Things to Do

The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Kelly Clarkson is scheduled to perform on Friday, February 1, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Kelly Clarkson is scheduled to perform on Friday, February 1, at Gila River Arena in Glendale. Vincent Peters
Not to rub it in too hard, but it's perfect weather in Phoenix right now to get outside and do something. And this weekend, that could mean catching one of the great concerts happening a local music venues or even rocking out like Freddie Mercury.

Shows featuring such names as Vince Staples, Kelly Clarkson, Current Joys, We Banjo 3, The BoDeans, and the Quaker City Night Hawks are some of the highlights of this weekend’s concert calendar. There’s also the annual Desert Trash party at Trunk Space, the Queen-centric Bohemian Rhapsody affair at the Van Buren, and the metal-friendly Hanneman Fest up at Joe’s Grotto.

We’ll leave the choice of what to do during this weekend of great weather up to you.

Details about each of the aforementioned 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 town, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

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Nicholas Rattigan of Current Joys.
Courtesy of Chromatic Publicity
Current Joys
Friday, February 1
Valley Bar

On first listen, it seems that every day Nicholas Rattigan went into the studio to record his 2018 album, A Different Age, was overcast. Over slow-tempo guitar strums, Rattigan gently sings his songs, mostly of fear and anxiety, until catharsis feels best. On some songs, he sings nothing at all, allowing the two chords of his guitar, a simple drumbeat, and synth express everything. Rattigan has performed and released music under different monikers since 2011, most recently as Current Joys since 2015. Julian Hernandez

Bohemian Rhapsody: Queen Night and '70s Party
Courtesy of Club 90s

Bohemian Rhapsody: Queen Night and '70s Party
Friday, February 1
The Van Buren

Rami Malek’s Oscar-nominated performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody has once again renewed interest in the operatic rock of Queen. Since you can’t dance to “We Will Rock You” at the movie theater (without getting kicked out, anyway), head over to the Bohemian Rhapsody: Queen Night and ’70s Party at The Van Buren. In addition to playing tunes from the British rock group, there will be disco and glam rock hits from David Bowie to the Bee Gees. The first 300 people inside will receive pins. Come dressed as the Queen frontman and you could win the Freddie Mercury lookalike contest. Get on your bikes and ride at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $15. Jason Keil

The musicians of We Banjo 3.
David Norton
We Banjo 3
Friday, February 1
Chandler Center for the Arts

We Banjo 3, which originated in Galway, Ireland, plays a fusion of traditional Irish, old-time, and bluegrass music that has been dubbed "Celtgrass." The band comprises two sets of brothers — Enda and Fergal Scahill and Martin and David Howley. Their debut album, Roots of the Banjo Tree, was released in 2012, followed by Gather the Good in 2014; String Theory, which climbed to number one on the Billboard Bluegrass chart in 2016; and their most recent CD, Haven, which was released in July of last year.

Members of the group have captured "All Ireland" accolades on the banjo, fiddle, bodhrán (frame drum), and guitar. In 2016, We Banjo 3 performed for then-President Barack Obama at the annual "Friends of Ireland" luncheon in Washington, D.C. Obama praised the band's show, calling it "great music and an incredible performance." Nick Hutchinson

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Pop superstar Kelly Clarkson.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster
Kelly Clarkson
Friday, February 1
Gila River Arena in Glendale

It's pretty impossible to dislike the OG and forever queen of American Idol. After all, the Texas-bred pop singer is funny and accessible and isn't afraid to tell the media to shove it when it comes to the incessant body-shaming she (and other pop stars) have dealt with. And that truly likable quality is something she drives home, time and time again, during her shows.

But I'm not really talking about Clarkson's music. While there are certainly millions who love it, what really makes her interesting to me is that while you may not love, love her music, chances are good you still like her public persona. And that, to me, is a pretty unique quality for a pop singer to have. Clarkson is successful not only because of those pipes, but because of her ability to appear accessible and likable, too.

She’s hitting the road for an extensive North American tour this year, which includes a performance at Gila River Arena in Glendale on Friday night. Brynn Cartelli opens. Angelica Leicht

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Vince Staples brings his 2018 LP FM! to the stage at The Van Buren
Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings
Vince Staples
February 2
The Van Buren

On Vince's 2018 record FM!, every track is a gritty tale of an endless summer. Over haunting production by Kenny Beats, he raps about the wild and reckless attitude that summer brings and how quickly it can pop off. If you feel like you’ve seen him perform a lot in Phoenix recently, you’re right: He played a set at the Goldrush Music Festival last year in September and returned in December with Childish Gambino. This time, however, he's the star. He'll play a headlining gig at The Van Buren supported by fellow L.A. rapper Buddy. Julian Hernandez

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The BoDeans
Traci Goudie
The BoDeans
Saturday, February 2
Musical Instrument Museum

They may not have invented Americana music or even redefined it, for that matter, but the BoDeans were responsible for one of the genre's rare mainstream hits, courtesy of the driving anthem called "Closer to Free." Thrust into the top 10 after being tapped as the theme song for the television show Party of Five, they spawned several respectably selling albums, a tour with U2, and a "Best New Band" designation from Rolling Stone.

Over the years, a number of theories have been floated as to how the band chose its name. Even when asked about its origins, singer/songwriter/chief mainstay Kurt Neumann concedes that there's been a lot of conjecture about the source from which it was derived. "Sam [Llamas, the band's cofounder] said it came from The Beverly Hillbillies," he recalls, referencing the show's dimwitted character Jethro Bodine. "But for me, it was the combination of Bo Diddley and James Dean, two indelible rock 'n' roll images." Indeed, when the BoDeans regrouped in 2004 after an eight-year hiatus, it marked the resurgence of a great American rock 'n' roll band, one that's always proudly borne the soul, spirit, and essence of the nation's heartland. And the seven albums that they’ve released since then – including 2012’s American Made, 2015’s I Can't Stop, and 2017’s Thirteen – have all featured that have come to define the BoDeans dynamic: riveting vocals, an assertive yet seductive delivery, and an innate passion that elevates each song to searing proportions. Lee Zimmerman

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Erica Lauren
Desert Trash 2019
Saturday, February 2
The Trunk Space

Phoenix folk-punk band AJJ hosted their first Desert Trash party in 2018 to feature local and out-of-state bands and create a multimedia showcase. Maintaining a spotlight on locals, this year’s Desert Trash will feature alternative rockers Nanami Ozone, dreamy surf pop Pro Teens, and the experimental Sunn Trio alongside AJJ and others performing on three different stages. It’s not a corporate-sponsored festival with a budget to flex, but it’s a small party put on by AJJ, who truly want you to enjoy the musicians and artists they enjoy the most. Julian Hernandez

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Sam Anderson, Aaron Haynes, and David Matsler of the Quaker City Night Hawks.
Courtesy of Lightning Rod Records
Quaker City Night Hawks
Saturday, February 2
Valley Bar

Rock 'n' roll is not what it used to be. But don't tell that to the Quaker City Night Hawks, whose music is clearly from another time – a time when there was nothing better than a drive down a dusty road with a cigarette in your mouth, the top off your Firebird Trans Am and Creedence Clearwater Revival on the radio. QCNH invoke all of these feelings with their brand of blues-infused boogie rock.

Sam Anderson handles the singing duties as well as rhythm guitar while Aaron Haynes and David Matsler handle drums and lead guitar, respectively. And the band is clearly well-versed when it comes to the blues. Songs like "Crack at the Bottle" feature the classic 12-bar blues form with an AAB lyrics structure delivered by Anderson's smoky vocals. "Hounds of Hell," meanwhile, calls upon the great Delta bluesman Robert Johnson with its death-is-always-on-my-tail theme.

With four albums under their belt, Quaker City Night Hawks have created a sound that is both relevant and timeless. This is rock 'n' roll. Mark Schectman

Strawberry Mountain
Saturday, February 2
The Lunchbox

When the two siblings, Mikey and Carter Prince, began Strawberry Mountain, they probably weren’t thinking about entering into the Seattle Museum of Pop Culture’s annual Sound Off! competition that showcases local and national acts. But they did enter in 2018 and placed third overall. The New York City group captures audiences as they experiment on stage as they mix New Wave, psychedelic-rock, and pop. The Lunchbox hosts Strawberry Mountain with Phoenix locals Soft Deadlines and Citrus Clouds. Julian Hernandez

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Pelvic Meatloaf
Frank Cordova
Hanneman Fest 2019
Saturday, February 2
Joe’s Grotto

Joe’s Grotto once again helps local metalheads pay homage to the legendary Jeff Hanneman of Slayer fame by hosting a namesake metal fest in his honor. Just like in previous years, there will be two stages full of local thrash bands, with each playing at least two Slayer songs per set. The lineup for this year’s Hanneman Fest includes Pelvic Meatloaf, Strip the Soul, Scattered Guts, Bleed the Fifth, Ironkill, Dead Swarm, We Steal Copper, Archenaut, Sick Black Automatic, and Aerial Strike. The music starts at 5:30 p.m. and admission is $13. Lauren Wise

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This is Walter, the repurposed truck that started it all.
Chris Patrick
The 2/2 Event
Saturday, February 2
The Where?House Gallery

When the Where?House Gallery debuted last December, it was reportedly an affair to remember. The 24,000-square-foot art space, which is owned by Walter Productions, hosted a variety of art cars and artworks, as well as performances by DJs and tons of costumed partygoers in attendance. This weekend, the folks from Walter Productions will stage a follow-up, dubbed The 2/2 Event, that will feature a similar mix of art, music, and revelry.

As its name portends, the party takes place on Saturday, February 2, and is inspired (more or less) by the whimsical nature of Groundhog Day. Walter Productions is touting the event as an “immersive playground of whimsy and delight” and is encouraging attendees to don costumes or engage in “radical expression through dress.” In other words, feel free to wear something fanciful and fun if you plan on attending. Oh, and get ready to shake a tailfeather, as there will be performances by electronic dance music duo Dance Spirit and local DJs like Thomas Turner, Michael Hooker, and Alaska.

Naturally, many of Walter Productions’ art cars will be present, and the Walter Station Brewery will sell craft beer, wine, and cocktails during the party, which runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Admission is $25 online in advance, $35 at the door. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Arizona Burn Foundation and its Camp Courage. Benjamin Leatherman
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers