The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

The Valley's mix of concerts this weekend is both eclectic and colorful, to say the least. How else would you describe a collection of shows containing a metal-meets-mariachi ensemble, a festival devoted to moon worship, and a rock band so heavy they might crush your very soul?

Yeah, like we said, eclectic.

Meanwhile, it's also going to be a big weekend for dance music. This year's Trapfest Phoenix will take place at The Van Buren on Saturday night, notable acts like Knife Party and Penguin Prison get asses moving at other spots, and a new monthly called The Glitzy Hive will be happening at The Lunchbox.

Details about each of these gigs 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 Nash in downtown Phoenix.
The Nash in downtown Phoenix.
Courtesy of The Nash

A Night in Havana feat. Josiel Perez’s All-Stars
Friday, July 27
The Nash

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Music was more than just a part of Josiel Perez’s life growing up in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba. It consumed him. “Every time we shared food, we shared music,” Perez said in a 2014 interview. His grandfather is a talented flautist and his uncle, Andres Perez, is a prominent baritone saxophonist in Cuba. “In Cuba we love music,” Perez said. “Music is in the air. We take every opportunity we can to share music.”

And he’ll have another sharing opportunity when The Nash in downtown Phoenix presents A Night in Havana with Josiel Perez’s All-Stars at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 27. Perez now resides in Phoenix and holds a Ph.D from Arizona State University. He plays trumpet with Alan Acosta on tenor sax, Marcos Crego on piano, Max Beckman on bass, Caleb Michel on percussion, and special guest Keith Kelly also playing sax. Tickets are $20, and $10 for students with ID. Stuart Warner

Chris Glover of Penguin Prison.
Chris Glover of Penguin Prison.
Courtesy of Paradigm Agency

Penguin Prison (DJ Set)
Friday, July 27
Crescent Ballroom

Chris Glover plays under the moniker Penguin Prison, and with that moniker comes live production at its finest. Remixing, mashing, and live vocals all infuse an electropop set that leaves dance floors sweaty and thirsting for more. We're guessing a similar situation will ensue during his live DJ set on Friday at Crescent Ballroom when Glover spins Penguin Prison songs both old (“The Worse it Gets,” “Fair Warning”) and new (“Turn It Up”). Equally synthy electronic musician witch house pioneer Pictureplane will also perform. Amber Taufen

Chris Glover of Penguin Prison.
Chris Glover of Penguin Prison.
Courtesy of Paradigm Agency

Friday, July 27
Valley Bar

What does a Memphis medical student do in his spare time? In the case of Ethan Healy – who goes by his last name when performing – you hole up in your dorm room armed with your appreciation for various musical styles and your notebook of original songs, and start building a parallel life as a rap artist.

Healy started messing around with music in high school, writing songs with his acoustic guitar. Those early creations started to evolve, and he started driving them in a hip-hop direction. In 2015, Healy started releasing singles, building up a coveted online following. He backed those tunes up with the 12-song Subluxe in 2017.

There is no real distinction between those first singles and the full-length; they both show a penchant for keeping the mood laid back. Steady beats and mellow grooves are topped with rap vocals that show the performer’s appreciation for a variety of his predecessors. From the more Autotune-y era of Lil Wayne to the choppy, punchy delivery of Eminem, we can get a good idea of what has given Healy some inspiration. He gets extra-vulnerable on songs like “Python” and “Unwind,” where his vocals are more in the contemporary R&B crooner pocket than attitude-laden raps like “Dem My Dogs.” Amy Young

This month's Full Moon Festival will light up The Pressroom.EXPAND
This month's Full Moon Festival will light up The Pressroom.
Benjamin Leatherman

Full Moon Festival: Thunder Moon
Friday, July 27
The Pressroom

As it turns out, the night sky won't be the only thing getting lit up on Friday evening when the full moon blooms overhead. Over at The Pressroom in downtown Phoenix, the warehouse-like venue will be aglow with LEDs, lasers, fire-dancing, and other illumination during the latest Full Moon Festival. This time around, the monthly cultural event will celebrate July's “Thunder Moon” (so named for the summer's penchant for stormy weather ) and will fittingly feature a maelstrom of art, music, dancing, and activities like a silent disco and a yoga sesh.

A total of five stages will be set up both in and around The Pressroom and have a mix of DJs, electronic dance music artists, bands, musicians, and MCs. Notable names that are scheduled to perform include dance-punk/darkwave band Paper Foxes, hip-hop artist Lamar Crushin, hard rock act Adero, electronica artist E Alo, and weed-loving comedy rapper HotRock Supajoint. The extensive DJ lineup will feature such names as Glowver, Seeweed, Jake Saylor, Butters, Aramis, Sean Solomon, and Disco Zombie. The event runs from 8:08 p.m. to 3 a.m. Tickets are $20 at the door. Benjamin Leatherman

This month's Full Moon Festival will light up The Pressroom.EXPAND
This month's Full Moon Festival will light up The Pressroom.
Benjamin Leatherman

Guitar Shorty
Saturday, July 28
The Rhythm Room

He played with some of the best when he was just 17: Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Otis Rush, B.B. King, and T-Bone Walker. Guitar Shorty (born David Kearney) credits the flamboyant Guitar Slim with inspiring him to incorporate somersaults and flips into his lively stage show. Settling in Seattle, Shorty married Jimi Hendrix's half-sister, Marsha. Hendrix would go AWOL from his military base in '61 and '62 to see Shorty's shows, and told Shorty that he started setting his guitar on fire because he couldn't do backflips.

Times became lean for Shorty in the '70s, and he even appeared on The Gong Show in '78, which he won by playing while in a headstand. Shorty finally made a successful return in '91 with My Way or the Highway, for which he won a Blues Music Award that revitalized his career. With a scathing blues-rock style that recalls Buddy Guy and the man who discovered him, Willie Dixon, Shorty has come on like a double-aged Scotch, reaching his peak in his late 60s. Though the flips are less frequent, he's still a colorful performer who roams the room (and sometimes the parking lot), slinging a wireless guitar, and never missing a lick. Chris Parker

Chip King and Lee Buford of The Body.
Chip King and Lee Buford of The Body.
Adam Degross

The Body
Saturday, July 28
The Rebel Lounge

For a band named after the meat-suits we all wear, The Body creates music that sounds divorced from physicality and flesh. Emphasizing the horror of human consciousness (the fear of not existing, the pain of being, that little voice in your head urging you to dive off the nearest cliff), the sounds they make sound like they’re being made out of body.

Their music crackles and hums like pure electricity, guitars and drums and electronics going haywire from fired synapses raging against the dying of the light. Chip King’s strangled voice, keening over the noise, recalls Alice’s description of the Cheshire Cat as a “grin without a cat” — his voice sounds like a scream without a body.

The Body’s name is fitting, though: They make music that seeps into your bones like the cold. If there is one word that can sum up the band’s sprawling discography, it’s intensity. The Body makes music that comes down on the listener like a vise. They don’t rock or rage so much as they apply pressure. It’s music that slowly and inexorably pins people to the ground. Ashley Naftule

Davina will help launch The Glitzy Hive this weekend.EXPAND
Davina will help launch The Glitzy Hive this weekend.
Michael Edgecomb

The Glitzy Hive
Saturday, July 28
The Lunchbox

If you haven’t spent an evening at The Lunchbox yet, you probably will soon. The intimate music venue and bar, which is located at 4132 East McDowell Road, has been booking tons of attention-grabbing bands and acts from a wide variety of genres in recent months. And starting this weekend, LBX gets its latest recurring dance party, courtesy of DJ MyKill, Davina, and Jared Alan.

The trio will launch their newest affair, The Glitzy Hive, on Saturday night at The Lunchbox. According to MyKill, the monthly event takes place every fourth Saturday and will be a “night for fans of new indie electronic music covering various sounds, genres, feels, and tempos.” All three DJs will be in the mix during each edition of The Glitzy Hive and will spin plenty of left-field house and disco, as well as other tastemaking indie dance sounds. Deven Williams from Walter Productions will host, local artist Andres Yuhnke will provide the visuals, and Chef Renetto-Mario Etsitty will have a food booth outside. The glitz gets going at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $5. Benjamin Leatherman

Legendary jazz drummer Billy Cobham.EXPAND
Legendary jazz drummer Billy Cobham.
Courtesy of Sgent Nation

Billy Cobham and the Crosswinds Project
Saturday, July 28
Mesa Arts Center

Only calling Billy Cobham a drummer would be an enormous disservice. He's an experimental bandleader and composer, mixing and matching genres to create exciting jazz-fusion arrangements. Even if he's obscured by a towering drum set, all eyes will be trained on Cobham, a founding member of Mahavishnu Orchestra, and his staggering percussive virtuosity when he performs. Such will be the case this weekend inside the Mesa Arts Center's Piper Repertory Theatre when Cobham brings the Crosswinds Projects, which shares its name with his landmark 1974 album, to town. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40. Matt Wood

Josh Young, formerly of Flosstradamus, brings his new act YehMe2 to The Van Buren.EXPAND
Josh Young, formerly of Flosstradamus, brings his new act YehMe2 to The Van Buren.
Jesse Lirola

Trapfest Phoenix 2018
Saturday, July 28
The Van Buren

Trap music has been big in the electronic dance music scene for several years now, and it’s still going strong. Just look at the continued existence of the annual Trapfest Phoenix, which takes place in the Valley every summer and stars a slew of EDM artists and DJs who specialize in trap-heavy mixes and sounds that fuse hip-hop with dirty and gritty bass. The event heads to The Van Buren this year and will include sets by YehMe2 (a.k.a. Josh Young of Flosstradamus fame), as well as Boombox Cartel, Spag Heddy, and Cray. The 18-and-over event kicks off at 9 p.m. and goes until 2 a.m. Tickets are $57. Benjamin Leatherman

Sunday, July 29
The Rhythm Room

What would happen to a young Mexican-American musician, who decades ago, was brought up with traditional mariachi music, but in his teens discovered bands like Black Sabbath and the multiverse of hard rock and heavy metal? This is where the concept for Metalachi was born, in the in the 1990s.

Struggling with opposing musical genres, the band gave birth to an innovative new sound: the fusion of traditional Mexican mariachi folk music, and the loud, wild, sleazy and decadent vibes of heavy metal. Metalachi had been blowing minds and bursting eardrums, all with a high level of musicianship, showmanship, creativity, and tongue in cheek humor.

With heavy roots in Mexican culture, the band spends most of its time on the road, breaking down musical and cultural barriers one performance at a time, including during a high-profile appearance on America’s Got Talent a few years ago where the band brought down the house with its rendition of Twisted Sister's classic, “We're Not Gonna Take It.” Alex Distefano

Gareth McGrillen (left) and Rob Swire of Knife Party.
Gareth McGrillen (left) and Rob Swire of Knife Party.

Knife Party
Sunday, July 29
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

Seizure music, death electro, and derpstep. Those are the extreme EDM genres Knife Party's Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen use to describe their music, which reveals a couple of things about these Australian dudes: 1. they don't take themselves too seriously, and 2. they dig dangerous fun. After bum-rushing the scene in late 2011, this duo seized the dubstep world by the throat with a pair of EPs titled 100% No Modern Talking and Rage Valley. Initially, no one knew the true makeup of Knife Party's membership. It was soon revealed, though, that Swire and McGrillen, two members of popular drum 'n' bass group Pendulum, were behind the buzz.

You can expect the same sort of bass-heavy and insidious-sounding dance music that helped propel Knife Party into the EDM stratosphere at this weekend's Soundwave pool party at Maya. You may hear new ish, too, including their recent collaborations with Pegboard Nerds or even tracks from Knife Party's upcoming EP. Kat Bein

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