The 5 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

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Looking for something to do this weekend? Look no further. Here are the best concerts happening this weekend. Check out our comprehensive concert calendar for more options.

Kottonmouth Kings - Friday, December 18 - Joe’s Grotto
Twenty-one years after Kottonmouth Kings’ humble beginnings in the Orange County town of Placentia, it’s amazing to see the strides this country has made in regard to cannabis regulation, given that it’s Daddy X and Co.’s favorite plant. When KK first was writing its rap-metal anthems over milky bong hits, did the band ever seriously think weed would be legal in a ballooning number of states? Even Arizona, of all places, recognizes a dozen of the myriad medical benefits of marijuana. In another two decades, maybe all this 420 subculture, finally allowed in the light, will seem kind of overwrought to generations who can’t fathom how hard it used to be to get a dimebag. But it’s not likely even recreational pot will lose Kottonmouth Kings’ edge — not in your “Green Dreams.” Still, it won’t be long before the Kings will have to rename their Hidden Stash series, because why the heck would they be hiding something perfectly legal? If you’re stowing substances that aren’t contraband — alcohol, for example — you might have a problem. TROY FARAH

Cavanaugh - Friday, December 18 - Valley Bar
Marvel Team-Up was a comic book series from 1972 to 1985 in which Spider-Man (usually) hung out with another Marvel superhero for one self-contained story per issue. See Spider-Man and the Black Panther take on the Dinosaur Man! See Spider-Man encounter Frankenstein’s Monster! See Spider-Man battle along the cast of SNL! (Wait, what?) Time and Materials, the new collaborative effort by Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti under the name Cavanaugh, is like one of those standalone stories, two of independent hip-hop’s finest going back and forth in a context they’ve created specifically for the album. Playing custodians at the Cavanaugh complex — with housing for both the ultra-rich and super-poor — they blow off steam with pop-culture-riddled asides during maintenance jobs. Eagle is known for his interview podcast, Secret Skin, and his alliances with comedians like Hannibal Buress and Paul F. Tompkins, Serengeti for his Kenny Dennis series of albums, in which he assumes the guise of a Chicago-centric “Shaq-hating everyman” grappling with a midlife crisis and Sisyphus, his band with Sufjan Stevens and Son Lux. Together, they bring out the darkly funny best in each other. Here’s hoping the story gets continued into its own monthly serial.  JASON P. WOODBURY

Night of a Thousand Reunions - Saturday, December 19 - Rebel Lounge
If you frequented the Mason Jar in the mid- to late-'90s, you probably saw one of the three bands reuniting for Onus Records' Night of a 1,000 Reunions (slight exaggeration) on Saturday, December 19.

There were three things you could always count on at the Jar: The bands were always extremely loud, the bathrooms were often disgusting, and the drinks were pricey. One thing you couldn't always count on was the talent level of the bands who would be playing, except when it was either the Beat Angels, Trunk Federation, or Less Pain Forever.

Obviously, a lot has changed since the heydays of each of these bands, who will reunite and play together for the first time at this show. The Jar is now the Rebel Lounge and the Jar's mercurial owner, Franco Gagliano, is no longer offering up 75-cent Kamikazes between bands or dispensing industry advice in the back office, but the Rebel Lounge's sound is great, the stage is easier to see, and the men's room is clean by normal standards and immaculate in comparison to the venue's mid-'90s men's room. TOM REARDON

The Technicolors - Saturday, December 19 - Valley Bar
Phoenix fivesome The Technicolors have been quietly going at it for several years now, and the results are starting to pay off. The band’s 2015 release, Ultraviolet Disguise, sounds like a strong statement of purpose from frontman Brennan Smiley, one that finds himself strongly aligned with the Strokes and perhaps even Arctic Monkeys. Smiley’s emotive voice leads the way, pitching a striking falsetto and a tortured chest voice. The band is on 8123 Records, most notably with fellow Maricopa County residents The Maine, and Ultraviolet Disguise was certainly one of the more polished rock albums to come out of Phoenix this year. DAVID ACCOMAZZO

Mötley Crüe - Saturday, December 19 - Talking Stick Resort Arena
Ah, the collective weeping Crüe fans everywhere, punctuated by the aerosol spray of Aqua Net and an ’80s Camaro doing a burnout in a Walmart parking lot: Mötley Crüe’s final Arizona date, on the last leg of its farewell tour, feels like the death of hair metal as we know it. The Crüe are harbingers of strip club anthems and racetrack soundtracks with a fan base that’s just as willing to buy a pewter Crüe beer stein as they are to gouge someone’s eyes out for a final tour ticket, and Crüe fans are as fiercely loyal to the sound as they are to the band’s image. Now, none of this is meant to be a detraction to Mötley Crüe themselves, a band that’s managed to sustain a quarter-century career run, controversy, overdoses, and number-one singles. It’s better than the gasping breath of the current Van Halen lineup, which is arguably the Crüe’s closest competitor in terms of demographic and venue capacity, genre aside. Mötley Crüe is to be applauded for going out with a bang, giving fans a chance at some closure before the impending implosion that awaited so many bands of their heyday. There’s no bullshit stab at the glory of the most venerated lineup, à la Guns N’ Roses, there’s just Vince Neil in his wailing glory, Nikki Sixx railing lines of baking powder backstage, Mick Mars hammering away at a Strat, and Tommy Lee pounding on all kinds of skin — 25 years on, there’s no better way for one of the greats to end its reign. K.C. LIBMAN

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