There's a major drinking holiday happening this week — Cinco de Mayo, to be exact — which means parties and lots of 'em going down the next several days.
If you're interested in that sort of thing, you've got many options at your disposal. If you'd rather see a show instead, that's cool, too. We've heard that some of the biggest shows this week will be parties in their own right.
Like the country-friend hootenanny that the Zac Brown Band will have going over at Gila River Arena in Glendale. And you can bet that The Weeknd's much-anticipated concert at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Tuesday will be plenty lively.
Here's what else is happening this week in great concerts, including gigs by Andrew McMahon, Bleached, and world music guru Zakir Hussain. (Our online show listings also contain many more events as well.)
Monday, May 1
Musical Instrument Museum
Singer-songwriter Lizz Wright, whose 2010 album, Fellowship, earned rave reviews and topped the Billboard jazz charts, is a Southern woman who still feels bound to the gospel sounds she grew up with. She feels the inspiration that comes with being raised on the Lord's music, but Wright doesn't see a conflict between the secular songs she performs and the sacred sounds she was raised on. She's also not tethering herself to the conventions that come with working in the jazz arena. "I describe myself as a singer-songwriter informed by gospel and jazz and my country roots of living," Wright says. "I see what I do as being very similar to the work of painters and sculptors. I borrow pieces of life and language. Everything is a composition. I think there's more of layering and a hybrid of styles than there is straight down the line music that is genre-specific. I hope it can be experienced as art." Jason Keil
Monday, May 1
The Rebel Lounge
To quote Lennie James’ character Morgan from The Walking Dead, everything gets a return. Crazy fashions come back into vogue, beloved movies get remade, and even once-maligned musical subgenres get a chance at redemption. Case in point: the emo revival. In the last couple of years, some of the strongest rock albums have come from emo revivalists like Modern Baseball, Sorority Noise, and The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die. The “nu emo” scene may be the only sector of indie rock left where guitar-wielding bands play songs that aren’t begging to be sampled or cosigned by Drake. It’s impassioned, energetic rock music that also manages to avoid the toxic masculinity and misogyny that plagued emo version 1.0 of the early aughts. Sorority Noise have positioned themselves at the front of this new and improved class with their bold and devastating new album, You’re Not As ___ As You Think. Inspired by the deaths of several close friends, it’s a moving collection of songs about grief, loss, religion, and depression. It also rocks hard enough to wake the dead. The quartet will fill in the blank when they play The Rebel Lounge with Diners, The Obsessives, and Walter Etc. Fair warning: Bring some tissues and a pair of earplugs. Sorority Noise’s music will make your eyes water and your ears bleed. Ashley Naftule
Tuesday, May 2
Musical Instrument Museum
Zakir Hussain, one of the finest tabla players in the world, grew up in India and is considered by many to be the architect of modern world music. He has won two Grammy Awards in that category. He began his career studying the 2,000-year-old traditional music of his homeland, but he craved the rock 'n' roll lifestyle of the Western hippie set. When he finally made a pilgrimage to San Francisco in the late '60s, he hooked up with some heavy-hitters: George Harrison of the Beatles, Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, and jazz greats like Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams. Zakir broke barriers and got rockers into the music of India. Jason Handelsman
Tuesday, May 2
Talking Stick Resort Arena
Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd, is riding high off of his latest album, Starboy, which is expected to go platinum; his latest girlfriend, Selena Gomez; and his latest drug of choice. The singer has become a controversial icon with his unapologetic and uncensored views on women and drug use. On his biggest single, “Starboy,” Tesfaye sings “Cut that ivory into skinny pieces/Then she clean up with her face, man/I love my baby.” His tranquilizing voice almost makes you forget that he’s romanticizing a woman snorting cocaine. But just because those lyrics make some people uncomfortable doesn’t mean Tesfaye is going to stop writing them or start apologizing for them. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Tesfaye says, “I don’t think I’d ever apologize for music I make, no. But there are regrets in my life, of course. And you write about it.” Regardless, the naysayers don’t seem to be slowing The Weeknd down — or killing his buzz. In the words of the Starboy himself, “You talking ’bout me I don’t see the shade/ Switch up my style I take any lane/ I switch up my cup I kill any pain.” Emily Roberts
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Tuesday, May 2
Livewire in Scottsdale
Though he calls his current project "Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness," Andrew McMahon is a man who knows exactly where he is, where he's been, and where he's going. Born in 1982 to what he describes as a "piano-playing mom and a dad who was a product of the '60s protest movement," music was an ever-present part of life for McMahon and his four older siblings. At the age of 9, he began playing piano and writing songs. It was his EP Ready Break with his band Something Corporate that first found the then-17-year-old a record deal. A couple of years later, when he was fronting the band Jack's Mannequin, calamity struck. He was diagnosed with leukemia. After more than ten years in remission, McMahon says he still carries psychic scars from fighting cancer. His newest record, Zombies on Broadway, has the celebratory vibe of a man who has bested disease. "It has a dance electronic bent that I got from a lot of time playing at festivals. I saw FKA Twigs and M83, and I found myself in these rooms dancing with all these people. I wanted to create that kind of energy." The place where he recorded the album also had an influence. "The idea of traveling to New York City to make the album was huge. A lot of my records had that California aesthetic. This record was exploring another city and its architecture and people." David Rolland
Read on for more of this week's best shows from Bleached, Dengue Fever, and more.
Wednesday, May 3
Jennifer Clavin should be celebrating Bleached’s growing popularity, but she finds herself dogged by the limitations of being labeled as a member of a “girl band.” “Pretty little child, tell me your tale/How you got the courage to rebel yell,” she coos on the title track of the new EP, Can You Deal?, masking her sarcasm with a sugary melody bracketed by her sister Jessie’s fuzzy lead-guitar rejoinders. “Breaking news, I do what I do … not willing to feel defeated,” Jennifer insists. Amen, sister. Falling James
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Zac Brown Band
Thursday, May 4
Gila River Arena in Glendale
Over the past few years, as the Zac Brown Band's popularity has soared to immense heights, the Georgia-bred outfit has made a convincing case as country band that's not very country. To be more clear, Zac Brown and his talented group of players haven't, save for a couple of exceptions, produced the cliche slice-of-life ditties, nor the revved-up Bro-country drivel that's most commonly associated with country music these days. When investigating the group's entire catalog, it can often feel more rock and Americana than country. A recent collaboration with Dave Grohl, and the group's most recent, highly ambitious, and gold-selling LP, Jekyll + Hyde, presents the band in a more unique manner than ever before. The 16-track collection of tunes have homes on rock radio (the Chris Cornell duet, "Heavy is the Head,") or on the more traditional country format, and has firmly planted Brown in the ratified terrain where an artist can make any kind of music he damn well pleases as the stuffy establishment has to just take it and like it. Kelly Dearmore
Thursday, May 4
Dengue Fever has an interesting sound: Asian rock steeped in Farfisa organ, with vocals sung in Khmer (the official language of Cambodia), that could have been recorded in the mid-'60s. But while the band's original material and covers of '60s Cambodian rock songs sound decades old, the Los Angeles-based sextet was actually formed in 2001 by brothers Ethan and Zac Holtzman after a visit to Cambodia, where they found Chhom Nimol singing karaoke in Long Beach. Dengue Fever knows its way around garage, surf and psych rock, but the band expands its scope on its most recent album, The Deepest Lake, by tossing in some Khmer rap and Latin grooves. Jon Soloman