Noteworthy bands and performers like Lana Del Rey, Bruce Cockburn, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, and Poppy all have concerts scheduled at Valley venues this week.
Heck, there’s even a performance by a surf rock band that wears kabuki masks and is inspired by Japanese monster movies. No shit.
If any of these pique your interest, check out the following list of the best concerts happening in the Valley this week. And for even more options, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
Monday, February 12
Club Red in Mesa
Think of everything you loved about '80s thrash: the intricate drum work, the epic guitar solos, the political, anti-establishment-themed lyrics, the imagery — Havok has all that and more without any awkward mimicry or posturing nostalgia. Like finding a band straight out of a time capsule, Havok perform the art of thrash without sounding like a cover band or worse, just a collection of rehashed riffs we’ve all heard before.
Havok also picks up the political torch with ease. Their newest album, last year’s Conformicide, subjects American politics to intense lyrical scrutiny and judgment. Taking direct influence from George Orwell’s dystopian novel of the future, 1984, Havok compares the political climate of America to the themes in the novel. Their song “Ingsoc” is a reference to the Newspeak English Socialist Party that controls all of its citizens through intense surveillance and mind control via the media. Sound familiar? Havok think so, too.
Conformicide feels like Havok’s best work. With three years since their last release, they’ve had plenty of time to tweak the errors and rewrite the weak spots. The ending result is a thrash album full of surprising sonic variety. Not that their previous releases weren’t great, but the songs from Conformicide demonstrate a musical finesse unheard until now. Kristy Loye
Tuesday, February 13
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn is taking over the Marquee Theatre on Tuesday, February 13, in support of his first full-length album in nearly seven years, Bone on Bone.
The collection of 11 songs hit on Cockburn’s careerlong musical touchstones: human rights, spontaneity, and politics. All of which he’s explored over five decades and 33 albums. Since November, he’s been performing selections from the rock and contemporary folk record.
Cockburn attributes the album’s urgent, anxious songs — including “States I’m In,” “Lovers in a Dangerous Time,” and “40 Years in the Wilderness” — to the current political climate under the Trump administration. And fans can expect an honest and raw performance when the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee takes the stage in Tempe. Melina Zuniga
Lana Del Rey
Tuesday, February 13
Talking Stick Resort Arena
Lana Del Rey is embarking on an arena tour — a major step for a singer-songwriter who’s been pilloried for her live performances ever since her entry into pop music. Yet Del Rey has not swerved from her gloomy, cinematic vision; it’s the audience that has come around to her talents.
Her biggest breaks into the charts may be the 2013 remix of “Summertime Sadness” and her contribution to the Great Gatsby soundtrack, “Young and Beautiful,” but those songs are defined by a soaring contralto voice and glamorous death drive — which are all Del Rey.
With Lust for Life, her latest album, Del Rey officially moved from cult favorite to year-end best-of lists, garnering a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album. Del Rey will bring her chilly-beach-bingo aesthetic to her new L.A. to the Moon tour, where fans can expect a stripped-down style that resists pop-star expectations. Katie Moulton
Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen
Wednesday, February 14
Musical Instrument Museum
Anyone with even a passing knowledge of country musicians Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen knows something of their extensive shared history. They attended college together in their native state of Texas back in the 1970s and became friends, often playing together on Keen’s porch. Since then, both have enjoyed acclaimed careers in the music biz and have occasionally performed and toured together over the years.
The setup for the pair’s current tour, which visits the Musical Instrument Museum for two sets on Wednesday, couldn’t be more unassuming; two singers, two chairs, and four guitars. Lovett and Keen will trade songs and spin yarns for a few hours, playing familiar cuts like “The Front Porch Song” and “If I Had a Boat,” “She’s No Lady,” as well a few left-field selections. They’ll even accompany each other at some point during their sets, with Lovett doing the bulk of the harmonizing, and team up for a rendition of “T for Texas,” the Jimmie Rodgers classic. Pete Vonder Haar
Wednesday, February 14
Poppy is the best pop star cum potential cult member/leader you’re not listening to. Her music drifts between completely cute (“I want your floppy disc to be my hard drive”) and complete genius (her tracks “Interweb” and “Pop Music” are total gems) but is always catchy.
Her debut album, Poppy.
But an album is only a moment in time, so best to catch what Poppy has to say now before she sets her sights on something else. Whatever the subject, she’s sure to produce some bangers. Cory Garcia