The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Nora en Pure is scheduled to perform on Friday, December 8, at Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale.
Courtesy of MFM Booking
Nora en Pure is scheduled to perform on Friday, December 8, at Maya Day & Nightclub in Scottsdale.
Look, we totally get it. Right now, your pocketbook is a little on the empty side due to prepping for the holidays. So the idea of forking over a bunch of cash to see a concert might seem a bit on the ludicrous side at the moment.

That's why several economically priced concerts are in our list of the best shows in the Valley this weekend. There’s the RPM Orchestra’s CD release show at The Lost Leaf, for instance, as well as DJ Gila Man’s Brainwave! dance party on Saturday night at Valley Bar, both of which are free to attend.

If you’re into harder sounds, the first night of the annual Desert Frostover will feature a slew of local heavy metal heavyweights performing.

Those who feel like splurging, however, might consider checking out Alice Cooper’s annual Christmas Pudding showcase at the Celebrity Theatre or jazz great Mike Stern’s performance at the MIM.

The choice is up to you.

Details about each of these shows can be found below in our rundown of the 11 best concerts in Phoenix this weekend. (And for even more gigs happening around town, hit up our online live music listings.)

click to enlarge Spill Canvas is back. - COURTESY OF THE BAND
Spill Canvas is back.
Courtesy of the band
The Spill Canvas
Friday, December 8
Valley Bar

If you attended an emo show in the early to mid-2000s, chances are you saw The Spill Canvas. The Sioux Falls, South Dakota, band pounded the pavement with the likes of Motion City Soundtrack, Augustana, Plain White T’s, and Steel Train.

After a brief hiatus in 2011, the band released their last album, Gestalt, in May 2012. Rumors of new music have been bubbling since, and they’ve teased going back in the studio in 2018.
In the meantime, they’ve opted to look toward the past. In 2015, they did a 10-year anniversary tour of their 2005 album, One Fail Swoop, and embarked on a “Requestour” in 2016, asking fans to vote on a set list of their favorite songs from the band’s catalog.

They’ve spent fall 2017 celebrating their 2007 album, No Really, I’m Fine, with a tour that hits Phoenix on its second leg this weekend. Ashley Harris

click to enlarge Pelvic Meatloaf performs during last year's Desert Frostover. - FRANK CORDOVA
Pelvic Meatloaf performs during last year's Desert Frostover.
Frank Cordova
Desert Frostover III (Day One)
Friday, December 8
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

We’re officially in the season of overindulgence: We can eat as much holiday food as we want, drink the hell out of the spiked eggnog and mulled wine, and aren’t judged when we concoct dishes like "bourbon-glazed turkey with bourbon gravy" and "bourbon pumpkin pie." So the season of indulging in all that you love would only be complete with the chance to gorge on some of the best metal, hard rock, indie, and alternative acts that Arizona has to offer, courtesy of the annual Desert Frostover.

The two-part concert, which is now on its third edition, will take place during successive weekends at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Both nights are all ages and the lineups differ by musical tastes.

Day one, which takes place on Friday, December 8, is more about heavy metal and hard rock. As such, expect performances by such locals as Pelvic Meatloaf, Murkocet, Soundmankillz, Atoms Fall, Ciphered Existence, Mission G, Ocean Harvest, and ATGOWAT. Doors open at 6 p.m. Lauren Wise

click to enlarge Metalcore act Whitechapel. - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
Metalcore act Whitechapel.
Courtesy of the artist
Friday, December 8
Club Red in Mesa

Tennessee's Whitechapel crafts its malevolent deathcore with three guitarists. The down-tuned doom of this act is marked by finger-widdling flurries and false harmonic squeals, Phil Bozeman's disturbingly possessed post-Pantera vocals and a rhythm section that attacks with a cornered, Quaddafi-esque cruelty.

Technically excellent yet utterly heartfelt, Whitechapel is a soundtrack for cynical teens moving out of their parents' shadow and into the world — and that's no small achievement.

This weekend, Whitechapel invades Club Red in Mesa on their current tour. Openers include Carnifex, Rings of Saturn, Entheos, So This is Suffering, and The Exiled Martyr. Paul Rogers

click to enlarge Blues legends Coco Montoya. - FRANK VIGIL
Blues legends Coco Montoya.
Frank Vigil
Coco Montoya
Friday, December 8
Rhythm Room

In 1995, blues musician Henry “Coco” Montoya launched his career as a bandleader/singer/guitarist with the album Gotta Mind to Travel and a hectic touring schedule he’s never abandoned. His newest effort – back on former label Alligator Records – is Hard Truth. Its 11 tracks run the gamut from hard rocking to gut-wrenching blues, including a cover of Albert Collins’s “The Moon Is Full.”

And though he only has a co-write on one of the songs, two in particular stand out to him on a personal level: Dan Steen’s “Lost in the Bottle” and Mike Farris’s moody “Devil Don’t Sleep.”

“‘Lost’ is a very poignant thing, especially with me being sober now," says Montoya. "It spoke to me, and I was happy to get Lee Roy Parnell to play on it. ‘Devil’ was a bit of a challenge, and it took me to task to do something that raw.

“I think the concept on any record is to be able to take it somewhere else, even if it’s out of your comfort zone," he adds. "And that’s the healthiest place to go to. To find something challenging, and not formulaic.” Bob Ruggiero

click to enlarge Jazz great Mike Stern visits the MIM this weekend. - COURTESY OF CONCORD MUSIC GROUP
Jazz great Mike Stern visits the MIM this weekend.
Courtesy of Concord Music Group
Mike Stern Quartet
Friday, December 8
Musical Instrument Museum

You can teach a jazz guitarist how to play rock, but it won't sound the same as a born rocker who became a jazz musician. Such is the case with Mike Stern, who as a child of the '60s geeked out on Clapton and Jimmy Page before discovering bebop. He landed the ultimate jazz gig with Miles Davis, but since it was the eighties, Miles preferred him to shred in true rock-and-roll fashion.

Stern's ability to improvise brilliantly while melting faces off with sheer conviction has made him a fusion fan's favorite for years, and earned him his rightful place among the true superstars of the guitar in any genre. He brings to the Musical Instrument Museum longtime friends Randy Brecker on trumpet, bassist Tom Kennedy, and Dave Weckl on drums. Gary Fukushima