At the Drive-In is scheduled to perform on Monday, May 8, at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.EXPAND
At the Drive-In is scheduled to perform on Monday, May 8, at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Courtesy of Nasty Little Man

The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

So, did y’all survive Cinco de Mayo? We hope so, considering all the rowdiness that took place over the weekend. You might have even been wise enough to just stay home, saving your disposable income for a more worthwhile opportunity to go out and have a good time.

Like, you know, possibly while checking out a great concert or dance night around town. Maybe even one happening this coming week. If that’s the case, we’ve got 10 recommendations, each of which is worthy of your time and money.

There’s At the Drive-In’s long-awaited return to the Valley, as well as shows featuring Tift Merritt, Rival Chorie, Wale, Hot Buttered Rum, Marcia Ball, and others.

And if you’d like some additional options, try eyeballing our extensively updated online concert calendar.

Singer-songwriter Tift Merritt.
Singer-songwriter Tift Merritt.
Courtesy of Yep Roc Records

Tift Merritt
Monday, May 8
Musical Instrument Museum

Tift Merritt’s music falls somewhere between folk and Americana, maybe even alternative country, but the real enduring trait of her nearly 20-year music career is poignant storytelling that speaks to everything from her days growing up in North Carolina to her times living in Paris, and more recently her experiences of motherhood. She’s often compared to other singer-songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris, and she’s worked with Elvis Costello and Sam Beam of Iron and Wine, who produced her latest album Stitch of the World. Her delicate voice and smooth guitar strumming will be a match for the intimate setting of the MIM's musical theater. Mikel Galicia

DJ Organic lays it down at Motown on Mondays.EXPAND
DJ Organic lays it down at Motown on Mondays.
Benjamin Leatherman

Motown on Mondays Phoenix
Monday, May 8
Bar Smith

Motown on Mondays is on the move again. After spending the past month or bouncing around town doing one-off events at various bars, the local dance night has finally found a new home: Bar Smith. Starting on Monday, May 8, MOM will take over the lower level of the downtown Phoenix club every week and feature remixes of funk, soul, R&B, disco, and (yes) Motown hits from local DJs. And at their first session at Bar Smith, MOM resident Tricky T will be joined on the turntables by DJ Organic, DJ Akshen, and DJ M2. Local drummer Mike de la Torre of funk band Dr. Delicious will provide accompaniment, and painters Orlando Allison and Enuf will do live art. The night kicks off at 9 p.m., and there's no cover. Benjamin Leatherman

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At the Drive-In
Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At the Drive-In
Mike Brooks

At the Drive-In
Monday, May 8
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Following the success of their album Relationship of Command in 2000, fans and music critics alike were left puzzled and broken-hearted when At the Drive-In called it quits in 2001. The split, which seemed like a classic case of irreconcilable differences, was actually more about burning out rather than breaking up. In a recent interview with Fuse, guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López noted, “We were just always on the road. We know now that it’s important to just let things be and let everything just flow with ease.” And things seem to be doing just that for At the Drive-In. Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala just released their fourth full-length album, In.Ter A.Li.A, which picks up right where the band left off 16 years ago. The record’s first single, “Governed by Contagions,” is a smart, in-your-face punk rock song that leaves you wanting more. Which is exactly what At the Drive-In plan to give to their fans, who can take a cue from the new album’s lead track. Bixler-Zavala hauntingly sings: “Brace yourself, my darling/brace yourself for a flood.” Emily Roberts

The members of Rival Choir.EXPAND
The members of Rival Choir.
Courtesy of Facedown Records

Rival Choir
Tuesday, May 9
The Rebel Lounge

When it comes to the post-hardcore genre, lyrics often take a backseat to the heavy chug of guitar, rapid double bass on the drums or the earth-shattering sound of an 808. On the rare occasion that you find good lyrics in post-hardcore, they’re often drowned out by an attempted growl that sounds more like a screech. Amid the vapid couplets that are part and parcel of metal music, Rival Choir’s lyrics set them apart from their contemporaries Norma Jean and Counterparts. They read like poetry that oozes with introspective disdain. The band’s latest album, I Believe, Help My Unbelief, showcases a maturing sound that intertwines melodies with your typical metalcore chug. Not so typical is how Rival Choir frontman Josiah Lyle uses songs as a confessional for his emotional struggles. In the song “Poured Out,” for example, Lyle seeks salvation by writing out his thoughts. But the endeavor proves fruitless. “I am stuck on repeat regurgitating everything that’s inside of me, screaming the same words for all these years,” he sings. “God, why is my trust outweighed by my fears.” Raw, soul-bearing, and questioning religion — it’s exactly what this band does best. Lindsay Roberts

The current lineup of Eyes Set to Kill.EXPAND
The current lineup of Eyes Set to Kill.
Courtesy of Century Media Records

Eyes Set to Kill
Tuesday, May 9
Club Red in Mesa

The last few months have been busy for post-hardcore/melodic metalcore act Eyes Set to Kill. They’ve got a new single out (a raging grindathon entitled, “Break,” which dropped in March), a new album in the works (their first since 2013’s Masks) that’s reportedly due out later this year, and are currently in the midst of a new tour. Eyes Set to Kill is also boasting a mostly new lineup, owing to the fact that bassist Tiaday Ball of The World Over fame and guitarist A.J. Bartholomew, who also screams along with front woman Alexia Rodriguez on certain songs, have been added to the roster. It’s nothing new for the band, which has seen 13 different members – including Rodriguez’s sister Anissa, who split back in 2016 – come and go since it’s debut 14 years ago. The music’s still as angsty and energetic as ever, however, which should please local Eyes Set to Kill fans who flock to their hometown show this week at Club Red in Mesa. The Nearly Deads and Bad Seed Rising will open the evening along with locals At My Mercy, Eclipses for Eyes, and ... um, The World In My Eyes. The eyes have starting at 7 p.m. Benjamin Leatherman

Read on for more great shows happening around the Valley, including Wale, Marcia Ball, and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Wednesday, May 10
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

For those not in the know, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes a pop-punk supergroup made up of members of Foo Fighters, Lagwagon, NOFX, and Swingin’ Utters. They’re a sort of living karaoke machine, performing punk covers of everything from Broadway standards to R&B hits. There are two types of punk rock fans in the world: those who love the Gimmes and those who can’t stand them. Count me among the former. First and foremost, the band is made up of five guys who are really good at what they do. Spike Slawson, who fronts Swingin’ Utters and other bands when he’s not crooning for the Gimmes, has a soulful approach to singing punk. Rather than coming straight from the face and nose, it’s all in the chest and throat. He’s able to plow through Stevie Wonder and Seal so smoothly that one can’t help but wonder what he could do if he dedicated himself to R&B full time. The rest of the band (Chris Shiflett of Foo Fighters, Joey Cape and Dave Raun from Lagwagon and the singular Fat Mike from NOFX) are clearly capable players on at least two levels. First, adapting swirling pop tracks like “End of the Road” for a five-piece band is a task I doubt few would be up to. It’s hard to boil tracks like that down to their essential elements without losing something in the translation. Nicholas Pell

Marcia Ball, the piano-playing specialist in Gulf Coast blues, R&B, and zydeco.EXPAND
Marcia Ball, the piano-playing specialist in Gulf Coast blues, R&B, and zydeco.
Mary Keating Bruton

Marcia Ball
Wednesday, May 10
Musical Instrument Museum

The Valley is about to get a little taste of the swamplands. Veteran blues crooner and musician Marcia Ball is bringing her rollicking, New Orleans-style piano jams to the MIM. Since her first solo LP, Circuit Queen, in 1978, Ball has released about 15 albums and has performed at many festivals. Her latest album, The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man has her on the road again. It aptly came to fruition with a simple mental picture. "The image just popped into my mind, which is the beginning of it," Ball says, "and then the idea of the story and then the idea of how funny it would be visually to be able to actually follow that thread through and make the record all bright and tattoo-y, and everything just fell into place." And the album is bright indeed. Starting out with the boogie-woogie-influenced title track, The Tattooed Lady features Ball's traditional swamp rock and zydeco-flavored, very danceable songs, and is peppered with sweet, slow blues tunes in between. "The [title track] itself is kind of a love song about people who don't look ordinary, which is a very universal theme," Ball says. Olivia Feldman

Hot Buttered Rum will serve up bluegrass, jazz and folk with a dash of rock at Crescent Ballroom.EXPAND
Hot Buttered Rum will serve up bluegrass, jazz and folk with a dash of rock at Crescent Ballroom.
Lech Naumovich

Hot Buttered Rum
Thursday, May 11
Crescent Ballroom

Having formed during a backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail, San Francisco's Hot Buttered Rum is, on the surface, pretty much the embodiment of what many find so distasteful about the jam-band scene: Rum has worked with former members of the Dead, tours around the country in biodiesel-fueled vehicles, and indulges in extended improvisational jams. But who wouldn't want to play music with their personal heroes and not just talk the talk, but live according to their high-minded ideals and have fun with their art? Musically, this band weaves together bluegrass, jazz. and folk with a dash of rock for what is essentially upbeat music that is clever in its social critique without ever seeming preachy. If the members of Hot Buttered Rum can be saddled with the term "hippies," at least they aren't phonies. Tom Murphy

Wale will make his way to Livewire in Scottsdale this week.EXPAND
Wale will make his way to Livewire in Scottsdale this week.
Dante Marshall

Thursday, May 11
Livewire in Scottsdale

Wale has come a long way from the enthusiastic bounce-rap style that introduced him to the masses. A determined signee of Atlantic Records, the Washington, D.C., native sharpened his vernacular and defined his appeal with the release of his widely respected 2011 album, Ambition. He struck gold with the single "Lotus Flower Bomb," with R&B crooner-of-the-moment Miguel, and has inspired a new class of rap to rise from the underground. Wale's lyrics, combined with a keen ear for proper beats, set him apart from everyone else in the game. Ambitious, indeed. Ru Johnson

The members of Dutch power metal act Delain.EXPAND
The members of Dutch power metal act Delain.
Courtesy of Napalm Records

Delain & Hammerfall
Thursday, May 11
Club Red in Mesa

Power metal, which originated in Europe, may be an unfamiliar subgenre to most, especially here in the States, but it’s one of the most theatrical, empowering and popular forms of heavy metal. Indeed, a power-metal concert can feel like a party in Middle Earth. Delain, the six-member symphonic power-metal act from the Netherlands, is one such band. And while vocalist Charlotte Wessels admits that Delain is heavy, it’s also intended to make people come out of a concert grinning. They might just do them same after checking out like-minded power-metal group Hammerfall – which features songs like " "Templars of Steel," "Raise the Hammer," "The Unforgiving Blade," "Hammer of Justice” – which is currently touring with Delain. Justin Criado

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