The Eight Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

We totally understand if you’ve got little in the way of either time or money right now. But if you happen to have a little bit of either, you might want to consider checking out one of the following concerts happening this weekend.

There are several holiday shows in the mix (natch), as well as few important gigs by such locals as Saddles and Captain Squeegee, and some great hip-hop concerts by up-and-coming artists.

And if you need even more live music options, hit up our online concert calendar. For now, here are the eight best concerts in Phoenix this weekend.

Rich the Kid – Friday, December 16 – The Pressroom
Rich the Kid could be the freshest face in the rap scene right now. 2016 has been pretty good to him so far, having collaborations with Diplo, Justin Bieber, Frank Ocean, Ty Dolla $ign and Jaden Smith. He even shared the stage with G-Eazy earlier this year. He's not exactly new to the game, though: Rich the Kid's voice has been heard in the background of various other artists' releases, including Young Thug, for a few years now. But after signing with the label Quality Control Music back in March and even creating his own label, Forever Rich Music, this 24-year-old has proven he's a hustler and likely on his way to wider popularity. DIAMOND VICTORIA

Saddles – Friday, December 16 – The Rebel Lounge
Saddles are one of those very talented local bands that I’m probably too old to understand. It saddens me, because when I listen to their music, I really like it and feel like I understand it. I even identify with the seemingly deep sentiments held within their intricate tapestries of melody and meaning. There are elements of things I grew up with in here, too. There is a touch of New Order, the more melancholy and self-imposed-restraint version of New Order, but it’s there, at least for me, in the electronic elements. I could imagine 4AD, the storied record label that was home to Bauhaus and This Mortal Coil and so many others, liking Saddles. There are also elements of John Vanderslice’s work, who is an older guy, like me, but writes these sorts of timeless songs that ask your soul to dance. I feel like Saddles is doing this as well, asking my soul to dance on the hallowed ground that was once the Mason Jar as they release their new material on the world and, in doing so, make the world a better place. Saddles makes the world better because their music wraps its arms around the souls who need wrapping. Well done, gents, well done. TOM REARDON

White Nightmare Ball – Friday, December 16 – Club Palazzo
If there’s one thing that in abundance this time of year, its holiday parties. Tons of festive gatherings of every conceivable size, shape, and description imaginable will be happening over the next few weeks, ranging from traditional yuletide fetes with all the usual trimmings like bows and holly to more off-the-wall shindigs involving ugly sweaters, wacky costumes and whatnot. And then there are more alternative events, like this weekend’s White Nightmare Ball at Club Palazzo, a stylish yet sinister soiree on Friday, December 16, that’s described by its promoters as a “tempest of art, performance, and rapturous atmosphere.” The elegant affair will offer an etherial and edgy vibe with eye-grabbing entertainment from the members of Scorpius Dance Theatre, fire artists Zenn Burden, burlesque siren Maxi Millions, gender-bending drag star Dahli Delia, sideshow trickster Scarlett Elizabeth Xander, and Vaudeville performer MC O Von Ordovich. Meanwhile, DJs like Kevin Brown, Self.Destrukt, and Defense Mekanizm will spin darker sounds throughout the evening. All-white outfits and ensembles of a high-styled and risque nature are encouraged and a best-dressed contest for prizes is planned. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

Captain Squeegee's 10th Anniversary – Friday, December 16 – Crescent Ballroom
I remember my first Captain Squeegee show. It was at the Sail Inn, and I had been listening to their tunes for a while. They were getting weird. They were doing a web video series and a guy named Danny Torgersen seemed to be behind it all. When I asked to meet him, someone pointed out a ginger in tie-dye who looked like a psychedelic Irish cartoon. I decided not to meet him that evening. Still, their sound was ramping into something completely different from their ska-soaked Soap Suds days. It was sometime after the release of Nothing vs Everything, and they were moving well beyond the Uprising days. I remember thinking at the time, “Captain Squeegee is not like any other band right now in this town.” Years later, that’s still true. Captain Squeegee isn’t like any band in this town or anywhere else on this terrestrial plane. On Friday, December 16, Captain Squeegee will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Captain Squeegee we’ve come to know and love, with the likes of Torgersen and Austin Mack leading the mix. MITCHELL HILLMAN

Mariachi Sol De México – Saturday, December 17 – Scottsdale Center for the Arts
Mariachi music is something more people in the Valley need to embrace, because there is so much more to it than a group of dudes in ornate outfits strolling around your favorite Mexican restaurant. It’s a whole culture of talented individuals and groups who bring ridiculously complex instrumentation and vocal harmonies to the mix. Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez does it as well as anyone in the world. Hernandez, who is just on the underside of 60 years old, is one of the most prolific mariachi artists of all time. Let that settle on your palate a little bit like a wonderfully aged tequila. The man has been formative in fueling the fire of the mariachi scene both here in the United States and internationally and his music has been in several films, most recently in the very entertaining animated film Rango. Hernandez, whose first instrument was trumpet but who also sings, put Mariachi del Sol de Mexico together in 1981 and since then has amassed a worldwide following, even if much of Phoenix has no idea how blessed we are to have him here from time to time playing his beautiful music with his amazing band. TOM REARDON

Lynch Mob - Sunday, December 18 - Marquee Theatre
One could only wish this news would get better, but alas, it does not. It’s a slow season for concerts, as most of the truly talented individuals are hunkering down for the coming storm of consumerism, but not the Lynch Mob. Remember them? Probably not, unless you are one of those tormented hair-metal fans who will not give up the ghost. It’s over, I’m sad to say, and even though the memories will never die, feathered and frosted hair, Spandex, and too much eye shadow on men is a thing of the past everywhere except the finer drag establishments. George Lynch, who is best known for his time in Dokken (which really doesn’t say a whole lot), started Lynch Mob back in ’89 when Dokken broke up the first time, and lo and behold, they are playing the Marquee Theatre on December 18. It will, though, be a spectacle, and if aliens just happen to fly down and land in the Marquee parking lot during the show, they will undoubtedly unleash every ounce (or whatever unit of measurement they use) of their firepower to kill us all instantly. That might be a little harsh, actually. Maybe the aliens will fall in love with Lynch Mob and the rest of us will just wish they had vaporized the planet because we’ll have new hair-metal-loving overlords. Either way, we lose. TOM REARDON

David Benoit – Sunday, December 18 – Scottsdale Center for the Arts
Christmas music can be bad (we’re looking at you, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”), but the Vince Guaraldi Trio neatly righted that ship. That is why jazz musician David Benoit and guest vocalist Sara Gazarek are putting on the David Benoit Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown. This festive reminder that holiday music can be an art will feature many of your favorite A Charlie Brown Christmas covers, as well as some originals from Benoit — who took over as composer for the newer Peanuts Christmas specials. LAUREN CUISIMANO

The Hot Sardines’ Holiday Stomp – Sunday, December 18 – Mesa Arts Center
Expect a varied set list at the Hot Sardines' Holiday Stomp show, singer/founder Miz Elizabeth tells us. “It's a departure from what we do usually, in terms of the holiday theme, but it's still fused to our obsession with popular music from the first half of the last century. "We love so many of the genres from lots of jazz, Broadway and some with ties to the classic Hollywood era. There's a little bit of everything.” She says the group will perform Dixieland Christmas tunes, a nod to Mary Poppins and a song that was recorded by Edith Piaf. “And, of course, we cover the most covered song of all time, Irvin Berlin's “White Christmas.” She describes the music as "very danceable," hence the show's title. OLIVIA FLORES ALVAREZ
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