Nina Diaz is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, April 4, at Rebel Lounge.
Nina Diaz is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, April 4, at Rebel Lounge.
Josh Huskin

The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

What's happening in Phoenix's concert scene this week? Plenty, if you like your music fast, hard, and loud.

A mix of punk, metal, and hard rock acts are all due in town over the next few nights, including Taake, Agent Orange, John 5, The Dickies, and The Queers.

Conversely, if your tastes lean toward contemplative, emotive, and cathartic indie music, there will be some of that as well. Titus Andronicus and Nina Diaz of Girlfriend In A Coma both shows scheduled at Valley music venues this week.

Details about each of these gigs can be found below in our rundown of the best concerts in the Valley this week. And for even more music happening around town, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (or OMD).EXPAND
Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (or OMD).
Mark McNaulty

OMD
Monday, April 2
The Van Buren

In the ’80s, the masses got familiar with English synth-pop band Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OMD) the same way they got familiar with other non-mainstream acts of the time — like Spandau Ballet, Yello, and Simple Minds. They heard them in a John Hughes movie.

OMD’s “If You Leave” plays at the most crucial moment of Hughes’ teen romance Pretty in Pink, which was titled for another tune of those times by The Psychedelic Furs. Inclusion on that soundtrack showed the world what electro-pop fans, college radio heads, and alternative dance club dwellers already knew: OMD created well-crafted and heartfelt electronic tunes, the kind that can make you simultaneously dance and cry.

Aside from a 10-year break from 1996 to 2006, the group founded by Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys in 1978 is still going strong. In 2017, they released The Punishment of Luxury, a 12-song record that matches in quality of their early notable full-lengths like the band’s self-titled album in 1980, or Junk Culture, which came out in 1984. “Isotype” keeps you moving with its driving backbeat, whereas the sparse “As We Open, So We Close,” is dark and haunting, allowing you to get properly mopey. Amy Young

Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus.
Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus.
Ray Concepcion

Titus Andronicus
Tuesday, April 3
Valley Bar

Since forming Titus Andronicus in New Jersey in 2005, frontman Patrick Stickles has pushed the band past their rabble-rousing punk roots and into expansive concept albums and rock operas. “When I get full of beans and I’ve got all this energy and ambition, I lay out these grand plans for myself,” he says. While he’s changed and broadened the scope of the band’s sound over the years, one constant has held firm throughout his body of work: an unflinching honesty about his struggles with manic depression.

On A Productive Cough, the latest LP from Titus Andronicus, they’ve embraced the ramshackle folky sounds that older songs like “A Theme From Cheers” from 2010's The Monitor only hinted at. Titus Andronicus have gone from squatting in DIY punk crashpads to shacking up in The Band’s Big Pink.

“I like to use the metaphor that Titus Andronicus, over the course of our career, has built a large house with many rooms, and each of these rooms represents a certain aesthetic component of our music,” Stickles says of the new direction. “On previous albums, we tried to run about wildly from room to room and do lots of different things; on this album we picked one special room, pulled up a comfortable chair, and got ensconced.”

Constantly redefining the band’s status quo is how he keeps going. It’s also how Stickles keeps himself from feeling overwhelmed by his mental health issues. “… I try to paint myself into a bit of a corner as a contingency plan for when the dark times come … because they always do.” Ashley Naftule

Rap star Ty Dolla $ign.EXPAND
Rap star Ty Dolla $ign.
Jory Lee Cordy

Ty Dolla $ign
Wednesday, April 4
The Van Buren

Whether you know it or not, Ty Dolla $ign is one of your favorite singers — he just has to be. Few other artists have had the impact on this decade’s hip-hop/R&B landscape as the 32-year-old L.A. native has with his silky smooth hooks. The Rolodex of artists he’s worked with reads like a who’s-who of Grammy winners and Billboard Hot 100 charts — Post Malone, Wiz Khalifa, Nicki Minaj, Ludacris, 2 Chainz, T.I. Nick Jonas, Big Sean, Migos, YG, Lil Wayne, Future, and dozens more. Ty Dolla $ign is about as close as you can get to guaranteeing a hit if he’s a part of the track.

On his own, he’s dominated radio waves and clubs with hits such as “Paranoid,” “Or Nah,” and “Blasé” that lend themselves closer to the R&B side of life, and that’s where he wants to live. The Don’t Judge Me Tour’s namesake is from a track off his latest album, Beach House 3, and as he told Rolling Stone last fall about the work, "I sung my ass off. But it's still gonna be a mainstream vibe. That's all I'm trying to do: Make a lane for the singers." In a world dominated by hip-hop, Ty Dolla $ign is trying to make room for R&B. Be there on April 4 to see him state his case. Mikel Galicia

Nina Diaz is currently rolling solo.
Nina Diaz is currently rolling solo.
Jade Hernandez

Nina Diaz
Wednesday, April 4
The Rebel Lounge

Nina Diaz began performing with Girl in a Coma at the tender age of 13 alongside her older sister Phanie Diaz and friend Jenn Alva. At a time when kids her age were navigating the waters of first crushes and gym class, Diaz was playing in clubs and living the life of a working musician, temptations of the night included.

In 2016, she released her first solo album, The Beat is Dead, which was inspired by her struggles with alcohol and drug addiction and her eventual path to sobriety. Starting her career at such a young age has helped shape Diaz’s unique voice; she can range from soft and sweet to loud and rough, sometimes in the same song. “There are two different voices," explains the singer. "There’s the voice when I sing and the voice when I speak, and I’ve noticed that both of them have grown as I’ve grown as a woman, as an artist and as a performer.”

Though Diaz and GIAC were experiencing success as a band, including being signed by rock legend Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records, Diaz decided she wanted to try her hand at a solo record. “It started off with me doing everything, writing all the parts and recording it with studio musicians," she says. "Then I formed my band, all San Antonio-based musicians. The birth of all of this solo stuff began with just me and my loop pedals and guitar.”

The singer's “solo stuff” is rife with raw emotion and elements of rock, New Wave and dance-pop. Though both projects can be hard to pigeonhole, both provide fans with very different experiences. “If you see me now in my solo act, I can stand up there and I can engage completely, more so than I’ve ever done in GIAC," says Diaz. Gladys Fuentes

Electric Six: still crazy fun after all these years.EXPAND
Electric Six: still crazy fun after all these years.
Courtesy of Ticketfly

Electric Six
Wednesday, April 4
Valley Bar

Most of America got to know Electric Six in the video for the 2003 single “Gay Bar,” which featured the sextet’s members gyrating and cavorting while dressed as hot-pants-clad Abraham Lincoln impersonators. That song, from the band’s debut, Fire, represents the height of their commercial success, but not their creativity.

In the 15 years since, Electric Six has released 11 albums, from the hyperactive, funk-filled I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being the Master to the guitar-driven Mustang. But its members, who perform under stage names like Dick Valentine and Smorgasbord, have never lost their playfulness. Adam Roy

John 5
John 5
Courtesy of Adrenaline PR

John 5 and the Creatures
Wednesday, April 4
Club Red in Mesa

John 5 is most noted for his work alongside major hard rock acts like Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. He has been lauded by Slash as a “mind-blowing” metal guitarist. Dude wears face paint and is covered in tattoos. That said, he's also one of the more personable guys you'll meet.

“I was always obsessed with playing guitar and that really came from TV,” he says. “I loved TV growing up – The Monkees, Happy Days, Hee-Haw – you name it.” Yep, a guy who spends much of this time on stage with once-controversial acts like Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson grew up on Hee-Haw.

Of course, that kinda makes sense considering that John 5’s instrumental live show with his band, The Creatures, includes a smattering of musical genres. Dubbed by John 5 as an “instrumental Alice Cooper show,” the live show features a ton of heavy instrumental music, but will also include western swing and bluegrass music.

“This show is so crazy, and most people that come see the show are like, ‘Oh my God; this is totally insane,’” John 5 said. “There’s so much music and it’s such a cool thing. If Hee-Haw and metal mixed into a show, that’s my style.” This makes sense, upon further review. John 5 has spent much of his career successfully supporting some of the most noteworthy figures in rock. From the aforementioned Manson and Zombie to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Paul Stanley, John 5’s imprint on rock’s landscape is unquestioned. Clint Hale

Scott Bradlee brings his Postmodern Jukebox to Mesa this week.
Scott Bradlee brings his Postmodern Jukebox to Mesa this week.
Braverijah Gregg

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox
Thursday, April 5
Mesa Arts Center

Scott Bradlee, a jazz pianist who's been recording vintage-style cover tracks from his basement apartment, takes today’s pop hits, puts them in a time machine, and sends them back to the present from the Golden Age of swing, jazz, and soul. You’ll recognize the lyrics, but the song itself is a whole new tune. Whether you've stumbled across his addictive YouTube channel or are intrigued by the twists Bradlee puts on your favorite radio hits, his unique set is worth checking out.

“This is going to be a trip back in time,” Bradlee says. “If you imagine back in the 1940s, the Golden Age of Hollywood and going to a New Year’s Eve party with Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, that’s what our show is. It’s a variety show. We have multiple singers and emcees, a tap dancer, and incredible musicians.”

Postmodern Jukebox started in Bradlee’s living room in Queens, where it has remained since 2013. As a kid, Bradlee was naturally drawn to older styles of music like jazz, swing, and Motown, but he didn’t have many peers who shared his interest. Since they were all listening to the pop tracks on the radio, he thought it'd be interesting to join that conversation by taking the contemporary songs they played on repeat, and transforming them into older styles to sound like the kind of music he loved. Michelle De Carion

Punk stalwarts Agent Orange.
Punk stalwarts Agent Orange.
John Leach

Agent Orange
Thursday, April 5
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe

Though birthed in the dysfunctional cradle of the Southern California hardcore scene, Agent Orange never stuck to convention. Although the group's debut, Living in Darkness, contained the instant punk-rock classic "Bloodstains," the outfit's influential sound is equal parts hardcore, power pop, and surf rock. At heart, though, as evidenced by its ferociously fun live shows, Agent Orange is really nothing less than an outstandingly entertaining rock 'n' roll band.

The group's influence can be still be heard in many of the punk bands that followed in its wake. Though never as commercially successful as its followers – like the Offspring – Agent Orange has nonetheless maintained its underground credibility. Touring consistently since the early '80s, Fullerton's favorite sons make a great case for sticking with what you do best. Never ones to follow contemporary fashion, the members of Agent Orange have found their own musical formula, which is, well, killer. Dave Herrera

The current version of The Dickies.
The current version of The Dickies.

The Dickies & The Queers
Thursday, April 5
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

Had The Dickies imploded in 1981, it might be their image adorning $265 Barneys T-shirts today. For while these campy Valley veterans lack the sonic or sociopolitical heft of some of their now “legendary” punk peers, their marriage of revved-up Ramones rock, L.A. hardcore, and cartoonish harmonies helped shape the SoCal pop-punk that later became a commercial cash cow for the likes of The Offspring and Green Day.

Instead, The Dickies have soldiered on through a bewildering array of lineups. Currently, the band consists of longtime members Leonard Graves Phillips and Stan Lee along with Ben David Seelig, Adam Gomez, and Eddie Tatar. This week, The Dickies will be in town along with fellow punk icon The Queers for a show at Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale on Thursday. Paul Rodgers.

Lincoln Durham is a one-man musical dynamo.
Lincoln Durham is a one-man musical dynamo.
J. Trevino

Lincoln Durham
Thursday, April 5
The Rebel Lounge

"Anything goes" should have been the catchphrase for one of the most unpredictable one-man bands around, Lincoln Durham. He might throw in occasional odes to girls named Clementine and shed a little ever-loving light, but it definitely isn't in an old-fashioned gospel kind of way. He prefers a more tortured brand of roots rock.

Sure, Durham bangs a bass drum like all the other one-man bands, but he does it while grinding out stomp-rock blues on everything from a tattered-up Gibson to a homemade cigar-box guitar with some empty suitcases, beat-up mandolins, and blown-out harmonicas thrown in.

Durham is the first to admit he's more than slightly obsessed with Tom Waits. Everything Waits does confuses, frightens, intrigues and enlightens him, he says. Add to that a little Son House, Fred McDowell, and of course, rooting around in attics for $50 one-stringed abominations (the cheaper the better), and the Durham sound was born. Sonya Harvey

Norwegian musician Hoest of Taake.
Norwegian musician Hoest of Taake.

Taake
Thursday, April 5
Club Red in Mesa

For more than 20 years, Norwegian musician Hoest has released wave after wave of dissonant black metal under the Taake banner. Playing all instruments on his albums and spewing raspy vocal venom, Hoest presents a Scandinavian black-metal sound that conjures up visions that are entirely in grayscale. That’s not to say that his recorded output is a barrage from start to finish.

Taake’s most recent full-length record, 2017’s Kong Vinter, is peppered with flourishes of catchy guitar hooks that place emphasis on the “metal” side of black metal, especially on tracks such as “Maanebrent.” It is this blend of hooks and hammering force that makes Taake stand out from the vast array of corpse-paint-wearing musicians. Jason Roche

Lauren Alaina will be one of the first musicians to perform at this year's Country Thunder.EXPAND
Lauren Alaina will be one of the first musicians to perform at this year's Country Thunder.
Courtesy of UMG Nashville

Country Thunder 2018
Thursday, April 5, to Sunday, April 8
Canyon Moon Ranch in Florence

The big names of contemporary and throwback country music are once again rounding up at Canyon Moon Ranch in Florence for the annual Country Thunder music festival.

Over 100,000 country and western fans are expected to the festival grounds for four straight days of music from a variety of superstars. The festival kicks off on Thursday, April 5, and will feature performances from Cole Swindell, Lauren Alaina, Adam Sanders, Bryan White, and A Boy Named Sioux. Gates open at 2:30 p.m. and music starts at 3:30 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $75 for a single-day pass to $190 for four-day general admission. There are also VIP packages, camping, parking, and other perks and amenities.

In addition to country stars taking the stage, Country Thunder 2017 also offers retail vendors, partner activities, on-site bars, a food court, and additional entertainers and activities at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row (featuring local country and indie artists) and Electric Thunder (offering activities like karaoke, line dancing, and a silent disco). Lauren Cusimano

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