Sam Smith, Metallica and Phoenix’s best concerts this weekend

Benjamin Leatherman
12 Min Read

What’s the play this weekend? You’ve got three days of freedom at your disposal, owing to the Labor Day holiday, and no shortage of things to do. That includes a grip of great concerts both big and small happening around metro Phoenix.

When it comes to the latter category, Metallica’s two-night stop at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on their M72 world tour doesn’t get any bigger. Expect the cavernous venue to be filled to capacity when James Hetfield and company play hits like “Sad But True,” “Master of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman.”

It won’t be the only notable two-night concert this weekend, as Wild Horse Pass in Chandler is hosting sets by high-profile rappers like Rick Ross on Sept. 2 and Sept. 2 in honor of hip-hop’s 50th birthday while Excision and other DJs blast bass music at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale.

Also on tap this weekend: singer-songwriter Sam Smith visits Footprint Center, up-and-coming country musicians perform at the Rise Up Music Festival in Chandler and the friends of the late Paul “PC” Cardone celebrate the birthday of the influential local bassist. (You can find even more live music happening locally by checking out Phoenix New Times’ concert calendar.)

Decrepit Birth

Friday, Sept. 1
Nile Theater, 105 W. Main St., Mesa

Death metal ain’t for everyone. But Decrepit Birth makes a good case for being the perfect gateway through which the metal-phobic could enter the darkened realm — provided that the prospective listener could overlook that scary-sounding name. Take an instrumental like “The Enigmatic Form,” from the band’s 2008 album “Diminishing Between Worlds.” The track would be an ideal place to start an unaccustomed listener prone to liking the group’s jazzy riffs, symphonic keys and clear, neo-classical solos. Technical death metal seems to offer something for everyone: Gorgeous harmonic guitars for refined aesthetes, 300 beat-per-minute drums and growled vocals for the savages. Prepare yourself for a wild ride. With Psycroptic, Headhunt and Kenopsia; 7 p.m., $20 via Phoenix New Times

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The one, the only, Paul ‘PC’ Cardone.

Jeff Newton

PC’s Birthday and WWPD Official Launch Party

Friday, Sept. 1 and Saturday, Sept. 2
Last Exit Live, 717 S. Central Ave.

It’s been 10 months since the late Paul “P.C.” Cardone died and friends of the influential Tempe bassist and local music icon are still cherishing his memory and ideals. This weekend, they’ll do both at Last Exit Live while celebrating his birthday and launching the new nonprofit organization WWPD. The grassroots project — which stands for “What Would P.C. Do?” — aims to “uphold an environment of creativity, generosity and support in our music community,” much like Cardone did for decades. The two-night event will feature an art auction, live music and giveaways of WWPD merch. The lineup will include sets by Chocolate Fountain, Dead Hot Workshop, Future Exes and Modulus 10 on Friday, and The Woodworks, Posse Reunion, Redlich, Fat Gray Cat and Japhy’s Descent on Saturday. 7 p.m., $10/$15 via Benjamin Leatherman

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Metallica invades the Valley this weekend.

Tim Saccenti


Friday, Sept. 1 and Sunday, Sept. 3
State Farm Stadium, 1 Cardinals Dr., Glendale

Metallica fans of metro Phoenix, prepare to ride the lightning. The legendary thrash-metal band are bringing their M72 world tour to the Valley for a pair of concerts at State Farm Stadium. Like other stops on the tour, James Hetfield and company will offer a different setlist and lineup of opening acts each night (Pantera and Mammoth WVH will play on Sept. 1 with Five Finger Death Punch and Ice Nine Kills on Sept. 3). It is Metallica’s first concerts in the Valley in seven years and will feature both the biggest and best-known hits (including “Sad But True,” “Master of Puppets,” “Fuel” and “Enter Sandman”) as well as tracks from their newest album, “72 Seasons.” The Metallica madness doesn’t end there. A number of official M72-related activities will take place around the Valley, including pre-parties, tribute shows and a pop-up shop selling merch. Grab your “Kill ‘Em All” black T-shirt, warm up your hook ‘em horns and get ready to rock. 6 p.m., tickets are available on the secondary market. Benjamin Leatherman

Rise Up Music Festival

Saturday, Sept. 2
The Park at Wild Horse Pass, 19615 S. 48th St., Chandler

Each year, September serves as the unofficial kickoff to the fall music festival season in the Valley (more or less). This year is no exception, as no less than a half-dozen outdoor extravaganzas featuring multiple recording artists bringing music to the masses are scheduled to occur. The inaugural Rise Up Music Festival in Chandler, which focuses on up-and-coming country music talents, has the honor of being the first. The one-day affair will include sets by such artists on the rise as “American Idol” winner Chayce Beckham and Billboard chart-topper Lindsay Ell, as well as singer-songwriters like Chase Matthew, Spencer Crandall, Tyler Rich and David Morris. 3 p.m., $25-$145 via Benjamin Leatherman

Ottto and Bastardane

Saturday, Sept. 2
Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. 2nd Ave.

When the members of Metallica stage their “M72 Takeover” of the Valley this weekend, a few of their kids will be involved. To wit: Georgia-based hard rock band Bastardane, which stars James Hetfield’s son Castor on drums, and SoCal thrash and funk band Ottto, which features Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo’s son Tye, will perform at the Crescent Ballroom on Saturday. Are both musicians guilty of being nepo babies? Yeah, but they’re also damn good at their craft. Castor Hetfield plays bangs the kit with both ferocity and aplomb on bangers like “Above All,” “Revolt” and “Let the Wasted Die.” Meanwhile, Tye Trujillo adds to Ottto’s “thrash metal skate sound” on bass guitar. Even if their famous fathers don’t show up to the gig (since it’s happening on an off night between Metallica’s two shows at State Farm Stadium), it’s guaranteed to be a memorable evening. 8 p.m., $20 via Benjamin Leatherman

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Legendary rapper Ludacris.

Eva Rinaldi/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr

Hip Hop 50

Saturday, Sept. 2 and Sunday, Sept. 3
Gila River Resorts & Casinos — Wild Horse Pass, 5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler

When it comes to Valley events marking the 50th anniversary of the hip-hop genre, this two-night celebration at Gila River Resorts & Casinos — Wild Horse Pass delivers a star-studded lineup featuring some legendary names. Multiplatinum rapper and record executive Rick Ross will perform on the first night along with Migos member Offset and hip-hop/trap artist Da Baby. The following evening will feature sets by chart-topping rapper and actor Ludacris, party guru and crunk king Lil Jon and ‘90s favorite Fat Joe. VIP packages with bottle and table service are available for those concertgoers who would like to live large. 10 p.m., $69 via Benjamin Leatherman


Saturday, Sept. 2 and Sunday, Sept. 3
Phoenix Raceway, 7602 Jimmie Johnson Dr., Avondale

DJ/producer Excision — who specializes in darker, bass-heavy sounds like dubstep, hardstyle and other low-end genres of electronic dance music — will headline this two-night outdoor event at Phoenix Raceway this weekend that will be almost festival-like in its setup and execution. Each evening will feature a separate selection of supporting artists and Excision is bringing his enormous stage setup, which includes a cannonade of lasers and other special effects. If you go, expect sounds from the nether realms of EDM to rattle windows and your eardrums. Nightly line-ups will include Wooli, PhaseOne, Funtcase, Layz, Emorfik, Muerte and Vastive on Saturday and Adventure Club, Ray Volpe, YOOKiE, Drinkurwater, Hairitage, Vastive, Kliptic and RZRKT on Sunday. 7 p.m., $64.50-$109 via Benjamin Leatherman

Sam Smith

Sunday, Sept. 3
Footprint Center, 201 E. Jefferson St.

If you’ve spent the last 10 months with the song “Unholy” stuck in your head, you’re not alone. Sam Smith’s sultry smash hit with Kim Petras won a Grammy and topped the charts in a dozen countries. It’ll surely be on the setlist when Smith arrives in the Valley on their Gloria tour, which is in support of their fourth studio album. Canadian-born R&B singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez — who penned such mega-hits as 2016’s “Figures” and 2018’s “Imported” — shares the bill. 8 p.m., $44.50-$130 via Jennifer Goldberg

Senses Fail

Sunday, Sept. 3
Nile Theater, 105 West Main Street, Mesa

One of the purest joys of social media is the public schadenfreude every time a notable scumbag bites the dust. Few “rest in piss” posts pack as much bile, though, as Senses Fail’s “Lush Rimbaugh,” a scabrous tirade against the late right-wing radio host. “When I heard you were dying, I have to admit that I felt a bit of sympathy,” singer Buddy Nielsen sneers. “But then you open your mouth and confirmed to me that you’re a piece of shit and I’m glad you’re suffering, you fuck.” Limbaugh died the same day as the song’s release. Talk about good timing. It was the first single off the band’s latest album, 2022’s “Hell Is In Your Head. The 11-track release finds the post-hardcore/metalcore group digging deep into the subject of grief; “Lush Rimbaugh” is one of its few moments of levity, where the prospect of death brings joy instead of sorrow. Backed by a melodic blitzkrieg of guitars and pounding rhythms, his songs possess the power to move you — whether that’s to tears or to moshing is up to you. With Holding Absence and Thousand Below; 6:30 p.m., $27 via Ashley Naftule

Benjamin Leatherman Music/Up on the Sun

2023-09-01 19:24:07 , Phoenix New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix New Times –

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