November will be a month to remember in the Valley when it comes to concerts. Over the next several weeks, scores of memorable shows are scheduled to take place, including gigs by such high-profile artists and acts as Billie Eilish,
Influential electronica act The Orb also has a gig planned for the Valley in November, as do over-the-top tribute acts like Mac Sabbath and One More Time.
There are also a handful of festivals happening, including this year’s editions of the Arizona Hip Hop Festival and Mesa Music Festival.
It's going to be a busy month, especially with the holidays and all, but if you can somehow find both time and money to spare, consider checking out one or more of the 30 best concerts happening in Phoenix in November.
Details about each of these shows can be found below. And for even more live music happening around the Valley this month, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
Thursday, November 1
What started in Portland, Oregon, as a Fat Tuesday party back in 2003 has evolved into a must-see national act. MarchFourth’s high-energy and rousing sounds bring to light the deepest grooves of funk, swing, rock, and jazz, and their style pulls from an array of influences, like Sergeant Pepper leading a freaky Cirque du Soleil performance from the bandstand or European Gypsy camps stumbling upon the rhythms of Brazilian jungle tribes.
Concertgoers at the Crescent Ballroom on November 1 may not know what they are getting themselves into, but after attending this weekend’s show, there’s a good chance that MarchFourth will be on your list of live favorites. Maybe it’s the five-piece percussion corps using harnesses made from bicycle parts, the seven-part brass section that includes trombone, trumpet, and saxophone, or the 20 musicians and performers donning mismatched marching band uniforms — including crowd-surfing stiltwalkers, or the fire dancers. Yes, fire dancers. Get thee to this show. Lauren Farrah
Friday, November 2
Formed in 2006, The Menzingers consist of Tom May and Greg Barnett (both sharing guitar/vocal duties), Joe Godino (drums), and Eric Keen (bass). Not a lot of bands can pull off having two frontmen without it turning into some nasty power struggle (case in point: Husker Du), but The Menzingers pull it off gracefully. And few bands benefit from having two songwriters working at the peak of their craft: 2017’s After The Party was one of last year’s most affecting records, a bracing 13-song collection about watching your 20s receding in the rearview mirror.
“Waiting for your life to start, then you die,” they sing on “House on Fire,” perfectly capturing the weird combination of inertia and eagerness that afflicts so many of us in our 20s: the feeling that our life is about to start for real any second now, and we’re just killing time until it happens. And the even more sobering revelation that awaits us down the road: That feeling doesn’t go away when you get older.
After The Party boasts a richer, more muscular sound than their past records. Part of the credit goes to producer Will Yip, whose ear for dynamics, and ability to make guitars sound as searing and rich as molten gold, also helped groups like Title Fight put out their best work to date. And while The Menzingers are riding high on the success of After The Party, they’re not resting on their laurels. Between long touring jags, they’ve been recording new material — like the surprise single “Toy Soldier,” which came out at the end of May. Ashley Naftule
Friday, November 2
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Luke Spiller won't rest until he's a rock star. And he has a couple of things going for him: As the frontman for the English rock band The Struts, he exudes Mick Jagger's cocksure swagger onstage and bears an eerie resemblance to Freddie Mercury; in fact, he wears stage outfits designed by Zandra Rhodes, the English designer who outfitted both Mercury and Queen guitarist Brian May.
Spiller's band played in front of 80,000 people in Paris as the opener for the Rolling Stones, and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters recently declared the Struts the “best opening band we’ve ever had.” There's no denying such high-profile support slots give the band a boost, but Spiller says it's difficult to measure success as a modern recording and touring group, particularly when the bandmates' goals are so lofty.
However, Spiller and company put on such a convincing Mötley Crüe-style show that it's easy to believe the most popular and culturally relevant forms of music are still played with guitar, drums, and bass — that rock 'n' roll isn't dormant, but dominant. Basically, they're banking on tapping into a huge, built-in fan base by blatantly ransacking classic rock’s Library of Congress. Howard Hardee
Saturday, November 3
Those who have come to know The Motet as an Afro-centric band should be happy with the band's directional shift on its more recent albums. While the African influences that gave the Boulder, Colorado, group its footing in the 1990s can still be heard, The Motet has morphed into a full-fledged classic-funk outfit. Originally conceived as a collective in which musicians come and go, the shapeshifting Motet has both incorporated growing trends and settled on classic styles. But at the base has always been Afrobeat, a blend of funk, Jimi Hendrix-style guitar licks, and indigenous rhythms popularized by Fela Kuti. Of course, reggae, dub, and electronica have played major roles in shaping the band's sound. However, funk is at the heart of The Motet's latest lineup. Elements of Parliament Funkadelic (and other George Clinton offshoots), Earth, Wind & Fire, Commodores, James Brown, Roy Ayers, and Prince fill the band's most recent albums. It's vintage boogie music that offers nary a moment's respite. Glenn BurnSilver
Go Vote 2018: A Concert and Rally
Monday, November 5
The Van Buren
We’re just days away from what well may be the most important midterm elections in our lifetime. The stakes have never been higher for convincing folks to turn out on November 6. It's why every other billboard in town has been plastered with that potent four-letter word – "VOTE" – and all your friends on social media have been constantly reminding everyone on their feeds to register (you did register, didn't you?).
The fine folks at The Van Buren want to get in on the democratic process, too. That’s why they’re putting together an ambitious evening of performances on Monday, November 5, the eve of Election Day, called Go Vote 2018: A Concert and Rally. Hometown heroes Gin Blossoms will be headlining the evening and fellow kings and queens of the AZ scene Calexico and Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra will also be bringing the noise along with Mariachi Pasion.
Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, will also be making an appearance at the rally. Proceeds from the show will benefit Giffords: Courage To Fight Gun Violence. If the prospects of hearing some great tunes and donating to a worthy cause aren’t already enticing enough reasons to come out, Chris Bianco will be making pizzas for the event. Ashley Naftule
Claudio Simonetti's Goblin
Tuesday, November 6
It’s probably not a coincidence that Claudio Simonetti's Goblin is touring their score for the 1977 horror film Suspiria just as the remake is being released into theaters. The Italian progressive rock band, who frequently collaborated with the film’s legendary director Dario Argento, is performing the operatic rock composition as the colorful classic plays onscreen. Though Radiohead’s Thom Yorke is receiving rave reviews for his scoring of the 2018 version of this
Death from Above
Wednesday, November 7
Dance rock duo Death From Above 1979 – now actually just Death From Above – is a band with a story. They were big, they broke up, and they returned. And while they’ve released two studio albums since the 2011 reunion, DFA is leading a late 2018 tour with a major theme, revisiting their 2002 debut EP Heads Up. The tour's title – Heads Up! Is Now – is a nod to both the EP and their latest album Outrage! Is Now, meaning there will be new songs from their latest, plus 2014’s The Physical World and 2004’s You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, a mid-aughts dance party favorite.
But this tour is a bit different. Not only will the band be selling copies of the vinyl repress of Heads Up, but bassist Jesse Keeler and drummer/vocalist Sebastien Grainger will also play the EP in its entirety. For fans, this is great news. The 2002 EP is a 14-minute, six-tracked explosion that does some serious damage. It’s move music. It picks up 13 seconds in and doesn’t relent until you’ve made it from point A to point B in a light sweat. Expect the same at their tour stop at The Pressroom on November 7. Lauren Cusimano
Wednesday, November 7
Gila River Arena in Glendale
The cocky hip-hop provocateur, record producer,
Mesa Music Festival 2018
Thursday, November 8, to Saturday, November 10
What do you call a music event that promotes up-and-coming bands rather than established stars, and presents performances in vacated buildings, a cookie shop, music store, coffee house, smoke shop, and open spaces, rather than 20,000 seat arenas or 100-acre farmland? The Mesa Music Festival. Now in its third year, the city of
The 2018 event is being held November 8-10 and will feature more than 200 acts from such styles as rock, pop, indie, folk, hip-hop, soul, and metal that will perform at various venues and locations throughout downtown Mesa. Many hail from the Valley, but even more are from all over the country and world.
For star appeal, the festival will have
Friday, November 9
Talking Stick Resort Arena
This hard-to-categorize duo, which blends elements of rock, pop
Their second album with the label,
Friday, November 9
The Orb got its start in 1988, inspired by dub and house music. Cited as an influence of many modern electronic music artists today, the act also had a major impact on ambient artists of the past few decades, including guitar bands like Seefeel and late-period Slowdive. Founded by Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty, who went on to form the KLF, the Orb came out of the post-punk world but took the elements of dub-bass and sampling to make a different kind of music.
Their debut album, 1991's The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, was an immediate hit in clubs and even made a splash on alternative radio with its single, "Little Fluffy Clouds." But the group was never content to repeat itself. As a result, the outfit's subsequent albums across the next two decades displayed the proclivity of Paterson and his various collaborators for reinvention – or even a mere inspired rejuvenation in revisiting roots. Tom Murphy
Five Finger Death Punch
Saturday, November 10
The Las Vegas natives of Five Finger Death Punch are bringing their brand of heavy metal to Ak-Chin Pavilion in November to promote their latest
Saturday, November 10
You just have to love the Swedish heavy-metal outfit known as Ghost. You have to love it about as much as its members profess to love the devil in all his forms and under all his names, be they
The Nameless Ghouls are perpetually shrouded in black cloaks and silver demon masks while the true identity of Forge is hidden behind skull makeup or other costuming. All members of the band wear upside-down crosses and serenade audiences with lyrics about the Antichrist and Hell. It's enough to make your local church lady faint onto a pile of cats. If this all seems like blatant, offensive blasphemy — good. It’s meant to be. What’s more, after only one
Arizona Hip Hop Festival 2018
Saturday, November 10, and Sunday, November 11
The annual Arizona Hip Hop Festival has undergone a few changes this year, to say the least. The locally focused hip-hop extravaganza, which features performances by hundreds of rappers, MCs, and artists from the Valley scene, has expanded to two days and will take place in a new location with an even bigger lineup than before.
The 2018 edition of the festival will encompass a sizable area along Washington Street between First and Second streets. The area will be fenced off and feature performances, activities, and events in all of the clubs, bars, and venues located in the area while two stages will be located outside.
Justus Samuel, the local community organizer and hip-hop impresario that oversees the festival, tells Phoenix New Times that, despite all the changes, the event still has the same focus: local hip-hop artists. More than 300 local rappers, MCs, and hip-hop artists will be featured this year, a step up from the 250 that appeared in 2017. “This year we're really focused on new faces,” Samuel says. “The last four years have been all the tenured practitioners and all the big names and the more prominent [artists], but this year we wanted to open things up to people who are really excited to be involved and we wanted to introduce the community to the faces to watch.” Benjamin Leatherman
Sunday, November 11
Jordan Carter, a.k.a. SoundCloud rap sensation
Sunday, November 11
The Van Buren
Odd Future, the early 2010s hip-hop/skateboarding/art/tomfoolery collective that birthed the careers of Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, and Tyler, The Creator was so gargantuan that it didn’t just shelter rappers and shredders under its massive umbrella. It also spawned a whole band named after the biggest, most all-encompassing thing anyone can dream of: The Internet.
The five-piece group goes for neither the abrasive alt-rap of early Tyler and Earl, nor does it reach for the groundbreaking R&B of Frank. Instead, their last two albums, 2015’s Ego Death and this year’s Hive Mind, favor a smooth, slide-into-ya-girl’s-DMs type of jazzy funk. Don’t think it stops there, though: The band’s singer Syd and guitarist Steve Lacy have both released solo albums, and the other three members plan on doing the same before they reconvene for the next album. Odd Future: the gift that keeps on giving, even after all these years. Douglas Markowitz
Monday, November 12
Smooth, casual, goofy, breezy — these are just a few of the words that could describe Mac DeMarco. Since the release of his breakthrough album, 2, in 2012, the Canadian singer-songwriter has become an indie icon thanks to his amiable persona and signature jangly, lo-fi guitar tone. "Ode to Viceroy," "Blue Boy," "On the Level," "Mirror of Reflection" — the guy's put out more soft-rock classics in under a decade than many artists managed to do when the genre was huge back in the '70s.
Now, Mac's making some moves. He just announced that he'll be leaving his longtime label Captured Tracks and starting his own, distributed by Caroline Records. The name? Mac's Record Label. A class act as always. He's also announced his first ever solo tour, the Purple Bobcat Next to the River Tour. He's starting things off right here in Phoenix at Valley Bar on Monday, November 12. Douglas Markowitz
Open Mike Eagle
Tuesday, November 13
Coca-Cola Sun Deck at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe
Open Mike Eagle, also known as rap's comic laureate of the bleak, goes from James Baldwin to Vonnegut to answering the question that no one asked: What if Gabriel García Márquez rapped and made a magical realist masterpiece about superheroes in the Robert Taylor Homes? If you're curious, pick up his most recent efforts, like the 2017 full-length album, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, or his new EP, What Happens When I Try to Relax. Or you could check out Open Mike Eagle when he performs on November 13 at the Coca-Cola Sun Deck at Sun Devil Stadium. Jeff Weiss
Wednesday, November 14
Danish indie band IceAge is an act everyone needs to catch. Though they don't come this way often, they're on the heels of their most ambitious release yet with the newly released album
For years, IceAge was at the top of every critic's list, with insane live shows and just the right influences. Starting off in their teens, the band quickly got the attention of labels who caught their engaging live shows. The band's first three albums all had growth from each one to the next. Their debut, New Brigade, mixed punk and post-punk with one of the most interesting approaches I'd ever heard. They followed that up with You're Nothing, upping the ante of their sound while growing in the process. By their third release, Plowing Into The Field of Love, the band had been recording and touring nonstop, leading up to a much-needed break.
Juice WRLD and Ski Mask the Slump God
Saturday, November 17
Flashback to May: Juice WRLD drops the music video for “Lucid Dreams,” directed by hip-hop video savant Cole Bennett, introducing the 19-year-old Chicago rapper to the masses. Flash-forward to the fall: After "Lucid Dreams" peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, Juice WRLD is now one of the hottest SoundCloud rappers in the game and has helped solidify the "emo rap" sound pioneered by guys like Lil Peep. He's even worked with one of the sound's originators, Lil Uzi Vert, on his song "Wasted." Attendees of WRLD’s concert at Mesa Amphitheatre can expect to let out their teenage angst when he performs "All Girls Are the Same." Fellow SoundCloud rapper Ski Mask the Slump God shares the bill. Julio Lugo
Friday, November 16
The Van Buren
Much has been written about electropop singer-songwriter Billie Eilish’s age and everything she’s achieved at only 16 years old, and with good reason. In the span of only a few years, she’s had such enormously popular singles like "Bellyache,” released a hit EP (2017’s Don't Smile at Me), and sold out club gigs across the U.S. Eilish’s whirlwind ascent to stardom came
A Perfect Circle
Tuesday, November 20
Maynard fans, don't despair. It doesn't like a new Tool record is coming out this year, but everybody's favorite hard rocker-slash-wine impresario and Arizona hero released a new album with his other big band, A Perfect Circle, earlier this year. In April, APC put out their fourth studio album, Eat The Elephant, their first batch of new material
One More Time: A Tribute to Daft Punk
Wednesday, November 21
The Van Buren
Is there room for two Daft Punks in the world? Really, there’s barely room for the one, at least psychically — but One More Time found a tribute-band-shaped space somewhere in there and managed to cram in their own Daft Punk light-up pyramid.
Founded well before the release of Random Access Memories, One More Time
They got all the details handled, including some particularly deft costume changes, and they come with enough power to push through an hour-plus set of Daft Punk hits, sleeper hits, and even some original remixes. Harder better faster stronger? Well, definitely hard and fast and strong enough. Chris Ziegler
Friday, November 23
The Van Buren
There was a time not too long ago when anyone who had a disregard for societal norms could throw on some heavy eye makeup, latch a few safety pins onto their messenger bags, and crank up. Good Charlotte? Yeah. Remember that? Those were the good old days of not wanting to fit in too much but definitely not badass enough to break too many rules. It was a perfect compromise for angsty teens who still enjoyed a catchy chorus or two. The pop-punk quintet will be back in town this month for a show at The Van Buren during Thanksgiving weekend. Sleeping With Sirens, Knuckle Puck, and The Dose will open. Diamond Victoria
Friday, November 23
If you’re just shy of 40, Meat Puppets have been making music longer than you’ve been alive. The Phoenix-based band started back in 1980 by brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood — guitar/vocals and bass/vocals, respectively — and drummer Derrick Bostrom, who hasn’t been a member since the band went on their first hiatus in 1996.
Moving away from the hardcore sound early on, the band started incorporating country and psychedelia into their rock and roll and created a unique style that made them a longtime underground favorite and inspiration to tons of bands. Nirvana and Dinosaur Jr. are a couple of acts that have cited Meat Puppets as influences, especially their first couple of records. They got a good chunk of radio play in ’94 with the single “Backwater," and continued adding members to their diehard fan base. Fifteen albums under their collective belt, see the well-seasoned Kirkwood brothers and current drummer Shandon Sahm tear it up in downtown Phoenix. Amy Young
Saturday, November 24
BLK Live in Scottsdale
Heavy music, like heavy food, is best consumed voraciously and without much thought. But the McGenius behind Mac Sabbath is that they obviously put a lot of thought and skill into their quirky musical cookery, which roasts greasy fast-food corporations as much as it pays tribute to the pummeling rock of Ozzy and Sabbath. Like many gimmick-driven grinders, the members shroud themselves in secret sauce. From their elaborate, super-sized costumes (Grimalice, the Catburglar and Slayer McCheeze back up creepy clown crooner Ronald Osbourne) to their clever, freak-fried takes on Sabbath's lyrics ("Pair-a-Buns" to the tune of "Paranoid," "Frying Pan" to the tune of "Iron Man"), these Happy Meal menaces sizzle live, and always serve up much more than the empty calories of most cover bands. Lina Lecaro
Wednesday, November 28
Talking Stick Resort Arena
Interested in seeing the legendary band that rocked your parents’ world way back when and influenced many of your modern-day favorites? They’re coming to downtown Phoenix in late November, albeit without longtime member Lindsey Buckingham. In case you weren’t following the drama, Buckingham was canned from Fleetwood Mac, whose interpersonal dramatics have fueled — and at times rivaled — their music, earlier this year. (His departure reportedly stemmed from a disagreement over this upcoming tour.) Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of Crowded House will replace Buckingham and join Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, and Christine McVie on the upcoming dates. If you can live without seeing Fleetwood Mac without one of its co-founders, their Valley show takes place on November 28 at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Becky Bartkowski
Thursday, November 29
Talking Stick Resort Arena
Is Justin Timberlake responsible for the two worst Super Bowl halftime shows of all time? Everyone remembers the “Nipplegate” incident in 2004, when Timberlake accidentally tore off part of co-performer Janet Jackson’s costume, exposing her bare breast to the entire world and ensuring years of regressive broadcast regulations (and a devastating blow to Jackson’s career that he’s never really taken responsibility for) in the process. But will we remember this year’s halftime show, where he not-so-smoothly slid a few bars of Prince’s “I Will Die 4 U” into one of his songs in a halfhearted tribute done solely because the game was in Minneapolis this year? Will we remember the boring show setup, or how badly it clashed with his awful, western-inspired getup? Or will we remember when he gallivanted into the crowd to take a goddamn selfie with some kid? Ugh.
While Timberlake’s recent career moves have been questionable, especially the terrible, five-years-late lumbersexual theming on his new album Man of the Woods, his early work, both with NSYNC and as a solo artist, is some of the best pop music of the last 25 years. “It’s Gonna Be Me,” “Cry Me A River,” “
Thursday, November 29
The Van Buren
Not everyone is courageous enough to try and upstage Drake on his own album, but English singer Jorja Smith certainly succeeded. Apparently, she so charmed Aubrey Graham with her soothing voice that he not only featured her on his island-vibe track “Get It Together,” but gave her an entire interlude on his More Life project, where her sequence became a highlight of the entire release.
Since then, Smith has made moves, securing a position as one of the English-speaking world’s most talented young pop voices thanks to tracks like “Teenage Fantasy” and the U.K. garage number “On My Mind” with producer Preditah. She’s also had tour opener spots with Drake and Bruno Mars, and her debut album Lost and Found released earlier this year and made it to No. 3 on the U.K. albums chart. Will she find the same success in America as she did at home? Time will tell. Douglas Markowitz
Friday, November 30
It would not be a stretch to say that without Smokepurpp, there would be no Lil Pump. Purpp and Pump have been thick as thieves since they met in grade school, and the two were even expelled the same day. When Purrp began to pursue music, he asked young Pump to freestyle over a track he produced, which became his self-titled debut single, "Lil Pump." Purrp is an accomplished rapper in his own right, of course; he's put out projects such as Darkstar and the Murda Beatz collab mixtape Bless Yo Trap. He has also claimed to have "birthed this generation" of rappers, which 2016 XXL freshman Denzel Curry, who actually did that, rightly called him out on. Gotta respect your elders, even if they're only two classes ahead of you. Douglas Markowitz
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