Concerts in Phoenix October 26-28: Nervo, Josh Groban, The Damned, Joan Baez | Phoenix New Times

The 13 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Get ready for Halloweekend, y'all.
Nervo is scheduled to perform on Saturday, October 27, at Talking Stick Resort during Wicked Ball 2018.
Nervo is scheduled to perform on Saturday, October 27, at Talking Stick Resort during Wicked Ball 2018. Courtesy of Big Beat
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It's Halloweekend, y’all, and there’s lots to see and do. If you’ve got a great costume and need somewhere to show it off, tons of Halloween bashes will take place over the next few nights, including the annual Wicked Ball. Or if you’d rather enjoy some sounds in the great outdoors, both the annual Apache Lake Music Festival and the inaugural WayneFest will be happening.

The final days of this year’s Arizona State Fair are also happening this weekend, as are gigs by Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, The Damned, Børns, and Joan Baez. Meanwhile, Sting and Shaggy will also be in town to perform their previously scheduled concert at The Van Buren (which was originally scheduled for earlier this month) and local hip-hop night WTFunk? will return for one night only.

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

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Josh Groban, better known as your mom's favorite singer.
Brian Bowen Smith
Josh Groban and Idina Menzel
Friday, October 26
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Ever since he filled in for Andrea Boccelli to rehearse “The Prayer” for the Grammys with Celine Dion when he was 17, singer-songwriter Josh Groban has been a household name and probably your mother's obsession. But as if it wasn’t enough for him to sing like an angel, Groban has taken up acting. Not only is he currently on tour with the real-life Elsa from Frozen, Idina Menzel, but he also has acting with Tony Danza under his belt (on the Nextflix comedy-murder-mystery drama The Good Cop).

For the Bridges tour, which is named after his newest album, Groban says he and Menzel have some surprises in store. “We're still finalizing what our duets are going to be, but I do know about one of them,” Groban says. “We’re going to be singing a version of 'Lullaby,' a song that I sang on my Awake album, and we’ve recorded a special version of it to benefit the immigrant families that have been separated, and we’re going to sing one of those as one of the songs.” Groban and Menzel also recorded a special version of the song to release right before the tour to raise money for this cause.

Beyond that, Groban will sing a combination of the older songs people love him for, as well as some of the new original music from Bridges. Isabel Arcellana

Friday, October 26
Club Red in Mesa

Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, better known as D.R.I., started out as a speedy hardcore band in Houston in the early '80s. The band was renowned for its short songs, its leftist politics and the frenzied passion of its playing. D.R.I.'s appropriately-titled, landmark 1987 album, Crossover, lived up to its name by introducing a sound that fully integrated breakneck hardcore rhythms with a thrashy guitar attack, which the group had been developing all along.

Marketed in the late '80s to both metalheads and hardcore fans, D.R.I. seemed to find an easy audience in anyone who loved aggressive music with anti-authoritarian lyrics. During the course of four more albums, up to 1995's Full Speed Ahead, D.R.I. mastered a sound that can be heard in virtually all metal and punk hybrid groups today. Tom Murphy

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The artist known as Børns.
Chuck Grant
Friday, October 26
The Van Buren

Electro-pop singer Børns, born Garrett Borns, is hard to pin down as an artist. Several years ago, the 26-year-old Michigan native went from the tundra of the Midwest to the (mostly) sunny skies of Los Angeles, where he lived in a treehouse and stole Taylor Swift’s mom’s heart along the way via singles such as “Electric Love” and “10,000 Emerald Pools.”

Flash-forward to 2018, and the gender-bending vocalist is on his second record, Blue Madonna, which features an opening duet with Lana Del Rey — “God Save Our Young Blood” — and an album cover that looks like it belongs in a Gucci ad campaign or an Anne Rice novel. On Friday night, Børns will bring his impressive pipes to The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix. Twin Shadow opens. Angel Melendez

Punk Rock Halloween Bash
Friday, October 26, and Saturday, October 27
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

One of the greatest hallmarks of Halloween – other than the spooky atmosphere and ungodly amounts of candy – is the chance to adopt the identity of someone else, if only for a night. That’s what many of the bands and musicians participating in the Punk Rock Halloween Bash will be doing when they take to the stage at the Yucca Tap Room on Friday and Saturday.

The long-running annual event involves local rock and punk acts paying homage to some of the giants of the genre with tribute and cover sets on both nights. Some participants might even dress up for the occasion, aping the look of the iconic bands they’re imitating. This year’s roster includes performances by Brain Zap as Green Day, Nervous Breakdowns covering Black Flag, PV Casualties as the Misfits, and Reason Unknown as Teenage Bottlerocket. The Yucca’s lounge will host a “Monster Midway” with a costume contest, horror-themed carnival games, and more. The fun starts at 8 p.m. both nights. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

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Get your camping gear together, ALMF awaits.
Apache Lake Music Festival 2018
Friday, October 26, and Saturday, October 27
Apache Lake Resort & Marina

Get ready to take your cooler and tent out of storage: The Apache Lake Music Festival is back in action. For the last eight years, the ALMF have transformed the Apache Lake Marina & Resort into a weekend showcase and bacchanalia for local musicians. Whereas most local festivals like FORM and Innings put the focus on touring acts, ALMF is a 100 percent local music fest. And for its ninth year, Apache Lake is putting together a veritable dream team of Arizona bands.

This year’s ALMF is happening on October 26 and 27 at Apache Lake Marina and Resort, located near the 229.5 mile marker at Roosevelt. Attendees can opt to camp out by the lake or get a hotel room at the resort (which has a restaurant and bar). There's also a convenience store, on-site parking, and boats are available to rent throughout the festival.

While this year’s lineup includes some returning acts from ALMF 2017 (Banana Gun, Bear Ghost, Japhy’s Descent, Los Chollas Peligrosas, Sara Robinson Band, The Sink or Swim, The Sugar Thieves, and The Woodworks), it also features some fresh new faces and bands that have rocked Apache Lake in older iterations of the fest. Ashley Naftule

AWAL (left) and Odie McVerity (right) of WTFunk?
Chris Cornellius (Odie McVerity)

WTFunk? 10-Year Anniversary Party
Saturday, October 27
The Rogue Bar in Scottsdale

It’s been a spell since renowned Valley hip-hop night WTFunk? has graced a local club. Once a staple of the local scene that held it down every week at joints like the old Stray Cat Bar & Grill in Tempe with its mix of rappers, turntablists, and artists, WTFunk? went defunct years ago after its promoters and performers pursued other ventures. This weekend, it returns for one night only on Saturday at Rogue Bar for a 10th anniversary party celebrating the night’s legacy.

According to co-promoter Wallace Taylor (a.k.a. AWAL Pro), the event will feature many members of the WTFunk? crew. “It's all members of the Funk family, as I like to call it,” he says. “Pretty much everybody on the bill for the party was somebody that was involved with building that night up over the last 10 years.”

That includes such rappers as Odie McVerity, Span Phly, and Bob Domestic, as well as DJs like DJs like YNOT?, Bob-Zilla, Hanzarelli, Pearlie Q, Marvel, and J20. The party will also feature sets by One Be Lo, Casual, Z-Man, Vocab Slick, DJ True Justice, Dominique Larue, Landon Wordswell, Steve Swinson, and The Conscious Collective. Start time is 7 p.m. and tickets are $10-$15. Benjamin Leatherman
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Miriam and Olivia Nervo.
Chloe Paul
Wicked Ball 2018 feat. Nervo
Saturday, October 27
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

We’re willing to be there’s little, if any, sibling rivalry going on between sisters Miriam and Olivia Nervo. Why’s that? Probably because the Australian-born twin sisters rose to stardom in the music world together and have experienced mutual success in whatever they’ve done, whether it's singing, songwriting, producing, or DJing. And it all started when they were 16, when both Liv and Mir inked a songwriting deal with Sony before going on to pen hit songs for themselves and such artists as Kesha, Ashley Tisdale, and U.K. pop star Rachel Stevens.

In 2009, the pair helped the Grammy-winning David Guetta/Kelly Rowland hit "When Love Takes Over" before diving into the dance music world as producers. Since then, the Nervo sisters have collaborated with Afrojack, Steve Aoki, R3hab, and others, as well as dropped multiple hit tracks themselves, including the 2013’s blockbuster smash, “Hold On.” They also DJ, too, and have done so at clubs and festivals around the world. And by the way, they haven’t even hit their 30s yet. You can catch this sister act in action at on Saturday, October 27, when Nervo headlines this year’s Wicked Ball at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Benjamin Leatherman

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House of Stairs is one of many local acts playing WayneFest this weekend.
Julius Schlosburg
WayneFest 2018
Saturday, October 27
Coronado Park

The Coronado neighborhood is arguably one of central Phoenix’s coolest area, as evidenced by its historic homes, popular hangouts, and artsy verve. The hip ‘hood also boasts a certain flair for music, including events like the annual Coronado Porch Concerts Tour, which features performances at various homes around the Coronado area.

This weekend’s WayneFest is a similar celebration of live music, albeit in a single location. The micro-music festival, which takes place on Saturday, October 27, will offer an evening of live music at Coronado Park, 1717 North 12th Street, including gigs from several tastemaking Valley bands. The lineup will feature sets by Las Chollas Peligrosas, Fairy Bones, House of Stairs, Black Market, and newly founded group Gus D. Wynns and the Breakers. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from local eateries like Gallo Blanco, Welcome Diner, and Ollie Vaughn's and Four Peaks will be selling their signature brews. The festival runs from 4 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for kids 12 and under. Benjamin Leatherman

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Folk legend Joan Baez.
Concord Music Group
Joan Baez
Saturday, October 27
Celebrity Theatre

Joan Baez has always had a pure, powerful voice that’s an awesome combination of natural inspiration and refined technique, and her rich, molasses-like phrasing and birdlike trilling have given an eerily haunting sheen to many otherwise austere folk songs over the past four decades. Beyond her longtime social activism, she’s perhaps best known for her off-and-on collaborations with Bob Dylan, acting at times as both his muse and his biggest critic, and interpreting his acoustic songs with her highly stylized delivery. In interviews, like so many of Dylan’s former peers in the early-’60s scene, she sometimes comes off as bitter that he wouldn’t behave and stay put in a neat folk-music straitjacket, but Baez also had some especially wise and insightful things to say about the mystery tramp in 2005's famed No Direction Home documentary. Tom Murphy

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Walter Productions know a thing or two about putting on a party.
Chris Patrick
The Event
Saturday, October 27
The Where?House Gallery

The folks from Walter Productions never seem to do anything small. In fact, most everything the local arts collective and production company is involved with is big, from their oversized art cars (including Walter the Bus, Kalliope, and Heathen) to the festivals and events they participate in and promote, like the annual Bonaroo or last year’s Lost Lake Festival.

Fittingly, the company’s Halloween celebration this weekend, The Event, is just as big and over-the-top as any of their other projects. Taking place on Saturday, October 27, at The Where?House Gallery – their enormous new art space and venue – the evening-long affair will be an extravaganza of visual thrills, live music, art, and performances.

Several of Walter Productions’ various art cars will be on hand (natch) and will light up a colorful scene populated by live painting sessions, sculptures, and plenty of revelry. Las Vegas-born electric violinist Amanda Marks, better known as Violin Girl, will perform and Sean Watsons and other local DJs will be in the mix. Meanwhile, partygoers are encouraged to wear costumes and become “their own canvas of artistic expression.” The festivities go from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are $35. Proceeds benefit the Arizona Burn Foundation. See for more info. Benjamin Leatherman

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The Damned in concert last year in Tempe.
Robbie Flores
The Damned
Sunday, October 28
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

As part of the first wave of punk rock, The Damned have always been one step ahead of almost every other band, zigging when others zagged, and doing their own thing their own way. They released the first punk rock single on Stiff Records in 1976. And for the last 40-plus years, they have continued to be creative and vital.

Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible are the yin and yang of The Damned, and they have been since the beginning. Vanian is often seen in shades of black and gray, while Sensible is practically dripping with every other color at any given time. Which is why the longtime bandmates are often seen in a completely different light, even by the ardent fans who have supported them for what seems in many cases to be their entire lives.

Last spring, The Damned smashed it up at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe with an epic show that consisted of 23 songs, including two encores. Can they top that feat with their upcoming gig on October 28? Guess you'll have to go to find out. Amy Young and Tom Reardon

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Sting and Shaggy are totally a thing now.
Salvador Ochoa
Sting and Shaggy
Sunday, October 28
The Van Buren

When Shaggy and Sting released their single "Don't Make Me Wait" and announced a joint album in January, the collective response from audiences and critics was, "Wait — what?" No one had asked for this. No one knew they needed it. But after the (of course) 4/20 release of their reggae album 44/876, the duo is fully committing to this thing, including a 19-date North American theater tour that includes a performance at The Van Buren on Sunday, October 28.

The musicians will play both solo and collaborative sets. Expect to hear an avalanche of hits from Sting's days with the Police, such as "Message in a Bottle," "Roxanne," and "Every Breath You Take," as well as songs from his illustrious solo career. And you can pretty much bet Shaggy will play universal fuckboi anthem "It Wasn't Me," along with "Boombastic" and "Angel." It remains to be seen whether they'll rework these songs onstage as a duo, though it's likely given Sting's penchant for live collaborations. Over the past five years, he's co-headlined arena tours with Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel. Celia Almeida

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Justin Pointer and Tony Kim of Dance With the Dead.
DJay Brawner
Dance With the Dead
Sunday, October 28
The Rebel Lounge

Retrowave, synthwave, darkwave — whatever hot subgenre title you want to assign to the new movement of synthesizer-driven instrumental bands that are cranking out music inspired by the Giorgio Moroder-inspired movie soundtracks of the 1980s, this Southern California-born act is in the upper tier.

The duo, comprised of musicians Justin Pointer and Tony Kim, create synth-laden work sounds, albeit with a more ominous John Carpenter/Goblin-inspired horror-movie spin to their scores, as heard most recently on this year’s Loved to Death. Fittingly, they’ll perform at The Rebel Lounge during the thick of the Halloween season. Jason Roche
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