The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Elizabeth Cook is scheduled to perform on Friday, February 15, at The Rebel Lounge.EXPAND
Elizabeth Cook is scheduled to perform on Friday, February 15, at The Rebel Lounge.
Courtesy of New Frontier Touring
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There are roughly 72 hours in every weekend, which tend to fly by faster than you think. So if you want to make the most of your downtime from work, some planning might be in order.

That’s where we come in. What follows is a rundown of the best concerts happening this weekend at music venues around the Valley. This time around, it includes performances by up-and-coming country star Elizabeth Cook, metalcore act Bring Me the Horizon, punkers Unwritten Law, esteemed singer-songwriter Darrell Scott, and local heroes KONGOS.

It’s still technically Valentine’s weekend, hence the myriad events inspired by the occasion, including the Valentines Super Love Jam on Saturday at Talking Stick Resort Arena and this year’s Crush Arizona EDM festival down at Rawhide in Chandler.

Details about each of these gigs can be found below. For even more live music happening around the Valley this weekend, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Metalcore band Bring Me the Horizon.EXPAND
Metalcore band Bring Me the Horizon.
Courtesy of Chuffmedia

Bring Me the Horizon
Friday, February 15
Comerica Theatre

Sure, not every band evolves, but more and more the idea of “selling out” seems to be something that modern artists care about less than their elders. Bring Me the Horizon’s career trajectory has seen them go from all-aggro to a band with more melody, willing to put Dani Filth on the same album as Grimes. They’ve made the shift about as gracefully as one can do so, and they still play enough of their older stuff that you can feel the chills when they play “Shadow Moses.” It's on the setlists of their current tour, which comes to Comerica Theatre this weekend. Thrice and Fever 333 will open. Cory Garcia

Bob Seger is on his final tour.EXPAND
Bob Seger is on his final tour.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Friday, February 15
Talking Stick Resort Arena

When Bob Seger’s "Night Moves" broke through on classic-rock radio in 1976, some observers described it as an overnight success. But the Michigan native was a force in the vibrant Detroit music scene as far back as the early ’60s, and his national audience eventually caught up to the singer’s rawer, earthier regional hits, such as “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.”

It’s never clear what this self-proclaimed “simple-minded guy” actually believes in. He has dissed draft dodgers (“The Ballad of the Yellow Beret”) and written anti-war songs (“2 + 2 = ?”), and the longtime shill for Chevy trucks now wants to save the environment on his latest album, Ride Out. With Seger, it’s always been more about his craggy mountain of a voice than his lyrical vision. He's taking it to the limit one last time on his current tour, which is reportedly his last jaunt. Falling James

The punks of Unwritten Law.
The punks of Unwritten Law.
Courtesy of Ticketfly

Unwritten Law
Friday, February 15
Club Red in Mesa

San Diego punk band Unwritten Law left their high-water mark on commercial music charts in the early 2000s with their LP singles "Seein' Red" and "Save Me," and while the band hasn't appeared in the mainstream limelight since then, a devout fan base has kept them alive and well.

They’ve endured numerous lineup changes over the years – including losing members like Ace Von Johnson, Tony Palermo, John Bell, and Rob Brewer – but have kept on going. And even though the last time the rockers released any new music was seven years ago, 2011’s Swan, they released an all-acoustic comp via digital download a couple of years back and have been touring extensively with their current lineup of Scott Russo, Wade Youman, Jonny Grill, and Chris Lewis. Caleb Haley

Country star Elizabeth Cook.
Country star Elizabeth Cook.
Jim McGuire

Elizabeth Cook
Friday, February 15
The Rebel Lounge

Elizabeth Cook’s credentials within the music industry are enviable. In a career nearing its 20-year mark, the country music singer released six studio albums, made hundreds of appearances at the Grand Ole Opry, and is an in-demand collaborator with folks like Todd Snider, Jason Isbell, and Loretta Lynn. She’s also been enormously successful in a couple of other entertainment mediums. For one, she hosts Apron Strings, a flagship Sirius XM Satellite Radio show that spawned an annual Outlaw Country Cruise and caught the attention of David Letterman, who invited her back for frequent interviews and performances while he was still helming the Late Show.

In addition to music and radio, Cook has some IMDb credits. She performed voice-over spots on Adult Swim’s hit animated show Squidbillies, which proved a perfect match for her irreverent humor and unique regional perspectives. That charming personality, with her natural ability to pepper both her songwriting and conversations with witty quips, have led to occasional outreaches from television executives interested in pursuing sitcom possibilities based on her insights. For now, though, Cook is content to get on with the year ahead, one that includes a series of tour dates and the promise of some new music. Jeff Strowe

Black Tiger Sex Machine is scheduled to perform at Crush Arizona 2019.EXPAND
Black Tiger Sex Machine is scheduled to perform at Crush Arizona 2019.
John Londono

Crush Arizona 2019
Friday, February 15, and Saturday, February 16
Rawhide Event Center in Chandler

As any local EDM kid will tell you, Crush Arizona is one of the biggest and longest-running dance music festivals in the Valley. The annual Valentine’s-themed event, which has been around since 2008, regularly attracts thousands of eager dance music fans, many of whom come dressed as Cupid or in other love-inspired costumes or attire (read: lingerie, humorous T-shirts, and heart-shaped sunglasses).

And they also come to rage and get rowdy amid giant inflatable hearts or other enormous decorations. Needless to say, Crush is one of the more unique EDM events in the Valley. It’s grown tenfold over the last decade, outgrowing its previous venues, and now takes place at Rawhide Event Center in Chandler, and features a slew of top-shelf DJs and dance music artists.

Crush will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year with a two-night event over Valentine’s Day weekend. DJs and EDM artists scheduled to perform include Seven Lions, Slander, Joyride, Spag Heddy, Wuki, Kaivon, and Bardz on Friday, February 15; and Alesso, 3LAU, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Anna Lunoe, Wooli, and Blossom on Saturday, February 16. Benjamin Leatherman

Blues wunderkind Jonny Lang.
Blues wunderkind Jonny Lang.
Piper Ferguson

Jonny Lang
Saturday, February 16
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Being a prodigy can sometimes suck. Take Jonny Lang, for example. When he burst onto the scene as an astonishingly gifted 14-year-old guitar wünderkind, it must have seemed like the coolest thing in the world. Of course, as gifted as Lang is, his success was intimately linked to his youthfulness — a sort of novelty factor. Pretty quickly, that novelty began to take on a different air, with critics frequently applying his age as a qualifier, asking, essentially, if his limited years had an inverse relationship with his audience's perception. Lang, however, chose to do something at which prodigies often fail — he grew as an artist. Over the course of two decades and eight albums, Lang has moved away from the strictures of structured blues, embracing a host of styles ranging from Southern-fried rock to Memphis-style soul to gospel, finding room in his music to embrace the spirit of the blues that got him started in the first place. Nicholas L. Hall

The hometown rock heroes of KONGOS.EXPAND
The hometown rock heroes of KONGOS.
Jonny Marlow

Saturday, February 16
Crescent Ballroom

When the four Kongos brothers became KONGOS in capital letters, it was with the hope that their uniquely crafted South African township-tinged alternative pop would take them to all far-flung corners of the world and earn them a decent living that would sustain the making of future music.

Then, a funny thing happened. Three years after the band’s initial indie release in 2011, their track ”Come With Me Now” got the attention of a few radio program directors, labels came a-courtin’, and the song and the self-financed album Lunatic was re-released by Epic Records. “Come With Me Now” was subsequently certified RIAA double-platinum for sales in excess of 2 million, becoming one of the most aggressively licensed songs since Yello first bellowed “Oh Yeah.” It became the theme of theme parks, TV networks, movie trailers, cop shows, sporting events, and video games. With so many syncs attributed to the hit, it’s hard to know what slice of pop culture first springs to mind when Johnny Kongos’ familiar accordion trills kick in. Though the song filtered into millions of homes, it didn’t exactly make KONGOS a household name.

That hasn’t stopped the band from releasing new material. In 2016, they put out Egomaniac, which reached No. 80 on the Billboard charts, and followed it up last month with 1929, Pt. 1. KONGOS return home to the Valley in mid-February for a show at Crescent Ballroom in support of the new album. Serene Dominic

Electro-funk/soul band Midnight Star.EXPAND
Electro-funk/soul band Midnight Star.
Courtesy of Midnight Star

Valentines Super Love Jam
Friday, February 16
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Okay, you kind of screwed up. You totally forgot to pick up a gift or card for your S.O. on V-Day, despite hearts and flowers being available on practically every street corner. And now it’s time for damage control.

Besides working on your apology, consider picking up tickets to Art Laboe’s annual Valentines Super Love Jam, which swings through the Valley this weekend. If your better half is into old-school R&B, funk, and disco, they’ll definitely enjoy the chance to see such legends as Midnight Star, The Dramatics featuring L.J. Reynolds, Ready for the World, Atlantic Starr, The Chi-Lites, The Notations, The Lovelites, and Eddie Holman.

And if you’re lucky, you two will have a great time, allowing you the chance to get out of the doghouse. Benjamin Leatherman

Renowned guitarist Richard Thompson.
Renowned guitarist Richard Thompson.
Pamela Littky

Richard Thompson Electric Trio
Saturday, February 16
Musical Instrument Museum

Call him a poor man's Dylan, or a wise man's Clapton. Richard Thompson is perhaps the most underrated performer of his generation. For 40 years, first with Fairport Convention, then with ex-wife Linda Peters, and finally solo, Thompson has continued to produce terrific, thoughtful albums while others have fallen off. His songwriting ranges from dour, scornful songs to detailed, cinematic ballads that drop you in the heart of the action.

His playing is just as visceral and widely regarded with awe. Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü, Sugar) once said that seeing Thompson made him never want to pick up the guitar again. Sounding rejuvenated of late, Thompson is currently touring with his namesake “electric trio” and will perform at the MIM this weekend in connection with its ongoing exhibit, “The Electric Guitar: Inventing An American Icon.” Ryley Walker will open. Chris Parker

Darrell Scott
Darrell Scott
Courtesy of New Frontier Touring

Darrell Scott
Sunday, February 17
Musical Instrument Museum

Since moving to Nashville in 1995, 59-year-old Darrell Scott has had a career most who take that Hillbilly Highway to Music City USA would envy. A triple-threat talent, Scott was for years a session warhorse, a guy who could play about anything with strings on it as well as possessing a fantastic ear for harmonies and an angelic voice. He also wrote songs, lots of songs. Many were picked up by mainstreamers like Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Travis Tritt, Faith Hill, Brad Paisley, and Martina McBride. The Dixie Chicks had hits with two Scott songs, "Long Time Gone" and "Heartbreak Town."

His song "Hank Williams' Ghost" was Americana song of the year in 2007, and "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" has been covered by a bevy of artists such as Paisley, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, and Zakk Wylde, and been featured twice on episodes of FX's Justified. But that's only the highly visible, touching-the-mainstream side of Scott's work. His 2005 rock album, Theater of the Unheard, was the Independent Music Association's album of the year, and his 2011 release, Crooked Road, was named country album of the year by the IMA.

Less well known even is the fact that Scott was Guy Clark's sideman for many years. He not only has written numerous songs with Clark, he produced Clark's 2002 release, Dark, as well as Clark's monumental 1999 album Cold Dog Soup. Not convinced yet? In 2010 Scott was selected to be a part of Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant's Americana ensemble, Band of Joy. Yeah, he's that good. William Michael Smith

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