If you somehow missed the festivities last weekend, when Viva PHX and Pot of Gold Music Festival dominated Phoenix and Tempe, respectively, don't feel like you've lost your only shot at good music. There might be only one outdoor festival this weekend -- an EDM one, Phoenix Lights -- but there are still a ton of great shows. Local favorites are out in force this weekend, as in addition to the ones we've listed below, Jason DeVore, Andy Warpigs, Clandestino!, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, French Girls, and dozens more of the Valley's finest will all be found in bars and venues over the next few days. Here are our picks for the weekend, and be sure to check the comprehensive concert calendar for more options.
Andy McKee is that rare breed of guitar player who doesn't need words to make his voice heard. With a finely developed finger-style, rich tonal qualities, multiple percussive aspects, and an expansive feel, McKee's lush solo acoustic guitar instrumentation sounds like several players performing at once -- occasionally even a full band -- and rarely seems to fall back on past accomplishments.
McKee began playing guitar in his teens, focusing on first Metallica, Dream Theater, and Iron Maiden, but also visionary guitarists Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson. A self-proclaimed "metalhead," it was only after attending a performance by Preston Reed, who incorporated a two-handed approach that included intricate fingerstyle playing, hammered strings, and use of the guitar body for percussive elements, that McKee's musical world shifted on its axis. Realizing the limitations of the electric guitar, McKee moved solely to the acoustic. GLENN BURNSILVER
Heartbreak and lost love fueled Harper and the Moths' debut record, aptly titled , as singer Harper Lines based the album on a breakup he experienced after moving to Seattle for love. The band released its debut after Lines trekked back to his home state of Arizona and reunited with his bandmates. While the album was ultra-catchy in a pop rock vein, the lyrics were tinged with bitterness. These days, the group is focusing on the bright side, having added a female keyboardist and vocalist for a more dynamic sound, and penning funk/R&B-influenced tracks based on self-identity and the give and take of relationships. A sense of fun is apparent in the group's video for "Nighttime Tremors," a colorful piece shot in a local roller rink. The band has shifted from an album format to releasing stellar singles one at a time, and plans to drop two new songs by summer amid tour plans. Attendees at their Yucca Tap Room show can expect a flashy show, complete with a light rig setup, stage attire, and props. "We always aim for our shows to be something you will remember and want to tell your friends about," guitarist Chan Redfield says. "Lately, when we got off stage, the most common thing we hear is, 'Whoa, where are you guys from?' They seem to be shocked to find out we're local, and I think that's because all the effort we put into the show." NICKI ESCUDERO
In the second edition of New Times' Saturday Sounds concert series at Tempe Marketplace, we present you another trio of talented Phoenix musicians. This time, the theme is kickass rock 'n' roll. Starting off the night will be Lee Perreira, who is one of the few in Phoenix who possesses the chops to make an acoustic guitar rock. Following him at the main stage will be Fairy Bones, fresh off the release of their brand spanking-new, Bob Hoag-produced album Dramabot, which hits a softer, synth-heavy side of the rock 'n' roll spectrum. Closing off the night will be the Black Moods. The band is a prototypical traditional rock band, honoring the genre's history while pushing the music forward with their signature spin. DAVID ACCOMAZZO
I have been waiting for Darkness Dear Boy's second album for way too long and on March 21, I will finally get my wish when they unleash Cagey Avoidance of a Definite Answer for the world to enjoy. In celebration of that release they previewed the new album with two videos for "June" and "Onto You," both shot entirely on iPhones. I had to make a tough decision between the two, but I went with "June" because it's more concise and really captures the essence of their sound -- upbeat, funky and fun, with a little bit of ska. I assure you that every song on the new album is fantastic, but I think this was a wise choice for the first single. The studio recording really captures the feeling of the energy in their live set, and that's not something every band can achieve, but DDB has done it with this single and everyone that will follow from the new album. Also, the video is great and I have to ask these guys how they arranged for so many VW Buses at one time. It's just a great time in all capacities. MITCHELL HILLMAN
If you're still forlorn over the loss of the old Hollywood Alley back in 2013, consider paying a visit to the C.A.S.A. Lounge this weekend. It might be a little therapeutic, considering that the Tempe bar (which is located just off Mill Avenue on Sixth Street) embodies and embraces the same divey, rock 'n' roll spirit these days that the Alley used to offer during its lifetime.
Heck, there are even a few hallmarks of the bygone Mesa live music landmark around the joint, like the Alley's famed "Ultra-Chic Pissant Hip Dive Bar" sign hanging from one wall while its longtime bartender Robert "Fun Bobby" Birmingham slings drinks from behind the stick. And come this Saturday, onetime Hollywood Alley regulars Fred Green will perform for the first time ever at C.A.S.A. and we're hoping that they just might raise a toast to their old stomping ground during the evening. The show, which starts at 8 p.m., is free. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
This weekend is the mothership of spring dance-music festivals, and Hardwell and Zeds Dead will co-pilot a crew of cross-genre DJs. Phoenix Lights is another Relentless Beats production, furthering the influence of the Arizona dance music scene nationally. Hardwell is a major authority in electro house and beyond, currently ranked number one on DJ Mag's top 100 DJs. Some of Hardwell's biggest hits include the conveniently named "Spaceman" and "Three Triangles." Bass heavy duo Zeds Dead brings the kind of weird darkness you want at an alien-sighting inspired festival. If you went to a club last month, chances are you heard a remixed version of their latest release "You Know" with Oliver Heldens. While you probably won't see any Tall Whites or Greys walking around, you'll see a lot of ravers, which is basically the same thing, right? AMANDA SAVAGE
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Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.