Get ready for a week of great concerts. Seriously.
Several acts making their way to Coachella — including Bastille, Glass Animals, The Head and the Heart, and Breakbot — will be making a stop in the Valley, as will renowned R&B artist Aaron Neville, influential hip-hop turntablist DJ Shadow, and Scottish pop-punk act Paws.
Oh yeah, and A Perfect Circle will kick off the week with their show at Comerica Theatre, which is good news to anyone who's a fan of anything and everything Maynard James Keenan-related.
There are even more big-name gigs in store for the next several days, many of which we've included in our list of the best concerts in Phoenix this week. (Be sure to hit up our extensive online music listings for even more.)
Aaron Neville Duo
Monday, April 10
Musical Instrument Museum
The renowned R&B stylist Aaron Neville can certainly get as funky as any of his musical peers in his New Orleans hometown, but he tends to avoid brassiness in favor of a soulfully lulling delivery. Though he seldom still performs with his familial band, The Neville Brothers, he nonetheless has a rich solo career to draw from, including the slinky dance groove “Hercules” and the aching desperation of “Tell It Like It Is,” as well as his distinctively crooned remakes of classics by Sam Cooke and Bob Marley. On his most recent album, 2013’s My True Story, Neville wanders through the soundtrack of his early life, putting newfound soul into classic doo-wop and girl-group covers. Falling James
Minus the Bear
Monday, April 10
Minus the Bear just released their first record in five years, VOIDS. The band has seen a couple of member replacements (such as drummer Erin Tate, who left the band in 2015), but maybe that's what has kept their sound fresh after a 16-year career. The grungy indie rock quartet has seen a lot of positive reviews since the new album's release in March, including kudos from Alternative Press and Paste Magazine. Perhaps all that time spent away from the studio was worth it. This week, Minus the Bear returns to the Valley to play the Crescent Ballroom on Monday, with openers Beach Slang and Bayonne. Diamond Victoria
A Perfect Circle
Monday, April 10
Though each of Maynard James Keenan's various projects is informed by hard rock, they're most notable for how they subvert the formula. A former art school student, Keenan has demonstrated particular interest in music's visual and performance aspects, as he's been a trailblazer with everything from Tool's distinctive videos to the iconoclastic variety shows of his recent project, Puscifer. A Perfect Circle is a stepping stone in that evolution, exploring an epic theatrical vibe that — despite moments of sonic intensity — relies more on subtlety and texture. Keenan formed APC in 1999 with longtime friend (and Tool guitar tech) Billy Howerdel during a Tool hiatus. His dramatic vocal style was a fine fit for Howerdel's dark, atmospheric rock tunes, which balance soaring melody against chunky rhythmic throb. While the guitars possess steely metal bite, they tease as much as they deliver, beckoning you further into the music's winding environs. After two original albums and a covers disc, APC went on hiatus in the summer of 2004, with Keenan working on Tool's 10,000 Days while Howerdel inaugurated a new project, Ashes Divide. After reforming and returning to the road in 2010, they began slowly putting together new material, which reportedly will be featured on APC’s long-awaited fourth studio album due out later this year. Chris Parker
Tuesday, April 11
Endtroducing, the 1996 debut release by DJ Shadow (a.k.a. Josh Davis), is both a perspective- and game-changing album. Time magazine named it one of the 100 best albums of all time, and even though we’re not sure what Time magazine knows about music, we happen to agree with their assessment of the aforementioned record. The record-buying public concurs as well, because Endtroducing has been by far and away the best-selling record of Davis’ career. It is so popular, in fact, that it has been rereleased twice, including a 2016 box set titled Endtrospective which includes a remastered version, outtakes, and a remix version called Endtroducing: Reimagined featuring artists like Clams Casino and Hudson Mohawke (we happen to love both of those names), among many others. Despite all of the acclaim lauded upon him as one of the world’s finest DJs, Davis remains both humble and steadfast in his creativity. Each of the five DJ Shadow studio albums (not including live albums and remixes) is unique and follows the beat, pun intended, of its own electronic drummer. Last year’s other release, The Mountain Will Fall, might not be the instant classic Davis’ debut was, but it is solid, and fans of killer beats, found sounds, and brainy, well-crafted songs will definitely approve. Tom Reardon
Tuesday, April 11
It might seem fitting to call Bastille a one-hit wonder, but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. True, the British pop-rock quartet came out of virtually nowhere with the 2013 smash “Pompeii,” whose infectious chorus ruled both rock and pop radio and pretty much owned 2013; it also catapulted the band’s debut album, Bad Blood, to platinum status. But the title track also cultivated quite a little audience of its own, and Bastille, led by founder and front man Dan Smith, remains quite popular in their native U.K., where to date they’ve landed 10 singles on the airplay charts. That includes a pair of singles from the band’s sophomore album, Wild World, which was released in September and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Expect a grandiose, up-tempo show from a band noted for its energetic performances. Clint Hale
The Head and the Heart
Wednesday, April 12
The Seattle-based band The Head and The Heart have that certain, genre-defying “something.” It is too quiet to be country, yet has enough of that beautiful guitar twang to keep your favorite streaming service from lumping them into the folk category. The “Lost In My Mind” artists portray an authenticity of sound that allows them to stand with their Nashville peers while also earning a spot at this year’s Coachella. Their new album, Signs Of Light, their first for major label Warner Brothers, amplifies the genre confusion by adding Jay Joyce, who has worked with superstar Eric Church and garage rockers Cage The Elephant, to production duties. Prior to the beginning of the new album’s tour, co-frontman Josiah Johnson took a leave of absence to focus on recovering from drug addiction. He didn’t have to look far for a replacement. Johnson picked Matt Gervais, the husband of the group’s own female vocalist, Charity Rose Thielen. Many reviewers have remarked the change has added a new dynamic to the band’s live performance, allowing the sincerity of the setlist to come through. Jason Keil
Thursday, April 13
Forget Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie — if you want a more complete slice of “Life Itself,” look at indietronica dance machine Glass Animals. When writing the Oxford band’s sophomore album How To Be A Human Being, frontman Dave Bayley took inspiration from the strangers he met on tour. There’s the story of the woman who overdosed on a meth-cocaine combo, waking up in another state, wondering if she killed someone (“Mama’s Gun”) and the story of an unemployed alien-obsessed loner searching for extraterrestrial beings on Google Maps (“Life Itself”). On “Season 2 Episode 3,” the album even explores the mundane existence of someone glued to the couch, doing nothing but watching Adventure Time on Netflix and eating “mayonnaise from a jar while she’s getting blazed.” Unlike Glass Animals’ previous nonsense-filled efforts like “Gooey” — what the fuck are “peanut butter vibes,” anyway? — Human Being does a better job of examining genuine sentiments while still keeping the trippy, groovy vibes flowing. Troy Farah
Thursday, April 13
French producer Breakbot is best known for his single “Baby I’m Yours,” quite possibly the grooviest song of all time. It’s said by his fans to have been copied by Bruno Mars for his hit “Treasure”, and the two are uncannily similar. Either way, “Baby I’m Yours” is a funky, feel-good dance hit, much like the rest of Breakbot’s discography. Combining French house, nu-disco, and electro-funk, Breakbot produces a sound that puts a smile on your face and genuinely makes you wanna get up and groove. It’s been called “discoid funk,” a kind of funky name fitting for his make-your-body-move genre, as if the music is in Technicolor. Really, it’s just the best mood lifter out there. The main face behind Breakbot is Frenchman Thibaut Berland, but Irfane (Irfane Khan-Acito) is a frequent collaborator, and the guys work best together. True partners in crime never disappoint, and these two are just that. Sarah Purkrabek
Thursday, April 13
SUSTO’s music has evolved since its debut a few years ago. The band released a self-titled independent record in 2014. The album is fairly raw but shows a band that, with a few tweaks, is on to something. That potential was realized with the band’s newest release, & I’m Fine Today (Missing Piece/Caroline), which came out earlier this year. Unlike its predecessor, which had what front man Justin Osborne calls an “acid country” vibe to it, & I’m Fine Today is more expansive in sound and incorporates a variety of genres, including a more electronic vibe. While he plays for the love of music, Osborne admits he keeps the band’s commercial prospects in mind. “Unlike the first record, we hope this one would get released and find an audience right out of the gate,” he says. “Maybe it would grow into something, not only for our own entertainment, but to give it a chance in the world.” Clint Hale
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Thursday, April 13
Paws are absolutely brilliant. The young Glasgow trio is pop-punk without the slick, saccharine production or Hot Topic fashion sense, their sing-along-ready choruses dirtied up with crashing guitars, vocal reverb, and 90's indie rock grit. They write memorable songs and perform them live in focused, intense sets. Paws certainly has the chops to succeed, and watching them perform, it's easy to see them going much further. Catch them this week at FiftyOne West in Tempe, which will feature punk act Shut Up as openers. Adam Roy