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The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Diplo is scheduled to perform on Saturday, July 7, at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale.EXPAND
Diplo is scheduled to perform on Saturday, July 7, at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale.
Courtesy of Paradigm Agency

If you're in the mood to get rowdy on the dance floor or go hard in the club, it's going to be a big weekend for you.

A variety of electronic dance music shows are happening in the Valley over the next couple of days, including gigs by Diplo and EDX, an appearance by AC Slater's Night Bass tour, and even a new dance night called Synthetic Squirrel (you read that right).

If being blasted with beats ain't your bag, however, this weekend's concert calendar also includes performances by Primus, Pat Travers, Johnny Rivers, and Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns.

Details about each of these gigs can be found below. And for even more live music happening around the Valley this weekend, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Pat Travers Band
Friday, July 6
BLK Live in Scottsdale

Pat Travers can kick ass in more ways than one. First, the Canadian guitarist is a black belt in Isshin Ryu karate. And though he won't demonstrate martial arts moves on stage, Travers' hard-hitting music is still a kick in the face, not to mention heavy in sound and thick with texture.

Influenced by the British blues-rock movement of the late 1960s and inspired directly by Jimi Hendrix, Travers' guitar-centric songs fit perfectly in the mid-1970s era of musical over-indulgence. "Boom, Boom (Out Go the Lights)" is his signature song and show closer, while "Snortin' Whiskey" muscled onto the Top 40 charts. Metallica's Kirk Hammett even referred to Travers as one of his favorite guitarists during a 2001 interview.

Travers' commercial success, however, was short-lived, and by the late 1980s, he was just hanging on, bottoming out with "I La La La Love You," a soft-rock hit from the film Valley Girl. Travers even slummed briefly in a '70s rock cover band. More recently, Travers has returned to form, even if only playing Moose Lodges and small clubs rather than the 50,000-plus capacity stadiums of the band's heyday. But size doesn't matter, and Pat Travers, if nothing else, remains a fighter. Glenn BurnSilver

Johnny Rivers
Friday, July 6
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Things to think about next time you toe-tap to "Seventh Son" when it comes on the radio: Johnny Rivers, whose last hit was "Swayin' to the Music (Slow Dancin')" in 1977, still continues packing fans into large halls, while his contemporaries slog away in pathetic oldies revues. A savvy businessman early on, he worked an integrity clause into his record contract that prevented "Memphis" and "Poor Side of Town" from appearing routinely on oldies compilations.

The Baton Rouge rocker's prominence on oldies stations continues, as does the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's snubbing of his considerable contributions. He discovered songwriter Jimmy Webb and the 5th Dimension, was the first rock star to start a successful record label for other artists, put the Whiskey A Go-Go on the map (which opened the door for the Doors and countless L.A. bands), helped finance and organize the Monterey Pop Festival (which brought Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Who to prominence) and he practically invented the "sweetened" live LP, beating KISS by a good decade. And without "Secret Agent Man," the rocking-est '60s TV theme would've been The Patty Duke Show. Serene Dominic

AC Slater.
Courtesy of Go Artist Management

Night Bass feat. AC Slater
Saturday, July 7
Monarch Theatre

AC Slater is about to take EDM fans of the Valley back to a time before fancy light rigs and Jesus-posing DJs, when dance parties were messy, dark, personal affairs, and nothing mattered but the bass.

Maybe some of you remember those times fondly, and perhaps some of you are tired of hearing about it, but everyone new and old to the scene is invited to experience the gritty realness of Night Bass. The L.A.-based monthly club party is hitting the road for its annual “Summer Phases” tour and will feature sets from Codes, Sinden, and its fearless leader, AC Slater.

This weekend, Night Bass hits the Monarch Theatre in downtown Phoenix, the perfect Valley music venue for the vibe. Expect a mix of bass, electro, and house from all three DJs, as well as plenty of dance-inducing jams. Phoenix-born Blossom will open the evening, which kicks off at 9 p.m. General admission is $25 and VIP tickets are $35. Kat Bein

The members of metalcore act Code Orange.EXPAND
The members of metalcore act Code Orange.
Hans Christian Terslin

Code Orange
Saturday, July 7
Nile Theater in Mesa

Since the announcement of their third studio album back in 2016, American metalcore band Code Orange had been pretty dormant. Fans waited in anticipation as the release date had been repeatedly pushed back until the album was eventually released in January 2017.

Then last month, we were blessed when the band released the extra-heavy three-track EP The Hurt Will Go On, which is just as heavy and violent as you’d expect. Witness the new songs for yourself, when the band heads to the Nile Theater in Mesa on Saturday. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $16. Lindsay Roberts

Saturday, July 7
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

When talking about cultural icons and trendsetters, Thomas Wesley Pentz should definitely be at the forefront of that list. As the DJ and producer Diplo, he tours the world as a solo act, as well as with his Major Lazer crew.

Over the last five to 10 years, Diplo has performed at almost every major music festival in the world, taking his twerk-inducing music and energy to the masses of partygoers who relish the chance to shake their butts, and bask in the positivity of his track selections and original compositions. Diplo is a king of the Snapchat generation, managing to stay relevant by keeping up to date with every new meme, viral song, and dance, and sometimes creating a few of his own.

In early July, Diplo returns to the Valley to headline Talking Stick Resort's Release pool party on Saturday, July 7. Fellow EDM producer and artist Mercer will open. Marco Torres

The oddballs of Primus are headed our way.EXPAND
The oddballs of Primus are headed our way.
Courtesy of ATO Records

Primus and Mastodon
Saturday, July 7
Comerica Theatre

If you are a metal fan and want it served up two ways, this is your show. Kicking off the two-pronged night is Mastodon, the Georgia band that’s been sludging it up since 2000. They’ve been consistent in putting out a new release every couple of years, the last being 2017’s concept album Emperor of Sand. It chronicles a desert dweller with a death sentence and it veers from guitar-driven hard rock tracks like “Show Yourself” to the gloomier and plodding “Steambreather.”

Where Mastodon mixes doom into their metal, Primus is known for blending in the funk. The latter is especially fueled by singer and bassist Les Claypool’s vocal twang and snappy plucks. The Bay Area band got together in the ’80s and started getting attention with songs like “John the Fisherman” and “Too Many Puppies” from their debut, Frizzle Fry. Their eclectic sound was matched by their eccentric personalities, making their live show a visual and aural freakshow. In 1991, they released Sailing the Seas of Cheese, which got them a ton of new fans and provided now-longtime crowd favorites like “Jerry was a Race Car Driver” and “Tommy the Cat.” Oh, and they wrote the little ditty that is the South Park theme song, which you’ve probably crooned while diving into an episode. Amy Young

DJ Rad Dude being a rad dude behind the decks.EXPAND
DJ Rad Dude being a rad dude behind the decks.
Benjamin Leatherman

Synthetic Squirrel
Saturday, July 7
The Rebel Lounge

If there was an award for the weirdest name for a new dance night, the Synthetic Squirrel party this weekend would be an absolute lock to win. And the person who’d show up to accept the trophy would be Rad Dude, the enigmatic local retrowave DJ behind the event, which takes place on Saturday, July 7, at The Rebel Lounge.

We asked the esteemed Dudester over Facebook what inspired the name of the dance party, which will feature synthwave and electro-style sounds aimed at getting bodies moving. He told us the following: “It’s ‘squirrel’ because its something random yet full of movement. It’s cute, fun, and grabs your attention,” he says. “‘Synthetic’ is the electro version of that.”

Okay then.

Rad Dude will be joined on the decks by DJ MyKill of Secret_Level, a former resident at San Francisco’s long-running synthwave party, Turbo Drive. Local indie electronica/future R&B artist H/\rvey will also perform a special set at Synthetic Squirrel while Josh John will provide “brain-warping visuals” all evening long. The 21-and-over party starts at 10 p.m. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

The musicians of Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns.EXPAND
The musicians of Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns.
Courtesy of the Rhythm Room

Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns
Saturday, July 7
Rhythm Room

Maintaining a band for two-and-a-half decades is no simple task, but in 2016, Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns crossed the threshold into quarter-century territory — an especially impressive feat since the group currently includes eight people. Originating in Phoenix as a trio named Cold Shot Blues Band, the outfit specialize in a big, buoyant, bold fusion of funk, soul, and blues that practically radiates good-natured sweatiness, even on the distance of a record. Cold Shott — whose official bio sells the band as "[a] gimmick-free pro performance with 'old-school' authenticity" — demonstrated exactly just how energetic they can get with 2011's Soulutions, their most recent release.

That studio album contains the authoritative "Stop," the cheeky "Diggin' On James Brown" (a sincere ode to a musician who had an enormous impact on CS&THH's aesthetic), the extended pickup line that is "Vehicle," and the psychedelic-rock-dyed "That's What Love Will Make You Do." The band's hooks and utter commitment to their form make their material especially invigorating. All this said, they are also astute enough to know when to pull back on the grins and gloss, such as when they covered the Sam Cooke classic "A Change Is Gonna Come" for 2003's If You Got The Blues and focused on capturing the original's wistful melancholy first and foremost. Reyan Ali

The musicians of Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns.EXPAND
The musicians of Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns.
Courtesy of the Rhythm Room

Lee Greenwood
Saturday, July 7
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Most people aren't familiar with the album that spawned Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA." Released in 1984, You've Got a Good Love Comin' featured cuts written by future Alanis Morrissette hitmaker Glen Ballard, and established country songwriters Wayland Holyfield and Mary Ann Kennedy.

The album was your typical hard-lovin' '80s-country mechanism, with songs like "Love Me Like I'm Leavin' Tonight" and "Lean, Mean, Lovin' Machine." The title track came with a pretty fun music video set in London, too. Digging the wardrobe.

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Rightfully so, the final track on Comin', "God Bless the USA," has endured the most since Greenwood first put fingers to keys three decades ago. You're guaranteed to hear it during his show this weekend at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, as well as songs both equally patriotic ("Statue of Liberty") and otherwise ("Between a Rock and a Heartache," "Dixie Road," "Fool's Gold"). Craig Hlavaty

Maurizio Colella, better known as EDX.
Maurizio Colella, better known as EDX.
Courtesy of Sirup Artist Agency

Sunday, July 8
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 performs at Maya's Soundwave pool party in Scottsdale on Sunday afternoon. Cory Casciato

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