Phoenix Concerts March 9-11: Flying Burrito Festival, Will Sparks, Buddy Guy, Mija | Phoenix New Times

The 13 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

It’s a homecoming weekend for a couple of local DJs done good.
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
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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.

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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

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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

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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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Thrash metal gods Iced Earth.
Courtesy of Century Media Records
Saturday, March 10
BLK Live in Scottsdale

The artist known as Buckethead is an unusual variant on "guitar hero." He knows six-string constructs like a salamander knows wet leaves, but few know the face, or identity, of Buckethead (due to his ever-present bucket-shaped hood and face mask).

Buckethead's style is forged from the metallic assaults of Slayer and Steve Vai, Eddie Hazel's psychedelic funk, and the free-improvised fervency of saxophonists John Zorn and Peter Brotzmann. Buckethead started out with Bay Area funksters the Deli Creeps, then branched out to record and/or perform with disparate luminaries including Les Claypool, Bernie Worrell, and actor/poet Viggo Mortensen (yes, Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings films), and even did a stint in the re-formed Guns N' Roses.

It's anyone's guess what Buckethead has in store for his show at BLK Live in Scottsdale on Saturday, but whatever it is, you can bet the rent it'll be memorable. Mark Keresman

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William Reed is back, y'all.
Dani Meigel
Singles Going Steady: A Rock 'n' Roll Dance Party
Saturday, March 10
Linger Longer Lounge

A lot of artists leave the Valley in search of greener pastures and bigger prospects. But not everyone found success. William Reed, however, is an exception. After putting Arizona in the rearview in 2013, the tastemaking DJ (who put on such popular local dance affairs as Shake! and Sticky Fingers) made it big in L.A., becoming a sought-after selector. Over the past five years, Reed’s worked all manner of high-profile gigs, including performing at post-Oscar bashes and holding down residencies at such see-and-be-seen spots at Ace Hotel and The Standard.

This weekend, Reed will return to the Valley and is bringing one of his newer dance nights, Singles Going Steady, along with him. The event, which is dubbed a “rock ’n’ roll dance party for boys & girls” has gone down at such popular L.A. dives as The Short Stop and will make its Phoenix debut on Saturday, March 10, at Linger Longer Lounge. The soundtrack will include plenty of dance punk, indie tunes, and (just like its subtitle states) rock ’n’ roll, all of which will be spun by Reed along with his old Hot Pink cohort DJ MyKill and local selector Briannin Gross. The 21-and-over party starts at 10 p.m. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

The Crystal Method
Saturday, March 10
Monarch Theatre

American electronic duo The Crystal Method is a true pioneer of the big-beat genre. Alongside other ’90s luminaries like Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, and The Prodigy, Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan have helped push the genre to the forefront of mainstream culture.

Their ’97 release, Vegas (a nod to their hometown), is still their best and most popular. Two of its lead singles, “Busy Child” and “Keep Hope Alive,” found their way into film scores and television soundtracks before eventually being remixed and used as source material in dance clubs around the globe.

Jordan called it quits more than a year ago, but Kirkland — who recently recovered from a serious operation to remove a cyst from his brain — is bringing The Crystal Method’s music to venues everywhere. This weekend, his destination is the Monarch Theatre in downtown Phoenix for a solo gig. Jeff Strowe

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British indie rock band The Wedding Present.
Courtesy of Billions
The Wedding Present
Sunday, March 11
Valley Bar

In 1985, a group of British rockers started making music as The Wedding Present. Since then, the band’s had two constants: David Gedge and powerful songs. Gedge is the sole original member in the current lineup. That’s nothing new. “I’ve been the remaining original member since 1993,” he laughs. By then, the band had completed four releases, including the fearless debut George Best in 1987 and its even more raucous follow-up Bizarro two years later.

As frontman, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter, he’s responsible for the second part of those two consistent factors — being the dominant force behind the band’s signature vigorous sound. There’s only one Gedge, but he conveys dual personalities in the music, emphasizing the complex and sometimes warring emotions we experience. In one corner, there’s the bold, expressive, and hyperactive child, in the other, the moody, sluggish, and poetic youth.

Fuse those two together, and the sonic result is a blend of edgy, chaotic guitar riffs that easily slide into melodic sweetness, relentless push-forward beats, and vocals that unleash streams of weighted words.

And those words? With numerous songs about heartbreak and romantic love, Gedge has always given listeners plenty of truths to tether to, spilling out all the thoughts that haunt the mind in those achy-breaky situations. Delivered with a voice that’s thick and urgent, his sentiments become an intense comfort zone. Amy Young

Iced Earth
Sunday, March 11
The Pressroom

Iced Earth came out of the rich heavy metal scene in Tampa Bay, Florida, in the late '80s. At a time when melodic heavy metal, especially the glam variety, was on the wane, Iced Earth came in with the wave of metal that produced a melodic speed metal as well as the sort that became known as death metal from the mid '80s to around the turn of the decade with peers like Deicide, Death, and Morbid Angel, who helped to establish further a newer, more brutal aesthetic than fully existed before.

But Iced Earth's musical roots were more grounded in speed metal as pioneered by bands out of the new wave of British heavy metal and its thrash descendants. You can hear evidence of such on any of the dozen or so albums that Iced Earth has released over the last 28 years, including 2017’s Incorruptible, or during their upcoming Valley show at The Pressroom on March 11. Tom Murphy

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British post-punk act Shame is taking a road trip through the States.
Holly Whitaker
Sunday, March 11
The Underground in Mesa

“Well, I’m not much to look at and I ain’t much to hear,” Shame frontman Charlie Steen sings on “One Rizla.” It’s a self-deprecating line that twists into cockiness as Steen finishes his thought: “But if you think I love you / You’ve got the wrong idea.” It’s a catchy chorus that doubles as a kind of mission statement for Shame. They’re happy to be the odd men out.

A post-punk quintet from London, Shame make music that’s spiky yet tuneful. Like many modern post-punk acts, the influence of older legends can be heard all over the band’s debut, Songs of Praise, but the group’s smart enough to draw inspiration from contemporaries, too. The hoarse vocals of Iceage and the slacker ranting of Parquet Courts are just as important to Slack’s sound as the agitated rhythms and knotty guitar work of The Fall and Gang of Four.

Shame have nicked the best parts from post-punk, filed off the serial numbers, and hammered them together into something new — sleek, fast-moving, and melodic. Ashley Naftule

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DJ and producer Will Sparks.
Courtesy of Lucky Ent.
Sound Wave Pool Party feat. Will Sparks
Sunday, March 11
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

Let’s face it, there are only two seasons here in the Valley: “hot” and “not hot.” Currently, we’re in the transition period betwixt the two as we begin the inevitable march into warmer climes. In other words, y’all had better take advantage of the nice weather and enjoy being outside while it lasts.

The folks over a Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale will be doing so, as they’ll be putting on the first big pool party of the season on Sunday, March 11. It will be warm and sunny as the party crowd dives into Maya’s pool as the Australian-born DJ/producer spins up big room sounds, electro-house, hardstyle, and other EDM genres. Gates open at noon and admission is $10. Benjamin Leatherman
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