Things to Do

The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

DJ Self.Destrukt and Betty Blackheart are scheduled to perform during the final CUPCAKE! party on Saturday, April 20, at Rogue Bar in Scottsdale.
DJ Self.Destrukt and Betty Blackheart are scheduled to perform during the final CUPCAKE! party on Saturday, April 20, at Rogue Bar in Scottsdale. MichellexStar Photography
It’s 4/20 weekend, which means an enormous stash of marijuana-inspired events will be happening across the Valley. The local music scene will get a hit of this, too, as numerous 4/20-inspired concerts and parties will take place between Friday, April 19, and Sunday, April 21. Heck, there will be three separate music festivals inspired by the holiday: On the Grass Fest (formerly known as Days on the Green) at Fear Farm, the EDM-focused Deadbeats 420 at Rawhide, and Candy World at Joe’s Grotto.

If you’re hoping to escape all the reefer madness, however, the good news is that there are plenty of non-4/20 concerts, music events, and dance parties over the next few days, including gigs by Destruction Unit, The Gooch Palms, Cayucas, Blond:ish, Special Interest, and the Legendary Shack Shakers. Plus, the final CUPCAKE! dance party will take place at The Rogue Bar in Scottsdale.

Details about each of all of these shows and events can be found below. And for even more music happening around the Valley, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

click to enlarge Leroy MacQueen (left) and Kat Friend of The Gooch Palms. - COURTESY OF RATBAG RECORDS
Leroy MacQueen (left) and Kat Friend of The Gooch Palms.
Courtesy of Ratbag Records

The Gooch Palms

Friday, April 19
Valley Bar

Blend up some catchy garage pop, a punk-rock heart, some quirky sensibilities, and a heap of sincerity, and you’ll wind up with Australian duo Gooch Palms. Otherwise known as Leroy MacQueen and Kat Friend, these two – who are also a couple – have been working their asses off the last few years, touring as extensively as possible and continuing to build new dynamics into their already catchy and infectious sound.

The set-up is MacQueen on guitar and Friend on drums. MacQueen handles a hearty portion of the vocal duties and as their songs incorporate styles from doo-wop to New Wave; his strong voice shows both diversity and range. Friend also sings, with as much fervor and style. And when the two sing together, forget about it. It’s hook city. As hard as it is to get their songs out of your head, catch a live show and discover that their two-person weirdo party is a place you want to visit as often as possible. Always clad in some nifty and spirited outfits, these two have an obvious blast as they energetically deliver their tunes, creating a palpable group energy. You can't not join in the fun. Amy Young

Megan Hamilton and Maddy O'Neal. - MADDY O'NEAL
Megan Hamilton and Maddy O'Neal.
Maddy O'Neal

Bicycle Day feat. Maddy O'Neal & Megan Hamilton

Friday, April 19
Shady Park in Tempe

Denver electronic artist and producer Maddy O'Neal and Minneapolis-based Megan Hamilton not only laugh and have fun together, but they make empowering electronic music sure to get people on the dance-floor. From slick remixes to dynamic and original beats, they weave feminist messages throughout their songs, establishing their places in their respective music scenes. They’ve got a new collaborative single out (“Hit It”) and are currently in the midst of co-headlining a tour together, which includes a stop at Shady Park in Tempe on Friday night. Prism Shank, Kody Black, and Itz Muffy will open. The music starts at 9 p.m. and admission is $18. Ben Wiese

click to enlarge Sublime With Rome headline day two of the On the Grass Music Festival on Saturday, April 20. - COURTESY OF ANM
Sublime With Rome headline day two of the On the Grass Music Festival on Saturday, April 20.
Courtesy of ANM

On the Grass Music Festival (formerly Days on the Green)

Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20
Fear Farm

Arguably the biggest concert event of 420 weekend is the first-ever On the Grass out at Fear Farm in west Phoenix. A huge array of rock, reggae, and alternative bands are scheduled to perform at the two-day outdoor concert fest (which was called the Days on the Green music festival until an 11th-hour name change this past week) on Friday and Saturday. A locals-only stage and various vendors will also be part of the event.

Things get going on Friday with music from Slightly Stoopid, Iration, Pepper, Tribal Seeds, Common Kings, Fortunate Youth, Hirie, and Tyrone's Jacket. Saturday will offer sets by Sublime With Rome, Dirty Heads, Katastro, Pacific Dub, Bikini Trill, The Supervillains, Law, and Barefoot. A healthy dose of local acts will also perform, including Kush Country, Mello Psychedelic Culture, Pride Through Strife, Torn At the Seam on Friday and Black Bottom Lighters, Howard Til Midnight, and Hollowpoint Vigils on Saturday.

Gates open at noon each day and the music goes until 11 p.m. General admission is $44 per day, $77 for both. VIP tickets are $110 each day, $210 for the weekend, and include perks like access to an exclusive entrance, lounge, shaded areas, and more. Platinum VIP admission is $375 to $600 and offers all the aforementioned amenities and more. Benjamin Leatherman

Destruction Unit

Saturday, April 20
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

There are a lot of ways to celebrate 4/20. Some like to plan out movie and TV sessions with friends involving a comfy couch, tables worth of food, and bags of bud and dabs of wax. The Phoenix post-punk noisemakers Destruction Unit, however, have assembled a large team of Arizona musicians in hardcore and punk as well as DJs for an incredible night of heavy distortion and fuzz. This is definitely a show for stoners who want to be assaulted by walls of noise instead of just staying home to smoke a bowl. Julian Hernandez

click to enlarge DJ Self.Destrukt (left) and Betty Blackheart of CUPCAKE! - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
DJ Self.Destrukt (left) and Betty Blackheart of CUPCAKE!
Benjamin Leatherman

CUPCAKE! The Final Event

Saturday, April 20
The Rogue Bar in Scottsdale

When Scottsdale’s Rogue Bar closes its doors for good later this month, the beloved local venue won’t be the only thing that’s disappearing. Long-running dance night CUPCAKE!, the fetish-friendly monthly dance party that’s gone down at The Rogue since 2012, will also shuffle off its mortal coil. Betty Blackheart and Self.Destrukt, the promoters and resident DJs of CUPCAKE!, are ending the event after seven years of offering local fetish fiends and countercultural types a place to shake their groove things and let their freak flags fly.

“It is very bittersweet to see CUPCAKE! end. While we have different ideas and interests we would like to pursue, this is something so very special that we have built from just an idea,” Blackheart tells Phoenix New Times. “It has organically grown into what it has become. For some, this is their sanctuary they look forward to come out monthly and be who they are, something we have always encouraged.”

The dance night will take its final bow on Saturday, April 20, during CUPCAKE! The Final Event, an alien- and space-themed dance party at The Rogue. Blackheart and Self.Destrukt will both be in the mix spinning electro, industrial, techno, darkwave, and bass music along with regular guest DJs like //she//, The Rev. DJ Razorslave, and DJ Beautiful John. As per usual, there will be go-go dancers, art displays, vendors, and (of course) cupcakes. “As a monthly themed dance party, I love what it is, but it’s better to go out with a bang than to fade away,” Blackheart says. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $6. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Legendary Shack Shakers  mix dirty country, renegade blues, and murky swamp rock with gritty, deep-fried punk. - COURTESY OF ATOMIC MUSIC GROUP
Legendary Shack Shakers mix dirty country, renegade blues, and murky swamp rock with gritty, deep-fried punk.
Courtesy of Atomic Music Group

Legendary Shack Shakers

Saturday, April 20
The Rebel Lounge

Few bands have chosen a moniker more evocative than the Legendary Shack Shakers. While their name's adjectival end may originally have been wishful thinking, its nominative counterpart has turned that into a self-fulfilling prophecy. As you may have gathered, Legendary Shack Shakers exude honky-tonk. Just being in the same room with the band is enough to transport you to a dive bar on the bad side of Nashville, whiskey in hand, ready for a brawl.

For more of the past two decades, the band have been winning over live audiences while gigging alongside such like-minded acts as Hank Williams III and Southern Culture on the Skids. Their nine albums, including 2017’s After You've Gone, offer a blend of dirty country, renegade blues, murky swamp rock — think CCR gone a bit goth — and gritty, deep-fried punk. Just in case this bathtub brewed libation is a bit strong for your liking, the Shack Shakers are also pretty competent with a nice Southern ballad, but expect that to serve mostly as counterpoint to their standard raucous, blood-and-booze-fueled sonic rampage. Nicholas L. Hall

click to enlarge Zeds Dead headline Deadbeats 420 on Saturday at Rawhide. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Zeds Dead headline Deadbeats 420 on Saturday at Rawhide.
Benjamin Leatherman

Deadbeats 420

Saturday, April 20
Rawhide in Chandler

Genreless music formed by heart-stopping beat drops and deep bass repetitions is the name of the game for electronic music group Zeds Dead. Since their latest album, Northern Lights, came out in 2016, the duo have been touring the globe bringing electrifying dance anthems to the masses. Zeds Dead's latest venture is Deadbeats 420, an electronic dance music festival coming to Chandler this 4/20. Troyboi, Liquid Stranger, 1788-L, and Blanke will share the stage for a night of gritty harmonies in the desert.

Deadbeats, Zeds Dead's independent record label, is hosting this event along with more than 15 others in North America and Europe this year. For each show, a new interactive design will artistically draw the space together and create a new platform for creativity. In the past, there were arcade machines, graffiti walls, and a skate park.

Deadbeats 420 will be at the Rawhide Event Center in Chandler, the usual haunt for Relentless Beats-promoted events. General admission tickets cost $55 and the Frontlines VIP pit passes, which include access to the pit, a commemorative lanyard, and express entry into the venue, are $85. This is an 18-and-over event, and fair warning to all you, um, cannabis enthusiasts looking to attend: While it may be 4/20, you may not want to try to smuggle anything in. Megan Marples

Candy World Festival 2019

Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 21
Joe’s Grotto

Local bands and DJs will be in abundance during this sweet-sounding arts and music festival that will go down at Joe’s Grotto over the course of two days. Close to three dozen rock ‘n’ roll acts and selectors of the hip-hop and electronic dance music variety will participate, and the weekend-long event will also feature fashion designers, painters, vendors, and video artists.

The Candy World lineup includes such acts as Lethal Injektion, Some F-ing Band, Wicked Sister, Rocket 211, Ciphered Existence, Trez N Mulligan, John Thomas Band, Rite to Remain, Addict3d, Tracing Faces, Fire Glass, Hosers, Alky, Black Wolf Mountain, Daphne and the Glitches, FAIRYDUST, and others. The festival goes from noon to midnight each day. General admission is $15 per day and $20 for both. VIP tickets are $35 to $60. The full schedule can be found here. Benjamin Leatherman

Special Interest

Sunday, April 21
The Lunchbox

The New Orleans band Special Interest are making punk music that defies the constraints of the genre. Looking back to the ’70s era of disco and punk that crossed boundaries and challenged conventions, Special Interest knows no bounds. A smashing of a glass bottle, a large snort signaling cocaine being enjoyed, and a frantic assault of bass, hi-hit, and feedback starts off “Disco” before vocalist Alli Logout screams the mantra “Disco, disco, disco, we want disco!” It’s fast punk that asks to be danced to in a feverish state. Julian Hernandez

click to enlarge Vivie-Ann Bakos of Blond:ish. - COURTESY OF RT AGENCY
Vivie-Ann Bakos of Blond:ish.
Courtesy of RT Agency


Sunday, April 21
Ocotillo Restaurant

Blond:ish is proof that you can't judge a book by its cover. Its sole member, Vivie-Ann Bakos, might superficially resemble a dozen interchangeable, pretty blonde club spinners who seem more invested in their hairdressers than their record collections, but the hair and funky clothing are as far as that comparison goes

Originally formed as a duo along with onetime member Anstascia D'Elene Corniere, Blond:ish specializes in weaving sets and creating tracks that playfully skirt the razor-thin line dividing house and pure techno, layering trippy vocals over sassy percussion and soft, melodic electronic thrums that buzz through your body, eliciting dance moves you didn't even know you had.

Blond:ish, which formed in Montreal back in 2005 and became a solo act early this year after Corniere’s departure, has also perfected the trick of bridging Old World and New World dance-music sensibilities. The outdoor lawn at Ocotillo in midtown Phoenix, which will host Blond:ish, will no doubt be scorched bare when Bakos takes to the mixers. Nox Vahn, Sean Watson, and DJ MyKill will open. Amber Taufen

click to enlarge Cayucas start summer early by bringing their new LP, Real Life, to Phoenix. - CARA ROBBINS
Cayucas start summer early by bringing their new LP, Real Life, to Phoenix.
Cara Robbins


Sunday, April 21
The Rebel Lounge

"If only I could have back yesterday.” This melancholy sentiment shapes the new single from California indie rock duo Cayucas. “Winter of ’98” colors the Yudin brothers’ return with a familiar sense of longing. Nostalgia has long been the guiding light for their vibrant melodies, reminiscing about summer adventures past. But here on the track that sparked new LP Real Life, Zach and Ben let go of the controls and let the past be their guide.

“I just think high school is such a crazy thing,” Zach Yudin says. “In this little town you live in, there are so many firsts. The first time driving, the first date — sensory overload … There are just so many analogies to the real world.”

These memories have been a wellspring of inspiration for Yudin since his first release as Cayucas’ precursor, Oregon Bike Trails. “High School Lover” (later re-released on the first Cayucas LP Bigfoot) details a run-in with a lost acquaintance at a party that recalls the romantic potential the two had years before. There is a warmth in songs like this, where Cayucas show us how beautiful the simplicity of the past can be. Gerrit Feenstra
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers