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The 15 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Babymetal are scheduled to perform on on Tuesday, October 1, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Babymetal are scheduled to perform on on Tuesday, October 1, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe. MSO PR
The Valley’s concert scene is about to get very busy. Over the next seven days and nights, the fall festival season will really get going, local arts centers will awaken from their summer slumber, and big names and music legends have gigs happening a local venues.

For proof, check out the following list of the biggest shows happening in the Valley from Friday, September 27, to Thursday, October 3. It includes such extravaganzas as the Goldrush, Sandbox, and Hay Day music festivals, as well as concerts by such notable performers as Jenny Lewis, Charli XCX, Babymetal, Rakim, Flogging Molly, Social Distortion, and others.

Details for each of these shows can also be found below. And for even more live music happening locally over the next week, hit up the Phoenix New Timesonline concert calendar.

Scott H. Biram

Friday, September 27
The Rhythm Room

Mr. Scott H. Biram is nothing short of a total and complete badass mofo. First of all, he is the one man in his namesake one-man band, and his many quality releases over two decades or so have proved he doesn't need anyone else to help him get the job done, and done well. From vocal duty to playing guitar and percussion, Biram delivers his style of hillbilly country with a vengeance — tangling it up with elements of punk, blues, metal, classic rock, and an undeniably ferocious spirit.

Whether he's blasting out a fierce and noisy tune or bringing it down a little more low and slow, you know he isn't holding back anything. Another testament to his tenacity: Biram survived a head-on collision with a semitruck in 2003, suffering multiple internal and external injuries, including the loss of a substantial portion of his organs. A mere month later, with a couple of broken legs, he took the stage in Austin and performed in a wheelchair with an IV still hanging from his arm. Just like his tunes, that's pretty fuckin' tough. He’ll be at The Rhythm Room on Friday night with support from The Goddamn Gallows and Urban Pioneers. The show is at 8 p.m. and tickets are $20 at the door. Amy Young

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Charli XCX hits the Marquee on Friday.
Marcus Cooper

Charli XCX

Friday, September 27
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

It's been almost five years since Charli XCX’s last proper LP, Sucker, and a full three since she was deemed the future of pop music with the release of her Vroom Vroom EP. Fast-forward to the present, and Charli XCX stands without equal — a pop star in a category of one. She's still the pop star of the future, and the world keeps trying to catch up. Her new LP, Charli, was released earlier this month.

Charli’s Rolodex of players on recent mixtapes No. 1 Angel and Pop 2 speaks to her innate knack for aesthetic and curation. It's a dizzying recipe for a Molotov cocktail that no one else could interpret. Charli brings electronic producers like SOPHIE and A.G. Cook together with rappers like Cupcakke, Jay Park, and Tommy Cash, and comes out with a cohesive and compelling narrative.

She’s scheduled to perform on Friday night at Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Brooke Candy and Dorian Electra will open the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $30 to $60. Gerrit Feenstra

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Ooah, edIT, and Boreta of The Glitch Mob.
Magnum PR

The Glitch Mob

Friday, September 27
The Van Buren

The Glitch Mob started as a Los Angeles-based DJ collective that pooled their collective talent to make more collaborative music with expanded sonic possibilities. As individual artists, Ooah, edIT, and Boreta have released solo albums of cutting-edge electronic music, but it is as a team that they have put out some of the most interesting remixes being over the last decade. Their most recent album, 2018’s See Without Eyes, got plenty of positive reviews and the trio are currently touring the U.S. They’ll visit The Van Buren on Friday night and Elohim and Sejo will open. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $25 to $30. Tom Murphy

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The scene at last year's Goldrush Music Festival.
Benjamin Leatherman

Goldrush Music Festival 2019

Friday, September 27, and Saturday, September 28
Rawhide Western Town in Chandler

As with its previous editions, Goldrush Music Festival 2019 will be a weekend-long outdoor dance and hip-hop extravaganza with an enormous lineup of more than 50 artists performing across four different stages. Highlights of this year’s lineup will include sets by Adventure Club, Zomboy, Gareth Emery, Zhu, Sheck Wes, Green Velvet, Trippie Redd, Alison Wonderland, and dozens more. Homegrown EDM superstar Ghastly, who was raised in Buckeye, will make a return to the Valley and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal will also perform as DJ Diesel. “It’s definitely a big lineup,” says festival co-promoter Thomas Turner.

Beyond the performances, Goldrush will also feature a mix of attractions, ranging from carnival rides to western-themed activities like mechanical bull riding. The festival runs from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. both nights. General admission is $99 per night, $179 for the whole weekend. VIP admission is $149 per night and $399 for the weekend. Benjamin Leatherman

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Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers are headlining the Hay Day Music Fest.
Kelsee Becker

Hay Day Music Festival

Saturday, September 28
Hayden Square Amphitheater in Tempe

For one magical afternoon, the dream of the '90s will be alive on downtown Tempe's Mill Avenue. Local legends Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers are headlining the inaugural Hay Day Music Fest, which will take place on Saturday, September 28, at Hayden Square Amphitheater. Sharing the bill will be The Pistoleros and the cumbia/punk hybrid band Las Calakas. Wise Monkey Orchestra and The Hourglass Cats will be performing inside Ted's Refreshments (you caught that nod to Clyne's old band in the dive bar's name, right?). The drinking establishment, which opened earlier this month, was formerly known as the Balboa Cafe and is adjacent to the outdoor venue.

Julian Wright, the founder and CEO of Fork and Dagger Hospitality, realized it had been years since Hayden Square had been used for a show. He remembers sitting at the clubs that hosted bands like The Refreshments during his college days. To him, it feels like things have come full circle now that he's hosting a music festival on the historic street. “[The festival] is a nod to that '90s era of music," Wright says. Hay Day runs from 2 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door. VIP packages are $100, which include raised-deck viewing, access to the second-story patio, private bathroom facilities, and four Pedal Haus Brewery beers or two Mexican Moonshine margaritas. Jason Keil

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Singer-songwriter India.Arie.
Benedict Evans


Saturday, September 28
Chandler Center for the Arts

India.Arie has always sounded a little too much like the musical equivalent of Oprah. The singer-songwriter's music (best exemplified by her debut, Acoustic Soul) has always centered on overly positive, Afrocentric songs that embrace love, life and the challenges of womanhood. Her first two albums were innovative experiments with a fresh folk style of R&B — sometimes sexy and sensitive, other times preachy and pretentious — but always a sensible girl's ballast to sultry divas like Beyoncé and Mariah Carey. Catch her in concert at Chandler Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $48 to $78. Keith Gribbins

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Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus.
Ray Concepcion

Titus Andronicus

Saturday, September 28
The Rebel Lounge

Since the mid-2000s, the band of punk troubadours led by Patrick Stickles have put together some of the most conceptually audacious punk records in the genre’s history. There was 2009’s The Monitor, an album about a Civil War naval battle between two ironclad ships (yes, really). Then there was The Most Lamentable Tragedy, perhaps the first record that could be described as a “punk opera” about lots of things, but mostly Stickles’ mental health struggles. Their work is uncompromising, dense, literary, and fucking fun. Titus Andronicus are the real deal. Stickles and Company will be touring behind their latest album, An Obelisk, which was produced by punk legend Bob Mould, formerly of Hüsker Dü. They’re scheduled to perform on Saturday night at The Rebel Lounge. Control Top opens the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Douglas Markowitz
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Lil Nas X will headline the inaugural Sandbox Music Festival.
Columbia Records

Sandbox Music Festival

Sunday, September 29
Scarizona Scaregrounds in Mesa

Update: The show goes on, but Lil Nas X has canceled. Details are here.

Time to take your horse down to the east side of the Valley, because Lil Nas X will be performing in Mesa this weekend. The artist behind the genre-defying "Old Town Road," the longest-running No. 1 hit in the history of Billboard's Hot 100, will be whipping his Porsche to the Scarizona Scaregrounds on Sunday, September 29. He will be the headlining artist at the inaugural Sandbox Music Festival.

Big Murph, Seckond Chaynce, Katie Noel, Who TF is Justin Time, and more than a dozen other hip-hop artists will be joining the rapper with the Gucci cowboy hat on the lineup. Local bands like Whiskey’s Quicker and Travis Bond and the Rebel Souls are also scheduled to perform. The gates for this all-ages event will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will include food, drinks, shopping, carnival rides, and a mechanical bull (so get that Wrangler on your booty). General admission is $50 and VIP tickets are $75 and include perks like access to a preferred stage viewing area and a private bar. See the festival website for the full lineup and full details. Jason Keil

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Flogging Molly in concert.
Jim Louvau

Flogging Molly & Social Distortion

Sunday, September 29
Mesa Amphitheatre

Eight years removed from the release of their last proper record, Social Distortion have teamed up with Flogging Molly for a North American tour spanning 33 cities, pairing their bluesy cowpunk with a Celtic folk-punk outfit for quite the one-two punch. Flogging Molly haven't teased any new material since 2017's Life Is Good, but as Social D's Mike Ness recently told our sister publication Houston Press, he plans to promote the band's upcoming (and as yet unrecorded) record during this tour. Expect to hear plenty of hits from both bands' expansive catalogs at Mesa Amphitheatre on Sunday night. The Devil Makes Three and Le Butcherettes provide support. The show starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $49.50. Matthew Keever

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Don't fear the reaper.
Courtesy of Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Öyster Cult

Sunday, September 29
The Van Buren

Blue Öyster Cult are probably best known to casual fans for their hit singles “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper,” “Godzilla,” and “Burnin’ for You,” which remain in heavy rotation on classic-rock radio today. Historically they’ve been labeled a metal band, yet their music encompasses so much more, with elements of progressive and psychedelic rock mixed in with the hard stuff.

Their sound is unique and not easily categorized. Many songs are downright strange and weird, in a good way. Founding members lead guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser and lead vocalist Eric Bloom just keep on trucking after numerous lineup changes. In a just world, BÖC would be playing sold-out arenas and record an album of new material as their musical peers Black Sabbath did before retirement. Then again, it is nice for BÖC fans to see the band play venues like The Van Buren, where they’re scheduled to stop on Sunday night, on their current tour and not have to pay an arm and a leg for the pleasure. Michael Nitro will open the evening, which gets going at 7 p.m. Tickets are $42 to $82. David Rozycki

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Jenny Lewis brings her shimmering On the Line tour to the Van Buren.
Autumn de Wilde

Jenny Lewis

Monday, September 30
The Van Buren

More than two decades into her groundbreaking music career, Jenny Lewis has become one of the leading voices of her generation. From Rilo Kiley, The Postal Service, Jenny and Johnny, and Nice as Fuck to her solo work, every iteration of her music has been a vital soundtrack in our tangled headphones and influenced independent artists who've come after her. The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter is touring in support of her latest solo release, On the Line, and she'll play a show at The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix on Monday, September 30. Erin Rae opens. Tickets are $30 to $34. Jessica Gibbs

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Prepare yourself, the Game of Thrones live concert experience is coming.

Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience

Tuesday, October 1
Comerica Theatre

If there’s anything that brings emotion to a TV show, it’s the music. The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience is returning to Phoenix to give fans the chance to experience one of the highest-rated TV shows in a completely different way. A live orchestra and choir perform as footage from the show plays on a giant screen above, allowing viewers to relive all the gory glory one final time. This unique concert experience has been redeveloped by Emmy-winning composer Ramin Djawadi to include scenes and music from the show’s finale. Hopefully, the additions from the much-maligned eighth season won’t cause the audience will head to the parking lot before the concert is through. The journey to Westeros starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39.50-$99.50. Sara Edwards

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Starset is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, March 7, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Courtesy of Lucky Man Concerts


Tuesday, October 1
The Pressroom

Symphonic metal and space rock are not yet deep-rooted genres in music. But 2019 is surely part of a generation that’s redefining musical norms and planting the seeds for music to come. Starset are one of these musical endeavors that can be described with the aforementioned musical styles.

The band, which formed in 2013 and released their debut album, Transmissions, the following year, are fronted by a bona fide doctor in electrical engineering. Dustin Bates also completed research for the U.S. Air Force and taught at International Space University (yep, it’s a real institution of learning). So it’s no wonder he wanted his music to have astronomic themes.

Starset even have a backstory (which involves their creation by a secretive society with the aim of promoting science and alerting mankind to mysterious messages being received from outer space) and a comic book. You can get a copy for yourself when the band touch down at The Pressroom on Tuesday, October 1, in Tempe. Palisades, Hyde, and A Brilliant Lie open the 7 p.m. show. Tickets are $25. Diamond Victoria


Tuesday, October 1
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

For those of you still without YouTube access, Babymetal are an act from Japan that overlays a teenage J-pop girl band on top of a heavy metal base. If everything in life has its opposite, then this is about as divergent as it gets. Both the group and the performance are manufactured, choreographed, and rehearsed. For some metalheads, this brands the band as a fake.

In May, after Rob Zombie posted a photo with the band on his Facebook page, his fans weren't pleased and left comments the like of: “Babymetal is a shameful embarrassment to anything metal. Their (alleged) music make [sic] me want to kill things.” To which Zombie replied: “Hey, they are nice kids out on the road touring. What are you doing besides being a grumpy old fuck?" Thank you, Rob, that captures it perfectly.

You can (and probably will) argue over their bona fide metal-ness for hours, but one thing is clear: Babymetal are entertainment of the highest order. At their concerts, a masked backing band of professional session players rip through the music with precision. There was no slop, no power stance solos, no showy changes in meter. Theirs is metal built as dance music.

Babymetal will be at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe on Tuesday, October 1. Avatar will open the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $49 to $300 and grumpy old fucks need not attend. Mike Brooks


Thursday, October 3
The Pressroom

Rakim is among the most universally revered MCs. Growing up in Long Island, the self-described microphone fiend teamed up with Eric Barrier to form Eric B & Rakim, one of the most formidable duos in hip-hop history. In 1987, the group dropped the timeless Paid in Full. Rakim's flow demanded respect as he showed that he could rock the party and tell a captivating story. His lyrics revealed a writer developing his craft. After Paid in Full — an essential record for any hip-hop fan — Eric B & Rakim created some classic tracks, but eventually, the relationship went south, and Rakim went off on his own. His current tour brings him to the Valley for a show on at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 3, at The Pressroom. Tickets are $20. James Mayo
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers