Things to Do

The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Paul Oakenfold is scheduled to perform on Friday, January 11, at Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale.
Paul Oakenfold is scheduled to perform on Friday, January 11, at Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale. Scott Ramsay
So, how's your January shaping up so far? Hopefully as good as the Valley concert scene, which is finally done with its post-holiday doldrums and is loaded up with noteworthy shows and events this weekend.

Highlights include legendary mixmaster Paul Oakenfold making a return to Scottsdale and performances by such notable rock bands as Melvins, Mother Mother, Stix, and El Ten Eleven. Also, Americana/blues artist Paul Thorn has two gigs planned at local venues, the Mississippi Records American Tour is swinging through town, and the annual Arizona Bach Festival kicks off this weekend.

Details about each of these gigs 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, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

click to enlarge Hey, hey its the Melvins. - SPEAKEASY PR
Hey, hey its the Melvins.
Speakeasy PR
Friday, January 11
The Rebel Lounge

Many cool bands that formed in the '80s have lost their relevancy, but the Melvins are not among them. The Washington-bred heavy-stoner-rock trio not only still tour but also fully maintain their cool status. Singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne is an outspoken character who is likely the inspiration for The Simpsons' Sideshow Bob. He also introduced Dave Grohl to the rest of Nirvana, which is appropriate because the Melvins influenced grunge and sludge sounds quite a bit. Catch them on January 11 at The Rebel Lounge for an intense and intimate performance. Liz Tracy

click to enlarge Kristian Philip Dunn and Timothy Fogarty of El Ten Eleven. - TOPSHELF RECORDS
Kristian Philip Dunn and Timothy Fogarty of El Ten Eleven.
Topshelf Records
El Ten Eleven
Friday, January 11
Crescent Ballroom

It's not experimental prog rock, it's not self-indulgent noodling instrumentals and it sure as hell isn't post-rock. What El Ten Eleven does do, however, is maintain their own lane. The rapport between guitarist/bassist Kristian Dunn and drummer Tim Fogarty is palpable, almost fraternal, and rightfully so – they've been working together for more than 15 years. The "power duo," as they've been affectionately coined, started in 2002 in Los Angeles, carving out hooky songs devoid of lyrics while maintaining an earworm quality. Yet for an act fully in their own niche, there's a decisive lack of critical reception to El Ten Eleven. It's baffling to the band themselves, but it does lend to some ravenous fans and respect among their peers. K.C. Libman

click to enlarge The entrance to Valley Bar. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
The entrance to Valley Bar.
Benjamin Leatherman
Mississippi Records American Tour
Friday, January 11
Valley Bar

Go get your hammers, all you local blues hounds, jazzcats, world music lovers, and vinyl fiends: It’s time to smash your piggy banks. The legendary Mississippi Records is coming to town.

On Friday, January 11, the Portland, Oregon, record store is swinging by Valley Bar as part of its national tour. Founded by Eric Isaacson and Warren Hill in 2003, Mississippi Records is both a brick-and-mortar shop and a record label. Over the course of their 15 years and counting, they've put out over 230 records by artists like Michael Hurley, Dead Moon, and Abner Jay. The label specializes in unearthed rarities: They've reissued incredible funk, blues, world music, and American soul albums.

Store owner Isaacson will be presenting a film and talk presentation called "A Cosmic and Earthly History of Recorded Music According to Mississippi Records, "a mix of audio, film, and slides that will illustrate Isaacson’s attempt to tell the entire history of recorded music in 90 minutes. Mississippi Records will also be presenting short films by Raw Music International, which feature performances from musicians in Kenya, Trinidad, Ukraine, Iraq, Burma, Mongolia, Turkey, Thailand, Cambodia, Zanzibar, Thailand, and the Western Sahara. And Gordon Ashworth of Olvido Records will also be doing a DJ set. Ashley Naftule

Paul Oakenfold
Friday, January 11
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

Paul Oakenfold’s place in DJ history is secure. Widely considered to be a godfather of electronic dance music, the British-born mixmaster has influenced countless artists and helped shape EDM culture over the past four decades. In that time span, he’s also sold millions of records, topped the charts, been cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful DJ ever, and performed around the world (including atop the Great Wall of China and deep in the rainforests of Argentina).

So what does an internationally known and phenomenally influential DJ do when there are few, if any, worlds left to conquer? Easy, he performs at Mount Everest. No, really. In 2017, Oakenfold worked the decks at the “highest party on Earth” in a base camp on the mountain. And just last year, he followed it up by becoming the first person to DJ at Stonehenge with an epic sunset performance alongside the prehistoric monoliths.

So what’s next for the EDM pioneer? We wouldn’t be surprised if tops himself even further by pulling off a gig aboard the International Space Station. Until then, Oakenfold will pass the time doing what he does best at nightspots across the country, including his set on Friday, January 11, at Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale. Doors open at 10 p.m. and admission is $10. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Rock legends Styx. - RICK DIAMOND
Rock legends Styx.
Rick Diamond
Friday, January 11, and Saturday, January 12
Celebrity Theatre

Styx is still straddling a line between being an arena rock band and a progressive rock band. They're going to play a couple of new songs, since they're touring off of their 2017 concept LP, The Mission, but expect their show at Celebrity Theatre to also be a hits-laden gig. Songs like "Lady," "Renegade," and "Too Much Time on My Hands" will be performed by a lineup that has been together for almost 20 years.

Lawrence Gowan has proved to be a suitable replacement for Dennis DeYoung since he can replicate DeYoung's vocals and not come across as a Svengali. Tommy Shaw and James "J.Y." Young seem happy touring with this version of their band, and most Styx fans do, too. Eric Grubbs
click to enlarge Americana/blues/gospel musician Paul Thorn. - COURTESY OF THE MIM
Americana/blues/gospel musician Paul Thorn.
Courtesy of the MIM
Paul Thorn
Saturday, January 12
Musical Instrument Museum
Sunday, January 13
Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts in Wickenburg

That Mississippi roots-rocker Paul Thorn is a painter comes as no surprise. His music, and certainly his latest album, Don't Let the Devil Ride, is filled with realistic portraits of Southern characters in all their mixed-up religious dogma and dark-end-of-the-street sin. So are his paintings.

Thorn's artistic style is a mix of Americana and comedy. As with his songs, the veneer of humor never quite glosses over the darkness lying underneath. And, like his previous 10 albums, Don't Let the Devil Ride is constructed from Thorn's life. Raised in Mississippi as the son of a Pentecostal preacher, Thorn’s work seems to constantly delve into the struggle between good and evil, between the teachings of the church versus the foibles each of us encounters in everyday life. Such is the case with Don't Let the Devil Ride, which offers 14 covers of famed southern gospel songs – including "Soon I Will Be Done," "One More River to Cross, "Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed” – which grapple with spiritual issues and how wicked souls will fare in the hereafter.

You’re guaranteed to hear many of these tracks during Thorn’s performance at the Musical Instrument Museum on Saturday night or at the Del E. Webb Center in Wickenburg on Sunday. Blues-influenced indie band Alice Drinks the Kool Aid will open the former show. William Michael Smith

click to enlarge Betty Blackheart (left) and DJ Self.Destrukt. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Betty Blackheart (left) and DJ Self.Destrukt.
Benjamin Leatherman
Cupcake! Sideshow! A Circus Themed Dance Party
Saturday, January 12
The Rogue Bar in Scottsdale

Local DJ power couple Self.Destrukt and Betty Blackheart have been unleashing fetishistic fun practically every month for the past seven years via their ongoing Cupcake! dance night. This week, they’ll up the ante with even more debaucherous delights during the event’s seven-year anniversary party at the Rogue Bar in Scottsdale, which has hosted the affair since its inception. Much like other Cupcake! parties, it will offer a sinister and seductive mix of costumed characters, go-go girls, eye-catching performances, guest DJs like //she//, DJ Beautiful John, $&M, and The Rev. Razorslave, and even baked goods, which we’re guessing will be adorned with candles. The event will also boast a circus theme, so expect a big-top bacchanal of clowns, strongman, and other characters. The party starts at 8 p.m. with a $6 cover. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Canadian rock/pop band Mother Mother. - COURTESY OF WATCHDOG MANAGEMENT
Canadian rock/pop band Mother Mother.
Courtesy of Watchdog Management
Mother Mother
Saturday, January 12
Crescent Ballroom

It's not often one hears a musician proclaim he wants to start a "vocal-driven pop band," but such was the case with Mother Mother guitarist/frontman Ryan Guldemond. But why aim for such commonplace pop fare? Because this is the kind of music the generally unaware music populace loves — it doesn't require any thought to subconsciously tap one's foot or nod one's head — and they buy a lot of it. The Canadian band, which also includes vocalists/keyboardists Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin, drummer Ali Siadat, and bassist Jeremy Page, received a jump start to success when New Pornographers producer Howard Redekopp signed on to work his pop magic. So for Mother Mother, the concept has worked well enough, signified by the release of seven albums, nominations for assorted awards (mostly Canadian), and a song, "Bright Ideas," being featured in a series of Kraft food commercials. Might not be the path to legendary status, but it's good work if you can get it. Glenn BurnSilver

click to enlarge D is for dubstep and that's good enough for him. - CIRCLE TALENT AGENCY
D is for dubstep and that's good enough for him.
Circle Talent Agency
Cookie Monsta
Saturday, January 12
Aura Nightclub in Tempe

Dubstep lovers will want to hit up Aura Nightclub in Tempe on Saturday night for Cookie Monsta's ridiculously sick (really: ridiculous) beats. The subwoofers at the Mill Avenue nightspot will be pounding quite heavily over the course of the evening – which will also feature sets from Jinco, NastyHumanz, Voodreau, and 2Soon – but particularly during Cookie Monsta’s gig behind the mixers. The 29-year-old has been unleashing dubstep upon the world for more than a decade, dating back to the mid-aughts in his native England. Over the past several years, Cookie Monsta (born James Hazell) has released several hit tracks, including "Yow Mamma," "Ginger Pubes," "and "Me Want Cookie," all of which might find their way into his mix on Saturday night at Aura. Ru Johnson and Amber Taufen

Go Bach in time this weekend. - ZOLTÁN VÖRÖS/CC BY 2.0/VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
Go Bach in time this weekend.
Arizona Bach Festival: Marion Baroque
Sunday, January 13
Christ Church of the Ascension in Paradise Valley

If four-part harmonies and modulations get you all sorts of excited, then we've got good news for you. The annual Arizona Bach Festival is returning this year for its 10th anniversary season, and will offers four different opportunities to hear some of the composer's greatest hits over the next several weeks. The 2019 version of the festival kicks off on Sunday afternoon at Christ Church of the Ascension with a variety of Bach chamber works performed by harpsichord soloist Christa Rakich, renowned traverse flutist Wendy Rolfe, and viola da gamba player Alice Robbins. The concert will include a pair of Bach’s G Major Trio Sonatas, two Organ Trio Sonatas, and the French Suite in E-flat. The concert starts at 3 p.m. Tickets are $21 in advance, $25 at the door, and $10 for students with ID. Sara Weber
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix 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.
Phoenix New Times Music Writers