Things to Do

Space Cadet Fest, Ringo Starr and the best concerts in Phoenix this weekend

Playboy Manbaby is scheduled to perform on Saturday, May 20, at Space Cadet Fest.
Playboy Manbaby is scheduled to perform on Saturday, May 20, at Space Cadet Fest. Playboy Manbaby
Think the spring festival season is over and done? Try telling that to the organizers of the Space Cadet Fest, which blasts off on Saturday at downtown Phoenix music and arts venue Trunk Space. Two dozen indie bands (local and otherwise) are scheduled to perform during the event, which is touted as a unique and intimate festival experience.

Other notable concerts and music events happening in the Valley from Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 21, include rock ‘n’ roll legend Ringo Starr, post-punk bands Echo and the Bunnymen and Molchat Doma, and Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy.

Read on for complete details about each of these gigs or check out Phoenix New Times’ concert calendar for more live music around town this weekend.

Molchat Doma

Friday, May 19
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
Listen to the music of Minsk’s Molchat Doma without any context and it wouldn’t be hard to think you’re listening to some lost band from the '80s. The Belarusian post-punk trio make cold wave music: spectral, vaporous synth-pop that sounds like it’s being beamed across space and time from a distant source. The band sounds like they could have toured with Joy Division, and not just because singer Egor Shkutko sounds like a dead ringer for the late Ian Curtis. Molchat Doma shares Joy Division’s knack for atmospherics and drama, creating compositions suffused with glacial dread and propulsive rhythms. Embarking on a long-delayed U.S. tour (thanks, COVID!) Molchat Doma are bringing the sounds of their most recent album "Monument" to our shores. Propelled by synths, drum machines and Shkutko’s mordant yet soulful vocals, "Monument" is a gloomy treat. Who knows? Maybe if it did come out in the '80s it could have ended the Cold War even sooner. Never underestimate the power of goth solidarity. 8 p.m., $27.50 via Ashley Naftule
click to enlarge
See Authority Zero in Mesa this weekend.
Authority Zero

Authority Zero

Friday, May 19
Nile Theater, 105 West Main Street, Mesa
Mesa's favorite punks Authority Zero have come a long way over the course of the last three decades. Since forming in 1994, the band has gone from intimate (often free) local shows to becoming punk icons, touring the world, and releasing multiple hit albums (their most recent being 2018’s "Persona Non Grata"). They’ve also had their fair share of bumps along the way, including battles with record companies and various lineup changes. Authority Zero has managed to survive, albeit with a few scars, and are now a household name in the local scene, and an Arizona trademark like Jimmy Eat World. This weekend, the band will stage a hometown show at the legendary Nile Theater in Mesa as they gear up for a summertime tour through Europe and the U.K. With Ignite, Deviates, and WinterHaven; 7 p.m., $20 via Melissa Fossum
click to enlarge
DJ, producer, and mask aficionado Claptone.
Andreas Waldschutz


Friday, May 19
Walter Where?House, 702 North 21st Avenue
Dance music is lousy with masked DJs, all with a gimmick of their own. Daft Punk: They're robots! Deadmau5: He's a mouse or something? Claptone is much the same, hiding under a funny hat and a golden-beaked mask that looks like a cross between a medieval plague doctor and an extra from “Eyes Wide Shut,” but what he's not hiding is his complex mythos. Apparently, he emerged generations ago from a dark wood as a mysterious, bird-shaped being bathed in golden light. The story may be a little much, but Claptone's suave, sensual mix of house and techno is nothing to hide behind. Mask off for this one, boys and girls. With Township Rebellion; 9 p.m., $30/$35 via Douglas Markowitz
click to enlarge
Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy's tunes have gone over big in the U.S.
Shervin Lainez

Dermot Kennedy

Saturday, May 20
Arizona Financial Theatre, 400 West Washington Street
England and Scotland aren’t the only countries in the UK exporting young, talented, and emotive male singer-songwriters like Sam Smith and Lewis Capaldi for American audiences to enjoy. Irish-born vocalist and guitarist Dermot Kennedy has also been successful at crafting radio-friendly tunes, including a string of hit singles like 2018's "Power Over Me," 2019's "Lost" and "Outnumbered," and 2020's "Giants." Each track showcases Kennedy’s soul-stirring vocals, introspective lyrics, and his particular sound (which melds elements of rock, folk, and hip-hop). He’s currently touring behind his most recent studio album, 2022’s Sonder, which offers “crowd-pleasing, high-polish pop” for the masses. 7:30 p.m., $29.50-$59.50 via Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge
Veronica Everheart is a co-organizer and performer at this year's Space Cadet Fest.
Alyssa Song

Space Cadet Fest

Saturday, May 20
The Trunk Space, 1124 North Third Street
Space Cadet Fest, which features 24 bands across a handful of stages in one day, is a shining example of what happens when artists and organizers think differently. "This is an intimate festival," says booker and co-organizer Robbie Pfeffer. "I'm pretty sure it's going to do well no matter who's on it, so we might as well make it the coolest festival we can. Even if I'm the only person who shows up to it, it's going to be a really cool day." He calls the lineup, which includes acts like Treasure MammaL, Sad Park, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, and Boss Frog, a "buffet of music" for diverse fans. (It will also include sets by Cheridomingo, Bummer Girl, Veronica Everheart, Police State, Okinawa Plane Crash, Ring Finger No Pinky, Goldwax Revival, Slug Bug, and others.) "This is an intimate festival," says Pfeffer. "I'm pretty sure it's going to do well no matter who's on it, so we might as well make it the coolest festival we can. Even if I'm the only person who shows up to it, it's going to be a really cool day." 1:30 p.m., $30 via Chris Coplan
click to enlarge
Rock 'n' roll legend Ringo Starr.
Rob DiCaterino/CC BY 2.0/Flickr

Ringo Starr and His All-Star Band

Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21
Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street
The good news for fans of rock ‘n’ roll legend Ringo Starr is that tickets to both of his shows at Celebrity Theatre this weekend with his All-Starr Band are still technically available, but — to paraphrase the man himself — they don’t come easy. You’ll have to pay upwards of $100 or more for the chance to see Starr and his current backing band perform a mix of Beatles favorites ("Yellow Submarine," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "What Goes On") and songs from his solo career (“Back Off Boogaloo,” “Photograph,” “I’m the Greatest”). The All-Starr Band — which currently features Edgar Winter, Colin Hay, Hamish Stuart, Steve Lukather, Warren Ham, and Gregg Bissonette — has been backing up Ringo on his tours since forming in 1989 and help add to the lively and memorable nature of his shows. Is seeing them in concerts going to be expensive? Yes, but as the Beatles once sang, the best things in life aren’t free. 7:30 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Benjamin Leatherman

Echo and the Bunnymen

Sunday, May 21
Gila River Resorts & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass, 5040 Wild Horse Pass Boulevard
Fronted by vocalist Ian McCulloch, Echo and the Bunnymen left an indelible mark on the '80s alternative scene with one immaculate LP after another: "Crocodiles," "Heaven Up Here," "Porcupine," and the mighty "Ocean Rain." The magic of the Bunnymen lies in the interplay between McCulloch’s melodramatic voice crooning gothic slam poetry while Will Sergeant’s ringing guitar work and the band’s progressively more intricate arrangements built a musical landscape where yellow submarines and Bela Lugosi could exist side by side. The Bunnymen welcomed excess, even going so far as to bring in a 35-piece orchestra for "Ocean Rain," the crown jewel in a discography littered with gems. The only thing better than belting songs like “The Killing Moon” or “Lips Like Sugar” at karaoke is hearing McCulloch himself do the honors. So don’t miss your chance to catch Liverpool’s other Fab Four in the flesh at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler. 8 p.m., $59-$119 via Ashley Naftule
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Coplan has been a professional writer since the 2010s, having started his professional career at Consequence of Sound. Since then, he's also been published with TIME, Complex, and other outlets. He lives in Central Phoenix with his fiancee, a dumb but lovable dog, and two bossy cats.
Contact: Chris Coplan
Melissa Fossum
Contact: Melissa Fossum
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule

Latest Stories