The Nine Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

This weekend’s slate of big concerts happening around the Valley is downright eclectic, to say the least. It seems an apt description, considering it includes a lingerie rave, a visit from punk icons Face to Face, and a performance by instrumental post-rock act Explosions in the Sky. And that’s just on Friday.

The rest of the weekend is just as diverse, with gigs by Arizona legend Al Foul, art-metal heavyweights Baroness, Latin jazz king Poncho Sanchez, and even a showcase featuring some of the freakiest and funniest bands in the Valley – including Goth Brooks and the Ned Flanders death metal tribute Okilly Dokilly.

If none of this happens to be in your particular wheelhouse, however, check out our extensively updated online concert calendar and its bevy of other live music possibilities for the weekend. In the meantime, here are our picks for what’s on tap over the next three nights.

Face to Face – Friday, August 26 – Livewire
Though they never achieved the notoriety enjoyed by some '90s Cali punk peers, Face to Face's fans are legion among the punk faithful, particularly skaters. Led by frontman Trever Keith (the quartet's sole remaining original member), Face to Face's songs race like nitrous funny cars fueled on slashing guitar hooks and anthemic sentiments. They formed in '91, and released six studio albums in their first 12 years of existence, as well as a live album and a cool covers album, 2001's Standards & Practices, before splitting up in 2004. Thankfully, Face to Face returned after a four-year hiatus, and went on to release a trio of solid albums – 2011’s Laugh Now, Laugh Later (a record rife with catchy guitar crunch and brash attitude, highlighted by the blistering "It's Not All About You”), 2013’s Three Chords and a Half Truth, and this year’s outstanding 11-song LP, Protection. CHRIS PARKER

Explosions in the Sky – Friday, August 26 – Marquee Theatre
Still touring strong behind last spring's Wilderness, this four-piece has earned its reputation as a must-see live act. Built on a template of turning soft and sinewy into something cathartic and cacophonous, Explosions in the Sky's instrumental numbers draw the listener in with creeping anxiety before pummeling them back into a celebratory realty. It's a soundtrack that works equally well for attacking the dreaded workout, ferrying one's way through traffic gridlock, or lazily letting the mind wander while perched back at the lake. The tunes' cinematic qualities have made them obvious selections for various films, commercials and television shows, the most well-known example being the theme music for Friday Night Lights. As the new material skews a bit more on the concise and lean side, the band's show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe will likely feature some new wrinkles for long-time fanatics. However, there are still sure to be plenty of epic crescendos and more than enough fists in the air to make it well worth attending. JEFF STROWE

Lingerieve 10 – Friday, August 26 – Club Red
When it comes to rave scene fashion, the name of the game has always been about being as colorful and over-the-top as possible. Hence the reason why you’ll typically witness ravers and kandi kids dressed in day-glo everything or sporting kooky costumes, furry accessories, and other colorfully eye-catching gear at pretty much every underground dance party. They also occasionally wear as little clothing as possible – and we’re talking about both men and women alike – partially due to the fact that one gets a bit overheated while thrashing about on the dance floor. And that sometimes involve wearing actual lingerie, albeit of a more modest variety. Needless to say, the idea of a lingerie-themed rave doesn’t seem that strange a concept. As a matter of fact, local EDM promoter 1 Vibe Events has been putting on its annual Lingerieve almost every single year since 2006, and will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the party this weekend at Club Red in Mesa. Appropriately dubbed the “Birthday Cake Edition,” this year’s version, which is open to the 18-and-over crowd, will feature male and female patrons in lingerie (yes, you read that right), as well as such headlining DJs as Evol Intent, Mighty Mike Saga, Rob Gee, and Str8house. The local lineup includes Dark Mark, Sparrow, Displacement, Pneumatic Fist, and Richi Savage. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

Baroness – Saturday, August 27 – Crescent Ballroom
In August 2012, art-metal heavyweights Baroness were touring for their critically acclaimed third album, Yellow & Green, when the brakes failed on their tour bus, launching the vehicle into the air and hurling singer John Baizley into the windshield. He captured the experience in an open letter to fans he shared several months after the accident. “I remember the sound of the air-brakes failing, and the panicked cursing of our driver as we slowly realized how desperate the situation was,” he wrote. Baizley broke his arm and leg in the crash, and other members suffered similarly awful injuries. Bassist Matt Maggioni and drummer Allen Blickle (a founding member) left the group shortly after. However, the accident did not stop the band; rather, it imposed a period of self-reflection. Baizley doubled down on the band and making art. “I can say, after nearly six weeks of reflection, that I feel more resolute and passionate about our music than ever. I have come to realize the importance of time in this particular equation; that is, I have none to waste and none to spare. There is no better moment than now, broken and in physical stasis, to devote ourselves more fully toward our art than ever,” Baizley wrote. The band is coming to Phoenix on the heels of its fantastic 2015 release, Purple. The album is a maturation from the band’s previous efforts, with powerful songs, rife with melody and riffs that have made the group one of the most respected in metal. DAVID ACCOMAZZO

Freaks – Saturday, August 27 – Pub Rock
Gimmick bands can oftentimes be a hit or miss proposition. For every Mac Sabbath or Black Fag there's an equal number of duds out there that are more about costuming and concept versus actual talent and musicianship. Thankfully, that certainly isn't the case with any of the out-there acts that will participate in this weekend's "Freaks" showcase at Pub Rock in Scottsdale, as each are a perfect blend of musical skill and madcap shtick. The lineup features Goth Brooks, the three-person country/industrial mashup band that boasts the most clever name for a band since the Brian Jonestown Massacre, as well as weed-obsessed comedy rap king Supajoint, and Ned Flanders-obsessed death metal group Okilly Dokilly. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

Louisahhh – Saturday, August 27 – Monarch Theatre
Call her the house revival's princess of darkness. Louisahhh released her freshman solo EP through Bromance records in 2013. Of course, she's been a fixture in NYC nightlife for much longer, having started her career as a member of production duo NYCPARTYINFO. Ironically, it's her voice that cut through the noise. A vocal track provided for Miami producer Danny Daze brought her notoriety. You may recognize that voice from Brodinski's smash "Control Movement." Now, she sings on her own tracks and puts those pieces together on the deck like a puzzle of tainted sensuality. A musical journey with Louisahhh takes you to shadowy places. Her edge creeps up until it bites you in the face. And because of this, not to mention her stylish composition and unique depth, we applaud her. KAT BEIN

Al Foul – Saturday, August 27 – ThirdSpace
Mammoth, Arizona-based Al Foul performs solo, snarling over a fat Gretsch guitar and stomping on a bass drum. But his songs aren't rowdy BBQ Show/Bob Log-style tirades. No, there's a lowdown elegance to songs like "Sugar Me and the Boy" and "Maybe Tonight," a restrained noir element that's as in keeping with Jarmusch's black-and-white films as it is with Sun Records' heyday. "Maybe tonight I'll freeze to death," he belts over a "Tequila"-style strum, a sturdy hiccup in his voice and a steady beat pounded out by his foot. If the one-man-band routine is the standup comedy of musical idioms, call him a Louie C.K. — the kind of guy willing to bare his heart in order to make you laugh or break your heart. JASON P. WOODBURY

Poncho Sanchez – Sunday, August 28 – Musical Instrument Museum
What’s a kid to do when caught between the worlds of psychedelic rock, surf music, bebop, rhythm and blues, and cha cha? If you’re Poncho Sanchez, you combine them in a giant soul stew on the way to becoming the leading purveyor of funky, grooving music with a deeply soulful edge. Many call it Latin jazz or Cubano bebop; Sanchez doesn’t think it really needs a name (beyond having a place to shelve it in stores). “It’s a twist on soul music with a Latin groove,” he told New Times in 2014. “We take a funk-and-soul groove, and give it a Latin tinge.” Sanchez forged a lengthy career; all told, he’s released 27 albums. (A 28th is in the works: a Latin tribute to John Coltrane.) The secret, he explains, besides the high energy found on each album, is mixing up the styles. His music typically starts a with Latin groove, but albums have explored various jazz avenues, blues idioms, Cuban rhythms, funk, soul, and even some of that psychedelic rock. GLENN BURNSILVER

The Stakes – Sunday, August 28 – Valley Bar
The Stakes take a refreshingly old-school approach to hip-hop. The group performs with a live band that plays beats that recall hip-hop’s jazz roots, much like old-school De La Soul. It’s not a coicidence that the band is named after De La’s seminal album, The Stakes Is High. Emcees ZeeDubb and Lord Kash deliver conscious rhymes laden with wordplay, while singer Marah Armenta croons the choruses. This show at Valley Bar will offer not just the Stakes but fellow Phoenix jazz-fusion group House of Stairs (which features former Stakes vocalist Holly Pyle) and Abstrakt, a similarly jazzy group from San Diego. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
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