The 9 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week
Cherry Glazzer is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, April 5, at Valley Bar.
Final Four weekend has come and gone, save for tonight’s big showdown for the title, of course. And we sincerely hope y’all had a blast, especially those who braved the chaos and crowds at Hance Park while trying to see Aerosmith or Macklemore for free.
Now that the hullabaloo is (more or less) behind us, there’s plenty to look forward to this week, including several excellent concerts happening in the next few days.
Social D. is coming back to the Valley for one of its famous two-night stints at the Marquee, for those of you who'd like to sing along to "Story of My Life" and "Ring of Fire." Also of note, Mod Sun will bring his hippy-hop to Pub Rock in Scottsdale, reggae and dub artist Chronixx will get irie at Club Red in Mesa, and the Orwells will be blasting indie garage rock throughout Crescent Ballroom. Plus, the annual Arizona Bike Week and its slate of high-profile concerts will make a return.
What else is in store for music fans at venues across the Valley this week? Check out our extensive online concert calendar or peruse the following list of the best shows happening in the coming days.
Grant Widmer and Ted Joyner of Generationals.
Courtesy of Polyvinyl Records
Monday, April 3
Finding success with two different bands puts you in some pretty rarefied company. But just like Dave Grohl, Eric Clapton, and everyone in Joy Division not named Ian Curtis, Louisiana singer-guitarists Grant Widmer and Ted Joyner — the core of indie-pop outfit Generationals — have managed to pull off the feat. In 2005, the pair's old band, The Eames Era, scored a ubiquitous hit with the Strokes-meets-10,000 Maniacs single "Could Be Anything," which was featured on the first Grey's Anatomy soundtrack, alongside the likes of The Postal Service and Rilo Kiley. After The Eames Era called it quits in 2008, Widmer and Joyner quickly regrouped as Generationals and shifted their sonics a bit, drawing inspiration from '50s sock-hop rock, mid-'60s British Invasion jangle, California surf-pop, and the simple-and-crisp rhythms of early Cure. Con Law, the pair's impressive debut, arrived in 2009, and Generationals have followed up with the three even-better albums over the last few years. Melodically rich, the album's rootsy, reverb-y guitar grooves rub against effusive vocal harmonies. Michael Alan Goldberg
The members of The Orwells.
Monday, April 3
The Orwells are men in numerical age only. The 20-somethings comprising the indie band have a tendency to behave like careless teenagers when given the opportunity, which is often. The brood of rapscallions, who just released their third collection of indie garage rock titled Terrible Human Beings, made a name for themselves in 2014 when lead signer Mario Cuomo wandered aimlessly around The Late Show with David Letterman stage like a bad wedding singer who sipped too much bubbly during the ceremony. Letterman and his bandleader, Paul Shaffer, asked for an encore. Three years later, bandmate Matt O’Keefe says that the hypnotic performance is something they might never live down. “It’s on the Internet, so it’s never going to go away. People can watch it whenever they want,” O’Keefe says defiantly on the phone over the sound of his flicking lighter. “If that’s what we wanted to do, then we’d just do it. There are nights when one of us isn’t feeling it. We honestly just play how we feel. We never try to put on any act.” It is difficult to determine the need for such defensiveness and rebellion from five young white men from the affluent Chicago suburb of Elmhurst. O’Keefe claims they did not have the reputation that their latest release suggests when they were growing up ... read more. Jason Keil
Social Distortion at a 2015 performance at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Monday, April 3, and Tuesday, April 4
Aging well is remarkably difficult in the world of punk rock. (Can you imagine Sid Vicious in his 50s?) But Mike Ness of Social Distortion still has it going on. Ness continues to win the hearts of pompadour-sporting gals because he is a textbook example of the sensitive bad boy. He's broken hearts and gone to jail (face tattoos!), all the while celebrating and staring down his demons. He's a roughneck, but tender, too, able to croon with equal parts romance and danger. He's the symbol that sums Social Distortion as a whole. Over the course of a 39-year career, Social D has released seven albums, each one straddling common themes: nostalgia, the flirtatious relationship between rock and country, struggles with women and the law. The balance of bruised love songs and the band's rebellious ethos keeps attracting new fans to Social D's latest double-header shows in Tempe. The band's longevity is a benchmark for blue-collar punk 'n' roll acts like Lucero and The Gaslight Anthem. "We just got really lucky in that we've been able to [play music for a living] and it still is relevant," says guitarist Jonny "2 Bags" Wickersham. "I don't know what else I would be doing if I wasn't playing music." Melissa Fossum
Tuesday, April 4
As if the music world wasn’t already confusing enough, hippy-hop artist Mod Sun released an album called Movie and a movie called Album just last month. But while the titles of the releases may seem like a prank, they’re actually signs of the Minnesota-born, L.A.-based rapper’s growth and maturity from goofy hippie rapper to legitimate lyrical wordsmith. Released by Rostrum Records in March, Movie takes a look at the singular theme that inspires all art on one level or another: death. “I feel like at the end of your days, the last thing that’s going to happen is that you’re going to watch the movie of your life,” the rapper says. “It’s very important to make sure that you love your movie and that you want to watch your movie, so I try to always make sure that I’m doing something fun and interesting.” Anyone who’s listened to Mod Sun before can probably guess that, despite its subject matter, Movie isn’t a dark or depressing record by any means. As part of his “hippy-hop” subgenre, which combines the rhymes and rhythms of hip-hop with friendly, uplifting and often beachy vibes, Mod values positivity and love as much as wordplay and flow. Josh Chesler
Reggae singer Jamar McNaughton, better known as Chronixx.
Tuesday, April 4
Jamaican-born reggae and dub singer Chronixx is a passionate believer in the music that his home nation has produced and, more to the point, keeps on producing. The son of Chronicle, a popular reggae singer, Chronixx has been immersed in music and the arts pretty much from birth. As a result, he’s also been surrounded by talented musicians from childhood. So when Chronixx says we should quit referring to all Jamaican music as reggae, and when he reminds us that a country as culturally rich as Jamaica is bound to produce a multitude of different types of musicians, all with their own little flavors, and that even those classified as reggae can vary dramatically in sound, we should listen. It’s relevant, because Chronixx has been roundly lumped in with a perceived “reggae revival,” along with other contemporary artists like Dre Island, Jah Bouks, Protoje and Jesse Royal, among others. But he's keen to point out that the phrase “reggae revival” is a media creation, and not something that the musicians dreamed up. For certain, Chronixx isn’t interested in spearheading any such movement. “I didn’t sign up [for that], but I really feel like I’m a part of something very powerful that is happening in the Jamaican music space, because it is undeniable that a lot of attention and a lot of great music has been coming from young people in Jamaica in the music space. Not just in reggae, but dancehall.” And rather than follow in anyone’s footsteps, Chronixx wanted to create something all his own. Brett Callwood
Read on for more must-see live music this week — including Old 97's and Gaby Moreno.
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