8 Summer Concert Series in Metro Phoenix

E. Brien Thompson
Known for vintage flair and edgy kicks, roots rock band Whiskey Kiss will perform on Friday, August 4, as part of Live & Local Fridays at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
It’s not that you need a concert series to occur in order to get your live music fix. Joints are jumpin’ all over town, 365 days a year, and music fans of all ages can catch bands in action. However, that doesn’t mean that someone can’t host a concert series designated just for these warmer months. In fact, several venues are doing just that and we got the scoop on some, in order to help you liven up your summer calendar. Here are some of the series offering multiple opportunities for live entertainment.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Live & Local Fridays is Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ summer concert series that starts on July 28 with a performance by Los Morenos. The Latin blues band will perform in the Virginia G. Piper Theater at 8 p.m. Shows in this theater are reserved seating and admission is $19 in advance, $20 day of show.

In the venue’s more intimate theater, Stage 2, these Friday night concerts will feature smaller ensembles starting at 8:30 p.m. Jazz quartet House of Stairs will kick off that series on July 28. Admission for Stage 2 concerts is $12 in advance, $15 day of show. The series runs through August 25.

Whiskey Kiss, Kabarett, Inspiracion Flamenca, and Marmalade Skies will perform in the Virginia G. Piper Theater. Stage 2 performers include Chuck Hall “Rewired!” Odd Man Out, and Jan Sandwich Presents: Remembering Debbie Reynolds. Pop by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art next door, where admission's free from 5 to 9 p.m. during this Friday night series.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is located at 7380 East Second Street. Call 480-499-8587 or visit the Center's website for more information.

Glendale Summer Band Concert Series
Head to historic downtown Glendale for this weekly event that features performances by the Glendale Summer Band. The group is comprised of more than 100 community members who play a broad range of styles to keep attendees entertained. The ages of the band members span generations, bringing together a diverse and inclusive blend of locals.

The next concert is at 8 p.m. on July 20. Admission is free. Guests are welcome to bring blankets and chairs. Food and drink are available for purchase. The E. Lowell Rogers Amphitheatre is located at 58th Avenue and Glenn Drive. Call 623-930-2299 or visit Glendale's events calendar.

Desert Ridge Marketplace
Both the District Stage and the AMC Fountain host live music between 7 and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights through August at this open-air mall. See acts like pianist Charlie Smith, whose range of styles includes blues, jazz, and rock 'n' roll. There are also bands like New Philosophy, who entertain with covers of chart-topping songs. Ratio brings their funk, soul, jazz, and R&B sounds, while 17-year-old keyboardist Elijah Phillips plays ‘80s hits and recent radio faves.

Desert Ridge Marketplace, 21001 North Tatum Boulevard. Admission is free. Call 480-513-7586 or visit Desert Ridge's website.

The Shrine: A Weekly Afro-Soul Ritual
Downtown's Crescent Ballroom wants to keep your summer nights going until the last possible second. This late-night Saturday series from midnight to 2 a.m. in the venue’s lounge and features Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra. The band delivers the funk in tribute to Fela, the man responsible for pioneering the afrobeat style. Plan on dancing, as it’s nearly impossible not to once the band starts throwing down their groovy tunes.

This live music dance party continues through July 22 at 308 North Second Avenue. Admission is free. Call 602-716-2222 or visit Crescent's website.

Tempe Marketplace
The District Stage at this retail and entertainment complex is rocking on Friday and Saturday nights through August. From 7 to 10 p.m. at 2000 East Rio Salado Parkway, you can catch different local bands showing off their skills.

Some of this summer’s lineup includes pop bands The Edisons and Soft Deadlines, top-40 cover band Vinyl Station, and alt-rockers Hello Swindon. Admission is free. Call 480-966-9338 or visit Tempe Marketplace's website.

click to enlarge Vinyl Station are among bands featured in Culinary Dropout's summer music series. - COURTESY OF FOX RESTAURANT CONCEPTS
Vinyl Station are among bands featured in Culinary Dropout's summer music series.
Courtesy of Fox Restaurant Concepts
Culinary Dropout
This restaurant has added summer music to the mix. Mostly on the weekends, with a few other days of the week boasting concerts here and there, all of the Culinary Dropout locations will have area bands providing a soundtrack to your night out. Through July, see locals playing genres from blues to rock, including Black Beard’s Delight, Vinyl Station, Big Bang Theory, Kyle Phelan, Chad Gregory, Levi Waskom, Sol Track Union, Bill Dutcher, Fosterson, Ryan Williams, Bluesman Mike, Walt & Friends, and Along for the Ride.

There is no charge for these performances. Culinary Dropout has three locations: The Yard, 5632 North Seventh Street; Scottsdale Waterfront, 7135 East Camelback, #125; and Farmer Arts District, 149 South Farmer Avenue in Tempe. For details and the August lineup, see at Culinary Dropout's website.

Westgate Entertainment District
This Glendale complex, 6751 North Sunset Boulevard, is loaded with things to do. And through August, Friday and Saturday nights will find the venue’s Fountain Park rocking with live tunes from area bands from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Style-wise, they mix it up at this concert series. There are acts like Riverside Cathedral who mix gypsy sounds with jazz, classical, and Irish music to create their unique sound. Country fans will dig the Eddie Joe Clark Band, who play hard-driving outlaw country music. Undecided Youth is a high-energy rock band delivering the classic rock sounds to get your head banging – from Led Zeppelin to Guns N Roses. Admission is free. Call 623-385-7502 or visit Westgate's website.

Phoenix Theatre Summer Music Series
This local theater hosts summer fun with this music series that celebrates community, local musicians, and “Valley residents who brave the summer sun.” On July 21, Brian Chartrand will perform. The Massachusetts transplant has been having much success with his Live from Laurel Canyon show at the Musical Instrument Museum. It's a live performance that examines ‘60s rock and roll. At the Phoenix Theatre event, he’ll play songs from that, as well as original music from his bands, The Sweet Remains and The Project.

On July 22, it’s blues artist Leon J., who was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011. Playing blues, country, and Americana, J. will bring some stories into the mix. Walt Richardson is on deck for July 28. The locally based singer/songwriter is an area favorite, playing around town for over three decades now. He was inducted into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2014.

The series features We3 on July 29. The band comprises vocalist Renee Grant Patrick, pianist/keyboardist Nicole Pesce, and violinist Suzanne Lansford, who work together to play music in different styles, including jazz, blues, and swing.

Phoenix Theatre is at 100 East McDowell Road. Admission is $25. The ArtBar + Bistro is open for food and drink purchases, including beer and cocktails, during performances. Call 602-254-2151 or visit Phoenix Theatre's website.

Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.