Things to Do

The 25 Best Concerts in Phoenix in August 2019

The Rolling Stones are scheduled to perform on Monday, August 26 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.
The Rolling Stones are scheduled to perform on Monday, August 26 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. Dave Hogan
The Valley’s concert calendar in August is loaded up with bands and artists who are legen – wait for it – dary. From the Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, and Ringo Starr to Mary J. Blige and George Clinton, music venues large and small across metro Phoenix will host performances by renowned and iconic figures from the music world this month.

Other living legends that will grace us mortals with their presence in August include “Weird Al” Yankovic, Joan Jett, The B-52s, Cheap Trick, Korn, Alice in Chains, and BJ Thomas.

Nostalgia trips and brushes with greatness aren’t the only things that this month’s concert lineup has to offer, however. Notable names such as Carly Rae Jepsen, Frank Iero, Mogwai, Boris, Grace VanderWaal, Young the Giant, and Kacey Musgraves also have gigs around town over the next few weeks.

Details about each of these shows can be found below. And for even more live music happening around the Valley in August, head over to Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

click to enlarge Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix.
Lynn Trimble

President Gator 18-Year Anniversary Show

Friday, August 2
Crescent Ballroom

Jeremiah Gratza is one busy dude. Besides his roles as director of operations for local concert promoter Stateside Presents and co-owner of the ultra-hip Thunderbird Lounge, he’s also owned and operated local indie record label President Gator for the past 18 years. Dating back to the early aughts, the project has taken Gratza from promoting shows at such spots like Modified Arts to curating releases by well-known indie artists. Several of the same acts will perform during President Gator’s anniversary show this weekend, including Bogan Via and ROAR. Local bands Snake! Snake! Snakes!, Gospel Claws, and Fine China, all of whom were either defunct or on an extended hiatus, are reforming just for the show. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Dare to be stupid (and symphonic) with "Weird Al" Yankovic. - LIVE NATION
Dare to be stupid (and symphonic) with "Weird Al" Yankovic.
Live Nation

“Weird Al” Yankovic

Saturday, August 3
Comerica Theatre

“Weird Al” Yankovic is likely to play a similar set at Comerica Theatre as the last few times he’s brought his regular tour through the Valley. This time, however, he’ll be backed by a full symphony orchestra as part of his Strings Attached Tour. Expect to hear classic “Weird Al” style and song parodies like “Smells Like Nirvana,” “Amish Paradise,” and “Dare to Be Stupid,” albeit with orchestral accompaniment.

Yankovic took home his fifth Grammy Award this year for his box set Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of “Weird Al” Yankovic. The satirist’s first comedy song was aired in 1976. Seven years later, he put out his debut album “Weird Al” Yankovic. The years seemingly have had no effect on the singer-songwriter. His latest songs from the 2014 album Mandatory Fun are as funny and lively as the ones he released decades ago. Jacob Vaughn

click to enlarge Start polishing up your Jeep Renegades, y’all, because X Ambassadors are returning to the Valley. - ANNA LEE MEDIA
Start polishing up your Jeep Renegades, y’all, because X Ambassadors are returning to the Valley.
Anna Lee Media

X Ambassadors

Saturday, August 3
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

A young band, plagued by small club numbers and a lack of radio play, claw and fight their way to some modicum of success. The reason this sounds cliché is that it's a reality for thousands. Even after years of working on side projects in addition to their main band, the members of X Ambassadors were still nearly destitute — and that was after signing with Interscope Records, thanks to a chance discovery by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds.

The quartet finally found success with the release of their major-label debut LP, VHS, and in particular with the platinum-selling single, "Renegades," which was released in 2015 and had a commercial tie-in with the Jeep Renegade. (Yes, the one that was played endlessly on alt-rock radio stations.)

Since then, the four-piece — brothers Sam (vocals) and Casey (keyboards) Harris, guitarist Noah Feldshuh, and drummer Adam Levin — have been busy steadily touring and sharing their brand of indie, which combines the energy of punk, the harmonies of R&B and soul, and the swagger of hip-hop. On August 3, they'll perform for the masses at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Angel Melendez

click to enlarge Masked metal act Slipknot will terrorize Ak-Chin Pavilion. - M. SHAWN CRAHAN
Masked metal act Slipknot will terrorize Ak-Chin Pavilion.
M. Shawn Crahan

Knotfest Roadshow feat. Slipknot

Sunday, August 4
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Yes, Slipknot. You may be flashing back to your Hot Topic-lurking middle school edgelord days as you read this, but look, they wouldn't be playing Ak-Chin Pavilion in 2019 if they didn't still have some kind of appeal. Is it singer Corey Taylor's guttural, furious vocals? Is it their bizarre, creepy masks and the many members that wear them? Is it the way they channeled the angst, misanthropy, and self-hatred of a generation of suburban teens in the midst of the Bush-era, or the dark, unexpressed id of middle America? (They're from Iowa.) Hell if we know, but that song they had on Guitar Hero III was pretty good! Also, Rihanna likes them, apparently?

Slipknot will release WE ARE NOT YOUR KIND, their sixth studio album, later this month. Joining them on tour is a murderer's row of metal excellence. First, you'll get the Gdansk, Poland, blackened death metal group Behemoth. Next, the French progressive death metal act Gojira will continue the rampage. Finally, Copenhagen-based rockabilly/heavy metal outfit Volbeat, who may or may not be named after a Pokémon, will pummel the audience before Slippy comes out to deliver the final blow. Douglas Markowitz

click to enlarge There's one degree of separation between these two. - JEFF FASANO
There's one degree of separation between these two.
Jeff Fasano

The Bacon Brothers

Sunday, August 4
Musical Instrument Museum

It isn’t too often that you’ll find a Hollywood A-lister spending about 40 nights per year on the road, hard at work as a touring musician. Then again, Kevin Bacon has always marched to his own beat.

Since beginning his acting career in the late '70s, he has consistently followed his muse, playing everyone from the iconic Ren McCormack in Footloose to the villainous Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class to, more recently, the brooding and mysterious art dealer Dick in the Amazon series I Love Dick. This summer finds Bacon crisscrossing the country with his older brother Michael, his co-lead in the long-running country/folk-rock band The Bacon Brothers.

Since forming the band in 1995, the brothers have stayed invested in the music-making process, recording eight albums of material, touring the globe, and working closely with an ace four-person backing band that have been with them since the beginning. Jeff Strowe

click to enlarge Blink-182 and Lil Wayne have become uneasy allies for their summer tour. - RANDALL SLAVIN
Blink-182 and Lil Wayne have become uneasy allies for their summer tour.
Randall Slavin

Blink-182 & Lil Wayne

Monday, August 5
Ak-Chin Pavilion

When blink-182 and Lil Wayne announced a co-headlining tour, both of their fan bases let out a collective, "...What?" Both acts were chart-toppers in their heyday, but the former went through a pretty drastic lineup change that left fans choosing sides while the latter's career has been mired in controversy and infighting with his label, Cash Money Records. Nonetheless, this is a lineup for the ages. Iconic pop-punk and lyrical acrobatics will be on display on August 5 at Ak-Chin Pavilion. Matthew Keever

click to enlarge Frank Iero - MITCHELL WOKCIK
Frank Iero
Mitchell Wokcik

Frank Iero and the Future Violents

Tuesday, August 6
Crescent Ballroom

Frank Iero is a man of many names. Band names, that is. The former My Chemical Romance guitarist has always dabbled in side projects, even in the band's heyday. But since the emo icons went their separate ways in 2013, Iero has been going at it alone.

Plot twist, though: Each time Iero is ready to write a new record, he wipes the slate clean and forms an entirely new band with new musicians, a new sound, and a new name. First was Frank Iero and the Cellabration, then came Frank Iero and the Patience (which was actually the same lineup, just a new name and aesthetic). Now, it’s Frank Iero and the Future Violents.

Iero says this process keeps him on his toes and allows his music to feel fresh. “I get to reinvent myself every time,” he says. “To stay creative on the road as well as in the studio is all I’ve ever wanted, and I’ve found a way to be able to do it.” He’s currently touring in support of his latest album, Barriers, and will perform at Crescent Ballroom on August 6 along with the Future Violents. Chelsey Norris

click to enlarge Start crying loud and obnoxious tears of joy, Carly Rae-niacs. - NATALIE O'MOORE
Start crying loud and obnoxious tears of joy, Carly Rae-niacs.
Natalie O'Moore

Carly Rae Jepsen

Tuesday, August 6
The Van Buren

Carly Rae Jepsen is not what she seems. No matter your conception of the Canadian pop star, there is a high likelihood you have both undersold and underestimated her. While Jepsen scored an untouchable win with 2012’s “Call Me Maybe,” her journey forward leaves the diamond-certified hit in the rearview. 2015’s E•MO•TION showed off Jepsen’s aptitude, not just for writing a catchy hook, but curating an unforgettable pop landscape. Fast-forward to the present, and one can’t begin to grasp how much of an understatement Dedicated is as a descriptor until you start to peel the layers back yourself.

For her latest opus, she amassed somewhere in the realm of 200 songs before trimming it down to the clean 15 we are presented with. She is a master songwriter, gifted with a heart three sizes too big, yet cursed by earthly notions of time and space. Her work on Dedicated is the result of an arduous four years of building and rebuilding again. Gerrit Feenstra

click to enlarge Mary J. Blige in concert. - KELSEE BECKER
Mary J. Blige in concert.
Kelsee Becker

Mary J. Blige and Nas

Friday, August 9
Ak-Chin Pavilion

If you plan to see Mary J. Blige and Nas on The Royalty Tour, don't be late. There isn't going to be an opening act. The ‘90s legends won't have separate sets either, so don't bother asking who goes on first. Rather, they will tag-team each other throughout the evening to perform their solo hits and share the stage for their joint work. What makes this onstage pairing particularly noteworthy is both Blige and Nas are celebrating the 25th anniversaries of their landmark albums My Life and Illmatic, respectively. The two performers aren't holding back either. Media outlets have reported that the duo has a setlist that is over 40 songs long, including the hits "No More Drama" and "The World is Yours." This isn't a co-headlining tour. It’s a night of collaboration. Jason Keil

Devin Copeland, a.k.a. underground rapper Devin the Dude. - MARCO TORRES
Devin Copeland, a.k.a. underground rapper Devin the Dude.
Marco Torres

Devin the Dude

Friday, August 9
Aura Nightclub

Despite being a critically-acclaimed rapper, Devin the Dude has not experienced much mainstream success. His peculiar flow has landed him guest appearances alongside the likes of Ice Cube, Too $hort, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Jay-Z, but the respect of his peers just hasn't resulted in album sales. That's unfortunate for the Michigan-born transplant, but the silver lining – for fans, anyway – is that Devin remains an approachable figure in the hip-hop world. He’ll perform at Aura Nightclub in Tempe on August 9 and fans of lyrically driven hip hop should celebrate the opportunity to see and hear this oddball up close and personal. Matthew Keever

click to enlarge Hip-hop recording artist Talib Kweli. - COURTESY OF PRESS HERE PR
Hip-hop recording artist Talib Kweli.
Courtesy of Press Here PR

Talib Kweli

Saturday, August 10
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Brooklyn hip-hop artist and social activist Talib Kweli has built a career on incisive, intelligent lyrics with his thought-provoking rap. Surrounded by a family of university educators, Kweli came to the public's attention in 1996 when he appeared on the album Doom by Cincinnati group Mood. It was in 2002, with the release of his debut solo album Quality, that he saw his reputation blossom nationally. He put out the Train of Thought: Lost Lyrics, Rare Releases & Beautiful B-Sides Vol. 1 and Fuck the Money albums in 2015, and the Awful People Are Great at Parties collaboration with Javotti Media in 206. It’s been a couple of years since Kweli’s last release, 2017’s The Seven, but he’s certainly got plenty of material in his catalog to draw from when he performs at the Marquee Theatre on August 10. Brett Callwood

click to enlarge Like 'em or hate 'em, 311 has definitely made their mark on the music world. - MARCELLO AMBRIZ
Like 'em or hate 'em, 311 has definitely made their mark on the music world.
Marcello Ambriz

311 and Dirty Heads

Saturday, August 10
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Let's all feel old here: 311 have been rocking for more than 30 years. The Nebraska-bred band are still going strong. The band's latest release, Voyager, dropped in June, so get ready for new nuggets, too. The openers are strong for this concert, including Dirty Heads, The Interrupters, and Bikini Trill. Get there early and show everyone some love. Jose D. Duran
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