Welcome to the heart of the fall concert festival season in the Valley. The next seven days and nights offer you the chance to check out an exhaustive lineup of local rappers, bands, and singer-songwriters. There are also three music fests scheduled to take place around town.
There’s the annual Mesa Music Festival, which will feature a slew of performances throughout the downtown area of the east Valley suburb on Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, this year’s Arizona Hip Hop Festival will serve up more than 350 artists rocking the mic at The Pressroom on Saturday and Sunday.
Other concert highlights happening from Friday, November 15, to Thursday, November 21, include gigs by The Black Keys, Bad Bunny, Soccer Mommy, Built to Spill, Nekromantix, Tiffany Young, and Cautious Clay.
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.
NekromantixSaturday, November 16
Nile Theater in Mesa
Psychobilly is a tragically underappreciated genre, but Nekromantix couldn’t care less. For the past 30 years, this Danish-American trio have displayed a unique swing-dance sensibility alongside a punk-rock attitude, accentuated by tongue-in-cheek lyricism about the macabre. Anyone who hasn’t seen frontman Kim Nekroman play his coffin bass live should do themselves a favor and visit the Nile Theater in Mesa on Friday night for what’s likely to be a raucous gig. Stellar Corpses, Creepsville 666, and Black Mountain Moonshine will open the 7 p.m. show. Tickets are $18 to $22. Matthew Keever
Young Thug and Machine Gun KellyFriday, November 15
Young Thug, who recently dropped his latest studio album, So Much Fun, has joined forces with Machine Gun Kelly for a joint tour that hits the Valley this weekend. The two artists have different takes on hip-hop: MGK, who just released his fourth studio album, Hotel Diablo, leans more toward more rap-rock, while Young Thug is all about trap. They mesh surprisingly well, as evidenced during their current tour. Though the two are performing their sets separately, they share the stage for “Ecstasy,” their collaborative track, trading verses in front of a massive screen of floating smiley faces. It should be one of the many highlights of the evening. It should be one of the many highlights of the evening, which gets going at 8 p.m. Tickets are $38.50 to $48.50. DeVaughn Douglas
Bad BunnyFriday, November 15
Talking Stick Resort Arena
Often compared to Drake but by leagues more imaginative, culturally progressive, and future-seeking, Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny is taking over the world. His genre-bending sound — a fluid mixture of styles in simultaneous dialogue with reggaeton, Latin trap, dembow, R&B, and bachata — is a testament to the thrilling globalization of pop and what feels like the inevitable domination of contemporary Latin music.
He’s among the most streamed artists in the world (top three at least), he’s helping break apart the stifling limitations of traditional gender roles and not-so-latent sexism in popular music, and his beats, courtesy of some of the biggest names in reggaeton production, sound like they were beamed down from another dimension. Even better, he’s done it all while singing in Spanish, without once sacrificing the genuine, street-level culture than birthed his unique spirit and radical style. At times dripping with melancholy, at others booming out with blinding confidence, Bad Bunny’s music is at once a glimpse of how united our world could be, and how disorientingly beautiful, if frequently disheartening, it is today. He’s in concert at 8 p.m. on Friday at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Tickets are $51 to $233. Jonathan Patrick
Mesa Music Festival 2019Friday, November 15, and Saturday, November 16
The Mesa Music Festival returns to downtown Mesa with two days of live music plus other creative offerings, including a car show and art installations. The free event highlights emerging Arizona bands with multiple locations along Main Street in downtown Mesa hosting a variety of performances. Participating acts this year include Hoobastank, Marissa Ford, Zairah, Evie Clair, Broken Baby, El West, This Modern, Allison Armanix, Madison Roe, Black Mountain Project, Awil Onuag, JC Triple Threat, Elodie Reverie, Viper Club, and others. Start time is 5 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free. See the festival’s website for a full schedule. Lynn Trimble
The Black KeysSaturday, November 16
Talking Stick Resort Arena
Everyone’s favorite rip-roaring, blues-rocking revivalist duo are coming back to Phoenix, and they’re bringing with them a Modest opener. The Black Keys will ride on into Talking Stick Resort Arena in support of their ninth studio album, “Let’s Rock.” They will receive support from Modest Mouse, another legendary indie band. Sure, make your jokes about how they sold out after Good News From People Who Love Bad News. You’ll still see this show on the off chance that Isaac Brock and company will play something from The Lonesome Crowded West. “Doin’ the Cockroach,” maybe? How about “Convenient Parking?” We can see you salivating already. Everything gets going at 7 p.m. Tickets are $54.75 to $344.75. Douglas Markowitz
Soccer MommySaturday, November 16
Coca-Cola Sun Deck at Sun Devil Stadium
For Sophie Allison, it all starts with the guitar. The singer-songwriter, who performs with a band as Soccer Mommy, was playing the instrument by kindergarten. At 22, Allison can distill the sound of, well, being 22 — its uncertainty and infatuation, its open wounds, and preternatural savvy. “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog,” Allison sings in sweet, blasé tones on “Your Dog,” whose title takes on the Stooges without a backward glance. As a post-millennial, Allison draws inspiration from a not-so-distant past that's just out of reach since she wasn't conscious for it: the late ’90s. Soccer Mommy will be in concert this weekend at the Coca-Cola Sun Deck at Sun Devil Stadium. The show starts at 8 p.m., and Caroline Rose opens. Tickets are $18. Katie Moulton
WayneFest 2019Saturday, November 16
During divisive times, community gatherings can create connections that give people hope. In the Coronado neighborhood of Phoenix, those gatherings include WayneFest, a micro-music festival that helps to fund neighborhood projects such as little libraries, murals, a community garden, and more. This year’s festival takes place from 3 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, November 16.
Head to Coronado Park, 1717 North 12th Street, if you want to join the fun. The festival includes live music by several bands, including Hot House Orchids, Hyperbella, and The Haymarket Squares. A $25 ticket also gets you two samples from restaurants such as Gallo Blanco, Ollie Vaughn's, and Taco Chelo. Lynn Trimble
Built to SpillSaturday, November 16
You could be forgiven for not knowing the indie-rock band Built to Spill. The band have only one permanent member, hail from Idaho, lack any true radio hits, and have released only one album this decade. But now, as the age of nostalgia and retrospective think pieces marches on, 2019 has brought with it seemingly endless 20th-anniversary album lists, and the many “Best Albums of 1999” compilations cropping up seem to have reminded people of Built to Spill, particularly of their 1999 magnum opus, Keep It Like a Secret. Released on the Warner Bros. label, the album was successful both critically and commercially, but didn’t elevate the band to stardom. Two decades later, the oft-forgotten, but much-adored record is treated as a sort of buried treasure. Built to Spill are performing the album in its entirety on their current tour, which comes to Crescent Ballroom this weekend. Slam Dunk and Sunbathe open the evening, which starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30. James Biagiotti
Harlem 100Saturday, November 16
Chandler Center for the Arts
A century after the Harlem Renaissance, the influence of African-American creatives who lived and worked in this small section of New York City remains strong. Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue in Chandler, is celebrating these many contributions to the artistic landscape with a variety show called Harlem 100. It’s happening at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 16.
The performance features Mwenso and the Shakes, a group of Harlem creatives with global roots, along with several special guests. Expect a night filled with music and dance that pays homage to Harlem greats and their ongoing legacy. Think Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, and Duke Ellington, among others. Tickets are $38 to $58. Lynn Trimble
Arizona Hip Hop Festival 2019Saturday, November 16, and Sunday, November 17
More than 350 local hip-hop artists, rappers, and R&B singers are scheduled to perform on the six different stages during this year’s Arizona Hip Hop Festival at The Pressroom in downtown Phoenix. And according to Justus Samuel, the local hip-hop impresario and community organizer who oversees the festival, there’s a lot of variety. “If nothing else, it's a very diverse and eclectic lineup,” he says.
The festival’s lineup is also a “who’s who” of the local hip-hop scene. Headliners include several prominent hip-hop artists who got their start in the Valley scene, including Futuristic, Vee Tha Rula, Mega Ran, Rockness Monsta from Heltah Skeltah, DéLa Preme, J.Rob the Chief, RoQy TyRaiD, Delly EveryDay, and Tommy Will. R&B singer Kalvin Jarvis from Tucson, who was a contestant on The Voice, is also scheduled to perform at this year’s festival.
Samuel is also hyped about an all-female block of artists – including Miss Vee, Ambition, Lita Lee, Jameica, K. Mahree, and The Gift – that will perform on The Pressroom’s main stage on Sunday. “It will be two R&B singers and six rappers. And they're all just dope,” he says. “It's just rad that we have such a beautiful female lineup. Like we've never had enough female MCs to make up an entire block. So that's fire right there.”
Cautious ClayTuesday, November 19
One way for an up-and-coming artist to gauge when they are on the right track after quitting a day job and going all-in as a full-time singer-songwriter-musician-producer is for one of your sexiest sax tracks to get sampled on an internationally known pop star’s new album. And for singer and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Karpeh, who records and performs as Cautious Clay, his debut single "Cold War" was sampled on Taylor Swift's "London Boy."
After moving from his native Ohio, the New York-based Karpeh reportedly began playing music as a child before studying jazz at George Washington University in D.C. Catch the Cautious Clay-Complex Tour when it visits Crescent Ballroom on Tuesday, November 19, because the next time Karpeh returns, it’ll likely be a much larger venue. The show is at 8 p.m., and Remi Wolf opens. Tickets are $18 to $38. Daniel Rodrigue
Tiffany YoungWednesday, November 20
If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, they have become precious lifetime pals with Tiffany Young, one of the brightest hopes among K-pop stars trying to bring more than bling to a solo pop act gaining universal appeal. Her recent live version of “Wrecking Ball” caught the attention of the song’s swinging, ball-breaking hitmaker, Miley Cyrus. Young’s game plan includes wooing the rest of the United States. Her Magnetic Moon tour includes a stop at Crescent Ballroom at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 20. Tickets are $25 to $200. Michael Bialas
MetalachiThursday, November 21
The Rhythm Room
Those able to picture Axl Rose adorned in an ornate, oversized sombrero or a bandanna-wearing Bret Michaels strumming a fat guitarrón can envision the spectacle that is Metalachi. Made up of five half-brothers, Metalachi combines the force and over-the-top exuberance of heavy metal with the tradition of Mexican mariachi music.
Somehow, it works, really well — in kind of a tongue-in-cheek manner — though in the beginning there were many skeptics, including the band members themselves. See them live on Thursday, November 21, at the Rhythm Room. Shark in the Water opens the 8 p.m. performance. Tickets are $20 in advance, $22 at the door. Glenn BurnSilver
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