Empire of the Sun is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, April 18, at Comerica Theatre.EXPAND
Empire of the Sun is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, April 18, at Comerica Theatre.
Photo by Jen Campbell

The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

When Coachella went to its current two-weekend format back in 2012, there were plenty of upsides to the situation. The most obvious one, of course, is that twice as many people could attend the massively popular and massively vaunted music festival in Indio, California, each year.

There’s another benefit, and it’s one that’s geared more toward music fans in Phoenix: the fact that many members of the Coachella lineup kill time between each weekend gigging in cities within driving distance of the festival.

Hence the reason why our list of big concerts happening in the Valley this week is loaded up with artists and acts like Empire of the Sun, The xx, Tove Lo and others who lit up the Empire Polo Club this past weekend.

There are a lot of other acts of a non-Coachella variety who are due in town over the next few days, such as Coheed and Cambria, all of whom you’ll also find in our online concert calendar. In the meantime, here are the 10 best shows to see in Phoenix this week.

The musicians of Twin Peaks.EXPAND
The musicians of Twin Peaks.
CJ Harvey

Twin Peaks and Hinds
Monday, April 17
Crescent Ballroom

Twin Peaks’ third album, Down in Heaven, is a distinct change of pace from the riotously punky drive of the Chicago band’s earlier releases. The guitars are less distorted and more jangling and poppy on such tracks as “Walk to the One You Love” and “Holding Roses,” as lead singer Cadien Lake James contrasts the melodic settings with snarling garage-rock vocals. Twin Peaks revisit some of their punk past on the rambunctious “Butterfly,” but they also take a digression into folk-pop strumming on “My Boys,” which recalls the more rustic side of The Kinks. Hinds come all the way from Madrid, but most of their fuzzy garage-pop songs are sung in English, apart from the occasional Spanish-language ditty. Even with their retro influences, Hinds craft their own sweetly cracked, lo-fi spin on garage nostalgia. Falling James

Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun.EXPAND
Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun.
Mathew Tucciarone

Empire of the Sun
Tuesday, April 18
Comerica Theatre

Empire of the Sun is an Australian duo that’s been gracing us with infectious, disco-ball-worthy dance rock since its 2008 breakout album, Walking on a Dream. (And, yeah, nine years may have passed, but we know you still turn up the title track off that record.) To be fair, Walking on a Dream is nothing short of a synth-pop masterpiece, but it’s far from the only music the pair has made. For their most recent album, Two Vines, Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore enlisted Lindsey Buckingham (yes, that Lindsey Buckingham) and an impressive roster of former David Bowie and Prince collaborators to lift their compositions to glittering new heights. Driven by the concept of a modern city being reclaimed by nature, Two Vines is a fantastical, impossibly danceable odyssey bound to remind us all why we fell in love with Empire of the Sun in the first place. What’s more, the band’s live show features surrealist visuals and exquisite costuming. Minimalists, this one isn’t for you. Elle Carroll

Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Michael Regan

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Tuesday, April 18
Valley Bar

In 2006, Pitchfork observed that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah heralded a new “scene, now dominated by stylish teenagers more concerned with communal experience than elite authenticity.” The indie weirdos remained independent, but also scattered in various directions, with bandleader Alec Ounsworth and other members experimenting actively in side and solo projects. The way that CYHSY rose to popularity told us something about the changing relationship between niche music and the masses, and now the group has returned with The Tourist, its fifth full-length since 2005’s self-released, self-titled debut. Ounsworth’s vision of recent times is splintered with doubt, wry humor, and sonic buoyancy, a tour of an inner landscape where we may be down, but we’re making noise. Katie Moulton

R&B songstress Kehlani.EXPAND
R&B songstress Kehlani.
Courtesy of Atlantic Records

Tuesday, April 18
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Usually, getting a knee injury is the death knell for an athlete. I mean, have you ever seen the film version of Friday Night Lights? Boobie Miles was in shambles. Kehlani, the Oakland-bred R&B songstress, had her ballerina career shattered by such an injury, but it opened up a fruitful music career. She was once in a band that got to perform on America’s Got Talent, but she’s found her true calling as a solo artist who brings a wonderfully contemporary and honest feel to a genre that too often deals in innuendos. With Ella Mai, Jahkoy, and Noodles. H. Drew Blackburn

Oliver Sim (left), Romy Croft (center), and Jamie Smith of The xx.EXPAND
Oliver Sim (left), Romy Croft (center), and Jamie Smith of The xx.
Alasdair McLellan

The xx
Wednesday, April 19
Mesa Amphitheatre

What made The xx such a breath of fresh air eight years ago was how hushed and intimate their songs were. The London-based trio crafted quiet songs that spoke to the overwhelming misery of romance and the few exquisite moments of bliss in between. With producer Jamie xx behind the boards crafting a minimal sound somewhere between trip-hop and dreamy shoe-gaze, you got the feeling that Romy Croft and Oliver Sim were not just singing about the general insecurities of being in a relationship, but specifically describing their own feelings with insightful detail to each other. The twist is that Croft and Sim are both gay. I See You, The xx’s third record, feels bigger. You could chalk it up to Jamie xx’s confident production work, which he has honed working with Drake and Rhianna. There is the high-profile selection of samples, including a snippet of Hall and Oates used to rhythmic effect on the single “On Hold.” Maybe Croft and Sim have learned to embrace happiness, which gives this latest release from the critically acclaimed group a different but no less relatable appeal than when they seemingly could not let go of their melancholy. Jason Keil

Read on for more big shows happening this week, including Coheed and Cambria, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and Tove Lo
Coheed and Cambria
Wednesday, April 19
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

“The concept is just not there this time,” says Coheed and Cambria guitarist Travis Stever while answering the question his band has been faced with over and over again since releasing its most recent LP, The Color Before the Sun. After a seven-year run with the “Amory Wars” story line, a science fiction plot detailing the two characters for which the band was named, Coheed and Cambria’s eighth album breaks the streak in both substance and sound. They’ve traded in guitar duels for a more pop-punk approach, and they’ve been asked time and time again why they made the switch. Now, as the band continues to tour in support of The Color Before the Sun, Stever explains the band’s thought process. “The decision to stray may have taken some of our heavy-duty, cult following fans by surprise, for sure,” he says. “Every Coheed record is very different, though, and with every record we try to throw a curveball at them. With this one, it’s the lyrics, because it’s coming from a real-life standpoint.” Lauren Archuletta

Tove Lo will be in Scottsdale this week.EXPAND
Tove Lo will be in Scottsdale this week.
Courtesy of High Rise PR

Tove Lo
Wednesday, April 19
Livewire in Scottsdale

The video for Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High)” — during which she carouses with various beautiful dum-dums even as her private sadness blossoms like fireworks exploded too close to the ground — is so necessary to tell the story of that song that experiencing one without the other leaves the art incomplete. Hotly sought-after as a songwriter, especially since co-writing Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do,” Tove Lo now embarks on her tour supporting Lady Wood, the sophomore record that sees the Swede flaying her psyche open for all to autopsy. She’s been called “weird” and “sad,” but she’s just honest, and honesty tends to weird people out. Sad. David Cotner

The Aussie rockers of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.EXPAND
The Aussie rockers of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
Jamie Wdziekonski

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
Wednesday, April 19
Crescent Ballroom

Hailing all the way from Melbourne, Australia, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is a psychedelic garage-rock ensemble hitting Phoenix for the very first time. With their most recent record, Flying Microtonal Banana, they experiment with songs in microtonal tuning, which is sonically unusual and trippy. Microtones are a departure from Western sounds. They’re considered dissonant, small intervals. Songs like “Doom City” and “Open Water” demonstrate the wild oblivion of thematic voyages of sound and back-pocket jams. Tracks on the new record have repetitive patterns with small changes that build sonic energy and yet have an entrancing quality. High-pitched tones paired with melodic riffs give a ritualistic feeling. The whole record is like a shamanic ceremony working to summon psychedelic-rock spirits and rattle bodies with dance. The opening tune, “Rattlesnake,” is the perfect example of this repetitive boogie. The trippy flute and surf guitar act as a bit of a snake charmer. The seven-member band includes three guitarists and two drummers, as well as bass and fuzz harmonica players. Their electrifying performance incites instant movement and craze. It’s an absolute groove train. Their concerts ignite moshing, crowd-surfing, and the like. Kayla Clancy

B. Dolan
Wednesday, April 19
Last Exit Live

Part conspiracy theorist, part activist, B. Dolan is a multifaceted force to be reckoned with. As a rapper, the East Coaster brings his slam-poet style to life with post-apocalyptic stories of a desolate earth, utilizing beats from the dubstep to marching band variety to take on his science fiction world and the realities of current political landscapes and social issues. Along with fellow rapper and socially conscious MC, Sage Francis, Dolan created Knowmore.org, a site dedicated to sharing information about corporations and promoting consumer activism. Dolan's ability to frame his dark tales of the future with commentary on present-day social injustice makes him a unique voice in a world of often vapid popular music. Bree Davies

The Aussie rockers of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.EXPAND
The Aussie rockers of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
Jamie Wdziekonski

420 Flame of Thrones Party
Thursday, April 20
The Lost Leaf

Infamous local comedy rapper Hotrock Supajoint is a noted fan of ganja who has built his entire act around smoking chiba. Unsurprisingly, he plans to celebrate 420 in a big way. His new mixtape/album, Bitchez Love Mixtapez, drops that day, as well as a new music video for the single, “The Nite ’Fo 420” where he stars as “Sativa Claus.” He’ll also perform at the Flame of Thrones party. “I be excited. Lotsa dope, stoner-themed events, which I be all ‘bout. Imma be hittin’ up all the dispensaries fo’ they freebie deals.” he says. “I be imaginin’ a lot a alleyways an parking lots ‘round these events gonna be cloudy wit’ a high chance of awesome.” Fifth Street spots Bud’s Glass Joint (which, full disclosure, is co-owned by New Times employees) and Lost Leaf will put on the joint celebration. (See what we did there?) The event will feature both live entertainment and demonstrations. Bands and musicians like The Stakes, Genre, I Am Hologram, and Supajoint are scheduled to perform. Meanwhile, artists from National Champion Hendy, Jake Brodsky Glass, Desi B, HP Loveglass, and Porter Glass will all conduct glass-blowing demos. The free party starts at 4:20 p.m., natch. Benjamin Leatherman

Editor's note: This list has been update since it's original publication due to the cancellation of Nicholas Jaar's April 20 show at Livewire.

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