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The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

The Maine is set to take over downtown Phoenix this weekend.
The Maine is set to take over downtown Phoenix this weekend. Stephen Denton
Fans of local band The Maine are in for a big weekend. The pop/rock ensemble’s 8123 Fest makes its return and will be spread out over three days, including an all-day festival featuring a slew of bands at Civic Space Park on Saturday.

It won’t be the only live music extravaganza happening in downtown Phoenix this weekend as the second edition of PhxArt Amplified will fill bring dozens of local musicians and acts to the Phoenix Art Museum on Sunday.

Other highlights of this weekend’s concert offering include shows from Chrome Sparks, Portland Cello Project, TLC, Booker T. Jones, and Dawes.

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 Chris Garvey and Nick White of The Prototypes. - PRIMARY TALENT INTERNATIONAL
Chris Garvey and Nick White of The Prototypes.
Primary Talent International
The Prototypes
Friday, January 18
Shady Park in Tempe

Now that school is back in session at Arizona State University in Tempe, the bars and clubs on or around Mill Avenue are as busy as ever. One of the places where the drinking and partying masses are flocking to after sundown is Shady Park. That’s especially true whenever its outdoor bar park hosts a popular electronic dance music act — a category that The Prototypes certainly fall under.

The popular British-born DJ duo, which consists of Chris Garvey and Nick White, have been blasting out drum ’n’ bass-influenced sounds since the beginning of the decade, earning them a legion of fans and several big tracks, including “Pop It Off,” “Pale Blue Dot,” and “Transmission,” among others. “Both of us have always had one common goal, and that’s to smash it as hard as we can and be the best at what we love doing,” the pair stated in a 2015 interview.

You can bet that Garvey and White will be smashing it on Friday, January 18, at Shady Park. The beats get going at 9 p.m. Crimes!, S-Doobie, Beev$ta, Retnuh, and Lavander will open. Tickets are $18 to $22. Benjamin Leatherman

Chrome Sparks
Friday, January 18
Crescent Ballroom

If it were possible to genetically engineer the quintessential electronic artist for the Tumblr era, Jeremy Malvin, (better known as Chrome Sparks) would likely be the result. Before settling on the Chrome Sparks moniker, Malvin served several stints as drummer for a number of bands, including internet synthpop darling Stepdad. Choosing to take his background in classical percussion in a more danceable direction, Malvin traded in an education in drumming for a career in DJing.

Since the switch, Malvin has enjoyed tremendous success as a solo act. Signed to Future Classic — the Australian label home to Flume, Chet Faker, and Cashmere Cat — Chrome Sparks has attracted attention for not only, well, producing future classics but also successfully juggling several moods and sounds. "Marijuana" — which sampled Idris Muhammad's disco classic "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This" long before Jamie xx did on last year's "Loud Places" — is Chrome Sparks' most popular song for good reason. A lean, three-minute eruption of puff-puff-pass bliss, "Marijuana" is as equally effective as a bass-synth-driven sleep aid as it is a club-floor filler. Zach Schlein

click to enlarge The Portland Cello Project will offer up their take on Radiohead's OK Computer at the MIM. - JASON QUIGLEY
The Portland Cello Project will offer up their take on Radiohead's OK Computer at the MIM.
Jason Quigley
Portland Cello Project: Radiohead’s OK Computer
Friday, January 18
Musical Instrument Museum

Cellos aren’t just for symphony halls anymore. Portland Cello Project is all about bringing cello music to unconventional spaces, playing music people don’t normally associate with the cello, and collaborating with musicians across diverse musical communities. It started with nine cellists performing what they thought would be a one-time gig back in 2006. Now they’re touring with a repertoire of over 1,000 pieces. You can hear them perform music from Radiohead’s iconic OK Computer album at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 18, at the Musical Instrument Museum. Tickets start at $38.50. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge T-Boz and Chilli of TLC. - DENNIS LEUPOLD
T-Boz and Chilli of TLC.
Dennis Leupold
Friday, January 18
Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler

It's been a minute since TLC was in heavy rotation on the radio. The group's last certified hit was 2013's "Crooked Smile," a collaboration with J. Cole. But modern popular culture was practically made in TLC's image. It's in the ease with which today's pop stars talk about women's desire and pleasure. The women of TLC did that on their debut single, 1992's "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg," with the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes wearing a yellow condom over her left eye in the midst of the AIDS crisis. It's also in the women's empowerment anthems that P!nk and Lady Gaga have taken to the top of the charts in a sea of songs about mindless hookups. It's in the very existence of Beyoncé's career, which began when she was one-third of Destiny's Child, for whom TLC laid out the blueprint for success.

Chilli believes part of the reason TLC continues to resonate with audiences is the group made what she calls "life-changing music." Their songs were the soundtrack to the formative years of the early-'90s and TRL generation, and they addressed everything from safe sex on "Waterfalls" to the ways in which societal standards of beauty can magnify women's insecurities to a dangerous level on "Unpretty." Chilli says it was not only the music but also its honest messaging that resonated with people. "There's nothing fake about us. We're just a very authentic group when it comes to who we are, what we believe in, and what we stand up for, like girl power. That's always and forever been our thing. People can relate to real stuff." Celia Almeida

click to enlarge The musicians and performers of Pink Martini. - CHRIS HORNBECKER
The musicians and performers of Pink Martini.
Chris Hornbecker
Pink Martini
Friday, January 18
Chandler Center for the Arts

Pink Martini’s blend of Latin music, jazz, and classical music is the perfect antidote to everything that’s happened in the past year — it’s music that celebrates the world’s diversity while honoring the deep musical traditions formed by musicians long passed. Founded in Portland, Oregon, in the mid-’90s, the group features multiple singers and around a dozen horn players, all skilled in the Neapolitan blend of styles that is practically the perfect lounge music.

The group’s debut album, Sympathique, became a worldwide success, earning the group awards from countries as far away as France. The group is a callback to the early half of the 20th century, when America still searched outward for culture, and singers like Eartha Kitt and Doris Day sampled the cultures of the world for songs like finger foods at a fine gala. If anything, Pink Martini is a reminder to the world that Americans still can appreciate music not served on a blue plate under an American flag. David Accomazzo
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers