Things to Do

The 14 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Freeman Promotions
GWAR is scheduled to perform on Sunday, October 27, at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
The next seven nights in the Valley will be filled with concerts both surreal and sublime.

From the former, there are gigs by such over-the-top bands as GWAR and Captured! By Robots, both of which are perfect fits for the Halloween season. (Plus, a collection of local musicians will recreate a circa-1980s Hall & Oates rehearsal session that's being interrupted by David Bowie, Prince, and other celebrities.)

Meanwhile, the latter category will include shows by talented indie artists like Frank Turner, Andrew Bird, Devendra Banhart, Lucy Dacus, and Bishop Briggs.

Other concert highlights happening from Friday, October 25, to Thursday, October 31, include performances by Hozier, Gatecreeper, and MC Hammer.

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

click to enlarge It's Hammer time this weekend at the Arizona State Fair. - RACHEL PARKER
It's Hammer time this weekend at the Arizona State Fair.
Rachel Parker

Hammer’s House Party

Friday, October 25
Arizona State Fair

If NWA made hip-hop scandalous in 1988 with “Fuck Tha Police,” MC Hammer saved the genre in the early ’90s for middle American Walmart shoppers looking for kid-friendly music. His hits “U Can’t Touch This” and “2 Legit 2 Quit” blasted from boomboxes nationwide, bringing rap into the mainstream alongside DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and their predecessors the Beastie Boys. Elementary-school kids imitated Hammer’s dance moves (coveting those baggy pants he wore) and knew every word to his songs. Somewhere along the way, he disappeared from public consciousness. Still, MC Hammer makes occasional public appearances, including his Hammer’s House Party throwback show he’s bringing to Arizona State Fair on Friday night, featuring C&C Music Factory with Freedom Williams. The house party starts at 7 p.m. It’s free with regular fair admission, $40-$60 for reserved seating. Kyle Harris

click to enlarge Guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa. - MARTY MOFFATT
Guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa.
Marty Moffatt

Joe Bonamassa

Friday, October 25
Comerica Theatre

Growing a reputation as "one of the world's greatest guitar players" seems like an impossible task with guitar legends like Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, and Eric Clapton still thriving in the future. But it's a challenge this former child prodigy is willing to accept. Since accepting it, Joe Bonamassa has won a number of awards and honors, including Guitar International's Guitarist of the Year (2011) and Billboard's Blues Artist of 2010. He was also ranked No. 48 in Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Bonamassa is scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. on Friday at Comerica Theatre. Tickets are $62.50-$202.50. Christian McPhate

click to enlarge A scene from last year's Punk Rock Halloween Bash. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
A scene from last year's Punk Rock Halloween Bash.
Benjamin Leatherman

Punk Rock Halloween Bash

Friday, October 25, and Saturday, October 26
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

Horror and punk rock go together like PB&J, or whatever the weirdest condiments happen to be. Celebrate this most ghastly union with the eighth annual Punk Rock Halloween Bash and Monster Midway on Friday and Saturday night. A slew of local/regional bands celebrate Halloween with covers of iconic punk bands (spooky or otherwise).

Across the two-night event, witness Ham transform into The Ramones, Sanitation Squad channel Bad Religion, Fascist Pigs become Suicidal Tendencies, and other once-in-a-lifetime musical marriages. It’s an event so promising it’s practically terrifying. The free bash runs from roughly 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26 at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe. There’s also a costume contest, Triple Dot food truck, and heaps of vendors with merch and other goodies. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Gatecreeper, the pride of Arizona's death metal scene. - GROUND CONTROL TOURING
Gatecreeper, the pride of Arizona's death metal scene.
Ground Control Touring


Saturday, October 26
Crescent Ballroom

There’s a long history of great metal coming out of Arizona, and one must consider adding Gatecreeper to that list. To be honest, they are already the best death metal band to ever come from our state. Strong words, sure, but give the Phoenix/Tucson band’s last three releases on Relapse Records a listen (including the recently released Deserted) and try to tell yourself there’s a better metal band in, or from, Arizona right now. Sure, death metal isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but Gatecreeper can transcend genre limitations because of two things. The songwriting is just that good. And they’ve taken their influences and combined them into something that both pays tribute to the past and pushes American death metal to new heights. They’re scheduled to perform a hometown show on Saturday night at the Crescent Ballroom. Kommand and Röntgen share the bill for the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $15. Tom Reardon

click to enlarge Indie singer-songwriter Andrew Bird. - AMANDA DEMME
Indie singer-songwriter Andrew Bird.
Amanda Demme

Andrew Bird

Saturday, October 26
The Van Buren

For the restless music machine that is Chicago native Andrew Bird, each song is an enthralling puzzle with no real resolve. He’s in it for the adventure of it all. The virtuosic violinist and whistler has been yarning out his cerebral tunes for audiences for more than 20 years, unearthing innovative ways to bring new life to his compositions.

First evident in 2016’s Are You Serious, Bird’s role as a husband and father led him to feel more at ease with opening up about his personal life in his lyrics. And his newest album, My Finest Work Yet, seems like it will stay true to this newfound writing style. He’s currently touring in support of the project and comes to The Van Buren on Saturday night. Madison Cunningham opens the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $40-$44. Patricia Cárdenas

click to enlarge Singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart. - OSK STUDIOS
Singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart.
OSK Studios

Devendra Banhart

Sunday, October 27
Crescent Ballroom

Devendra Banhart has had quite a journey. Raised in Venezuela, he takes his first name from a Hindu god and his middle name from Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was discovered by Michael Gira of Swans, worked on Antony and the Johnsons' I Am a Bird Now, and once opened for Gilberto Gil at the Hollywood Bowl. He even dated Natalie Portman — like, actually dated her, as opposed to certain musicians. His dreamy style of indie-folk is as ever-shifting as he is charismatic. He also released his latest album, Ma, last month. Banhart is scheduled to perform on Sunday at the Crescent Ballroom with support from Rogov. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $30. Douglas Markowitz

click to enlarge Sage Armstrong will tag-team the mixers at Shady Park on Saturday. - CIRCLE TALENT AGENCY
Sage Armstrong will tag-team the mixers at Shady Park on Saturday.
Circle Talent Agency

Sage Armstrong

Saturday, October 26
Shady Park in Tempe

L.A.-based house producer and DJ Sage Armstrong has always incorporated elements of hip-hop into his music, from rapping in a down-tuned robot voice to mixing in the occasional bass-heavy instrumental break. As a teenager, he fell in love with the music of Gucci Mane and Lil Wayne, right around the time he began making his own house and breakbeat tracks. After he relocated to California, Armstrong signed to Claude VonStroke's San Francisco-based electronic music label, Dirtybird Records.

You’re likely to hear elements of hip-hop in Armstrong’s mixes when he performs a back-to-back set with fellow producer (and recent collaborator) Bruno Furlan at Shady Park in Tempe on Saturday night. Local DJs Alaska and Avitas, and Elwer and Chris Tiano will also get in on the b2b action. The music gets going at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20. Howard Hardee