City. This budding romance came to a head when, as a grown man, Kaeshammer decided to vacation in New Orleans.

He didn't go on a Bourbon Street bender like many before him, rather, he unexpectedly landed a residency at a Bourbon Street blues hotspot performing alongside R&B chanteuse "Marvelous" Marva Wright, somewhat of a local blues icon at the time. Kaeshammer says these sweaty and lively five-hour-long Bourbon Street jam sessions "shaped" him into the performer he is today. Alex Rendon

click to enlarge Electronic dance music artist and onetime Valley resident Ghastly. - COURTESY OF CIRCLE TALENT AGENCY
Electronic dance music artist and onetime Valley resident Ghastly.
Courtesy of Circle Talent Agency
Goldrush Expeditions
Saturday, September 30
The Van Buren

The waiting, as Tom Petty once sang, is the hardest part, particularly when it’s something you’re really looking forward to experiencing. And given all the hype surrounding the inaugural Goldrush Music Festival, the upcoming two-day electronic dance music and hip-hop extravaganza being put on by Relentless Beats, it’s safe to say that a lot of locals are eager to attend the event.

Problem is, it ain’t until mid-November, and we’re willing to guess that would-be attendees want the time to go by much faster. Hence this weekend’s Goldrush Expeditions event on Saturday, September 30, at The Van Buren. It’s the first in a series of Goldrush pre-parties that will help hype up the festival even further and allow EDM fans to sample the sort of sounds that will be featured at the event. And the first expedition will include sets by electro-house DJ/producers Ghastly and Fight Clvb, as well as electronica/dubstep artist K?D. Benjamin Leatherman

Andrew W.K.
Sunday, October 1
Crescent Ballroom

If there’s one thing we know about Andrew W.K., it is that he likes to party. Hard and often. We didn’t have to strain to get to that conclusion; he’s been telling us as much since the early 2000s, when his music career blew up with the hit “Party Hard.” Other songs like “We Want Fun,” “Long Live the Party,” and the goal-oriented “Party ‘til You Puke” further emphasize his message.

W.K.’s encouragement to party goes far beyond the one-dimensional message it might imply. It’s not just a missive to get wasted and act the fool, unless that’s what you want to do. And that’s precisely it — the “party” can be anything you want it to be, he’s just encouraging you to explore it, embrace it, and dive into it like a champ. It’s the “Whip It” of the 21st century.

In some ways, he’s more of a one-man mobile cognitive behavioral therapy unit than a musician, using psychotherapy's technique of creating change through replacing staid thoughts with different, positive ones. He is continuously fostering the power of positive thinking via his encouragement to party. And this weekend, he’ll be doing just that during his latest performance in the Valley, which will take place at the Crescent Ballroom. Amy Young
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