The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

The Interrupters are scheduled to perform on Saturday, November 10, at Tempe Marketplace.EXPAND
The Interrupters are scheduled to perform on Saturday, November 10, at Tempe Marketplace.
Courtesy of Hellcat Records
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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.

Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots.EXPAND
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

Alex Paterson and Michael Rendall of The Orb.EXPAND
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

Sean WatsonEXPAND
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

Henry Rollins will speak on Friday at this year's Mesa Music Festival.
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

The members of The Mowgli's.EXPAND
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

Tobias Forge and the Nameless Ghouls of Ghost.EXPAND
Tobias Forge and the Nameless Ghouls of Ghost.
Mikael Eriksson

Saturday, November 10
Comerica Theatre

You just have to love the Swedish heavy-metal outfit known as Ghost. You have to love it about as much as its members profess to love the devil in all his forms and under all his names, be they Beelzebub or Lucifer. Led by their “anti-pope,” Papa Emeritus III (a.k.a. Tobias Forge), Ghost features five instrumentalists, the Nameless Ghouls, representing all the elements: Air, Aether, Earth, Fire, and Water.

The Nameless Ghouls are perpetually shrouded in black cloaks and silver demon masks while the true identity of Forge is hidden behind skull makeup or other costuming. All members of the band wear upside-down crosses and serenade audiences with lyrics about the Antichrist and Hell. It's enough to make your local church lady faint onto a pile of cats. If this all seems like blatant, offensive blasphemy — good. It’s meant to be. What’s more, after only one listen, hard rock and metal fans of all ages will fucking love it. Angel Melendez

Five Finger Death PunchEXPAND
Five Finger Death Punch
Hristo Shindov

Five Finger Death Punch
Saturday, November 10
Ak-Chin Pavilion

The Las Vegas natives of Five Finger Death Punch are bringing their brand of heavy metal to Ak-Chin Pavilion in November to promote their latest album,And Justice for None. After recovering from a tough year that led frontman Ivan Moody to cancel tour dates while he was in rehab, the band has come back stronger than ever. Breaking Benjamin will accompany Five Finger Death Punch, playing tracks from its newest release, Ember. Bad Wolves and From Ashes to New will open. Brad LaCour

The Interrupters
Saturday, November 10
Tempe Marketplace

As ska devolves further from its Jamaican roots in the late 1950s, the genre these days often replaces soul and imagination with jock-rock conformity, transforming ska's madly insidious rhythms and uplifting messages into mere background music for frat parties. Of course, the Two-Tone revival in Britain in the early '80s helped reinvigorate the genre and give it new life, but so much modern ska is merely escapist and shallow. The Interrupters don't add anything new to the style, but singer Aimee Allen imbues her band with just enough personality and hooks to justify the whole affair. If tracks such as "She’s Kerosene" don't really evoke Jamaica's diversity and violent contradictions, they're at least mindlessly catchy, with suburban-punk guitars and Allen's gruff, Joan Jett-like phrasing. This weekend, The Interrupters will perform a free show on Saturday night at Tempe Marketplace, which gets going at 7 p.m. Falling James

Will Claye performs at last year's Arizona Hip-Hop Festival in downtown PhoenixEXPAND
Will Claye performs at last year's Arizona Hip-Hop Festival in downtown Phoenix
DJ John Blaze

Arizona Hip Hop Festival 2018
Saturday, November 10, and Sunday, November 11
Downtown Phoenix

The annual Arizona Hip Hop Festival has undergone a few changes this year, to say the least. The locally focused hip-hop extravaganza, which features performances by hundreds of rappers, MCs, and artists from the Valley scene, has expanded to two days and will take place in a new location with an even bigger lineup than before.

The 2018 edition of the festival will encompass a sizable area along Washington Street between First and Second streets. The area will be fenced off and feature performances, activities, and events in all of the clubs, bars, and venues located in the area while two stages will be located outside.

Justus Samuel, the local community organizer and hip-hop impresario that oversees the festival, tells Phoenix New Times that, despite all the changes, the event still has the same focus: local hip-hop artists. More than 300 local rappers, MCs, and hip-hop artists will be featured this year, a step up from the 250 that appeared in 2017. “This year we're really focused on new faces,” Samuel says. “The last four years have been all the tenured practitioners and all the big names and the more prominent [artists], but this year we wanted to open things up to people who are really excited to be involved and we wanted to introduce the community to the faces to watch.” Benjamin Leatherman

Playboi Carti performs at the Marquee on Sunday night.EXPAND
Playboi Carti performs at the Marquee on Sunday night.

Playboi Carti
Sunday, November 11
Marquee Theatre

Jordan Carter, a.k.a. SoundCloud rap sensation PlayboiCarti, began his rap career as a member of Awful Records, the iconoclastic Atlanta alt-rap collective headed by Father and featuring talents such as Abra, Key!, and iLoveMakonnen. He began gaining clout in the wider hip-hop world thanks to SoundCloud tracks such as "Broke Boi" and "Don't Tell Nobody." Last year, he released his self-titled mixtape, featuring the hit "Magnolia," a star-making song for both Carti and producer Pi'erre Bourne that made Bourne's production tag – "Yo Pierre, you wanna come out here?" – an instant sign that the DJ is about to drop a slapper into the mix. Carti also made it onto last year's XXL Freshman List, where he freestyled with the late XXXtentacion, and earned features on the like's of A$AP Mob's "RAF" and Lana Del Rey's "Summer Bummer."

Carti's latest project is this year's album Die Lit, which furthers his style of elastic, language-defying, adlib-filled rap and perfectly articulates the seemingly-disparate Millennial/Gen-Z desires to both die and get lit. It also features appearances by Young Thug, Skepta, Nicki Minaj, Bryson Tiller, Travis Scott, and of course Carti's best friend in the whole wide world Lil Uzi Vert. Pi'erre Bourne returns as executive producer. Douglas Markowitz

The Internet
Sunday, November 11
The Van Buren

Odd Future, the early 2010s hip-hop/skateboarding/art/tomfoolery collective that birthed the careers of Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, and Tyler, The Creator was so gargantuan that it didn’t just shelter rappers and shredders under its massive umbrella. It also spawned a whole band named after the biggest, most all-encompassing thing anyone can dream of: The Internet.

The five-piece group goes for neither the abrasive alt-rap of early Tyler and Earl, nor does it reach for the groundbreaking R&B of Frank. Instead, their last two albums, 2015’s Ego Death and this year’s Hive Mind, favor a smooth, slide-into-ya-girl’s-DMs type of jazzy funk. Don’t think it stops there, though: The band’s singer Syd and guitarist Steve Lacy have both released solo albums, and the other three members plan on doing the same before they reconvene for the next album. Odd Future: the gift that keeps on giving, even after all these years. Douglas Markowitz

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