The Eight Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend
Nate Ruess is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 23, during FestivALT in downtown Phoenix.
Like many of you, we're still very much in shock over the untimely passing of Prince – and probably will be for some time. And we're probably not the only ones who have been blasting “His Royal Badness” nonstop while dealing with the unfathomable sorrow over the silencing of one of the most gifted performers ever (yet again) and passing of an incomparable force in music who truly deserves the titles of “legend” and “icon.”
While we'd never tell you how to grieve, since everyone does it in their own way, it might do you some good to pull yourself away from Facebook or MTV's marathon of Prince videos and get out for a few hours. You might even consider checking out a concert or two this weekend.
After all, it was Prince himself who reportedly said the following: “Music is real! It affects people, it's real...The other night I went to a club and I watched a DJ control an entire room. Even politicians can't do that."
And if you happen to see a show this weekend, including the following concert picks, you might wind up seeing a musician or DJ do just that – and maybe even pay tribute to Prince in some fashion.
Tony Visconti (left) and Woody Woodmansey
Calling Holy Holy merely a David Bowie cover band would be an insult — the project had Bowie’s seal of approval. The super-group, which includes Tony Visconti and drummer Woody Woodmansey, sold out venues last year playing the classic album The Man Who Sold The World in its entirety. It annoyed Woodmansey, who was in the backing band the Spiders From Mars, that the 1970 album never got its own tour. Visconti, who produced 14 albums with Bowie, was interested in the idea, and the duo recruited a stunning list of performers to join them, including Heaven 17 vocalist Glenn Gregory, the Cult’s James Stevenson on guitar, and the highly sought-after session saxophonist Terry Edwards.
Holy Holy was in Toronto when the world lost Bowie to cancer in early January. According to Visconti’s Facebook page, the band discussed whether they should continue with their tour. The decision to press on and honor their dear and talented friend was a unanimous one. With each performance, the grief that comes with a great loss lessens. The way the band rips through the album’s rousing, complex opener “The Width of A Circle” would greatly astonish the Starman. JASON KEIL
AJJ is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 23, during the Indie 500 at Trunk Space.
By our calculations, this year's version of the Trunk Space's marathon Indie 500 concert will encompass approximately 38 straight hours of live music over the course of two days and nights this weekend. And in all likelihood, the proprietors and staff at the DIY music venue will try to savor as many moments as they can. That's because its the last time the annual event will be staged at the Trunk Space's longtime home on Grand Avenue, as the venue will leave the location early next month.
And while that might ordinarily give the event a melancholy mood, we're willing to bet the atmosphere will be quite lively as those in attendance celebrate the joys of music and the chance to see all the bands that will participate, albeit during relatively short sets. Almost 100 different acts and musicians, including a mix of both locals and special guests, will each perform five songs apiece starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning up until things wrap up sometime Sunday evening after a total of 500 songs are performed.
The lineup will feature many Trunk Space die-hards and favorites, including Novi Split, Kepi Ghoulie, Dogbreth, Roar, JJCnV, Foot Ox, Diners, Porches, Iji, Playboy Manbaby, Man-Cat, Treasure Mammal, Coffee Pot, Masteroid, Sad Kid, The Darling Sounds, Dinosaur Love, Human Behavior, and many more. (A full rundown of participants can be found here.) The recently rechristened AJJ will also participate but you're going to have to get an early start to see them, as the band will reportedly perform between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Saturday. Better set your alarms. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Glendale native Nate Ruess returns home this weekend to headline FestivALT.
Radio station 93.3 ALT AZ presents a doozy of an outdoor concert with this one, and there are storylines galore. Local boy wonder-turned-Grammy-winning superstar Nate Ruess is headlining the festival, playing his first set in Phoenix since he went solo after his massive success in fun. He’ll have a whole slew of fans who grew up watching him and fellow Phoenician Sam Means in The Format, and he’s hinted on his Facebook page that “This is gonna be a cool set list to make.” Below Ruess on the bill is Kongos, the Valley band of brothers that went platinum with “Come With Me Now” in 2014 and is set to release its first album since 2012. Power pop group Never Shout Never, indie electro-rock act JR JR, Authority Zero singer Jason DeVore, and local act Luxxe round out the lineup. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
Diplo onstage at the Mad Decent Block Party at Rawhide in 2014.
When pondering the momentous career of blockbuster DJ and producer Thomas Wesley Pentz, better known to electronic dance music fans worldwide as Diplo, one has to wonder if there’s anything left for the dude to conquer. Or when he has time to sleep. After all, he oversees tastemaking and groundbreaking EDM label Mad Decent, won an armful of Grammy awards, helped craft some enormous hit songs (the most recent being last year’s chartbuster “Lean On”), participates in side projects like Major Lazer and Jack U, and even serves as part owner of the Phoenix-based Arizona United Soccer Club. Oh, and somewhere in there he finds time to perform hundreds of festival and club gigs around the world every year. This weekend, his exhaustive schedule brings back him to the Valley for a DJ session at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, during its latest Release Pool Party on Saturday, April 23. Gates open at 11 a.m. and Diplo goes on at approximately 4 p.m. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
The late Sid Copeland was one helluva guy. Ask anyone who knew the much-beloved owner of bygone local punk bar Jugheads, who passed away in 2006, and you'll hear tales of his generosity, affable spirit, magnanimous nature, and wicked sense of humor. And its all true. So great is Copeland's standing in the Valley punk scene, in fact, that many of the same musicians and bands that played Jugheads on a regular basis will gather on the 10th anniversary of his death for a tribute show honoring his memory.
A half-dozen local punk acts – including Family Secret, No Gimmick, Hall 13, The Fed Ups, and Blemish – will take over Rips on Saturday, April 23, during an afternoon-long event that runs from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. (The lineup also includes Old Familiar, which consists of several other rockers that were Jugheads regulars.) In addition to hearing a cannonade of clamorous and chaotic punk, its guaranteed you'll hear many in attendance swapping stories about Sid, who will likely be there in spirit. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Chick Corea (left) and Bela Fleck.
C. Taylor Crothers
Pianist Chick Corea's career dates back to the 1960s, when he first came to prominence in the bands of Miles Davis as a member of the seminal Bitches Brew - era lineups, which helped launch jazz fusion. Corea has kept himself involved in a wide range of musical projects, which have led him to a record 22 Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards. Banjo master Béla Fleck is no stranger to musical variety, expanding from traditional bluegrass to world, fusion, classical and jazz, receiving Grammy nominations in more categories than any other musician, winning 12. Later this month, the pair pay a visit to the MIM to bring their many collaborations to life in a concert featuring a pair of America's genuine masters of music. TOM MEEK
Iain Cook, Lauren Mayberry, and Martin Doherty of Chvrches
The past year has been a pretty good one for Chvrches, the Scottish indie-electronica act that may soon have to ditch the "indie" descriptor. The mainstream is starting to take notice of this up-and-coming trio, who first made their mark in the actual indie world in 2011 with the release of Beginnings. In the ensuing years, Chvrches has gone on to make their way around the American and European festival scenes, playing SXSW, Lollapalooza, Coachella, Reading & Leeds and Bonnaroo in just the past few years. As electronica has found a wider audience thanks to the popularity of artists like Ellie Goulding, Avicii and others, Chvrches is the logical progression. Think of Chvrches as the band that you discovered before your boring, pseudo-raver college friends ever even realized that they exist. AMY MCCARTHY
Americana icon Alejandro Escovedo.
There are some folks whose life journeys manifest in the timbre of their voices, each uttered word wrought with equal doses of joy and pain. Exhibit A is Alejandro Escovedo, a troubadour who has spent his days traveling from punker to prominent alt-country figure. He hails from a family that produced two Santana percussionists and Sheila E., and Escovedo's own endeavors began when he moved from his native San Antonio to the Bay Area punk scene with The Nuns in the mid-’70s. After a short stint in New York exploring early cowpunk with Rank and File, he hit Austin with the garage growlings of The True Believers. His solo efforts throughout the ’90s earned him a nod as alt-country Bible NoDepression’s artist of the decade, and the Americana Music Association named his 2009 work, Real Animal, one of the year’s 10 best. JOSE GONZALEZ
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