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The 20 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Tool and their enigmatic frontman Maynard James Keenan are scheduled to perform on Wednesday, October 23, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Tool and their enigmatic frontman Maynard James Keenan are scheduled to perform on Wednesday, October 23, at Gila River Arena in Glendale. Jim Louvau
Without a doubt, the next seven nights are going to be huge when it comes to epic concerts. It likely will go down as 2019’s biggest week for live music in the Valley.

Besides two notable music festivals happening (Apache Lake and BOO! Arizona), a crop of high-profile bands and artists will take over local concert venues from Friday, October 18, to Thursday, October 24.

To wit: Acts such as Tool, Incubus, Tenacious D, Amon Amarth, Bush, and The Legendary Pink Dots all have gigs scheduled, as do artists like Lizzo, Lil Pump, Gus Dapperton, Becky G, and Tyler, the Creator. Add in performances by such other names as Awolnation, Dream Theater, Lila Downs, House Shoes, Peelander-Z, and Cannibal Corpse and you've got a packed week.

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

click to enlarge Becky G will be one of the biggest names performing at this year's fair. - CHRIS BALDWIN
Becky G will be one of the biggest names performing at this year's fair.
Chris Baldwin

Becky G

Friday, October 18
Arizona State Fair

Mexican-American pop singer/rapper Rebecca Marie Gomez, better known as Becky G, is a star on the rise. She’s had several hit singles in both English and en Español, collaborated with the likes of Kesha and Pitbull, and is currently headlining her first tour, which includes a stop at the Arizona State Fair on Friday night. As with any other concert at the fair, things get going at 7 p.m. and its free to attend with paid fair admission and $40 to $60 for reserved seating. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Local rockers Wyves tear it up at Apache Lake Music Festival in 2018. - DAVE COTTLE
Local rockers Wyves tear it up at Apache Lake Music Festival in 2018.
Dave Cottle

Apache Lake Music Festival 2019

Friday, October 18, and Saturday, October 19
Apache Lake Resort & Marina in Roosevelt

Bands from all over Arizona and the nation will descend upon Apache Lake on October 18 and 19 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of one of the best music festivals in the country.

Not only is the Apache Lake Music Festival a great showcase for bands on all levels of local, national, and international success, it is also a breathtakingly beautiful setting about 70 miles from Phoenix. Where else can you camp out with 1,000 or so of your friends, go kayaking all morning, and rock out for the rest of the day? Throw in a night sky full of stars and the legendary late-night jam sessions around the campfires, and it sounds pretty damn perfect for music fans who like to mix a little nature into their rock ’n’ roll.

This year’s lineup includes sets by Jared and the Mill, Sara Robinson Band, Wyves, The Uncommon Good, Japhy's Descent, and others on Friday, followed by an equally packed schedule on Saturday with performances by KONGOS, Strange Young Things, Mergence, The Stakes, Banana Gun, The Sugar Thieves, decker., and many more (check out the full lineup here.) The jams start at noon on both days. Tickets are $35 to $60. Tom Reardon

click to enlarge Costumed attendees of last year's BOO! Arizona. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Costumed attendees of last year's BOO! Arizona.
Benjamin Leatherman

BOO! Arizona 2019

Saturday, October 19
Rawhide Event Center in Chandler

Ghouls and ghosts won’t be the only thing going bump in the night during the Halloween season. Case in point: Bass-heavy beats, cacophonous grinds, and other ominously intense electronic sounds will fill the air this weekend at Rawhide Event Center in Chandler, during this year’s BOO! Arizona.

The Halloween-themed electronic dance music festival, which has taken place every year since 2016, will return for its fourth edition on Saturday, October 19. And it will feature the same sort of bass-friendly vibe as always. Fans of dubstep, trap music, bass house, and electro will flock to this year’s event, featuring such DJs and EDM artists as 13, Bleep Bloop, Deorro, Drezo, SayMyName, and Slushii. Locals Tryb and Triggabyte will also perform a special back-to-back set. As you might’ve guessed, costumes are encouraged. Gates open at 6 p.m. The 18-and-over event goes until 2 a.m. General admission is $69 and VIP tickets are $99. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Flordia-born rapper Lil Pump. - NABIL ELDERKIN
Flordia-born rapper Lil Pump.
Nabil Elderkin

Lil Pump

Saturday, October 19
Arizona State Fair

There are two explanations for the existence of 18-year-old Florida rapper Lil Pump. Some rumors say that he was bioengineered as a joint venture between record execs and marketing algorithms and developed for the sole purpose of generating enormous streaming numbers. The less sensational narrative involves acute media savvy and a vortex where on-trend SoundCloud aesthetics, candy-coated hooks, and catnip-for-teens swagger converge for millennial success.

Since popping off at 16 (he’s responsible for that catchy “Gucci Gang” song), Lil Pump has collaborated with titans like Kanye West and Lil Wayne, gone certified triple platinum, and served a mini prison sentence (like, literally, a few days). Scoff all you want at the dude’s hollow lyrics and tasteless presentation, but the guy’s living a pretty interesting life. It’s better than flipping burgers or rat-racing it, anyway. Expect a big crowd to turn out for his concert at the Arizona State Fair on Saturday night, which starts at 7 p.m. It’s free to attend for fairgoers and reserved seating is $40 to $60. Jonathan Patrick

click to enlarge Tyler Okonma, better known as Tyler, the Creator. - WE CARE A LOT PR
Tyler Okonma, better known as Tyler, the Creator.
We Care A Lot PR

Tyler, the Creator

Sunday, October 20
Gila River Arena in Glendale

In the 12 years since the formation of Odd Future, no figure in music has had a career trajectory quite like Tyler Okonma (a.k.a. Tyler, the Creator). He has evolved from a controversial fringe rapper into a full-fledged hip-hop renaissance man. The first of the Odd Future collective to go solo, Okonma’s early records like Goblin and Wolf established him as an inflammatory voice of horrorcore rap. Then came Flower Boy, which is a huge leap forward in terms of maturity. This year’s Igor continued Okonma’s musical hot streak and garnered further critical and commercial success for the rapper. The album dipped more into streamlined rhythm-and-blues and further explored deeper emotional territory without sacrificing the avant-garde strangeness of his previous work. Tickets are $44.75 to $54.75. James Biagiotti

Gus Dapperton

Monday, October 21
The Van Buren

Brendan Rice is his real name, but he’s best known as Gus Dapperton. The indie artist with the wacky hairdo is touring the U.S. in support of You Think You're a Comic?

Dapperton makes music that's layered and relaxed, proving that New York isn't as harsh as you'd think. His shows have been selling out all over, and his concert on Monday, October 21, at The Van Buren only has a scant few tickets remaining. Better hit up the venue’s website on the quick if you’d like to attend the gig, which starts at 8:30 p.m. and features Spencer as an opener. Admission is $20 to $25. Jeff Strowe and David Garrick

Bush and Live

Monday, October 21
Comerica Theatre

The post-Cobain era of alternative rock was very kind to Gavin Rossdale and his band, Bush. The rock act’s multiplatinum debut record, Sixteen Stone, thrusted them into the mainstream and made the frontman the crush of 16-year-old girls around the world. While they never duplicated that album’s commercial success, they formed their own musical identity on 1999’s The Science of Things before calling it quits after 2001’s Golden State. After an eight-year break, Rossdale re-formed the band with a mostly new lineup. They’re currently touring with fellow ’90s radio faves Live, who went through their internal turmoil after frontman Ed Kowalczyk left the band in 2009 only to rejoin seven years later.

Bush and Live bring their tour to downtown Phoenix on Monday, October 21, for a gig at Comerica Theatre. Our Lady Peace will open the show, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Tickets are $49.50 to $192.50. Jim Louvau

The Legendary Pink Dots

Tuesday, October 22
The Rebel Lounge

The Legendary Pink Dots turn 40 in August 2020, and the experimental art-psych-post-punk rockers with the cult-like following have already kicked off the first leg of their anniversary tour. After more than 40 studio albums across four decades (not counting live albums, singles, EPs, and collaborations), the band deserve an early victory lap. And this tour comes on the heels of the release of Angel in the Detail — an album, many fans seem to agree, is one of the Dots’ best in ages.

The band formed in London in 1980 before moving to Amsterdam in ’84 with Edward Ka-Spel and Phil Knight at the core. While singer-songwriter Ka-Spel’s vocals have always been front and center, he’s truly sounding cooler and more confident with age. Whether a Dots track starts with electronic bleep-bloops, a tape recording, guitar or keys, when the distinctive vocals of singer-songwriter Ka-Spel kick in, his vocal tone, enunciation, and theatrical delivery become instantly recognizable. Orbit Service and Godstar will open the 8 p.m. show on Tuesday, October 22, at The Rebel Lounge. Tickets are $25 in advance, $28 at the door. Daniel Rodrigue

click to enlarge Mexican singer-songwriter Lila Downs. - ELENA PARDO
Mexican singer-songwriter Lila Downs.
Elena Pardo

Lila Downs

Tuesday, October 22
Mesa Arts Center

Although Lila Downs draws upon traditional Mexican folk-music styles and sings in such languages as Mayan, Zapotec, Nahuatl, and Mixtec (as well as Spanish and occasionally English), her music is too restlessly diverse to be summarized as world music. On her 2011 album, Pecados y Milagros, the Oaxacan singer mixes reggae, rap, and rock into a set of diversely enchanting tracks, many co-written by Downs’ saxophonist-husband, Paul Cohen. Whether Downs is unfurling her majestic voice against a simple backdrop of accordion or kicking up her heels in an uptempo frenzy, she’s always a fierce defender of struggling migrant exiles. She’s scheduled to perform at Mesa Arts Center on Tuesday, October 22, along with Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company and Mariachi Feminil Flores Mexicanas. Start time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 to $55. Falling James

click to enlarge Viking metal band Amon Amarth. - METAL BLADE RECORDS
Viking metal band Amon Amarth.
Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth

Tuesday, October 22
The Van Buren

Few genres can supply grandiose displays of power as well as metal. Beefy guitars, bellowed vocals, and stoic expressions add up to something that's as often about the performers imposing dominance on the listener as it is creating another world. For those in the market for exhibitions of masculine control, what better model to follow than the Vikings?

Amon Amarth know the score on this one. They pump out melodic death metal steeped in Norse mythology and history and records with titles like Once Sent From the Golden Hall, Twilight of the Thunder God, Jomsviking, and this year's Berserker. Towering, well-bearded vocalist Johan Hegg implicitly adds to the band's credibility by resembling Thor without his mighty hammer. Plus, Amon Amarth are often tagged as Viking metal, a high-ranking member in the league of badass subgenre names, so there are several benefits to this aesthetic.

Amon Amarth will conquer The Van Buren on Tuesday, October 22. Arch Enemy, At the Gates, and Grand Magus will open the evening, which starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $37.50 to $299. Reyan Ali



Tuesday, October 22
Comerica Theatre

Largely dismissed by rap critics as an unwelcome Eminem impersonator, Nate Feuerstein — better known as NF — has developed a cult following through lyric-driven melancholy that sounds uplifting despite its despair. NF — a fellow Michigan native — uses his turbulent childhood as a muse, but he rarely pokes fun at himself (or others) the way Eminem was wont to do in his heyday. Instead, Feuerstein endlessly challenges himself, questions his talent, the validity of his success, and even his faith. In doing so, the oft-overlooked MC offers throngs of despondent fans a beat to nod to as they work through their struggles. On tour in support of The Search, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in July, NF visits Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix on Tuesday, October 22. Kyd the Band opens the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $58.50 to $250. Matthew Keever

Tenacious D

Wednesday, October 23
Comerica Theatre

Founded by metal-loving actors Kyle Gass and Jack Black, Tenacious D began as a goof on Metallica’s “One” in the early ’90s that blossomed into a short-lived HBO series and a platinum debut album. While their misbegotten foray into film comedy, Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny, was a critical and box-office disappointment, Gass and Black continued touring with bands like the Foo Fighters and releasing popular albums.

They’re currently on their Post-Apocalypto tour in support of the album and six-episode YouTube series of the same name. As such, each show delivers a set of songs and clips from the project followed by a second set of Tenacious D classics, including “Rize of the Fenix,” “Sax-a-Boom,” “Beelzeboss,” and (of course) “Fuck Her Gently.”  The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $50 to $95. Byron Graham

click to enlarge Awolnation frontman Aaron Bruno. - DANIEL SHIPPEY
Awolnation frontman Aaron Bruno.
Daniel Shippey


Wednesday, October 23
Gila River Arena

If you’ve been wondering how Tool's first album in 13 years would sound live, you won’t have to wait much longer. The band will play Gila River Arena in Glendale, on Wednesday, October 23, to promote Fear Inoculum, which came out in August. The show comes on the heels of what we at Phoenix New Times had called "the summer of Tool," where Jerome winemaker Maynard James Keenan, drummer Danny Carey, bassist Justin Chancellor, and guitarist Adam Jones not only released a new album, including a "deluxe art object" edition, but put most of their catalog on music streaming services. And with their current tour, it looks like they have their sights on taking over the entire year. And we're fine with that. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and Killing Joke opens. Tickets are $99-$155. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Peelander-Z are scheduled to perform at Yucca Tap Room. - WHITNEY LEE
Peelander-Z are scheduled to perform at Yucca Tap Room.
Whitney Lee


Wednesday, October 23
Arizona State Fair

Awolnation’s music has been featured in dozens of television and reality shows, commercials, and soundtracks. Macy Gray and metal band DevilDriver have covered the group's six-times platinum single "Sail." The same song has been used to sell phones and sportswear, but it's still not tired. The sound of it can be edgy, vulnerable, and delicious enough that the mainstream media is shamelessly smothering it in Sriracha for every marketing cause imaginable. Awolnation will stage their first-ever performance at the Arizona State Fair at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23. It’s free for fair-goers and $40 for reserved seating at the show. Amanda Ventura

click to enlarge Singer, rapper, and songwriter Lizzo. - LUKE GILFORD
Singer, rapper, and songwriter Lizzo.
Luke Gilford


Wednesday, October 23
The Van Buren

Lizzo might be the hottest name in music right now. Lead singles "Juice," "Tempo," and "Truth Hurts" — all from her major-label debut, Cuz I Love You — have propelled the Detroit-born, Houston-raised artist from the underground into the mainstream. Combining elements of hip hop, soul, funk, and (occasionally) a flute, Lizzo uses her music as a platform for body positivity and girl power. Her performance at The Van Buren this Friday might be one of the biggest shows of the year. The show, which starts at 8 p.m., is currently sold out, but tickets can be found on the secondary market. Ari Lennox and DJ Sophia Eris share the bill. Matthew Keever

click to enlarge Brandon Boyd of Incubus. - KELSEE BECKER
Brandon Boyd of Incubus.
Kelsee Becker


Thursday, October 24
Comerica Theatre

Incubus’s success as a mainstream alt-rock band seemed almost a foregone conclusion. During the band's ascent to superstardom in the late ’90s, their sound was just distinct enough to differentiate Incubus from everything else on rock radio, and yet just catchy enough to get on rock radio in the first place.

Most important, Incubus are a damn good band, which is how they have been able to cultivate a loyal fan base that has allowed the band to exist for more than 20 years. They're currently touring in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Make Yourself. Their concert at Comerica Theatre starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $39.50- to $129.50. Clint Hale

click to enlarge Prog-rock favorites Dream Theater. - MESA ARTS CENTER
Prog-rock favorites Dream Theater.
Mesa Arts Center

Dream Theater

Thursday, October 24
Mesa Arts Center

Formed in 1985, this American progressive metal band still contain original members guitarist/vocalist John Petrucci and bassist John Myung. Throughout the years, the band have undergone various lineup changes, including most recently the split with original drummer Mike Portnoy. The music has always been a boiling pot of traditional heavy metal riffs, shredding guitars and elements of traditional old-school metal, glam, speed metal, classic rock, hard rock, classical music, and of course, prog rock. Dream Theater have toured all around the globe, earning fans on every continent, having shared the stage with everyone from Megadeth and Iron Maiden to Deep Purple and Lamb of God. They're scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 24, at Mesa Arts Center. Tickets are $29 to $100. Alex Distefano

click to enlarge Nate Feuerstein, better known as rapper NF. - CAPITOL RECORDS
Nate Feuerstein, better known as rapper NF.
Capitol Records


Thursday, October 24
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

When it comes to putting on a show, few bands put as much effort into their performances as Peelander-Z. Calling themselves a “Japanese action comic punk band hailing from the Z area of Planet Peelander,” the New York band thrash out speedy and catchy tunes with titles like “Ninja High School” and “High Five Boy” while looking like they come from another planet.

Dressed in color-coded costumes that range from Super Sentai-style suits to kimonos and monster outfits, Peelander-Z bring an outrageous B-movie atmosphere to their shows. With members putting on tiger and squid outfits, the band punctuates their set with superhero/monster fights, unicycle riding, and even “human bowling.” You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the members of Peelander-Z turn themselves into human-sized bowling balls and pins and roll a strike on each other.

You can see their Power Rangers-meet-Kaiju antics live and in person on Thursday, October 24, when they’ll turn the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe into their own personal Saturday morning cartoon show. Openers Grade 2, U.S. Depressed, Krovak, and Killing Sunday will warm the crowd up starting at 7:30 p.m. before the human bowling and action comic punking begins. Admission is $12. Ashley Naftule

click to enlarge Cannibal Corpse are bringing loud, ugly, and glorious fun to the Valley. - METAL BLADE RECORDS
Cannibal Corpse are bringing loud, ugly, and glorious fun to the Valley.
Metal Blade Records

Cannibal Corpse

Thursday, October 24
The Pressroom

Cannibal Corpse have managed to make a career out of royally pissing people off. The mere mention of the band’s name is likely to turn the righteously indignant into a bubbling mass of frothy phlegm and fury. But then, one suspects that nobody is happier to have caused such a visceral reaction than the men of Cannibal Corpse themselves.

There’s nothing subtle about the band’s album and song titles: infamous albums such as Butchered at Birth and Tomb of the Mutilated contain songs with names as blunt as “Rancid Amputation,” “Meat Hook Sodomy,” “Post Mortal Ejaculation,” and “Addicted to Vaginal Skin.” It’s gruesome stuff — a trend that has continued for nearly three decades, right up to their most recent album, 2017’s Red Before Black. But the secret is that there is some genuinely intricate music being played. Those that believe this stuff to be merely power chords and Cookie Monster vocals are sadly misinformed. Decide for yourself during Cannibal Corpse’s show on Thursday, October 24, at The Pressroom. Thy Art is Murder and Perdition Temple will open the 7:30 p.m. concert. Tickets are $26.50 to $35. Brett Callwood
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers