Things to Do

The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

The Interrupters are scheduled to perform on Saturday, November 10, at Tempe Marketplace.
The Interrupters are scheduled to perform on Saturday, November 10, at Tempe Marketplace. Courtesy of Hellcat Records
Welcome to the heart of the fall festival season in Phoenix. No less than eight different arts and cultural extravaganzas will be taking place this weeked around the Valley, including several music fests. (And, no, that doesn’t include the Unity Summit Music Festival, which we’re fairly certain isn’t happening.)

The latest Arizona Hip Hop and Mesa Music festivals will be happening over the next few days, as will the annual Volkstock 2018, each with its own lineup of performers.

Other highlights from this weekend’s concert offerings include gigs by The Interrupters, Playboi Carti, Ghost, Twenty One Pilots, The Orb, Five Finger Death Punch, and The Internet.

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

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Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots.
Fueled By Ramen
Twenty One Pilots
Friday, November 9
Talking Stick Resort Arena

This hard-to-categorize duo, which blends elements of rock, pop and hip-hop, has been around longer than you think. Twenty One Pilots formed in 2009 in Columbus, Ohio, self-releasing two albums and going through some lineup changes before arriving at the successful pairing of vocalist and keyboardist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun. Their career took off after they signed to Fueled by Ramen in 2012, a subsidiary of Atlantic that became well-known in the early aughts for representing kindred artists such as Yellowcard, Jimmy Eat World, and Fall Out Boy.

Their second album with the label, Blurryface, is the one that put them on the map, earning them five Grammy nods, and one win in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category for the track "Stressed Out." Despite the fact that the group shares an honor with The Beatles and Elvis — they're the only three rock acts to have two top five singles at the same time — the music lacks their timelessness, but Joseph and Dun are aspiring poets and derived their name from an Arthur Miller play, so they've got some soul. Their newest full-length album, Trace, dropped in August and has fittingly produced several hits, including “Jumpsuit,” “Levitate,” and “My Blood.” Caroline North

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Alex Paterson and Michael Rendall of The Orb.
Courtesy of The Orb
The Orb
Friday, November 9
The Pressroom

The Orb got its start in 1988, inspired by dub and house music. Cited as an influence of many modern electronic music artists today, the act also had a major impact on ambient artists of the past few decades, including guitar bands like Seefeel and late-period Slowdive. Founded by Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty, who went on to form the KLF, the Orb came out of the post-punk world but took the elements of dub-bass and sampling to make a different kind of music.

Their debut album, 1991's The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, was an immediate hit in clubs and even made a splash on alternative radio with its single, "Little Fluffy Clouds." But the group was never content to repeat itself. As a result, the outfit's subsequent albums across the next two decades displayed the proclivity of Paterson and his various collaborators for reinvention – or even a mere inspired rejuvenation in revisiting roots. Tom Murphy

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Sean Watson
Benjamin Leatherman
Big Fun Fridays Five-Year Anniversary
Friday, November 9
Bar Smith

Nightlife can be a fickle thing. Dance parties and club events tend to come and go, sometimes in the span of only a month or two, as venue owners and promoters do their best to keep up with the ever-changing whims of the crowds. So it’s remarkable when an event sticks around for a significant amount of time, much like Big Fun Fridays has done over the past five years.

Launched back in 2013 by local DJ and party guru Sean Watson, the weekly dance night has served up a mix of house, techno, indie electronic, deep house, future bass, and “everything in between” to the discerning masses on the rooftop of Bar Smith. Resident DJs like Watson, Cormac, and Klu have worked the record decks and shared the stage with a slew of special guests over the years, including such names as Omnom, Born Dirty, Sage Armstrong, Onami, Mija, and others.

This weekend, Watson and company will celebrate a half-decade of BFF during the night’s five-year anniversary party on Friday, November 9, which will feature a headlining set by L.A.-based tech house artist/producer Shaded. The party starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person. Benjamin Leatherman

Volkstock 2018
Friday, November 9
Lake Pleasant Harbor in Peoria

Music is better in a Volkswagen, whether it be a vintage Beetle or a classic Van. Celebrate the most popular auto brand of the ’60s at Volkstock, a three-day festival that kicks off on Friday, November 9, with performances by Phunk Junkeez, Kuinka, AJ Odneal, Jeordie, Kuinka, Blaine Long and Rosas Del Rey, Trey Odum, Size 5, The Cheektones, and the Rob West Band. Get there by 2 p.m. if you want to hear the full line-up perform. Tickets start at $25 for general admission, but bring $6 for parking when you enter Pleasant Harbor, which is located at 8708 West Harbor Boulevard in Peoria. You won’t pay a thing to enter your VW in the festival competition. Lynn Trimble

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Henry Rollins will speak on Friday at this year's Mesa Music Festival.
Heidi May
Mesa Music Festival 2018
Friday, November 9, to Saturday, November 10
Downtown Mesa

What do you call a music event that promotes up-and-coming bands rather than established stars, and presents performances in vacated buildings, a cookie shop, music store, coffee house, smoke shop, and open spaces, rather than 20,000 seat arenas or 100-acre farmland? The Mesa Music Festival. Now in its third year, the city of Mesa-sponsored annual event has become a premier emerging artist symposium in Arizona.

The 2018 event is being held this weekend and will feature more than 200 acts from such styles as rock, pop, indie, folk, hip-hop, soul, and metal that will perform at various venues and locations throughout downtown Mesa. Many hail from the Valley, but even more are from all over the country and world.

For star appeal, the festival will have punk icon, spoken word artist, and writer Henry Rollins as its keynote speaker. The former Black Flag frontman will take the stage at Mesa Ampitheatre on Friday night. Other special guests include renowned music photographer Bob Gruen and producer Poppy Kavanagh. The full lineup of bands scheduled for this year’s festival can be found here. Mark C. Horn

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The members of The Mowgli's.
Courtesy of Paradigm Talent Agency
The Mowgli's
Saturday, November 10
Valley Bar

The Mowgli's was started by a group of friends who wanted to make music with universal appeal. The act's sound is rooted in the kind of breezy, folk-inflected, psychedelically tinged music from Southern California that dominated the '60s and '70s, and its outlook is imbued with a positive spirit that matches the summery pop confections

Over the last six years, The Mowgli's have released four studio albums and two EPs, including their most recent effort, the four-song effort I Was Starting to Wonder. They’re currently touring in support of the EP, which dropped in August, and will play Valley Bar on Saturday night. Akimbo and Elijah Noll will open. Tom Murphy
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers