Phoenix’s Best Weekend Concerts: Muse, Alan Menken, Megadeth | Phoenix New Times

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Phoenix’s Best Weekend Concerts: Muse, Alan Menken, Megadeth

Your options include chart-topping rock acts and an award-winning composer.
Muse are scheduled to perform on Sunday, April 2, at Desert Diamond Arena.
Muse are scheduled to perform on Sunday, April 2, at Desert Diamond Arena. Warner Bros. Records
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This weekend, the Valley’s concert calendar is topped by such options as chart-topping rock band Muse, iconic metal act Megadeth, award-winning composer Alan Menken, or influential indie rockers Built to Spill. Other possibilities include EDM star and party czar Steve Aoki headlining one of the first pool parties of the season and New Zealand psych-rockers Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Read on for details about each of their gigs or check out Phoenix New Timesonline concert calendar for more live music around the Valley from Friday, March 31, to Sunday, April 2.
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The metal icons of Megadeth.
Travis Shinn


Friday, March 31
Arizona Bike Week at WestWorld, 16601 North Pima Road, Scottsdale
Megadeth is such a strong act that it needs little introduction. One of the underground metal groups of the '80s who achieved lasting commercial success, the band has sold more than 38 million albums over 40 years. They’ve survived lineup changes, band drama, and the ever-changing whims of both metal fans and the music industry, all while demonstrating their knack for creating tight, technical rhythms and arrangements, with sharp deep dips into thrash. Their lyrics, revolving around war, politics, religion, and social issues, pair perfectly with the instrumental style. Megadeth’s 16th studio album, The Sick, the Dying... and the Dead!, came out last fall to rave reviews, helping prove that they’ve still got it. 8:30 p.m., $54-$150 via Lauren Wise
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The exterior of the Mesa Arts Center.
Mesa Arts Center

A Whole New World of Alan Menken

Friday, March 31
Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, Mesa
Need proof of Alan Menken’s vast talents as a composer, musician, and record producer? Look no further than the fact he’s one of only 18 people to have won an EGOT (the combination of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony), or the distinct possibility you’ve hummed one of the many tunes he helped craft for such esteemed Disney flicks as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Enchanted, and Tangled. Menken will be happy to remind you of this fact when his one-man multimedia show comes to the Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center this weekend. He’ll perform some of his best-known tunes while accompanying himself on the piano and sharing the stories and secrets behind each tune. 8 p.m., $45-$90 via Benjamin Leatherman

Keller Williams

Saturday, April 1
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
According to Harry Nilsson, one is the loneliest number. But for singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Keller Williams, one is more than enough. Unlike one-man bands of old, Williams doesn't have cymbals on his knees, horns under his arms, taps on his toes, or a drum on his back. Rather, Williams has propelled the art of the solo performer into the modern age with the help of electronic effects. Williams' weapon of mass construction is the sequencer. Mastering what he calls "live phrase sampling," looping and delay effects allow Williams to harness a snippet of sound and, with the touch of a button, put that sound into a looped rotation. He then works around that sample, layering on more guitar, bass lines, keyboards, and drums, slowly building each song's foundation, all the while singing over the top. The result is a cacophony that is far beyond what one man should normally be capable of creating — to the point that one naturally assumes there's a whole band backing him. 8 p.m., $25-$40 via Glenn BurnSilver
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Warner Bros. Records


Sunday, April 2
Desert Diamond Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue, Glendale
The era of the big British band is almost over. Blur are on ice, Oasis has broken up into (a very entertaining) brother versus brother acrimony, U2 is reheating their leftovers, and Radiohead (while continuing to do vital work) have next to no interest in being a standard-bearer for their country and/or genre. That leaves Muse to carry the torch for Anglophiles who want to listen to someone with an English accent take themselves too seriously, a role that frontman Matt Bellamy is more than happy to play. Muse are a lot. But when you have songs as good as "Supermassive Black Hole" and "Knights of Cydonia" in your repertoire, you can get away with being a little too high on your own supply. Their 2022 album Will of the People finds the band indulging in glam rock and cock rock, marrying Bellamy's elastic, Thom Yorke-on-helium vocals with a whole lot of spacey, chunky riffs. It has the subtlety of a cinder block bouncing off your forehead, which makes it a perfect record for getting drunk and hollering along with a crowd full of fellow yahoos. With Evanescence; 6:30 p.m., $39-$398 via Ashley Naftule

Built to Spill

Sunday, April 2
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
In some ways, Built to Spill has always been a mainstream act. That's perhaps laughable given that frontman Doug Martsch and company have always existed on the periphery despite their poignant, hugely influential take on indie rock. But after some 20-ish years of releasing via Warner Brothers, the Boise, Idaho-born band have since landed on a so-called "dream label" when they released their eighth album, When The Wind Forgets Your Name, via Sub Pop in 2022 to decent reviews. (Fun fact: BTS released 1994's There’s Nothing Wrong With Love on the Sub Pop offshoot Up Records.) They’re touring in support of the album, which features an emphasis on pronounced experimentation, and come to Crescent Ballroom this weekend. With Disco Doom and Oruã; 8 p.m., $32/$35 via Chris Coplan

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Sunday, April 2
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
There must be something in the water in New Zealand. For such a small country, they’ve produced an incredible volume of eccentric and affecting rock music: The Clean, The Chills, The Bats, Tall Dwarves, The Dead C, and a legion of other acts born of kiwi indie label Flying Nun Records. Unknown Mortal Orchestra sounds like the endgame for that lo-fi guitar rock lineage: a self-produced, psychedelic rock band making a sound big enough to fill up stadiums. Formed in Auckland, the band’s core is singer/guitarist Ruban Nielson and bassist Jacob Portrait. UMO’s dense, warm productions are the band’s calling card. Imagine George Martin recording in somebody’s closet. Unknown Mortal Orchestra are hazy, beautiful towers of sound. Their latest effort, 2023's V, shows that they haven’t lost a step since their previous album, Sex & Food, came out in 2018. "Guilty Pleasures," one of the highlights of V, vamps with scratchy horns, funky beats, and Nielson’s smooth crooning. With Amulets; 8 p.m., $29.50 via Ashley Naftule
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Steve Aoki gets the crowd going at Talking Stick Resort.
Benjamin Leatherman

Steve Aoki

Sunday, April 2
Maya, 7333 East Indian Plaza, Scottsdale
Steve Aoki has pretty much done it all in the electronic dance music world. He’s created dozens of bangers that have flirted with mainstream success (including the 2015 Linkin Park collaboration "A Light That Never Comes”), become a rock star of the genre, headlined blockbuster festivals, founded influential EDM label Dim Mak, gave multiple artists their biggest breaks, and became one of the highest paid DJs on the planet. He also knows how to put on a show, turning his gigs into massive ragers where surfs the crowd in inflatable boats and tosses numerous sheet cakes onto fans. Expect him to instigate such a scene on Sunday when he headlines one of the first Maya pool parties of the season. Noon, $35 via Benjamin Leatherman
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