The Six Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Dar Williams is scheduled to perform on Sunday, January 8, at the Musical Instrument Museum.
Dar Williams is scheduled to perform on Sunday, January 8, at the Musical Instrument Museum. Amy Dickerson
Still suffering from a bout of holiday hangover? Yeah, us too. We’ve still got decorations to put away, leftovers to finish, and (of course) New Year’s resolutions to break. You might also find us in the crowd at one of the many shows happening at Valley music venues this weekend, including any of the following concerts and nightlife events.

For even more live music options, hit up our extensively updated online concert calendar for the 411. In the meantime, here are our picks for the best shows to see this weekend in the Phoenix area.

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The Beta Machine.
Priscilla Scott
Music Therapy Blackout – Friday, January 6 – The Pressroom
Sophie’s Place, the name of the music therapy ward inside Mesa’s Cardon Children’s Medical Center, is a natural target for fancy fundraising galas. It’s a children’s hospital with a musical treatment program — could there be a more apolitical cause? As a result, perhaps, Linkin Park, Filter, and other bands have played fundraising concerts for the ward through the years, and this time around, the organizers have enlisted the Beta Machine and local band Vinyl Station for the effort. This will be one of the Beta Machine’s first concerts of 2017, during which the group will release its debut EP. Anchored by bassist/singer Matt McJunkins and drummer Jeff Friedl — the two played together in A Perfect Circle, and McJunkins has toured with Puscifer and Eagles of Death Metal, while Friedl is a sought-after drummer who has played with Filter, Ashes Divide, and others — the Beta Machine is a project that brings to the forefront two musicians who have long played in the back. With McJunkins’ vocals backing up singer Claire Acey, who sang in the British rock band Nightmare and the Cat, the forthcoming EP should be a treat for the ears. DAVID ACCOMAZZO

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DJ $&M will lay down dark sounds at Rogue Bar this weekend.
Benjamin Leatherman

LUST - Black From the Grave – Saturday, January 7 – The Rogue Bar

People have a tendency to change their minds and often do so, especially when it comes to the ending of something that’s particularly adored. As such, they’re occasionally willing to bring something back from the dead, even after declaring its over with forever. As in done, finito, deceased. For evidence of such, you can look no further than the fact that the freaks and fiends of fetish-oriented performance art group the Agents of Lust are once again putting on one of their decadent and debaucherous parties, despite having pulled the plug on such events many months ago. Nearly a year after throwing the heretofore final LUST dance party at The Rogue Bar in Scottsdale, the Agents will bring it back for another go on Saturday, January 7, with LUST - Black From the Grave. As always, it will be a mix of hedonistic fun and hellacious thrills and include kinky performance art by the Agents and others, body painting, live music from local bands The Gamma Function and S.L.U.T., and showers of sparks being unleashed during metal grinding sessions. DJ $&M of Sadisco* fame and DJ Kevin Void will also spin industrial and other harsh sounds throughout the night. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

Dave Mason
Chris Jensen
Dave Mason – Saturday, January 7 – Talking Stick Resort
If you have ever listened to the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, George Harrison or Joe Walsh, you have heard Dave Mason, too. He founded the band Traffic, but can also be heard on the Stones album Beggars Banquet, and Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland. “I was fortunate enough to spend some great time with him,” Mason says of Hendrix, who had been a dear friend. “I sang on ‘Crosstown Traffic,’ and I played the acoustic guitar on his version of ‘All Along the Watchtower.’” Growing up in Worchester, England, the young Mason and fellow musician Jim Capaldi formed several bands together, including The Jaguars and The Hellions, before joining forces with Chris Wood and Steve Winwood to create the legendary group Traffic in 1967. Traffic’s soulful, blues-inspired influence resulted in psychedelic hits like, “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and “Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys.” Despite weaving in and out of Traffic repeatedly since 1967, Mason was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 as a founding member. Between gigs with some of the world’s most well-known musicians, Mason forged a successful solo career with radio favorites like, “We Just Disagree,” “Let it Go, Let it Flow,” and his hit with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends: “Only You Know and I Know.” WENDY RHODES

  The Devil Makes Three – Saturday, January 7 – Marquee Theatre
In keeping with the folk tradition, the songs of the Devil Makes Three, which feature the band's signature blend of Western swing, old-time country-blues, Americana and bluegrass have continued to grow and change from the versions you'll hear on any of their albums. "We're pretty into letting the songs evolve from what's on the record," says singer-guitarist Pete Bernhard. "They always get better and better. Playing live is what we love to do, so as time goes on, the songs get better and tighter and we write new parts." Bernard formed the Devil Makes Three in Santa Cruz, California, in 2002 with Cooper McBean on guitar and banjo and Lucia Turino on upright bass. The band released its self-titled debut album that same year and hit the road, steadily building a following. In 2007, Los Angeles-based Milan Records re-released the debut, and the band followed with Do Wrong Right (2009) and the live Stomp & Smash (2011). By then, the Devil Makes Three no longer was the group of rough and rowdy hellions who simply wanted to put on an energetic show. Improved musicianship not only led to more fiery performances but to sharper songwriting and a bolder, more expansive sound. ERIC SWEDLUND

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Singer-songwriter Dar Williams is heading to the MIM this weekend.
Amy Dickerson
Dar Williams – Sunday, January 8 – Musical Instrument Museum
Dar Williams is a longtime singer-songwriter from the state of New York who is most often recognized for her thoughtful folk balladry, but she also sometimes reveals the heart of a rock 'n' roller with her distinctive remakes of songs by Pink Floyd and Neil Young. Her most recent album, 2015’s Emerald, is a generally introspective collection of originals, including songs co-written with Jim Lauderdale and with Jill Sobule. A rustically twanging remake of Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros’ “Johnny Appleseed” adds a welcome bit of punk soul amid all the laid-back folk ruminations. Currently, Williams is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the release of her 1996 record, Mortal City, and will perform the 11-song album in its entirety along with several other hits from her lengthy discography at the Musical Instrument Museum's music theater this weekend. FALLING JAMES

Elvis Presley’s Birthday Celebration – Sunday, January 8 – Rhythm Room
For some strange reason, society tends to be really good at remembering the day their most beloved entertainers died, but rarely the day they were born. Perhaps it’s because our brightest stars so often manage to depart this life in such an untimely manner. Well, the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road, one of Phoenix’s most reputable venues, is doing something about it. While his untimely death at just 42 still pains millions of fans worldwide, the illustrious life — and thereby birth — of Elvis Presley is indeed worthy of remembrance. So if you’re all shook up over the mysterious death of the King, perhaps an Elvis Birthday Celebration will ease your suspicious mind at 5 p.m. on Sunday, January 8. More than a dozen Valley musicians in the Americana, country, blues, roots, and rockabilly vein will perform during the event, including Brea Burns, Mario Moreno,Laura Walsh, Pat Roberts, Kenny Love and the Rockafellas, Whiskey Kiss, Rooster Coup Deville, and Rhythm Room owner Bob Corritore. ROB KROEHLER
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