Weekend's Best Concerts: Marcus Mumford, Jacob Banks | Phoenix New Times

Best Phoenix Concerts This Weekend: Marcus Mumford, Jacob Banks, Donny Benét

This weekend brings Marcus Mumford, Blue Oyster Cult, and the Goldrush EDM festival to metro Phoenix.
Marcus Mumford is scheduled to perform on Friday, October 7, at The Van Buren.
Marcus Mumford is scheduled to perform on Friday, October 7, at The Van Buren. Eric Ray Davidson
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This weekend, Valley concertgoers can headbang and shuffle with EDM fans at Goldrush: Neon Dreams, drop a lot of cash to attend indie folk icon Marcus Mumford’s sold-out gig or hang with rock fans of a certain age at Blue Öyster Cult’s latest Valley performance. Other prominent artists and bands due in town from Friday, October 7, to Sunday, October 9, include post-disco multi-instrumentalist Donny Benét, singer-songwriter Jacob Banks, and reggae legends Steel Pulse.

Looking for more live music this weekend beyond our picks? Check out Phoenix New Timesonline listings for more concert options.

Donny Benét

Friday, October 7
The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road
When punk mutated into post-punk at the end of the ’70s, disco had its own strange mutation. Post-disco bridged the gap between disco and future club music like house and hi-NRG — more stripped down and experimental, but the groove still reigned supreme. As post-disco has moved into the 21st century, it’s gotten plusher. No artist working today better exemplifies the best qualities of post-disco than Australia’s Donny Benét, whose buttery-smooth music brings together disco, blue-eyed soul, funk, and quiet storm. Think of all the Adult Contemporary jams your parents listened to on the radio but with better drugs — that’s the Donny Benét magic.

Born to a family of musicians (including a Disco accordionist!), Benét cut his teeth playing Tom Jones covers at airport hotels. Building up his own repertoire of songs, he used his mastery of synths, saxes, drum machines, and bass to create a silky post-disco sound. His early jam “Konichiwa” caught the attention of The Weeknd, who cited the song as an influence on his album After Hours. While he looks and dresses like a Tim & Eric character, Benet's songs are full of loverman boasts and he's got the smooth voice and confidence to make that braggadocio sound convincing. With Well Well Well and Sureson; 8:30 p.m., $23 via seetickets.us. Ashley Naftule
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Tower of Power comes to Mesa on Friday night.
Mesa Arts Center

Tower of Power

Friday, October 7
Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street
Oakland-born R&B act Tower of Power are a veritable institution. Founded in 1968, they’ve survived drama, heartbreak, the whims of the music industry, and multiple lineup changes, all while laying down jams ranging from funk to smooth jazz to blue-eyed soul. Over the past five decades, ToP has released more the 20 albums and a wealth of hits, including "What is Hip," "So Very Hard to Go," "This Time It's Real" and "You're Still A Young Man.” (Artists such as Elton John, Huey Lewis, Paula Abdul, Santana, and Aerosmith also tapped the band for their recordings.) Still boasting a huge horn section — which includes founding members Emilio Castillo (vocals/tenor saxophone) and Stephen "Doc" Kupka (baritone sax player) — and an unforgettable sound, Tower of Power will bring their enormous history to the Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center this weekend in support of 2020’s Step Up. 8 p.m., $30-$60 via mesaartscenter.com. Benjamin Leatherman

Jacob Banks

Friday, October 7
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
Jacob Banks' voice has a rich, tremulous quality to it. Soulful and emotive, there are moments where he sounds like he’s channeling Nina Simone; at other times his voice can take on an androgynous quality that puts him close to someone like Anohni. Despite his evident chops Banks isn’t a singer that shows off; he’s the kind of singer-songwriter who lets his moving songs and humble delivery get under your work. Banks may not be a household name for most Americans but if you watch TV you’ve probably heard the Nigerian-born English singer’s work at some point. His ballads and slow-burn R&B have been featured on many TV shows, including Power, Suits, Queen of the South, Lucifer, Black Lightning, and Quantico. His latest album, 2022’s Lies About the War, is an elegiac and reflective work. "I'm Evel Knievel/You know I like to take a chance," Banks sings on "By Design [Evel Knievel].” He’s not gonna jump over any cars or canyons at Crescent Ballroom but he’s sure to sail over your expectations. With Meg Mac; 8 p.m., $30 via seetickets.us. Ashley Naftule

Marcus Mumford

Friday, October 7
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
There are few career moves more confounding than a frontman cutting a solo record away from his regular band and making music that sounds almost exactly the same. What’s the point? It’s a question that comes to mind while listening to Self-Titled, the recently released solo album by Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons fame. The album is a bit more stripped-down at times than his work with the band, but it basically sounds like a Mumford & Sons album. There’s no wild sonic experimentation, no “the guys never let me go reggae like I wanted” style pivots that make solo albums fun. It’s more of the same folksy, “everybody in the band is wearing suspenders” Americana that M&S have made their bread and artisanally hand-churned butter. A couple of things that stick out about Self-Titled: the stacked guest list (which includes Brandi Carlile, Clairo, and the seemingly ubiquitous Phoebe Bridgers) and the harsh visceral quality to some of Mumford’s lyrics. “Cannibal” in particular is full of vivid and violent imagery: “Ripped at it with your teeth and your lips like a cannibal/You fucking animal.” Looks like Marcus will need to throw a few coins into the swear jar at the next family hootenanny. With Danielle Ponder; 8 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Ashley Naftule
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A glimpse at last year's Goldrush festival.
Luis D. Colato/Relentless Beats

Goldrush: Neon Dreams

Friday, October 7, to Sunday, October 9
Phoenix Raceway, 7602 Jimmie Johnson Drive, Avondale
The fall concert season is in full swing, which means music festivals galore. As such, local electronic dance music promoter Relentless Beats is staging its annual Goldrush fest, albeit with some changes. This year's version of the weekend-long EDM event has a new atmosphere and location, having moved from Rawhide in Chandler across town to Phoenix Raceway in Avondale. As a result, its western kitsch was ditched for a “neon utopia” vibe. Everything else about Goldrush remains the same, though: multiple stages hosting sets by more than 50 different EDM artists and DJs, attractions like a silent disco and roller disco, and plenty of vendors. Daily headliners include Excision, AC Slater, HE$H, Troyboi, Jai Wolf, and Wuki on Friday; Kaskade, ARMNHMR, Drezo, Bonnie X Clyde, and Chris Lake, Herobust, and Yolanda Be Cool on Saturday; and Seven Lions, 1788-L, REZZ, Dom Dolla, Noizu, Ghastly, Netsky, and Tokimonsta on Sunday. 6 p.m., $109-$259 for general admission, $199-$529 for VIP admission via tixr.com. Benjamin Leatherman
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Blue Öyster Cult performing in 2012.

Blue Öyster Cult

Saturday, October 8
Talking Stick Resort, 9800 East Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
Blue Öyster Cult will forever be known for such signature hits as "This Ain't the Summer of Love," "Career of Evil," "Godzilla," and (of course) "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," all of which carbon date the rock 'n' roll legends back to their heyday in the 1970s. Their tunes may get constant airplay on classic rock stations everywhere, but the BÖC’s last brush with relevancy came in 2000, courtesy of Saturday Night Live’s now-legendary “More Cowbell” skit that’s since become an oft-referenced meme. The band embraced it with the same gusto they’ve acknowledged their status as a nostalgia act. Or as frontman and lead guitarist Donald Roeser put it earlier this year: “We realized we're a 'classic rock' band. That's what we are, that's what we do best, that's what we know. "[We're] proud of BÖC's classic sound, and pleased the band is creating vibrant work for disenfranchised music lovers who don't like the homogenized, prefabricated pop or sound-alike, formulaic rap-metal, which monopolizes the radio airwaves and best-seller charts." Okay, boomer. 8 p.m., $30-$60 via ticketmaster.com. Benjamin Leatherman

Steel Pulse

Saturday, October 8
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
Reggae certainly has changed since Steel Pulse began in the mid-1970s. Back then, roots reggae ruled the roost. Dancehall, lovers’ rock, and reggaeton were distant visions; dub was spacing outside mainstream circles. With a blend of tightly knit song structures packing pop hooks and sociopolitical lyrics, Steel Pulse gradually took a bite from Bob Marley's popularity, especially in their UK home. Fronted by David Hinds, Steel Pulse's albums Earth Crisis and True Democracy remain required reggae listens. In 1986, the group scored a Best Reggae Album Grammy for Babylon the Bandit. Though additional Grammy nominations arrived for the more traditional albums, the group briefly explored newly emerging styles but consistently retreated "Back to My Roots," as Hinds sings prophetically on 1994's Vex. One constant from the 47-year-old band: politically charged lyrics. In what already is a genre for identifying social injustice, Hinds' stirring reggae always carries an on-point message. And yes, plenty of positive vibrations too. With Tribal Seeds; $36.50-$65 via ticketweb.com. Glenn BurnSilver
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