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.
President Gator 18-Year Anniversary ShowFriday, August 2
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
“Weird Al” YankovicSaturday, August 3
“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
X AmbassadorsSaturday, 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
Knotfest Roadshow feat. SlipknotSunday, August 4
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
The Bacon BrothersSunday, 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
Blink-182 & Lil WayneMonday, August 5
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
Frank Iero and the Future ViolentsTuesday, August 6
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
Carly Rae JepsenTuesday, 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
Mary J. Blige and NasFriday, August 9
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 the DudeFriday, August 9
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
Talib KweliSaturday, 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
311 and Dirty HeadsSaturday, August 10
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
Young the Giant and Fitz and the TantrumsSunday, August 11
Young the Giant have joined forces with Fitz and the Tantrums to bring a heavy dose of indie-pop and neo-soul to Comerica Theatre in mid-August. While The Tantrums haven't released a proper album since their 2016 self-titled outing, which received mixed reviews, a steady stream of singles has fans clamoring for their next record. Young the Giant, meanwhile, is still on tour in support of last year's Mirror Master, a personal endeavor following the politically driven Home of the Strange. Despite some recent missteps, both outfits remain beloved in the indie scene, and their performances should be chock-full of well-known hits, including "Cough Syrup" and "Moneygrabber." Valley native and burgeoning pop singer UPSAHL will open. Matthew Keever
The B-52s Wednesday, August 14
Veteran rock band The B-52s will return to the Valley in middle of August for a performance at Comerica Theatre. It's the band's 40th anniversary tour, so expect a lot of the hits – including such longtime crowd-pleasers as “Love Shack,” “Rock Lobster,” “Private Idaho,” and “Planet Claire” – to be played loudly and enthusiastically. Fellow ‘80s favorites OMD (a.k.a. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) and Berlin will open the show. Jeff Strowe
George Clinton Saturday, August 17