Here's Your Guide to the Best Concerts in Phoenix This Fall

Sophie Allison of Soccer Mommy.
Brian Ziff
Sophie Allison of Soccer Mommy.

Live music is finally, truly, officially back. Here's your guide to this season's busy concert calendar.

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Diplo is scheduled to perform on Sunday, September 26, at Goldrush Music Festival 2021.
Shane Lopeges

Goldrush Music Festival 2021

Friday, September 24, to Sunday, September 26
Rawhide Western Town, Chandler

Local electronic dance music promoter Relentless Beats has been putting on outdoor events for most of the pandemic, but nothing as massive as this three-day rager, the largest music event to happen in Arizona in the last 18 months. More than 60 DJs, producers, and EDM artists (including Mad Decent founder Diplo, future bass/trap king Illenium, trance trio Above & Beyond, dubstep artist Jauz, and deep house duo Zeds Dead) will perform across three stages located within the kitschy Western theme park. Besides all the beat-slinging, Goldrush will also feature a mix of attractions, ranging from carnival rides to western-themed activities like mechanical bull riding. Gates open at 5 p.m. each night. Body glitter and glow toys are optional. General admission is $99 each evening with VIP and platinum packages available for $179 to $1,099. Benjamin Leatherman

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John Legend has a new album out and tour date in the Valley in October.
Joe Pugliese

John Legend Saturday, September 25
Arizona Federal Theatre

With a multitude of Oscars, Grammys, and Golden Globes, plus a high-profile marriage to model Chrissy Teigen, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that at his core, John Legend is a piano player. He’s also a versatile singer and songwriter who incorporates varied traits of R&B, pop, hip-hop, and jazz into a uniquely personal style that has made him one of the world’s most popular performers. Take some time to see the Renaissance man in action in late September as the Legend entourage sets up shop at the Arizona Federal Theatre for a show that’s sure to be memorable. The War and Treaty open the 8 p.m. concert. Tickets are $61.50 to $132. Jeff Strowe

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See KISS for the final time (we think) in late September.
Jim Louvau


Sunday, September 26
Ak-Chin Pavilion

The band has been scaring mothers since 1973, when its name was first rumored to be an acronym for “Knights in Satan’s Service.” The reality was far less sinister, when KISS turned out to be a metal and shock-rock band. Though the shock has waned with each decade, the band has never let go of the live spectacle, including over-the-top pyrotechnics and elaborate costuming. The End of the Road World Tour is purported to be the band’s final worldwide jaunt (and already rolled through the Valley in 2019); however, the 2000-01 Farewell Tour was also supposed to be its last and we all know how that went. Still, maybe you should attend this show, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m., just in case. David Garibaldi opens. Tickets are $39.50 and up. Jose D. Duran

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YouTube star and electronica/R&B artist Marc Rebillet.
Melt Booking

Marc Rebillet

Friday, October 1
The Van Buren

Marc Rebillet constructs songs from scratch. The YouTube and Twitch star has made a name for himself as an improvisational artist whose electronic loops and catchy beats are capped off by cheeky lyricism. But despite his penchant for humor, the so-called “Loop Daddy” boasts quite a bit of musical knowledge, having played piano since he was 4 and studied classical music since the tender age of 15. On tour in support of his latest single, “Vaccinated Attitude” (a profane ode to the joys of getting jabbed), Rebillet will bring his slow-burning R&B hooks to the Van Buren in early October. Local indie-pop band The Twits share the bill for the 8 p.m. concert. Tickets are $27.50 to $30. Matthew Keever

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Alanis Morissette is finally bringing her 25th-anniversary Jagged Little Pill tour to town.
Shelby Duncan

Alanis Morissette and Garbage

Sunday, October 3
Ak-Chin Pavilion

You oughta know by now that after a too-long wait, Alanis Morissette is finally coming to Ak-Chin Pavilion on her Jagged Little Pill 25th anniversary tour. The album that shook the world and changed the landscape of alternative rock music — helping launch the careers of many others — has been cited by countless artists including Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson as a major source of inspiration. Morissette will have opening support from fellow ’90s female-fronted rock act Garbage and alt-indie singer-songwriter Cat Power. Tickets are $30 to $80 for the 7 p.m. show. David Fletcher

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Flogging Molly is co-headlining a fall tour with Violent Femmes.
Richie Smyth

Flogging Molly and Violent Femmes

Friday, October 8
Mesa Amphitheatre

If you were bummed out about Flogging Molly canceling their St. Patrick’s Day concert in 2020 because of COVID-19, the Celtic punk band are bringing their bagpipes back to Arizona this fall and alt-rock legends Violent Femmes are along for the ride for a co-headlining tour. Gordon Gano and company will be celebrating the 30th-anniversary re-release of 1991’s Why Do Birds Sing? while Flogging Molly will be raising their usual ruckus. Punk acts Thick and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes will provide support. Gates open at 4 p.m. and the concert begins at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $49.50. Benjamin Leatherman

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Judas Priest frontman and Valley resident Rob Halford.
Luis Blanco/CC BY 2.0/Flickr

Judas Priest

Saturday, October 9
Arizona Federal Theatre

Judas Priest has been hitting it hard for more than 50 years. The band of leather-wearing British metal gods helped define the genre in the ’80s with albums like Screaming For Vengeance and British Steel. Though he left the band for a few years back in the ’90s, frontman (and Phoenix resident) Rob Halford’s high-pitched, operatic screams have been a staple of their signature sound since the beginning. Today, they continue to keep the genre alive by continuing to release new albums (their most recent is 2018’s Firepower) and providing killer, head-banging performances. Judas Priest is a force to be reckoned with that cannot be stopped. The concert gets going at 7:30 p.m. and Sabaton shares the bill. Tickets are $48.50 to $78.50. Jacob Vaughn

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Noise rapper JPEGMAFIA.
Levi Manchak/CC BY 2.0/Flickr


Sunday, October 10
Crescent Ballroom

Baltimore-based rapper/producer JPEGMAFIA plugs current affairs into his music in hilarious and provocative ways: dissing everyone from Morrissey to Kellyanne Conway, referencing weird internet phenomena, and even releasing a song called “I Might Vote for Donald Trump.” Onstage, he’s less a ball of energy than a rolling boulder, screaming lyrics and diving into the crowd. Whether his music will age well or not — and we’re betting it will, thanks to his forward-thinking, kinetic production style in full effect on 2018’s Veteran and 2019’s All My Heroes Are Cornballs — JPEGMAFIA is without a doubt one of the most entertaining voices in contemporary hip-hop. His Crescent Ballroom gig starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $22.50. Douglas Markowitz

Country Thunder Arizona 2021

Thursday, October 14, to Sunday, October 17
Canyon Moon Ranch, Florence

Up for an adventure and a little bit of a road trip, pardner? Pack up your boots and blue jeans and hit the dusty trail down to Florence, as Country Thunder Arizona is finally going off after three pandemic-related postponements. As is the norm for the four-day outdoor music festival, radio-friendly country artists dominate the massive lineup, with names like Luke Combs, Eric Church, Old Dominion, Dustin Lynch, Ashley McBryde, Parmalee, Chicks With Hits, and Chris Janson set to perform at this year’s event. Tens of thousands are expected to attend, though the boot-scootin’ bacchanal won’t be limited to the main stage. The campground is an infamous party zone (and almost a festival in and of itself) with hootin’ and hollerin’ going on until the wee hours. General admission is $99 per day and $200 for the whole festival. Benjamin Leatherman

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Erykah Badu during a 2019 performance.
Karli Evans

Erykah Badu

Wednesday, October 20
Arizona Federal Theatre

Erykah Badu has transcended musical genres, taking on neo-soul, hip-hop, pop, and even the occasional jazz track during her 27-year career. She made a name for herself after her 1997 debut, Baduizm, went on to win two Grammy Awards and sell over 3 million copies. Since then she’s released five studio albums and cultivated a loyal mass of fans across the globe with her eccentric style, philosophy, and lyricism. Badu isn’t just an icon, she’s practically a mythological figure, one who’s built a legend larger than her work. Rapper Westside Gunn will open the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $49.50 and up. Jacob Vaughn and Eva Raggio

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Colson Baker, better known as Machine Gun Kelly.
Alexandre Faraci

Machine Gun Kelly

Thursday, October 21
Mesa Amphitheatre

Machine Gun Kelly rose to fame after his 2012 single “Wild Boy” featuring Waka Flocka Flame. The song was an anthem for the badly behaved and the first introduction to Kelly’s badass personal branding. Despite often being labeled a rapper, Kelly’s made a living off of his rock star lifestyle. When it comes to his musical accolades, putting him solely in the box of hip-hop is a gross underestimation of his talent. His fourth studio album, 2019’s Hotel Diablo, was a mashup of alt-rock and rap while 2020’s Tickets to My Downfall was more pop-punk than hip-hop, as evidenced by the fact it was produced by Blink-182’s Travis Barker. And his latest album, Born with Horns, delves into grunge territory. But with whatever style he chooses, MGK’s still mad as hell and embracing his angst and expressing it on his terms. His Mesa Amphitheatre concert, which starts at 7 p.m. and features rappers Kenny Hoopla and Jxdn, will include songs from across his discography. Tickets are $48.75. Alma Schofield

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Trey Anastasio of Phish
Jacqueline Collins


Friday, October 22
Ak-Chin Pavilion

A lot of musicians spent the pandemic figuring out new ways to connect with their fan bases over the web. The jam band Phish was way ahead of all of them; the group has been innovating on the internet since the ’90s, whether by encouraging tape-trading of its shows in chat rooms or later setting up livestreams a decade before that was a household word. Phish didn’t disappoint during the pandemic, either, debuting a free Tuesday-night series called “Dinner and a Movie” that unearthed videos of archived shows and streamed them through the Phish website and Facebook page. The live, IRL Phish experience is what its fans truly want, though, and after a year and a half without it, expect to see some very excited wooks and chads at this amphitheater outing. Tickets start at $33. David Hudnall

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Country, bluegrass, Americana, and folk artist Robert Earl Keen.
Nick Doll

Robert Earl Keen

Sunday, October 24
Crescent Ballroom

Robert Earl Keen combines folk, bluegrass, country and Americana into an inimitable sound that fans will cherish for generations to come. Like fellow Texas-born musicians Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Lyle Lovett, singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen paints pictures with every song. While he’s put out a dozen albums (including Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions, his most recent release) since 1984, his live shows are the best place to appreciate his craft and his dry humor. Not one to let a pandemic get in the way of some good tunes, he’s scheduled to visit Crescent Ballroom in late October. The concert begins at 7 p.m. with an opening set by Kevin Galloway. Tickets are $35 to $45. Matthew Keever and Serene Dominic

Dead and Company

Monday, October 25
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Since the Grateful Dead formed in the ’60s, the music of Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and countless other contributors has gained a true cult status. Even after Garcia’s death in 1995, the band kept on truckin’. And the music hasn’t stopped. A few years after the band’s 50th-anniversary Fare Thee Well Tour in 2015, the group began touring as Dead and Company. The lineup includes John Mayer alongside original members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann. Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti are also in the mix. Mayer’s strong blues background aids in the faithful delivery of wavy riffs from the days of Garcia. Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert start at $51.50. Kayla Clancy

Soccer Mommy

Tuesday, October 26
Crescent Ballroom

Sophie Allison, a.k.a. Soccer Mommy, has opened for a lot of impressive acts: Wilco, Paramore, Kacey Musgraves, Vampire Weekend. This fall, though, the Nashville-based singer-songwriter is the headliner (Emily Reo, who makes arty noise-pop, opens this Phoenix show). Have a listen to singles “Circle the Drain” and “Yellow Is the Color of Her Eyes” from Soccer Mommy’s 2020 record Color Theory, and you’ll begin to hear why: Allison borrows from ’90s indie rock and melodic lo-fi pop to create a sound distinctly her own. Gannon Hanevold

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Country and Southern rock singer/guitarist Chris Stapleton.
Becky Fluke

Chris Stapleton

Saturday, October 30
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Country singer Chris Stapleton enjoys a level of artistic goodwill that is hard to come by these days. He’s as big on country radio and among the bro-country set as he is in the independent Americana songwriting space. He’s collaborated with everyone from Justin Timberlake to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench in recent years, and in November, he’ll appear on the re-release of Taylor Swift’s 2012 album, Red. Needless to say, he’ll have plenty to draw from when he brings his All-American Roadshow to Ak-Chin Pavilion, including his four acclaimed studio albums. He’s also bringing outlaw country singer/guitarist Jamey Johnson and country soul artist Yola. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $99 to $249. Celia Almeida

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Top-selling tropical salsa artist Marc Anthony.
Alan Silfen

Marc Anthony

Sunday, October 31
Footprint Center

Three-time Grammy and six-time Latin Grammy winner Marc Anthony has stayed relatively quiet compared to his past tradition of consistently producing new albums every two years. After releasing his 2013 album 3.0, Anthony would not release his next, Opus, until 2019. His current 23-date tour is a continuation of the Opus tour, which sold roughly 240,000 tickets in the U.S. alone before the pandemic. Anthony, the top-selling tropical salsa artist of all time, spent the COVID year returning to the big screen to play Gapo de la Vega in an adaptation of Quiara Alegría Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical In the Heights. One of the most highly regarded performers in Latin music — or any genre, really — Marc Anthony’s electrifying show is surely not one to be missed. The concert starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $61 to $181. David Fletcher

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Indie singer-songwriter Julien Baker.
Matador Records

Julien Baker

Monday, November 1
The Van Buren

Julien Baker’s solo records don’t go down as smoothly as those of Lucy Dacus or Phoebe Bridgers, her collaborators in the indie-rock supergroup boygenius. Baker’s alt-folk is full of sharp edges and darkly self-reflective lyrics. On her latest, Little Oblivions, she has expanded her sonic palette, creating a larger world for her hauntingly beautiful songs to live inside. Dehd and Katie Malco open this show, which is $25 before taxes and fees. Gannon Hanevold

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Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast
Peter Ash Lee

Japanese Breakfast

Thursday, November 4
Coca-Cola Sun Deck at Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe

Michelle Zauner surfaced on the scene back around 2016 with a pair of sturdy, shoegaze-inflected indie-rock records released under the name Japanese Breakfast. She has since revealed herself to be someone with far more eclectic interests and talents. An essay about her mother’s death was published in the New Yorker in 2018 and later became a memoir, Crying in H Mart, which was released earlier this year. And the new Japanese Breakfast record, Jubilee, which dropped in June, is an adventurous departure from Zauner’s previous sound. The moody, mournful tones have been replaced by something more playful, percussive, and orchestral (Zauner worked with a variety of collaborators on Jubilee, including Alex G, Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum, and Crying’s Ryan Galloway). In some places, the record evokes the ecstatic art-rock of Kate Bush; elsewhere, as on “Be Sweet,” you might think you’re hearing a long-lost ’80’s-era Madonna dance-pop jam. Sasami Ashworth, a former Cherry Glazer member who makes music heavy with synths, reverb, and hushed vocals under the name SASAMI, opens. Tickets are $23. David Hudnall

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Elvis Costello and the Imposters are coming to the Valley in November.
Paul Moore

Elvis Costello and the Imposters

Wednesday, November 10
Arizona Federal Theatre

Elvis Costello has been a well-known musical figure for over 40 years now. The author of iconic jams like “Radio, Radio,” “Alison,” and “Watching The Detectives,” among many others, is at the elder statesman phase of his career now. Costello chooses not to revel in past glories, though. He’s back out on the road with his longtime backing band, The Imposters, which also features bassist Davey Faragher of Cracker on bass, drummer Pete Thomas, and keyboard/synth player Steve Nieve. They’re touring behind the recently released Spanish-language reimagining of Costello’s 1978 album This Year’s Model and their performance at Arizona Federal Theatre, which starts at 7:30 p.m., will be the Imposters’ first concert in the Valley since 2008. Tickets are $49.50 and up. Jeff Strowe

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Lukas Nelson with members of backing band Promise of the Real.
Alysse Gafkjen

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real

Friday, November 12
The Van Buren

Being the son of legendary singer/songwriter Willie Nelson wasn’t always the easiest row to hoe, but Lukas Nelson has become an accomplished songwriter in his own right, albeit playing roots-oriented rock ’n’ roll instead of country tunes like his old man. His band, Promise of the Real, is a five-piece powered by his deft guitar work and smooth vocals that find inspiration in the blues/rock of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Nelson also isn’t opposed to throwing in a cool Willie cover now and again. The band’s latest tour stop in the Valley starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Darryl Smyers

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Harry Styles in concert this summer.

Harry Styles

Saturday, November 13
Gila River Arena, Glendale

Make sure you bring earplugs to drown out the shrieks of teens (and, let’s be honest, people much older than teens): Former One Direction heartthrob, actor, and pop singer Harry Styles will finally make up his canceled 2020 date this fall. Jenny Lewis is the special guest for the 7 p.m. show. Tickets are officially sold out, but can be found for big bucks on the secondary market. Jennifer Goldberg

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Chris Slorach (left), Alex Edkins (center), and Hayden Menzies (right) of METZ.
Norman Wong

METZ, with Preoccupations

Thursday, November 18
Crescent Ballroom

Want to mosh? Let’s mosh. The Canadian punk-rock act METZ thrives in chaos, its shows a rowdy concoction of aggressive percussion and guitar-heavy angst. They’ll be joined at this show by fellow Canadians Preoccupations, whose post-punk sound — a bit of New Order, a little ’70s art-rock — is mellow by comparison. Tickets are $20 before fees. Gannon Hanevold

Slow Pulp

Saturday, November 20
Valley Bar

After releasing its debut album Moveys in late 2020, Slow Pulp seems to be on a mission to prove itself the most eclectic indie band going. The band’s discography has it all: acoustic ballads, indie electro-pop, a one-minute instrumental nod to former NFL quarterback Brett Favre, even a newly released cover of Sum 41’s ’90s classic “In Too Deep.” Considering Slow Pulp’s exponential rise in the last calendar year and the coveted Phoebe Bridgers co-sign the band received this fall, Valley Bar almost seems too small a venue for this show. But at just $14 before fees, it’s also a great opportunity for local indie fans to get in on the ground floor of the next big thing. Gannon Hanevold

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Australian-born indie rocker Courtney Barnett.
Mia Mala McDonald

Courtney Barnett

Saturday, December 4
The Van Buren

Since her debut, indie rocker Courtney Barnett has built a reputation around her captivating vocals and her gritty, bone-crushing guitar playing. Over the years, those skills have been incorporated in collaborations with artists such as The Breeders, Kurt Vile, and Jen Cloher. Her second album, 2018’s Tell Me How You Really Feel, is uncharacteristically more introverted than her previous witty EPs and debut album. But still, Barnett is doing her thing. She’s set to visit The Van Buren in early December in support of her new album, the equally introspective Things Take Time, Take Time, which drops in November. British-born indie musician Bartees Strange opens the 8 p.m. concert. Tickets are $31 to $36. Jacob Vaughn