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Elton John is scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 26, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Elton John is scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 26, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Violeta Alvarez

The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

It’s going to be a busy weekend in Phoenix – and we’re not referring to all the professional wrestling events taking place. Besides all the hullaballoo surrounding the WWE’s Royal Rumble and its related events, many of the city’s music venues will be filled with action, albeit of the live music variety, over the next few days.

Country legend Kris Kristofferson will perform at Celebrity Theatre on Friday night, while the equally esteemed Peter Murphy will be at The Van Buren. The following evening, Crescent Ballroom will host this year’s Phoenix Rock Lottery, while DIY spot the Trunk Space will put on its first-ever Trunk Space Fest.

The biggest concert of the weekend, of course, will be Elton John bringing his farewell tour to Gila River Arena in Glendale. The show has been sold out for months, which means if you’re hoping to go, you’re probably going to have hit up some ticket resale websites. Good luck.

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

Country legend Kris Kristofferson.EXPAND
Country legend Kris Kristofferson.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Kris Kristofferson and the Strangers
Friday, January 25
Celebrity Theatre

Kris Kristofferson is a giant in the world of songwriters. He became famous in the early 1970s and continues to gain admirers with stars like Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley lending new life to his hit songs like "Me & Bobby McGee," "Sunday Morning Coming Down," and "Help Me Make It Through the Night." Unlike country singers before him, Kristofferson helped liberate country music's subject matter by showing us some of what happens after leaving the bar.

After more than five decades on the road, Kristofferson is still going strong and keeping up a hefty touring schedule. He’s currently touring along with the Strangers, the renowned country ensemble that backed up the late Merle Haggard and features drummer Jeff Ingraham, bassist Doug Colosio, fiddler Scott Joss, and pedal steel player Norman Hamlet. They’re scheduled to amble into the Celebrity Theatre on January 25 and perform an evening of Kristofferson tunes. Stefan Rogenmoser

Peter Murphy stares into the abyss.
Peter Murphy stares into the abyss.
Gabriel Edvy

Peter Murphy
Friday, January 25
The Van Buren

Peter Murphy co-founded the influential post-punk band Bauhaus in 1978 with Daniel Ash, David J, and Kevin Haskins. Over the course of four full-length albums, Murphy and company created an experience of heightened reality with their music that broke from convention, not just sonically but with lyrics informed by the avant-garde, romantic literature and '70s glam rock. It was a richly imaginative counterpoint to the world of expectation in industrial England of the decade when punk rock helped to pierce the veil of post-war British mundanity and economic and cultural stagnation.

When Bauhaus broke up in 1983, Murphy embarked on a successful solo career that proved influential in its own right with albums like the haunting yet melodious 1988 offering Love Hysteria, which was followed by the even more experimental but somehow more accessible 1989 album Deep. Murphy has always pushed his own envelope, though, and his 2011 album, the appropriately titled Ninth, proved a step forward in his development as a songwriter.

Murphy is currently touring in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of Bauhaus along with David J. Shows consist of the pair performing In The Flat Field in its entirety, as well as a variety of material from the band’s discography along with various touring musicians. Tom Murphy

The Booze Bombs
Friday, January 25
Chopper John's

Whether you like it or not, winter visitors have invaded the Valley en masse. Some we can tolerate, others we despise. A good example of the former is German rockabilly foursome The Booze Bombs. Consisting of a quartet of bombastic, hepcat Berliners (who have the rockabilly sound and shtick on lock), the group has made it a regular habit to visit the Valley around this time of year during their annual visit to America, staging performances for local ‘billy-loving boys and girls at numerous venues in Phoenix and around Arizona.

This year, the Booze Bombers are kicking off their tour in the Valley with a show at Chopper John’s before heading out across the southwest and southern U.S. for a monthlong tour. The Shakem' Ups and the CW Ayon Combo will open the night, which kicks off at 8 p.m. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

Black Sabbitch in concert.
Black Sabbitch in concert.
Timothy Norris

Black Sabbitch
Friday, January 25
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

The members of Black Sabbitch play the songs of Black Sabbath and play ‘em with aplomb. They shred ‘em, in fact, and are not only talented — nailing every note of the legendary group's familiar repertoire — but are captivating to an almost distracting level. They emanated the effortless cool of rock ‘n’ roll, but with about 10 extra ounces of sexy confidence that may even cause the female metalheads in attendance at Black Sabbitch’s gig this weekend at the Marquee this weekend to pick up a bass and start their own heavy metal tribute band with their girlfriends. For fans of Sabbath — and women who rock hard — this is not one to miss. Artemis Thomas-Hansard

A scene from the Phoenix Rock Lottery in 2016.EXPAND
A scene from the Phoenix Rock Lottery in 2016.
Melina Dellamarggio

Phoenix Rock Lottery 2019
Saturday, January 26
Crescent Ballroom

The Sixth Annual Phoenix Rock Lottery is the most exciting evening in local music. On the morning of Saturday, January 26, the 25 local performers, including members of Katastro, Pistoleros, and Playboy Manbaby, participating in the event will be randomly grouped together in quintets. They will spend the day writing three original songs and practicing a cover. That night, they will get together to perform what they learned. Hosted by Brooks Werner with DJ A Claire Slattery, this eclectic evening will benefit Rosie’s House, which gives music education to local families in need. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Jason Keil

Abe Gil of Treasure Mammal.
Abe Gil of Treasure Mammal.
Melissa Fossum

Trunk Space Fest
Saturday, January 26
Trunk Space

The Trunk Space is an institution in the DIY scene in Phoenix, but it hasn’t had the same opportunities since they left their home on Grand Avenue for a new space at the Grace Lutheran Church on Third Street. This year, they’re kicking off a new festival to celebrate all the vibrant musicians that make the Phoenix DIY scene so special. The first Trunk Space Festival will feature locals such as party starter Treasure Mammal and art rockers TOSO and Soft Deadlines. New York rockers Vamanos and California pop-punks Moonraker will stop by. Julian Hernandez

Elton John will bid a fond farewell to the Valley on Saturday.
Elton John will bid a fond farewell to the Valley on Saturday.
Andrew Potter

Elton John
Saturday, January 26
Gila River Arena in Glendale

You probably don't have tickets to this show, but if we're making a list of the 10 best upcoming concerts, we can't not mention Elton John's last show ever — his words — in the Phoenix area. The Farewell, Yellow Brick Road Tour is the legendary rock star's swan song, a last run for a musician with innumerable hits, from "Honky Cat" and "Benny and the Jets" to "Rocket Man" and "Candle in the Wind." When you've been in the game as long as John, you're bound to have a catalog with something for everyone. Douglas Markowitz

Legendary metal axeman Marty Friedman.
Legendary metal axeman Marty Friedman.
Takaaki Henmi

Marty Friedman
Saturday, January 26
The Rebel Lounge

Heavy-metal guitarist Marty Friedman is now many years removed from the 1990s Megadeth albums that made him a household name among headbangers of the era. These days, Friedman mostly plies his trade in his adopted homeland of Japan. He has spent the last decade-plus ingratiating himself within the Japanese music scene as a go-to heavy hitter when J-pop groups like Momoiro Clover Z need a shredding guitar solo to spruce up a track.

His star still shines brightly on solo albums that blend the more eclectic pop influences of his Japanese surroundings with the guitar histrionics that helped propel Megadeth on classic albums such as 1990’s Rust in Peace. His most recent studio album, 2017’s Inferno, features guest appearances from Shiv Mehra of Deafheaven fame and Jinxx from Black Veil Brides. This weekend, Friedman will visit The Rebel Lounge for an evening of metal. Immortal Guardian and Warhead will open. Jason Roche

Serbian-born blues artist Ana Popovic.EXPAND
Serbian-born blues artist Ana Popovic.
Michael Roud

Ana Popovic
Sunday, January 26
Talking Stick Resort

If there's one place that loves the blues more than Phoenix (and, okay, Chicago), it's Europe. Back when there was still a Yugoslavia, Belgrade native Ana Popovic became enchanted by the music, picking up the guitar in grammar school and playing festivals in Greece and Hungary by the time she finished college. While studying at The Conservatory in Utrecht, The Netherlands, Popovic and her band became fixtures on the Dutch and German club circuit, and eventually caught the attention of bluesmen such as Bernard Allison, who took her on tour and appeared on her 2001 debut Hush!.

Nominated for a W.C. Handy Blues Award for Best Newcomer in 2003 — the only European ever tapped for such an honor — Popovic has since been invited onstage by the late Solomon Burke and Buddy Guy. Her latest album, 2018's Like It on Top, features guest appearances by Keb' Mo', Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Robben Ford. As they'd tell you themselves, Popovic is the real deal. Chris Gray

Local rapper and wrestling geek Mega Ran.EXPAND
Local rapper and wrestling geek Mega Ran.
MedafOracle Photography

Mat Mania’s Royal Rumble After-Party
Sunday, January 27
Cobra Arcade Bar

Renowned local rapper Raheem Jarbo’s geekdom knows no bounds — and it crosses over into his music. His lengthy discography as Mega Ran bears this out as he’s recorded various tracks, albums, and mixtapes inspired by all manner of nerdy subjects, particularly video games and professional wrestling, two of his biggest passions. Both pursuits will also influence his DJ set this weekend at Cobra Arcade Bar.

As you may have heard, the WWE’s Royal Rumble is taking place on Sunday, January 27, in downtown Phoenix. And after Jarbo and his fellow co-hosts of Mat Mania, their popular wrestling-oriented podcast, get done watching all the spandex-clad action, they’ll put on a Royal Rumble After-Party at Cobra.

Jarbo will get behind the mixers for a rare DJ set during the affair and plans to spin a mix of video game music, wrestling themes, and hip-hop. Meanwhile, the bar will serve geek-inspired cocktails and a WWE-themed cosplay contest for prizes will take place. There also may or may not be a few special guests dropping by the party. The mania begins at 10 p.m. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

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