The 13 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Mija is scheduled to perform on Saturday, March 10, at the Monarch Theatre.
Mija is scheduled to perform on Saturday, March 10, at the Monarch Theatre. Ryan Farber
It’s a homecoming weekend for a couple of local DJs done good.

Valley expats Mija and William Reed, both of whom got their start in local nightlife before moving to L.A., are returning for hometown gigs on Saturday night. Reed’s bringing his latest dance party, Singles Going Steady, to Linger Longer Lounge, while Mija will be doing her thing at Monarch Theatre’s Scarlet Lounge.

Other highlights of this weekend’s concert calendar include the chance to see living legends like Buddy Guy and Buckethead, a few bands stopping over on their way to South by Southwest, and the first-ever Flying Burrito Festival.

Details about each of these gigs can be found below in our rundown of the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. And for even more live music happening around town, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

click to enlarge Grammy-winning blues legend Buddy Guy. - JOSH CHEUSE
Grammy-winning blues legend Buddy Guy.
Josh Cheuse
Buddy Guy
Friday, March 9
Chandler Center for the Arts

At age 81, legendary bluesman Buddy Guy remains fierce, determined, and in total command of his instrument, putting forth a tone that cuts through steel like butter while reminding listeners of the power of blues.

Like many great blues guitarists, Guy taught himself on a homemade guitar before eventually getting a “proper” instrument. And, like many postwar bluesmen, Guy left his southern home (Lettsworth, Louisiana) for Chicago. There, Guy became part of the influential Chess Records house band, backing Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, and others.

Ironically, label owner Leonard Chess disapproved of Guy’s live — and now signature — playing style. Thus, Guy’s one Chess release was too soulful to be considered a true blues album. Guy’s aggressive playing style utilizes feedback, distortion, and long solos, yet he is equally adept at providing a light touch and tone as the perfect counterpoint.

Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page cite Guy as a major influence. While Guy — and many blues artists — stumbled through the 1970s, his future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career was revived with Clapton’s help in the late 1980s. Glenn BurnSilver

click to enlarge Zsuzsanna Ward, better known as singer ZZ Ward. - GUS BLACK
Zsuzsanna Ward, better known as singer ZZ Ward.
Gus Black
ZZ Ward
Friday, March 9
Crescent Ballroom

ZZ Ward's intonations are instantly recognizable from her foot-stomping saloon song "Put the Gun Down," which has accompanied plenty of movie soundtracks already. Zsuzsanna Ward (whose name is worth about 99 points in Scrabble), with her bluesy, note-bending voice, appeals to modern pop sensibilities while adding just enough flair to make her stand out from the crowd. Even if you can't put a face to a name, you can recognize Ward just by hearing "whoo-hoo-hoo" from a mile away. Matt Wood

click to enlarge Be ready to put your phones away at Lane 8's show. - ANDY COTTERILL
Be ready to put your phones away at Lane 8's show.
Andy Cotterill
Lane 8
Friday, March 9
The Van Buren

Daniel Goldstein, better known to listeners as Lane 8, has gained a following in recent years for his lush sound, a potent blend of the more propulsive elements of electronica and the hypnotic quality of deep house.

More recently, Goldstein’s generated headlines for his “This Never Happened” series of shows, which ask concertgoers to leave their phones in their pockets — no 10-second snaps, no selfies, nothing to distract from the ambiance Goldstein is working to cultivate behind the decks.

Beyond dispatching with the annoyance of distracting flashes of light, Goldstein says the best part about “This Never Happened” has been the stories he’s heard after stepping away from the turntables.

“[I have] people telling me after shows or a few days later that they made a bunch of friends at one of my shows,” Goldstein effuses. “That clubbing ideal that you go out and make a bunch of new friends on the dance floor — that’s what made me fall in love with going out and hearing music in the first place! So to hear that people are doing that now at my shows — that’s the absolute dream.”

As of late, Goldstein has been living out plenty of dreams. In addition to the ongoing success of “This Never Happened," 2018 has seen him release his sophomore Lane 8 album, Little by Little, to great acclaim, as well as found a record label named after “This Never Happened.” Zach Schlein

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Friday, March 9
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

This far into his 20-year career, Kenny Wayne Shepherd has proven time and again his relevance in blues and country — and he's only in his 30s. Yeah. This guy's career technically started when he was 13 years old when blues guitarist Bryan Lee invited Shepherd on stage to play alongside him.

And similar to members of The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Stevie Ray Vaughn, Shepherd hasn't let his inability to read music get in the way either, making it abundantly clear that some folks are just inherently talented. He pays homage to some of the great blues artists who inspired him in his latest album, Goin' Home, released in 2014, as a collection of covers. Diamond Victoria

Flying Burrito Music & Food Festival
Saturday, March 10
Crescent Ballroom

Pinch yourself, because you’re not dreaming. The Flying Burrito Festival is real.

Live your best life when you gather with other food and music fanatics for a day packed with bands and burritos. Music is coming to four stages, and the diverse lineup features locals and acts from all over the world. There’s Albert Hammond Jr., No Age, Los Chollas Peligrosas, Porches, and La Luz, to name a handful.

More than 15 vendors will be on-site with full-size burritos and samples. Expect local spots like Cocina 10, Chico Malo, Ladera Taverna y Cocina, and Elote Man AZ to give you plenty of delicious options for stuffing your face.

This rollicking party starts at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, at Crescent Ballroom. Admission is $15 in advance, $20 on the day of and at the door. For access to the festival and an 18-and-over after-party at The Van Buren, you’ll pay $33. See our comprehensive event guide for more info. Amy Young

Saturday, March 10
Scarlet Lounge at Monarch Theatre

Amber Giles is a big proponent of living outside your comfort zone, especially if you happen to be an artist. It’s a distressing and vexing experience, sure, but also one that could potentially expand horizons, fuel creativity, and lead to bigger and better things. And Giles’ ever-evolving career in electronic dance music is proof.

Over the past several years, she’s gone from being a teenage raver, raging away to happy hardcore and drum ’n’ bass at local underground parties, to promoting events herself, becoming a popular DJ dropping house and techno at downtown Phoenix nightspots like Bar Smith. Now, she’s become one of EDM’s fastest-rising talents.

Her biggest change came in late 2014 when Giles, who performs under the stage name Mija, left Phoenix for L.A. The move came a few months after some attention-grabbing performances at high-profile music festivals (including a spontaneous back-to-back sunrise set with Skrillex at that year’s Bonnaroo that hit big online) and was an eye-opening experience that broadened her horizons and musical palette considerably.

Mija returns to the Valley in March at the Monarch Theatre as a part of her current tour. Expect to hear her latest sounds when she performs in the venue’s Scarlet Lounge upstairs. Benjamin Leatherman
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Glenn BurnSilver
Contact: Glenn BurnSilver
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young