The festival season in Arizona is in full swing right now, to say the least. This weekend alone, there are no less than five different high-profile concert events happening in and around the Valley that involve the great outdoors in some fashion, including the Phoenix Lights electronic dance music extravaganza at Hance Park, the Good Life Festival at Encanterra in the San Tan Valley, and all the festivities of Arizona Bike Week up at WestWorld in Scottsdale.
Plus, there's also the down-home hullabaloo of Country Thunder over in Florence, the DJ-laden pool parties of Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, and the Downtown Music Stroll featuring a number of venues in Phoenix's urban core.
Plenty of other "can't miss" concerts and nightlife events will also happen this weekend, which you can find in our extensive online music listings or in the following list.
Arizona Bike Week
Thursday, April 6, to Sunday, April 9
WestWorld in Scottsdale
A 21st birthday is always a big deal. And if it happens to be for a five-day motorcycle event at WestWorld, then it’s bound to be an even bigger party. Arizona Bike Week 2017 is April 5 to 9, and beyond the bike races, stunt shows, and vendor booths, concerts featuring both national headliners and native Arizona country songwriters are ramping up for a week in Scottsdale. Tickets are $28 per day — and include entry to the shows and concerts — and $63 for a five-day event pass. Call 480-644-8191, or see the Arizona Bike Week website for tickets. The lineup is packed. On Thursday, April 6, catch Creedence Clearwater Revisited, the John Fogerty-less version of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band. Then on Friday, see famous nu-metal pioneers Korn. Saturday sees Alice Cooper on the main stage, and a few locals will play various stages throughout the week. Lauren Cusimano
Country Thunder 2017
Thursday, April 6, to Sunday, April 9
Canyon Moon Ranch in Florence
Springtime means wildflowers! Get out of the house! Springtime means outdoor festivals! Get out of the house! And this weekend merits a little jaunt out of town, specifically "down ways southwestern" to Florence for the Country Thunder camping/country music festival. You've probably heard most of the headliners, like Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton, Cowboy Troy, The Oak Ridge Boys, Brandon Ray, Chris Young, and Tyler Farr, but dig a little deeper into the lineup, and there are a number of gems, especially among the multitude of local artists who are also scheduled to perform at the event, such as Matt Farris, A Boy Named Sioux, Harry Luge, and Shari Rowe, among others. And if you just wanna go hang out and soak in the atmosphere in addition to checking out all the music, hey, that sounds pretty fun, too. After all, its one of the biggest parties of the year for local cowboys and cowgirls. Chris Hansen Orf
Bring Me the Horizon
Friday, April 7
Bring Me the Horizon share more than just a hometown with Def Leppard. Like Leps in the 1980s, the Sheffield, England, quintet have morphed from midlevel heavy metal contender to arena-intended, major-label, mainstream juggernaut. To milk the comparison still further, BMTH’s 2015 fifth album, That’s the Spirit, is Leppard’s Pyromania two decades on, with both records releasing their makers from any prior metal obligations and, with massive injections of studio-savvy gloss, into much more open-to-adventure “rock band” status. That’s the Spirit is metalcore meets Fall Out Boy, with anthemic melody and electro-flecked variety pushing brute power into the wings and the songs themselves into the spotlight. Florida’s returned Underoath were a high watermark of the screamo subgenre and, with their genre-defining call-and-response clean/screamed vocals and classic lineup both intact, feel more like “special guests” than mere “support.” Paul Rogers
Acid Mothers Temple
Friday, April 7
Acid Mothers Temple continue waving their freak flag pretty high on their most recent crop of albums, the curiously named Astrorgasm from the Inner Space, Benzaiten, and last year's Wake to a New Dawn of Another Astro Era. The Japanese psychedelic rockers have always been led by guitarist Kawabata Makoto through a seemingly endless series of side projects and permutations, from their mid-1990s beginning, when they were influenced by the spacey, minimalist collages of Krautrock, to their more recent opuses, which sound like a dozen Jimi Hendrix albums crushed by a trash compactor. Makoto's unfurling melodies and streaking contrails of guitar are amped up further by his bandmates' surges of synthesizer and trippy noises of unknown origin, culminating in a crescendo of head-spinning, psychedelic madness. Falling James
Stellar Well Presents Locals Only
Friday, April 7
Stellar Well is famous for putting on parties featuring artists and tracks that aren’t neccesarily in the wheelhouse of most DJs or dance music fans. “Our focus has been, and will always be, to shine a light on talent we find inspiring, talented and under the radar of most Phoenicians,” says Stellar Well’s Jake Goldsmith. Their latest event, which will take over the main room at the Crescent Ballroom on Friday, has a similar M.O., albeit with a specific spotlight on artists from around the Valley. “[We] felt that our first event at the Crescent should highlight local talent exclusively and half the lineup should be live performances,” Goldsmith says. As such, the first three sets of the evening will feature live electronic music being created right then and there using synthesizers and drum machines. Paul West will serve up lo-fi house, Your Leg My Leg will offer Chicago deep house, and Amethyst Seer will provide more experimental beats. The rest of the night will include back-to-back DJ sets by Anton and Osutin, Public Access, and Goldsmith and Owen S. Meanwhile, the artistry and eye-candy of Purdy Lites will be projected onto the walls of the venue. Benjamin Leatherman
Read on for even more "can't miss" concerts this weekend, including gigs by Scott H. Biram and The Mr. T Experience, as well as a tribute to one of David Bowie's biggest albums.
Downtown Music Stroll
Saturday, April 8
As the popular Viva PHX festival has repeatidly proven over last few years, it’s entirely possible for downtown Phoenix to function as a walkable destination for live music. This weekend’s Downtown Music Stroll will do the same when it offers the chance to attend multiple performances over the course of a single evening, all within sauntering distance of each other. This year’s event runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, and will include sets by Obadiah Parker at The Park, the Jim Nistico Trio at Hard Rock Cafe, LuMar at the Arrogant Butcher, the Ira Hill Trio at Gypsy Bar, and the Copper States at Hotel Palomar. The full lineup of venues and performers can be found here. Benjamin Leatherman
The Mr. T Experience
Saturday, April 8
Pub Rock in Scottsdale
The Mr. T Experience (MTX) frontman Dr. Frank freely admits that, for a long time, he saw his band as a means to sneak onto the “adult table” that is the world of rock 'n' roll, all the while going through the zany punk motions without actually knowing what he was doing. A couple of decades and many lineup changes later, the good doctor finally realized that his band wasn’t a rehearsal for some greater calling and, in his own words, got his act together. The band unleashed its 10th studio album, Yesterday Rules, in 2004 and finally followed that up with last year’s King Dork Approximately, released simultaneously with Frank’s young-adult novel of the same age. They’re not the same infantile San Fran pop-punkers anymore — nowadays, MTX is working to a concept, though the songs are as catchy and charmingly playful as ever. Brett Callwood
Phoenix Lights 2017
Saturday, April 8, and Sunday April 9
Margaret T. Hance Park Rawhide Event Center in Chander
Carbon-based life forms of the Valley, be warned: the phenomenon known as the Phoenix Lights will once again invade the Valley this weekend, bringing with it an otherworldly aura and an array of colorful beings into our midst. But before you start stocking up on ammunition or looking into alien abduction insurance, it bears mentioning that we aren't necessarily referring to the unidentified triangular-shaped array of lights that appeared over Arizona 20 years ago, but rather the local electronic dance music festival it inspired, Phoenix Lights. As with its two previous editions, the outdoor EDM event will bring thousands of dance music fanatics together to dance and celebrate when it returns for a close encounter of the third kind this weekend. And, by the way, it’s gotten a major upgrade and expansion, as it will feature three stages and more than 50 dance music artists, producers, and DJs. The 2017 lineup includes Above & Beyond, Alesso, Tiesto, 21 Savage, Griz, STS9, Vince Staples, Zeds Dead, ZHU, Bro Safari, Cashmere Cat, Illenium, Justin Martin, Keys N Krates, Lane 8, Oliver Heldens, Pete Tong, and dozens more. Benjamin Leatherman
(Editor's note: Promoters have announced that the festival will take place at Rawhide in Chandler.)
Scott H. Biram
Saturday, April 8
Mr. Scott H. Biram is nothing short of a total and complete badass mofo. First of all, he is the one man in his namesake one-man band, and his many quality releases over the past 14 years have proved he doesn't need anyone else to help him get the job done, and done well. From vocal duty to playing guitar and percussion, Biram delivers his style of hillbilly country with a vengeance — tangling it up with elements of punk, blues, metal, classic rock, and an undeniably ferocious spirit. Whether he's blasting out a fierce and noisy tune or bringing it down a little more low and slow, you know he isn't holding back anything. Another testament to his tenacity: Biram survived a head-on collision with a semi-truck in 2003, suffering multiple internal and external injuries, including the loss of a substantial portion of his organs. A mere month later, with a couple of broken legs, he took the stage in Austin, performing in a wheelchair, an IV still hanging from his arm. Just like his tunes, that's pretty fuckin' tough. Amy Young
LUST - The Finale: Vol. 2
Saturday, April 8
The Rogue Bar in Scottsdale
People have a tendency to change their minds and often do so, especially when it comes to the ending of something that’s particularly adored. As such, they’re occasionally willing to bring something back from the dead, even after declaring its over with forever. As in done, finito, deceased. For evidence of such, you can look no further than the fact that the freaks and fiends of fetish-oriented performance art group the Agents of Lust are once again putting on another of their decadent and debaucherous parties, despite having pulled the plug on such events many months ago. Several months after throwing what was supposed to be the final LUST dance party at The Rogue Bar, the Agents will bring it back for another go on Saturday, April 8, with LUST - The Finale: Vol. 2. As always, it will be a mix of hedonistic fun and hellacious thrills and include kinky performance art by the Agents and others, body painting, live music from local bands Casket Snatch, The Audio Virus, and S.L.U.T., as well as spins by DJ Kevin Void of the harsh and industrial variety. Benjamin Leatherman
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Classic Albums Live: Ziggy Stardust
Sunday, April 9
Chandler Center for the Arts
Fans of the dearly departed David Bowie can still celebrate the music of his pop alt-ego Ziggy Stardust this weekend when Classic Albums Live re-creates, note for note, the exact musical inspiration that left many of us clamoring for more. Bowie’s album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, brought forth a musical revolution and transitioned the vividly wild persona of David Bowie into household vernacular. Craig Martin, founder of Classic Albums Live, says that its musicians playing onstage are no joke either. “We take the world’s best musicians and put them on stage to play the music. This is, by definition, classic music.” Their tour schedule backs up his statement: They play more than 140 dates per year, listing artists like Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and many other beloved performers among their oeuvre, and have performed at both Carnegie Hall and Massey Hall. Plus, their guiding motto is “we don’t want crap; we want brilliance.” Sounds great to us. Sam Byrd
Editor's note: This list has been updated since it's initial publication with new location info.