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Best Phoenix Concerts This Weekend: Tame Impala, Pitbull, Modest Mouse

17September 2021

click to enlarge Tame Impala is scheduled to perform on Saturday, September 18, at Gila River Arena in Glendale. - MATT SAV

Tame Impala is scheduled to perform on Saturday, September 18, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.

Matt Sav

So, no one in their right minds would want to come to Phoenix while triple-digit temperatures are still in the forecast? Try telling that to all the touring artists, singer-songwriters, and notable bands that are due to perform at music venues across the Valley this weekend. Names like Pitbull, Iggy Azalea, Jackson Browne, Modest Mouse, and Ruthie Foster all have shows from Friday, September 17, to Sunday, September 19.

Psychedelic pop artist Tame Impala’s long-awaited and twice-rescheduled concert at Gila River Arena in Glendale will finally happen on Saturday, September 18, but you’ll have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a recent negative test to attend.

And, hey, hey, the Monkees will also be in town for their last hurrah in the Valley. They might not be the young generation any longer, but they’ve still got something to say.

Details about each of these shows can be found below. For even more live music happening around the Valley, check out Phoenix New Timesonline concert calendar. Keep in mind, though, that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is a growing danger right now and venues will be crowded with people at many events. If you’re going to attend, we encourage you to take precautions like getting vaccinated, wearing masks, or maintaining social distancing.

Los Tigres Del Norte at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino

This San Jose-based group of brothers are one of the largest and most beloved musical ensembles to come out of the Mexican norteño genre. Over the last four decades, Los Tigres Del Norte has released more than 50 albums, selling over 30 million copies, and has contributed greatly to the modernization of corridos, the classic Mexican ballad. Whether they sing songs of lovers torn apart by family quarrels, songs of heartbreak, or the ballads of those caught up in the illegal drug trade (a.k.a narcocorridos), everyone in the events center at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 North Maricopa Road in Maricopa, will be singing along to Los Tigres during their concert on Friday, September 17, which starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $54.50 to $468. Julian Hernandez

The Quarantine Scene at Pub Rock Live

Not everything that came from the pandemic was a disaster or shitshow. To wit: Several local rock, indie, and alternative bands – including Commiserate, Murder Me, Pablo Lovetrain, and Mile High Actors – were born over the last 18 months while the rest of us were in lockdown watching everything available on Netflix. This weekend, they’ll take the stage at Pub Rock Live, 8005 East Roosevelt Street in Scottsdale, during The Quarantine Scene showcase on Friday, September 17. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $10. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Legendary singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. - NELS ISRAELSON

Legendary singer-songwriter Jackson Browne.

Nels Israelson

Jackson Browne at Celebrity Theatre

Of all the fiercely talented singer-songwriters to emerge in the 1970s, even among the crowded field of fellow West Coast transplants like Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and James Taylor, Jackson Browne has always stood out for his lyricism. Browne’s words eloquently captured the heartache, resignation, and bittersweet bewilderment of love lost, particularly on songs like “Late for the Sky,” whose opening lines (“The words had all been spoken / And somehow the feeling still wasn’t right / And still we continued on through the night / Tracing our steps from the beginning / Until they vanished into the air / Trying to understand how our lives had led us there”) are poignant and profound. You’ll hear the song (as well as such hits and favorites as “Doctor My Eyes, “Running On Empty,” and “Late for the Sky”) during Browne’s two-night stint on Friday, September 17, and Saturday, September 18, at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Both concerts start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $56 to $151. Dave Herrera

click to enlarge Pitbull and Iggy Azalea are due in the Valley this weekend. - RCA RECORDS

Pitbull and Iggy Azalea are due in the Valley this weekend.

RCA Records

Pitbull and Iggy Azalea at Ak-Chin Pavilion

In the early 2000s, Mr. Worldwide was Mr. 305. The Miami native made a name for himself through crude lyricism and crunk beats before transitioning from hip hop to a more pop-oriented sound. Along the way, he shed the tall-tees for tailored suits. From humble beginnings as a son of Cuban expatriates, Pitbull embodies the American dream for many. His infectious tunes – which boast features from the likes of Ne-Yo, Kesha, and Daddy Yankee – serve as an uplifting soundtrack. Fans can see him sharing the stage and bill with rapper Iggy Azalea on Friday, September 17, at Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. The concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29.95 to $109.95. Matthew Keever

click to enlarge Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. - NEIL KRUG

Kevin Parker of Tame Impala.

Neil Krug

Tame Impala at Gila River Arena

Tame Impala’s psychedelic sound could be the background to a night of debauchery at the club, or the soundtrack to a night spent alone and ruminating on the ruins of society. In short, he may be the consummate musician of our time, a constantly evolving artist who uses technology to make music that reflects on how technology has driven us apart. Kevin Parker’s live shows relish that collision, providing a high-powered production that thrills you to accompany lyrics that make you think. Better be jabbed already if you’re planning to attend his concert at 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 18, at Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue in Glendale, since Parker’s requiring all attendees be fully vaccinated (or show a negative test from the previous 48 hours) to attend. No joke. Tickets are $47.75 to $77.75. Tyler Hicks

click to enlarge DJ/producer Evan Casey of the Desert Hearts Black. - DESERT HEARTS

DJ/producer Evan Casey of the Desert Hearts Black.

Desert Hearts

Re:Sound Music’s Days Into Nights at From the Rooftop

Local electronic dance music label Re:Sound Music has been showcasing tracks of a deep, melodic, and evocative nature on the regular during their ongoing “Days Into Nights” series at the Cambria Hotel’s outdoor lounge From the Rooftop, 222 East Portland Street. On Saturday, September 18, they’ll feature DJ/producer Evan Casey of Southern California-based label Desert Hearts Black for an evening of deeper and moodier sounds under the stars. Re:Sound Music’s Michael Hooker, who has also released tracks on the label, and locals BRKT and Brando will also perform. The music gets going at 7 p.m. and tickets start at $15. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster. - MARY KEATING-BRUTON

Singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster.

Mary Keating-Bruton

Ruthie Foster at Musical Instrument Museum

Three-time Grammy Award nominee Ruthie Foster brings her soulful blend of blues and folk to the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard, on Saturday, September 18. The Texas native hasn’t released a studio album since 2017’s Joy Come Back, but we’ll take any excuse to hear her perform live. Because this is the woman who Rolling Stone called “pure magic to watch and hear.” Her last record was written while she was splitting custody of her then-5-year-old daughter, so fans can expect some heartfelt, powerful performances – more of the same for Mrs. Foster. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $38.50 to $49.50. Matthew Keever

click to enlarge Manic Focus performing at Shady Park. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

Manic Focus performing at Shady Park.

Benjamin Leatherman

Manic Focus at Shady Park

John “JmaC” McCarten has had an enviable career as a DJ thus far. Under the banner of his popular electronica act Manic Focus, he’s created intoxicating and utterly listenable electronica that features live instrumentation and a pastiche of funk, hip-hop, and bass sounds, as well as plenty of grooves and verve. It’s earned McCarten plenty of praise in recent years, not to mention scores of fans and support from such high-profile artists as Pretty Lights, Gramatik, and Zeds Dead. He’s also collaborated with cats like Big Gigantic and released an album (2014’s Cerebral Eclipse) on GRiZ’s label.

Besides helping propel Manic Focus into the EDM stratosphere, McCarten’s music has also played a more important role: helping him deal with being bipolar. As he told Forbes in 2018, crafting tracks has been a cathartic experience of sorts. So when McCarten brings Manic Focus to Tempe’s Shady Park, 26 East University Drive, on Saturday, September 18, it’s likely to be an epic and emotion-filled journey. Doors open at 9 p.m. and admission is $26. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Jeremiah Green (left) and Isaac Brock (right) of Modest Mouse. - JAMES JOINER

Jeremiah Green (left) and Isaac Brock (right) of Modest Mouse.

James Joiner

Modest Mouse at Arizona Federal Theatre

Indie rock kings Modest Mouse last performed in the Valley in 2019 along with The Black Keys and Shannon and the Clams. It’s been even longer since the Seattle-born band toured behind a new release, but that changes this fall as frontman Isaac Brock and drummer Jeremiah Green (Modest Mouse’s only remaining original members) are on the road in support of The Golden Casket, their first album in six years. The experimental 12-track LP, which was partially inspired by Brock’s use of the hallucinogen ibogaine, has gotten love from critics. (Pitchfork said it features “some of the band’s most luxuriously textured work, a procession of pinging, clanging, reverberating tactile pleasures.”) Modest Mouse fans will hear several songs from the album when the band performs at Arizona Federal Theatre, 400 West Washington Street, on Sunday, September 19. There’s no opening act, so you’ll want to be in your seat when the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $39 to $49. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge The musicians of A Giant Dog. - SEAN DAIGLE

The musicians of A Giant Dog.

Sean Daigle

A Giant Dog at Last Exit Live

This female-lead punk band from Austin, Texas, has been making crowds sweat since 2008. Vocalist Sabrina Ellis gives an absolutely breathtaking performance with a no-holds-barred, theatrical presentation from start to finish. Interaction with fans and onlookers alike is to be expected. Still touring in support of their punk-infused, full-album cover of Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible from 2019, A Giant Dog will share the stage at Last Exit Live, 717 South Central Avenue, on Sunday, September 19, with local punk bands The Posters and Heavy Breather, both of whom can get plenty loud. This is sure to be a show full of energy, angst, and in-your-face power. Get there early and stay late because there is nothing in this lineup that could possibly disappoint. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $13. David Fletcher

GabboT/CC BY-SA 2.0/Wikimedia” class=”uk-display-block uk-position-relative uk-visible-toggle”> click to enlarge Micky Dolenz (far left) and Michael Nesmith (center) of the Monkees in concert. - GABBOT/CC BY-SA 2.0/WIKIMEDIA

Micky Dolenz (far left) and Michael Nesmith (center) of the Monkees in concert.

The Monkees at Celebrity Theatre

The Monkees have broken apart and reformed multiple times over the past 55 years, and Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith (the only surviving original members) are currently performing in what’s being called the band’s farewell tour. As you’d expect, their concerts (which have been colloquially dubbed “The Mike and Micky Show”) are filled with signature hits like “Last Train to Clarksville,” “Daydream Believer,” and “Mary Mary” that crowds can sing along with. Covers that were also part of the Monkees’ repertoire – including “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and the Nesmith-penned “Different Drum” – will also be performed. True, the concerts lean heavily on the nostalgia of their iconic TV show, but given how it’s likely the last hurrah for the Monkees, it’s perfectly acceptable. The tour rolls into Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, on Sunday, September 19, for a 7:30 performance. Admission is $56.50 to $285.75. Matthew Brown

click to enlarge L.A.-based indie rock band Weathers. - RED LIGHT MANAGEMENT

L.A.-based indie rock band Weathers.

Red Light Management

Weathers at The Rebel Lounge

Four-piece L.A.-based indie rock band Weathers tackle feelings of insecurity, helplessness, and imbalance with catchy hooks and melodies. Being young and dumb can be messy, but Weathers insist it should at least be fun. In the small space of The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road, expect Weathers to do a lot of crowd work and engagement during their show on Sunday, September 19. Indie singer-songwriters Aaron Taos and Kenzo Cregan open the 8 p.m. show. General admission is $15. Julian Hernandez

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