The 1975 is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 22, at Mesa Amphitheatre.EXPAND
The 1975 is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 22, at Mesa Amphitheatre.
Courtesy of Chuff Media

The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix in April 2017

You really oughta get out and see a concert in April. Really. We happen to be in a couple of sweet spots during this time of year where the temperatures are warm, but not tortuously so, and the concert calendar is filled with gigs by great bands.

Thanks to the fact that Phoenix is on the way to one of the biggest music festivals of the year (read: Coachella), we’ve got a variety of tastemaking artists and acts passing through the Valley over the next several weeks.

We’ve also got a few blockbuster festivals of our own happening in the Valley, like the latest edition of EDM extravaganza Phoenix Lights (which is bigger than ever) and KUPD’s Brufest (which features several legendary punk and metal bands).

Both of these high-profile events are included in our rundown of the best concerts to see in Phoenix during April. Don’t take our word for it, however, and check out the list yourself.

Singer-songwriter Brent Cowles.EXPAND
Singer-songwriter Brent Cowles.
Courtesy of Dine Alone Records

Brent Cowles – Saturday, April 1 – The Rebel Lounge
Last year was big for Brent Cowles. The singer-songwriter and former frontman of Denver’s You Me & Apollo signed to the Greater Than Collective label. He has a new EP in the works. And he traveled across the globe to Uganda as part of the Seattle Awake Music Exchange. It hasn’t always been so positive for Cowles, however. In 2014, You Me & Apollo broke up, and he felt lost for months, unsure if he would ever play music again. “It was one of the hardest things I went through,” he says. “I didn’t even know if I wanted to play music. It was like, ‘Holy shit, maybe I’m supposed to do other stuff.’” Before You Me & Apollo was a band, Cowles performed as a solo artist using that name. He eventually connected with other musicians and formed the group, playing a hybrid of roots rock and blues. Yet just months after releasing their second LP, Sweet Honey, and embarking on a national tour, You Me & Apollo suddenly decided to call it quits. At the time of that announcement, the party line was that it just wasn’t working anymore, a sentiment that Cowles corroborates. “We’re on good terms; nobody is mad at each other,” he says. “It didn’t make sense to keep going the way we were going for everybody. Everybody has their reasons, and I know I had mine.” After three months of exploring, Cowles returned to music and his solo-artist roots, realizing he would be doing himself “a disservice not to play music,” and is now just weeks from sharing his craft with people a continent and ocean away. ISA JONES

Zeke – Sunday, April 2 – Yucca Tap Room
Blind Marky Felchtone grew up in the Ozarks, where Grandpa owned a still and raised a field of corn. But for Felchtone, a rowdy guitar slinger who now calls Seattle home, backwoods Arkansas summons other golden memories: the Benton County Speedway, Schmidt value packs and a small house on cinder blocks where a greasy hillbilly named Zeke specialized in homemade ball stub acid. Ah, the simple life. With an equally simple formula for white-trash punk rock, Zeke the band continues in its eleventh year of distilling grime, muck and sweat into a highly potent, batch of biker-approved embalming fluid. Scaled down to a power trio (with drummer Donny Paycheck and bassist Diamond Jeff Matz rounding out its full-throttle sound), Zeke remains custom-built for speed. Able to clock fifteen songs in under thirty minutes, the outfit pays deafening tribute to sex, drugs and intake manifolds with equal measure — conjuring the gear-headed rumble of Gang Green, Motrhead and Alabama Thunder Pussy. And speaking of thunderous bands featuring profance references to lady parts, southern metal/psychobilly act Nashville Pussy is opening up for Zeke on its current tour. JOHN LA BRIOLA

Why? front man Yoni Wolf.EXPAND
Why? front man Yoni Wolf.
Courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR

Why? – Sunday, April 2 – Crescent Ballroom
“A new love blooms on the long notes of old horns,” Yoni Wolf nasally sings at the end of “George Washington,” one of the many stellar cuts off of the latest album from Why?. That new love he’s singing about could be about the band itself. After going through a bit of a slump on their last few albums, Wolf started to sound tired on his own songs. The band’s last effort, the crowd-sourced Golden Tickets EP (where Wolf wrote songs about his most hardcore fans), sounded like the musical equivalent of a shoulder-shrug. “Fuck it, here’s some new stuff, whatever,” the EP seemed to say with every single note. Moh Lhean, their new record, isn’t just a return to form: It’s the sound of a band falling back in love with itself. Wolf sounds rejuvenated as a singer, lyricist, and composer. Reconnecting to the textured, post-rock sounds the band first tapped into on Eskimo Snow, Why? has crafted a record that packs more sonic invention and musical change-ups in its 10 tracks than most bands can put together in an entire career. It’s an album that’s so intricate and complex it’ll be a thrill to see how they pull it off live. ASHLEY NAFTULE

Grant Widmer and Ted Joyner of Generationals.
Grant Widmer and Ted Joyner of Generationals.
Courtesy of Polyvinyl Records

Generationals – Monday, April 3 – Valley Bar
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 upstart 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 a trio of 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

Social Distortion – Monday, April 3, and Tuesday, April 4 – Marquee Theatre
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

The masked men of Old 97's.EXPAND
The masked men of Old 97's.
Courtesy of ATO Records

Old 97's – Wednesday, April 5 – Livewire
It’s hard to say what pioneers like Hank Williams would think of today’s country-music landscape. The hits that get played on country stations are basically just pop songs sung with a country affectation. Meanwhile, bands like Old 97’s are forced to lug around the awkward “alt-country” moniker, despite sounding a lot more like something Williams and his kind would recognize. Whatever you call it, Old 97’s main man Rhett Miller does a great job of throwing his angst and longing into his records and live shows like so much beer and vomit on a honky-tonk floor. The band’s latest, Most Messed Up, finds Miller and company at their most raw and honest — country brains with rock guts. Try finding something like that on the next Country Music Awards show. OAKLAND L. CHILDERS

Sasami Ashworth (left), Tabor Allen (center), and Clementime Creevy of Cherry Glazerr.EXPAND
Sasami Ashworth (left), Tabor Allen (center), and Clementime Creevy of Cherry Glazerr.
Daria Kobayashi Ritch

Cherry Glazerr – Wednesday, April 5 – Valley Bar
Not a lot of people can lay claim to being the frontwoman for their own band while also playing one on TV before they’re old enough to legally drink, but Clementine Creevy can. Creevy is the frontwoman for Cherry Glazerr; she also played the frontwoman for Glitterish, the fake rock band on Transparent. Creevy started writing songs, released a tape on Burger Records, and formed a band before she left high school. As the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for the group, her sensibilities are all over Cherry Glazerr’s work. Their music is spiky, punchy, and full of hooks. Their lyrics run the gamut from being goofy and food-obsessed (like their ode to grilled cheese sandwiches on their last album) to being thoughtful explorations of gender solidarity (the thunderous “Told You I’d Be With The Guys,” the lead-off track on their new album). Now signed to Secretly Canadian, Cherry Glazerr has recently dropped Apocalipstick, a stellar rock album that’s going to be hard for any other band in 2017 to top. It still features Creevy’s soft, girlish voice, but now backs it up with fuzzy riffs, stomping drums, and a fiercer attitude. They’ve traded in their Go-Go’s albums for Black Sabbath. And while their songs still pack their share of jokes and junk food love, they’ve also got bite. Cherry Glazerr has become a poppy garage rock band that’s not afraid to give you tinnitus. ASHLEY NAFTULE

Singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno.
Singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno.
Jose Leon

Gaby Moreno – Thursday, April 6 – Musical Instrument Museum
Gaby Moreno is that rare songwriter from Guatemala who’s crossed over into mainstream success in the United States. She sings in English and Spanish, and her music is an ebullient blend of R&B, jazz, blues and folk. Her songs are flexible enough to work as straightforward singer-songwriter pop and also to be twisted into rootsy Americana, as in “Illusion,” the delicate, fanciful title track off her latest album, which she’s performed on A Prairie Home Companion as a rustic ballad alongside bluegrass mandolinist Chris Thile. “All I have are these daydreams until he comes back to me,” Moreno coos reverentially, even as she drops playful references to Gandhi and Jean-Luc Godard. “Life’s a despairing illusion,” she confides, her voice trailing off sweetly into the night sky. FALLING JAMES

The members of Bring Me the Horizon.
The members of Bring Me the Horizon.
Courtesy of Epitaph Records

Bring Me the Horizon – Friday, April 7 – Comerica Theatre
Bring Me the Horizon share more than just a hometown with Def Leppard. Like Leps in the 1980s, the Sheffield, England, quintet have morphed from midlevel heavy metal contender to arena-intended, major-label, mainstream juggernaut. To milk the comparison still further, BMTH’s 2015 fifth album, That’s the Spirit, is Leppard’s Pyromania two decades on, with both records releasing their makers from any prior metal obligations and, with massive injections of studio-savvy gloss, into much more open-to-adventure “rock band” status. That’s the Spirit is metalcore meets Fall Out Boy, with anthemic melody and electro-flecked variety pushing brute power into the wings and the songs themselves into the spotlight. Florida’s returned Underoath were a high watermark of the screamo subgenre and, with their genre-defining call-and-response clean/screamed vocals and classic lineup both intact, feel more like “special guests” than mere “support.” PAUL ROGERS

Tsuyama Atsushi of Acid Mother Temple.
Tsuyama Atsushi of Acid Mother Temple.
Francisco Montes

Acid Mothers Temple – Friday, April 7 – Valley Bar
Acid Mothers Temple continue waving their freak flag pretty high on their most recent crop of albums, the curiously named Astrorgasm from the Inner Space, Benzaitenm and last year's Wake to a New Dawn of Another Astro Era. The Japanese psychedelic rockers have always been led by guitarist Kawabata Makoto through a seemingly endless series of side projects and permutations, from their mid-1990s beginning, when they were influenced by the spacey, minimalist collages of Krautrock, to their more recent opuses, which sound like a dozen Jimi Hendrix albums crushed by a trash compactor. Makoto's unfurling melodies and streaking contrails of guitar are amped up further by his bandmates' surges of synthesizer and trippy noises of unknown origin, culminating in a crescendo of head-spinning, psychedelic madness. FALLING JAMES

Attendees of last year's Phoenix Lights festival at Hance Park.EXPAND
Attendees of last year's Phoenix Lights festival at Hance Park.
Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix Lights 2017 – Saturday, April 8, and Sunday April 9 – Hance Park
Carbon-based life forms of the Valley, be warned: the phenomenon known as the Phoenix Lights will once again invade our city in early April, bringing with it an otherworldly aura and an array of colorful beings into our midst. But before you start stocking up on ammunition or looking into alien abduction insurance, it bears mentioning that we aren't necessarily referring to the unidentified triangular-shaped array of lights that appeared over Arizona exactly 20 years ago, but rather the local electronic dance music festival it inspired, Phoenix Lights. As with its two previous editions, the outdoor EDM event will bring thousands of dance music fanatics to downtown Phoenix when it returns for a close encounter of the third kind. And, by the way, it’s gotten a major upgrade and expansion, as it will featre three stages and more than 50 dance music artists, producers, and DJs. The 2017 lineup includes Above & Beyond, Alesso, Tiesto, 21 Savage, Griz, STS9, Vince Staples, Zeds Dead, ZHU, Bro Safari, Cashmere Cat, Illenium, Justin Martin, Keys N Krates, Lane 8, Oliver Heldens, Pete Tong, and dozens more. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

A Perfect Circle is finally releasing its new album later this year. No, really.EXPAND
A Perfect Circle is finally releasing its new album later this year. No, really.
Courtesy of Speakeasy PR

A Perfect Circle – Monday, April 10 – Comerica Theatre
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

Hip-hop icon and noted vinyl fiend DJ Shadow.
Hip-hop icon and noted vinyl fiend DJ Shadow.
Derick Daily

DJ Shadow – Tuesday, April 11 – Marquee Theatre
Long hailed as one of the untouchable patriarchs in the storied past of hip-hop royalty, producer, DJ, and vinyl archivist DJ Shadow has been responsible for some of the most innovative music that the genre has seen over the course of his nearly 30-year career. These days, he’s currently in the midst of touring the United States behind his most recent release, last year’s The Mountain Will Fall, which was lauded by a number of critics. Shadow's place in hip-hop is as unique as it is important: While he is a staunch proponent of new sounds and artistic innovation, he is often cited as one of hip-hop's champions of "the way it was," creating much of his music from samples coming from his notoriously extensive record collection. NIC HERNANDEZ

The members of The Head and the Heart.EXPAND
The members of The Head and the Heart.
James Minchin

The Head and the Heart – Wednesday, April 12 – Marquee Theatre
As Josiah Johnson of Seattle's folk-rock sextet the Head and the Heart describes it, the band has evolved from bright and sunny to darker and deeper. "The first record was very optimistic, 'Follow your heart,' and the second was 'Even if you follow your heart, there are going to be some rough spots," says Johnson, who formed the band out of a songwriting partnership with Virginia native Jonathan Russell. At first, it was open mic performances, and one by one, Johnson and Russell collected bandmates and built a following around Seattle, fans drawn by the instinctive three-part harmonies and captivating, inspirational songwriting. "There was this period of time when we first started, and that carried over to when we recorded the first album when we weren't particularly great, but there as a magic vibe, a purity to the first record, which I really love," Johnson says. The self-released, self-titled album made the band a local favorite in music-hungry Seattle and caught the attention of indie institution Sub Pop, which re-released the record in 2011 and sold nearly 300,000 copies. The heavy touring that followed helped shape the band in different ways, leading to the world-weariness that underscores their follow-up album, 2013’s Let's Be Still. They’ve brightened up a bit, as evidenced by the poppy feel of their most recent LP, last year’s Signs of Light. ERIC SWEDLUND

The boys of Glass Animals.EXPAND
The boys of Glass Animals.
Neil Krug

Glass Animals – Thursday, April 13 – Comerica Theatre
The success of Glass Animals’ 2014 debut album, Zaba, is, in the words of fellow British rocker Nigel Tufnel, a mystery that's "best to leave … unsolved." Through a curious blend of tribal percussion, casually psychedelic lyrics and a transverse connection to both modern rock and electronica, Glass Animals achieves an impressive sonic iconography. Its style is unique and recognizable, and with last year’s How To Be a Human Being, the band proved not to be a fluke. Rather than falling in line with the pop-washed and exhaustive appropriation of genres, Glass Animals combines a few unusual sublunary musical influences to create a sound that is primal and different. Beats ranging from glacial to urgent in tempo bait fluid synths and bewitching vocals. The result is an atmosphere of revelry, one that is trippy, green and playfully sordid. Indeed, How To Be a Human Being maintained Glass Animals’ propensity for percussive rampage and cerebral passage, but more important, it sounds like a lot of fun. Organic, playful and vulnerable, the album helped prove Glass Animals' staying power. STEPHANIE GREY

Thibaut Jean-Marie Michel Berland, better known as Breakbot.EXPAND
Thibaut Jean-Marie Michel Berland, better known as Breakbot.
Pedro Winter

Breakbot – Thursday, April 13 – Crescent Ballroom
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

The musicians of La Santa Cecilia.EXPAND
The musicians of La Santa Cecilia.
Courtesy of Tempe Center for the Arts

La Santa Cecilia - Friday, April 14 – Tempe Center for the Arts
If there is one band that represents the multicultural mix of the Southwest, it's La Santa Cecilia. Since its Latin Grammy nomination in 2015, the LA-born group has been representing its city at major festivals in Texas and New York. They're also picking up the attention of critics, through pieces on NPR's All Things Considered and Latino USA. Further, their hybrid of Latin, rock, and world music has caught the attention of groups like Cafe Tacuba, Lila Downs, Ozomatli, and Los Lobos, all of whom have had La Santa Cecilia open shows for them in recent years. Anyone who has attended their concerts can attest that lead singer Marisol "La Marisoul" Hernandez has one of the most powerful voices in any city, in any genre. EDDIE COTA

Dexter Holland of The Offspring.EXPAND
Dexter Holland of The Offspring.
Melissa Fossum

Brufest – Sunday, April 15 – Fear Farm
Punk was once underground. Bands played in grungy, rat-infested clubs, and forget hearing the music on the radio. About 25 years ago, however, that all changed. The Offspring and Pennywise are two SoCal bands who wound up signing to the same Epitaph record label that helped bring this subversive sound to the masses. So it's sorta fitting they're appearing at an enormous event like KUPD’s Brufest in April, even if they took completely different routes to get to this level of success. The Offspring is a group of Huntington Beach natives who, along with Green Day, pushed punk to heavy rotation on MTV. Videos for "Come Out and Play," "Self Esteem," and "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" are a major reason why piercings and dyed hair spread throughout suburbia. Meanwhile, Pennywise was able to capitalize on its label mates' trailblazing punk rock in the mainstream. They’ve sold more than 3 million records, making it one of the most successful independent punk acts of all time. In mid-April, you can catch both legendary punk bands co-headlining Brufest, which will also feature performances by All That Remains, Atreyu, Hell or Highwater, and Through Fire. DAVID ROLLAND

Empire of the Sun's Luke Steele.EXPAND
Empire of the Sun's Luke Steele.
Mathew Tucciarone

Empire of the Sun – Tuesday, April 18 – Comerica Theatre
Empire of the Sun is an Australian duo that’s been gracing us with infectious, disco-ball-worthy dance rock since its 2008 breakout album, Walking on a Dream. (And, yeah, eight years may have passed, but we know you still turn up the title track off that record.) To be fair, Walking on a Dream is nothing short of a synth-pop masterpiece, but it’s far from the only music the pair has made. For its most recent album, Two Vines, Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore enlisted Lindsey Buckingham (yes, that Lindsey Buckingham) and an impressive roster of former David Bowie and Prince collaborators to lift their compositions to glittering new heights. Driven by the concept of a modern city being reclaimed by nature, Two Vines is a fantastical, impossibly danceable odyssey bound to remind us all why we fell in love with Empire of the Sun in the first place. What’s more, the band’s live show features surrealist visuals and exquisite costuming. Minimalists, this one isn’t for you. ELLE CARROLL

Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Michael Regan

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Tuesday, April 18 – Valley Bar
In 2006, Pitchfork observed that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah heralded a new “scene, now dominated by stylish teenagers more concerned with communal experience than elite authenticity.” The indie weirdos remained independent, but also scattered in various directions, with bandleader Alec Ounsworth and other members experimenting actively in side and solo projects. The way that CYHSY rose to popularity told us something about the changing relationship between niche music and the masses, and now the group has returned with The Tourist, its fifth full-length since 2005’s self-released, self-titled debut. Ounsworth’s vision of recent times is splintered with doubt, wry humor and sonic buoyancy, a tour of an inner landscape where we may be down, but we’re making noise. KATIE MOULTON

Oliver Sim (left), Romy Croft (center), and Jamie Smith of The xx.EXPAND
Oliver Sim (left), Romy Croft (center), and Jamie Smith of The xx.
Alasdair McLellan

The xx – Wednesday, April 19 – Mesa Amphitheatre
The xx is an electronic pop group from London, England, whose music is informed by soul and post-punk as well as hip-hop and modern electronica. The act's critically acclaimed, self-titled debut album from 2009 garnered the outfit widespread popularity. And while a lot of bands would have stopped developing there and stuck to a successful formula, the xx enhanced its use of electronics to create a more fully realized fusion of its stylistic influences on the recently released followup, Coexist. Along the way, Jamie Smith, the band's producer and electronics guru, has done high-profile remixes for Adele, Florence and the Machine and Radiohead. TOM MURPHY

Coheed and Cambria are doing things a little differently these days.EXPAND
Coheed and Cambria are doing things a little differently these days.
Courtesy of Press Here Now

Coheed and Cambria – Wednesday, April 19 – Marquee Theatre
“The concept is just not there this time, ” says Coheed and Cambria guitarist Travis Stever while answering the question his band has been faced with over and over again since releasing its most recent LP, The Color Before the Sun. After a seven-year run with the “Amory Wars” story line, a science fiction plot detailing the two characters for which the band was named, Coheed and Cambria’s eighth album breaks the streak in both substance and sound. They’ve traded in guitar duels for a more pop-punk approach, and they’ve been asked time and time again why they made the switch. Now, as the band continues to tour in support of The Color Before the Sun, Stever explains the band’s thought process. “The decision to stray may have taken some of our heavy-duty, cult following fans by surprise, for sure,” he says. “Every Coheed record is very different, though, and with every record we try to throw a curveball at them. With this one, it’s the lyrics, because it’s coming from a real-life standpoint.” LAUREN ARCHULETTA

Tove Lo is coming to Scottsdale in April.EXPAND
Tove Lo is coming to Scottsdale in April.
Courtesy of High Rise PR

Tove Lo – Wednesday, April 19 – Livewire
The video for Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High)” — during which she carouses with various beautiful dum-dums even as her private sadness blossoms like fireworks exploded too close to the ground — is so necessary to tell the story of that song that experiencing one without the other leaves the art incomplete. Hotly sought-after as a songwriter, especially since co-writing Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do,” Tove Lo now embarks on her tour supporting Lady Wood, the sophomore record that sees the Swede flaying her psyche open for all to autopsy. She’s been called “weird” and “sad,” but she’s just honest, and honesty tends to weird people out. Sad. DAVID COTNER

The Aussie rockers of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.EXPAND
The Aussie rockers of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
Jamie Wdziekonski

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Wednesday, April 19 – Crescent Ballroom
With Theremin on hand for some extra weirdness, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard from Melbourne, Australia, creates huge space-psych atmospheres that feel like a celebration of noise. Since the ultra-groovy seven piece formed in 2010, it has been very prolific, recording eight albums of pure psych rock in the span of seven (a tenth LP is on the way), each better than the one before. Complex extended jams go even bigger live, and thanks to their positive buzz and multitude of appearances at such tastemaking festivals as the Austin Psych Fest, the group has garnered tons of attention stateside in recent years. LESLIE SIMON

Nicolas Jaar – Thursday, April 20 – Livewire
At 26, Nicolas Jaar is already a respected artist across a spectrum of electronic musical styles. Though he is largely associated with deep house, for the most part his recorded output observes few conventions of any dance-music subgenre. His debut solo album, Space Is Only Noise, from 2011, was a chill-out, down-tempo affair that pointed toward the kinds of abstract compositions and explorations that he would undertake in the future. Jaar outdid himself on 2015’s Pomegranates, a haunted, ambient alternative soundtrack to the classic 1969 Soviet-era film The Color of Pomegranates. His layered, beatless soundscapes articulated the film’s starkly colorful tenor and poetry as well as the original score did. In 2016, Jaar released Sirens on his own Other People imprint. A strikingly eclectic work, it is the rare political electronic album, one with real rhetorical oomph and substance, qualities that Jaar also brings to his live shows. TOM MURPHY

The members of The 1975.
The members of The 1975.
Chuff Media

The 1975 – Saturday, April 22 – Mesa Amphitheatre
Britain’s latest attempt to conquer the hearts and minds of America’s youth comes in the form of The 1975. The quartet’s power pop 80s sound blends the look and lovelorn lyricism of new wave pop-rock bands like The Cure or Tears for Fears, with bombastic instrumental compositions reminiscent of the likes of Michael Jackson and Huey Lewis & The News, all projected through the shoglazed-over eyes of a Jonas Brother. Their latest album “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” adds a layer of angst to the aforementioned sonic grab bag. Tracks like “Change Of Heart,” sound like they’d feel right at home in a John Hughes flick, but are mixed in with more ambient electro-themed tunes like the album’s title track. While it might be hard find your way to your seats, through the throng of screaming fans this band has garnered since their debut in 2012, The 1975 is talented enough to make their hodgepodge of competing sounds compelling to say the least. NICHOLAS BOSTICK

Little Dragon – Sunday, April 23 – Livewire
Little Dragon's sound cooly married spacey electronicized eclectica to classic R&B, soul and dancehall — a sound somehow appropriate for our dystopian times. The Gothenburg, Sweden, band's hefty album sales and ballooning fanbase were aided immeasurably when fan David Sitek of TV on the Radio invited the band to open shows on his 2009 U.S. dates (getting the track "Twice" played on Grey's Anatomy didn't hurt, either). Little Dragon's tireless roadwork over the last several years has included an appearance at countless festival, most prominently at Coachella in 2010 with Gorillaz, and their seventh album, Season High, is about to drop. Sure, you can dance to their hypno-beat cut-n-pasted with singer Yukimi Nagano's soulfire croon and mildly eccentric stabs at nu-style dance music. But dig deep into these dark, dense textures — now that's what we call a headspace. JOHN PAYNE

Country music legend Willie Nelson.
Country music legend Willie Nelson.
Mike Brooks

Willie Nelson – Tuesday, April 25 – Celebrity Theatre
Legends don’t come much bigger than Willie Nelson. As an actor, musician and activist, Nelson has had an incalculable footprint on both popular culture and the arts. His pioneering image of an outsider rethinking country music’s tradition and forms — welcoming the influences of jazz, rock and liberal politics — has changed the course of country music quite literally forever, helping to usher in a new wave of progressive singer-songwriters who are much more willing to experiment with genre boundaries (Sturgill Simpson being one example). Fortunately, every time Nelson swings through Arizona, he brings a little extra enthusiasm with him. Its a chance for country fans both old and new to see the iconic performer live. And, let’s not kid ourselves, as Nelson creeps past 83 years of age, the window for finally seeing the man, myth and legend in the flesh is slowly shrinking. JONATHAN PATRICK

Jay Farrar (center) and the rest of Son Volt.EXPAND
Jay Farrar (center) and the rest of Son Volt.
Courtesy of High Road Touring

Son Volt – Saturday, April 29 – Crescent Ballroom
Jay Farrar, the less experimentally-minded side of the Uncle Tupelo coin, still lives in a world where guitars are not relics, and even still kill fascists. The St. Louis native has now invested more than two decades into Son Volt, his post-Tupelo group long hailed as one of the finest rock groups under the Americana umbrella in their own right. Farrar’s songs are as Midwestern salt-of-the-earth as they come, often mingling Woody Guthrie-style populism with meat-and-potatoes riffs and drums, just the ticket for those who enjoy their songs served up with a conscience and a side of feedback. Notes of Blue (Transmit Sound), the group’s brand-new album and eighth overall, cranks up the volume a few notches over 2013’s country-tinged Honky Tonk, but the Son Volt faithful will find plenty of food for thought here as well. CHRIS GRAY

Esteemed vocalist and musician Rhiannon Giddens.
Esteemed vocalist and musician Rhiannon Giddens.
Dan Winters

Rhiannon Giddens - Sunday, April 30 - Musical Instrument Museum
Known as the singer/violinist/banjo player for Grammy-winning outfit Carolina Chocolate Drops, classically trained Rhiannon Giddens is one of the fastest rising talents in Americana music. The Oberlin graduate caught music insiders’ attention as a solo performer in 2013 with a standout performance at a show inspired by the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis. She also appeared with the likes of Marcus Mumford, Elvis Costello, Jim James and Taylor Goldsmith as part of the lauded New Basement Tapes project. With all of her contributions to  other projects, Giddens has started to garner attention for her own material; earlier this year, she released her solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn, produced by her Basement Tapes and Llewyn Davis collaborator T Bone Burnett. DANIEL KOHN

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