The 8 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

The Weeknd is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, May 2, at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The Weeknd is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, May 2, at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Courtesy of Republic Records
There's a major drinking holiday happening this week — Cinco de Mayo, to be exact — which means parties and lots of 'em going down the next several days.

If you're interested in that sort of thing, you've got many options at your disposal. If you'd rather see a show instead, that's cool, too. We've heard that some of the biggest shows this week will be parties in their own right.

Like the country-friend hootenanny that the Zac Brown Band will have going over at Gila River Arena in Glendale. And you can bet that The Weeknd's much-anticipated concert at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Tuesday will be plenty lively.

Here's what else is happening this week in great concerts, including gigs by Andrew McMahon, Bleached, and world music guru Zakir Hussain. (Our online show listings also contain many more events as well.)

Lizz Wright
Monday, May 1
Musical Instrument Museum

Singer-songwriter Lizz Wright, whose 2010 album, Fellowship, earned rave reviews and topped the Billboard jazz charts, is a Southern woman who still feels bound to the gospel sounds she grew up with. She feels the inspiration that comes with being raised on the Lord's music, but Wright doesn't see a conflict between the secular songs she performs and the sacred sounds she was raised on. She's also not tethering herself to the conventions that come with working in the jazz arena. "I describe myself as a singer-songwriter informed by gospel and jazz and my country roots of living," Wright says. "I see what I do as being very similar to the work of painters and sculptors. I borrow pieces of life and language. Everything is a composition. I think there's more of layering and a hybrid of styles than there is straight down the line music that is genre-specific. I hope it can be experienced as art." Jason Keil

click to enlarge The musicians of Sorority Noise. - KYLE THRASH
The musicians of Sorority Noise.
Kyle Thrash
Sorority Noise
Monday, May 1
The Rebel Lounge

To quote Lennie James’ character Morgan from The Walking Dead, everything gets a return. Crazy fashions come back into vogue, beloved movies get remade, and even once-maligned musical subgenres get a chance at redemption. Case in point: the emo revival. In the last couple of years, some of the strongest rock albums have come from emo revivalists like Modern Baseball, Sorority Noise, and The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die. The “nu emo” scene may be the only sector of indie rock left where guitar-wielding bands play songs that aren’t begging to be sampled or cosigned by Drake. It’s impassioned, energetic rock music that also manages to avoid the toxic masculinity and misogyny that plagued emo version 1.0 of the early aughts. Sorority Noise have positioned themselves at the front of this new and improved class with their bold and devastating new album, You’re Not As ___ As You Think. Inspired by the deaths of several close friends, it’s a moving collection of songs about grief, loss, religion, and depression. It also rocks hard enough to wake the dead. The quartet will fill in the blank when they play The Rebel Lounge with Diners, The Obsessives, and Walter Etc. Fair warning: Bring some tissues and a pair of earplugs. Sorority Noise’s music will make your eyes water and your ears bleed. Ashley Naftule

click to enlarge Zakir Hussain's got two tuned tablas and a microphone. - U.S. EMBASSY NEW DELHI/CC-BY-2.0/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Zakir Hussain's got two tuned tablas and a microphone.
U.S. Embassy New Delhi/CC-BY-2.0/via Wikimedia Commons
Zakir Hussain
Tuesday, May 2
Musical Instrument Museum

Zakir Hussain, one of the finest tabla players in the world, grew up in India and is considered by many to be the architect of modern world music. He has won two Grammy Awards in that category. He began his career studying the 2,000-year-old traditional music of his homeland, but he craved the rock 'n' roll lifestyle of the Western hippie set. When he finally made a pilgrimage to San Francisco in the late '60s, he hooked up with some heavy-hitters: George Harrison of the Beatles, Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, and jazz greats like Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams. Zakir broke barriers and got rockers into the music of India. Jason Handelsman

The Weeknd
Tuesday, May 2
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd, is riding high off of his latest album, Starboy, which is expected to go platinum; his latest girlfriend, Selena Gomez; and his latest drug of choice. The singer has become a controversial icon with his unapologetic and uncensored views on women and drug use. On his biggest single, “Starboy,” Tesfaye sings “Cut that ivory into skinny pieces/Then she clean up with her face, man/I love my baby.” His tranquilizing voice almost makes you forget that he’s romanticizing a woman snorting cocaine. But just because those lyrics make some people uncomfortable doesn’t mean Tesfaye is going to stop writing them or start apologizing for them. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Tesfaye says, “I don’t think I’d ever apologize for music I make, no. But there are regrets in my life, of course. And you write about it.” Regardless, the naysayers don’t seem to be slowing The Weeknd down — or killing his buzz. In the words of the Starboy himself, “You talking ’bout me I don’t see the shade/ Switch up my style I take any lane/ I switch up my cup I kill any pain.” Emily Roberts

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