Lots of good stuff to do this weekend as festival season in Arizona comes to a close with a strong finale. This weekend we have Country Thunder down in Florence, and Quail Run Park in Mesa will host two consecutive days of concerts -- FestivALT AZ on Friday and UFEST on Saturday. Read on for more information about both, and browse our comprehensive concert calendar for more options.
FestivALT AZ - Friday, April 10 - Quayle Run Park in Mesa Death Cab for Cutie has important things on his mind. For instance, training for 50-mile trail races whilst touring the band's eighth album, Kintsugi, released March 31. The album's namesake refers to a Japanese method of using precious metals to reconnect shards of broken pottery into a new form. It's a fitting title. With founding bassist Chris Walla stepping down, the band is taking on a new form. It's breaking in two new musicians -- Dave Depper (keyboards, guitar) and Zach Rae (keyboards). Though Walla plays on Kintsugi, this is the first album he hasn't produced. That role was filled by Rich Costey, who has worked with Foo Fighters, Muse and Fiona Apple, among others. Panic! At The Disco, Glass Animals, Family of the Year, Meg Myers, and Coasts also perform. AMANDA VENTURA
36 Crazyfists - Sunday, April 12 - Club Red in Mesa Originally from Alaska, 36 Crazyfists now claims the lower 48 as the band's home, and the group still brings the new-school, slightly screamo-ish, metal-infused rock as hard and fast as it can. Formed in 1994, the group's had lineup changes, much like any band that has been around long enough to legally drink, but the core of the band, guitarist Steve Holt and vocalist Brock Lindow, has stayed true to the original vision. Bassist Mick Whitney, who has helmed the low-end growl off and on since original four-stringer JD Stuart was killed in a car accident in 1996, and newish drummer Kyle Baltus (he joined in 2012) round out the lineup, which is no stranger to the Phoenix scene, having played in town multiple times, including a memorable gig at late, great metal hole-in-the-wall the Mason Jar. 36 Crazyfists, whose name is a reference to the 1977 film , may have relocated to Portland, but the group's sound and attitude still reflect the individual spirit and harsh wilderness its home state is known for. But please don't compare 36 Crazyfists to Sarah Palin. TOM REARDON
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Panda Bear - Saturday, April 11 - Crescent Ballroom As a co-founder of freak-folk outfit Animal Collective, you can expect Panda Bear (also known as Noah Lennox) to provide similar waves of the hissing, cawing chaos that Baltimore is known for. Heavily influenced by Black Dice and Aphex Twin, the experimental percussionist generated solo efforts going back as far as his self-titled release in 1999 on Paw Tracks (back when it was still Soccer Star Records). Early this year, Lennox returned with his moodiest, most-garbled record yet, . But Mr. Lennox didn't intend the title to be so grim, explaining to : "The way the theme works in the songs is more like the Grim Reaper as a representation of change. Often when there's dramatic change, it feels like something kind of dies -- particularly in identity, when there's parts of us or parts of our character that kind of die." TROY FARAH
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. LAUREN WISE
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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. LAUREN WISE