Ready or not, the spring festival season has arrived in Phoenix. Starting this week, outdoor concert events and music fests will be the norm as things get warmer, and Valley residents enjoy the pleasant weather while it lasts.
An evening of electronic dance music and plenty of raging kicks things off at the annual Crush Arizona at Rawhide in Chandler. It’s one of the highlights of our weekly rundown of the best local concerts, which also includes performances by Sarah McLachlan, North Mississippi Allstars, Jonny Lang, and Walk Off the Earth.
You can also attend gigs by a flamboyant tribute to AC/DC, Clockwork Orange-inspired punk legends The Adicts, and weirdo one-man-band That 1 Guy.
Details about each of these shows can be found below. For even more live music happening around the Valley this week, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
Leo KottkeMonday, February 10
MIM Music Theater
No one's ever accused Leo Kottke of being a pop star. But somehow, he's managed to parlay his awesome aptitude on the acoustic guitar, a knack for instrumental intricacy that's undeniably complex yet somehow warm and inviting, and occasional vocals that amusingly and defiantly stick to the low road into a half-century-long career. He's released a steady stream of material for decades while quietly influencing generations of pickers, as the dozens of online videos showing amateur players trying to master his licks demonstrate.
Over the years, Kottke remains hilariously unaffected by the esteem in which he's held. He seems satisfied to occupy his own particular reality, which is different enough from the one the rest of us occupy to render his commentary both insightful and delightfully bizarre. Step into his world at 7 p.m. on Monday during his gig at the MIM Music Theater. Tickets are $49.50 to $54.50. Michael Roberts
North Mississippi AllstarsTuesday, February 11
The North Mississippi Allstars are actually Tennessee royalty. The Dickinson brothers, drummer Cody and guitarist Luther, are the sons of legendary Memphis producer Jim Dickinson, who recorded The Replacements and Spiritualized, among others. Dad used to take the boys on the road where they learned music at a young age from masters of the craft. After starting out by playing punk rock, the brothers moved on to the blues, and have now evolved into a raw-throated, roots-rock band. The influence of their namesake state comes in the form of bassist Chris Chew and second guitarist Duwayne Burnside, son of the legendary Hill Country bluesman R.L. Burnside. The North Mississippi Allstars amble into Crescent Ballroom on Tuesday night for an 8 p.m. performance. Tickets are $25 to $35. Maggie Margret
The AdictsTuesday, February 11
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Calling The Adicts “punk stalwarts” is quite an understatement. The British band have been around a staggering 45 years. Their shows are packed with anthemic punk tracks from the band’s vast catalog. Don’t expect a run-of-the-mill grimy show. The Adicts are wildly cinematic, with lead singer Keith “Monkey” Warren dressed in spooky Clockwork Orange-inspired sequined suits and face paint, shooting confetti into the crowd. You can be sure that these old jokers (as they’d want to be called) will still have some tricks up their sleeves when they hit the Marquee Theatre on Tuesday night. Starving Wolves, El Googly Diablo, The Venomous Pinks, and Corky's Leather Jacket open the show, which starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $25 to $45. Ashley Harris
The Hot SardinesTuesday, February 11
Highlands Church in Scottsdale
With an affinity for Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, and Fats Waller, New York's The Hot Sardines clearly know their way around hot jazz and Dixieland. Fronted by pianist-bandleader Evan "Bibs" Palazzo and Paris-born singer Miz Elizabeth, the ensemble serve up some energetic foot-stomping jazz while laying back on some gorgeous ballads found in their discography, including 2019’s Welcome Home, Bon Voyage. The Hot Sardines latest visit to the Valley comes on Tuesday night when they perform at Highlands Church as part of the ongoing Arizona Musicfest. Start time is 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $26 to $69. Tom Murphy
Crush Arizona 2020Friday, February 14
Rawhide Event Center in Chandler
Quick question, y’all. How much do you love electronic dance music? If it’s with all your heart, then you’ll want to head to Rawhide Event Center in Chandler this weekend for Crush Arizona. Ditto for anyone who loves over-the-top music festivals, laser light shows, big beats, and getting rowdy and going hard with thousands of fellow EDM fiends.
Each year, the annual Valentine’s Day-themed dance music festival offers all of these thrills at Rawhide, as well as a lineup of big-name DJs and EDM artists and countless patrons dressed in love-themed costumes. This year’s lineup will include sets by Jauz, 4B, Audien, Habstrakt, Tynan, Carbin, and Dark Mark. Gates open at 6 p.m., and the event goes until 2 a.m. General admission is $69 and VIP tickets are $99. Benjamin Leatherman
Jonny LangFriday, February 14
Chandler Center for the Arts
Being a prodigy can sometimes suck. Take Jonny Lang, for example. When he burst onto the scene as an astonishingly gifted 14-year-old guitar wünderkind, it must have seemed like the coolest thing in the world. Lang, however, chose to do something at which prodigies often fail — he grew as an artist. Over the course of two decades and eight albums, Lang has moved away from the strictures of structured blues, embracing a host of styles ranging from Southern-fried rock to Memphis-style soul to gospel, finding room in his music to embrace the spirit of the blues that got him started in the first place. He’s scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Chandler Center for the Arts. Tickets are $38 to $78. Nicholas L. Hall
George & Dragon’s 25th Anniversary PartySaturday, February 15
George & Dragon Pub
Midtown Phoenix’s George & Dragon Pub has weathered plenty of ups and downs over the past 25 years. The pub and its owner, David Wimberley, survived economic downturns, light rail construction, and even a tumultuous appearance on Bar Rescue , all while serving up British fare and libations. It has also served up another famous U.K. export: punk fucking rock. Bands such as Scorpion vs. Tarantula, Family Secret, and Labor Party have all performed raucous gigs at the pub over the years, adding to the rowdy atmosphere. So it's fitting that the G&D’s 25th-anniversary party this weekend will feature plenty of punk, including sets by Glass Heroes, Fat Grey Cat, and Baron Rickshaw. The music starts at 9 p.m., and admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman
Sarah McLachlanSaturday, February 15
Arizona Federal Theatre (formerly Comerica Theatre)
Now into its third decade, Sarah McLachlan's career continues to roll on. The singer-songwriter was instrumental in bringing women to the forefront in the ’90s with her female artist-focused Lilith Fair tour, a festival that flourished at a pivotal time in popular music. Ever the philanthropist, the accomplished guitarist and pianist has also utilized her star power to back organizations like AIDS research and disaster relief efforts. The Canadian-born performer may perhaps be best known for lending her voice and music to commercials for animal-welfare group ASPCA. Beyond her charitable work, McLachlan has released over a dozen live and studio albums, including 2016’s Wonderland, which showcased the varying range of her classically trained voice. See and hear her live at 8 p.m. on Saturday night at Arizona Federal Theatre. Tickets start at $46. Bree Davies
That 1 GuySaturday, February 15
Think one-man band: cymbals on the elbows, drum on the back, horns under the arms, and tambourines on the knees, creating a cacophony designed to annoy passers-by. Now, try to envision That 1 Guy, a.k.a. Mike Silverman, as he takes the one-man-band concept to a whole new level with the wide-ranging sounds created on his homemade Magic Pipe.
This 1 Guy sounds like a handful as he drifts through prog-rock overtures, funk dance grooves, avant-classical passages, and mind-melting free jazz expressionism. While Silverman does have set songs, he’s got a knack for free-wheeling improvisation and “going off on sonic adventures” during his sets. But don’t take our word for it, head for Valley Bar on Saturday night for his show, which gets going at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Glenn BurnSilver
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Walk Off the EarthSunday, February 16
The Van Buren
With the right mix of covers and originals, Walk Off the Earth have something for everyone. Their music, which relies on light melodies and simple beats, sounds like a sunny day, but some of their lyrics take on a cloudy tone (think Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks"). The shift in their sound came after Mike Taylor died unexpectedly in late 2018. They took a short hiatus, but have been working tirelessly ever since. They reached viral status when their cover of Gotye’s “Somebody that You Used to Know” stole the hearts of YouTube users everywhere. The group have won one Juno (Canada’s version of the Grammy) award and many accolades, including over 1.4 million monthly listeners on Spotify. They’ll perform at The Van Buren on Sunday night. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $35 to $64. Barbara Smith
Editor's note: This list has been updated since its initial publication to reflect a canceled show.