Bishop Briggs is scheduled to perform on Sunday, September 9, at The Van Buren.EXPAND
Bishop Briggs is scheduled to perform on Sunday, September 9, at The Van Buren.
Jabari Jacobs

The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

This weekend’s concert calendar offers the chance to jet off to a variety of destinations, all without leaving the Valley. You can go down the rabbit hole at an Alice in Wonderland-themed dance party, for example, or rocket off into outer space with The Phenomenauts, or book a one-night stay at the Hotel California with The Eagles.

Other live music options worth checking out in Phoenix this weekend include a chance to hang out with Bishop Briggs at The Van Buren, rock out with Def Leppard and Journey at Ak-Chin Pavilion, or travel back to the '90s with local jangle-pop heroes Gin Blossoms.

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

Go back to the retro-future with The Phenomenauts this weekend.EXPAND
Go back to the retro-future with The Phenomenauts this weekend.
Courtesy of The Phenomenauts

The Phenomenauts
Friday, September 7
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

There's nothing deceptive about The Phenomenauts – what you see is what you get. And what you get is a shtick-filled, hard-rocking punk band that dresses in retro-futuristic space gear, writes songs called "Rocket Roll," "Giant Asteroid," "All Go For Launch," and calls its fans "cadets." Not only do The Phenomenauts shows have a rep for high entertainment value, the music backs up the band's image – they're a tight, groove-happy punk rock 'n' roll machine, and this show should be entertaining as they come. David Accomazzo

Stray Jazzcat Strut: Running From Bears cookin' onstage.
Stray Jazzcat Strut: Running From Bears cookin' onstage.
Bill Goodman

Running From Bears
Friday, September 7
The Nash

Imagine a ferocious Kodiak bear is running after you. How would you soundtrack this terrifying (and possibly final) moment in your life? A giant furry engine of death slathering at your heels, looking at you like you’re salmon on legs. Heavy metal seems like it would be the go-to score, but for the sextet of dudes in Running From Bears, jazz is the preferred form of chase music.

Coming together in 2009, Running From Bears has been an active player in the downtown jazz scene. Composed of Eric Rasmussen (alto sax), Adam Roberts (tenor/soprano sax), Keith Kelly (tenor/baritone sax), Jeff Libman (guitar), Ben Hedquist (bass), and Ryan Anthony (drums), the Bears have been playing monthly shows at spots like The Lost Leaf and The Nash for years. They integrate elements of rock and funk into their jazz, creating a sound that’s playful and driving.

They also have a wry sense of humor, as exhibited by the title and artwork of their 2017 Edgetone Records album Maul of America. Sure, Branford Marsalis can play his ass off, but we bet his pun game isn’t on Running From Bears’ level. Ashley Naftule

GlowverEXPAND
Glowver
Benjamin Leatherman

Alice’s Wonderland III: The Red Queen’s Revenge
Friday, September 7
Aura Nightclub in Tempe

When underground dance party Alice’s Wonderland II took place last September, it was arguably one of the biggest local EDM events of the fall. Hundreds of kandi kids, ravers, and party monsters attended the clandestine affair, which took place out in the desert wilderness and featured dozens of DJs. That’s not to say it went off without a hitch, however, as the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office wound up busting the party after only a few hours. With this debacle in mind, promoters Glowver and Sean Liberty decided to do things a bit differently for this year’s event. As such, Alice’s Wonderland III: The Red Queen’s Revenge this weekend will be taking place a legal venue, specifically, Aura Nightclub in Tempe.

Expect just as much colorful fun as last year’s event and tons of DJs. According to Liberty, the event – which takes place on Friday, September 7 – will feature sets by such locals as AZTech, Chris Tiano, Elwer, Daxxin, Alexander Galavizion, Hunter GR, Ivan Purple, Snaqs, Aisle 5, Still Trill, Swift Money, Tryb, Micro Future, and others. Go down the rabbit hole from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Benjamin Leatherman

Def Leppard in concert in 2014.
Def Leppard in concert in 2014.
Jim Louvau

Def Leppard and Journey
Friday, September 7
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Def Leppard and Journey are halfway through a massive North American tour. Co-headlining each night, both acts are leaning heavy on the hits. If you want the most familiar, you'll not come away disappointed. You'll hear "Hysteria," "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Rocket" from the Lep while you'll hear "Don't Stop Believin'," "Separate Ways" and "Only the Young" with the Journey guys. It is a good pairing, as both of these bands headlined arenas in the 1980s. You know exactly what you're getting, and given how the songs have remained in the public's favor, it should be a good show. Eric Grubbs

I See Stars
Friday, September 7
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

I See Stars is a sextet from Warren, Michigan, that mixes the seemingly disparate genres of electronica and screamo metal (hence their rather specific subgenre of electronicore). The band’s debut album, 3D, came out going on a decade ago and is a wildly entertaining set of songs that highlight its deafening dichotomy. Since then, ISS has released an additional three full-length albums, a pair of EPs, and a few remix albums.

Devin Oliver handles the vocal duties on the (relatively) mellow numbers while Chris Moore does the screaming material. Somehow, this mixture works more often than not. You might even say that I See Stars creates music best suited for a mental institution, which, I'm fairly certain, is exactly how the band wants it. Darryl Smyers

Patrons of a previous Selena night at The Van Buren.
Patrons of a previous Selena night at The Van Buren.
Michelle Sasonov

Club '90s Selena Night
Friday, September 7
The Van Buren

If there was one word to describe Selena Quintanilla — from her style to her music — it would be iconic. Celebrate the Tejano queen’s legacy on Friday, September 7, with a night of endless bidi bidibombom during the latest Selena Night at The Van Buren. Dance, sing, and enjoy an evening full of Selena jams from the ’90s mixed with other cumbias and Latin anthem throwbacks just like the ones Mom would blast during her Sunday morning cleaning routine.

The celebration begins at 10 p.m. at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street. The event is 21 and over, and tickets are $12 in advance. Melina Zuñiga

The current lineup of The Eagles, including Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, Vince Gill, and Deacon Frey.EXPAND
The current lineup of The Eagles, including Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, Vince Gill, and Deacon Frey.
George Holz

The Eagles
Saturday, September 8
Talking Stick Resort Arena

The “unexpected reunion” tour. The “we still know how to record good music” tour. The “we’re celebrating our decades in the business” tour. The Eagles might not have been working from a set playbook, but everything they’ve done since they reunited has felt calculated. Even a band with a wild man like Joe Walsh on the team knows the value of making the right moves.

So what then is this tour, the first following the death of Glenn Frey? It’s by no means a “memorial for a friend,” although they certainly do pay their respects to one of the founding members of the group. As they’ve rolled through their setlists on this tour – which hits the Valley this weekend, the remaining founding members of the group will take their respective turns in the spotlight, it becomes clear what the goal of the tour is; this is the “this is who we are now and you should keep paying to see us” tour. And to their credit, they do it in pretty impressive passion.

The new additions to The Eagles’ lineup fit in perfectly. Deacon Frey may not be his father, but what he lacks in stage charisma he makes up for in his ability to replicate some of the things his father did so well. He gets a moment to shine when taking the lead vocals on “Take It Easy,” and handles them like a champ. As per the norm with any Eagles concert, expect to hear all of their hits during their performance at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Friday night. Cory Garcia

Gin Blossoms in concert earlier this year.
Gin Blossoms in concert earlier this year.
Kelsee Becker

Gin Blossoms
Saturday, September 8
The Van Buren

To the band that made the following lines famous – "Anywhere you go, I'll follow you down. I'll follow you down, but not that far!" – we have a message for you: We, your loving audience, will keep following you. For the countless adults caught in that awkward place between Gen X and Y who remember when MTV played music, there are a handful of names that impart that deliciously distinct '90s-lost-innocence nostalgia, from Blues Traveler to Bush to Counting Crows, but it might just be Gin Blossoms who take the cake. With the salty-sweet voice of vocalist Jesse Valenzuela and hits like "Hey Jealousy," "Follow You Down," and "Til I Hear It From You," Gin Blossoms had a virtual monopoly on the soundtracks to school dances and car make-outs of the '90s.

Formed in 1987 in Tempe, Gin Blossoms broke out with "Hey Jealousy," a song that became the center of a tragedy after its writer, Blossoms co-founder Doug Hopkins, was fired and later committed suicide after a battle with drinking. The rest of the band's members continued on to success before eventually breaking up in 1997. In 2002, the band reunited and subsequently released 2006's Major Lodge Victory and 2010's No Chocolate Cake. Gin Blossoms have survived a shuffling in and out of members over the years, but at least for now, they're stable and touring. Jacob Utti

Tashi DorjiEXPAND
Tashi Dorji
Cameron Kelly / ISSUE Project Room

Tashi Dorji
Saturday, September 8
The Trunk Space

Experimental guitarist Tashi Dorji is prolific. From full-length LPs to singles and live records, he’s got dozens of releases available, and on each, his honed and intimate knowledge of the instrument finds him plucking and twisting the strings in ways that shift and bend the listener’s mind just as much. Sometimes the songs are stark and choppy, like “If I Were You, I’d Leap Into the Torrent,” his track from the Mother of All Saints split 7" with Eyvind Kang. Its mild discordance offers enough warmth for you to stick with it until the end, with plenty of little side trips along the way. “All This World is Like This Valley,” found on Collected Works, is the opposite — it’s melodic and sweet, folky mountain music, the kind you’d expect to hear while lazing on a Carolina hillside.

Dorji was born in Bhutan, but has been stationed in Asheville, North Carolina, since 2000. Dorji is also a constant collaborator, and when he visits Phoenix, he’ll be performing with John Dieterich, who is best known for playing in San Francisco’s Deerhoof. Amy Young

Bishop Briggs
Bishop Briggs
Jabari Jacobs

Bishop Briggs
Sunday, September 9
The Van Buren

Radio pop has swung into darker territories lately, with vocalists like Tove Lo, Elle King, Lykke Li, and even Hozier inflecting electro-pop with soul-influenced brooding. Bishop Briggs, a.k.a. Sarah Grace McLaughlin, joins the moody parade with singles “Wild Horses” and “River,” which feature her impressive, throaty vocals over swaggering, relatively minimalistic beats. The 26-year-old British musician is now based in Los Angeles, but she was raised in Japan and Hong Kong, on her Scottish parents’ affection for Motown and karaoke culture. While pop today draws from a range of genres, including electronica, hip-hop, and acoustic, it will be interesting to see whether Briggs can turn her unique background into a clear point of view rather than another mashup of influences. Katie Moulton

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