The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix This May

When all is said and done, May 2018 probably won’t be the biggest month ever for the Phoenix concert scene.

It’s definitely going to be a contender, though, considering the sheer number of big concerts happening from now until May 31.

A huge crop of legendary artists and bands have shows scheduled in the Valley over the next four weeks, including Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, “Weird Al” Yankovich, MGMT, Khalid, Justin Timberlake,Franz Ferdinand, James Taylor, Phantogram, Of Montreal, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Melvins.

Whew.

Add in this year’s FORM Arcosanti just north of the Valley, pool party season kicking into high gear, and a variety of even more choice gigs and you get a month that’s packed with activity.

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

Justin Timberlake is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, May 2, at Talking Stick Resort Arena.EXPAND
Justin Timberlake is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, May 2, at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Ryan McGinley

Justin Timberlake
Wednesday, May 2
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Whether he’s bringing sexy back or has his dick in a box — two unrelated events — Justin Timberlake is easy to love. The pop icon built his current success on the foundation of his early career, during which he acted on shows like The All-New Mickey Mouse Club and served as one-fifth of the ’90s boy-band phenomenon NSYNC.

Timberlake’s new tour is in support of his new release, Man of the Woods. It’s yet another effort that has proved that his fans love him. It debuted at No. 1, falling into that top spot just like his last three full-lengths did. On this newbie, the cover features a less flashy J.T. The singer sports a beard and dark suit against a stark and snowy background. But don’t worry; he hasn’t gone full emo. There are plenty of jumpy pop-meets-R&B tunes — like the opening track, “Filthy,” and “Wave,” to name a couple.

Timberlake is getting roots-y, and it’s not just the REI-approved wardrobe. The native Tennesseean sings tunes like “Montana,” “Flannel,” and “Livin’ Off the Land.” In addition to guests like Alicia Keys, Timberlake’s new one features a duet (“Say Something”) with country superstar Chris Stapleton. Bring it on down to Justinville for a weeknight show filled with new tunes and fan favorites. Amy Young

The current lineup of Los Lobos.EXPAND
The current lineup of Los Lobos.
David Alan Kogut

Los Lobos
Wednesday, May 2
Musical Instrument Museum

Is any band in America more revered or respected than East Los Angeles roots vatos Los Lobos? The core members of this American musical treasure — David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas, Steve Berlin, Louis Perez and Conrad Lozano — have produced 19 albums and played everywhere from an Angeleno quinceañera to Farm Aid to the White House.

Their sound spans virtually all aspects of American music, from blues, zydeco, soul, and kick-you-in-the-head rock and roll to various Latino styles, including cumbia, norteño, and Tex-Mex. Critics turn handstands whenever they drop an album, and their fans follow them like Deadheads.

It's ironic that one of the most important acts of the late 20th century is best known for its cover of "La Bamba." Their first truly significant album, 1984's T Bone Burnett-produced Will The Wolf Survive?, asked the question, and these guys answer in the affirmative every time they step onto a stage. Viva Los Lobos. William Michael Smith

Punk legends The Lawrence Arms.
Punk legends The Lawrence Arms.
Courtesy of Epitaph Records

The Lawrence Arms
Thursday, May 3
Crescent Ballroom

The Lawrence Arms started in 1999 when former members of the Broadways, Brendan Kelly and Chris McCaughan, decided to do a more melodic punk band focused on often startlingly detailed and personal but emotionally vibrant music that didn't wax into the melodramatic mode of turn of the century emo.

The band's earliest releases came out on respected indie label Asian Man Records, but it was 2002's Apathy and Exhaustion that propelled the group into a higher echelon of the public consciousness. Famously kicked off the Warped Tour in 2004 for making remarks critical of the festival from the stage, the Lawrence Arms continue to make poignant, melodic punk records informed by a sharp sense of humor even to this day. Tom Murphy

Zach Rogue and Pat Spurgeon of Rogue Wave.EXPAND
Zach Rogue and Pat Spurgeon of Rogue Wave.
Courtesy of High Road Touring

Rogue Wave
Friday, May 4
Crescent Ballroom

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California-based Rogue Wave seemed poised to strike it big in the early to mid-aughts. Alongside bands like The Shins, Fruit Bats and Tapes n' Tapes, they made catchy, melodic indie rock that was infectious enough to fill midsize clubs and populate the soundtracks of iPod commercials and dramatic television shows such as The O.C. Alas, like many of the bands from that time, the group never reached the commercial heights gained by some of its contemporaries. However, despite label changes, personnel shuffles and serious health scares, the band has persevered.

With seven albums under the belt, Rogue Wave have never really stopped making music in the decade-plus since their heyday. This spring, they're touring behind the 10th anniversary of its most beloved album, Asleep At Heaven's Gate. On May at Crescent Ballroom, Rogue Wave will perform the album in its entirety and likely include other favorites from the past and present. Come for the nostalgia and catch up on what the band has been up to in the interim, as well. Jeff Strowe

Billie Joe Armstrong is bringing his latest side project to Valley Bar this month.
Billie Joe Armstrong is bringing his latest side project to Valley Bar this month.

The Longshot
Saturday, May 5
Valley Bar

Billie Joe Armstrong knows how to put the blitzkrieg in “Blitzkrieg Bop.” The Green Day frontman and pop-punk icon debuted his new band, The Longshot, with a sudden burst of releases and a tour announcement.

After dropping a three-track EP last month, Armstrong and company released a surprise full-length record called Love is for Losers on April 20. That same day, the band announced a string of small-club tour dates, including a show at Valley Bar on Saturday, May 5.

Teaming up with guitarist Kevin Preston, drummer David S. Field, and Green Day touring guitarist Jeff Matika on bass, The Longshot is going on tour to promote the debut album. With 11 tracks clocking in at 32 minutes, it's jammed with radio-ready rock 'n' roll.

Sonically, it’s got more in common with the polished sounds Armstrong and his Green Day bandmates embraced on American Idiot than the group's scrappier early work. Ashley Naftule

Ariel PinkEXPAND
Ariel Pink
Sasha Eisenman

Desert Daze Caravan II
Saturday, May 5
The Van Buren

Shimmery psych-pop singer-songwriter Ariel Pink delivered his 12th album last year, named after and dedicated to Bobby Jameson — an L.A. musician thought dead for 35 years until 2007, when he resurfaced to pen an autobiography. Pink is always thinking outside of the box, and his live shows are a must-see.

That includes his upcoming gig headlining Desert Daze Caravan II at The Van Buren on May 5. He won’t be the only must-see act on the lineup, however, as DIIV, Nanami Ozone, Acid Mothers Temple, and Yoo Doo Right are also scheduled to perform. Diamond Victoria

Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes.EXPAND
Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes.
Ebru Yildiz

Of Montreal
Sunday, May 6
Crescent Ballroom

Out of all the Elephant 6 bands, who would have thought that Of Montreal would have been the one group to go the distance? Emerging from the same Athens, Georgia, scene that spawned Neutral Milk Hotel, Kevin Barnes’ band shared the Elephant 6’s love for ’60s pop and psychedelia. But they quickly outgrew their Sgt. Pepper fetish and evolved into one of indie rock’s most adventurous groups.

Since the breakthrough of 2007’s Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, where Barnes fully embraced his inner Bowie and turned into a compelling theatrical performer, the group have become a dynamite live act. From confetti cannons to backup dancers in sumo wrestler suits, Of Montreal shows feels like watching a kids’ show on bad acid. It’s a perfect visual complement to the music, which melds psychedelia with New Wave, glam, and dance music.

For the group’s 15th album, 2018’s White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood, dance music is Barnes’ muse and the engine that powers its six songs. Taking inspiration from the extended dance mixes pop stars dropped in the ’80s, Barnes shows off the out-of-left field songwriting chops that made him a go-to producer for modern pop stars like Solange and Janelle Monàe. Ashley Naftule

“Weird Al” Yankovic invades Mesa in May.EXPAND
“Weird Al” Yankovic invades Mesa in May.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center

“Weird Al” Yankovic
Tuesday, May 8
Mesa Arts Center

Anyone who has seen “Weird Al” Yankovic (and yes, the quotation marks are part of the official billing) in concert knows what to expect: A string of his insanely catchy parody songs (i.e. “Eat It” “Like a Surgeon” “Smells Like Nirvana,” “Amish Paradise,” “Gump,” “Tacky”), a huge video screen, crazy light show, and costume changes. Lots of costume changes.

But for his current tour, the accordion-wielding pride of Lynwood, California, is trying something completely different: a stripped-down, no-frills production in smaller venues with a show that is made up almost entirely of his original comedy or “in the style of” non-parody songs and deep cuts.

Not surprisingly, those tunes tended to get overlooked, and he’s amassed a quantity of them over his career. Songs like “Velvet Elvis,” “Stuck in a Closet with Vanna White,” “Dare to Be Stupid,” “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota,” “My Baby’s in Love with Eddie Vedder,” and “Don’t Download This Song.”

“If they’re coming just to see the hits … they should stay home!” Yankovic says. “I’ve made no secret of what this tour is. It’s still a comedy show and it’s still enjoyable. It’s not the regular show. But there will still be that one person who yells out ‘Eat It!’” Bob Ruggiero

Alt-rock veterans The Afghan Whigs.EXPAND
Alt-rock veterans The Afghan Whigs.
Chris Cuffaro

The Afghan Whigs
Tuesday, May 8
The Van Buren

Thom Yorke sang about feeling like a creep, but Greg Dulli has made a career out of singing about being a creep. The frontman for alt-rock veterans The Afghan Whigs, Dulli has carved out a place for himself as American rock’s resident scoundrel. He’s the closest thing the U.S. has to a Jarvis Cocker: Both singers pride themselves on being self-aware, louche playboys.

On albums like Gentlemen and Black Love, the Motown-loving Dulli steeped his “rock and corrupted soul” songs in toxic masculinity like bags of tea. He was hoisting toasts to the douchebags long before Kanye got around to it. Dulli’s voice has only gotten stronger and more resonant with age — the cockiness of youth replaced by the salty leer of an old timer who’s seen it all.

While 2014’s Do to the Beast and this year’s In Spades pale in comparison to classic Whigs joints like Gentlemen, they still stand on their own as worthy additions to the Whigs catalog. And besides, it’s a bit of unfair comparison: a lot of bands’ best work can’t measure up to Gentlemen, so who would expect the band that made the record to top it? Ashley Naftule

T-Swizzle will kick off her latest world tour in the Valley.EXPAND
T-Swizzle will kick off her latest world tour in the Valley.
Courtesy of Big Machine Label Group

Taylor Swift
Tuesday, May 8
University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale

Assemble your squads, Arizona. Taylor Swift is coming to town. The singer-songwriter will kick of her 2018 Reputation tour in early May at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Lucky us.

T-Swizz is as popular as ever these days. Her new album, Reputation, sold around 700,000 copies in the U.S. on its day of release last November, putting it on track to be Swift's fifth No. 1 album on Billboard's charts. It's an impressive feat, considering the controversy that's dogged the singer over the last year — from her feud with Kanye West blowing up in her face to the public's mixed reactions to Swift's single “Look What You Made Me Do."

But even with strong album sales, it looks like Taylor Swift still has both feet firmly planted in the pop firmament. And local fans will get a chance to bask in her full Swiftian glory this month. Ashley Naftule

This is what a Hot Snakes promo photo looks like.EXPAND
This is what a Hot Snakes promo photo looks like.
Courtesy of Sub Pop Records

Hot Snakes
Thursday, May 10
Crescent Ballroom

Making things obvious has just never been Hot Snakes' style. "Hi-Lites," from 2004's Audit in Progress, provides a great example of this MO in action. The song begins with a shivering, impetuous guitar line that sounds like it's desperate to break out of a confined space and go skyward. When those nimble, uneasy notes finally escape, they tear off wildly, and the rest of Hot Snakes' instruments jump in and follow this path.

Don't, however, expect Rick Froberg to try to translate the special quality of this frenetic yet weirdly subtle song into words. "I wouldn't bother," he says, “I wouldn't know how to describe it. I mean, that's the thing about playing music: You're not much with words — [otherwise] you'd be an author or something."

He sells himself short with that perspective. "Hi-Lites" reads like an abbreviated William Carlos Williams poem dedicated to city-based shut-ins who are sick of the overwhelming, garish vibes of metropolitan life. "High treble! Hi-lites!" Froberg shrieks, sounding, in a very good way, like he's a few thousand tools short of a hardware store. Reyan Ali

Khalid cruises into town on May 11.EXPAND
Khalid cruises into town on May 11.
Kacie Tomita

Khalid
Friday, May 11
Rawhide Event Center

At 20 years old, not a lot of folks are thriving in their careers. But R&B singer-songwriter Khalid certainly is. In fact, the Texas native started his at age 17 and has collaborated with Logic and Calvin Harris, among others.

That's something to be proud of. His singles, "Location" and "Young Dumb & Broke,” both off of his 2017 album American Teen, have gotten a combined 649 million views on YouTube and earned him the spots on the Billboard Hot 100. That sure beats trying to figure out the whole paying for college thing. Diamond Victoria

The members of post-pop band Franz Ferdinand.EXPAND
The members of post-pop band Franz Ferdinand.
Courtesy of Press Here Talent

Franz Ferdinand
Friday, May 11
The Van Buren

While the veteran Glaswegian post-pop rock act Franz Ferdinand did their bit to reaffirm the glories of British guitar music, their output in recent times has shown an inclination to move beyond all that – and then to come back to it.

Their brand of post-punk revivalism, often dissed for being a tad "chameleonic," has long infused myriad influences, from the Merseyside bands of the '60s and grungy bar-band noise to rap-rock and electronic dance, the latter pulling them a little astray on their electro-tinged 2009 album, Tonight.

Since then, Franz Ferdinand has put out three studio albums, spent a year or so performing with Sparks as a supergroup called FFS, and survivied a lineup change (adding Julian Corrie on keyboards and Dino Bardot on guitar). Franz Ferdinand released their most recent album, Always Ascending, earlier this year, which has earned positive reviews. You’ll hear songs from it, including its title track, when the band visits The Van Buren in mid-May. John Payne

Joel Williams of TV Girl.
Joel Williams of TV Girl.
Courtesy of TV Girl

TV Girl
Friday, May 11
Valley Bar

If The Jetsons were reality, it’d be easy to picture some space-age teen trying to wow Judy Jetson with a mixtape full of TV Girl songs. A Los Angeles-based trio, TV Girl makes music that sounds simultaneously futuristic and retro. They blend ’60s-style pop melodies with electro-dance vibes and samples, creating a weird kind of introspective indie dance music. Imagine Belle & Sebastian trying to follow in the footsteps of indie dance-rock acts like St. Etienne and Screamadelica-era Primal Scream.

TV Girl’s music sounds so playful and disorienting because of their deft sampling skills. Disembodied voices from yesteryear bob in and out of the mix, creating an anything-goes atmosphere that recalls classic sample-heavy albums like Paul’s Boutique and 3 Feet High and Rising.

On the band’s latest album, Who Really Cares, TV Girl use their blissful sound to subversive effect. They sing songs about safe words, lovers who fake orgasms, and heaven as a bedroom, while backed by music that sounds like it could soundtrack a kids’ TV show. Ashley Naftule

Chance the RapperEXPAND
Chance the Rapper
Melissa Fossum

FORM Arcosanti 2018
Friday, May 11, to Sunday, May 13
Arcosanti in Mayer

Curated by Los Angeles band Hundred Waters, FORM Arcosanti is renowned (and sometimes poked fun at) for its experience-centered, immersive approach. Attendance is so limited they call it a "micro-festival." Participants camp — or glamp, depending on how much they're willing to spend. And attendees can partake in yoga classes, attend genre-spanning musical performances, and stumble upon artwork installed throughout the desert grounds.

This year's no exception. The 2018 lineup features Chance the Rapper, Courtney Barnett, Amen Dunes, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, and Blood Orange.

Arts and cultural programming will include talks, workshops, outdoor activities, and art installations. Participating organizations at this year's festival will include the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Phoenix Art Museum, Palabra, and The Whole Story. More programming details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Tickets to this year's festival range from $350 for a single non-camping pass to $2,499 for a two-person patron bundle that's all-inclusive. Complete details are available via Eventbrite. Becky Bartkowski

Andrew McMahon has been through his share of personal drama.
Andrew McMahon has been through his share of personal drama.
Brendan Walter

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Saturday, May 12
The Van Buren

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 10 years in remission, McMahon says he still carries psychic scars from fighting cancer.

His most recent 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

ApocalypticaEXPAND
Apocalyptica
Courtesy of MSOPR

Apocalyptica
Sunday, May 13
Chandler Center for the Arts

If heavy metal cello group Apocalyptica is any indication, whatever’s in the water in Finland makes for a pretty heavy tonic. The band takes classical music instruments and sets them to epic renditions of metal songs, or melds them into their own booming, bottom-heavy compositions.

While the group (consisting of four cellists and a drummer) initially started as a Metallica cover band, they expanded their repertoire to include classical takes on songs by bands like Pantera and Faith No More. But since 2000, Apocalyptica’s been releasing albums of original material, like Cult (which saw the band using more effects and distortion), and Reflections (which was the band’s first album to feature drums). Niki D'Andrea

Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, the artists behind Sofi Tukker.EXPAND
Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, the artists behind Sofi Tukker.
Toma Kostygina

Sofi Tukker
Monday, May 14
Crescent Ballroom

Sofi Tukker's insidiously catchy single "Best Friend" has become a major hit since it was featured in a commercial for the iPhone X. The track reached number one on Billboard's dance chart last month.

The duo behind the song — Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern — often blurs the lines between live and recorded sounds during performances. They sing live and play bass and guitar onstage, but the rest of the sounds are programmed, and some sections of their sets are reserved for choreographed dance routines.

"At first, we tried to do everything," Hawley-Weld says, "trying to trigger every beat and play every part. But we realized that's not really the point. There's a performance art and interactive element that also really matters to us: It's bringing the music to life, trying to embody the music through movement, and really focusing on connecting with the people who showed up."

In other words, they care more about shared experiences than wowing with their motor-function skills. Howard Hardee

Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar
Timothy Norris

The Championship Tour feat. Kendrick Lamar & SZA
Monday, May 14
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Following last summer’s triumphant performance at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Kendrick Lamar will return to the Valley with a show at Ak-Chin Pavilion on May 14. And this time around, he’ll bring the whole team with him.

The aptly named Championship Tour will see the entire Top Dawg Entertainment roster — minus Isaiah Rashad, unfortunately — take their talents across the United States this summer. TDE, which is headed by Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, has set itself apart from other hip-hop labels over the past decade with its eye for quality over quantity, opting to sign and present the work of a few select artists — including rappers ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, and Ab-Soul — with carefully curated releases.

Although TDE artists have previously opened for one another’s live performances, the Championship Tour will be the first time the label has mounted a collective major tour nationwide. In addition to being headlined by the aforementioned artists and Lamar, the tour will also include newer signees SZA, Lance Skiiiwalker, and SiR. Much like her labelmate Lamar, SZA enjoyed a fruitful 2017, with her debut LP, CTRL, garnering critical acclaim as well as bringing her to Phoenix. Zach Schlein

Mushroomhead in concert in 2013.EXPAND
Mushroomhead in concert in 2013.
Luis Blanco/CC BY 2.0/via Flickr

Mushroomhead
Tuesday, May 15
Club Red in Mesa

Mushroomhead is rarely mentioned in the mainstream music media, and if it is mentioned, it's usually because it's being compared to Slipknot. Not that the comparisons don't make sense: Both bands are similar-sounding seven-piece groups in creepy masks. Except Mushroomhead has been around since 1993 (Slipknot was formed in '95), and its sound is closer to a fusion of Slipknot, Disturbed, and whatever Jeffrey Dahmer probably listened to in his apartment.

Originally a side project for several Cleveland-area musicians, Mushroomhead was playing in front of 2,000 people alongside GWAR by the time it had booked a second show. The band combines industrial metal, hip-hop, goth, and punk. Later this month, they’ll invade Club Red in Mesa on their current tour. Vyces, Gabriel and the Apocalypse, Ventana, Align the Tide, and Ironkill will open. Lauren Wise

The members of Soulfly, including Valley resident Max Cavalera (center).EXPAND
The members of Soulfly, including Valley resident Max Cavalera (center).
Charlene Tupper

Soulfly & Nile
Saturday, May 19
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

As the leader of Sepultura for over a decade, Max Cavalera helped put Brazil on the map. From the beginning, the outfit was clearly influenced by punk rock as much as it was by other metal bands, as evidenced by its socially conscious lyrics, its grassroots efforts to get its music out into the world, and its disregard for strict genre conventions.

Shortly after the release of Sepultura's 1996 album Roots, Cavalera suffered a personal tragedy when it was discovered that his stepson had been murdered. Cavalera, a longtime resident of the Valley, returned to music two years later with the eponymous Soulfly record – a piece of work that reflected his own search for spiritual meaning in times of great personal darkness.

Since its debut, Soulfly has been a different kind of metal band, not just in terms of lyrical content, but also for its unique use of guitar sounds and nontraditional instrumentation, an approach that Cavalera had begun on his last two Sepultura albums.

In mid-May, Cavalera and Soulfly will stage a hometown show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe with support from legendary death metal act Nile. Tom Murphy

The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix This MayEXPAND
Ticketmaster

MGMT
Sunday, May 20
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

MGMT shot out of the gates with its syrupy, throwback psych rock in the late ’00s, but has since struggled to break fresh ground. The duo tried maximalism (on Congratulations and MGMT), explored popper frontiers (Oracular Spectacular) and attempted yet another reinvention with this year’s Little Dark Age. By stripping their sound to a skeleton, the two sound like they’re having fun for the first time in nearly a decade.

The structures are simpler, there are more hooks and the lyrics are the sturdiest the duo has ever put to paper. But the new MGMT isn’t just about taking elements away. In Little Dark Age, the band embraces more electronic components than ever before. It seems more grown up, too — it’s more cynical, more fatalistic and, in a sort of charming way, more burned out. This pie-eyed weariness is refreshing when set against the group’s once-blinding optimism. It also adds a little edge to a band that somewhere along the way forgot how — or refused — to stay relevant. If there was ever a time to give these dudes a second chance, it’s now. Jonathan Patrick

There a few ensembles like Godspeed You! Black Emperor.EXPAND
There a few ensembles like Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Monday, May 21
The Van Buren

Before the existence of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the post-rock genre included only a small number of touchstones, including Public Image Ltd’s krautrock/dub masterpiece Metal Box, Talk Talk’s 1991 landmark Laughing Stock and Bark Psychosis’s Hex. Godspeed came together in 1994, the year that Hex was released. Combining a classical-music aesthetic with drone and ambient leanings, Godspeed has influenced all post-rock that has come along since.

Perhaps what sets Godspeed apart from other artists in that vein is that the band’s compositions are an orchestrated panoply of sounds that take the listener on a journey. There is nothing vague, tentative, or impressionistic about Godspeed’s music. In contrast to other acts’ more static sound, Godspeed pulls the listener into psychological spaces both harrowing and tranquil. Tom Murphy

Jack Antonoff of Bleachers, Fun., Steel Train, and a gazillion other bands.EXPAND
Jack Antonoff of Bleachers, Fun., Steel Train, and a gazillion other bands.
Daniel Silbert

Bleachers
Tuesday, May 22
The Van Buren

What happens after your band releases a string of infectious and inescapable singles? Why, you attempt world domination with another band! Jack Antonoff, the multi-instrumentalist of Fun, has headed up a side project called Bleachers, a band whose biggest competition in the indie pop department is (more or less) every other project of Antonoff's.

The world was introduced to Bleachers through "I Wanna Get Better," the absurdly catchy first single off of their 2014 debut album, Strange Desire. With their '80s New Wave-life sound, Bleachers has given us breezy songs that keep us smiling while being constantly stuck in our heads. Brittany Spanos

Josh Carter and Sarah Bechtel od Phantogram.EXPAND
Josh Carter and Sarah Bechtel od Phantogram.
Courtesy of Chuffmedia

Phantogram
Wednesday, May 23
The Van Buren

A duo from upstate New York, Phantogram will scratch that same after-hours electro-pop itch as School of Seven Bells' enchanting 2012 LP Ghostory. For most of their careers, Josh Carter and Sarah Bechtel have slid dusty hip-hop beats around the kind of shoegazey music that was made for shutting your eyes and drifting off into dreamland. You can hear these dreamy sounds on the seven EPs and a trio of studio albums in Phantogram’s discography, including 2016’s Three. Chris Gray

Peter Bradley Adams, as heard on One Tree Hill, Smallville, and Alias.EXPAND
Peter Bradley Adams, as heard on One Tree Hill, Smallville, and Alias.
Courtesy of The Presshouse

Peter Bradley Adams
Friday, May 25
Valley Bar

If you watched any TV during the early 2000s, you've probably heard the soulful, folksy crooning of Peter Bradley Adams. You may not recognize Adams as a solo artist, but his folk-pop project eastmountainsouth was popular with critics and fans alike.

You probably heard the group's single "You Dance" a few times on the radio in 2003, and both eastmountainsouth and Adams have contributed music to popular TV shows like Alias, Smallville, andOne Tree Hill, along with film work with director Cameron Crowe. As a solo artist, Adams' catchy and comfortable sound has also enjoyed critical acclaim, if less chart popularity than his previous projects. Amy McCarthy

Masked tribute band One More Time is performing the same weekend at Phoenix Comic Fest.EXPAND
Masked tribute band One More Time is performing the same weekend at Phoenix Comic Fest.
Courtesy of Circle Talent Agency

One More Time
Friday, May 25
The Van Buren

One More Time does a spot-on imitation of Daft Punk in concert and does it well. Phenomenally well, even, from the identical version of the iconic helmets and jumpsuits of the Grammy-winning and quasi-robotic French electronica duo (including neon versions inspired by Tron: Legacy) to the pyramid-like staging that's straight outta the act's landmark Alive 1997 tour. One More Time has Daft Punk down so well that it even mimics their flair for anonymity, asking that New Times keep the duo's real names on the down-low.

Over the last several year, the Phoenix-born tribute act went from performing at local hip club nights in 2010 to wowing crowds in L.A. and San Diego with its set of mixing, editing, and playing Daft Punk tracks. "That's when we realized we were onto something that could potentially be big, bigger than a bunch of guys in helmets playing hipster parties," they told us. They ain't lying, as they've been going harder, faster, stronger while touring venues across the United States as Daft Punk's popularity has grown.

One More Time returns home to the Valley in late May for their first-ever performance at The Van Buren. Apache Grosse and NKRIOT will open. Benjamin Leatherman

Dick Lucas of Subhumans.
Dick Lucas of Subhumans.
Abby Shaffer/CC BY 2.0/via Flickr

Subhumans
Sunday, May 27
The Rebel Lounge

While The Clash, Crass, and countless other English punk bands have come and gone, singer-songwriter Dick Lucas and the Subhumans carry on (save for a few extended breaks) like a raging beacon of anarchic hope, saving teenage souls from boredom and conformity.

What set this hardcore protest quartet apart from fellow U.K. punkers like the Exploited in the 1980s was that the group mixed uncompromising politics with Animals-esque prog rock and social commentary on albums like From the Cradle to the Grave. But in concert, as evidenced on the crucial, searing 2004 release Live in a Dive, the Subhumans’ specialty is delivering “Masters of War”-style treatises on freedom like Molotov cocktails. Adam Perry

The legendary James TaylorEXPAND
The legendary James Taylor
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

James Taylor
Tuesday, May 29
Talking Stick Resort Arena

He might be the self-consumed guy who inspired Carly Simon's monster hit, "You're So Vain," but that's something that probably won't ever be confirmed. What is an irrefutable truth is that James Taylor is a world-renowned musician, songwriter, vocalist and pretty much any other category he could be lumped into. Sure, his easy-listening, post-hippy folk balladry may seem like mindlessly pleasant pap, but in his best work there's depth — and pain — in Taylor's songwriting.

He's battled with depression and drug abuse nearly his entire life, and his experiences in psychiatric institutions, as well as the suicide of a close friend, led him to write the defining song of his career, "Fire and Rain." Named for the whiplash sensations of shock therapy and the cold shower that follows, there's nothing light about it. Paige Skinner

Dale Crover, Buzz Osbourne, and Steven Shane McDonald of Melvins.
Dale Crover, Buzz Osbourne, and Steven Shane McDonald of Melvins.
Steve Appleford

Melvins
Thursday, May 31
Crescent Ballroom

Many cool bands that formed in the '80s have lost their relevancy, but the Melvins are not among them. The Washington-bred heavy-stoner-rock trio not only still tour but also fully maintain their cool status. Singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne is an outspoken character who is likely the inspiration for The Simpsons' Sideshow Bob. He also introduced Dave Grohl to the rest of Nirvana, which is appropriate because the Melvins influenced grunge and sludge sounds quite a bit. Catch them at the tail end of May at the Crescent Ballroom for an intense and intimate performance. Douglas Markowitz

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