The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

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

click to enlarge The musicians of Twin Peaks. - CJ HARVEY
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

click to enlarge Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun. - MATHEW TUCCIARONE
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

click to enlarge Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. - MICHAEL REGAN
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

click to enlarge R&B songstress Kehlani. - COURTESY OF ATLANTIC RECORDS
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

click to enlarge Oliver Sim (left), Romy Croft (center), and Jamie Smith of The xx. - ALASDAIR MCLELLAN
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
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
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