April showers? Not so much in the Valley of the Sun. While the rest of the country experiences the fresh air of spring, we are hit with our first wave of hundred-degree temperatures. But that's okay, because the season also kicks off with a bounty of band tours, particularly those of the heavy variety. There are a ton of great shows around town, which is why we compiled a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley during the month of April.
This was a hard one to compile, as there are easily 10 other hard rock or metal shows that could've made the list. There are legends like Mastodon, Testament, and Mushroomhead; searing up-and-comers like Upon a Burning Body and Incite; festivals like UFest and AZ Brutal Fest; and a handful of local tour kickoff events as well.
April 3 - Testament, Exodus and Shattered Sun - Livewire
Testament and Exodus are two metal titans that I never get sick of, no matter how many times I see them live. Remember when Testament's 2012 album Dark Roots of Earth roared to number nine on the World Sales chart after its release? Well, this tour pays homage to that accomplishment, aptly titled The Dark Roots of Thrash II Tour. Expect to hear all of Testament's classics, particularly from the first three records. Exodus is celebrating 30 years since the release of their first album, thrash metal's classic blueprint Bonded by Blood. Rounded out with Scattered Sun, this lineup's mosh pit will be interesting to see at the new music venue Livewire, located in the heart of Old Town's douche district.
April 4 - Play for Blood - Joe's Grotto
This killer lineup is all about the local shredding. Headed up by the five-piece, heavy and melodic Play for Blood, whose tagline I love ("More metal than ya ma's kettle"). Then there's the experimental deathcore act Virulent; the melodic thrashcore band Deathgrip; desert blues rockers Return to Zero; and the high-energy hard rock act Something to Kill. It isn't all AZ love though; there's also the West Hollywood Kings of Carnage, an all-military metal band.
April 7 - Mushroomhead, Doyle, and more - ClubRed
13th Floor Entertainment presents a lineup of eclectic favorites that's sure to be an amazing show. Mushroomhead have been performing incognito since '93, known for a unique brand of alt metal that combines metal, rock and atmospheric elements, alongside a theatrical show that's always pushing the envelope. Then there's ex-Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, whose been gaining steady popularity with his solo project, a horror-based hardrock/metal band. Not to be outdone, there's also UK alt-metallers The Family Ruin, and local metal bands Archenaut and Wrath.
April 7 - Entheos, Singularity, Alterra, and more - Club Red
Put on by 13th Floor Entertainment, there's some local favorites here, like Singularity and Splatterkill, as well as some new blood in the mix: Entheos. This band has been deemed as a "supergroup," consisting of vocalist Chaney Crabb, ex-The Faceless bassist Evan Brewer, ex-Animals as Leaders drummer Navene Koperweis and ex-Animosity guitarist Frank Costa. The band's first EP was released in March. The lineup is rounded out by Alterra and Infinite.
April 9 -Alterbeast - Joe's Grotto
Sacramento technical death metal band Alterbeast has gained fast popularity after unleashing their first demo in 2012. Originally formed under the title Gary Busey Amber Alert (GBAA), Alterbeast merges together influences from bands like Necrophagist, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Morbid Angel for a super heavy, classic death metal style. Catch the band with The Exiled Martyr, Apparitions, Hounds of Tindalos, and Cloud Structures.
April 9 - Butcher Babies and Upon a Burning Body - PubRock Live
Butcher Babies have been working their pretty tails off the past few years, and their hard work is paying off. When they aren't constantly on the road, they are in and out of the studio honing their craft and working on new music. They've truly come into their own, with raw talent and a unique dynamic between the two female vocalists. They're touring with another metal act that's burning up the scene, Upon a Burning Body. If you haven't heard the band, they're all about the deep Pantera grooves and catchy hooks, as well as playing pranks on their fans pretending their lead singer was kidnapped and possibly dead.
April 10 - Element A440 Tour Kickoff - Joe's Grotto
Local industrial metal band Element A440 kicks off their See It Loud 2015 Tour at Joe's Grotto with their friends Frequis, We Steal Copper, and Mechanical Men. Element A440 is known for their intense, theatrical live show, always hook-heavy and edgy. I feel like you never really know what is going to happen when you see them live. In fact, all four of these bands put on a hell of a live show, but besides that fact, head out to support your local music scene.
April 11 - UFest 2015 - Quail Run Park
KUPD's yearly music festival, UFest, has always been an exciting fixture on the local music scene. And even though the heat is absolutely sweltering by that date, it doesn't deter thousands from flocking to the Quail Run Park for dozens of live bands. This year, there's Three Days Grace, Rise Against, Nothing More, All That Remains, LetLive, Islander, Nonpoint, Beartooth -- and that's just a handful of the bands you can expect to see.
April 11 - N17, Take Over and Destroy, and others - Club Red
13th Floor Entertainment presents Phoenix industrial metal band N17 (aka November 17), blackened rock and rollers Take Over And Destroy (TOAD), post metal band Sorxe (created from members of Via Vengeance, Magnetplan, Graves at Sea and Daughters of Fission), and the awesome punk rockers The Venomous Pinks, along with Amnestic and The n9n3.
April 11 - Phoenix & Dragon, Sectas and Concertina- The Blooze Bar
PFYOA, Nonya Entertainment, Coldcock Herbal Whiskey, and Heavy Metal Television are putting on this great local show, which puts some of the most talented musicians in Phoenix on display. Phoenix & Dragon are a beautiful picture of symphonic progressive metal, while Sectas, who has opened for such acts as Queensryche and Papa Roach, is all about the fierce double bass drum, soaring metal vocals, and heavy riffing. Concertina rounds out the bill.
April 11 - Tempe Metalfest - Tempe Tavern
A night that's all about the metal heads! The stage will have some of the Valley's favorite metal, including Dreddmaster, Bathless Bastards, Atol, Noctournal Silence, Infernal Awakening, Building Stonehenge, Paraasitic Devourment, Xpansion Theory, Kill Command, Bleed the Fifth, and more.
April 12 - 36 Crazyfists, Talk to Sheep, and more - Club Red
I truly love 13th Floor Entertainment for putting on this show. I have loved 36 Crazy Fists for years, and the Alaskan band rarely tours through the area. They released their seventh studio album in February 2015, and are touring in support of the record, which truly shows the band's impressive range, from vocals alternating between screaming and melodic, to stellar bass and catchy hooks. Talk to Sheep, Malo De Dentro, Arvins Garden, Happy Accidents and Flagship Down are the supporting lineup.
April 17 & 18 - AZ Brutal Fest - The Rogue Bar
Get ready for the ultimate experience in brutal music: AZ Brutal Fest. Day one the lineup hosts Pedestal Of Infamy, Splatterkill, Left To Rot, Meatcleaver Amputation, Gods Of Death Screw, Evisceration, Bloodgeon, Colpolscopy, Lurid Memory, Lago, Viral, Rott, Fucking With Nuns (Mexico), Logistic Slaughter, Diminished, and others. Day 2 brings Stormbringer, Descension, Zeohn, Cursed, Opressor God, Deadspawn, Atoll, Meathook, Fetal Disgorge, Cranial Defecation, Magguts,Genocaust , Bloodscribe,Stages Of Decomposition, SLAVES OF SUFFERING (Mexico), CEREBRAL INCUABATION. See you there!
April 17 - Incite, Better Left Unsaid, Spades and Blades, and more - Club Red
Incite is bringing their brand of American groove metal back home to Arizona! Frontman Richie Cavalera (son to Max Cavalera of Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy), is the talented singer of this heavy four-piece that has quickly created a brand of tight, brutal metal, that's unique, clean and confident. The other bands on the bill include Better Left Unsaid, Spades and Blades, Play for Blood, Footer, Ye-iitsoh, and Arm The Fallen. Each of these bands brings a different type of metal to the table, which will make this show a diverse an interesting one.
April 30 - Mastodon and Clutch - Marquee Theatre
Mastodon and Clutch make the perfect pairing--Mastodon is known for progressive instrumentation and unique concepts, while Clutch pushes the boundaries of what's known as "hard rock," intertwining southern stoner rock with hard blues. Each band's ability to soak into other genres is impressive as well, like when Clutch provided the intro music for country megastar Eric Church's live set. Mastodon's 2014 album Once More 'Round the Sun debuted at Number 6 on the Billboard chart and provided the band with their second Grammy nomination, and after laying low for awhile, Clutch is now working on their eleventh album. Both bands provide solid live shows that only get better, each time I see them.
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