It's the dead of summer and Phoenix’s concert scene couldn’t be more lively. There’s a full slate of shows and music events happening this weekend, including concerts, theme parties, and dance nights.
Big names like Beck, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Yungblud, and Common all have performances scheduled over the next three nights.
Meanwhile, the annual Happy Together Tour will return to Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, ThirdSpace will present a two-night farewell to its current home, and a Stranger Things party will take place at The Van Buren.
Details about each of these shows and music events can be found below. And for even more live music happening around the Valley this weekend, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
The Dan BandFriday, July 19
The Van Buren
Take a handful of dudes singing their versions of angsty, female-driven songs from the past few decades, pepper in a few f-bombs, and you’ve got the Dan Band. Headed by comedian Dan Finnerty, you may remember these guys’ version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” from the film Old School or as the wedding band in the film The Hangover. They recently released The Wedding Album with a pop-punk cover of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and a less-than-sexy cover of “Bump N’ Grind,” among other things. Their satire isn’t as obvious as, say, “Weird Al" Yankovic, but the Dan Band embody their own unique brand of fun. Their show at The Van Buren on Friday night kicks off at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15-$25. Diamond Rodrigue
YungbludFriday, July 19
“I want to talk about real shit.” Yungblud, a.k.a. Dominic Harrison, explains what drove him, a Brit, to write a song called "Machine Gun (Fuck the NRA)." And it's a good reason, too. “I want to write real music that connects, and talk about real things in a world that’s dilutin’ and avoidin’ the subject.”
Yungblud, now 21, grew up in northern England, where his dad was a guitar dealer and young Dominic was, he says, a “little idiot running around the dusty guitars on the counter, giving everybody my mouth. I was very gobby.” He’s been in bands since he was about 12 years old, and was signed to Interscope two years ago. Musically, he moves from pop-punk anthems to ska-tinged rockers to stripped-down acoustic sets – and, yes, that’s him on the more mainstream “11 Minutes” with his apparent girlfriend, Halsey.
Yungblud came onto the scene with “King Charles,” which juxtaposes an infectiously boppy beat with lyrics about a historical figure from the 1600s. (”You took the taxes to fund the evil.”) “He would take money from the poor people to fund unnecessary wars,” Yungblud says. “Well, 400 years later, we’re destroying the planet, dropping bombs on other countries.” The show starts at 8 p.m. with an opening set by Saint PHNX. Tickets are $23-$26. Deirdra Funcheon
Happy Together TourFriday, July 19
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale
Synchronize your watches for the "summer of love" as the annual tour of 1960s throwbacks rolls into the Valley once again for a groovy evening of timeless tunes. The Salt River Grand Ballroom at Scottsdale's Talking Stick Resort will host the show. This year's lineup will include Flo and Eddie of the The Turtles, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night fame, and rock/pop act Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, as well as bands like The Buckinghams, The Classics IV, and The Cowsills. Board the nostalgia train starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30-$125. Benjamin Leatherman
Keith CarnalFriday, July 19
The lush techno soundscapes created by Keith Carnal are magnetic, primal, and even a bit hypnotic. They’ve also gotten people moving with their bounding beats and breathless tempos at the various clubs and festivals where the Dutch-born DJ/producer had performed around the world. According to Carnal, his techno has a higher purpose than just getting people to dance. It’s about inclusivity and emotion, as well as breaking down the barriers that separate us as individuals.
“For me techno can encompass all emotions, whether it is happiness, sadness or even anger,” Carnal said in a previous interview. “Techno is more for me than just playing and making tracks, it's a language that overcomes words, differences and race – an unspoken language of unity." This weekend, Carnal will be bringing people together at Club Silverado where he’s scheduled to perform on Friday, July 19. Local DJs like Brockelmonster and SNAQS will open. Start time is 9 p.m. and it's for a 21-and-over crowd. Tickets are $15-$20. Benjamin Leatherman
Mike KrolFriday, July 19
The title track from Mike Krol’s latest record, Power Chords, might just have the catchiest chorus in a rock song this year. Following up a spoken-word intro, Krol's lyrics are universal, outlining the vengeful thoughts that can cut the pain of heartbreak. “Hold me close / Don’t ever let me go / 'cause I’ve been waiting all my life for the moment to tell you so / With a couple power chords / I’m gonna let you know / That revenge is better / When it comes from down below.”
Fuzzy, zesty guitar lines unite with a zippy drumbeat to create the supports for Krol’s signature edgy vocal delivery, making for one commanding track.
In fact, all 11 songs on his fourth offering, the second on Merge Records, are hard to shake. That’s generally the case with tunes by this Milwaukee-born garage rocker. He’s got hooks for days, and he knows how to use them. Hear them for yourself this weekend when Krol performs at Valley Bar on Friday night with support from Man Hands and It's Embarrassing. Start time is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Amy Young
ThirdSpace's Grand FinaleFriday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20
During its five-plus years of existence in the downtown Phoenix scene, ThirdSpace’s current home along Grand Avenue has been a hub of art, culture, and music. Scores of local bands, musicians, rappers, DJs, and artists have performed at the bar and restaurant, helping to add to its creative verve and downtown’s cultural fabric. This weekend, ThirdSpace will still play that role, albeit for one final time at its current location.
As you may have heard, ThirdSpace is leaving its longtime home on Grand for a currently undetermined new location. Before departing, however, its proprietors are putting on one final weekend of performances.
It starts on Friday, July 19, at 8 p.m. with latest staging of monthly hip-hop night The CoolDown, which will feature raps and rhymes by Optimystical and others. ZeeDubb and Lord Kash will host and DJ Extract will be in the record decks. And then, starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, local musicians and bands like Estevan, Zack Phillips, Dinosaur Love, and Puppy and the Hand Job will perform at ThirdSpace. The trio of DJ Gnarly Brown, DJ Rey Rey, DJ This Just In will also be in the mix. Both events are free. Benjamin Leatherman
The Claypool Lennon DeliriumSaturday, July 20
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Les Claypool has always done things, well, his way. Whether with Primus, his main band, or any number of side projects, including the Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, Oysterhead (featuring Phish’s Trey Anastasio, though perhaps Claypool’s most accessible project), or Sausage, Claypool has always looked outside rock conventions for something a little different. For the last couple of years, he’s occasionally joined forces with Sean Lennon in The Claypool Lennon Delirium, a project that explores and extrapolates on the musical incantations of 1970s-style heavy progressive rock. Yet, the music cannot be so simply defined. The pair’s debut album, The Monolith of Phobos, is alternately psychedelic, spacey, gritty, progish, metalish (“Cricket and the Genie Movement 2” sports some wicked Black Sabbath-like riffs), Beatles-esque (there’s no hiding Sean’s harmonic connections), and kind of weird in creepy, scary, fun ways. Tickets for their Saturday night show at the Marquee Theatre, which starts at 8 p.m., are $29.50-$49.50. Particle Kid opens. Glenn BurnSilver
Cracker and Camper Van BeethovenSaturday, July 20
David Lowery will work double duty as the frontman of both Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven when both bands visit Crescent Ballroom on July 20. It’s nothing new, considering the Texas-born rock musician has toured the world with both of his bands for decades. Camper was a college rock staple in the 1980s, and Cracker had mainstream success in the ’90s thanks to singles such as "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)" and "Low." Think of this show as killing two birds with one stone. Some people prefer one band over the other – and there are plenty of others who like both – so this should make longtime fans quite happy while attending this show on Saturday night, which starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25-$38. Eric Grubbs
Stranger Things '80s NightSaturday, July 20
The Van Buren
Unless you’ve been stuck in The Upside-Down the past few weeks, you’re undoubtedly aware that season three of Stranger Things is out. Given the show’s rampant popularity – 40 million people have already watched the latest episodes according to Netflix – it isn’t much of a shocker that the folks at The Van Buren are putting on a Stranger Things '80s Night at the venue this weekend to coincide with the latest chronicles of Hawkins, Indiana.
Much like the show, the party, which takes place on Saturday, July 20, will be steeped in Reagan-era nostalgia. The DJ duo of Jeffery and Bractune will spin '80s tunes and songs from the show throughout the night. As you’d expect, '80s attire and Stranger Things costumes are encouraged. There will also be a photo booth and character buttons for the first 300 patrons. Start time is 10 p.m. Admission is $10 in advance, $15 to $18 at the door. Benjamin Leatherman
Beck and Cage the ElephantSunday, July 21
“Loser” be damned – at this point, it’s hard to argue that Beck is anything but an elder statesman of American rock music. For proof, look no further than his win for Album of the Year at the 2015 Grammys, where he beat out Beyoncé’s self-titled album (but also Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran, so it was kind of a down year overall). He’ll be joined at Ak-Chin Pavilion on Sunday, July 21, by two excellent openers. First, Spoon will celebrate their recent greatest hits collection with a set studded with favorites, from “Do You” to “I Turn My Camera On” to “Can I Sit Next To You.” Next, Cage the Elephant will ensure that there’s no rest for the wicked at a show that’s sure to be scorching hot (and not just because of the temperature). Their concert at Ak-Chin Pavilion starts at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $29.50. Douglas Markowitz
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CommonSunday, July 21
The Van Buren
As a young musician, Common launched his rap career in the early '90s. His 1994 sophomore album, Resurrection, took his skill as a spoken-word poet and set it to the jazz-inspired beats of his friend and producer No ID. The album was hailed for its lyricism and helped to define the sound of hip-hop at the time. Today, many consider the project a classic.
Poetry-driven content has defined Common’s musical career. Resurrection’s breakout single, "I Used to Love H.E.R," is a creative dedication to his love of a woman. At the close of the last verse, it’s revealed that the song is not about a woman at all, but is really a love letter to hip-hop. It was this kind of lyrical maturity and honesty that became part of his musical identity. He raps with a vulnerability that most rappers work hard to disguise.
Undeniably, he’s had his fair share of controversy and isn’t above engaging in a good rap beef now and again. Drake drama aside (Common targeted Drake on his single "Sweet" and things went south from there), Common is on a continuous journey of self-exploration and fulfillment, giving fans much more than music to look forward to. He’s scheduled to perform at The Van Buren on Sunday night. Nicole Bus opens. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35-$199. Alma Schofield