Concerts in Phoenix August 9-11: Mary J. Blige, Young the Giant, Louis the Child | Phoenix New Times

The 13 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

It’s all about hip-hop and EDM this weekend.
Mary J. Blige is scheduled to perform on Saturday, August 10, at Ak-Chin Pavilion.
Mary J. Blige is scheduled to perform on Saturday, August 10, at Ak-Chin Pavilion. Live Nation
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What’s on tap for the Valley’s concert scene this weekend? A mix of electronic dance music and hip-hop, for starters. Rappers and DJs will dominate local venues from Friday, August 9, to Sunday, August 11.

Nas, Talib Kweli, Mary J. Blige, Kurupt, and Devin the Dude are all scheduled to perform around town the next few nights, as are EDM purveyors like Louis the Child, Thugfucker, Ansome, and Myler.

Other notable shows this weekend include local bands decker. and Banana Gun celebrating a decade of existence, Young the Giant and Fitz and The Tantrums bringing their team-up tour to downtown Phoenix, and 311 and Dirty Heads doing their thing at Ak-Chin Pavilion.

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

Devin Copeland, a.k.a. underground rapper Devin the Dude.
Marco Torres

Devin the Dude

Friday, August 9
Aura Nightclub

Despite being a critically acclaimed rapper, Devin the Dude has not experienced much mainstream success. His peculiar flow has landed him guest appearances alongside the likes of Ice Cube, Too $hort, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Jay-Z, but the respect of his peers just hasn't resulted in album sales. That's unfortunate for the Michigan-born transplant, but the silver lining – for fans, anyway – is that Devin remains an approachable figure in the hip-hop world. He’ll perform at Aura Nightclub in Tempe on Friday night. Fans of lyrically driven hip-hop should celebrate the opportunity to see and hear this oddball up close and personal. The gig gets going at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $40. Matthew Keever

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Banda MS will elevate heart rates at Comerica Theatre this weekend.
Live Nation

Banda MS

Friday, August 9
Comerica Theatre

Banda music is lively and loud, normally featuring a brilliant horn section, large bass drum, and a few clarinets. The music is both simple in its composition and complex in its delivery – imagine the amount of practice it takes a normal-sized band to sync up and play as a team. It takes time and patience, for sure. Now imagine if your band has 16 members.

That's what we get with La Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizarraga, or simply Banda MS. The group was formed in 2003 in the Pacific state of Sinaloa, specifically in the city of Mazatlán. Their style of music is called Duranguense, which runs at a faster tempo than traditional banda music, yet still shares roots with Norteño. Their sets include such classics as "El Sinalonse," which is pretty much the standard banda song that every group learns and perfects. The blaring of the horns, the vocal fortitude of the lyrics, and the bang-bang-banging of the drums instantly elevates heart rates and causes boots to shuffle. And shuffle they will when Banda MS performs at Comerica Theatre on Friday night starting at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $62.50 to $182.50. Marco Torres

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Techno DJ/producer Myler.
DSNT Records

Techno Snobs' [SLAM] Showcase

Friday, August 9
One One Bar in Tempe

Like techno? You’ll want to head for Tempe’s One One Bar for an evening of beats and bass from forward-thinking and cutting-edge DJ/producers Ansome and Myler. Both hail from the U.K., and prefer a harder, faster, and stronger style of techno mixed with other electronic music genres (Myler’s work, for instance, occasionally features elements of drum 'n’ bass). DJ Aisle 5 will open the evening, which is being presented by local EDM collective Techno Snobs. Soak up the sounds starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $30. Benjamin Leatherman

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Banana Gun celebrate a decade together at Crescent on Friday. Kevin Loyd is the one in the dreadlocks.
Julie Breslin

Banana Gun and decker. (10-Year Anniversary Party)

Friday, August 9
Crescent Ballroom

It’s rare to find a local band that have the stamina to stay together for a decade, but Banana Gun aren't most bands. Despite their ups and downs over the years, the five-piece, which include vocalist Loyd, saxophonist Kyle Parks, bassist Ross Troost, drummer Ian Breslin, and guitarist Nic Dehaan, are the family that play together. They do it well. Their fun and frantic live sets are jam-packed with jazzy, danceable riffs. The Phoenix band's latest album, 2017’s Dance Monkey Down in Faux Town, is their best work yet.

To commemorate their milestone, Banana Gun are embarking on a mini-tour through Arizona this weekend with decker., who also started in 2009. They stop at Crescent Ballroom on Friday night. Wyves and Ali A and the Agency will open the evening, which starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $10. Jason Keil

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Legendary rapper Nas.
Press Here Talent

Mary J. Blige and Nas

Friday, August 9
Ak-Chin Pavilion

If you plan to see Mary J. Blige and Nas on The Royalty Tour, don't be late. There isn't going to be an opening act. The ‘90s legends won't have separate sets either, so don't bother asking who goes on first. Rather, they will tag-team each other throughout the evening to perform their solo hits and share the stage for their joint work. What makes this onstage pairing particularly noteworthy is both Blige and Nas are celebrating the 25th anniversaries of their landmark albums My Life and Illmatic, respectively. The two performers aren't holding back either. Media outlets have reported that the duo have a setlist that is over 40 songs long, including the hits "No More Drama" and "The World is Yours." This isn't a co-headlining tour. It’s a night of collaboration. Tickets are $30.99 to $179.99 for the show, which starts at 8 p.m. Jason Keil

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Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett of Louis the Child.
Paradigm Talent Agency

Louis the Child's Playground

Saturday, August 10
The Pool at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

EDM – or electronic dance music for those asleep the last half-decade – is all but on the way out. After several feverish summers of megaton festivals and figureheads like Deadmau5, the genre is more or less teetering on its last legs. But don’t tell that to EDM duo Louis the Child, whose subtle variations on the EDM formula suggest the euphoric dance style isn’t dying but finally maturing and evolving.

Trading anthemic builds for pop-savvy, hip-hop percussion and fluttering, neon-drenched synths, Louis the Child’s singles float more than erupt. Amid glassy keys and sensual, party-ready moods, the duo show what a sea change might look like for EDM — and how much fun surfing those waves could be. This weekend, Louis the Child bring their Playground to Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale to headline the latest Release pool party. Whethan, Win and Woo, ilo ilo, and Rampant will also perform. Gates open at 1 p.m. Tickets are $40. Jonathan Patrick

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The Lunchbox is the new haven for drum 'n' bass in the Valley.
Benjamin Leatherman

Melt v2.1

Saturday, August 11
The Lunchbox

Local fans of electronic music rejoice. ICYMI, local DIY venue The Lunchbox recently was saved from impending doom by the timely intervention of local experimental electronic musician Scot McKenzie and a few of his friends. In addition to helping out owner Danny Levie on the financial end, they also installed a new sound system, and it will definitely get a workout during any of the upcoming electronica and EDM events happening at the venue.

That includes the Melt drum 'n’ bass/junglism nights that have taken place at LBX over the past several months, which feature local and visiting DJs and producers. And according to the event’s curator, Deaconblue Batchelor, there are about to be a lot more Melts going down at Lunchbox. “It's been building and going really well,” Batchelor says, "so well that Danny asked us to bump it up to two nights a month.”

Hence Melt v2.1 on Saturday, which is the first of two editions of the night this month. It features famed local d'n’b selector Deepfreq as the headliner. Other artists scheduled to perform include Deadkids and the DJ foursome known as the BoomTunePlatoon – which consists of Damad Monk, Quadlift, Xplicit, and T-rav – who will present a two-hour jungle set. The d'n’b action starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $5. Benjamin Leatherman
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Hip-hop recording artist Talib Kweli.
Press Here PR

Talib Kweli

Saturday, August 10
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Brooklyn hip-hop artist and social activist Talib Kweli has built a career on incisive, intelligent lyrics with his thought-provoking rap. Surrounded by a family of university educators, Kweli came to the public's attention in 1996 when he appeared on the album Doom by Cincinnati group Mood. It was in 2002, with the release of his debut solo album Quality, that he saw his reputation blossom nationally. He put out the Train of Thought: Lost Lyrics, Rare Releases & Beautiful B-Sides Vol. 1 and Fuck the Money albums in 2015, and the Awful People Are Great at Parties collaboration with Javotti Media in 2016. It’s been a couple of years since Kweli’s last release, 2017’s The Seven, but he’s certainly got plenty of material in his catalog to draw from when he performs at the Marquee Theatre on Saturday night. The show starts at 7 p.m. and Scruse Boy, E$cott, and Blaine Coffee will open. Tickets are $25 to $45. Brett Callwood


Saturday, August 10
The Pressroom

Though he is best known for his work with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound, Kurupt (a.k.a. Tha Kingpin, Kalhoon and Young Gotti) is a more well-rounded MC than his guest verses would suggest. While the Dogg Pound albums are about "not giving a fuck, bangin' out, making some good gangsta music," his solo ventures are more "wordly ... all across the board." Indeed, as a solo artist and with groups, Kurupt has been one of the most consistent rappers on the West Coast, releasing a slew of collaboration albums with the likes of DJ Quik and Diirty OGz. Kendrick Lamar and Eminem have both cited him as an influence, and that's no small feat. Kurupt's latest effort is Equinox, his seventh solo studio album, which dropped this year. He’s scheduled to perform on Saturday night at The Pressroom. Roscoe, Badazz, and Saviii 3rd share the bill. Start time is 8 p.n. and tickets are $25 to $30. Noah Hubbell

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Like 'em or hate 'em, 311 have definitely made their mark on the music world.
Marcello Ambriz

311 and Dirty Heads

Saturday, August 10
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Let's all feel old here: 311 have been rocking for more than 30 years. The Nebraska-bred band are still going strong. The band's latest release, Voyager, dropped in June, so get ready for new nuggets, too. The openers are strong for this concert, including Dirty Heads, The Interrupters, and Bikini Trill. Get there early and show everyone some love. Jose D. Duran

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The man they call Thugfucker.
Liaison Artists


Sunday, August 11
Shady Park in Tempe

One doesn't really know what to expect from the Icelandic-American artist called Thugfucker. Is he a gangsta rapper or some bizarro grindcore act? Nope. Neither. Greg Oreck is an electronic dance music DJ and producer of the deep house/indie dance variety. He’s also a transatlantic boogie virtuoso of the highest order. And as you read this, he’s probably destroying a dance floor near you. This weekend, that dance floor will be located at the Tempe EDM hot spot Shady Park during its weekly TreeHouse Sundays party. SoCal house music DJ/producer Marbs will provide support. The beats get bumping at 3 p.m. Admission is $15. Sean Levisman

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Fitz and the Tantrums
Joseph Cultice

Young the Giant and Fitz and The Tantrums

Sunday, August 11
Comerica Theatre

Young the Giant have joined forces with Fitz and The Tantrums to bring a heavy dose of indie-pop and neo-soul to Comerica Theatre in mid-August. While The Tantrums haven't released a proper album since their 2016 self-titled outing, which received mixed reviews, a steady stream of singles has fans clamoring for their next record. Young the Giant, meanwhile, is still on tour in support of last year's Mirror Master, a personal endeavor following the politically driven Home of the Strange. Despite some recent missteps, both outfits remain beloved in the indie scene, and their performances should be chock-full of well-known hits, including "Cough Syrup" and "Moneygrabber." Valley native and burgeoning pop singer UPSAHL will open the evening, which starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39 to $55. Matthew Keever

An Orchestral Interpretation of Dr. Dre 2001

Sunday, August 11
The Pressroom

Dr. Dre cemented his relevance in the hip-hop genre when his album 2001 dropped in 1999. With hits like “The Next Episode” and “Forgot About Dre,” the catchy and profane record, filled with brilliant guest appearances from Eminem and Snoop Dogg, proved that the producer would be a force to be reckoned with in the new millennium. No Strings Attached has adapted the record to a classical setting with An Orchestral Interpretation of Dr. Dre 2001. You’ll never hear rap the same way again, but event organizers want to make it clear that the artist will not be in attendance. Blaze it up starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday evening at The Pressroom. Tickets are $20. Jason Keil
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