The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Rubblebucket is scheduled to perform on Sunday, November 4, at Crescent Ballroom.EXPAND
Rubblebucket is scheduled to perform on Sunday, November 4, at Crescent Ballroom.
Grandstand HQ

So what’s the plan for this weekend? There’s probably a good chance it involves heading out to a concert, because there will be plenty of 'em happening around the Valley.

Besides all the live music being served up at venues both big and small, tunes will also be on tap at various festivals, ranging from the Bacon, Brews, and Blues event to Porter Barn Wood’s annual bluegrass hootenanny.

And then there are the shows we’ve chosen to highlight in the following list of the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. It includes gigs by art-pop act Rubblebucket, country music king Travis Tritt, the old-school skanksters of Mephiskapheles, the rock 'n’ roll raconteurs of The Struts, and the punks of The Menzingers.

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.

Members of The Menzingers.EXPAND
Members of The Menzingers.
Epitaph Records

The Menzingers
Friday, November 2
Crescent Ballroom

Formed in 2006, The Menzingers consist of Tom May and Greg Barnett (both sharing guitar/vocal duties), Joe Godino (drums), and Eric Keen (bass). Not a lot of bands can pull off having two frontmen without it turning into some nasty power struggle (case in point: Husker Du), but The Menzingers pull it off gracefully. And few bands benefit from having two songwriters working at the peak of their craft: 2017’s After The Party was one of last year’s most affecting records, a bracing 13-song collection about watching your 20s receding in the rearview mirror.

“Waiting for your life to start, then you die,” they sing on “House on Fire,” perfectly capturing the weird combination of inertia and eagerness that afflicts so many of us in our 20s: the feeling that our life is about to start for real any second now, and we’re just killing time until it happens. And the even more sobering revelation that awaits us down the road: That feeling doesn’t go away when you get older.

After The Party boasts a richer, more muscular sound than their past records. Part of the credit goes to producer Will Yip, whose ear for dynamics and ability to make guitars sound as searing and rich as molten gold, also helped groups like Title Fight put out their best work to date. And while The Menzingers are riding high on the success of After The Party, they’re not resting on their laurels. Between long touring jags, they’ve been recording new material — like the surprise single “Toy Soldier,” which came out at the end of May. Ashley Naftule

Long Beach Dub Allstars
Friday, November 2
The Van Buren

Long Beach Dub Allstars began life as a spin-off of Sublime following the untimely death of singer Bradley Nowell in the mid-’90s. Over the past 20-odd years, however, the Allstars have endured their own internal drama (including breaking up in 2002 only to reform a decade later) and have moved outside of Sublime’s shadow to a certain degree. While they still sport a few former Sublime members in the lineup (including Michael "Miguel" Happoldt and Marshall “Rad MG” Goodman), and regularly cover hits like “40 oz. to Freedom” during shows, they’ve also created a catalog of dub/ska/rock/reggae songs. You can hear them being performed during LBDA’s invigorating and upbeat live shows along with high-energy covers of Operation Ivy, Winston Reedy, and Dennis Brown. Like the band they owe their origins to, the Long Beach Dub Allstars know how to put on an entertaining show. Benjamin Leatherman

Country music legend Travis Tritt.EXPAND
Country music legend Travis Tritt.
Chuck Arlund

Travis Tritt
Friday, November 2
Chandler Center for the Arts

Since the early '90s, Travis Tritt's characteristic long hair and southern-rock vocals have been a common fixture on the airwaves. You probably remember him from "T-R-O-U-B-L-E," the honky-tonk hit that made him a country mainstay. In the later years of his career, Tritt earned a reputation as a bit of an "outlaw" in country music, especially as his rough-around-the-edges, southern-rock-and-blues-influenced tunes stood up against the slicked-up likes of George Strait. This weekend, Tritt swings through the Chandler Center for the Arts for a Friday night gig. Shine up your boots and get ready for a show that will assuredly be 100 percent country — even if country isn't so country anymore. Amy McCarthy

Mephiskapheles is still alive and kicking.EXPAND
Mephiskapheles is still alive and kicking.
Covert Booking

Friday, November 2
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

Way back in 1991, the men of Mephiskapheles made a deal with the devil to be the most famous band in the world. But Satan haggled with them, and in the end, they sold their souls just to be famous in the world of ska. It's been over 20 years since that fateful pact was sealed in blood. The band first got together in New York City's East Village and were influenced by such ska stalwarts as the Specials, the Toasters, Fishbone, and the Skatalites and were part of the third wave ska craze during the mid-’90s. After releasing their debut album, God Bless Satan, they signed a distribution deal with famed ska label Moon Ska records, got their "Doomsday" video in rotation on MTV, and played extensively with fellow ska stars like the Blue Meanies, Inspecter 7, and Less Than Jake. After surviving a 12-year-hiatus during most of the aughts, Mephiskapheles came back and is still big time in ska scene – which goes to show that, for all his faults, at least the devil is honest. Jacob Katel

The Struts want to conquer rock 'n' roll.EXPAND
The Struts want to conquer rock 'n' roll.
Danny Clinch

The Struts
Friday, November 2
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Luke Spiller won't rest until he's a rock star. And he has a couple of things going for him: As the frontman for the English rock band the Struts, he exudes Mick Jagger's cocksure swagger onstage and bears an eerie resemblance to Freddie Mercury; in fact, he wears stage outfits designed by Zandra Rhodes, the English designer who outfitted both Mercury and Queen guitarist Brian May.

Spiller's band played in front of 80,000 people in Paris as the opener for the Rolling Stones, and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters recently declared the Struts the “best opening band we’ve ever had.” There's no denying such high-profile support slots give the band a boost, but Spiller says it's difficult to measure success as a modern recording and touring group, particularly when the bandmates' goals are so lofty.

However, Spiller and company put on such a convincing Mötley Crüe-style show that it's easy to believe the most popular and culturally relevant forms of music are still played with guitar, drums, and bass — that rock 'n' roll isn't dormant, but dominant. Basically, they're banking on tapping into a huge, built-in fan base by blatantly ransacking classic rock’s Library of Congress. Howard Hardee

Get your funk on with The Motet.
Get your funk on with The Motet.
Paradigm Agency

The Motet
Saturday, November 3
Crescent Ballroom

Those who have come to know The Motet as an Afrocentric band should be happy with the band's directional shift on its more recent albums. While the African influences that gave the Boulder, Colorado group its footing in the 1990s can still be heard, The Motet has morphed into a full-fledged classic-funk outfit. Originally conceived as a collective in which musicians come and go, the shapeshifting The Motet has both incorporated growing trends and settled on classic styles. But at the base has always been Afrobeat, a blend of funk, Jimi Hendrix-style guitar licks, and indigenous rhythms popularized by Fela Kuti. Of course, reggae, dub, and electronica have played major roles in shaping the band's sound. However, funk is at the heart of The Motet's latest lineup. Elements of Parliament Funkadelic (and other George Clinton offshoots), Earth, Wind & Fire, Commodores, James Brown, Roy Ayers, and Prince fill the band's most recent albums. It's vintage boogie music that offers nary a moment's respite. Glenn BurnSilver

Alexander Ridha, better known as Boys Noize.EXPAND
Alexander Ridha, better known as Boys Noize.
Shane McCauley

Boys Noize
Saturday, November 3
The Pressroom

Based out of Berlin, Alexander Ridha, a.k.a. Boys Noize, took dark German techno sounds and made them easily digestible thanks to unforgettable melodies and insane breaks. Tracks like “& Down,” “Lava Lava,” and a rework of Feist’s “My Moon My Man” instantly catapulted him to the forefront of the U.S. dance scene. He commanded listeners to “Dance! Dance! Dance!,” and they obliged. Jose D. Duran

The eclectic artists and musicians of Mr. Twin Sister.EXPAND
The eclectic artists and musicians of Mr. Twin Sister.
Karen Sofia Colon

Mr. Twin Sister
Saturday, November 3
Valley Bar

This Pitchfork-approved New York band’s self-titled 2014 LP was an exercise in eclecticism, jumping from smooth, jazzy cuts like “Blush” to kooky indie dance bops like “Out of the Dark,” where singer Andrea Estella drops lyrical bombshells like “I am a woman / But inside I’m a man / And I want to be as gay as I can.” This month sees the arrival of their latest LP, Salt, and recent singles like “Tops and Bottoms” and “Jaipur” see them expanding upon their palette. Who said art rock was dead in 2018? Douglas Markowitz

Donna the Buffalo stampedes into town this weekend.EXPAND
Donna the Buffalo stampedes into town this weekend.
Courtesy of the MIM

Donna the Buffalo
Sunday, November 4
Musical Instrument Museum

Formed in 1989, roots ensemble Donna the Buffalo is based in New York State, but their following — a devoted group of fans who refer to themselves as “The Herd” — has made the band favorites at festivals throughout the country. Indeed, they draw the faithful with the same steadfast devotion that characterizes Deadheads and Phish followers, and with their musical mix of Zydeco, folk rock, country rock, reggae, and bluegrass.

“It’s the music, but it's also about the vibe and the message,” says frontwoman Tara Nevins. “Something about us encourages a sense of community, and people are drawn to that. Community is a great thing. I don’t know what it is about that. Is it our songs? The way we play them? It’s hard to say what that ingredient is or what we’re trying to put our hands on here.”

Originally dubbed "Dawn of the Buffalo,” the band adopted its present handle after being misidentified as "Donna the Buffalo.” More than 25 years later, the group is still going strong, headlining four annual festivals in upstate New York and playing numerous others year after year. This weekend, the Herd will head to the Musical Instrument Museum to catch Donna the Buffalo’s performance on Sunday. The show is at 7 p.m. and tickets are $33.50-$45.50. Lee Zimmerman

Sunday, November 4
Crescent Ballroom

Rubblebucket are a band on the rise. The Brooklyn art-pop and indie-rock group have slowly and steadily been making a name for themselves since their first album was released in 2008. Now with four more full-lengths, including this year’s Sun Machine, and several EPs, they've become a popular act in the indie scene.

Rubblebucket have that certain swagger, something like a mix between Brazilian Girls, Tune-Yards and Houston's own the Suffers, but with their own signature horn- and percussion-fueled style. Frontwoman Kalmia Traver has such a cool look, which she matches with her incredible voice and abilities on the sax. While the rest of the band members add their own necessary touches to the sound and vision of the performance, it's Traver who you have a hard time keeping your eye off throughout. The party-first atmosphere that accompanies a Rubblebucket show is enough to get you there. Jim Bricker

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