Things to Do

The Eight Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Jim Louvau
Paul McCartney is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, June 26, at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
This week at local venues, you can catch living legends, get down at an after-dark pool party, or witness a dearly departed rock star perform from beyond the grave.

The biggest show in the Valley this week will be Paul McCartney’s gig at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Wednesday night. You can hit up the secondary market if you weren’t lucky enough to grab tickets before the concert sold out, but be prepared to spend upward of $300 per seat, though.

That same night, renowned rocker Todd Rundgren will be at Celebrity Theatre, while the late Ronnie James Dio will be, um, "resurrected" in hologram form for a show with his backing band at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix.

Other artists and acts with concerts scheduled around town this week include The Voice contestant Sarah Grace and her band The Soul, alternative R&B act Chase Atlantic, and post-punk group Priests.

Details about each of these shows can be found below. For even more live music happening around the Valley this week, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

The Mambo Kings of Orquesta Akokan.
Adrien H. Tillmann/JP Cutler Media

Orquesta Akokan

Monday, June 24
Musical Instrument Museum

Orquesta Akokán is coming off their well-received self-titled debut record on Daptone Records, with a sound firmly rooted in the mambo-centric, big band music of the pre-revolutionary Cuban era of the 1940 and '50s. The band was not a pre-existing unit, but put together to record the project. It was the brainchild of New York-based producer/guitarist Jacob Plasse and native Cuban vocalist Pepito Gomez, along with arranger Michael Eckworth, though their first attempt in the studio didn’t quite work out.

“We’d been writing music in the mambo style for a while and tried to record here in New York, but the results weren’t spectacular,” Plasse says. With Gomez going down to Cuba for a concert, he reached out to his childhood friend and saxophone player Cesar Lopez to gather cream-of-the-crop local players, a mixture of old hands and young musicians, most of whom had played in school and professional orchestras already.

The assemblage assembled at Havana’s Areito studios — also the name of a pre-revolutionary music label — and made Orquesta Akokán. And while this type of music was never quite “outlawed” after Fidel Castro’s revolution, its close association with the American and Mafia-run casinos made was sort of musica non grata for years. Hear it for yourself on Monday night at the MIM starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $33.50 to $48.50. Bob Ruggiero

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Jono Schnell, better known as Quix.
APA Agency

Night Swim feat. Quix

Monday, June 24
Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale

Think the pool party action is only limited to weekends? That ain’t necessarily so, as Maya in Scottsdale regularly hosts Night Swim events, which offer locals the chance to party and play in the joint’s outdoor pool after dark. The latest edition takes place on Monday evening and will be headlined by New Zealand-born DJ/producer Jono Schnell, better known as Quix, who specializes in mixes that are heavy on bass sounds and trap music. Doors open at 10 p.m. and admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

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Post-punk band Priests.
Drew Hagelin


Tuesday, June 25
Valley Bar

This Washington, D.C., band nearly self-destructed while touring behind their 2017 LP Nothing Feels Natural, but managed to channel that aggression into their latest record, The Seduction of Kansas. The new album mixes furious dance-punk with a country-fried aesthetic that would be perfectly at home at a Lil Nas X show. The “genre queer” band Sons of an Illustrious Father open. Douglas Markowitz

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The legendary Todd Rundgren.
Lynn Goldsmith

Todd Rundgren

Wednesday, June 26
Celebrity Theatre

Todd Rundgren's breakthrough album, Something/Anything?, was a winding double LP on which he wrote, produced, and performed nearly everything himself. That says a lot about 1972, but it says even more about Rundgren, who's been seen as something of a pop-rock prodigy ever since. If it seems he's never been quite as famous or iconic as he should have been to a broader audience, you might be looking at his career the wrong way.

The better question: How was he ever famous at all? The moment his career took off, he began indulging his prog-rockier tendencies, and aside from the fluky "Bang the Drum All Day," which came out on an album he actually called The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect, he never did much allowing for those fans who came for the hooks. That basically is the ever-popular tortured artist effect: When you're the only one banging on the drums and producing the albums and designing and coding the website, nobody's left to say, "Hey, I don't think Casey Kasem is going to play this." It didn't make for a ton of hits, but Todd Rundgren's need for control has produced a fascinating career. Dan Moore