Need something to do this weekend? Hope so, since it’s Labor Day and all and you’ve got three straight days of work-free bliss at your disposal.
There plenty of pool parties and club parties happening, as well as many other events connected to the Labor Day holiday. And, of course, plenty of concerts.
Here are our picks for the best shows happening during the next few nights. For even more options, check out our extensively updated online concert calendar.
Boyz II Men – Friday, September 2 – Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino The rivalry between Boyz II Men and Jodeci rages on to this day, and while the pop landscape bears the latter’s indelible influence, let us not forget how Boyz II Men dominated the ‘90s. The classic foursome delivered witty, goofy, heart-on-their sleeve songs layered in harmonies that tied the whole family up in mutual infatuation. Remember when the group serenaded their mothers with their song “Mama," from the Soul Food soundtrack, on Oprah in 1998? Who could resist falling in love with them? The now-trio is enjoying a resurgence, joining Fall Out Boy for a rendition of “MotownPhilly” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, before stealing the spotlight as the dreamy Teen Angel on Grease! Live. If you're looking for a good time at an R&B concert where you won't have to worry about the singer leaving with your partner, head up to Choctaw and relax your mind to "Relax Your Mind." CALEB WOSSEN
Hot Sugar – Friday, September 2 – Valley Bar Don't let the name fool you. Hot Sugar's work can be considerably icy and bitter — at least nominally so. Track titles like "Addictions," "Trauma," and "Dead Inside" certainly seem to point to a darker section of the human condition, a running theme in his work. But the actual sound of the Grammy-nominated NYC producer (born Nick Koenig) can be beatifically sweet. Carried by delicate melodic arrangements intricately constructed from field recordings and found sounds, it's precisely the type of contemplative, genre-defying electronica championed by the iconic Ninja Tune label, which released his breakout Moon Money EP in 2012. Of course, Koenig has been nothing short of prolific since, dropping his debut long player, God's Hand, last year and even contributing music for the Comedy Central hit show Broad City. SEAN LEVISMAN
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Friday, September 2 – Talking Stick Resort The Tedeschi Trucks band pairs journeyman vocalist Susan Tedeschi with her guitarist-husband, Derek Trucks, in a retro blues-soul outfit. Tedeschi is a credible and pleasantly tuneful singer, but it’s the wicked slide playing of Allman Brothers guitarist Trucks that truly distinguishes the Florida band. Truck’s wild and woozy rambles up and down the neck of his ax often threaten to break free from the limits of genre expectations, until the rest of the group brings him back down to Earth. FALLING JAMES
Gareth Emery – Friday, September 2 – Maya Day & Nightclub What does it feel like to release an anthem — a track that becomes unanimous with a genre? Is there any hint of what's to come in the recording studio? Does the sky blacken and the thunder clap closer until, finally, the song is done and a flock of golden hummingbirds flies into the studio to carry the fresh CD — still hot to the touch — to radio stations across the world? Not according to Gareth Emery. "You never really can know a record will be big," he says. "You make it as good as you can possibly make it, and the rest of the world decides from that point." Emery would know. His 2012 song "Concrete Angel" became arguably the most popular trance track of all time, carving his name into the #trancefamily hall of fame. But despite the fact that Emery has made one of the most popular trance songs of all time, he doesn't like to confine himself to one genre. "I don't really like defining what my sound is," he says. "Anyone else is welcome to, but I'd rather not define it myself other than to say it's melodic, electronic dance music. Defining your sound narrowly only leads to disappointment." ELVIS ANDERSON
Fetishball 2016 – Saturday, September 3 – Club Red Industrial music and the fetish lifestyle have gone hand-in-PVC-gloved-hand for what seems like ages. It isn’t shocking, considering the genre’s twisted aesthetic, intense nature, and dark deviance lends itself quite well to kinky pursuits, especially those of the BDSM variety. Truth be told, a majority of fetish events (both here in the Valley and elsewhere) have frequently featured industrial or one of its many subgenres. But according to Mark Peskin, a local DJ and co-founder of the Arizona Fetish Society, that doesn’t always have to be the case. “Industrial has definitely been the go-to music of choice for many fetish events,” he says. “But I don't necessarily feel that it has to be the status quo.” Hence the reason why the society’s first-ever event, Fetishball 2016, will showcase a variety of electronic dance music styles in addition to different flavors of industrial. As such, the debaucherous and decadent bacchanal will include gigs by industrial metal bands 3Teeth and Amnestic, dubstep producers Sluggo and Nerd Rage (collectively known as Bass Cadets), and darkwave disco duo The Audio Virus. Tristan/Iseult of HÄXAN will also perform and DJ Sharktopus will spin industrial-pop mashups. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
The Flamin’ Groovies – Sunday, September 4 – Rhythm Room The Flamin’ Groovies are one of the few bands to establish actual classics across several incarnations and generations. Their Teenage Head album is Stones-y rock & roll that should’ve been huge; their variously re-recorded “Slow Death” is an unkillable proto-punk monster; and then in 1976, they regrouped again around founding guitarist Cyril Jordan and singer-guitarist Chris Wilson and put out the ne plus ultra power-pop song, “Shake Some Action,” quite possibly the very definition of the form. In 2011, Jordan and co-founder Roy Loney did their first West Coast shows since 1984, delivering what amounted to a very-best-of set. These days, however, Jordan, Wilson and a highly capable crew will be performing a variety of hits and favorites from the bands ample discography. Don’t think of it as a reunion — it’s more like a revelation. CHRIS ZIEGLER
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