The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Steve Aoki is scheduled to perform on Saturday, May 27, at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale.
Steve Aoki is scheduled to perform on Saturday, May 27, at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Courtesy of MSO PR

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Chico Chism
Timothy Archibald
Chico Chism Memorial Birthday Celebration
Saturday, May 27
Rhythm Room

The late Chico Chism was most definitely the man. Just ask any blues fans who know a thing or two about the genre’s history (and can rattle off a list of legends that the drummer, who passed away in 2007, performed with in his day) or any of the locals who discovered his talents, lively personality, and charm after he moved to Phoenix. Chism started banging the skins at 14, and didn’t stop for more than five decades, playing with many notable names in blues biz, including the late Howlin’ Wolf in the '70s, as well as such cats as Choker Campbell, Lowell Fulson, Big Joe Turner, Little Junior Parker, Sunnyland Slim, Otis Rush, and both The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Stevie Ray Vaughn. After Valley blues guru Bob Corritore brought him to town in 1986, Chism lit up the Rhythm Room alongside such greats as R.L. Burnside, Bo Diddley, Pinetop Perkins, and Louisiana Red. And he did it with style and aplomb. And how could you not like a cat who once declared, "I’m the house rocker and the show stopper, the woman’s pet and the man’s threat. I’m Chico, the Boogie Man." This weekend, many of his friends will gather at the Rhythm Room to celebrate his life and legacy for an annual birthday tribute, including event hosts Bill Tarsha and the Rocket 88s. Benjamin Leatherman

Jesse Pangburn and Mickey Pangburn of MRCH.
Frank Thomas
Saturday, May 27
Valley Bar

The Valley’s a breeding ground for electronic music — from the bumping nightclub scene of Old Town Scottsdale to downtown Phoenix’s indie hangouts. But MRCH do things differently. In contrast to the boringly predictable drops and paint-by-numbers lyrics about “chicks in the club,” the band (whose name is pronounced “march”) create music against the electronic grain. The Phoenix-based duo comprises Mickey Pangburn as frontwoman, guitarist, and synth player and Jesse Pangburn on drums. Together, they deliver a danceable, energetic sound with dreamy vocals that transcend their genre of choice. For instance, “Spin” features a simplistic, repetitive beat, but uses that canvas to discuss love and cynicism. The chorus — minus some oohs, ahhs, and echoes — goes “never know / who to trust / so you become / come come come / cynical / al al al / like us.” Fans of electronic indie sounds of Sleigh Bells, Phantogram, and Beach House will vibe well with MRCH. Lindsay Roberts

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Steve Aoki returns to Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale this weekend.
Benjamin Leatherman
Steve Aoki
Saturday, May 27
Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

Steve Aoki has been an icon in EDM for over two decades as an artist, a promoter, and a label executive. He's also had plenty of critics, who've accused him of being a champagne-spraying, cake-throwing showman first and a DJ second. But what's never been called into question is his work ethic. This year, Aoki also reached an impressive milestone when his record label, Dim Mak, turned 21. Aoki is proudest of the artists he's developed through the label, many of whom are now mega-stars in their own right. As per usual, he’s been plenty busy these days, including playing multiple festivals and events like this weekend’s Release pool party at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. "No matter how many people you’re playing in front of, whether it’s five people or 50,000, you have to truly have an authentic connection with your music, and the experience you’re providing for others or you’ll get jaded,” he said. “I have to remind myself where I’m standing and how fortunate I am to be in the position I’m in. But the music brings me back to a place mentally where I want to do this a million times. Music is my religion." Roderick Pullum

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Monoxide Child of Twiztid.
Brandon Marshall
Saturday, May 27
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Second best isn't that bad, right? To call horrorcore rappers Twiztid — Jamie Madrox and Monoxide Child — the second most popular Juggalo act (after Insane Clown Posse) doesn't seem all that fair. ICP are the originators, of course, making Madrox and Child something like apostles to Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J's Jesus. The duo has spread the good word of the Faygo-drenched lifestyle, appearing on Juggalo imprint Psychopathic Records' Big Money Hustla$, which featured the two starring alongside Rudy Ray Moore, Harland Williams, and more. The band's been a prolific part of the ICP empire, and its success speaks to the power of independent hip-hop. It might come off as goofy to the uninitiated (or the kind of folks opposed to getting face-blasted with sugary soda), but Twiztid's pulling in serious cash and keeping fans happy. This weekend, they’ll do both at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe during their latest Valley show, which will feature a slew of openers, including Kung Fu Vampire, G-Mo Skee, Young Wicked, Gorilla Voltage, Body Bag Syndikate, Poizonous Logik, and several others. Jason P. Woodbury

Get ready for some serious noodling. And guitar faces.
Danny Clinch
Dead and Company
Sunday, May 28
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Since the Grateful Dead formed in the ’60s, the music of Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and countless other contributors has gained a true cult status. Even after frontman Garcia’s death in 1995, the band continued to deliver music. And it’s downright impressive that the music hasn’t stopped over the course of the Dead’s five-decade history. After the band’s 50th-anniversary “Fare Thee Well Tour” in 2015, it seemed like it might. But cut to 2017, and the group is now touring as Dead and Company. The lineup includes John Mayer alongside original members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann. Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti are also in the mix. Mayer’s strong blues background aids in the faithful delivery of wavy riffs from the days of Garcia. Kayla Clancy
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.