Concerts in Phoenix October 12-14: King Khan and the Shrines, A-Trak, Seven Lions, John Paul White | Phoenix New Times

Things to Do

The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

The lowdown on the best of the Valley's weekend concert scene.
A-Trak will be at Maya in Scottsdale this weekend.
A-Trak will be at Maya in Scottsdale this weekend. Sacks & Co.
Share this:
Got any plans this weekend? You might want to consider checking out a concert, considering there are plenty going on at Valley music venues over the next few nights.

Highlights include performances by Scottish indie rock acts We Were Promised Jetpacks, psychobilly kings Nekromantix, folk singer-songwriter John Paul White, and off-kilter indie act King Khan and the Shrines.

With it being the weekend, there’s also tons of EDM events, including gigs by trance music legends Kyau & Albert, Fool’s Gold founder A-Trak, and melodic dubstep artist Seven Lions.

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

click to enlarge
Folk singer-songwriter John Paul White.
Allister Ann
Saturday, October 12
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

If there is anything you should know about Alain Macklovitch, a.k.a. superstar DJ, skilled turntablist, and Fool’s Gold Records founder A-Trak, it’s that he’s a man of the people. For proof, look to last week, when he got into a Twitter spat with Zedd, a superstar DJ with more money than certain small countries, over Sheck Wes’ hit banger “Mo Bamba.” It began when Zedd condescendingly tweeted (and later deleted) “I just heard the song ‘Mo Bamba’ for the first time … and I have so many questions…” A-Trak, a bit miffed like the rest of us, replied, calling it the best song of the year. Zedd, still on his bullshit, offered a rebuttal: “Agree to disagree.”

This is the part where A-Trak becomes a hero. “You can’t,” he responded. “Objectively, you can’t disagree, sorry. It’s the most important song of the year. Perhaps I could take you to a club and show you why I’m saying this and what’s innovative about it? I would really like that.” Of course, he’s right and Zedd is an elitist prick putting EDM on a pedestal, and he’ll be proven even more right when A-Trak puts “Mo Bamba” on in the club and the place explodes. Douglas Markowitz

click to enlarge
The always-entertaining King Khan.
Tally Tupelo
Friday, October 12
Nile Theater in Mesa

Melding the skronk of the Cramps with the grim stylings of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Denmark's Nekromantix have been swaying suggestible American kids into the dark and decadent waters of psychobilly since their 2002 album Return of the Loving Dead was released on U.S. label Hellcat Records.

Prior to that, the band had been active in their native land since 1989, making them already seasoned scene vets and import-only curiosities.

Since followed by three more LPs and a live album, Dead was a blistering 13-track workout featuring lead bassist and singer Kim Nekroman's trademark coffin-bass plucking and frantic howling.

If you have any predilection toward Texas' hellacious Reverend Horton Heat, you will find Nekromantix their perfect Danish counterpart. Break out the pomade and the fangs, kids. They’ll be at the Nile in Mesa this weekend with like-minded acts Messer Chups, Creepsville 666, and Belfry Bats. Craig Hlavaty

click to enlarge
Trance music legends Ralph Kyau and Steven Moebius Albert.
Euphonic Records
King Khan and the Shrines
Saturday, October 13
Valley Bar

Good vibrations will oozing from the cracks of Crescent Ballroom on October 13 as the garage-rockin', soulful, funky, psychedelic sounds of none other than King Khan and the Shrines, who visit Phoenix on their current tour. King Khan, also known as Arish Ahmad Khan, started making music back in the '90s in Montreal. He's been in bands like rowdy garage punkers The Spaceshits, along with Mark Sultan (a.k.a. BBQ) who later joined Khan to form The King Khan and BBQ Show, a punk doo-wop duo. With the Shrines, Khan brings his love of fusing styles, cranking up the dial into righteous levels. And capes. With King Khan and the Shrines, there are always capes; it's just part of the magic. Amy Young

click to enlarge
Scottish indie rock band We Were Promised Jetpacks.
Clarion Call Media
Kyau & Albert
Saturday, October 13
Aura Nightclub in Tempe

Trance music is back and bigger than it’s ever been. The euphoric and high-energy electronic dance music genre, which often features more ethereal and melodic elements, is in the midst of a major resurgence and is finding its way into clubs and on the charts. Trance’s heyday dates back to the ’90s (when DJ superstars like Markus Schulz, Armin van Buuren, Tiesto, Paul van Dyk, and others were spinning it on the regular) but lessened in popularity in the ensuing decades.

Flash-forward to today: Modern-day artists and producers like Christ and Rustie are using it in their tracks, and old-school trance artists are in demand. That includes German-born DJ act Kyau & Albert, longtime practitioners of the genre. Since their debut in 1990, the duo of Ralph Kyau and Steven Moebius Albert have spun trance like mad, released multiple albums filled with its sounds (including last year’s Matching Stories), and have toured the world. This weekend, their travels bring them to the Valley for a gig on Saturday, October 13, at Aura Nightclub in Tempe. in Tempe. The gig, which is being promoted by Phoenix Trance Alliance, starts at 10 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $20. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge
Mary Ramsey (center) and the rest of 10,000 Maniacs.
Don Hill
We Were Promised Jetpacks
Saturday, October 13
Crescent Ballroom

Typically when bands are having success, time off isn't really an option. However for Scotland's We Were Promised Jetpacks, it was the only choice they had to continue as a band. "We started to write the new album and it just didn't feel right," admits guitarist and lead singer Adam Thompson. After recording and touring since 2009, when the tour for 2014's Unravelling was done, it was time to re-evaluate how the band went about being a unit. They’d been going hard since 2003, making where they came from seeming so much more poignant.

While their last release was well received, it showed a definite deeper side to the band's sound, distancing themselves from what a lot of indie rock bands sound like. However, the band's new album, The More I Sleep The Less I Dream, is full of crazed energy, sounding like the work of men younger than those who made it. Produced by Jonathan Low (Mumford & Sons, The National), The More I Sleep The Less I Dream is a return to the energized sound that the band exhibited on their debut, with more earnest emotions sprinkled in. David Garrick
click to enlarge
Jeff Montalvo, better known to the EDM world as Seven Lions.
John Paul White
Friday, October 12
Musical Instrument Museum

Don’t misunderstand John Paul White. He loves performing and appreciates the fact that many of his recent concerts have been selling out. “It means I must be doing something right,” he deadpans. It’s the being away from home part of the deal that he could do without. “It’s gotten harder to be away from my wife and kids,” White says. “I’d be perfectly happy if I could narrow into that couple of hours of stage time and fast-forward through the travel and waiting-around time.”

It’s that downtime, though, that leads to songwriting, and White is a man fiercely devoted to the craft. An Alabama native who lives in and owns a studio in Florence, White spent over a decade working long and hard as a songwriter on Music Row, churning out hits for other country-oriented artists. Concurrently, he was busy with his own music, too, releasing his debut album in 2008. A year later, he joined fellow singer-songwriter Joy Williams to form The Civil Wars, a folk duo that captured two Grammy Awards in 2012. White followed the split of that project with Beulah, a celebrated solo album released in 2016 that featured a plethora of his trademark plaintive and heart-wrenching story songs. He's quickly following up that release with another slated for an upcoming release.

Known for working with sparse arrangements that serve to highlight the quiet, often reflective nature of his songs, White hints at a new direction for this upcoming batch of tunes. “These new songs are adult-oriented, for sure. Writing the material and working on it really forced me to think about what I wanted to be when I grow up,” he chuckles. “I really thought about what to say and expressly how to say it.” Jeff Strowe

click to enlarge
Washboard Jere loves playing.
Ken Baker
10,000 Maniacs
Saturday, October 13
Marquee Theatre

It's hard to say anything bad about a band that's been around for 36 years, especially one as kindly as 10,000 Maniacs. You know, they're that band that's made a career of being that band you sort of recognize on independent radio stations. Being a musician is a hard road to travel, and any band that’s been going strong for more than three decades – including the 20-plus year span after it lost its lead singer and biggest star, Natalie Merchant – deserves at look and a listen. So when lead singer Mary Ramsey (a.k.a. Merchant’s replacement) and the other 9,999 maniacs visit the Crescent Ballroom this week, try to keep quiet and watch the band play. They must be doing something right to last this long, to say the least. Jaime-Paul Falcon

Valley Fever Quarantine 6
Saturday, October 13
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

The folks behind renowned local country music night Valley Fever will return to their old stomping grounds at the Yucca Tap in Tempe – and they’ll have plenty of friends in tow. The night’s co-founder Dana Armstrong will lead a wagon train’s worth of local country, bluegrass, and Americana acts to the venue on Saturday for Valley Fever’s annual Quarantine show. The daylong affair will feature sets from such artists as Jimmy Pines and Washboard Jere, Secondhand Sam and His Country Gentlemen, Jim Bachmann and the Day Drinkers, Maricopa County Prison Band, and others. Expect plenty of down-home sounds, y’all, as well as a bunch of hootin’ and hollerin’ to boot. Chip Hanna, Jayson James, Brea Burns and the Boleros, Hank Topless, Flathead, The Reeves Brothers, American Longspurs, and others will also perform. The event starts at noon and admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

Sunday, October 14
Crescent Ballroom

It shouldn’t seem surprising a band with SunSquabi’s pedigree would come from Boulder, Colorado. Even the band’s name has a kind of stoner mountain vibe to it. Yet, SunSquabi is not exactly stoner rock, at least not in the sense of bands (Fu Manchu, Kyuss, Eagles of Death Metal, etc.) typically labeled with that moniker. SunSquabi, however, would be very good music to experience stoned. Why? Because the music is a trippy blend of jazz, funk, cosmic disco, classic rock, and hip-hop fused together with looping technology, live improvisation, and a willingness to take chances.

“We were absolutely encouraged to take chances! That’s a very good way of putting it. There is so much creativity and so many new ideas happening musically out here [in Boulder] that we had to really surrender to all the influences and find our own way,” explains guitarist/keyboardist Kevin Donohue. “We had to completely zone in on what it is that makes us unique to find our sound. And not everybody is going to like it when you experiment, so it’s definitely taking a chance.” Glenn BurnSilver

click to enlarge
The Nekromantix haunt the Nile in Mesa on Friday night.
Courtesy of Hellcat Records
Seven Lions
Sunday, October 14
The Van Buren

The sounds of electronic dance music will pulse through the 20,000-square-foot venue this weekend, courtesy of Seven Lions. The superstar DJ/producer — renowned for his intricate and imaginative mixes of melodic dubstep, electro-house, and trance — will make return visit to The Van Buren when he performs at the venue on Sunday, October 14. And based on his previous gigs — which are high-energy romps filled with dope grooves, killer drops, ambient melodies, and trippy imagery — we’re guessing it will be a memorable night, the first of many at The Van Buren. MitiS and Jason Ross will open the 18-and-over show, which starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30. Benjamin Leatherman

Paris Chansons

Sunday, October 14
Musical Instrument Museum

Julia Kantor, one of the founders of L.A.’s Paris Chansons, is reflecting on the broad appeal of French pop music. Starting the group four years ago with her husband, Jacob, the Kantors have formed a tight unit of musicians dedicated to sharing classic French songs with a new generation of audiences. “I don’t know any other kind of international music that has this kind of a reach,” she says.

What’s most surprising about Paris Chansons’ rising profile is their diverse fanbase. The group began as an informal gathering of friends playing famous French songs in cafes. They quickly drew large crowds to each cafe gig, full of more than the usual suspects of French expatriates and American Francophiles.

That unique mix of backgrounds isn’t just in their fanbase, it’s also reflected in the makeup of the group itself. Julia Kantor hails from Ukraine; Jacob is Russian, and one of the other vocalists, Max Cohen, is Moroccan-Israeli. It’s a group of people who, on paper, seem like an unlikely band to carry a torch for singers like Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, and Charles Aznavour.

Paris Chansons play a variety of French hits, dating back to the 1930s, when songbirds like Piaf walked the Earth, and into the modern era. They also touch on the work of other French pop greats like Serge Gainsbourg and the ye-ye singers of the ’60s, who took Phil Spector’s girl group music and gave it a Gallic twist. Although the band are dedicated to sharing French classics, Julia says they’re also committed to sharing these old standards in new ways. Ashley Naftule
KEEP NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls. Make a one-time donation today for as little as $1.