It's a pretty momentous week, and not just for concerts. Over the next seven days, both 2019 and the decade itself will come to a close as the 2020s begin in earnest.
If you’re in the mood to celebrate, you’ve got a wealth of opportunities to do so. In addition to countless New Year’s Eve parties happening this week, there are also a variety of notable shows happening. For proof, check out our list of the biggest concerts and music events happening in the Valley from Monday, December 30, to Sunday, January 5.
There’s an enormous electronic dance music festival, New Year’s Eve concerts, performances by living legends like Jimmy Webb, and even a chance to celebrate both the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Man in Black.
Details about each of these gigs can be found below. And for even more live music happening around the Valley, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
Decadence Arizona 2019Monday, December 30, and Tuesday, December 31
Rawhide Event Center
The biggest New Year’s Eve event in Arizona each year, especially among local electronic dance music fanatics, is the annual Decadence Arizona festival, which serves up an enormous selection of superstar DJs, producers, and EDM artists performing for crowds of thousands across two nights at Rawhide Event Center in Chandler. And it only keeps getting bigger.
Decadence Arizona 2019, the annual event’s biggest edition to date, takes place on Monday, December 30, and Tuesday, December 31, and will feature four themed areas with more than 40 different EDM
superstars and local DJs scheduled to perform. There will also be vendors, food trucks, and more.
The lineup on December 30 will include sets by AC Slater, Adam Beyer, Bardz, Blossom, Dab the Sky, Dillon Francis, Jamie Jones, Nora En Pure, Qlank, Skrillex, Space Jesus, Tchami, Malaa, Whipped Cream, and others. On New Year’s Eve itself, artists like Ardalan, Arius, Atlast, Decadon, Diplo, Fisher, Galantis, Gerry Gonza, G Jones, GRiZ, Subtronics, Ekonovah, Joyride, Tony Romera, and Zeds Dead will perform. The festival runs from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. each night. General admission is $129 to $139 each day and $190 for both, while VIP tickets are $219 to $229 each night and $360 for both. Tickets can be purchased here. Benjamin Leatherman
IrationTuesday, December 31
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Iration are a reggae, dub, and rock band formed in Central California that have been playing the stages of festivals like Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and Hangouts for the past 15 years. Though some listeners classify the band's sound as “sunshine reggae” (a genre with tropical vibes), frontman Micah Pueschel rejects the label because the band aren't big on being compartmentalized.
Their latest album abounds with strains of hip-hop, pop, rock, and reggae. You can feel the vibes on Tuesday night when Iration performs a New Year’s Eve show at the Marquee. Brother Ali, Bikini Trill, Tyrone's Jacket, and Barefoot will open the show, which starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $42.50 to $77.50. Ayurella Horn-Muller
Maybe 2020 Will Be BetterTuesday, December 31
The Compound in Tempe
Maybe it's just us, but a good chunk of New Year's Eve soirees can sometimes be a little milquetoast. Set aside all the fireworks and midnight countdowns, and it's just another party or club night. The thing that really sets the best and brightest NYE affairs apart from most other Champagne-soaked shindigs is the sort of interesting activities and entertainment that takes place in addition to all the bottle-popping. Like, say, all the artsy and offbeat shenanigans that will ensue at Maybe 2020 Will Be Better, the annual New Year's Eve extravaganza happening at Tempe artist hangout The Compound.
Besides an enormous collection of work from more than 70 local artists — featuring such names as Sierra Joy, Colton Brock, Melissa Waddell, Chelsi Rossi, Lalo Cota, Yuko Yabuki, Tato Caraveo, and Tara Logsdon — the event will feature performances by a mix of local DJs and bands. The lineup will include sets by Los Espliffs, Secret Attraction, Tai Khanor, Djentrification, Tatiana Crespo, Pines of Torrey, and Dylan Paul Thomas. Things get going at 8 p.m., and admission is $15 at the door. Benjamin Leatherman
Grant FergusonThursday, January 2
The Rhythm Room
Guitar virtuoso Grant Ferguson's shows seem to work best in small, intimate venues. So his concert this week is at the perfect place: The Rhythm Room. He combines classic rock blended with elements of jazz, blues, and soul. His shows are often completely instrumental save for the occasional guest vocalist. Ferguson's influences include such musicians as Jeff Beck, The Edge, Joe Satriani, and Gary Moore, and it shows in his technique. And the energy in the room during his shows is the type you only can get from seasoned musicians and a crowd that celebrates the glory days of instrumental music. His show at The Rhythm Room on Thursday starts at 7 p.m., and JAMF will open. Admission is $10. Lauren Wise
Danny WorsnopThursday, January 2
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale
Danny Worsnop has been on one heck of a ride since coming to fame as the vocalist of metalcore outfit Asking Alexandria. The screaming has pared back over the years, but the partying seemingly increased. In 2011, a 20-year-old Worsnop was getting an intervention onstage at a show in Seattle. By 2017, clean and sober, he released The Long Road Home, a country-rock record that is a far cry from the shrill, piercing screams of his youth. Back in May, Worsnop released Shades of Blue, an album that seems to follow the same country-confessional vibe he’s now adopted in his solo career. It seems like Worsnop still hasn’t decided if he wants to be Eric Clapton, Ed Sheeran, or just himself, as his return to Asking Alexandria in 2016 has been met with acclaim. But the slight edge to his voice and the difficulties of his past have also helped turn Worsnop into a competent country singer/songwriter. Tickets are $20. Nicholas Bostick
Cash'd OutFriday, January 3
The Rebel Lounge
Touring tribute bands have an especially tough row to hoe: If other places are anything like Phoenix, there’s already one on every third stage in town. But San Diego’s Cash’d Out have made it work for more than a decade, combining a repertoire that spans more than 150 songs and the authentic booming baritone of frontman Douglas Benson, whose rendition of Johnny Cash is quite a bit better than merely passable.
Cash’d Out was the first tribute act to be endorsed by johnnycash.com. They also impressed members of the Man in Black’s extended family, like ex-Tennessee Three drummer W.S. Holland, who has sat in with them, and Cash’s former manager Lou Robin, who has said their show is “like going back in time.” Drawing heavily from Cash’s Sun years and the Live at San Quentin and Live at Folsom Prison albums, Cash’d Out will amble into The Rebel Lounge on Friday night. Local band Outlaw Inlaws and The Joeys will open the 8 p.m. show. Admission is $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Chris Gray
Robag WruhmeFriday, January 3
Formerly one-half of the German DJ duo Wighnomy Brothers, Gabor Schablitzki is known by several monikers, but most notably as Robag Wruhme. A high-energy party DJ with a knack for reading and responding to pumped-up crowds, Wruhme is also an accomplished producer who individually crafted all of the tracks released under the Wighnomy name. Since the Brothers' breakup in 2009, he has focused on music production and touring worldwide as a solo DJ act.
Though he's often regarded as one of the flag-bearers for German techno, his diverse production work and DJ sets actually run the gamut from deep and tech-house to minimal. In 2019, he released his latest album, Venq Tolep, and created several guest mixes, including one for Claude VonStroke’s Birdhouse Radio Show over the summer. On Friday night, Wruhme is scheduled to be the first headlining guest of 2020 at Sean Watson’s weekly BFF dance party at Bar Smith. Doors open at 9 p.m., and Watson and Cormac will open. Tickets are $10. Matt Miner
Holiday HangoverFriday, January 3
The Van Buren
Any show that features sets by The Cure, Duran Duran, and Blondie would be a blockbuster. And, most likely, one you wouldn’t want to miss, right? Okay, next question: Would it matter if the aforementioned bands were all tribute artists? It really shouldn’t, considering they’re quite skilled at mimicking their source material. The tribute bands that star in this weekend’s Holiday Hangover at The Van Buren — including Blonde Day, The Cured, and Duran Duran tribute Arena – are more than adept at impersonating the sound, look, and feel of their source material. After a few drinks, you either won’t know the difference or simply won’t care. George Michael tribute band Careless Whisper also performs. Tickets are $15. Benjamin Leatherman
Jimmy WebbFriday, January 3, and Saturday, January 4
MIM Music Theater
Oklahoman Jimmy Webb is unanimously acknowledged as one of only a handful of living songwriting geniuses, with an amazing string of hits made all the more amazing by the breadth and depth of the artists who have performed his work.
Glen Campbell had poppy mega-hits with Webb's inventive ballads "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Galveston" and "Wichita Lineman," yet Webb also scored with odd groups like Fifth Dimension, who rode Webb's "Up, Up, and Away" to the top of the charts during the peace-and-love Hair era. Webb has also been covered by Elvis Presley, R.E.M., and Isaac Hayes, and belongs in the same rarefied air as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Burt Bacharach.
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This week, local fans of Webb will have two chances to see one of the universally acknowledged greats in an intimate setting with great sound when he performs on back-to-back nights at the Musical Instrument Museum’s in-house theater. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $43.50 to $53.50 for each performance. William Michael Smith
Elvis Presley Birthday BashSunday, January 5
The Rhythm Room
It’s been 43 years since Elvis Presley’s death, and the undisputed king of rock ’n’ roll is still being feted to this day. To wit, a slew of local rockabilly, blues, and Americana artists will pay tribute to the King during the annual Elvis Presley Birthday Bash at on Sunday night at the Rhythm Room. Local pinup queen Brenda Lee will emcee the affair, which will include performances by Pat Roberts, Jaime Waldron, Mike Eldred, Elgin MacMillan, Mario Moreno, Brea Burns, Jimmy Pines and Washboard Jere, Voodoo Swing, Tommy Collins, Whiskey Kiss, and many more. The show starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are $8. Benjamin Leatherman